Archive | July 2012

Technique Tuesday – Crochet Foundation Stitch

What’s that you say? It’s Wednesday, not Tuesday! I know – deal with it…

I absolutely love Foundation Stitches. A Foundation Stitch or Chainless Foundation, is making a foundation or base chain and sc or dc (tc, dtc, etc) at the same time. It makes for a stable yet flexible foundation for a crochet garment or accessory and it saves a bunch of time. I have used this technique in my Angel Sleeve Cover-Up Pattern and will be incorporating it into my next, as-yet-unnamed, shrug pattern.  Doris Chan uses it in all of her patterns.

Here’s a video of Foundation Single Crochet or Single Crochet Base Chain:

Foundation Double Crochet or Double Crochet Base Chain:

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Treble Foundation Crochet:

Half Double Foundation:

So, what do you think? It really makes starting a crochet project faster and easier once you get the hang of it.

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The Road to Hell is Paved With Gauge Swatches

Am I right, knitters and crocheters!

I always swatch before crocheting or knitting a pattern. I always swatch before designing a pattern. I swatch, swatch, swatch and I come up with 3 different gauges. Especially with crochet. I crochet loosely, so I know I am going to have to use a thinner yarn or a smaller hook than what the pattern states.  Or, I will make a smaller size. I will even recalculate the math to change someone else’s pattern to reflect my gauge. And, even if I get the gauge spot on, the garment will eventually end up bigger than its suppose to.  Melissa Leapman’s, Cool Crochet book, is the worst gauge offender for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the book and the designs are beautiful. But my gauge is consistently  and significantly larger than what is recommended in the book.

The gauging demons have really come to haunt me since I have started crochet designing.  Here is what I do to cope:

  1. Crochet a big swatch – 8″ x 8″ – and calculate the number of stitches and rows by inch.
  2. Draw a graph of my design using my gauge measurements.
  3. Crochet a prototype of my design, making any changes along the way to reflect the looser tension I inevitably get.
  4. Measure, measure, measure, periodically.
  5. Measure the final prototype on the carpet, get a different gauge.
  6. Measure the final prototype on the table, get a different gauge.
  7. Do “eeny, meeny, miny, mo” randomly pick one of the above gauges.
  8. Use random gauge in my final pattern.

On my latest, two designs, I had a gauge gremlin throw a monkey wrench into the mix after the gauging demons had their way with me.

F U, Chinese Yarn!

I let my cheapness get the best of me and bought some yarn from a Chinese ebay seller. The listing stated it was a soy/bamboo blend and sport/baby weight. Not only did it take 30 days to receive but the labels were in Chinese. I thought it looked a little thinner than sport weight but I didn’t have any yarn that weight in my stash to compare. Now it is in the pattern testing stage and nobody is getting my gauge. I just recently bought some sport weight yarn so I compare, and, lo’ and behold, my Chinese yarn is thinner than sport weight. So, I am either going to change the gauge on the pattern to reflect what a real, sport weight yarn is or, go find a different yarn that matches my gauge.  I am probably going to change the gauge on the pattern since all that takes is some math. It will be harder for me to find a different yarn since there are no decent yarn stores near me.

Well, I have learned my lesson and am going to use readily available yarn to create my designs. So, I go to my “local” (20 miles away) Joann Fabric & Craft Store and buy some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted Weight for my next shrug design. For some reason one of the skeins I picked had a blank label with some unreadable writing on it, like the label had fallen off and an employee just replaced it with a blank label. That skein was the first one I used. I thought, “I don’t remember Wool Ease being this thick and fluffy! Oh well, I’m just going to keep crocheting, dum, dum, dee-dum…”. I use up the whole skein and then start using the next skein and I notice the next skein is thinner gauge! So, I look at the rest of the skeins and they are all thinner gauge then the blank labeled skein. Apparently, that first skein was Wool-Ease Chunky!

And Jesus wept…

Crochet Pattern Testers Needed!

X-Stitch Shirttail Top

UPDATE 8/5/2012:  I already have the testers I need for this pattern.  Stayed tuned for future announcements!

I really need a few experienced/inexperienced crocheters, who are decent at math, to test my X-Stitch Shirttail Top Pattern and some of my future patterns.  As a form of payment, I would like to give my pattern testers 2 of my patterns for free – currently for sale and any future patterns – testers’ choice.

I need crocheters who can:

  1. Check my math
  2. Check my written patterns for typos, grammar and consistency
  3. Crochet a different size than my prototype and model
  4. Give general constructive criticism

I am not looking for perfection! I think beginners make excellent pattern testers because we crochet veterans sometimes forget what its like to be a newby.  I figure 2 or 3 testers per pattern would give me a variety of help. I am going to put together a non-disclosure agreement that will need to be signed.

IMPORTANT!

If you are interested, please do the following:

  1. Follow my blog and read it regularly.
  2. When I post a “Pattern Tester Wanted” post, comment on it and let me know or email me at deedum36 at gmail dot com and I will get back to you.
  3. You will have to inform me of your desire to test a pattern each time I put out a request.

So, I need pattern testers for my X-Stitch Shirttail Top.  Go here for some pattern details.

I Need Some Cuteness Therapy. How About You?

Yesterday, on Crochet Concupiscence’s Tweet site,  there were links to some cute, Japanese Amigurumi sites. I especially liked this Japanese commercial. I love looking at Amigurumi and other kinds of crochet and handmade dolls, but I don’t like actually making them. The tight crocheting hurts my hands and I don’t enjoy sewing the pieces together.

Here is some cuteness to balance out the heaviness from yesterday’s blog post.  I tried to make the pictures click to the websites but it didn’t work. I will try again later:

Toadstool, yeah!

Tiny Sock Monkey

Doll from CrochetMe. Click on pic and keep scrolling down. Loads of cuteness!

Hello Kitty makes me happy! Pattern book on Etsy

Here’s some Mochimochi:

Stackable Cats

Teeny, Tiny, Candy Corn. Click and scroll down but don’t forget to look at the other stuff on the page!

Look here for more knitted cuteness: Mochimochi Land

Get Thee Over To Craftsy!

I just joined Craftsy about 3 months ago and its already one of my favorite new websites!  Here’s an excerpt: from the home page:

Welcome to Craftsy!

We’re a community of people who love to make things – learning from, inspiring and helping one another.

A list of what this website offers:

  • Online video courses, ranging from 0$ to 39$, in Cake Decorating, Food Craft, Gardening, Crocheting, Knitting, Holiday, Jewelry, Paper Crafts, Quillting, Sewing, Spinning, and Weaving.
  • “Craftsy Workshops are tutorials from amazing designers that include the pattern, instructions, and step-by-step photos. And, the BEST part: you’ll never get stuck…just ask the pattern designer for help!”, $11.99 to $15.99.
  • Patterns, free and for sale.  This is my favorite part of the website.  The listings are very clear, the pics are big, and your purchased pattern is downloaded from their servers. If you want to list your patterns, this place is way better than Etsy and Ravelry because there are no fees, listing is fast and easy, and THERE ARE NO FEES! Craftsy is where I sell the most patterns.
  • Project listings, just like on Ravelry.
  • A Blog
  • A Page called, “Deals”, with listings for yarn, fabric and assorted supplies. I haven’t explored this yet.

The entire website is clean and easy to read and navigate. Lots of stuff but not too busy!  Check it out! Comment below if you find anything cool  over there I need to know about.

Technique Tuesday: Crochet in Back Bar/Hump of Chain

This technique is another way of crocheting your first row after the beginning chain row. I use this technique in my free Charmed Wrap Bracelet  pattern. You can use it with any crochet stitch and it produces a nice “v” or braided edge at the bottom of your chain which looks good without adding edging. Or, if you are adding an edge or joining, it will be easier because it produces “two loops” just like the top two loops of a single or double crochet stitch.

The following video demontrates the technique using single crochet:

This next video shows all the parts of the chain and three ways you can crochet into a chain with pros and cons of each way:

 

So, there you have it! You have a little more flexability by choosing the best technique for how to crochet that first row.  If you are following a pattern that doesn’t specify a way, choose one that fits the needs of the finished item.  Even if the pattern specifies which technique to use, so what? Use the one that you think would work better for you and the finished item.