Friday, February 17, 2012

You want me to put that hook where, now?

About two months ago, two fiber-crafting groups sprung up in the area less than 3 miles from my apartment.

I've never really been a social knitter, mainly because the majority of the crafty groups in the area tend to meet a ways outside my travel radius. (For those just tuning in, I usually walk or cycle my way across Western New York, though the latter tends to happen less when snow is falling.) So meetings taking place over in Amherst, Cheektavegas, or any of the Southtowns are next to impossible to get to without a ride, as public transportation in Buffalo is best classified as a cruel joke. Finding out that two had formed within easy walking distance was something of a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

The group that meets Wednesday nights is knitting-centered, though not knitting-exclusive. There are apparently 60 of us on the roster, though the number that show up per meeting is usually closer to 15. We spend about two hours picking away at our projects, talking, eating, and crowd-sourcing solutions to any fibery problem that comes up. It's somewhat surreal to be surrounded by at least a dozen other people doing the same thing you are when you're used to a more solitary craft life. 

The group that meets Thursday nights is crochet-centered. 

Up until this week, the only things I've ever used crochet to make were borders on knit afghans and chains for provisional cast-ons, with the random "stitch two things together without sewing" thing thrown in about once every two years. But since I didn't want to be That Lady Who Always Knits at Crochet Night, I decided that should probably change. 

I'm now working on my very first fully crocheted project. Because it's practically a rule somewhere in the fiber universe, my first item is a very long rectangle--which is to say, a scarf. I hope.
260 yards of sport-to-DK goodness.

I'm using my own handspun, which may or may not be a good idea. I'd originally started by using a pattern from The Happy Hooker, but after realizing it consisted mainly of, "make a really long chain and do a couple rows of double crochet," I decided I could probably improvise a little.

I chained about 215 stitches, did the most excruciatingly long row of single crochet ever (Hint. Marled yarn? Makes it really hard to see what's considered part of the stitch and what's not.), and am now working my way through in half-double crochet.  I'd started working in double crochet as the book suggested, but the fabric it produced was way too open for my taste. I learned how to do both double and half-double from Left Hand Crochet on Youtube. I'd definitely recommend the videos to other lefties out there, especially given the trouble I've had trying to figure things out from right-handed book illustrations sometimes.

I'm not sure how long it will take to finish, but I'm definitely enjoying the experience. Then again, anything that distracts me when I should be studying for exams is almost always enjoyable.

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