The joy of handmade

Nothing beats making something yourself. The sense of accomplishment alone is rewarding enough. The time and effort you put into a creative project is worth it because not only have you created something with your own hands but you have also developed your skills. Every minute you spend on your hobby you are improving and honing your skills.

Being creative and enjoying your hobbies has a positive effect on our mental health. It lowers stress and increases feelings of self worth and self confidence.

I’d love to share with you this project I recently completed. For those of you who don’t know I have a passion for crochet. I tried a new crochet pattern and I modified it slightly to create this super adorable Santa Hat bralette.

Crocheted Santa Hat Bralette Handmade By Queeenvk. Crochet pattern modified from https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/muy-caliente-bikini-top

I made this bralette top in a size small but the straps are long enough to fit a medium too. The cups fit a C-D. Feel free to send me a message to order a custom crocheted bikini top, or something else that you might need. I also have a passion for making weighted therapy items so reach out to me if you are interested in ordering a crocheted commission piece from me.

Please check out my online store with some of my crochet creations. My repertoire ranges from small stuffed toys to large ottomans. Bikinis are relatively quick to crochet but cardigans are slow going, just to give you an idea.

Thank you so much for your support. You can find me on Instagram and YouTube by searching for me, Queeenvk.

Crochet for absolute beginners Part 1: how to begin a foundation chain

There’s a new video on my YouTube channel showing how to begin a foundation chain. I’m a left hander but I learned to crochet right handed so all of these tutorials are right handed. I tried to provide enough background information so that you not only can begin a crochet project but you can understand what you’re doing as you learn. I was disheartened by a lot of tutorials that relied on a lot of assumed knowledge in their videos. As an absolute beginner I was so lost and I quickly gave up relying on video tutorials. I had to first study the basics before watching seasoned crocheters try to remember what it’s like to be a beginner.

My first video was a bit dodgy because I’m nervous. I keep doing that thing where my mind tells me I’m doing everything wrong and I psyche myself out. I’ll try to film the second video today. Until then, here’s the link to the first video: https://youtu.be/58f4hh0LGMw

The basics

1. Make a slip knot

The easiest way to do it is with your crochet hook in your hand. Wrap the yarn around your fingers and pull the yarn from the ball through the loop you made around your fingers.

2. Holding the yarn

Keeping the tension is important if you want even sized stitches. Wrap the yarn around your pinky and then around your forefinger of the non dominant hand.

Wrap the yarn around your fingers to keep an even tension

Using your thumb and middle finger hold your work close to the hook to keep it steady.

Hold your work close to the hook

3. Yarn round hook

Wrapping the yarn around the hook in a consistent direction will produce consistent stitches. Unless otherwise stated in the pattern the yarn will always go behind the hook then wrap around and you pull it through the loop.

The yarn begins behind the hook…
…and wraps around so you can pull up a loop.

4. Pull up a loop

Pull the yarn through the loop on the hook.

One chain stitch is done.

One complete chain stitch.

5. Identifying parts of the chain.

Find the v-shaped stitches. Each v is a chain stitch as viewed from the top. There are 3 parts to a chain stitch and you can use the different parts to create certain edges at the beginning of the work. Just remember to always crochet into the same part of the chain stitch the entire way through otherwise the chain will end up bumpy and uneven. Also remember the loop on the hook isn’t a stitch yet. Your chains are the stitches next to that loop on the hook.

3 chain stitches and a slip knot that has been pulled tight.

Note that the initial slip knot does not count as a stitch in crochet. Pull this knot tight and don’t work into it. (This can get confusing for knitters as knitted work always uses the slip knot as a stitch!)

Thanks so much for reading, as always. I’ll be uploading the next video tonight so you can learn how to crochet into a row. Pretty please like this and subscribe to my YouTube channel queeenvk (with 3 e’s.)

Crafternoon crochet

Crochet has always intrigued me. People can be so creative with all those knots and loops of yarn. I wanted to learn the skill of creating things with yarn too so at the end of 2018 I watched a YouTube video. Just any beginner How To video that came up.

The problem with learning from a video is that there was no one to correct my technique if it was wrong, or to answer any questions I had about finding the next stitch or where in the stitch to crochet into. So I got frustrated and gave up for the time being.

Next I asked a family member to help me learn to crochet. We began with the foundation chain. Well, that confused me a lot because I couldn’t understand why we were starting with this straight line of chains. I guess I wasn’t asking the right questions at the time!

I walked away a bit frustrated and confused. Now, this is usual for me when trying to learn a new skill. I get discouraged and stop trying for a bit. Then I pick it up again and eventually get the gist after looking at more resources and/or actually just practicing.

I turned to the pages of the crochet magazines I had excitedly bought from the local newsagent. There in the back of each mag is a How-to section for beginners. I also read some crochet blogs and tips online. Eventually I did get the gist…

In 2019 I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder without intellectual disability, which used to be known as Aspergers Syndrome. Now that I know I’m on the spectrum I understand why crochet and knitting is so soothing, the repetitive movements.

You may know that people with ASD will sometimes “stim” which can involve repeating a motion over and over. It’s a fantastic distraction for the mind and a very peaceful way to pass the time.

Crafternoon

When you get home from work do you go on autopilot and turn on the TV or Netflix? I replaced my TV viewing afternoons with craft like crochet and knitting. You could say it’s a crafternoon.

Some crochet patterns involve counting and concentration which makes it very difficult to pay attention to the plot of a show. I find that a podcast or music without words are a good background for crafternoons. Or even just the sounds of the neighborhood around me, particularly when beginning a long foundation chain and I need to focus on counting!

Don’t get me wrong, I still watch TV shows and movies, just a lot less these days. I’m still a beginner so I look at my work a lot. Once you become autonomous with a skill you can go by muscle memory, but I still need to find which is the next stitch to crochet into!

Plastic free materials

I’ve been sourcing yarn for my crochet and knitting that is plastic free. Think about all of the microplastics created from the fluff of synthetic materials. When I found out that every time I wash my synthetic clothing I release up to around a million particles of plastic into the ocean I freaked. Have a look at this article about it if you’re interested: The contribution of washing processes of synthetic clothes to microplastic pollution

I feel a lot of empathy, I always have, so the thought of destroying the wildlife with the choices I make in my day to day life hurts. But also… Think of all the plastic filling the stomachs of all the seafood you’re eating…

You can reduce the plastic fibres going down the drain by capturing them in a bag such as the Guppy bag. That’s the one I use. It’s like a giant delicates bag for my Black Milk Clothing collection. Hehehe..

At the end of 2019 I began my vegan journey. I have changed my purchasing habits to avoid animal products and other unethical products.

Did you know that material made from bamboo is made with harsh chemicals that affect the workers using them and the environment. How Viscose Rayon Fabric Masquerades as Bamboo Clothing

Before last Christmas I found a beautiful scrubbie yarn in 100% cotton. It makes great body scrubbers so I made a bunch for my family and gave them as gifts at Christmas. I hope the cotton scrubbies replace the plastic loofah in their shower. The recommendation is to replace your plastic shower loofah every 3 weeks. That’s a lot of plastic! I recently switched to a linen scrubber I found online so I just use my cotton scrubbie for travelling.

It’s not absolute perfection but it does the job!

Last week I found, at the bottom of my yarn stash, another ball of the scrubbie yarn! I can’t find it online anymore, I can’t remember what it was called. 😫

Anyway, I started making more body scrubbies and created an online store to sell them. Click the button below to visit the store. ⬇️

I also started making amigurumi for adults. (Amigurumi is crocheted toys) I found a free pattern on a blog with the best name ever, I wish I thought of it. I present the link to the Mr Hanky crochet pattern on the blog named…

Inside Uranus

Amazing. Bravo. I love it.

I’ve got one complete Mr Hanky item for sale on the Storenvy site but I can whip up another in a few days. I’m also thinking of scaling it up to make a bigger novelty toy.

The other adult themed amigurumi I’ve made have sold faster than I’ve been making them, so they aren’t listed on my store. See some pics below..

Some real beginner work

I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey. Please let me know if you want me to attempt to make you a custom item. I’m getting the hang of freestyling the shapes and patterns, I think!

Email me: fullcupwellness1@gmail.com

Update: I found an old photo of the scrubbie yarn I used! The dark yarn in the background is the navy blue shade of the same scrubbie yarn.