Saturday, 21 February 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeeeeeek - Granny Stripe

It's been playing on my mind that the first three patterns from the Pattern of the Week series have been knitted. Now, that reflects where I am at the moment. If you remember last summer (and for a long while before that to be fair) I was on a big crochet binge. Well, right now I'm all about the knitting. I'm not apologising for that really. I get asked all the time whether I prefer knitting or crochet and I have to say it's equal but at different times and for different things. Sometimes I need a quick fix of something and that's when I definitely go to crochet but not every time - what about the Unapologetic Hat? I find I enjoy designing in crochet more as it's more malleable, moveable, organic but I enjoy the neat lines and simplicity of knitting too, as in Sailing Pi. Anyway, I don't have to explain this to the bicraftuals out there but what I do have to do, as a yarn shop owner with a conscience, is make sure that my crocheters are catered to. And for the inaugural crochet pattern featured in Pattern of the Week, I'm going back to my roots. Kinda.

The Attic24 Granny Stripe.

 I chose this as I was scanning the shop for a pattern to talk about because everything I came upon, the pattern was out of stock. I want you to be able to get to the pattern the minute that you're inspired to do it rather than waiting for me to get it in. So I do have lots of exciting crochet patterns to talk about but I've got a list of them that I need to get in first. This one is hidden in the corner near the needles quietly showing off the Flash DK which, along with the Pricewise DK, is pretty much my favourite kiddies yarn in the shop.

I crocheted the blanket for the birthday party in 2013 when we first introduced the yarn. I chose it for its simplicity. Often in crochet, certainly those that learn with me, we start with the granny square. I choose this for number reasons. First, it is synonymous with crochet. You look at a granny square and think 'crochet' (or at least I do and I'm in charge...). Secondly, it only uses three stitches; chain, slip stitch and treble. Thirdly, at the same time the concept of a pattern repeat is introduced and the idea that you have to think for yourself - the pattern repeat is the corner formation and the thinking for yourself is the how many shells until you get there. Fourthly, shells. I'd not planned to include that but actually in crochet you end up working more than one stitch into a stitch much more than you do in knitting. And finally, but the most important for me, and the reason that I chose granny stripe, you work into the hoooooooooooles. As opposed to working into stitches. Not only is it easier because the holes are always bigger than stitches but it's bloody hard when you're getting to grips with stitches and pattern repeats and shells and tensioning yarn and everything else you've got to do to start identifying stitches correctly. Is it the front leg? Back leg? Both legs? What about the weird horizontal bit? Does that make part of the stitch? Ahhhh. I remember it well. It's all about the holes. And that's why I'm focussing on the granny stripe - because once you've mastered the granny square where do you go from there? Well the stripe is the perfect place to go - the idea of edges and turning chains and creating a space where there wasn't one before is perfectly explained in this lovely little pattern. 

It's also the pattern where I realised that I could crochet without looking. Before that I was always hunched over waiting for the corner and all that jazz to get started again and then I was recovering from the corner and before I knew it I was at the corner or the start of the round again. Whereas this one, once set up, is just one big whoooooooooooosh! Rather exhilarating really.
As always, I love the way that Lucy writes her patterns. I was having a good old natter with a customer t'other day about Lucy and how the blog seems to have become a bit of an advert for Stylecraft yarns which is a shame. It's certainly put me off a little because there's so much more out there to use. However, I still love her enthusiasm for the craft and that despite her sharp business brain (who knew that was lurking behind the dawdles in the park???) she's still committed to sharing her love and knowledge whilst at the same time financially supporting herself and her family. It feels like she's struck a good balance between making money and being a friendly internet blogger. I've got my fingers crossed that it remains such a beautiful balance!

Anyway, the pattern is written in real language, and it's really two rows long once you've got past the initial set up. I actually ignored her first row, which are dcs all across, because.... My top tip for the week was gleaned from another Attic24 post (but I can't remember which). When you're initially making your chain, especially if it's a big one say for a double bed, just go ahead and chain what you feel is right plus about 20/30 more (maybe even more if you're really doing a big one, just in case), then start working back doing the first row (well, the second one here seeing as we've ignored the first). As you go keep comparing the work to the size that you want and then when it matched up with your vision, stop and turn. The extra chains can be carefully taken out later (or chopped closer and carefully taken out) and the end sewn in like normal. Does that make sense?

Ahhhh. What a top tip and what a top pattern.

Now, I've got a treat next week. It's one of two patterns so it might be crochet and it might not be. But neither of them are finished projects and I need them to be to feature I think. Better get going!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxx

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