Learning Project

And That’s A Wrap!

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I can easily say that this learning project was by far my most favorite assignment I have EVER received in my four years of education.

When I began this learning journey, I mentioned that I had a list of multiple things I have always wanted to learn. I would scroll through Pinterest and constantly pin recipes I wanted to cook, scarves I want to crochet, paintings I want to replicate, make-up looks I want to try, etc. But never made time for ANY of it. My Pinterest boards were building and building, but I never gave myself the time to actually spend time learning any of these skills I so badly wanted to learn. This learning project was the exact excuse I needed to finally get started.

Now that I have spent multiple weeks learning to crochet, I can honestly tell you that I picked the right skill to learn from my list. I can say with confidence that crocheting is something I will continue to do, even though this learning project assignment is complete (this is both because I love it, and because I now have a cupboard in my place full of yarn that needs to be used). I find crocheting to be extremely relaxing and it is now my go-to for a relaxing evening. As a person who also has a really hard time sitting though an entire movie, I found this is my way to sit with my family to watch a movie while also feeling productive as I crochet away. I love the feeling I get when I can look and see what I, myself, have created.

As the purpose of this assignment was to engage and learn from technology, I thought I would give myself a little survey to see what I learned about myself and what I learned from technology.

I do not learn from: Reading 

In the beginning, I skimmed a few blogs which tried to teach crocheting from written instruction and diagrams. I honestly could not learn from these at all. One of the major issues I had with learning from written text was that they would offer instructions using terms that I had never even heard of. Even with diagrams or images, it didn’t compare to actually having someone point to the term they are talking about and seeing the motions instead of trying to replicate what I think they mean.

I learn best from: Watching Videos 

I love watching videos: everything about videos. I learn best from videos because they give met the visual assistance that I need. I love that I can watch what they are doing and follow along with them. I feel like it also taught me so much more because I was about to learn about terms and different methods that much quicker. There is also tons of videos, so i was able to watch numerous ones until I find ones that worked perfect for me.

 

What I look for in a good teaching video: Repetition & Exaggerated movements

When I learned the best was when the creator of the video did very exaggerated movements. When she was doing these movements, though extreme, I was able to follow along SO much easier then if they quickly did small, little movements. I also learned best when the crocheter would continue to the stitch over and over, allowing me to follow along through the whole process. That way I still had someone to keep me on track, even after I thought I had it down-pat.

What will make me shut off a video: Rushing & Fast-forwarding 

I really struggled to learn from instructors who rushed through their videos. Especially when I was beginning to learn, the rushing really got me frazzled and thrown-off. They would often do a few stitches and then fast forward through the remainder of the row until they finished- this often left me lost and in the dust.

Where is the best place to look for advice/help: Crochet Bloggers 

When I had questions or issues, I learned best from visiting top crochet blogs. I liked learning from these individuals, because they provided straight forward answers that always worked. They knew from experience and I always had success following their advice.

Where is the worst way to look for advice/help: Crochet Discussion Forms 

While I enjoyed that crocheters came together a “tight-knit” community (hehe), I really struggled to actually learn from these discussion forms.  Whenever I needed an answer, I
wanted one RIGHT NOW. I did not want to surf through question after question until I found one which actually related to my issue. I also found that with so many crocheters giving their opinions, there was often numerous different suggestions provided. This made me feel overwhelmed as I tried to select what method I thought would work best.

Overall, I had a very positive learning experience. I learned not only how to crochet, but how to learn online. This well help not only me in the future, but my students as I gained a better understanding of how technology can help them learn in the classroom. I have come so far, as both a crocheter & digital educator.

 

Thanks for following along in my journey of becoming a crocheter!

– S

 

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My Wavy, Chunky-Knit Blanket

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I have always been in love with those huge, chunky knit blankets you see on Pinterest. Those massive, comfy-cozy blankets that are just made to curl up in and watch Netflix in. However. Whenever I see those blankets in the store, they are like way above what my little student-budget can afford. So as I have now finished my scarf, I decided I would attempt to make one of these chunky- knit blankets of my own.

After some searching online, I fell in love with this pattern I found on Mama In Stitch’s Blog. Its comfy. Its chunky. Its cozy. Its everything I was looking for. I headed out to the wonderful Walmart where I bought some chunky balls of wool (I actually didn’t know that there was actually specific “chunky” wool, so I was pretty psyched when I came across it). I bought two skeins (that’s the fancy word for “balls of wool”, FYI) and thought that would be more than enough. Ya…I was wrong. So very wrong. I am maybe 1/10 of the way done my blanket, and am halfway through my second skein. Hopefully good-old Walmart has a few more of my color on hand. Anyways. I also bought a new hook, this one is a 10mm (N), where I was previously always using a 5.5mm (I) hook. I love this new hook. I find this project is going by 10 times faster, as the stitches it makes are pretty much double my original sized stitches. So far I am loving the look of this blanket. It is coming along nicely, and thanks to a new season of Scandal being released, I was able to get quite a bit started.

However, as I now have quite a few rows done, I have noticed a problem. As I have previously only done smaller projects, I never really considered counting stitches to be very important. I have now come to learn that that was a HUGE mistake, and one which I deeply regret. As you can tell, I have obviously added and forgotten stitches as I crocheted the rows, leaving all my rows with different number of stitches. This has left my rows my rows very uneven, creating a ripple/wavy edge along my blanket. I was planning on just trying to fold the edges in and crochet them secretly into the blanket, but when I was searching, I came across this video I hope will help me fix it when my blanket is complete.

 

 

Or if anyone has any ideas on how I could possibly fix this, let me know! I have debated pulling all the rows out to fix it, but I worked so hard I would really rather not, so I am hoping I can come up with something at the end!

Keep checking back for progress on my wavy-chunky knit blanket!

Thanks guys!

  • S

So, What’s Next?

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This is my cat, Avalanche, who would stare at me like this for literally hours while I crocheted.

Ladies and gentleman, I am proud to say that I have finally completed my first crocheted scarf.

Now I will admit that the entire process was not sunshine and rainbows.  There were times I wanted to throw my crochet hook and just let my cat play with my ball of yarn that he was ever so obsessed with watching. But I powered through, and can now save myself $40 by crocheting a scarf instead of buying one. (Also, I now know what every single one of my friends and family members are getting for all future holidays- what is better that a home-made scarf created just for you!?)

Anyways.

This last and final step of creating my scarf was to combine the grey strip and the white strip together to form the actual scarf itself. I can easily say that this part is what I found most challenging about the entire process. Literally you guys, I crocheted all the rows I needed and almost quit because I couldn’t get them to form a “scarf shape.”  There are a two main reasons why this struggle occurred:

  1. I miscounted the stitches: Yes, I somehow managed to miscount the number of stitches in my rows. And not just by a few, by like, 25 stitches. This resulted in the white part of my scarf being about 6” longer than the grey part. So, when I went to attach them, there was about 6” of white scarf just dangling there. (You cannot have a dangly scarf people, it looks weird.) When I googled how to fix it, there weren’t many suggestions.I guess most people took every crochet bloggers suggestion to count your stitches more seriously. I ended up overlapping the extra part inside of the scarf and stitched it in, it looks quite odd but I guess it works.  (Also, just a friendly tip: Do not count your stitches while you are watching the season finale of Greys Anatomy- it does not end well.)
  2. Apparently, no one makes a two-colored scarf: When I was searching YouTube for a video to show me how to combine my two colors, I honestly could not find one. I found tons of videos of how to combine colors by overlapping them, like attaching a flower onto of a hat, or a heart on top of a sweater, but those were quite unhelpful. I finally found a few videos attaching just strips together but struggled to find one I actually liked. Most of the videos I found made a ridge when you attached them together, and I really wanted them to attached seamlessly. But beggars can’t be choosers and I ended up doing a single crochet combination I found. It turned out okay, but I really would have rather it looked like a more natural change of colors rather than the noticeable seam.

 

Here is the final product. Overall, I am pretty happy how it turned out for my first big project. I like the overall look of the scarf, but it’s a little to short for my liking, and I want to learn a few tips and tricks to better attach my ends for future projects.

Now onto my next project!

I am stuck on what I want to tackle next. I have been searching Pinterest day and night, and have finally narrowed my list a list of 5 things I am considering for my next project. (I know 5 doesn’t really seem like “narrowing down” that much, but you should have seen my Pinterest board before…) I am hoping you will help me with deciding what I should do next! Please vote below as my indecisive personality is having one heck of a time choosing 😊

 

 

Thanks guys!
– S

One Stitch at a Time

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I am still slowly plugging along with my scarf! The grey portion is coming along nicely so far but there really wasn’t much progress from my last post, so I was at a loss at what to img_0731blog about this week.

After some thought, I decided I would show you guys a few of the new stitches that I have learned so far. I really wanted to do some short tutorial videos but as I’m not familiar with editing programs at all, I had no idea where to start. If you know of a really simple editing program that I could try, please let me know! I am really looking for a program that will basically allow me to speed through lengthy parts of my crocheting, and do basic editing/cutting skills. So, come back next week to hopefully see some crochet tutorial videos and check out my video editing skills!

But anyways, I decided to still show a few of the new stitches I learned by just a few snapshots- here we go!

The most basic stitch in the crocheting world is called the “single stitch.” This will be the first stitch you learn, and will be the stitch that you will find in all of the beginning patterns.  There are literally tons of YouTube videos dedicated to crocheting that can teach you this stitch in a matter of minutes, you can check out the one that I used here.

fullsizerender-1Once you get the hang of the single crochet, there are other versions of the single crochet than you can try to incorporate into your work! It is honestly just as simple as the basic single crochet, and just requires one little tweak. The variation of the  single crochet I decided to show you was the first one I tried, and it is the “single crochet- front loop only.” When you are crocheting, your movements create crochets, and each single crochet looks like a little “v” shape. To do a single crochet, you stick your crochet hook under both the pieces of yarn in the “v” shape. The difference with the “front loop only” crochet, is that you stick your crochet hook under only one of the strings in the “v” shape- the front one! I know that sounds a little tricky (which is why I wanted to show you a video) but this video makes it 100% easier.

I crocheted two little swatches to show you the difference between the single crochet and the single crochet through the front loop only. It’s not a crazy big difference, but as you can see where I made the dashed lines beside the stitches, the front loop stitch makes a little ridge whereas the original doesn’t!

Once you get the single crochet under wraps- its time to try out the double crochet! When you get into the double and triple crochets, it creates a very different lookfullsizerender-2 to your project. When you use the double or triple crochet, you can see that the stitches appear much taller than your regular single stitches. These double stitches are also looser, which creates a “visible space between stitches, for a more lace-like effect, as A Beautiful Mess puts it. As these stitches are much taller, they are really great for creating larger projects like blankets or scarves much faster than single stitches.

The difference between a double crochet and the single crochet, is wrapping yarn around your hook before you stick it through the crochet. The triple crochet has you wrap the yarn around the hook twice, compared to once for the double, and not at all for the single! Again, the explanation of this is much trickier than the stitch itself actually is. Next week I can hopefully make this a little clearer in a tutorial video, but you check out other great tutorial videos for the double crochet and triple crochet in the mean time!

Here I did a little swatch including all of the stitches so you can see the difference between all of the stitches- which is primarily just a big height difference, and a more “lacey” look as they get bigger.

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I hope this inspires you to try some different stitches in your work! Also, if you have any simple movie editing programs that you could comment, I would be truly grateful!

Thanks guys,
– S

 

 

Battle of the Scarf

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Last week, my sister and I had our weekly “battle of the closest.” And yes, it is as intense as it sounds.

Photo taken from: http://tiny.cc/molliescarf
Photo taken from: http://tiny.cc/molliescarf

Long story short:  I was getting ready to go outside, couldn’t find my favorite scarf, she obviously took it, and an argument ensued. After a few “kind” words were exchanged, she concluded with,  “well why don’t you just make me one then?” And here we are folks, my newest crocheting project, the wondrous infinity scarf that will fix all my missing-scarf problems.

My goal for this project was to complete my scarf by reading a pattern, and not by following along to a YouTube video like I have been doing for my past projects.  I googled an easy- scarf pattern, and wah-la, the lovely Mollie Infinity Scarf.  The reason I chose this pattern is because it was one of the only patterns I found that used only the single crochet.  (My last project used about 5 different stitches- which was great and fun to try for creating the small 4 x 4” piece of wool; not something I was really looking forward to attempting with a 3 foot long scarf.) The pattern I found was actually really helpful as it had an introduction, which included a glossary of sorts for the different abbreviations of stitches used.

front-loop
Photo taken by: http://tiny.cc/frontloop

I read over the pattern, and while it only required the single crochet, it did ask to crochet through the front loops only. From what I have learned about crocheting so far from YouTube, I was 75% sure could figure out how to crochet through the front loop. My only problem was that I wasn’t quite sure what the front loop was… After a quick google search, I found an image- and was now 99% I could do the front-loop single crochet. But, I wanted to be 100% sure, so I resorted to YouTube for a quick 1-minute demo to see if my prediction was correct. Turns out- I was, and could’ve done without the video, but when it comes to a 200 stitch scarf, it wasn’t really something I wanted to have to go back and re-do.

 

 

Fast track to now- a week later:scarf 

I am about half way done my scarf, and this is what I learned this week:

 1. Crocheting a scarf takes longer than you’d think: Honestly, I thought I would have been done a few days ago, but it is taking much longer than I anticipated,

2. I would now classify crocheting as one of my “official hobbies”: It has become a very therapeutic activity for me, and I actually look forward to sitting at home in the evening and completing a few chains.

3.“Crocheter’s Elbow” is a real thing: The pain exists, people. Stretch that elbow! (And yes, I actually searched on how to fix this.)

So here is my scarf, half-way-done! My plan is to do a few more rows of the white, and then crochet an exact copy of that mini-scarf, except in another color. I will then crochet the two colors together, and attach the ends to create the infinity scarf shape! Fingers crossed that it goes as planned.

Let me know what you think, and if you have any ideas on what the next color of my scarf should be!

Thanks!

  • S

From Heart- to Star- to Flower: My Week in Crocheting

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From Heart-crochet-heart

My day was made when I was searching Pinterest for something new to crochet, and I came across this adorable, teeny tiny heart.  →

Why was she so excited over this reasonably-cute, little heart, you may be wondering? Well, because Valentines Day arrives in a few weeks- and what better gift to give than a little home-made heart!? (Yes, I am well aware of my cheesy-ness, but come on people, I’m on a budget). Plus, they’re pretty tiny, so I thought I could crochet out a few of these bad boys within an hour and be good to go!

I thought wrong.

I’ll start from the beginning. SO-  I originally saw the little heart on Pinterest, and clicked on the image which took me to  ‘Basic Crochet Heart’ on the Ravelry site (which I discovered is a free website for knitters & crocheters, btw). But when I got to the page, the author had just posted the pattern, but had no video to go along with it. Something I have learned from this learning project so far is that I learn best from visuals.  Not just step-by-step pictures either, I realized I learn best when I can follow along with a video to see exactly what I should be doing- so this site just wouldn’t do.

Then I decided to go onto YouTube, my best friend during this project, where I was directed to, “How to Crochet a Heart.” 

I am not even going to show you a picture of my attempt, because it honestly looks like a Kindergartener took a ball of yarn and literally just tied it into a bunch of knots with stray ends everywhere. It’s embarrassing.

I think I was struggling with this video so much because the exact, step-by-steps instructions for every stitch (which I had been used to from all the previous tutorial videos) wasn’t present in this video. This crocheter was introducing new stitches that I hadn’t yet done, and went through them very quickly without offering an explanation or slowed-preview. I rushed between rapidly trying to copy her movements, and hitting pause on my laptop (like I actually had a hope of making through this video.) I think I scrapped the heart idea around my 4th time of re-watching the video.

To Star-

In defeat, I looked to the sidebar of YouTube which suggested I should give a video on crocheting stars a shot-  I figured I’d give it one last college try.

I am proud to say that I had much better results with this video, and only needed to watch it twice.  In this video, she also included the new stitches like the lady before.  However, instead of speeding through the process, she began each new stitch with a super slow example and really detailed explanation. This was super helpful in the beginning, but then was also a little frustrating 15 minutes into the video when I had gotten the hang of the new stitches. Overall, this video was great because not only did I learn how to make a star, but I learned 4 new stitches as well (which I am super pumped about because I can now begin to try so many more new patterns!)

crochet-star

To Flower.

When I facetimed my dad to show him my newest creation, I was pretty confident he would be able to identify it without me telling him what exactly I made.  When I asked him if he could tell what it was, he exclaimed, “Of course! It looks just like a flower!”….

I guess I may need to watch it a third time after all…

 

So folks,  that is how I went from crocheting a heart, to a star, to a flower. If you have any ideas of what I should try next, leave me a comment below- I am always looking for new ideas!

– S

So, I Mastered the Granny Square- NOW WHAT?

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If you remember last week, my first few attempts at the granny “square” turned out to be more of a granny “trapezoid”.

When I asked the great google why my square turned into a trapezoid, the first article that popped up was ‘Five Common Crochet Mistakes and Tips for Beginners’. PERFECT. Not only did it answer why my shape was mixed up, it also helped me with 4 other problems I didn’t even realize I had!  For each problem she gave a few suggestions on what you may be doing wrong, and gave you a few suggestions that might fix it! I found that adding too many stitches, and having my stitches go from being too loose to too tight, were my two main problems- and they were both addressed in this article.

Article Recommended: √

 

Ladies & gentlemen, thanks to the wonderful crafting website ‘Felt Magnet,’  I am proud to show you my first, successful granny square!

 

img_0267

 

 

 

WOO! I must say that having something to do while I binge watch Netflix makes the hours spent on the couch seem much more productive.

My next goal is to learn how to read a pattern, and use this to crochet something other than a square!

If any of you have any ideas on a simple item I could try, leave a comment- I am looking for ideas!

– S

Me. VS. The Crochet Hook

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So today was the day- I began my journey of becoming a crocheter.

Attempt #1

I began by looking for the most basic video I could possibly find. When I found, “How to Crochet for Absolute Beginners: Part 1”, I figured it was the perfect fit.

I loved this video because it covered all of the basic skills I need to make a granny square– from absolute start to finish.

One of the great things about this video is that she began by telling us all of the supplies we needed to do basic crocheting.  She also showed us the brands and materials she uses which was helpful when I went to the store and had an exact idea of what to look for!

When she actually began the process of showing how to crochet,  I had to pause the video a few times as I found she went through some of the steps pretty quickly. She also gave detailed descriptions as she was going through the steps, which was great for when I was busy looking down at my hands trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. She used terminology repeatedly throughout the video, and made sure to show samples off the terms in her work. She also showed you how to fix a mistake if you made one (which is the clip I probably replayed at least 30 times).

It looked like she makes quite a few tutorial videos- you can check her stuff out here if you’re interested!

Attempt #1 Results:
So, while this video gave me the basic idea of how to crochet- you can see, my first attempt left room for improvement (yes, it is about the size of a coaster and no, I’m not sure what shape you’d call that). Sometimes I struggled to follow along with her video because I found the way she held her hook was way different from what I found worked for me. She was also a little speedy, but was very helpful in getting down the basics!

img_0265

Video Recommendation: √


Attempt #2

I started to look for another video that I hoped may help me out a bit more. That is when I came across, “How to Crochet for Beginners – Step by Step! – The Basics – Lesson 1 – Right Handed”.

While she did the exact same steps as the last video I watched, her movements were much more exaggerated so I found them easier to follow along! She was also making a larger granny square, so I didn’t have to try to make up the dimensions like I did in the previous video.

Attempt #2 Results:
While I would say this attempt was much more successful than my first (as you can actually tell what I was trying to make), its apparent I still need some work.  While my dish cloth started off strong in the general shape of a square, it started to expand as I continued (literally no idea how I managed to do that).

img_0264

Video Recommendation: √

 

My next goal is to find a resource that helps me figure out what I did wrong to loose the square shape, and how to fix it!

Stay tuned to see if I can master the great challenge that is the granny- square!

– S

If you could learn ANYTHING, what would you choose?

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If you could learn any skill, what would it be?

I literally have a Pinterest board dedicated to things I want to eventually learn, but never found the time to do it.  So, you could imagine my excitement when one of my assignments actually tasked me with checking one of these items off my list. My mind immediately went in one million different directions.

I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar, or maybe I could work on my photography skills? Why don’t I finally try some recipes from my Pinterest board, or give bullet journaling a shot?  I love painting, so why don’t I try looking into some new techniques? Then there’s scrapbooking, sculpting, and smash booking; the list goes on and on. I was overwhelmed and had no idea what I was going to choose to actually learn.

So when I was doing my hourly scroll through the “DIY and Crafts” section of Pinterest, and the page happened to be flooded with all of the amazing creations people were making from crocheting- my mind was made up. Crocheting it is, folks!

So why, out of ALL of my options, did I choose crocheting?lets-do-this

  1. I am literally amazed at all of the things you can make when you crochet! (While I accept I will likely never be able to make things like the replica of a hanging flower basket that I saw- a girl can dream!?)
  2. After doing a little bit of searching, I found there are actually TONS of resources that will be able to teach and help me out
  3. It’s a pretty practical skill. Its something I will be able to do from now until I’m 100. I can do it in the car or on my couch. And I can easily pack it in my purse, or have 10 different works on the go at once.
  4. Lastly, it does not involve me purchasing a $200 guitar or buying 50 different paints to get started. One hook and one ball of yarn (I even splurged for a sewing needle) is all that’s needed!

So that’s it, guys! I am off to learn some crocheting.

Wish me luck!

-S