So, here's the scoop. Years and years ago, I used to watch my mom crochet and thought it was neatest thing, that she could take a really loooong piece of thread and a hook, and make something both pretty and functional out of it. She had a couple of magazines around the house that had patterns and instructions, and a couple of times I tried to teach myself using that. It didn't work so well. Then one day when I was in the 8th grade (don't ask me why I remember that detail) our TV stopped working. GASP!! No TV?? What on earth was I to do with my evenings until we got a new one? Lo and behold if I didn't ask my mom to teach me to crochet. She put up with my impatience as she taught me the basic stitches, and here we are some 20 years later!
From the start I mainly used thread and made many doilies and filet patterns. It wasn't until hmm sometime within the last 10 years I guess, that I started using yarn. I was trying to count how many afghans I've made, and I was able to come up with 20 off the top of my head. When I first started with yarn I was amazed at how much more quickly it seemed to go, the yarn is so much bigger than the thread that it works up much faster! From the start I stuck to afghans, then I branched out and tried some clothing and toys. I've made 7 or 8 sweaters that I can think of, some cute stuffed animals, some baskets, throw pillows, a rug or 2, slippers, scarves, mittens, toques and headbands, some home decor items like wreaths, snowflakes and angels at Christmas, a lot of doiles and a few table runners, kitchen curtains, bath puffs, baby and full-size afghans of course, at least one dress for my niece, a few baby sweaters, ponchos, and my most recent project, some Barbie clothes for my nieces. I usually crochet from published patterns, but have occassionally made patterns up...I think I only have ever written one of my patterns down, and that was for some angels I made for some craft sales we did (we being my sisters and mom). One time I was dressing as a scarecrow for Halloween and felt my outfit just needed one more thing to make it just right...I dug out some black yarn and whipped up a bird to sew onto my cap! It was perfect...I still have it somewhere, I should dig it out and take a picture of it to add to my crochet photo gallery, whenever I get that up and working! When I was making the Barbie patterns I was finding my guage was waaay off from the patterns I was using, so I tended to use the patterns just to get started, and would wing the rest of it. They worked out pretty well, I think!
I do want to try and make up a few simple patterns and write them down so I can post them here. The first thing I'm thinking about making is a little ipod cozy that I can attach to a belt loop on my jeans or a purse strap, so I can have my ipod nano handy without having to shove it into a pocket or have it fall deep in my purse where I can't easily access it. So far that's still in the imagination-stage, but I think I'll give it a go one day soon. I'm in the midst of making a dress for my niece, and I prefer to only have 1 project on the go at a time, so we'll see if I finish that first or give in and try the ipod cover.
Something else I have been wanting to do, which will work best if I give up my 'one project at a time' mentality, is do some crocheting for charity. During and after my miscarriage we received such excellent care from the Grey Nuns hospital that I wanted to do something to give back, or to maybe provide a tiny bit of comfort for families that are dealing with pregnancy and infant loss, preemies or ill babies. I made some inquiries with local hospitals to see if they accepted hand made items, and if so, what, so I could make some items to donate. The main things I've been thinking about making are the cute little hats you see the preemies and full term babies wear in the hospital, booties, sweaters and burial gowns. I searched online to see if there were any charities in Alberta that collected or distributed those types of items and found very little info...there are tons of organizations in the US that do it, but apparently not many in Canada, at least that I could find. Ideally it would be nice if I could start some sort of little group to do this type of thing, but I need to start doing it myself before I begin asking anyone else to do it. My head is willing, but my heart isn't there yet. I think at this point it would still be too difficult for me emotionally to make baby items. But it will stay on my to-do list as long as it takes :)
I've crocheted pretty steadily over the years, but for some reason over the past couple of years I didn't really make anything. In the last 6 months or so I've rediscovered it, and am so readdicted that there's not enough time in a day for looking at patterns or working on projects. I need 2 or 3 more sets of hands so I can do it all at once!
My mom tells me I crochet q u i c k l y, and when I was recently was giving my sister Cheryl a lesson, either she or her hubby said I looked like a sewing machine with my speed, compared to her...well remember Cheryl, when you've been doing it for 20 years like I have, I'm sure you'll be like a machine too! :) She's only the 2nd person I've ever attempted to teach, and so far she only knows a couple of basic stitches, but she's practiced a lot and has it down very well! Don't know if that's cuz I'm a good teacher or because she just has it in her blood ;)
We just bought a new scanner so hopefully I'll get around to scanning some of my pictures from older projects, and round up digital pics of newer projects and get them up here. I try to remember to take photos of the things I make so I can look back and say oh yeah I remember that! But I know there are lots of things I've forgotten to take pics of too. Hopefully I'll find enough to get a good sample up.
I have posted a number of links to sites that you can find free patterns at. There are also tons of crochet blogs out there, which many people use to showcase patterns they've come up with as well. It can be hard to find much in the way of crochet magazines or books around town, so the internet is a great option for that. There are also scads of patterns for charity items, not just for babies but great things like chemo caps, PICC covers, IV covers, and of course good old slippers, blankets, shawls, and even items for animal shelters like small beds, blankets, etc. So many of us yarn crafters wind up with big stashes of leftovers from the things we've made, and what a better way to use them :)