Challenge Yourself: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone With Knitting and Crochet

Wire Crochet Bracelet Crocheted in Afghan Stitch
If you’ve mastered knitting or crocheting with yarn, it could be interesting and challenging to give some other materials, like wire, a try. Photo and Free Bracelet Pattern © Amy Solovay. Posted online at http://knittingandcrochet.net

What types of projects do you like to knit or crochet? Do you usually make blankets, hats, scarves, baby projects or granny squares? Or something else?

Those are all excellent projects, and they’re satisfying to make. But, if you’ve already made bunches of these sorts of items, why not challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone a little?


If you usually crochet with yarn, perhaps you could try shaking things up a little by attempting to crochet without yarn. This isn’t as preposterous as it sounds; by now, maybe you’ve even noticed that the bracelet pictured is a) crocheted, and b) made without even so much as an inch of yarn. It’s one of the projects featured on our list of wire crochet jewelry patterns.

If you’re a die-hard yarn addict and you have no plans of changing that, no worries, there are plenty of other ways to challenge yourself.

If you haven’t ever knitted or crocheted with beads, that’s another technique you could try to introduce a new material into your work. You can click here to check out our introduction to bead crochet. If you need bead crochet patterns, I highly recommend this list of the best beadwork books at Crochet-Books.com. You’ll find all my favorite bead crochet pattern books featured on that list.

If beadwork isn’t going to be your next big thing, you could try learning a different knitting or crochet technique. Here are a few possibilities:

Another possibility: Try a new knitting stitch or crochet stitch. This vintage bullion stitch is an unusual one that combines the Tunisian crochet technique with the bullion stitch you might already be familiar with.


There are many great resources for testing out new stitches. Some of my favorites include the following:

  • The Alterknit Stitch Dictionary (for stranded colorwork knitting stitch patterns)
  • Melissa Leapman’s Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters (for every kind of crochet stitch pattern you could think of, including crochet cables, colorwork stitches, lace stitches, edgings and more)
  • 99 Post Stitches by Darla Sims
  • These are just a few of my favorite resources to work with when I want to find a knitting stitch or crochet stitch I haven’t worked with yet. These are also fantastic references for finding some great classic stitches; Alterknit Stitch Dictionary has some really cool Greek keys, and Melissa Leapman’s stitch dictionary has all the basic crochet stitches you might want to look up.


    Or perhaps you could branch out and get started working a different sort of projects than the ones you usually make. There are infinite possibilities if you want to fire up your imagination and dream up some project ideas that would get you started in a different-than-usual direction.

    So what do you think you’ll try next? I invite your comments, especially if you’re feeling inspired to branch out.

    Related Resources:

Free Bracelet Patterns to Crochet With Beads and Wire

Red Coral Chip Bead Crochet Bracelet
Red Coral Chip Bead Crochet Bracelet

Would you believe this bracelet is crocheted? To my eyes, a piece like this doesn’t look much like crochet — but it definitely is, since the project was made using a crochet hook and crochet stitches. The difference is basically in the materials I used; instead of thread or yarn, I used wire to work the stitches. The entire bracelet is comprised of the ultra-simple beaded chain stitch.

Crochet stitches look different when worked in wire than they do when worked in yarn or thread. If you add chunky beads to the mix, like I did here, they can obscure the crochet work even more.

I’ve posted a couple other similar bracelets here and here — and you can see even more ideas on our list of free crochet bracelet patterns.

Want to see how to do projects like this in more detail? If so, there are a couple of pages that you might like to take a look at.

The first page I suggest is this bead and wire crochet tutorial, which will show you the basics of the technique.

I also recommend checking out our wire crochet patterns. Some of them include beads and some don’t. I think there’s a nice mix of patterns for you to choose from.

See Also:


Afghan Stitch Bracelet in Wire Crochet Free Crochet Pattern and Instructions

Afghan Stitch Bracelet in Wire Crochet
Afghan Stitch Bracelet in Wire Crochet

I enjoy messing around with different crochet techniques.


Tunisian crochet is one of my favorites. It’s fascinating to explore the infinite possibilities for working in this technique, which has been handed down to us from times past. My vintage crochet books include cryptic instructions for many different Tunisian crochet stitches, including the afghan stitch and others.


I also find wire crochet endlessly fascinating. I’ve completed quite a few projects in this technique. While I don’t find it relaxing to work in this technique, I do usually love the results.


Usually.

.

OK, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. Make that sometimes. Sometimes I love the results.


The thing is, wire crochet is not always the ideal technique for perfectionists. If you find it satisfying to crochet nice, neat, precise, evenly spaced stitches, you may find wire crochet a bit disappointing. While it’s technically possible to crochet evenly using wire, in practice it is pretty darned difficult to do.


This is one reason why I love the results sometimes, and sometimes not.


When working in yarn, I’ve practiced the afghan stitch to the point that I’m technically proficient at working it; I’m able to make a pretty tidy fabric using the stitch.


When I tried working the afghan stitch in wire, however, all of that went right out the window.

In the picture above, you can see my first attempt at working the afghan stitch using wire. I crocheted a small sample strip of the stitch using copper craft wire, which I then transformed into a beaded bracelet.


I think this design is pretty, and it has significant potential — although I’m not entirely happy with my first attempt. I’ve concluded that it would take more practice for me to produce a piece that’s up to my usual standards.


If you’d like to read more about my experiences with making this bracelet, and the techniques I’ve used to complete it, I invite you to take a look at the free bracelet pattern and instructions that I have shared.


If you’re new to the wire crochet technique, this is NOT a good starter project; I’d recommend trying this beaded wire crochet napkin ring first. That project is much easier than this one is.

Related Resources:

Dressing Up for New Year’s Eve DIY Fashion Ideas for the First Holiday of the New Year

Rose Chip Bead Necklace in Wire Crochet

Want to whip up something special to wear on New Year’s Eve? Here are a few ideas, with links to free patterns for crocheting each item.

A lace wrap would look stunning worn overtop of a little black dress. There are so many incredible shawl and wrap options that it’s a challenge to choose just one, but I’m eyeing the Luna Moth shawl as one possibility. I think it would be a gorgeous holiday wrap, yet wearable for many other occasions (and non-occasions) too.

Jeweled Neck Warmer — I designed this easy, beginner-friendly neck warmer with the holiday season in mind. This piece is sort of like a cross between a necklace and a scarf; it’s warmer than a necklace would be, and it’s dressier than your average winter scarf. In fact, it’s dressy enough to wear out on New Year’s Eve, so if you are tired of freezing in the name of fashion, why not give this project a try.

This gorgeous necklace is lovely for accessorizing on any occasion that calls for a bit of sparkle. It’s a bit artsy and, I think, totally fabulous. It’s often a conversation-starter when I wear mine; people are typically fascinated by the dichroic glass pendant, and interested to learn that each one is unique and handmade.

If you’re spending your New Year’s Eve socializing with a rather conservative group, a pearl necklace might be a better choice in the jewelry department.

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