Posts Tagged ‘crochet tips’

CAL Week 3: Sugar Sparkles Shawlette

Thursday, April 11th, 2013
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We’ve got the first three rows of the edging done! They might have felt a little difficult at times but they set up the rest of the edging so everything else moves along pretty smoothly from here.

Here we have a video showing you the key steps from Rows 4 and 5.

In Row 4 you begin to shape the edging by decreasing sections with dc3tog (double crochet 3 together) stitches, and increasing in others with chain loops. The FPtr stitches in Row 5 of the edging are worked around the FPdc from Row 3 and are a bit easier to place because it’s very easy to see those post stitches.

Row 6 will be familiar with it’s combination of dc3tog and chain loops, like in Row 4.

Row 7 has the seemingly tricky FPtr5tog (Front Post Treble 5 together) stitch, this video shows you how simple it is.

Row 8 is another combination of chain loops and bsc stitches with the added interest of a bobble at the top of each of the triangles created by the FPtr5tog stitch that you did in Row 7. Once you’ve completed Row 8 of the edging you’ll have just a bit more work to do along the top of the shawl before you’re finished.  You’ll need to thread  beads for the last time before you begin this section and REMEMBER you’ll be working along the wrong side of the shawlette for this top edge so the beads align on the right side.

Now, you’ll sc along the side of your beaded edging to neaten that edge and bring it in line with the top edge of the shawlette. Then you’ll work alternating sc and bsc along the top edge in the same way you did for Row 1 of the edging. Regular sc will be worked along the other side of the beaded edging to mirror the first side. Finally you’ll slip stitch back along this edge to finish it off.

Next week we’ll have a finished shawl and share some blocking and finishing tips. Have you enjoyed the pattern so far?

Get your copy of the pattern here and join in the CAL at any time!

CAL Week 2: Sugar Sparkles Shawlette

Thursday, April 4th, 2013
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Now that you’ve finished the main body of the shawl you can move on to the beaded edging.

Picking the right beads for your project can seem like a big task but you really, almost, can’t go wrong! Here you can see I’ve swatched with 4 different colors, they’re each appealing in their own way. The tonal color combo gives just an extra bit of shine, the darker amber gives more of an autumnal feel, while the iridescent green beads say Spring to me. My shawl will be worked with the grey beads, I’m on a bit of a yellow/grey kick lately.

Linda offers some great advice in the pattern that directs you to string only as many beads as you’ll need for a particular row. This way you don’t have over 600 beads that need to be pushed down along your yarn as you work the edging, 150-200 beads at a time is much more manageable.

We’ve put together a quick video showing you the bsc stitch from Row 1 and how to transition to Row 2

The edging is worked along the bottom of the shawl and Row 1 is worked with the wrong side facing you. It’s worked this way because when you bring up a bead for the bsc, beaded single crochet stitch, the bead sits on the back of the stitch. I like to work with about 10 beads at-a-time in my left hand, then I can get a bunch of stitches done before I need to dip down and grab more beads. You’ll cut the yarn and fasten off at the end of Row 1 and rejoin your yarn at the other end to begin Row 2,THEN you’ll turn the work over and work in the opposite direction for Row 3.

Here we also have a video showing the FPdc stitch and how to keep track of it’s placement in Row 3.

Next week we’ll tackle Rows 5-7 of the edging. Have you done any beading with your crochet?

Get your copy of the pattern here and join in the CAL at any time!

CAL Week 1: Sugar Sparkles Shawlette by Linda Permann

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
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It’s the first week for our CAL (crochet-a-long)! We’re extending some of the love from National Crochet Month in March into April!

Everyone was very excited when we saw Linda’s Sugar Sparkle Shawlette so it was an easy decision.

For the CAL you’ll need:

* 775 yards of a light Fingering weight yarn: the pattern calls for Malabrigo Sock, but you could also use Valley Yarns Charlemont or Valley Yarns BFL Fingering. I’m using a coned wool that I’ve had in my stash for a few years but the color makes me happy and I’m getting gauge!

* US size D/3.25mm and US size C/2.75mm hooks, I’m using the Addi Color coded hooks. You won’t need the smaller hook till you get to the border.

* 675 size 6/0 seed beads.  If you’re lucky enough to be local to our store the Northampton Beadery has a great selection of colors in this size!

* you’ll need a beading needle and a yarn needle, for weaving in ends.

I’m also going to suggest locking ring stitch markers, it’s always a good idea to have a few of these around.

The main body of the shawl is worked sideways from point to point with all the increases, and subsequent decreases, happening along the same side. You may want to place a marker, every couple rows, on the side with all of your increases. It can be easy to loose track of which side that is when your work is just a few, short rows and it will remind you what side the decreases will happen on when you get to them! You can also keep a small notebook handy and tick off each increase/decrease row as it’s made.

Here you can see my shawl, Mary’s(Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Raspberry), and Tina’s(Valley Yarns Charlemont Kettle Dye in Purple Passion), all just beginning the decreases.

This center section is fairly easy and moves along quickly. Next week we’ll look at bead choices, stringing your beads and working the first 2 rows of your border.

What yarn will you be using?

Tuesday’s Crochet Tip – Double Crochet Without a Starting Chain

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
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It’s the last week of National Crochet Month, and we’ve celebrated by sharing crochet tips and projects all month. This week, we have a handy trick to start your crocheted border, or join in the round, without having to use a starting chain.

When the first stitch of a new round or a border is a taller stitch, like a double crochet, usually you need to chain two or more before you can begin. This allows the first stitch to reach the height of the other stitches.

The pattern would say something like, “Chain two (this will count as your first double crochet).” The chains look different from the other double crochets and can end up standing out on your project, especially if used on a delicate border.

You can eliminate the need to use the chains with this technique.

1. Tie a slip knot on your hook, then yarn over.

2. Insert the hook into your project, yarn over, and pull through.

3. Now you’ll create your double crochet normally. Yarn over and pull through two strands, then yarn over and pull through the last two strands.

It’s a simple little trick that ends up making your project look neater in the end.


Do you have any favorite crochet tips we didn’t touch on this month?




Tuesday’s Crochet Tip – Adding a Crochet Border to Knitting

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
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Not all knitters crochet, and not all crocheters knit, but both compliment each other beautifully in projects. Adding a crochet border to your knitting is a fantastic way to incorporate both mediums. I find crochet borders much easier to work than picking up and knitting around a project. Around the Corner Crochet Borders is filled with great ideas on embellishing your project with a beautiful border.

To pick up stitches to crochet on a garter stitch project:

1. Insert your hook in the space between the ridges.

2. Yarn over and pull your stitch through, making sure your hook is only going under two strands of yarn.

3. Your stitches will sit in between the garter ridges. On the next round, the gap will be hidden by the stitch above.

To pick up stitches to crochet around a stockinette stitch project:

1. Locate the edging stitches. They’re going to look like v’s going up along the side of your project.

2. Insert your hook into this edge stitch only. Make sure you are only going under two strands of yarn.


Do you like to mix things up by incorporating both knitting and crochet into your project?

Tuesday’s Crochet Tip – Weaving in Ends

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
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We’re celebrating National Crochet Month with some handy crochet tips! This week’s tip shows us the proper way to weave in your ends.

Weaving in ends is one of the most tedious aspects of knitting and crocheting for me. I have heard of some people who enjoy it, but I’m definitely not one of them. It’s time consuming, especially if you have a beautiful colorwork project. Most advice says to weave in your ends as you go along. That plan always sounds so appealing in the beginning, but never seems to work out!

After all that work you put into your project, weaving in your ends properly is essential. You don’t want them to slip out and poke through. Everyone has their own opinion on the best way to weave in ends. This way seems to please almost everyone.

Step 1. Thread your tapestry hook and insert it vertically down into the stitch closest to the base of the yarn. I like to go down about 1/2″, but adjust this based on the project itself. If it’s very open work, I may only go down a couple stitches at a time.

Step 2. Insert your needle horizontally into the stitches next to it. Again, I like to do about 1/2″, but less if that helps keep the end hidden.

Step 3. Now insert your needle vertically again, this time going up. This weaving in and out will keep your thread secure. If you can only go a couple stitches vertically at a time, try repeating these steps another one or two times to make sure it’s really secure.

Now this is where opinions differ. Some of us like to leave a long tail when you’re done weaving in the ends, then block the project. Once it’s done blocking, then you can cut the tail. The logic is that the tail may wiggle out a bit when the project is blocking. Personally I just snip the tail when I’m done weaving, but the other way seems much more thorough!


Do you have a technique for weaving in your ends? Do you enjoy weaving in all those ends or find it a tedious chore?

Tuesday’s Tip – Sewing on Shank Buttons and Making a Thread Shank on a Shankless Button

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
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Today’s tip comes from Heidi, one of our creative and talented store staff. She tells us about the benefits of shank buttons, and how to sew them on the right way so they stay put.

If sewn on properly, shank buttons are great for babies and children, because they are more “wiggle proof.” Any button with holes can be used as a shank button.

Here’s how to make a button with holes into a shank button: 

  • Start with a length of heavy duty thread about 24″ long.
  • Thread through the needle and knot the free ends together.
  • With the right side of garment facing you, pass the needle through to the wrong side. You want the knot on the right side next to where the button will go.
  • Pass the needle through to the right side and then through the button holes.
  • Pass the needle a few times through the holes and the knitted/crocheted fabric.You should leave a space between the button and the fabric so the button can still move and fit into the button hole.
  • On the right side of the fabric, wrap the thread around the the space between fabric and button until the button doesn’t move easily.
  • Pass through to the wrong side of the fabric, tie a knot then sew through some of the fabric, and then cut the thread.

Here’s how to sew on shank buttons: 

  • Start with a length of heavy duty thread about 24″ long.
  • Thread through the needle and knot the free ends together.
  • With the wrong side of the garment towards you, pass the needle through to the right side.
  • Thread the button onto the needle and pass the needle through to the wrong side.
  • Then thread the needle between the 2 strands of the knot and tighten.
  • Continue sewing button, passing through the shank of the button then pass through to the wrong side, pass through some of the fabric, and then cut and knot the thread.


31 Days to Get Organized: Wrap Up!

Friday, February 1st, 2013
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Wow! What a crazy 31 days of organizing we’ve had. Thanks everyone for following along. I hope you’ve found some of our tips helpful. Also thanks to everyone who left a tip or question in the comments during this series. It helped me to cover some of the organizational issues you’ve been struggling with. And many of you had really useful and creative organizational tips to share.

I’ve compiled a list below of the 31 organizing tasks and tips with quick links to each post. Some of you didn’t have time to join in on the organizing last month. Bookmark the list in your browser or your knitting & crochet Pinterest boards so it’ll be easy to find later when you want to tackle your knitting and crochet organization. Also if your organization falls apart over time, this will be a good list to go through each January to whip things back into shape.

Day 1: 31 Days to Get Your Knitting & Crochet Organized
Day 2: WIPs – Keep or Frog
Day 3: Tips for Your WIPs
Day 4: Storing Your WIPs
Day 5: Keeping Notes about Your WIPs
Day 6: Flash Your Stash!
Day 7: Destashing Your Yarn
Day 8: How to Recycle Yarn
Day 9: Tracking Your Yarn Stash
Day 10: What to Do with Leftover Yarn
Day 11: How to Get Rid of Unwanted Yarn
Day 12: Identifying Mystery Yarn
Day 13: How to Organize Your Yarn
Day 14: How to Keep Moths and Other Critters Away from Your Yarn
Day 15: Organizing Your Craft Books, Magazines, & Pattern Books
Day 16: Organizing Your Single Knitting and Crochet Patterns
Day 17: Using and Reorganizing Your Ravelry Queue
Day 18: Digital Patterns
Day 19: Keeping Track of Your Pattern Library
Day 20: Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks
Day 21: How to Store Your Needles and Hooks
Day 22: Keeping Track of Your Needles and Hooks
Day 23: Tips for Photographing Your Finished Objects
Day 24: Tool Kit Essentials
Day 25: Knitting and Crochet Tools
Day 26: Storing Your Knitting and Crochet Tools
Day 27: Knitting and Crochet Spaces at Home
Day 28: Out and About with Your Knitting and Crochet
Day 29: Storing Your Finished Projects
Day 30: Maintaining Your Knitting & Crochet Organization
Day 31: Wrap Up!

I’d love to get some feedback from you. Either share the tip you found most useful from the organizing series, or ask any organizational question you didn’t get answered. Thanks again everyone for following along. This has been a ton of fun.

– Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Maintaining Your Knitting & Crochet Organization

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
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If you’ve been following along with our 31 Days to Get Organized blog series, your knitting and crochet life probably looks a little more organized than it did a month ago. But many of you have found that you can put in a lot of time and effort getting organized, but it all falls apart after awhile. The last key part of any organizational system you create is maintaining the organization. Today’s task is to look back at how your craft organization has fallen apart in the past and how you will be able to carve out time to maintain your knitting and crochet organization going forward.

A couple of things to think about as you come up with your new maintenance plan…

  • Find a home for new yarn, patterns, and tools as they come into your home. We all have busy lives and would rather be spending more of our time knitting and crochet. But I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to stay on top of a newly organized system is to find a place to store everything as it comes into your life. Decide where the new yarn will live. Put away patterns, magazines, and books with the rest of your collection. That means digital patterns too – move the file to the correct place on your computer where you can find it easily later. Dealing with the new items right away keeps them from piling up and getting overwhelming.
  • If you like to keep track of what’s in your yarn stash, pattern library, and needle and hook inventory, enter your new items into your tracking systems before you put each item away in their new homes.
  • The last part of finishing a project shouldn’t be weaving in your ends or blocking it. Document all of your hard work. Take pictures of your finished project including close up shots of details. And type up notes about your project right after finishing when it’s still fresh in your brain. What changes did you make to the pattern? How much yarn did you use? What needle or hook sizes did you use? Who did you make it for?
  • Schedule tune-ups for your organizing system. Depending on how quickly yarn and patterns come in and out of your house, schedule regular tune-ups where you go through your yarn, patterns, and tools and clean them up, getting rid of the stuff you no longer want, and re-organizing if necessary. This may need to be a monthly, seasonal, or yearly task for you. I find that if I put these tune-ups on my calendar, they’re more likely to get done.
  • I also like to make a list of priority projects that I want to knit and crochet. This includes making gifts for birthdays, holidays, new babies, etc. I’ll take a look at my calendar and schedule them throughout the year so I can stay on top of these time-sensitive projects. Writing down all of these projects also helps me look at if my expectations for what I want to do are actually realistic. Often I want to make a lot more things than I really have time to do.
  • If you’re having a hard time fitting in enough knitting and crochet time, think about how you can use the wasted bits of time during a week. You can find that knitting and crocheting on the go may add up to a lot of time by the end of the week. Also, if you have some projects coming up that you need to finish, think about scheduling a knitting and crochet vacation for yourself. Carve out an afternoon or a weekend at home (or away) where you can focus your time on your project.

Do you find it difficult to keep up your knitting and crochet organization once it’s in place? How do you fit in all of the knitting and crochet time you want?

– Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Storing Your Finished Projects

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
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If you’ve been knitting and crocheting for more than a few years, you might have a quite a collection of finished projects by now. Some of you have asked for help on how to store your finished projects, especially if you have big collections of sweaters, accessories, and such. In today’s 31 Days to Get Organized post, we’ll be talking about caring for your handmade garments, tips on how to organize and store them, and how to reduce your collection.

Prepare Your Finished Project Before You Store It

  • The first thing you want to do is make sure your handmade creation is clean before you put it away for an extended time. Dirt will attract critters, so you’ll want to make sure your handknit sweater or crocheted blanket is clean. Follow the care instructions for the yarn you used. Eucalan Wool Wash is great for natural fibers, and some scents have natural moth and flea inhibiting properties.
  • Remove pills that may have developed. Using a tool like a sweater comb or the Gleener Ultimate Fuzz Remover will make quick work of this task.
  • Also repair any holes, seams, or loose ends showing on the right side of your fabric. This may take a little more time, but you’ll be thankful when you pull it out to use the next time.

Storage Tips for Your Sweaters

  • Don’t hang your sweaters. This will cause them to stretch out and get hanger marks over time. It’s better to fold or roll your sweaters and store in drawers or on shelves.
  • If you store your sweaters in drawers, rather than folding and stacking them, roll them after folding in the sleeves. All of your sweaters will be more visible and not hide in the bottom of the drawer.
  • If you have wide shelves, use shelf dividers to separate your piles of sweaters so they stay neater and don’t fall over.
  • Keep similar gauge sweaters together. Don’t stack heavier or bulky sweaters on top of fine-gauge sweaters.

Storage Tips for Your Accessories

  • If you have a lot of hats, mittens, scarves, and other accessories, sort them into individual containers to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. A basket of scarves, bucket of hats, and box of mittens can save you time when you’re rushing to get out the door in the morning. Clear plastic drawers that sit below coats in a closet is a good use of space.
  • Use a storage solution where you can easily see your collection. Shallow boxes on a shelf, a shoe organizer with clear pockets on the back of a coat closet door, or open wire baskets attached to the wall can make finding things easier.
  • Some of your storage can also be a way to display your knitting and crochet work. Show off your felted bag collection on wall hooks, or hang your favorite shawls and scarves on a towel rack for all to see.
  • Check out our Craft Spaces Pinterest board for more storage ideas.

Keep Your Favorites and Find New Homes for the Rest

  • What if your collection has gotten too big for your space? Rotate through your garments, keeping some in deeper storage and the rest more accesible.
  • Weed out the items you no longer wear or use. Find another home for them or put them in your giveaway pile. But take pictures first of your work if you haven’t done so already.
  • Sometimes when you finish a project, it doesn’t turn out like you wanted it to. Don’t get frustrated. Save it for your next yarn swap and include a finished project swap too!

Do you have any other tips for storing and organizing your finished work?

– Dena