My toughest critic

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How is your weekend everyone? I am writing this post ahead so right now I am surely braving the masses at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival but thought I should make sure I stay in touch since I will probably have quite a big festival hangover next week and might not be up for much computer time at home.

I have been in quite a finishing mode this week in preparation of new projects that I will want to start with my new yarn purchases: my Moroccan bag is done, my samples for the workshop next week just need blocking and my tunisian shawl with Lopi yarn is on the blocking mat as I write this. Because Lopi yarn can be a bit rough I googled how to block this to help make it softer and many people were recommending using hair conditioner when soaking your project before blocking.

I am quite good at rushing sometimes without thinking and I was very eager to get this blocked so I just filled my sink with water, put quite a lot of hair conditioner in and let it soak for 30 minutes. I rinsed it quite a few times after since I went a bit crazy with the conditioner and even as I pinned it all I could feel and smell was that conditioner. And then anxiety landed: “What was I thinking? I should’ve used less conditioner! Or a more natural conditioner… now my oh-so-natural yarn is full of chemicals from the conditioner! What if I can still feel it when it dries?? What if I have totally messed this whole project???!!”

Sigh… I know it sounds mad but that is exactly how my brain works. I pinned the shawl and stared at it endlessly blaming myself for being so dumb and not thinking it through. When I explained this to my better half he simply looked at me and said: “Let it dry, it will be fine”. Oh, I wish I could… it took a while to stop staring at it, to convince myself I could just wash it many times if I didn’t like the result.

The reality is I have always been my toughest critic. I grew up with people expecting me to be really good at many things and eventually that stuck: I can’t forgive myself for making mistakes. I am becoming more aware of it and I guess that is the first step in working towards giving myself a break. Baby steps… and one of them is to stop staring at that shawl and leave it for a few days.

I have also been quite stuck with finding my next garment to do since I don’t want to make the mistake again of working on something I won’t wear much. After further consideration, I do like my Doris Chan top… it is mostly the colour that bothers me. I wanted to take some pictures but need an assistant so it will have to wait for a bit to show it to you.

But after this reflection of trying to give myself a break I realised that I have only just started to crochet garments and that this is probably just a normal learning curve of trying to figure out what I like. My style is also changing as I get older and what I once liked I probably wouldn’t wear now but I may still like how it looks. My issue however was that after stating that I didn’t want anything too fitted, the two patterns I had next on my queue were fitted garments: Piped Petals by Linda Permann and the Leaps Cardigan by Annelies Baes. I have stared at those patterns for way too long!

The Leaps Cardigan could be made in a looser fit but I actually quite like the way the sample looks. Then the Piped Petals one is a short sleeved cardi that is meant to be worn with 0″ ease and again, I like how it looks. So I started swatching with the two yarns I had in mind for them to see if that helped me make a decision. It didn’t, but it did force me to finally try linked stitches, and oh dear how did I wait this long!

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The sample above has normal half double crochet rows in the bottom, and linked half double crochet rows at the top. The linked version of the stitch eliminates the gap between the stitches and it also gives it a different look. My gauge changed a bit with this stitch as well.

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With this next sample it is easier to see the difference since I am using trebles which have a more noticeable space between them. The bottom of the square is alternating rows of double crochet and trebles while the top is alternating rows of double crochet and linked trebles. I put it up to the light so you can see the difference better.

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Do you see that? I always hated trebles because of that gap and now I can use it for garments! This is quite a discovery for me, isn’t it nice that you can always learn something new?

So about what project to do next I think I will just give a try to that Leaps Cardigan in my size instead of a looser one and see what happens, but first I will work on Alyssium by Joanne Scrace and maybe that will get rid of my need of a loose cardigan 🙂

If you would like a tutorial of the linked stitches let me know, I haven’t found a great picture tutorial but I believe there are quite a few videos in YouTube.

Have a great week and I will be back soon with my festival experience!

x

Sol

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5 thoughts on “My toughest critic

  1. I know what you mean when you say toughest critic! I am totally the same. My husband will say it’s alright or it’ll be fine but I cannot stop being mad at myself. Learning, slowly learning!

    Ooh, the yarn festival, can’t wait to read your thoughts & see the yummy goodies from there 🙂

  2. What a cliffhanger – how is the shawl?? I’ve only ever used SOAK (or similar) but have heard that conditioner is a really good bet for tougher yarns.

    I know exactly what you mean about being too critical of yourself. Oftentimes, I get too scared to start something because I’m convinced I’ll do it wrong, and so I’d rather not do it at all. It’s taken a long time to figure out that what mostly happens is that I just miss out on things that way! I’m still not always very good at doing them anyway, but the first step is always recognising the problem. Besides, I’m sure your shawl is going to be awesome. The little glimpse you’ve given us looks great.

    I’m really intrigued by linked trebles. It’s not something I’ve come across before, so would love a tutorial. It looks very useful!

    1. Shawl is on my shoulders right now, a bit chilly in the flat at the moment 🙂 It is definitely softer… but it smells a lot like conditioner still hahahaha It definitely needs another wash but have been enjoying wearing it around the flat so it will have to wait for a bit.

      It is definitely a learning curve. I have been thinking a lot lately about process vs finished result and I am trying to come at peace with enjoying the journey.

      Linked trebles rock, not going back to normal trebles after this!

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