Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crochet Terms, Definitions, and Conversions

An ugly truth about crochet is that the terms ARE NOT UNIVERSAL.
3/4 of the secret to understanding anything is having the terms to be able to think about what you are trying to think about!

So, before I go any further, my need for clarity is compelling me to write this post to share some of the basic definitions of terms and symbols for understanding crochet, and how this translates (is converted) to at least one other language. OK, technically it *is* the same language, only it isn't  ; )  .

Over time I will add links to short videos to demonstrate the stitch/ action.
If you have any corrections or another language you'd like to add, please send them to me, I'm happy to add!

Basic Terms and Symbols

US crochet stitch terms
UK crochet stitch terms

slip stitch (slip st)
slip stitch (slip st)

chain (ch)
chain (ch)

single (sc)
double (dc)

half double (hdc)
half treble (htr)

double (dc)
treble (tr)

treble/triple (tr)
double treble (dtr)

double treble/triple (dtr)
triple treble



stitch (st)
stitch (st)

I'm starting with really basic terms, but I'll add more terms, definitions and (hopefully) cultural/language variations/differences!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Beginner's Crochet and Basic Projects (Crochet #1)

And now for something completely different...

Two weeks ago I was shown a really cool scale design that had been crocheted... I suddenly, and unexpectedly, realized I wanted to know how to crochet so I could make this really cool design, but in light-weight wire. So, I realized that I suddenly, and urgently, needed to learn to crochet! (yes, i was in shock too, i absolutely didn't see this coming).

Happily the friend who is to blame ;)  for this sudden urgent "realization" (she is the one who showed me the really cool scale pattern that she had crocheted using yarn) had an extra "K" hook with her, which she gave me, and a bit of extra yarn along with a very quick reminder lesson in "holding your yarn and crochet hook", "making a starter chain", and "single crochet for those sitting there with their mouths open". To be blunt her hands moved so quickly and efficiently that I was having a hard time seeing exactly what she was doing, but I'd watched my grandma when I was little (she'd taught  me some finger crochet) and I got the general idea! I needed to learn some basics about crochet before I could crochet wire scales! (imagine that!  ; )
On the way home I stopped and picked up some yarn...  ;  )

The next day I checked out a "how to" site online, which I can HAPPILY recommend as a very good tutorial site for crochet (very good for basic "what's that?" and  "how to" stuff and for advanced information too!) and very convenient to watch (over-and-over) closely to pick up the stitches, Crochet Geek! [ Crochet Geek seems to be an excellent source for crochet information and the Crochet Geek videos on YouTube are wonderful!  I'll likely do a few "how to" crochet blog posts, but I'm very new to this (and likely to make some unusual pieces) and Crochet Geek is *2 thumbs up*. ]

Anyway... so that day I crocheted a 24 stitch x 13 row "face cloth" blue "square" (anyone who crochets knows that, at best, the first time you crochet this standard practice piece  the best you really do is approximately rectangular  ; ) . I used this as an opportunity to learn the basics: chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, and triple crochet (in the interest of total disclosure, as i said earlier, i must confess that i learned some "finger crochet" eons ago from my grandma ; ) .


Some important things to keep in mind when choosing your yarn / string: washable?, dryer safe?, yardage (how long is it?), yarn weight (is it considered lace =0, super fine =1, up to super bulky =6?), size of crochet hook or knitting needle suggested, etc.; happily, this information is usually found on the back of the packaging! Many packages also have a pattern on the inside and/ or a web address with free patterns.

The next day I started on a hat! I have decided I want to make a squid / kraken (on the way to knowing enough so I can make the wire scales) so I'm making a couple projects that I want before I get to the scales! Along the way I want to explore how quickly one can start making very useful and creative things using crochet, and next I wanted to see if I could make a hat, off the top of my head  ; ) , so, on this first go I didn't use any guides. The hat turned out fairly well, and fit nicely, except for a localized bump where I started making the hat too large  ; )  I was distracted from my crochet practice for a few days and when I returned to my "finished" hat I decided to pull it apart and start over! This is one of the things I really like about crochet, if you don't like what you've done you can easily deconstruct it and start over!

This time I was quite happy with my finished hat!
Unfortunately I do not know enough to be able to tell you exactly how I made this (or to share how you can make one just like it), but this second build started with a chain stitch loop and 24 half double crochets into the middle of it and then the bulk of this one was rounds of half double crochet and double crochet.

I will also figure out, as I learned to read crochet patterns, how to write them so I can share what I make with others!

Now it's time to build another hat (this time using some instructions and new stitches) and start on the squid/kraken! I really want a squid that will fit on my hat (no, I'm not given to sticking things on my hats,

so there is NO real explanation for this sudden shift in behavior    ; )  , and with a different yarn texture than my hat, so I think I'll start with ............

~> ~> ~>

Join us in our ongoing Quest...
... continued ... 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Coastal Fossils- The Winter Collection #1 (1 of 2)

 ...continued from... Coastal Fossils - Gifts of the Winter Beach #3

We collected so many interesting fossils and agates during our winter excursion to the central Oregon coast [IBLs] that it will take a couple posts to share all of them! We'll separate them into 2 main groupings: 1) Moolack Beach and 2) Lost Creek Beach. Moolack Beach will be shared first since that is the smaller collection (and I've managed to photograph all of it already!  ; )

Individual finds/fossils will be explored further as we have time.

Right! Now on with viewing the collections...

The Moolack Beach Collection / Fossils

To the right is the entire collection from Moolack Beach (except the "finds" that includes the specimens photographed and left "in situ" (in place)).

As I said earlier, the collection from Moolack Beach is smaller than the Lost Creek collection, but it is an intriguing collection...
... and we'll save the most intriguing find for last, since it will take the most space to get a good look at it.


< This is the largest of the concretions that we collected (upper left in the "group photo" ; )  on this excursion. It measures ~ 9 1/2" long.

Even at this stage you can easily see several different types of bivalves (clams), a couple gastropods, and two fossils that are showing up as a very different sort of fossil- "brown" (see one up close below).

This is the "left edge" of the piece shown above. I'm not absolutely sure what we are looking at here, but we'll get a better idea once we have a chance to look at it closer and start carefully removing the surrounding rock.
By the way, if you can identify any of the fossils being shown we'd love to hear from you!


This smaller concretion has a lot of intriguing things going on; this piece has a lot of exposed crystalline structure, some interesting bivalves,

...and we'll be looking at these unusual (exposed)  structures to see what they are also... >

 This concretion appears to be all bivalves...


This concretion is about 6 1/2" long. We will leave some of these concretions "intact" in order to share what to look for on the beach when hunting fossil concretions!


This fossil looks like it is likely bone, but we'll see! The fossil is in moderately delicate sandstone, which will make it easier to extract.


We also found some interesting mud stone type pieces. This one is particularly interesting since something has created/bored fairly large holes in the  mud stone (very hard mud stone in this case), including boring right through several fossils.

This one is very interesting "as is", so I doubt we will do much, if any, cleaning on it. 


.... sometimes you can get "help" ...

         #13-1_M7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 11

Several pieces with exposed shell.


Another concretion with assorted mollusc fossils.

#13-1_M14/ 15/ 16

Small concretions with bivalve fossils.

Most of the following pieces have a fairly granular texture:

#13-1_M17/ 18/ 19/ 20 


#13-1_M22/ 23/ 24


#13-1_M25/ 26/ 24

The following pieces are agates or have some agate-like qualities:

#13-1_M28/ 29/ 30/ 31/ 32/ 33

#13-1_M34/ 35/ 36/ 37/ 38/ 39/ 40




the most unique of our finds at Moolack Beach....

This fossil ....

Join us in our ongoing Quest...
... continued in... Coastal Fossils- The Winter Collection #2 (2 of 2)[IBL]; the Lost Creek collection / fossils.