|At the start of our day|
Yesterday, Anne (with an ‘e’) and I travelled to the Arts and Crafts Centre in Worden Park, near Leyland, Lancashire for a workshop with Shenna Swan. We were going to be learning how to make crocheted baskets, similar to those in the above photo.
|Crocheting outside and enjoying
the spring weather
Shenna had bought a parasol on Friday specifically for the workshop so that, if everyone was agreeable, we could sit out in the sunshine. As you can see, everyone did agree!
|Some of the yarns that were
Shenna began by showing us various examples of crocheted baskets and talked about ways in which they could be embellished, and handles or pockets added. Then came the chance to rummage amongst lots of lovely yarns. Shenna suggested that we use severals strands and colours of yarns to make our baskets. A crocheted basket needs to be fairly firm to make it functional as a basket so, in addition to several strands, the crochet hook that is used should produce a firm stitch. The yarns available ranged from very thin machine knitting yarns to some fairly thick double knitting yarns.
|Practising the half-treble crochet stitch|
With our chosen yarns and hooks at the ready, we began by making a chain of 15 stitches and practising working half-treble stitches along that chain, as the half-treble was the stitch we would be using throughout the basket.
To work a row of half-trebles you must first make the ‘step’ to take you to the height of the next row. On the first row you do this by missing out the first two stitches of the row and working the first actual half-treble into the third stitch from the hook, on subsequent rows you would work two chain into the first stitch. To work a half treble: put the yarn round the hook once in a clockwise direction, slide the hook under the stitch, wind the yarn round the hook once in a clockwise direction, pull the hook back through to the front (this will give you three stitches on the hook), wind the yarn round the hook once clockwise and pull that loop through all three stitches that were on the hook, leaving just that loop on the hook. Repeat for all stitches in the row.
|Crocheting the base of the
Once we had mastered the half-treble we were ready to begin our respective baskets. We made a chain of five stitches which we joined into a loop then we worked 12 half-trebles into the loop. On each round that we worked for the base, we increased by 12 stitches per round until the base was the size we wanted. I had decided to make a medium to large basket and I wanted to add at least one pocket. As I was using quite a few strands of yarn I knew that my basket was likely to grow quickly.
Once we had made a bit of headway on our baskets we stopped to eat the delicious lunch which Shenna had provided, the cost of which was included in the workshop fee, making the workshop even better value for money!
|Different levels of crocheting skill|
There were five of us on the workshop and each with a different level of ability. However, everyone managed to create a basket by the end of the workshop. Everyone agreed that taking home something you have produced during a workshop significantly enhances enjoyment of that workshop. My basket was not complete by the end of the afternoon but I had reached the height where I wanted to put the pocket. Shenna explained how the pocket is made and I have been working on it today. She also offered to wind off enough yarn for each of us so that we could crochet more rounds onto our baskets, if we wished.
Here are some of the baskets that we made:
|Basket and cross|
The final basket – green! – was made by Anne (with an ‘e’). I placed the cross made out of crochet hooks next to it to ward off evil spirits (there was no garlic available, unfortunately) so that [i] snapping a picture of a green object wouldn’t damage my camera and [ii] I wouldn’t have to fumigate my car because of the pollution caused by a green object.
Anne (with an ‘e’) and I finished out day with a visit to an ice cream parlour called Fredericks which is between Chorley and Bolton. Shenna and the other participants were all talking about the wondrous ice cream from Fredericks. Anne (with an ‘e’) said she knew where it was so I said we would call in on our way home. The ice cream was very tasty but nowhere near as good as I had imagined it would be, and certainly nothing like as good as Rocombe Farm Ice Cream. Oh well, can’t have everything I suppose!