Day 2 – Evergreen Pine Fronds
Ok, there’s A LOT of these so I figure it’s a good idea to get snacks: I recommend a mince pie or two!
There’s loads of yarn for this one – I did an experiment, having realised that my tension is not actually in line with Kate’s, to see how much yarn I’d use using my regular tension and a 2.5mm hook.
I made a pine frond and…….WEIGHED IT! I know I know but I love a bit of pseudo science and besides, I’ve got some tiny scales so you know, go with it.
Using my regular tension, I still have plenty of yarn to make the 10 fronds, but LOOK! When I tighten the tension up, I used almost 20% less yarn. I don’t think this will be a problem for this one but maybe it will be worth remembering this on other days. I file that away in my brain and immediately forget it.
One thing I do notice, I think the tighter tension looks nicer on this piece. The fronds have a little more stiffness and look, well, neater I suppose!
At this point, it’s important to note that my pine fronds look very unlike those in the book! In fact, the closest thing I can use to describe them would be tomato tops. I realise, again, that I’m not a very neat crocheter! However, I also realise now why I love blocking so much! It’s because it makes my stuff look much better!
This design is so clever: the fronds are made with chains and a bit of DC but mainly slip stitches. The only real tip I would give for these is choose where to put your hook when you crochet into a chain and stick with it. That is to say, if you choose to put your hook through the chain so that there are 2 strands over the hook then that will work fine, and it will also work fine if you only have 1 strand over the hook. Try not to mix the 2 options and your pine needles will look smooth and uniform and great.
I regularly lost count of the number of chains I’d made but lost very little sleep over it (metaphorically speaking). I think I have one or two extra pine needles on one of two of my pine fronds and I’m fine with that. Nature isn’t pristine and uniform and neither is my yarny imitation of it!
Oh yes, we’ve had a request from one of our subscribers to point out where to work those 6 slips stiches in round 2. As the pattern says, at this point, you’re working on the other side of the chain and those slip stitches go in the first 6 chains – let’s see where that is….
I took a while to finish these – I find working slip stitches and a tighter tension and working them in a dark yarn with 2 missing lightbulbs in a 3 lightbulb light fitting to be challenging but I vow to buy lightbulbs (Narrator: she still hasn’t) and plough on!
I make a mixture: some with my 2.5mm hook and some with a 2mm hook and then I get to it with the blocking board (just one of those squashy tiles you can buy for kids playmats) and some pins. I briefly pretend to be an eccentric Victorian lepidopterist (oh come on like I knew that word off the top of my head –as if) and very much enjoy pinning all the pine fronds out on the board.
I also realise, almost immediately, that I have YET AGAIN forgotten to buy laundry starch as recommended by Kate but I rummage around and find something similar I use when I sew (it’s a starch alternative but it’s in a spray bottle and that’s the main thing!). I spritz those suckers until they look like they’ve been outside (it’s raining heavily) and leave them to dry.
When they DO dry, blocking has worked its miracle and they now look a lot more like the photos in the book and less like the tomato tops of yesterday.
I’ve got plenty of yarn left and decide I’ll keep a bag of leftover bits and bobs in case I need them later.
At this stage, I’ve not attached them to the wreath base because I feel like I want to make a bit more of the foliage so I can lay it all out together and make sure I’m happy with the arrangement. Also, I can’t find my glue gun.
So in summary:
- There’s loads of yarn: no need to be too strict with your tension
- Experiment to see if you think they look better smaller or bigger
- Don’t worry about one too many/too few pine needles
- Blocking might seem fiddly but goodness it makes such a great difference to these