I originally learned to crochet when I was 7 or 8; my grandma taught me when we were home for a visit. She showed me the basics and set me up with some acrylic yarn and a hook and I had fun making granny squares that visit and all the way home.
The only problem?
That’s all I knew how to do. And over time I forgot some of the fiddly bits (mainly in regards to turning the work or starting new rows) so I’d just wing it. Most of the time that was okay–after all, I was just making big, doily-ish squares to go on my nightstand or attempting some Barbie clothes, certainly nothing important. But then one time I tried to make a blanket with what little knowledge I’d retained…
That’s not a trick of the camera, my concentric squares really are tilting.
I’m not sure I could do that again if I tried.
The other issue I had with the just-enough-to-be-dangerous-to-a-skein-of-Red-Heart knowledge level was that I couldn’t read crochet patterns. They looked like calculus to me, all sorts of abbreviations and symbols.
Of course, once I taught myself to knit at age 26, suddenly those crochet patterns made sense, but I’d forgotten most of what I knew.
So when this week’s task was to find and actually try a crochet lace pattern, I was a little apprehensive!
Luckily, though, I managed to find a very neat bag pattern from a 1913 pattern book of which reproductions are now for sale but this sample pattern was not only free, it required only 3 stitches: chain, single crochet and double crochet.
And since this pattern required a certain amount of precision, I did look up some instructions for the latter two just to make sure I was doing them correctly.
Wanna see how I did?
This is actually the back of the bag (I found out as I was working ), though it looks kind of neat just on it’s own as a doily or something, don’t you think? The front, what’s pictured above in black and white, is made up of 4 panels: 2 rose and 2 shamrock; the back is just a shamrock panel with a bunch of extra rows around it so it’s great practice for the corner “petals” for when you get to the front. Once I’ve finished the front panels I’ll use the picot (the bobbly connector bits) pattern to join all the bits together and then work the top band and trim.
So far I’ve completed the back and almost finished one of the front shamrock panels and, I have to say, I’m having so much fun with this one that I’ll very likely finish it just to see how it looks. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s pretty damn good for a virtual novice like myself. Maybe I’ll even enter it in the state fair 😉
At any rate, a few notes about crochet lace–consider this a mostly-pro list with only a few cons, comparing it to knitted lace.
- Generally you’re only working with one stitch (i.e. loop on the hook) at a time, so there’s less chance of disaster, I think, than in knitted lace.
- Because you’ve only got that one stitch, though, it’s easy to set the work down and then go off in the opposite direction when you pick it back up again. *cough* not that I’d know anything about that *cough*
- When you’re working with a loop of chain stitches–like at the beginning of the shamrock centers–and the pattern says to put 27 stitches in a ring of only 12 chains, that’s a sign to not crochet into the individual chain stitches but to treat the loop as one big stitch and stitch AROUND the chain loop. This is, thankfully, one of the few things I did learn from those years of granny squares.
- Lace crochet requires creating bits of work and then securing it in places to create the net or pattern; “catching” is how this pattern describes that attachment period and while I tried, at first, with a slip stitch, it wasn’t looking right; use a single crochet into the caught stitch and you’ll be golden.
- It’s tough to watch television and do a project like this–whereas a lot of knitting I can do with only half an eye on the work, lace crochet requires a lot more direct supervision, so try for music, an audiobook or a show you know well enough to just listen to while working on a pattern like this.
After this fairly successful foray into something I was more than a little intimidated by, I’m now wondering if I could crochet my own lace should I decide to make my own wedding dress!
Are you going to give this pattern a try?