Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crochet equipment ...

With craft classes soon starting, I thought that this month I would show you some of the basic 'tools of the trade' ... various equipment that is used to make a wide variety of fabric and thread craft items. I'll try to include a selection of both 'large main' items as well as small and extremely useful 'gadgets'. Some, as you will see, can be used for several crafts across the range of sewing, knitting, crochet and/or embroidery.

The simple CROCHET Hook (above, lower) is used to crochet lace-style edgings, trims, buttons and garments as well as a variety of craft items. BUT some other useful 'hooks' (somewhat difficult to locate these days) can also be used for other crochet-based stitches.


In the photo left, is a metal 'Hairpin Hook' - to the right, 3 'knitting-style needles' known as 'Tunisian or Afghan Needles'. All are used for crochet but for different types of techniques and stitches.

Hairpin Crochet: A Hairpin hook (also used for Knotting or Netting) is used together with a basic crochet or Tunisian hook). A working thread is wound over and round the 'hook arms' to form a series of loops. These are then joined together with a simple crochet slip-stitch to form a continuous looping-style lace. This lace is gradually worked along the central posts and by using the end-bar to hold in place, a long length of 'lace' can be easily made to create fabulous trims, braids, garments or other decorative items.

Tunisian or Afghan Crochet: A Tunisian hook is very similar in appearance and length to a knitting needle except that instead of a point at the end, there is a hook. At the opposite end is a 'knob' like a knitting needle and this prevents stitches falling off. Unlike crochet which has only 1 (or just a few) loop on the hook and is worked 1-row at a time, Tunisian crochet is a 2-row procedure. Simply: row 1 is formed by 'picking up' stitches (like in knitting) - row 2 is made by working back along the row in pairs of stitches, pulling one stitch through another. It is almost a 'cross' between crochet and knitting - ideal for anyone who finds it difficult to crochet (especially if they have a knitting background) or a person who justs wants to enhance their crochet techniques. It produces a textile that is firm and hard-wearing so is suitable for furnishings and similar items as well as practical 'hard-wearing' garments. It's easy to make and its appearance is not unsimilar to a type of rib.

A very good reference book is a 1973 publication: Joan Fisher's Guide to Crochet.