Crocheting with beads

Just finished a beautiful but simple crochet project, crochet wise a very simple repetitive pattern but incorporating beads which gives it that extra special twist. The pattern is by Kirsten Hoogerwerf- Ballering from the Haakmaarraak blog and has been run as a make a long recently in the Scheepjes Facebook international crochet group, the pattern is available via Kirsten’s blog or via her Etsy shop of the same name as her blog. The yarn from Scheepjes is not one I have used before, like most Scheepjes yarns the Alpaca rhythm laceweight yarn is gorgeously soft and comes in an excellent range of shades, the yarn has to be used double so 2 balls at a time using 8 x 25g balls in total so it is not a cheap project. However the design produces an heirloom type shawl for bridal or evening wear with the addition of seed beads so is a reasonable investment if you want to make that type of garment. I’m experimenting with a cheaper Scheepjes yarn for a second shawl, Stardust which also has  mohair content and tiny amounts of sparkly fibre throughout which makes it ideal for this project, when I have completed the alternative project I will let you know how the cheaper non alpaca yarn works out.

fullsizeoutput_1194

The pattern although simple does require patience in the preparation however as the seed beads need to be strung onto the yarn every 10 rows or so, stringing about 200 beads allows you to complete 10 rows without any tarn bead tangles before needing to cut the yarn and re-string the next lot of beads. The beads required are 6/0 seed beads to fit the yarn size, any make is suitable in the correct size, (a big eye beading needle is recommended for stringing the beads) Toho beads are suggested due to the pretty variety available, this is the type I used, again there are a number of websites that sell beads, I can the recommend the one I use for price and speed of delivery, I also sometimes use these type of beads for embroidery I- Beads.

For my evening shawl I used the deep bluey purple shade of vogue in the Alpaca rhythm yarn and I combined it with 3 different colour Toho beads: transparent rainbow sugar-plum, gold lined rainbow light sapphire, and aqua/ purple lined.

The second version in progress is Scheepjes Stardust Pegasus 652 with Toho beads 6/0 silver lined crystal and gold lined rainbow crystal, see the photo below, I will update you about whether it works out as well as the first shawl when I finish it.

IMG_3587

LoveCrochet

New to crochet?

I’m often asked by friends, acquaintances, people who I meet who are starting out on their crochet exploration, either who are learning the basic stitches already or who have decided they want to learn the craft after being inspired by projects they have seen or are encouraged by others (including myself) praising the relaxation qualities of crochet and how it can actually improve your mental health and well-being, (follow on Instagram hashtag craft as therapy) how to start projects how to decide what to make, what materials and tools to use? Everyone has to take their own journey finding out what styles suit them whether it’s the type of crochet hook they prefer or the yarn they find the best to use or the type of projects they enjoy the most, and whether they like  to keep a few wips (works in progress) on the go or just concentrate and finish one. However there are many aids out there can help you develop your own way of enjoying crochet, that can assist you find you own particular way of enjoying the truly fabulous diverse fibre art craft that crochet can be.

You no longer need to be taught crochet by someone you know, there is a vast wealth of how to videos on the internet today, teaching all the basic and more complicated techniques you could ever need, the most useful aspect of this type of learning is the ability to stop / start and pause videos whilst you attempt to copy at your own pace whether you are quick or a bit slower, the pace can be set at what you need it to be. I learnt this way by myself as I was going through a long grieving process when my daughter died and although I was looking for another craft to help me keep my brain occupied in other ways I did not want to learn in a social way which involved talking to other people outside of my close family and friends circle, grief had made me very unsociable at that time. I found it very easy to learn at my own pace and to develop my skills further as I became more confident. ( An excellent U tube channel which provides clear demonstrations of most stitches, including left hand versions that I would recommend is  Bella Coco ) Additionally most of the magazines on the market now also nearly always provide a ‘how to ‘ section, some just include basic stitch tutorials as a refresher and others more advanced techniques as well so you can pick information on more varied methods as well. Many publications as well as being a rich source of ideas and information about products available also run ‘CALS’  Crochet a-longs where readers can work on projects at the same time as many other’s, often groups on Facebook/ instagram will run in conjunction with the CAL organised by the magazines or yarn companies, enabling you to have access to the support of others if you choose, provide support for others if you can, and see examples of other peoples work to inspire you, and share your own when you have triumphantly mastered something you thought you never would! Currently there is a very good CAL being run by Simply Crochet suitable for beginners, one of the more long-standing publications, in conjunction with a yarn supplier where a pattern for one square of a blanket is released every month so the blanket is completed over the year, each square teaches the participants and new crochet stitch from basic to slightly more advanced, giving people time to complete the project at their own pace, there is also a facebook support group for this CAL. The patterns are also published on Ravelry ( if you miss a magazine edition) which is a site for knitting and crochet enthusiasts where patterns can be purchased on-line and provides an excellent personalised section where you can record your projects planned , in process and finished, organise an online record of your yarn stash, swap yarns with others and chat on forums. There are numerous facebook groups some independent , some run by yarn companies that are great resources for ideas, help and support and information about crochet along projects that may be running, it keeps people going on projects when they have others to share with who are undertaking the same project, which include progress photos and tips and tricks. Simply Crochet -hook & learn CAL Facebook group

IMG_3562

latest edition of the magazine running the CAL, one each of the first two squares that have been released monthly and example of the yarn that can be used , which is an excellent quality but inexpensive acrylic yarn just right for beginners, there is a second option of a more expensive cotton mix yarn for those who want it too.

If you do enjoy more of a social learning environment there are also many workshops for crochet advertised on the internet and crochet magazines, these can be anything from a simple how to session, often materials are provided, to who weekends away or ‘retreats’ in lovely settings, including excellent accommodation and food, and provision of materials, tuition and patterns. (e.g. The Crochet Retreat) There are also specialist events and festivals for fibre arts such as Yarndale in Skipton, North Yorkshire which provide oodles of inspiration from the makers and yarn dyers and sellers who show off their wares at such events, crochet magazines carry adverts for these and there is plently of online information.

If you want something more tactile than organising your creative ideas and projects on-line  with sites like Ravelry and Love Crochet you can also buy crochet project books and swatch cards for yarn to keep a record of projects and your ideas and colour combinations for makes, some of the products available like the one pictured below are small enough to fit into an average handbag so that you can note down ideas and yarns you have seen whilst you are on the move. (The Stationary Geek)

There is wealth of information and inspiration out there for anyone starting out with crochet as a new hobby/ skill and a lovely welcoming and helpful online community to get to know, all you have to do is enjoy creating beautiful tactile projects ! 🙂

LoveCrochet