Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Crochet Afternoon

Several of the textile design students had offered up handmade crafts for the auction the other night, and some of the pieces weren't yet complete, so the instructor decided to have an "open house" afternoon in the studio where they could come work together. She invited me to come as well. There are only a few students, and they weren't really having an instruction time, so she asked if I knew how to crochet (I do, but it's pretty basic!) and told me it would be open from 1pm until dinner time, and I could come whenever I was able. I get out of the house often with the kids, but rarely for very long, so I take advantage of these sorts of opportunities to visit with other people. Even though I don't speak Danish, and hardly understand it, it is fun to be with other people doing a fun activity. And with handicrafts, I can follow along even though I don't know what the words are.

I got there about 3, when Jeff and Svea left to pick up the boys I went over. They were all very busy working on different projects. I had brought along the bag of assorted yarns I bought at the recycle shop, plus the one crochet hook I bought there. There were skeins of yarn everywhere, and big glass jars full of knitting needs and crochet hooks. You could make just about anything you wanted. The studio itself is inspiring to look at -there are handmade things on display all over, and the tables and workstations are set up to invite you to sit down and pick up whatever project you want to at any given time. There are about 8 sewing machines lines up along one wall, a low bookcase with pattern and instruction books along the opposite wall -with examples of handmade items displayed on top. And a few work tables with six or eight chairs each in the middle of the room. I would love to be a student in these classes and get to spend hours each week creating things in there!

I decided to work on "something" using the standard stitches from a granny-square, since that's basically what I know how to do. I wanted to do the things the students were working on -one was making a small basket or vase-type vessel, another was making a set of juggling balls, another was just starting on a circle and I couldn't tell what the end product would be, and the fourth was making a series of small Danish flags. I briefly looked at the pattern book, hoping that maybe the instructions (which are abbreviations in English books as well) would be the same initials or basic idea as what I understood. But, unfortunately, the words for "crochet", "double crochet", "chain", etc. are not used in the Danish book, so the abbreviations weren't c., dc., ch., and the like, and I wasn't sure what fm., cm., meant. So I went with what I knew -I wasn't there to interrupt them, afterall, and didn't want to ask for a special lesson on how to do something new that looked quite difficult. So I created a basic white and blue pattern in a circle, which ended up being sort of a ruffled hat for a doll. The teacher said it sort of looked like a "jelly fish" -which it does.

It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. I suppose if it must be useful and Svea decides she doesn't want it for a doll hat, it could be used as a dish rag. But that seems sad.

I finished with my jellyfish frilly hat about 20 minutes before dinner, and decided there wasn't time to walk home and get Jeff and the kids and come back, so I just stayed there. I was looking through some of the example projects, trying to figure out how they were made since I didn't understand the books. The teacher saw me looking over and over at various pieces, and said "I can show you how, if you want." So she did. It turns out it's actually quite a simple process to begin! She showed me how to do the square ones that are sort of like a pocket or change purse. I mentioned that I couldn't understand the pattern books, so I really appreciated the instruction. Another student said, well, we have this one also in French, but we don't understand it. I said "oh! Let me see that one please! I have more chance of understanding French than Danish." They laughed. I am going to see if I can find the same book in English when I am at a yarn store -there are some fun patterns in it. I think the French is still a bit difficult for me, and, I'd like to have one at home to work from rather than having to wait for the next open time at the studio. I think the circle stitch is the more challenging one I'd like to master. It seems to be the basis for all sorts of things.

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