Another day, another post! I know, I know, when will it end, you ask? Inspired partly by the wonderful posts I’ve been reading this week, and partly by the sunshine, I’ve felt more inspired than usual to commit words to the screen. I’m sure I’ll run out oomph in the end, but right now, I’m enjoying myself, so I hope I’m not boring you too much 🙂 Really, with inspiration like this around me at the moment, it’s mostly a challenge not to just fill my Instagram feed with flowers.
Anyway, I’ve got a few dozen things on the go at the moment in various stages of completion, planning or dreaming, so at least you’re not having to hear the same story three times in a row. Because, yes, I am the person who forgets who she’s told what story to, and ends up telling it twice. Or worse, repeating it back to the person who told it to her (cringe!) I’m not the only one who does that, right?
Speaking of telling the same story, Sol and I are both ploughing our way through the first rows of our Frejya shawls. It’s the row that reminds you this isn’t really a project for absolute beginners. I mean, I’m not one for telling saying that beginners should only make squares or should do anything but exactly what they want, really. But at the same time, if you haven’t made a Tunisian Lace shawl before, watch the videos and do the reading before starting.
Aoibhe Ni’s videos are absolutely awesome. She explains really clearly, uses big yarn and goes at a pace I can actually follow!
Having made the Phoenix shawl, I felt pretty up for having a go at another Aoibhe Ni pattern, and Frejya was the one that really spoke to me. However, it does start with an EPIC chain, so I did my usual thing of chaining for ages without counting, then going back and counting them. Because yes, that’s clearly the most efficient way of doing it. This one might be a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ and I highly recommend putting in stitch markers at regular intervals as you go to help you keep track. I also advise adding ten or so chains to the end, just in case you miscounted, as they’re easily unpicked later. A better option – more easily counted and giving a stronger edge – would be do to foundation double crochet as Sol did (her tutorial here). I’m normally a huge fan of foundation stitches, but I didn’t even think of it for this shawl, probably because they take longer to do than chains and I was itching to get to the real stitching.
Now, I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry. Row 1 comes in 5 sections, and wow, it takes concentration. If you haven’t worked an Aoibhe Ni pattern before, I strongly recommend taking each section slowly, and even write it out again if it’s not quite making sense to you. Again, if I was sensible, I would have been marking the sections as I went (as Sol did – you can probably tell which of us has actually been paying attention…). But I’m not, and I didn’t, and so although I had marked where in the pattern I am, when I picked it up again after a bit of a break, I had to work out exactly what I’d done.
This is where it really helps to be able to read your crochet. I think for this pattern there are two things you really need to be able to tell. One is how tall your stitches are. In the picture above, a stitch is a column of bars, and by counting them, you know which stitch you’ve just done. So in this picture, the marked stitch has 9 bars, making it a 9Ltr. When I was trying to work out where I was, counting the bars was the first thing I did.
The other useful thing is to be able to tell how many stitches you just made into a chain. This varies through the pattern – sometimes it’s one, sometimes two, sometimes three – so by looking at this pattern, I can work out roughly where I am. In the picture above, you can see how the long stitches are ‘anchored’ in the chain. Each stitch has two ‘legs’, so you need to count pairs of them, not the individual strands. I took a few bazillion photo trying to illustrate this for you, so I hope you can make it out! It’s probably easier to see on your own work.
I think being able to read your work is one of the biggest things to learn. It’s certainly where I struggle in knitting, because while I understand how to make the stitches, I still don’t really know how to work out where I’ve made a mistake or even count stitches reliably. So I heartily recommend spending 5 minutes in close-examination, really getting to know your crochet and making sure you understand what you just did!
This is almost the halfway point of Row 1, so hopefully I’ll be back next week with notes on tackling charts. Or possibly bemoaning just how long the row really is…