Wool Week 2015

Here in the UK it’s Wool Week, a festival organised by the Campaign for Wool to highlight the beauty and versatility of wool as a fibre.  There are lots of things going on around the country to help celebrate it.

It’s also National Knitting Week.  The UK Handknitting Association are encouraging us all to get involved by doing one of the following things:

 

  • Commit to Knit – a campaign to get 1,000 knitters and crocheters to sign up to make at least one item for charity this autumn.  My own favourite knitting charity is p/hop, a fundraiser for Medecins Sans Frontieres (known as Doctors Without Borders in the USA).  They run an honesty box system, seeking donations in exchange for patterns kindly donated by designers.  You make a donation based on the estimated enjoyment you’ve had making the item.  Hence p/hop: pennies per hour of pleasure.  They have an active group on Ravelry, which engages in all sorts of fundraising fun, and you will see the p/hop stand raising money at many UK yarn festivals.
  • This Friday is the Campaign for Wool Woolly Hat Day, in aid of the Mission to Seafarers.  Knit or make a hat to raise funds for them.
  • Knitting groups are a great way to meet new people, learn new techniques or to just have an excuse to knit without interruption for a while. My craft group at work are going to have a special extra session for National Knitting Week, with an extra push to encourage new people – including learners – to come along.
  • And if you don’t fancy being quite that organised, why not knit on the bus or in a public place and chat to the people who ask you about your knitting.  Or just wear your best hand knits all week.

Me, I’m going to try to up the knitting content on this blog during Wool Week/Knitting Week.  I started last night with a post about a recent FO, but expect lots of yarny content this week from me.

 

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Dinosaur Amigurumi – Justyna Kacprzak

Who doesn’t love a dinosaur?  Justyna Kacprzak’s new book, Dinosaur Amigurumi (published by Dover, who kindly gave me a review copy through NetGalley), has instructions to crochet 14 different cute dino toys.

All of the patterns use Bernat’s Cotton-ish yarn, which works up to a standard DK weight.  There are written instructions, but no diagrams, and no pictures about how to assemble the toys beyond the pictures of the finished ones.  There’s also not much guidance for the new crocheter: do not expect to be able to learn crochet from scratch from this book.  For all that the shapes are very simple, you really do need some prior crochet experience to be able to follow the instructions.

But this would be a great addition to the library for anyone who makes amigurumi.

Adventures in Crochet

I’ve never managed to get my head around crochet. As a two-needle girl, the whole single hook thing has always baffled me. You’d think that someone used to one of the fibre disciplines would be able to learn and manage the other. I’ve done bits of crochet, like a provisional cast on and reinforcing the steek on my Pinion, but that’s not ‘proper’ crochet.  I’ve always had a bit of a mental block and never been able to make something solely using crochet. 

But as part of Wellbeing Fortnight at work (more on that in a later post) a colleague was offering crochet tuition. I went along to see if I could conquer my crochet demon. Being taught in person made all the difference, and after an hour I had a mini Granny Square. 

  
It’s interesting going from one skill to another.  I’m strongly right-hand dominant, and crochet forces one to be much more ambidextrous. My left hand is not used to having to do so much work such as tensioning the yarn and simultaneously helping to form the stitch by moving and holding the yarn and piece. 

Crochet feels very ‘architectural’. It seems to play more explicitly with the solid and blank space and I can already see it lends itself well to more free form construction. 

Will I carry on with it? Definitely.