Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Organize a Yarn Stash

A common problem amoung those who use yarn in knitting or crochet, is that the yarn becomes unorganized. Some important characteristics of yarn are its weight, fiber content, color, and brand. Yarns are classified into several weights, such as fingering, sport, double knit, worsted, heavy worsted, or bulky. The weight of the yarn determines the hook or needles size that will be used when knitting or crocheting. For this reason it is important to know the weight of the yarn to be used. However, all too often the label that comes with the yarn is discarded, leaving the weight and other important information about the yarn unknown.

To organize yarn as it is purchased, consider assembling a yarn notebook. Whenever a new yarn is purchased, snip a sample of the yarn and attach it to the label that comes with the ball or skein. Attach the label and yarn sample to the receipt received when purchasing the yarn. If the label and receipt are small they can all be stapled or taped to one large sheet of paper to keep them in order. Record next to the yarn any additional information that isn't already documented. The yarn notebook method of organizing yarn for knitting and crochet, alleviates some common problems:

Purchasing Yarn is Easier with Organization

Having a sample of the yarn attached to the receipt, makes it easy to purchase more of the yarn if it is used up before the project is finished. It will be easy to spot the seller to buy more. Also the color and style of yarn will be listed to make repurchasing much easier.

Hook and Needle Size

As mentioned earlier, it is necessary to know the weight of the yarn to get the correct hook or needle to work with the yarn. The label, that comes with the yarn states the weight, making the information easy to find in the notebook with a little organization.

Getting the Right Weight for the Pattern

Many patterns specify the weight of yarn that is to be used. If the weight isn't recorded, guessing is required. Organizing the yarn in a notebook ensures that the yarn weight will be documented an known before starting a project.

Finding Ideas for Using the Yarn

A yarn stash that doesn't have any organized information will leave a knitter, or crocheter, wondering what to do with it. Often the yarn comes with ideas explaining the type of project in which it would be best used. For example, some yarns, due to their fiber and weight, work well for socks. While other yarns may be best suited for a blanket or sweater.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Crochet an Oval Rug

This is a modern pattern to create an oval for making a doily, table runner, or rug without a seam. The traditional method of creating an oval requires the work to be turned after each row, creating a gap in the work that is slip stitched together creating a seam. This modern method of creating an oval produces no seam, for a more uniform piece of work.
  1. Make a slipknot and insert the crochet hook into the loop.
  2. Chain 25.
  3. Turn the chain and double crochet back across it beginning in the 4th chain from the crochet hook. When this step is finished, the foundation row of the oval will be 8 inches wide.
  4. Do not turn the work. Continue to double crochet around the side and bottom of the foundation row. Double crochet around the outside of the oval, never turning the piece.
  5. When double crocheting around the sides of the oval, "increase stitch" three times on each side. To increase stitch, double crochet twice in a single stitch of the previous row. The result is two double crochets occurring in one double crochet from the last row. Increase stitching allows the oval to expand and grow in stitches as the oval gets bigger. It will also keep the oval from bunching and gathering.
  6. After you reach the fifth round of the oval, increase stitch 6 times around each edge of the oval, for a total of 12 increase stitches in each round. Spread the oval out occasionally on a flat surface to ensure it is not gathering.

Changing the Size of the Oval Rug

A chain of 25 creates a foundation row that is 8 inches wide. Changing the length of the beginning chain will change the overall appearance of the oval. A longer beginning chain produces a longer oval. A short beginning chain creates an oval that is more rounded. The width of the foundation row increases approximately 1 inch for every 3 chain stitches.

Supplies Needed

The oval rug in the photo is 3 feet long by 2½ feet wide. Worsted weight yarn was used to create this rug. One skein of the center rug color, 2 skeins of the 2nd color and 3 skeins of the outer rug color will be needed. Double crocheting with 2 pieces of yarn at once will create a heavier rug. When crocheting with only one yarn, use a hook that is 4.5 mm – 5.5 mm. When crocheting with 2 yarns, use a crochet hook that is 9 mm or larger.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Crochet a Granny Stripe Blanket

How to Crochet a Granny Stripe Afghan

this lens' photo
Chances are good that you've seen an afghan made from crocheted granny squares, but have you seen a granny stripe blanket? The granny stripe blanket is sometimes called a "gran stripe" blanket too. The same method used to crochet granny squares is used, but it's crocheted back and forth in rows, rather than in squares. Below are the instructions you'll need to get started making your own blanket today.

Photo by HS Schulte.

Instructions for Gran Stripe Blanket

  • 1
    Chain 158.

    (If you are new to crochet visit, "How to Crochet a Chain," for further instructions.
  • 2
    Single crochet into the second chain stitch from the hook. Single crochet in each chain stitch after working back across the chain.
  • 3
    Chain 3. (This chain serves as the first double crochet stitch of the row.) Double crochet into the first single crochet stitch. Chain 1 and skip the next single crochet stitch. ** Double crochet 2 times in the next stitch. Chain 1 and skip a stitch. Repeat this step from ** until you reach the end of the row.
  • 4
    Chain 3 and turn the work. Working across the row, double crocheting twice in each open space. Chain 1 to skip to the next open space. (See demonstration in the video below.) Repeat until the blanket is the desired length.

How to Join Granny Squares

How to Join Granny Squares Together to Make an Afghan, Purse, Shrug, or Anything Else

this lens' photo
If you are learning to crochet, you might be wondering how to join granny squares. The first and most important step is to lay all the squares out and arrange them in a pattern that pleases you before you begin. This is the fun part! Experiment with different layouts and get the look you want before you begin joining the squares.

There are 2 basic methods for joining the granny squares:
1. Yarn Needle (Sewing Method)
2. Crochet Hook (Crochet Method)

In addition, there are several ways to join a granny square with a yarn needle and several ways to join the squares with a crochet hook. Below are detailed instructions for each of the joining methods and a picture of the outcome. Scroll down and choose the method that best resembles the look you hope to achieve.
Photos by HSSchulte

Whip Stitch

Sewing (or Yarn Needle) Method

Whip Stitch with Yarn Needle - Sewing Granny Squares to Join ThemThe sewing method creates a flatter finish and works best for joining squares are not identically sized.

1. Place the squares wrong side up and side by side.
2. Connect the squares in the bottom corners by tying the yarn in a square knot. You will be working from the bottom to the top.
3. Use the yarn needle to sew through the first two loops of the outer double crochet stitch on the right side.
4. Next, sew through the adjacent outer two loops of the granny square on the left side.

5. Continue to sew back and forth between the loops until you reach the tops of the squares. Tie off the yarn.

Attach the next granny square to these squares using the same method until you have a long row of squares. After you have joined several rows, you can sew the rows into a finished blanket or afghan. Sewing rows together is easier than sewing individual squares, because it requires less tying off of the yarn.

(Whip stitching loosely will keep the squares from "bunching up.")

Overcast Stitch

Needle Method

The overcast stitch method of joining granny squares is exactly like the whip stitch seen above, but you use the needle to sew through both loops on the granny square, instead of just one loop.

Slip Stitch

Crochet Hook Method

The slip stitch is a type of crochet stitch that requires the yarn to be hooked with the crochet hook and pulled through all loops on the crochet hook. To slip stitch the granny squares together, begin with the right sides of the squares facing each other.
1. Tie the squares together in the right corner.
2. Working across toward the left side, slide the crochet hook through the back loops opposite each other on each granny square. (There should be 3 loops on the hook when you are done. The beginning loop and the two back loops from the double crochets on the granny square.)

3. Yarn over and pull it through all three loops. There is now one loop left on the crochet hook.
4. Repeat by sliding the crochet hook through the next set of loop pairs, yarn over and pull through. Continue until you reach the corner of the squares.
5. Tie off the yarn and use the crochet hook to weave the excess end of the yarn through the granny square stitches.

Slip Stitch with Chain Stitches

Crochet Hook Method

This is the same method we just used above, accept between each slip stitch there are chain stitches made. The additional chain stitches, placed between the slip stitches, add extra crochet between the granny squares, instead of just having the stitched directly to one another.


Needle Method

This method of sewing granny squares together ensures that the yarn always matches the squares. After crocheting each granny square, leave a tail 18 inches long on each square. When you are ready to sew the squares together, place the back sides together. The tails on both squares should hang on the right side. The square facing you should have a tail hanging from the top right and the other square should have a tail hanging from the bottom right.

Sew up through all loops, then back down through the next set of 4 loops. Continue sewing up and down through all 4 loops (2 loops from each square) until you have reached the end of the square. The tail remaining will be used to attach the rows of granny squares together.

See more about lacing and a helpful picture here: Lacing Granny Squares

How to Crochet Granny Squares

Learn how to make granny squares with this simple tutorial.

How to Crochet a Rose for Beginners

Crocheted Rose Pattern for the Beginner

this lens' photo
At first glance, a rose looks like a complex crochet pattern, but it's very simply. Most beginners can crochet their first rose within minutes. There are only 3 steps:

1. Crochet a chain stitch
2. Crochet once back across the chain
3. Wind the rose into shape and sew through the base with a yarn needle.

You can use crocheted roses to embellish hats, scarves, headbands, and many other handmade projects.

Chain Stitch

How to Crochet a Rose for Beginners - Step 1

Crochet a Chain StitchChain 64.

(Unless this is your first project, you probably already know how to crochet a chain stitch. But, for those that are new to crochet, you can find more details here about "How to Chain Stitch.")

Crochet Back Across the Chain

Step 2

Petals Turn the work and crochet back across the chain.

Skip the first chain stitch from the hook. In the second chain stitch from the crochet hook:
Dc. Chain 1.
Dc. Chain 1.
Dc. Chain 1.
Dc. Chain 1.
(You will have 4 double crochets in the second chain stitch from the hook making a "fan" effect.)

Skip the next chain stitch, single crochet 1 time. Chain 1.
(The single crochet draws the end of the double crochet stitches down into a petal form. This is your first rose petal.)

Continue this pattern across the entire length of the chain:
Skip a chain stitch, (double crochet and chain 1) 4 times in the same stitch.
Skip a chain stitch, 1 single crochet. 1 chain.

Form the Rose

Step 3

How to Crochet a rose for BeginnersTie off your work and cut the working yarn to leave a 1 foot tail.

Beginning with the end farthest from the working yarn, roll the petals into a rose shape.
It's best to roll very loosely. I like to pinch the center of the rose tightly to hold it together and then roll the remainder of the crocheted petals as loosely as possible to create an open rose. If you look at the photo at the top one rose was rolled very loosely and the other tightly to compare the finished look.

Thread the working yarn through a yarn needle and use it to stitch the base of the rose in place.

This is a method of spraying a rose, after it's crocheted to paint it, make it sparkle, and harden it all at the same time.