At the beginning of the year, I said that one of my goals was to improve my Tunisian crochet skills. At that point, I had mastered one stitch–the simple stitch and worked a few simple projects using this stitch. But I had attempted a pattern for a shawl in the summer before abandoning it because I decided that I wanted to hook up that project in the suggested yarn weight as per the design.
What project am I talking about? It’s Toni Lipsey’s Lamia Wrap, which you can find for free on her blog, and which is a stunning project in which the stitches shine. I really love it when we show off crochet stitches because I feel as though crochet stitches aren’t really admired by the larger world (those not in the fibre craft community) as knit pieces are. And I love it when a project can allow a crochet maker to show off crochet in a way that will draw the eye and admiration from people who know nothing about knit or crochet. And Toni’s Lamia Wrap does just that in my opinion. To be quite honest, this is something I seek to do myself as a pattern designer.
Was it Hard to Crochet?
The fact that Toni also designed this for beginners in Tunisian crochet makes this project even more perfect. I always intended to go back to this project and 2023 seemed like exactly the right time to get it back on my hook. The pattern uses the simple stitch, and the honeycomb stitch and some increases and was not at all difficult to crochet. I struggled with rows 7-13 because of the way they repeat, but once I got past that section, it was (pretty) smooth sailing from there. Also, going through that struggle helped me learn to read my stitches so I knew whether I was looking at a purl stitch or not. Yes, there is a purl stitch in Tunisian crochet!
As you can see, this shawl turned out stunning. I used Happy Sheep from Hobbii, which is 100% virgin wool and was very nice to work with. It also wasn’t super pricey considering its fibre content and yardage and I love the way it shows off the stitches. I had previously tried to use another yarn from my stash with this pattern and just felt that it was too busy to really show off the stitches. This one does the trick–as would many others.
Am I Crocheting Another Tunisian Project?
The Lamia Wrap was a huge success for me. So much so that I went back to Toni’s website and purchased the Entrelac and Key pattern. I didn’t exactly realize I’d need 6 different colours to crochet this project, but I loved the idea of creating a shawl with small squares and trusted Toni’s assurance that it was a beginner friendly pattern. I ordered yarn from KnitPicks in colours similar to those pictured in Toni’s pattern. Another good thing about this pattern in my opinion is that you don’t even need Tunisian crochet hooks–the squares are small so you can use your regular hooks–though likely not the ones with ergonomic handles. I’ll be using my Clover Tunisian hooks however.
Looking over the pattern, I think that this pattern is another great teaching pattern because you can learn the simple stitch and how to join squares. And make a gorgeous shawl. These projects have given me the confidence to tackle other patterns as well–though I don’t have plans to get them on my hook just yet. One such project is the In Stitches Shawl by Amy Minard. I love the colours she used and I love the intricate look of this shawl. So at some point I will be making this shawl.
Honestly, I need more hours in the day to crochet all the things I want to crochet.
Struggling with New Skills
While crocheting the Lamia Wrap wasn’t too difficult, it did require a lot of time and attention. Rows 7-13 had me confused and unsure for a bit, and then later I misread my stitches and had to frog back a bunch. This was more frustrating than discouraging, but having worked with the Entrelac and Key pattern now, I am finding that I am really struggling. Some things just aren’t hitting my brain right, others I am executing incorrectly, and I’ve honestly thought of just making something else with this yarn…but that would mean abandoning part of my learning, and doing that just because the curve is a little steeper than I thought is not something I’m willing to do.
And really, it’s okay to struggle with new skills. I think we forget that learning can be hard. If you ever struggled as a student in school, you’ll know what I mean. But if you think about those times you struggled and then finally mastered something, and how good that feeling was and how going forward was so much better after that struggle and learning, then you know that learning requires struggle sometimes. But the gains are why we struggle. And I want to make gains as a maker and designer. So you will be seeing that shawl too sometime this year.
So far, I consider myself as meeting some of my 2023 crochet goals. At least as far as Tunisian crochet is considered. And while there are tons of others skills I want to cross off my list as having learned (or begun to learn) and other goals I want to achieve, I am quite happy that in a mere two months I’ve done this much. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping on keeping on.
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