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Friday 2 August 2013

Crochet Camp Week 3- the charted pattern challenge!


How are we all? 

This post will be a bit different to my previous posts. Usually I complete (or near complete!) a project before blogging about it, so generally I know how the post is going to go. However, today I am winging it. I haven't actually started this project so will be sharing both the highs and the lows with you whilst I tackle what I think may be one of my biggest crochet challenges......reading and making something from a charted pattern! 

Remember I have been taking part in 'Crochet Camp 2013'? So far I have made the Cherry Delicious Potholder (and no, I still can't spell 'delicious' without the help of spellchecker!) and have been doing some granny squares. This weeks pattern is a flower brooch which is worked in the round. It would be a fairly simple pattern for me if I followed the written pattern- but that would just be a cop out and what would I be learning yeah? There is no better way to learn something than by doing it,  and I thought that I should just bite the bullet and get on with it! I have always been terrified of charted patterns......they all look so complicated....what do the symbols mean.....and how can I possibly remember what they all are?! Thankfully, the amazing Kat Goldin at 'Slugs on the Refrigerator', the crochet genius and facilitator of Crochet Camp has generated a tutorial for us all on reading a charted pattern which can be found here. Her instructions are so clear and comprehensive......so where could I possibly go wrong? :-) 


Ok, so the first thing I have learned is that actually the symbols are not that complicated and actually resemble the way the stitches are made. Also, every stitch is shown by a symbol, so every stitch is accounted for and no need to guess etc....

Right, I think I understand the pattern, just need a quick peek at the picture of the finished item to re-assure myself! This is Kat's version.......

Beginner Flower by Kat Goldin

Uh-oh! I think there may be some crocheting into the back loop only to get the 3D-ness of the flower. Where is this in the charted pattern?!?! Arghhhh. Ok, stay calm.....I haven't even picked up a hook yet and I'm getting stressed! Going to have to have a quick peek at the written pattern (thats ok cos I'm learning!). I also need to have a look to see where to change colours. 

Ah, think I get it now. There is a round of chains after the first row of petals (which fit behind them) that the second round of petals are made into. I can now see where this fits into the charted pattern. Had better get dressed, otherwise will end up in PJs all day! Back soon.....


All ready to go!

I am using Rico Creative Cotton Aran in 64 (pink), 52 (grey) and 05 (green- the same green I used for the leaves in the Cherry Delicious Potholder)

First round completed smoothly! It was a magic circle with 1ch to secure followed by 6 dcs into the ring. This is joined into a circle by a slip-stitch. The chart indicates that the slip-stitch should be made into the 1ch that I made at the very begining. However, from my prior knowledge (?!) I thought it best to join with a slip-stitch into the first proper stitch.


And we have sunshine! On drawing the curtain back to get a bit of light in I couldn't help but take a picture of our chilli flowers :-)  Not sure of the variety but hope to get some chillies from them. We have been growing these from seed since April when I got the seeds from the  Mexican restaurant 'Wahaca' in London when visiting friends (fantastic food, great prices, definitely go if you get the opportunity). They give them out after your meal instead of mints. So excited by the prospect of having our own home-grown chillies!

Back to business: next round. Ok, my 'prior knowledge' failed me in this case. I needed to do the slip-stitch into the 1st chain I made into the magic ring to be able to complete the next round properly.  I think I have just uncovered one of the benefits of following chartered patterns- there is no ambiguity as to where to put your slip-stitch-just  place it where the pattern says. Written patterns are never as clear about these things. 


Second round complete! Woo! I now have 7 'loops' in which to crochet the petals. Time for a colour change :-) The chart doesn't indicate this which is where the written pattern/picture of finished item comes in handy. 

Round 3: Bit of a hold-up as I started the third round using the tail end of the yarn! Start again.....

From the last round we have some 2ch spaces. I am presuming (although not 100% sure) that the next stitches should be made into this space. So here goes.....


Third round complete! I think it may be a little bit loose as I can see quite a gap between the grey and pink that I can't see in Kat's picture. I also don't think I have to join this round with a slip-stitch as there is none shown but there is an arrow to indicate to go straight onto the next round. So on to the fourth! This is the 'chain' round into which the second row of petals are made.

Uh no (again!) I missed a couple of petals. Third round take 2......but double' uh no'! I actually only had '6 loops in which to make the petals from round 2. Massive backtrack....


Right. I now have round 2 complete and 'correct'. It appears that on my first go I missed the last stitch.

So now to round 3 (fingers crossed!)


Round 3 complete AND IT HAS 7 PETALS! Sing-a-long moment...'Goldfinger' by Ash on the radio :-) Ash were the first proper band I saw when I was 13 (I was massively in love with the singer Tim Wheeler) so still have a special place in my heart!

Now onto round 4 the 'chain' round I mentioned about 20 mins ago!.....

The chains are joined to the main body of the flower by a slip-stitch every 3ch. I'm not really sure where I am meant to make the slip stitch (and I am not going to cheat by looking at the pattern again!) so will make it into the last stitch of each petal which I think is what the pattern is indicating. 

Half-way it looks ok the way I am doing it so going to stick with it.


Round 4 completed. Am happy with the way it looks :-) Now onto the 5th and final round......


.....and OH MY GOSH I THINK I HAVE DONE IT!!!!! It is a lot bigger than I imagined (I do crochet quite loosely though- OK Mum, I have finally accepted it!). Am really pleased with myself! Just need to do the leaves now which are not charted so will have to go over to the written pattern (phew). I will also take a look to see if what I did was the same as the written pattern. And on checking....YES! I got it right :-)  


Leaves done. Just needs sewing up. 

.....and TAH-DAH......the finished flower :-)

Beginner Flower by SallyStrawberry designed by Kat Goldin

I am really pleased with the finished product, but most of all I feel ecstatic with myself that I had the concentration to keep going and persevere and I really think that I have taken a step in the right direction to being able to read charts. In the next few weeks I am going to have a go at more charted projects (probably with patterns that also give written instructions as not brave enough yet to go 'fully charted') but I believe that learning to read charts will open up a whole new world of patterns to me- a very exciting prospect!

So, here you have my random train of thoughts (complete with all the distractions) on the way to learning how to read crochet charts. It took me a total of 2 hours to both read the hints and tips on how to read charts and then to actually make the flower. Not too bad really, and if I were to do it again I would whizz through (hopefully!). 

No way am I an expert but here are my charted pattern-reading tips I can offer from this project:

  • Trust the pattern- it is most likely right!
  • Make sure you understand the pattern before starting (same goes for any pattern really)
  • Double-check what you are doing so that you don't make mistakes that will cost you later one (again, same goes for most patterns!)
  • Print the chart out- I found myself turning my head around to follow the pattern on my computer screen and gave myself a bit of a head-ache! Means you can also tick off sections one you have completed them so that you don't get lost. 
  • There is nothing to fear (I think) :-)

Now to reward myself with a cuppa and an episode of Celebrity Masterchef!

Much love and thanks for reading :-)

SS xx

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