I have to say, I’m…

I have to say, I'm really feeling pleased with my yarn-prosletyzing lately. I saw Simone last week, and we did some crocheting together at a cafe; I saw Lori recently, wearing a cute double-ruffle tea scarf she crocheted. Both of them knew how to crochet before me, but I helped talk them into picking it up again. (I think mostly with the adorableness of amigurumi, since they have little ones to make toys for.)

And then at the show on Saturday, Nikhil showed up wearing a beautiful hat he'd crocheted -- he asked me last summer to teach him how to crochet, and he came by for an hour and I showed him stuff, and I didn't know if he'd really follow up with it, but he apparently did, making not only a hat for himself, but holiday gift hats for his nieces, and I think he said something about also making them some legwarmers on the plane. Woohoo! And now Venu wants to learn, so I'm hoping to teach her next week.

It's incredibly satisfying to pass these skills on, and so easy -- I can teach someone enough crochet to get them going on a scarf in about an hour. I haven't tried teaching knitting yet, but I think that would take 2-3 hours. And once they have that, they're basically good to go, and can make all sorts of fabulous things for themselves, relatives, friends. Yay!

In theory, I could also teach the basics of stained glass, bookmaking, candle-making, collage, acrylic painting, glass etching, etc. and so on, because I am a craft addict. But yarn is easy, portable, inexpensive (if you're careful and don't indulge in the fancy ones), and super useful for day-to-day life -- I think the only thing that might be better for me to teach folks is basic cooking skills, and most of my friends do have those already.

Anyway, I guess this is my way of saying I like teaching yarn. Little effort, high reward. Maybe I need to offer a basic crochet class? I wouldn't charge for it, because really, the basics are so easy. (I learned from a book.) We'd just need people to bring their own supplies -- about $5 worth of crochet hook and yarn. I wonder how many of my friends would be interested in coming by Oak Park some weekend soon to learn? I think I could reasonably teach 3-5 people at a time; more if Lori or Simone came by to help teach. :-)

And hmm....I wonder if people would like to do that at WisCon? I bet we could get a lot of other folks teaching too... Programming suggestions are in theory closed, but I'm going to go ahead and send them a note. Maybe at the Gathering at least, if not an actual panel.

12 thoughts on “I have to say, I’m…”

  1. Now you’ve inspired another person (me) to pick up yarn! Can you post (or point us to) some easy scarf patterns?


  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Neha, excellent! 🙂 Do you know the basics of crochet already, or do you want a pointer to the ‘how-to’ as well?

  3. I think this would be a great idea for a workshop or for the Gathering (though the Gathering is usually more drop-in – you might have to have hourly starts or something).

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Okay, let me ask you a few more questions, and then I’ll hunt up something.

    What sort of style would you like? (I.e. pretty and delicate, simple / modern, suitable for a manly man, kid-cute)

    What weather would you wear it in? (I.e., Bay Area cool, Chicago winter, Seattle wet) — this affects what weight / type of yarn you use

  5. Style: simple/modern

    Weather: Bay Area cool

    …so maybe somewhere in the middle…need something that’s not too heavy and not too light)

    Neha (who is impressed that you can knit all those different styles 🙂 )

  6. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    It’s not really skill to do the different styles — more a matter of pattern choice and yarn choice, which can make a huge difference.

    Do any of these look appealing? If you tell me which one you like, I can help you pick a good yarn for it.

    Ribbed Scarf (v. simple, modern, a little dull to work on):

    Love Scarf (I haven’t done granite stitch, but I think once you do the pattern a bit, it should be quite simple):

    These two will take a little more paying attention while you work, but still very basic stitches:

    One Row Lace Cowl (cowls are faster than scarves!):

    Shelly Scarf (a little feminine, but if you do it in grey or some such, would tone it down to a more modern, structured look):

  7. Okay, so after looking at the links you posted, I think I’d like something pretty/feminine yet functional (if that’s possible?). The shelly scarf is really pretty but I think it’s a little too narrow to keep me warm. The other scarves are a little masculine for my taste.


  8. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Aha! Well, then I have to recommend the tea scarf pattern — I wear mine doubled (fold it over, wrap around neck, put ends through loop and pull) and it’s beautifully warm. Feminine without being too fussy. You can do it in multiple different colors, as she did here, but for your first time, I’d probably recommend just doing it in one solid color.


    For mine, see this entry:


    I did mine with a ruffle just running up one side, which I prefer as it’s a little less bulky; the original pattern has it on both sides, which Lori did, and which also looks cute. What do you think?

  9. Pretty! How long does this scarf end up being? I like long scarves.

    Not sure what she means when she says “turning chain”?

    How would you attach the frilly border to the basic scarf?

    What kind of wool would you recommend?

  10. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Well, it’s basically as long as you want — when you do the initial chain, you do it for the length you want the scarf to be. So just drape the chain around you and chain until you’re happy. 🙂

    The ch3 for turning chain is a way of saying that when you start your first real row (after the chain row), you want to start it by chaining three more stitches. That will ‘count’ or function as the first double crochet at the start of the row. You can basically do that anytime you’re making up a scarf pattern — at the start of each new row, you chain 2 (if it’s a single crochet row), or chain 3 (if it’s a double crochet row), and so on.

    For the border, you’re not attaching anything. You’ve done one chain row, and then four rows of double crochet to make up the body of the scarf. So on the sixth row, you do something a little fancy — you chain three, then do one double crochet in the first turning chain, and then you start the frill pattern. In *each* double crochet of row five as you start back, you’re going to do a double crochet, a chain, and another double crochet.

    If you want it to just be frilly on one side, like mine, you just do along one side and finish. If you want it to be frilly on both sides, you go down one side, across the six stitches, up the other long side, and across the last six stitches, ending the frill where you started it.

    Does that make sense?

    As for yarn choices, she calls for a worsted weight, and that should work fine for a normal scarf. You could use a heavier weight (which would make it bulkier), or a lighter weight (which would make it lacier), but for your first time making a pattern, it’s generally a good idea to stick to the weight that they suggest.

    For type of yarn, it depends on what you like. But if you’re going for soft and luxurious, I’d recommend an alpaca (or if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, a cashmere). I love the feel of alpaca — so soft. Cotton would be a lot lighter and more appropriate for springtime; not really warm. Wool would be very warm and water-resistant — but some folks do find it itchy, so it depends on what you like.

    Of course, there are a ton of blends out there, like Lion’s Brand Wool-Ease, which combines the warmth and waterproofing of wool with the sturdiness and washability of acrylic. (It’s good for socks.)

    Any questions?

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