|This is the latest item I am making and the first crochet item I've made in this pattern which is a ripple or wave pattern. This item is being crocheted with odd balls of yarn in (mostly) complementary colours.|
I've had mixed success with these projects so far. I'm finding I don't have a lot of patience for starting and re-doing things when I make mistakes. I also don't have a great deal of patience for reading patterns and/or waiting for long periods to be able to ask someone for help. I do belong to a group of knitters and crocheters but most of them are not experienced knitters and are learning like me. We also meet very infrequently, so it isn't much help as of yet. So then I go on line and try to find the answers to my issues.
There are a lot of video tutorials on line but I find they generally leave some important aspect of the learning process, or the pattern, unaddressed. Not everyone out there is a good teacher though they may be excellent knitters or crocheters. I need detailed instructions and I also need to have the patterns explained to me in a way that it helps me remember the patterns. I don't learn well by simply watching. I need to understand HOW a pattern works and the potential issues and solutions beforehand.
For example, one instructor said he had had a difficult time for years with uneven ends a the ripple afghan (That is a ripple afghan in my bottom photo. The bottom edges need to be uneven and "wavy". It is the sides of the afghan that can become uneven and they aren't supposed to be.) similar to the one in my bottom photo above). Then he went on to explain his version of how to make the ripples. When I went to view and follow his written instructions, they were incorrect. One small error but it makes a huge difference to a beginner. He also never did say how to make sure you don't get uneven side edges in your finished product to save everyone else the grief that he himself experienced. In the end, I abandoned his video lesson and I resorted to a set of written instructions I had on hand. The end result, is a pattern which is somewhat different than those that I've been viewing on line. At least I did learn enough from the video tutorials to make more sense of the printed pattern I have.
Initially, I intended to make the crocheted afghan with the yarns in my yarn stash. I quickly discovered that this won't really work. I don't have enough skeins in the right weights and colours to make a lap afghan. Even though my yarns are mixed washable fibres in 3.5 or 4 weight yarn, I still found that the cheaper yarn at the slightly heavier weight made a difference in the stitches and things became a little less even than I would like. I will try to resolve any uneven edges with a border finish at the end of the project but I won't be able to do anything about the stitches in the body of the afghan. I also realized that it isn't a good idea to mix inexpensive yarns with more expensive yarns. In the above example, the blues and whites at the bottom of the photo are less expensive yarns and it really comes across in the feel and size of the stitches. Nonetheless, it is a good practice piece. I think my second attempt will be better and I've already decided on the colours (burgundy/dark red, cream, orange, tan, maybe green) for my living room lap afghan. On second thought, I think I will skip all the colours and make it shades of green which will be more neutral.
Based on what I've learned, I will buy all my yarn in advance. I will use a larger size hook (size 6 instead of 5) and I will work the stitches in double crochet stitch, rather than single crochet. I think these steps will ensure a smoother finish, a looser stitch and a smoother feel to the finished product.
If any of you are crocheters and have tips for me based on what I've shared, please do drop me a line!