Thursday, March 3, 2016

Crocodile Stitch Fashions a.k.a Fancy Stitches

I would like to thank all of you for indulging my fondness for crochet, and all things related to it.
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Fondness, or obsession?
I say "toe-MAY-toe," you say "tuh-MAH-toe." Or in today's case, you say "crocodile stitch," and I say "dragonscales." Yes, I use my imagination whenever I see or make anything using this stitch. I cannot understand why someone would name a fantastical stitch such as this after something like a crocodile. "Dragonscale" sounds so much more elegant! Anyway, I'm rambling—

Per the norm...
But you're still here, so let me tell you about this book! Last year, one of my best friends sent me on a quest. For her birthday, she said, she wanted a pair of "dragonscale gloves."
"I want you to slay a dragon, and use its carcass
for my gloves!"

"I've seen them on Etsy, and they're rather fetching! I know no one more capable of procuring these for me than yourself. Why, with your amazing skills, I know you could whip up a pair of these in no time!"

With flattery such as this, how could I refuse? So I ventured forth to the magical, faraway land of Joann's Fabric Store. My first task, in this multitask fetch quest, was to procure the patterns. That's where Crocodile Stitch Fashions, by Lianka Azulay, comes in! This book had caught my attention on previous visits to the store, and I was delighted to finally have an excuse to stop stalking it and give it a proper hello.
"Looking good, book!
You work out?"
Though I bought it for one pattern in particular, this book contains eight different patterns featuring the crocodile stitch. Some of the patterns are fanciful, others beautiful, and some are just bizarre— but all of them are fun to make!

Can I make these if I suck at crochet?
Mmm, kinda? Okay, maybe this is not for complete noobs. As with all new things, it takes a little getting used to before you get it down. All the patterns are listed as "intermediate." The crocodile stitch is comprised of two basic components: chain stitches, and double crochet stitches. That's it. You just do that over and over, layer upon layer, until you come up with something fabulous. Luckily, Crocodile Stitch Fashions provides full-color photos of the different steps to help you along, as well as a stitch guide in case you forgot—or didn't already know—the basic stitches. To be fair, it actually took me several hours of doing, undoing, and redoing my first few rows before I really trusted that I was actually doing things correctly.

So maybe you're curious about the book now, and you want to check it out. Here are some things you'll want to know going in:
  • This title includes patterns for two different kinds of gloves, three hats, one shawl, a neck-warmer (not quite a scarf, I suppose), and a hood. Two of the hats are, in my humble opinion, quite ugly. The gloves, hood, and shawl make up for it. All of those are downright gorgeous.
  • These are great projects to work on during "down-time." Waiting in line? Have a little spare time during your lunch? Crochet it up!
Self patterning yarn
And that's honestly pretty much all there is to it! I know, kinda short, but it is a short book after all. I hope you enjoy it! It's certainly worth checking out.

What about the multitask fetch quest? Getting the book was just the first part!
That's true! The second task in my fetch quest was finding the proper yarn to make the gloves! The patterns are fun, but finding yarn to use for them is not. All the patterns in this book require superfine, light, or sport weight yarn, and those are tough to find in your average craft superstore in colors other than soft pastels meant for babies. Be prepared to run out to a specialty store or shop online for your yarn if you don't see something you like at the store. Your options at Michael's and JoAnn's are limited. As luck would have it, my friend wanted gray/black gloves in changing colors. I couldn't find a "multi-color" yarn in only gray and black, so I had to improvise. Afterwards, it was just a matter of obsessively making and remaking the first few rows until I was certain I could do no better.

Which brings me to my final point about these patterns: It's going to take a while to finish any of these projects. A shortened pair of gloves can take approximately eight hours to make. And if you're lacking in time and/or patience, consider commissioning me for a pair! I've had some time to practice.

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