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The Crochet Surgeon

If you are a crocheter (hooker is so much nicer to say), you might have experienced this problem already. If you haven’t, take all the necessary precautions to avoid this from happening. We all age I know, but episodes like the one I am about to describe, make us age quicker (it also worsens any Cooper’s Droop that might be present, immediately).

I am talking about a HUGE crochet project, that suddenly went wrong. The possibilities are endless but here are three to get your hair to rise:

The dog chewed the centre of a granny square; obviously it is the square that is sitting smugly in the centre of your afghan;

You crocheted next to the fire place and a small spark burned a hole in your project (I sincerely hope this never happens to anyone I know, that uses acrylic yarn…. if it does…. bye bye);

You made a mistake, one that you cannot un-see, and that mistake is 50 rows down.

The afghan I operated on this morning, was made by quilting master Tiki Brophy (click! you have to see her quilts!). Tiki crocheted an afghan in V-stitch, but she used the same size hook from start to finish. The starting chain was too tight, and it pulled in substantially at the bottom, causing this project to end up in Tiki’s Frog Pond (the place for all the UFOs you still have to frog or fix). I volunteered to fix it for her. I demonstrated this every time I facilitated The Crochet Guide to Greatness, and without fail, each time the attendees screamed in horror when I started cutting the crocheted work. Like I said, it contributes to ageing…..

In this picture, I folded the bottom edge over, so you can see the degree to which the starting chain pulls in.

A life-line, is the first step to fix this. Whether you have to replace a square or a row, makes no difference. You have to insert a life-line. Please note that this technique can be done anywhere on the afghan; for this round however, I am working right on the bottom edge.

I decided on a yellow life-line, as I have to save the feet of the red row of stitches. The bottom lilac row, is going to be cut off to get rid of the bottom chain.

The life-line is in, and it is time to cut the bottom row in half (this is where you are supposed to start screaming).

All done!!!

Once the project has been cut, you have to remove all the little pieces of unwanted crochet.

I am now left with the life-line. Look at the difference if I fold the blanket over now – no pulling.

Let’s stop here for a moment. The rest of the operation will depend on the repair you are doing. In this case, I only have to replace the bottom chain – quite easy really. If however, we cut the blanket higher up, it would have been a little more work. You can read about this in The Crochet Guide to Greatness (you haven’t yet downloaded this manual? really? what is wrong with you??)

Nothing fancy – we start with a slip-knot.

The first slip-stitch is going to be made into the feet of the first stitch on the life-line.

Just a slip-stitch.

Because it is the starting chain for a V-stitch pattern, I am going to do 2 chains between the slip-stitches that catch the feet of the stitches. First I insert my hook through all four loops, of the two double crochets, that make up the V-stitch, then I do a simple slip-stitch.

Having done a few, I check for tension.

You can clearly see it is a slip-stitch, followed by two chains, each time. It doesn’t pull in at all, so I can continue. But wait – oh I nearly forgot, you want to see the back too.

I know you are frowning. Don’t worry. It looks funny as the slip stitch is formed between the bumps of two chains at the back. Once a border has been added to finish the afghan off, you won’t see it at all.

All done – the life-line is still in there for you to easily find the red row I worked with.

Life-line has been removed, and the blanket is ready for Tiki to start with the border. First photo shows the back, second shows the front.




Now I have to give credit, where credit is due. This crochet surgeon thing, began with Suzie. Suzie the labrador. Need I say more? I think not.



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The way forward…

For a while now I have been contemplating leaving Facebook completely. To say it makes me anxious at times, is a major understatement. To say it makes me bat-shit-crazy-angry at times, is maybe a better description.
I don’t enjoy Facebook. I really don’t. The reasons are multiple:
People post fake news all the time and in our political unstable country, it causes a lot of harm, something some people just cannot fathom (and these people are allowed to vote and have children by the way).
I don’t want to be bombarded with people shouting racism, genocide, political crap etc. Sick of it.
I want to have a slow life, filled with peace. Peace and calm is what I want and strive for. And Facebook steals my peace daily.
Unfortunately, some people think they are ‘faceless’ on FB. They say the meanest things, in the most horrible ways. They commit copyright infringement. They commit pattern theft. They gossip and slander designers who have worked damn hard to get where they are. Between yesterday and this morning, my anger hit the roof big time. Unnecessarily so probably. I shouldn’t have reacted. But I did.
So here is the thing. I have been thinking of this for a long time, which is why the current CAL patterns are only released on my website and not in my Facebook group. I am slowly backing out the FB door.
Follow me on Instagram – that is a safer platform for me right now. I am overwhelmed with FB. Make sure you have subscribed to my blog if you haven’t already done so. If you received this post in your email inbox, you are already subscribed. If not, just visit my website; there is a subscribe box on the right hand side. 
All the news in the future will be posted here on my blog. And don’t worry; my project timeline remains as is. I am going to spend my time designing as it makes me happy. FB just wastes my time.
I hope you all understand.
Onwards to the slow life!
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I wonder how many workshops I have done since I started. Quite a few. I travelled all over without my husband to get to crafters who were desperate to learn new things. That era, is now coming to an end.

My Aspergers is getting worse as I age and my husband is my security blanket. Due to his work, he can’t travel with me every time somebody wants a workshop. This last week, was my last trip without my husband.

Next Saturday is my last workshop outside Pretoria. If you are in the Vaal area, join me in Deneysville for the last Interlocking Workshop. You can even make a whole weekend out of it as there is very affordable accommodation and your husband is welcome too. Book your place with Mara Swanepoel – 082 451 2194. I am travelling 200km to get there. Join me!

For the foreseeable future, I will only facilitate workshops in Pretoria, and most of them will be at my home.

Hope to see you some time in my farm house filled with peace.