Tips


How To quickies – joining a chain without giving up on life

Hey guys! I only have time for a quicky before I run out the door and into my skiing holiday (!!). You’ll have to think up the funny word plays yourself today – but trust me, between the ‘quicky’ and the ‘giving up on life’ there are plenty.
Soooo…good luck with that!

Anyway, I just saw this on the Queens of crochet Facebook page and I almost cried. This is BRILLIANT and I wish I would have thought of it, like, several thousands of joined chains ago. Enjoy!:)


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You need stitches! #2 – How to Tunesian crochet in the round without the spiffy hook

Few things in this world are less sexy than a ‘Tunesian crochet in the round’ hook. It totally looks like you could make one yourself from a regular smooth hook and a piece of clothing line, but – once you are covered in hot glue burns and discover you really can’t – these suckers still cost a fortune.

hooks_round

This, without the fancy wood.
I mean…RIGHT?

Luckily, I discovered a method for doing Tunesian crochet in the round with a ‘normal’ smooth hook a while ago. It’s very simple, actually: after building a foundation with a joined chain and then sc’ing in each chain around, you create height by chaining up your desired number of stitches – I find that a regular hook can fit up to 15 loops – and then working down those chains one by one, like you do for straight Tunesian crochet. After that initial, vertical foundation, you just work horizontally from there to form a strip of straight Tunesian crochet, that is connected to your round of sc by the last loop.

Sounds hazy? Here, I explained it better when this question came up on Facebook:

youneedstitches2

I have tried this method myself, for a candle holder among other things, and it really comes out pretty great. The only thing is that you’re actually working horizontally, so that’s the direction your stitches will go, as well. But you know, compared to the unsexiness of purchasing one of those clothing line contraptions…minor inconvenience.

Oh, and speaking of sexy: I now reveal to you my evil plan to take over the world, as discussed in the very same conversation.

youneedstitches2.2

On second thought, I would probably be pretty harmless with a gazillion dollars. I mean, my first purchases would be a rainforest, a pool filled with chocolate, and HBO. Not sure anyone ever won a war with those.

Do you need stitches? Let me know in the comments, through an email or on Facebook!

Till next time…

superwoman-2YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAH. I mean, you’re welcome.


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How to: the frustrating trick to perfect crochet cables 1

These are crochet cable stitches.
gloves_pub_small

This is me, doing crochet cable stitches.

Killmenow

Cables are my nemesis. They are the Joker to my Batman, the Bowser to my Mario; I hate doing them and they make my fingers hurt and I always end up wanting to strangle myself with a piece of yarn.

BUT.

They are so fabulous. And you can create cool looks by doing different but matching cables for the second of a pair of socks/gloves/mitts. Like in the picture above: a set of fingerless gloves I call Even & Odd.
Sadly, cables are just too versatile and pretty to ignore them.

So while it sucks, I’ll always keep doing cable stitches, and I figured that as long as that’s the case, I might as well be doing them right.

THIS IS WHERE I TELL YOU MY TRICK ->

My cables used to be sort of sloppy, which, you know, wasn’t exactly an incentive to do more of them. It wasn’t until I made the above pair of gloves that I discovered the frustrating trick that really makes a difference in the neatness of your cables: switching hooks.

It’s okay. You can go sit quietly in the corner and put your head between your legs, I’ll wait.

Yes, that’s right: you work the foundation – whether it’s back loop slip stitch or single crochet – with hook X, and you work the cables with a hook one size smaller. For example: the Even & Odd gloves were done with a 5mm hook; except for the cables, which were worked with a 4mm hook.

And yes, that makes the whole process even more slow and frustrating.

And yes, it means you’re switching hooks every few stitches, and you forget to switch and then you have to go back and redo stitches, and the unused hook always disappears while you’re working, even if you JUST PUT IT ON THE SIDE TABLE.

But it’s worth it. I promise. If you’re a perfectionist like me and you love crisp, neat looks, then switching hooks will take your cabled project to a whole new level.

And also, your swear word vocabulary.

If you try this, let me know how it goes, will you?

gloves_detail_small

 

 

 


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You need stitches! #1 – Rapunzel, Rapunzel edition

As I mentioned in my Total Accountability New Year Plans and Resolutions Post – the post is almost as epic as the title – I’ve been wanting for some time to introduce a ‘help’-feature on this blog. In this case, the help will be aptly titled ‘You need stitches!’. Like a modern day superwoman (minus the cape (and the super strength (but plus several layers of undergarments))) I swoop down on crocheters in need, whispering essential tips for improvement of their project in their ears, before retreating to my cozy, granny square-covered…eh…rooftop.

Anyway! Without further ado, I give you:

You need stitches, instalment 1 – braided scarf edition

One of my online crochet friends asked for tips on this braided scarf. It is called the Rapunzel Scarf by Kristen Hein Strohm; the pattern is available here on Ravelry.
The existing pattern seems fairly simple and beautiful, but the ends are rectangles that don’t follow the lines of the braid. My friend asked for suggestions on this. Of course it’s a matter of taste, but I agreed with her that a nicer, more organic-looking solution should be possible.

braidend

My suggestion was to start the leftmost and rightmost colors (C1 and C4 or C5 (depending on the number of strands)) along the edges of the other three braid strands. That way you create a nice, rounded edge that doesn’t clash with the braiding. Don’t follow? Here, see our Facebook convo for one of my patented back-of-envelope Helpful Drawings.

youneedstitches1

Want to see that drawing again, did you? Here we go.
braidend_drawing

For the accompanying explanation, see the screencap. To form the end of the scarf, I’d finish C(olor)2, 3 and 4 (or 2/3) and braid everything first. Then I’d lay the ends of C2, C3 and C4 next to each other and crochet with C1 and C5 along their end posts, making the two colors meet in the middle, joining them and knotting off.

This way you end up with an ‘infinity’ knot kind of solution, without any ends sticking out. So if you agree with me that the pattern looks better without the squared ends – here’s your fix!

Do you need stitches? Let me know in the comments, through an email or on Facebook!

Till next time…

superwoman-2YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAH. I mean, you’re welcome.


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Crochet along: THE way to learn 3D and amigurumi 2

I spend a lot of time talking to people about the parts of crochet that get us confused. The thing that seems to confuse us the most? MAKING 3D OBJECTS. When you’re not working a flat surface, suddenly your brain has to think three-dimensionally, which is quite a feat for an organ that can hardly get a grocery list straight. On the good days. (Yes, I was talking about myself there)

Anyway, along with defining the biggest problem, I’ve also pinpointed the best solution: CROCHET ALONG! When every step of the process is explained to you visually, it’s much easier to grasp the abstract concept of working up a three-dimensional shape. If you struggle with learning how to crochet amigurumi or just any 3D shape, I strongly recommend doing a crochet along video, even if it’s just once. It’s just like riding a bike, really. You can’t get the hang of it until you’ve fallen on your face a few times and grazed your elbows thoroughly. (Yes, talking about myself there again)

This fall I watched Sharon Ojala’s ‘Crochet along elephant’ video and it taught me about 90% of what I now know of (designing) amigurumi. Sharon is patient, kind and explains things really well. She’s fast – about three times faster than me – but the advantage of a video is that you can pause and replay whenever you feel like it. If only we could do that with real-life teachers, hmmm?

This link will take you to Sharon’s site, where you’ll find both the video and a written pattern. A direct YouTube link is here. Hope this helps!

Don’t forget to crochet awesome;).

free-elephant-pattern


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