Yet another tale that is going to start with: Back in the day…..I really do feel like a old lady when I start blogs like this (back in my day we didn’t have these fancy). I’m only 40, but sometimes the age starts to show.
Anyhow, back in my day (lol) when I started crocheting the first time, my mother and I were simple crocheters. We had a hook, some yarn, and the pattern from the wrapper of the skein of yarn. My mother and I had never heard of notions; the first time someone in a Craftsy class mentioned notions I was like say what now?
Which also explains when I started crocheting again last year and I bought a set of hooks, I had no clue what the weird circle like thing was. I thought maybe it was for knitting and didn’t pertain to me. It wasn’t until I started watching some videos and saw people talking about stitch markers that everything clicked for me.
Pictured are a loose stitch, locking stitch, and claw stitch marker
Once I started into amigurumi and working in the round, I really started to learn how valuable stitch markers could be. With working in the round because you are just going round and round, you need to know where your first stitch is to know what to do for that round’s pattern.
There has only been one time that I thought I was smart enough to know to count my stitches exactly that I tried to forgo the stitch marker…the result ended in my garbage bin. Needless to say, stitch markers have become my little lifesavers since then.
I’m coming to find, however, that stitch markers have more value than just being used for patterns in the round. Even more “traditional” types of projects can be aided with the stitch marker.
I’m waiting for some materials to be delivered for a custom order I’m working on, so I decided to play with my first graphghan (go big, or go home, I always say). I decided for this that I wouldn’t use the corner to corner crochet method, but would just use a traditional double crochet. I started to get nervous as I did this. Each row should have 150 stitches – in the past blankets and afghans have always been my nemesis because I’m not always the greatest counter (even though I am an accountant and I work with numbers every day of my professional life). I get distracted too easily – either by watching a show on TV, or by talking to whomever is in the room, or just by my own thoughts….what number was I on again? So, working on a pattern for an afghan where the stitch count was going to be vitally important because of the design, I started to question my own sanity.
However, as I was doing my foundation row the idea snapped into my head: Use stitch markers! They can be like the little breadcrumb trails that lead me along my path and keep me on the straight and narrow (or straight and growing as I hope will be the case).
Armed with this epiphany, I started to place stitch markers every 10th stitch: This way I can either count the full 150 chains; count each set of 10; or just mosey along and only go back to check if the stitching starts to look a little wonky. I have to say, except for the last 10 stitches of each row, I have been just kind of breezing with the breeze – that’s the beauty of having the stitch markers guide my way. Of course, to this point, there haven’t been any color changes or distinctive pattern markings either, so that has made a bit of a difference.
I have the first 15 rows of the project completed and (touch wood) so far my rows are staying nice and straight and consistent – well set up for the pattern to come. Now, we will see what happens as we go on. My actual first attempt at a graphghan was a corner to corner crochet-a-long that I got so far in and then had to completely frog because I had missed a stitch somewhere and I just couldn’t get the pattern back on track. Scaling this back and using not only an easier pattern, but traditional rows I think will help make the project more set up for success. Of course, I could always panic again and just decide to rip the whole thing out even after making 25-30 rows of progress.
I am posting regular updates of the blanket on my Instagram page if you want to follow along and drop me some encouragement (I could use it). I’m as curious as anyone to see how it turns out.
Hugs and cuddles,