Friday, December 12, 2008

One Can Lead to Another

Have you ever been in a place where you saw someone doing a craft, be it needle knitting, crochet, or some other thing? When you saw them you either said or thought to yourself I wish I could do that, but I just cannot? Well, you are wrong.

Crafting, no matter what the kind, is not a talent like everyone wants to claim. It is a learned skill. So many times I have had someone say I just don't have the talent to do something like that. It makes me want to scream, to jump up and down and run around in circles. I have no talent in the area of crafting, but I do have the ability to practice, practice, practice till it sinks into this thick set of brain cells I have. Then suddenly I have a new thing I have learned, yes learned.

I wasn't born knowing how to crochet, knit, macrame, or tat. I worked hard and had many, many frogging points (to frog is to rip-it, rip-it, you know like a frog sounds) throughout my learning days and I still do.

So you pick that thing you really want to learn and you sit and play with it. No you are not going to "get it" instantly. To some that might happen but to the rest of us it is old fashioned work. Oh I am sorry, I did say a bad word there, work. It takes time to have your hands say, yes I can do this. It takes time for your brain to say I know what you want. It take takes time for your eyes to see just exactly what the brain is telling your hands to do.

Ok I don't have the patience to sit and do that, but you will sit in front of a box half the night just looking at other people doing things that create new experiences for them. You are like a brick sitting there doing nothing but fixing those eyes on that box and letting the tails of others sink into you. So why not sit there and let that box just be a background while you play with needles or hook or loom or shuttle.

You will find that since you are not putting your entire concentration into the craft learning that you will relax a little and not be trying to totally control what the brain, hands, and eyes are seeking to do for you. So what if you make lots of mistakes, that is all a part of the learning. We all make mistakes in everything we attempt to learn. That is just the way it is and has been since the day we were born. We cannot all be the genius that picks up something and instantly knows how to do it.

I know it sounds like I am being pushy. Well, maybe I am. I know you can do it because I have done it. Oh I falter a lot along the way, but I have done it and will most likely do it again, and again as I cannot stop myself from learning that new to me thing.

Sure my aunt taught me to knit on needles. She taught me how to do a purl and a knit stitch, but nothing else. I moved away too soon for her to be there to continue my education. So I mostly gave up, but the crafting was in me from the first moment I made that first pair of slippers that I wore till they fell to pieces.

So I taught myself to crochet. Then one day I wanted to learn to macrame and I took a book and I played with it. Then one day I wanted to learn some cross stitch and I took a book and I learned some. Then one day I took on plastic canvas and I learned some. Someone gave me chair braiding books and I learned that. I hear about looms and I learned those. I wanted to tat from the ripe old age of 18 and I finally managed to take that on and I learned some. Now I am taking on knitting machines and I am learning some.

No I will never be an "expert" in any of these. I have no desire to be that expert. Where others run to the expert classes and work themselves into that I have to be the best of the best, I simply want to be able to do what I want when I want and be happy that I know, even at my advancing age, that I have had and still do the ability to take myself on the journey of learning. So can you.

Take on one and soon you will find that one can lead to another and soon maybe you are not an expert but you will no longer be saying "I wish I could" but instead "I know I can".

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tanners hat

I have had someone ask how Tanners hat was made.  Well, Masons was made the same way but Tanners is the one I posted to a group.

These were machine made but the same thing can be done on a knitting loom.

I used a bulky knitting machine which is actually about a small to fine gauged loom.  The yarn was a sports weight yarn.  If you want to use a larger loom use a worsted weight with the knit stitch or two strands of worsted if using the e-wrapped stitch.

You need a loom with an even amount of pegs.  

Ewrap all the pegs to cast on.

Knit for five to ten rows using the knit stitch, if you use the e-wrapped stitch the hat is going to have that slanted stitch look but that is ok, it is cute also.  How many rows you do depends on how big you want the brim to be.  Tanners was seven rows.

Now you are going to drop and reform stitches.

Take the second stitch off the peg and drop it pulling it all the way to the bottom ewrapped cast on.

Now you use a crochet hook or you can use a latch hook to pick back up the stitches.

From the inside of the loom, ws (wrong side), put your crochet hook between the bottom strand and the next strand up, and do a little twist to get this bottom strand wrapped around the hook.

Now grab the next strand above and pull it through.  Continue picking up strands till you have the last one on the hook.  Put that last one back on the empty peg.  This is called reforming stitches.

Skip the next peg and reform the next one and every other stitch around the loom.

After you have reformed every other stitch continue to knit for as long as you need your hat to be, minus a row or two.

Now move every other stitch over one peg, wrap the pegs and knit off.  This does a simple decrease to stop some of the bulk at the top of the hat for the gather.

Remove all stitches on a strand of yarn and gather the top.

Tip:  Another way to decrease some more bulk at the top of the hat is to use a thinner material to remove and gather the top.  So if you have some strong thread use it, or if you are using worsted weight use sports or baby sport to gather the top.  The less material you have in the gather the less the bulk at the top.

This is a very simple hat to do.  The reforming is a simple forming by sections knit stitches to purl stitches.  This to me is faster then the purl by one peg at a time and gives a slightly different look then the normal purl, is really easy to do and I like it.  It also gives practice on picking up stitches (backward granted but gives the idea anyway).