FRIENDSHIP FACTOR CROCHET ALONG #1

Friendship Factor Crochet Project # 1:

This is the first Friendship Factor crochet project adventure with a wonderful friend of mine, Nancy. Nancy had been talking about crocheting again as it had been several years since she had crocheted. We decided to do a crochet project together to help her along the crochet journey. Nancy and I live on different sides of the country but that doesn’t stop us from crocheting together. Grab a friend near or far, some yarn and pattern or project and spend some time making something together. It is a wonderful way to enjoy time together now matter where you live.

For the first pattern Nancy want something on the easier end. She found this beautiful scarf pattern from https://www.anniedesigncrochet.com/crochet-fade-shawl-free-pattern/

The Crochet Fade Shawl pattern was the perfect choice with beautiful changes of colours and the touch of lace. You can follow the gradient colour changes in the pattern like Nancy did or add a more varied gradient effect with more subtle colour changes like I made. This pattern is a wonderful pattern with room to add your personal style and colours to the shawl.

Nancy’s blog post on the Friendship Factor Crochet Project #1 is below:

I have had very little experience with crocheting in my lifetime. Years ago, I attempted a lap blanket and a table cover, just for fun. I wanted to see how crocheting compared to knitting and thought I’d give it a try. I did not use a pattern on either of these two projects back then. I googled how to do the chain, single, double and triple crochet stitches and then gave it a go to see where the experience would take me. While I enjoyed it and I was happy with the outcome, I never really continued with more projects beyond applying an edging to some knitted potholders. Life is so busy and I love my knitting.

In March of last year, in the middle of the pandemic, my far away friend Val (she’s in Alberta, I’m in Ontario) and I started chatting about my experience (or lack thereof) with crocheting. We’ve shared our love of knitting for many, many years but other than the lovely garments VaLerie designs, we never really talked about whether I’ve ever spent time on this alternate needlework skill. I was thrilled with the suggestion of a friendship project at which point I happily started looking up patterns that appealed to me based on my experience level and that I thought we might both like. Valerie did the same and we finally decided on one out of the few we shared with each other.

Next, to add to the fun, I got to go YARN SHOPPING!!! Even though I promised myself, no more yarn until I used up ALL of my current stash, I decided that this was a special occasion. After all, we’re talking about FRIENDSHIP here, right? What could be more important than that?

Valerie recommended a Yarn store in Toronto (The Knitting Loft) and I started looking for something variegated (like was shown in the pattern) but I ended up purchasing some lovely solid colours in a Canadian wool made in New Brunswick at Canada’s oldest woolen mill. I purchased 2 skeins of Lichen and Lace Rustic Heather – Sage and 2 skeins of Rose. I really loved the fact that there wasn’t a lot of processing involved from an environmental standpoint, and the yarn was Canadian.

After receiving the yarn the next week, while I still loved it, I was concerned that the 2 solid colours were a little too bland together. So, what’s a yarn hoarder (I mean lover) to do?  I got into my car and drove straight to my favourite local yarn shop (Wool on William in Oshawa). I found the most beautiful variegated colours in a Koigu yarn. While it’s obviously more processed than the wool I purchased, Koigu is still a Canadian brand and it matched my two solid colours perfectly.

In starting the pattern with the Koigu skein (as I mentioned I’d never followed one for crochet before), I spent a fair amount of time working a few rows and pulling them out. The increases were giving me a hard time and were looking choppy. Given, however, that they were required from the very start, there was never a lot to redo. I was amazed at how quickly, my work moved along compared to knitting, I could get things going again and I was back on track. Also, I had my friend Valerie to answer any questions like how to make test swatches and, given the weight of the 2 different yarns, what needle sizes to use. She was easy to reach through text and it was simple enough to send her a picture of any issues I was having. Can you imagine doing this 25 years ago?

As I mentioned, the pattern was fairly simple. I started off the tip of the shawl with the variegated Koigu, moved on to the Rose Lichen and then the Sage but when I finished it, I still felt the colours were too flat and there wasn’t any balance because I hadn’t used much of the variegated yarn. As a result, I added a more lace trim along the outside borders and voila. The effect was exactly what I was looking for.  After blocking the shawl, I was so pleased how it turned out. 

I wear my shawl often while working from my home office in the cooler weather. If I use that pattern again (and I really would like to), the only other change I would make would be to size it a little longer.

I really loved improving my crocheting skills but even more, I loved working with my long-distance friend who didn’t seem so far away through this whole experience. I loved sharing what yarn we had purchased and the colours we had chosen. It was great staying in touch to review our progress. Being able to connect so easily to see what her shawl looked like compared to mine along the way made me feel even more comfortable that I was on the right track with each step in the project. I’d recommend a friendship project to anyone who loves to crochet or knit. It’s a wonderful way to stay in touch, be creative and take time out for yourself.

Valerie’s Journey:

Nancy had been talking to me about how she wanted to try crocheting again which was exciting to me as I love crochet. We decided to try out one of my Friendship Projects and spend some long distance time together making something beautiful to wear that would remind us of our friendship and bring it closer together. I love helping people learn or relearn to crochet. Crocheting is a wonderful way to create beautiful things to enjoy and wear.

Our journey began with choosing a pattern we both liked that was easy enough for Nancy to pick up quickly. Working on a project with a friend is always enjoyable. Like Nancy said it is a great way to enjoy time together even when you are far apart. On my shawl I choose to use yarn from my stash. I had purchased some beautiful yarns from SweetGeorgia Yarns in the Tough Love Sock yarn to make a blanket a year or so ago in beautiful gradient colours of burgundy to a pink. To add some interest I added various colours of purple to the shawl in a gradient effect with stripes. The photo below shows the gradient yarns I first chose from burgundy to pink.

My goal was to use up a certain amount of my bits of stash yarn in this group of colours. Ok, so the actual reason was to use up some of my stash yarn so I could justify buying some new yarn! After all I feel it is important that I continue to support the yarn companies of the world and buy more yarn! It’s a sacrifice I feel I must make. The only thing that would have made it better was to go yarn shopping with Nancy in person, especially at the lovely yarn shop Wool on William, in Oshawa, Ontario of field trip to The Knitting Loft in Toronto not far away. This yarn shop is so beautifully organized and would be such a treat to visit. That would be a perfect way to spend the day! The size of the stripes of gradient colours were sometimes chosen as I ran out of the yarn of that colour and sometimes by choice. This made the process interesting and I wasn’t sure how it would look in the end.

The pattern was enjoyable to make and a great pattern for someone who is new to crochet. You can follow the pattern exactly as it suggests or choose to change the colour arrangement like I did or as Nancy did on her trim. I enjoyed helping Nancy along the crochet path. She did an excellent job on her shawl. I love the colours and yarns she used, they are so beautiful and work perfectly together. Wearing this beautiful Friendship Factor shawl project will always remind me of our wonderful friendship and the time we spent together, though far apart, choosing a pattern, choosing yarns and making it together. Thanks Nancy for coming on this journey with me, I really appreciate it. I am looking forward to our next Friendship Factor Project soon.

Try getting some friends together near or far and learn something new or try your hand at crochet, knitting, weaving or another project together and enjoy the journey of creating together. Another Weaving Friendship project is coming soon as well Nancy and I will begin a new crochet project this spring.

Warm your winter with a beautiful scarf or crochet pattern from Valerie Baber Designs. Handmade scarves, hand warmers, crochet patterns so you can make your own and more are available too. Scarves and hand warmers you can wear for years to come!

Various crochet patterns by Valerie Baber Designs so you can make your own are available at: 

Etsy

LoveCrafts

Ravelry

YARN is available on my Etsy store:  Etsy

HANDMADE SCARVES and other items: Etsy

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Happy crocheting and have a fibertastic day!

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