Riverhouse Hookers 2017 – A Look Back

Learning and teaching new techniques in crochet gives me a sense of achievement and also brings me a great amount of satisfaction. I love hanging out twice a week with my students who, I like to think, have become friends. I recently realised that I spend more time with them than most of my “real” friends and even some of my family! Not surprising really, with work, kids, and other activities it can be difficult to find time to fit everybody in.

It’s not often we get a chance to step back and look at what we’ve achieved over the past year so that’s why I decided to write this post. Hopefully this retrospective will also be useful for anybody thinking of signing up for a class. Maybe we can tempt you to join us?

Additionally, it’s a good way for me to showcase the techniques that I run courses in. If you run or organise fibre or craft events, please get in touch – I may be available to teach!

Here is a list of the classes I taught in 2017:

Slip Stitch Surface Design
The humble slip stitch can also be used to embellish and decorate a piece of single crochet fabric. I had been experimenting with this technique at the end of 2016 as it’s not commonly used. Then, coincidentally, all sorts of crochet patterns, projects and “crochet-a-longs” suddenly cropped up in the “crochet world” ! So it turned out it was pretty good timing.
We explored two methods – what I call the grid technique and free-form.
With just this simple stitch, the students came up with some beautiful and creative projects such as cushion covers, pyjama bags and pencil cases.

C2C (Corner to Corner) Colour Changing Technique
We started with the basic “c2c” technique and then move on to adding colour.
Then we looked into the various ways you can change colours and how you can minimise tangling.
After this, the students were encouraged to make their own own unique charts. This included how to convert images into charts and which kind of motifs and images work best with C2C crochet.
Some of the students were very adventurous and made blankets, others stuck to smaller things such as cushion covers or hand towels.

Crochet Triangular Lace Shawl
This one is always a favourite with my students! While making my shawl design, “Lake Agnes”, we learn about chart reading, working a triangular shawl from the top down, how to accommodate the border should you wish to change the size and blocking. The students made beautiful shawls using lovely yarns such as pure linen, and some of the colour changing yarn cakes.

Garlands of Flowers and Beads
I love teaching this course! We use thread crochet, small hooks and beads to make beautiful floral garlands or lariat necklaces. I provide a few patterns and then each student gets help designing their own garland.
Gorgeous for weddings or for draping romantically over your dressing table mirror!

Columbian Bags Using Tapestry Crochet
Probably one of my favourite techniques to date… we used tapestry crochet to make round based, colourful bags. We covered basic colour-work techniques, working in the round. After mastering these techniques with a small set project, students were then able to make their own bags, either from patterns or by coming up with their own designs. We covered how to read colour-charts, especially circular charts where the increases are not marked.

Free From Crochet
Perhaps one of my least successful courses. Although the students enjoyed learning and practising the elements and stitches that are commonly used in Free Form, once they had to go “off piste”, so to speak, many of them floundered at the task when left to their own devices without having a pattern in front of them to follow! Some of the students however, jumped right in and came up with some wonderful projects such as this little turtle toy and a wall hanging in the form of a Christmas tree!

New Ways With Old Doilies
We started off getting to grips with the thread crochet and small hooks with a mini-doily. Making doilies is an excellent way to hone your crochet skills because you really have to get control of your hook, yarn and tension to get a perfect doily stitch. Students need to master the subtle technique of crocheting “true to hook size” to ensure stitches are neat and not lose. The hookers were then encouraged to look at vintage crochet patterns to make a traditional doily. Reading and interpreting old patterns is a useful skill. Once made, the doilies were then applied in new ways to display their beauty! Students came up with various ideas such as framing a selection or using them as appliques, to lavender bags for example.

I hope my students feel they have learned and gained as much from these classes as I have. I especially enjoyed some of the warm summer evenings when we were able to sit outside in the Riverhouse Arts Centre courtyard and crochet.

Thank you to all my students that took my classes in 2017: Jan, Aileen, Karen, Katie, Sarah, Rebecca, Jo M, Maz, Di, Tabitha, Bev R, Jaswinder, Eileen, Anika, Jo G, Bev A, Fran, Mary, Michelle, Vicky, Diane, Iris & Jules! I hope I haven’t missed anybody…

My one main regret is that I don’t take enough photos of my students work and this is something I will try to redress in 2018.

 

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