a small crocheted rug using a doily pattern

I’m a big do-it-yourselfer, and also need to always be occupied (I’m easily bored). I multi-task while watching television at night, for example; I usually have a crochet, knitting, or tatting item in my lap. These hobbies not only provide me with something to keep my hands busy, but also give me something useful when I’m done!

Many people, when they begin crocheting or knitting, use yarn. It works up quickly and you have a finished item relatively fast. The problem with this is that yarn can be very expensive, and people don’t truly appreciate the work that goes into what you make and might ask you to “make me a scarf!” not realizing it might take 20 hours of your time and a solid $50 if they want a high quality yarn. That’s why I never make items by request. Instead, I make something and then give it away. I make so much however, that I slowed myself down by using thread instead–and the best part is thread is a LOT less expensive than yarn.

Thread crochet and knitting usually means lace. While there are many machines that make lace and people may continue to undervalue your work not realizing how much work went into the project, it will keep you occupied longer and be much cheaper–you’ll be spending just a few dollars on string instead of $50-$100 on a yarn item.

This particular hobby also helps keep you sharp–you have to pay attention and remember where you are in a pattern, or will will soon learn what the term “frogging” means: that’s the process of unraveling all of your work to the place where you made a mistake, and then starting all over again!

I have been knitting and crocheting for decades, and in recent years began tatting; I and even tried something called nålebinding once. I started by following yarn patterns and then moved on to creating my own patterns as I got the hang of it. Here are some of the items I’ve made.

  • A necklace using tatting

    A thread and bead necklas using tatting

    A necklace was made using needle tatting.

    A long, thin, blunt needle especially made for tatting, or an object called a tatting shuttle, can be used for lacemaking or jewelry, like this necklace that I made one Christmas for a friend. It’s a statement piece that cost me less than $5 to make.

  • A crocheted and sewn purse

    A crocheted purse

    a Crocheted and sewn bucket bag

    This bucket bag was made using filet crochet for the base, then filled in with colored string with crocheted clusters in the gaps, decorated with crocheted stars and then a canvas bucket bag that I made was sewn into it. It cost less than $10 to make. The string was all from my “unused stash” and the zipper was leftover from one of my mother’s projects–it’s actually an antique that was never used; the only thing I bought special for this bag was the canvas.

  • A filet crochet lace panel

    A lace panel

    A Filet crochet panel

    The beginning of my filet crochet panel

    Once I really got the hang of filet crochet, I used a graph and a drawing of my daughter to create a chart for a process called filet crochet, which is simply a series of chain stitches and double crochet stitches. To give an idea of how much crocheting this is, if it was done with a normal yarn, it would be a blanket that would go over a one story house. It took 10 months of nightly crocheting to complete. I then had it professionally blocked and framed.

  • A knit lace scarf

    A knit scarf made with thread

    A scarf hand knit with thread

    The pattern for this scarf is called “Branching Out” by Susan Lawrence, and was first featured in the Spring 2005 edition of Knitty.  This is  made with thread, and was festooned with shell findings bought at the local hobby store. Knitting lace with thread is a bit more of a challenge, but once you get the hang of it, it’s just like knitting with chunky thread.

Sign me up for the WMTR email newsletter!

Get all of the latest music and local news stories, contests, and more delivered right to your inbox!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.