May 19th, 2013
Technical editor and yarncrafting expert returns to share tips on finishing your crochet projects. Join her next month for tips on finishing your knitting project.
A great crochet ending begins with fastening off and weaving in. It may also include a great edging. Over the next three days, we will cover these three topics as well as tips and tricks for each one.
Click on any of the images to enlarge them.
You may think there’s not much to say about fastening off, and if you think this you are a little bit right and a little bit wrong. After all, fastening off simply involves cutting the yarn, leaving a long tail, and ensuring that the tail is secured. But, there are subtle ways to vary the fastening off process, especially when working in rounds, to achieve different results.
Fastening Off Leaving a Knot
Perhaps the most common way to fasten off is finish the last stitch of a row or round, cut the yarn, draw the tail all the way through the last loop on the hook, and pull to tighten the resulting knot. This method forms a small, knot near the top of the last stitch. This knot is usually pretty secure and after carefully weaving in the tail the piece is at little risk of unraveling.
Fastening Off Without Leaving a Knot
Sometimes the little knot can leave a noticeable bump on the edge of a piece. Accordingly, some people fasten off without leaving a knot. Instead of completing the last stitch and then drawing the tail through the last loop on the hook, the tail is drawn all the way through when working the final yarn over of the last stitch. This omits the knot and tiny bump. To be sure that this type of fastening off is sufficiently secure, extra care must be taken weaving in the end.
May 17th, 2013
Flowers have bloomed, the sun is out longer, the temperatures have risen, and – we’re at the beginning of wedding season!
Since many of you are probably looking for handmade elements to include in the ceremony or reception, I’ve gathered a roundup of some of our lovely wedding patterns to help you or the bride-to-be find the perfect wedding project. From bridal accessories, to reception decor and gifts, there’s surely a pattern to help inspire you!
*Pattern in image: Amigurumi Two Peas in a Pod
Shawls and Shrugs for the Bride
Crochet Bridal Shawl
Knit Eyelet Shawl
Crochet Bridal Shrug
May 16th, 2013
Note: This is the fourth installment of our Spring 2013 Knit-Along. To view previous posts, click here.
This week, I have been working on the front of the Tranquil Tank Top and after nine inches of ribbing at the bottom, I’m ready to tackle the lace and cable part of the top! Before I started the lace, I made sure my ribbing for the front was not only the same length as the back, but that the right side (RS) of my ribbing was the same as the RS of my back ribbing. I had two knit stitches on each side edge of the back ribbing, and I made sure I did the same for the front. Double checking this will allow me to sew side seams that will look seamless when finishing.
The left and right upper sides of the front are written in chart form instead of written instructions in this pattern. When I first glanced at the instructions, I was surprised to see six pages of charts! Then, when I looked a little closer, I saw that there are actually two charts for each of the three sizes. This will make for easier chart reading, rather than having all the sizes included on just one or two charts. I happened to print out all the pages of this pattern before I saw this, so I took out the four pages of charts that I will not need to make my size. That way there will be less chance of confusion as I start the charts. We need to start with the left front, so here is the left front chart of for the Large size: (Note that you can view charts for all sizes by clicking on the pattern link.)
May 14th, 2013
Lion Brand’s Design Department shares tips on one of their favorite tips for creating a unique (and quick-to-make) project.
Yarn blending is the technique of stranding together several yarns to create a knit or crochet fabric. It takes all of the beautiful qualities of its component yarns and blends them into something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Take a few yarns and hold them together.
- Judge the combined thickness and select an appropriate needle or hook.
- Knit or crochet all yarns at once.
Yarn blending is so simple, yet it can yield infinite varieties and unexpected results. You can never predict what a yarn blend will look like until it is worked up. Therefore, an integral part of this process is creating swatches. After a few rows, you will get an idea of how the fabric will look and can evaluate the combination. Then you can adjust your work, adding in new yarns that you like. Since blends tend to be bulky, a swatch can be made in no time.
[Pictured: Knit Simple Cowl.]
May 13th, 2013
It’s National Bike Month! Whether you like to cruise through beach towns during vacation or use your bicycle as a primary mode of transportation, there is something so lovely about the riding of a bike. You can cruise carefree, go on an intense workout ride, or travel around knowing you’ve reduced your carbon footprint. Whatever the reason for your ride, why not celebrate Bike Month with a little bicycle yarn-bombing? As we know, temperatures are (finally!) rising, and big, heavy projects can seem even more daunting in the warmer months, but these quick and easy knit and crochet projects are a perfect opportunity to try out new yarns or color combinations and work on great pocket-sized projects. The best part is, when you’re done, you’ll have a truly customized bike that shows off your creative side!
|Knit Bike Seat Cover in Tweed Stripes||Crochet Bike Seat Cover (from Ravelry)|
May 9th, 2013
Note: This is the third installment of our Spring 2013 Knit-Along. To view previous posts, click here.
This week the weather where I live seems to be right on cue for our Spring Knit Along with sunny, warm days all this last week. Working with Cotton-Ease for this project has been perfect for these days where my windows are open and I can already be found knitting on my porch. This week I finished the back of the Tranquil Tank Top.
The back is the simpler half of this top with only ribbing and stockinette stitch (and a little shaping thrown in.) The lace will appear after we finish the bottom of the front. As I was knitting the back, I remembered a few things that will make sure this top will fit and look great. All of the sizes of this pattern call for the bottom ribbing to measure 9” before starting the stockinette stitch pattern for the upper part of the back.
When I thought I had knit the full 9” of ribbing, I remembered that measuring ribbing can be a little tricky as ribbing should be measured slightly stretched before I measure. What I thought was 9” was actually not even 8 ½” when I measured it slightly stretched. Working a longer piece of ribbing can create this effect, so it is always good to just slightly stretch your ribbing before measuring the length. Take a look at this picture below – I have just stretched the ribbing a little and it measures 9”.
My last row of my ribbing was a wrong side (WS) row, which started with 2 purls and ended with 2 purls. I want to make sure that the ribbings to both my back and my front will have 2 knits on each side of the right side (RS). (You can see this is in the first picture above.) Making sure the ribbings of the front and back are worked the same will make it much easier to sew up the sides for a very nice finish. The stockinette stitch started with a knit row on the RS, where there are 2 knit stitches on each edge of the ribbing. I will keep this in mind when I start the lace part of the front.
After binding off for the armholes, there are some decreases that I can see will be very important for the lace patterns on the front. The back is a good place to try these decreases – especially if you have never done an “ssk” before.
May 8th, 2013
If you’re anything like me, you probably think an event of any sort that actively encourages hours of knitting or crochet is the best kind of event. Though I have some sort of yarn-craft project going during every baseball game we watch or attend, few days are more exciting to look forward to during the baseball season than Stitch ‘n Pitch days. If you’re not already familiar with Stitch ‘n Pitch, it’s a series of events put on by TNNA–The National NeedleArts Association–that encourage all needlecrafters to come on out to Major and Minor League Baseball games for “the perfect double play”. Crafters sit together in dedicated section and spend the game making new friends and often get the chance for special giveaways. The Stitch ‘n Pitch season kicked off in Atlanta on Saturday, May 4, and the next game scheduled is with our hometown team, the New York Mets!
Mets Stitch ‘n Pitch at Citi Field, Flushing, NY (vs. Pittsburgh Pirates)
Saturday, May 11
Click here for tickets
Discounted tickets in the Promenade Reserved section are available for $25 each, and–perhaps best of all–the first 1,000 attendees to purchase tickets will be receiving this really awesome limited edition Mr. Met Knitting bobblehead. I’ll admit I’m biased, as a Mets with a growing collection of bobbleheads, but I think it’s pretty cool to see a team mascot crafting!
May 8th, 2013
Writer/illustrator/knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column on the life of a yarn crafter.
I was at a yarn shop a few weeks ago, troubleshooting a thumb gusset in the company of those who understand the importance of good thumb gussets, when the topic of steeks came up.
A steek, in case you haven’t run across the term before, is an opening cut into a piece of hand-knit fabric. There are many ways to create one, but they all end by taking scissors to your knitting. Snip! It gives some knitters the shakes to even contemplate this. It shouldn’t, but it does.
That’s not what I want to write about today.
I mentioned to the group that I’ve launched a class in which the students cut steeks, then sew zippers into the openings. Zipper installation is another thing that gives some knitters the shakes. It shouldn’t, but it does.
That’s also not what I want to write about today.
“I’d take that class,” said one of the junior knitters at the table. There was a murmur of agreement from the other junior knitters. The most junior shook her head. “I’d like to,” she said. “But I’m not good with a sewing machine.”
“You don’t need a sewing machine,” I said. “In my class we use crochet to secure the edges.”
“Forget it,” said the least junior knitter. “I don’t crochet.”
“It’s only basic crochet,” I said. “Even if you haven’t done it before, you can pick this up in sixty seconds.”
“No,” she said, under a slightly curled lip. “I don’t touch crochet hooks. Ever.”
Several of the others–junior and senior–echoed her. No hooks. No hooks ever. Well, maybe to pick up dropped stitches. Never to crochet.
“I don’t crochet,” she said. “I’m a knitter!”
That’s what I want to write about today.
May 7th, 2013
Though it’s often the 4th of July that we think of for cookouts, May is actually National Barbecue Month! It’s no surprise, really, as May is often the first chance we get to start enjoying warmer weather and pulling the cover off the once snow-covered grill out on the patio. With Memorial Day upon us in just a few short weeks, you may have a barbecue of your own to start preparing for, and why not work on something other than a menu? These patterns, from our site and Ravelry, are the perfect projects to celebrate National Barbecue Month–and enjoy straight through until Labor Day!
|Show off your patriotic side with this easy-to-crochet apron, made with Cotton-Ease. With a pocket in the front for your grilling tools or recipe, this apron is the perfect addition to your barbecue repertoire. Get the pattern here.|
|These simple grill mitts make grabbing hot skewers from the grill easy as can be. They can be knitted or crocheted in Lion Cotton or Kitchen Cotton in whatever color you fancy. Get the knit version here, or get the crochet version here.|
May 6th, 2013
We’ve heard from several of you (thanks for asking, Karen, Kate, and Chelli!) who are looking to make the Tranquil Tank Top larger or smaller than the bust sizes in the pattern. Because of this, I wanted to write up a quick blog post about how you can resize a pattern WITHOUT rewriting the directions.
How? Most of you know that getting the correct gauge is how we make sure that the item we make ends up the size we expect based on the pattern. It’s the reference point that makes sure that you’re on the “same page” as the designer.
We’ve all had that experience at least once in our knitting/crochet lives, where we’ve skipped the gauge swatch and ended up with a project that’s just too small or big. Well, by harnessing our gauge, we can purposely make a project larger or smaller.