New Again, at Least to Me- Clone Knots

ScannedImageSometimes we find inspiration for crochet in unusual places, sometimes it is just looking at a traditional method in a different light.


Clone Knots

For me the Clone Knot is one of those stitches that I never really knew existed until I took a thread crochet class from Kathy Earle at a CGOA conference/Knit & Crochet Show a couple of years ago. The class on Irish Crochet really expanded my knowledge, I usually do not work with thread and tiny hooks, however I really have a new level of respect for those that do. I took some of my new found skills and applied them to my yarn crochet, and the clone knot fit into this very well.

The clone knot is essentially a multiple of loops placed on the hook and worked together creating a bump of material in the middle of a set of chains. It creates a unique textural and visual impact to open fabric work, and in Irish crochet is often worked in between motifs during the joining process.


Bring the hook under the working yarn.

To create this stitch, begin by chaining a couple of chains, then place the hook under the working yarn, rotate the hook 360° and place in under the working yarn again. Placing the hook under the working yarn and rotating the hook causes a loop of yarn to be placed on the hook and twisted to stay in place.


Twist hook counter-clockwise 360 degrees


Bring hook under yarn again, and re twist clockwise 360 degrees.

After working this motion a few times or the number indicated in the pattern, yarn over and pull through all the loops. Then chain a couple of more times, now comes the part of securing the stitch. Pull the chain taught and push the loops toward the working end of the chains. You should feel or hear a small pop; this is essentially that you are sliding the loops over the adjacent chain causing it to become secure.


Yarn over and pull through all the loops on the hook.

This unique stitch does have a slight disadvantage to what you usually expect from crochet, it is difficult to rip back, as securing it makes the stitch more difficult, as it creates what its name implies, a knot.


Pull chain taught and push Clone Knot toward working end of the chain to secure it in place, you will feel or hear a “pop”.

I hope you give this embellishment a try, add it to an edging, an place of open work, any where you want something a little different.

Understanding Where I Need to Grow


I think that just about everyone I have spoken to has never really given themselves credit for what they really can do. Is that people are really that modest, or is that we are not really sure how to evaluate our work.

Okay, it is a given, most everyone never considers themselves a “Master” at the crafts they follow. I think this is because the more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know. That classic learning process that when you think that after you accomplish this next skill there is nothing left to learn, but you get there and realize that there is a completely new level that you have yet to understand. It is almost like mountain climbing, you get to one peak thinking that it is the top, but then you see a higher peak. But at least with mountain climbing there really is a “highest” peak, which is not really true in the crafts. So you may have reached the peak of one skill, just to be a beginner starting on a new one. I believe that this is why many people, who may be very skilled in the craft, might only consider themselves an Intermediate or maybe advanced, but never an expert. It is also a reason I believe others always feel like a beginner, even though their work shows hours of practice.

So how do you assess your work? Mountain in Himalayas

First I should preface this by stating that I do not think that you should place a label of yourself of your skill. I believe that people tend to live up to a label, and not their potential. However sometimes it is necessary to reflect on what we already know in order to understand what we have yet to grasp. With that in mind there are some ways to “self-assess” by asking some questions of ourselves.

·         What are my goals?

·         Have I accomplished the goals I had when I started this process or technique?

·         Is my work even and consistent?

·         Do I understand the concepts for the project?

·         Can I expand upon the process or technique and “play” with it?

·         Do I feel comfortable with the concentration level I use to complete the technique?

·         Can I explain the process, if only to myself, without reference to outside materials?

·         Are you happy with what you are doing?

The answers to the questions above will vary from person to person, just as a skill assessment is not a definitive answer, but self reflection reveals more to yourself then others- just as it should. Do not be overly critical when addressing your answers, but sit back and attempt to be as open minded and objective as possible.

This self assessment does not translate readily to a pattern that you may pick up, with their skill level indicators. These “skill” levels are defined by the publication, but some use the guidelines of the Craft Yarn Council of America. They are designed to help gauge a patterns difficulty and have some outline has to how they qualify. Basically it outlines a “Beginner” level as a project for first-time crocheters using basic stitches and minimal shaping. An “Easy” level are projects that use basic stitches and repetitive patterns, have simple color changes and shaping as well as simple finishing.  The level of “Intermediate” indicates that a project uses a variety of techniques, such as basic lace or color work patterns, which has mid-level shaping and finishing. Finally “Experienced” level is reserved for projects that have intricate stitch patterns, techniques and dimension, such as non-repeating patterns, multi-color techniques, fine threads, small hooks, and detailed shaping and refined finishing.

Close-up mid section of woman holding seedlingYou can not accurately define your abilities by the skills assessed to a pattern, as your world of crochet, or any craft for that matter, is not so narrowly or neatly packaged. By reflecting on how we have grown, and where we would like to grow to, we can really expand our skills and give ourselves the credit we really do deserve. We are often our own worst critic, and do not see that we have grown and expanded our craft, not just for ourselves but for all of those that are touched by the work of our hands.

Remember to continue to GROW.

Encouraging Crochet with a little Courage

ScannedImageIt is that time of year again, when local communities have a celebration of our agricultural roots. I am referring to county, state and various topical festivals and fairs. Often these gatherings highlight livestock, baked goods, blue ribbons and carnivals.Ferris Wheel Glowing at Twilight But few people actually participate in the entry of these events. I really don’t need any ribbons (and there are many talent artisans in my community, so I may not see any), I enjoy the crochet I do; but I enter some pieces in a hope to inspire others with the art of crochet.

Granted this can be difficult, there is a lot of insecurity in the fiber arts. We artists are never confident in our work, believing that anyone can do what we do, and it is really not that special. We constantly down play are skills; I don’t know if it is that we are being polite and wanting to put our work above someone else’s, or if it is the idea that because I learned this skill from….(insert blank, mom, grandmother, grandfather, neighbor lady, friend, ect.) that we don’t know if we are actually proficient in the skill. Well to this I am a strong believer that there is no right or wrong in crochet (or any art/hobby medium for that matter). You may not do it the same way as another person, but that is what makes it yours. No brush stroke on a master piece is identical to another, but that is what makes it a master piece.

Dean Ranch

A Charolais calf at Dean Ranch in California

It is one thing to duplicate a written pattern exactly, and execute each stitch with such precision that the no error can be found; but in honesty, this is a human, free-formish kind of art, and mistakes give character. Now fairs and festivals may judge against others work, and look for precision, but that should never discourage you from entering your work for review. There are some positives to this; some allow the public to be present during the judging- with these you receive immediate feedback about your work, you learn to look at your work more objectively and find ways that you can improve your skills. Another positive is that you encourage others to learn this (or other) hobbies, you help others gain appreciation for the skill, and help yourself to learn the ability to take a compliment.