Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skill + 1UP: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week


This year I am participating in the 2nd Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. A list of 8 topics (one for each day, plus a wildcard that can be substituted in) is provided and whoever wants to participate creates blog posts all week long following these topics. I’ve notice that blog post have show up on Twitter with the tag was #2KCBW. You can click on the banner or link above to check out the main page.

knitting and crochet blog week

Today's topic: How I improved this year. 

Day 2: Skill + 1UP

Description: Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet?

1. Knitting. Last May I tried my hand at knitting (for the second time in my life – when I was young my grandmother often tried to teach it to me, but it never stuck). I taught myself to

cast on, knit stitch and purl stitch in order to make a “Jayne Hat. I was at a fantastic craft show hosted by Halifax Crafters, and Rosie, a very kind knitter, showed me some tips. Being a new knitter, my tension was much too tight on the needles and I obsessively counted stitches to make sure I wasn’t dropping any. As amigurumi orders came in knitting was put away. Maybe I will try again later this year.


2. Crochet. This past year, the biggest change to my crocheting has be a migration away from sewing parts to crocheting them together by inserting the hook through a double thickness of work (the part that I am working on and the piece that I am attaching). This technique results in a stronger bond and is quicker.For example, I use this technique in making the lobster claws. I haven’t been able to adapt all my patterns but I am always experimenting. The flexibility of crocheting plus the simplicity and quickness of being able to undo mistakes makes it my favourite creative outlet. I’ve also improved my sewing thanks to many amigurumi blogs.

lobster amigurumi

3. Designing. I am always learning new crochet skills. After participating in Hal-Con (sci-fi festival) last Hallowe’en I was happy to receive custom orders for anime, comic book, and video game characters. For The Silver Hook, I design based on sketch that I have created to match my skills. Working from another person’s image is a different kettle of fish! When I am working on the custom design, it is definitely painful and difficult. However, I find it is doing these creations that I learn the most. They really force me outside my comfort zone. I do not write the pattern down, and work them more in a free-form style. One of the joys of crocheting is to be able to pick up stitches easily to add details, such as adding lines with slip stitches.

Link Amigurmi Twilight Princess Wolf Boy from Faces Comic BookHal-Con Mascot, Nelson Final Fantasy Lulu Doll Amigurumi Ezio Doll/Amigurumi from Assasins Creed

I have also started designing mini-amigurumi key chains. It is quite the challenge working with worsted weight yarn and trying to get a fine enough resolution to make the piece work. It’s sort of like making a really fast charcoal drawing (I try to make the work within 25 minutes), and it is definitely improving my designing skills.

flower charm  pig amigurumi key chain sheep amigurumi key chain bunny amigurumi key chain

4. Re-Designing. There have been toys/dolls that I just was not in love with. At the time I was not able to to quite pinpoint what was off, but after multiple re-designs and experiments some of my designs are now where I would like them to be. Below are sets of pictures the one on the left is the old version, and the one on the right is the newer pattern.

monkey (3)_3SDC16978  pigSDC16556 

3. Business. Okay, this isn’t strictly a knitting or crocheting point and I will not write much about it, but since I crochet as a business, I did learn some skills in this area. First, I blog frequently about my experiences and have recently added artisan interviews (TheSilverHook.ca). I follow Etsy newsletters and frequently update my shop. And I have plunged into social media: Facebook Page and  Twitter account (@TheSilverHookca). I have learned that running a business is a lot of hard work of learning so many different skill sets. It is so much more than just producing a great product…..and I love the challenge! 


Wow! What a great topic today! I can’t wait to read other blog posts!


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