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Friday, September 28, 2012

International Diploma in Crochet

A month or so ago I got an email from my friend ♥Piper♥, who some of you know, strongly encouraging me to take a series of classes offered by Pauline Turner.  I hadn't heard of Pauline's International Diploma in Crochet before, but Piper's email really resonated with me because I had been looking for a training program that would help me improve my skills and become a better designer.

It was like a miracle, how easily everything came together in my life in order to make this happen.  It was completely the right decision for me.  And the good part is, you guys all benefit by it too!  Better patterns, and better tips!  Yippee!  So, once a week, I'm going to share a little bit about what I'm doing in 'school' (it's a study-at-home, mail-in-my-swatches-and-projects program) and hopefully I'll have a new and interesting tip or two.

This program is split up into 3 parts.  The first part is designed to help you become a rock-star-awesome crochet teacher.  That's the part that I'm taking right now.  I've got 35 swatches to complete, plus 4 projects, a test, and a report.  I'm setting a goal of completing the program by Thanksgiving.

Some of my swatches, labeled and ready to go!

I got the first 7 of my swatches completed this week.  I blocked them, which I hope was the right thing to do, and I've gotten them labeled and ready to mail off to England today.   Apparently, the judging is pretty tough, so I'm nervous.

Blocking was fun for the whole family!  I wet the swatches, wrapped them in a towel and then had Mims stomp on them to help get the water out without wringing or twisting them.  
Before I began this program, I always felt lucky that I learned to crochet as a child.  I've got years and years of practice with proper gauge and yarn tension.  I've experimented and I've discovered 'my own way' of creating crochet.  I never saw this as a disadvantage before.

But now that I'm sitting down with my hook and yarn, wanting so badly to get 'Excellent' marks on all of my swatches, I am forcing myself to follow Pauline's instructions to the letter, and not slip into my 'lazy crochet' techniques.  I discovered that I've been so wrong about so much of what I do!  Crocheting 'the right way' has resulted in some of the most beautiful work I've ever produced.

For example:  I usually crochet into the back loop of the foundation chain.  I like it because it makes a neat edge that's easy to crochet into if I have to do an edging.  What I don't like about it, though, is that it leaves a small gap in the edge that isn't uniform with the rest of the crochet piece.

Now, because I'm me, I dismissed this as just the way the first row of crochet looked.  Besides, crocheting in the back loop looked much better than when I crocheted into a side loop of the chain...

I didn't know you were supposed to go through BOTH loops in the chain!  Do you know what happens when you crochet into both loops?!  It creates a beautiful, perfectly uniform first row, that matches every other row in the piece.  And you've still got that back loop available if you have to add an edging!  Zoh my goodness!  My life is transformed!

I am sure that all of you Dynamo's who learned to crochet in your 20's or 30's are laughing at my 'discovery'.  I would be too, if I wasn't so excited about it!  Seriously, I am filled with delight every time I think about it.

Waiting to go to the post office!
I wasn't sure what I was going to learn in this first program.  The second and third parts were the parts that I thought I was really going to benefit from, but this discovery (on my second swatch, yo!) is eye-opening.  I am excited to learn more!  I am excited that I have so much still to learn!  And I'm excited that, by learning the right way to crochet, my work is going to continue to get better and better...

xoxo

19 comments:

  1. This is exciting! I would never have thought you needed to improve your work because your stitching has always looked fabulous! I guess we are all our own worst critics! But then again, that's one thing I love about the art of crochet - there's always something new to be learned or another area to explore. Kudos to you for taking this initiative! I've always hated swatching but I love your idea of using the swatches as pockets in the previous post so from now on, I'm saving all mine and going to put them to good use! That's definitely one of those "Why didn't I think of that" moments. Looking forward to hearing more about your experience!

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    1. Hi Teeni!
      I'm excited! The first class is for teaching, the second class is for pattern design, and the third is for artwork. It's a pretty amazing program.
      My swatches are on their way!!! I'm excited to find out what they have to say...
      xo Jaime

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  2. Jaime,
    I can not tell you how happy this post has made me. I am crying tears of joy because I feel so moved, and so lucky to have made such a difference. God truly is awesome how he uses us. I know your family is very proud of you. I am too. I can't wait to read more of your progress. Through this, God has blessed us both because this touches my heart so much, I really can not put it into words. I can't wait to see the post where you say "I'm graduating!"! You really are one awesome Woman, and you are meant to crochet.
    Thank you Jaime, for mentioning me, though I was not expecting you to, I feel honored that you have, and more than that, I am honored to be your friend.

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    1. YOU are one awesome woman! I am so happy that we're friends too! Thank you so much for your encouragement (the things I mentioned here, and the things that I did not mention in this post). I am really lucky that you found me!
      With all the love in my heart! Jaime

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    2. OK, now I'm crying again, lol. Thank you Jaime, we are both lucky then, hee hee. Hugs
      (((((((((**(-o-)**)))))))))

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    3. I meant to tell you too, your swatches look excellent, I know you are going to pass. I have one of Pauline's books here at my house always rented from the library because I so hog it and I can tell you that your swatches look just as good if not better than many of her published examples in her book, no offense to Pauline though because I completely admire her skills, I'm just saying your swatches look that good that they are definitely comparable to her published swatches.

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    4. I know you are going to pass, it's in the bag!

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    5. ← is totally excited for you! (Can you tell?) LOL

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    6. You are too adorable Piper! Thanks for the vote of confidence! xo

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  3. Thank you for sharing your tips. I enjoy trying new ways of crocheting for different effects
    and will soon experiment this one.

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    1. Hi Line! It was weird going through both loops the first couple times I did it, but now I prefer it!
      xo Jaime

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    2. I tried this weekend and love the result. Thanks a lot.

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    3. I'm so glad you like it too! xo!

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  4. How totally super awesome cool!! Good luck with the classes!
    xoxo!

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  5. You have to write a *report*? Wow! On what? That's the part I really can't wait to hear, because I'm sure that yours will be the single most original report topic ever in the history of the class! Can I call you Dr. J when you graduate? Pleeeeeeeeese?

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    1. Absolutely, in fact I'm going to insist that everyone calls me Dr. J. It will be confusing for awhile, since I don't play basketball very well...
      I was going to do my report on the Crochet Museum in Joshua Tree, until I did a google search for the Crochet Museum in Joshua Tree. My idea of museum and her idea of museum are not the same thing... So now I don't know what to do...
      xo Jaime

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  6. A friend who recently visited Ohio brought me photos of crochet bombings in Kent. A tree, a bicycle rack... Maybe you could report on crochet bombing as an expression of post-modernist angst. Or something.

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    1. I like it! We're supposed to do the report on a topic in one of 3 directions: crochet in museums, where crochet is being taught in the area, or local companies that cater to crocheters. Crochet in museums seemed like the most interesting choice to me, but that one may not work out.

      I really wanted to see the hyperbolic reef (which is in Germany right now, so that's out of the question), or some victorian (or older) crochet at LACMA or The Getty museums. I did searches on both of their websites to see what's on display, and NONE of their crochet is displayed. It's sad.

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