Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Bind-Offs: Great Endings to Your Knitting Project – Different Bind-Offs

June 11th, 2013

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Techniques for binding off are as numerous as techniques for casting on. There are bind-offs that produce firm edges, looser edges, stretchy edges, edges that look like the pattern stitch used, gathered edges, decorative edges, and bind-offs that join two edges together. It is wise to begin by learning a basic bind-off technique to use with your first few projects. After you have completed some projects, you may be in the mood to learn some new bind-off methods.

Here are a few different bind-off techniques to try.

BIND-OFF INSTRUCTIONS

Note: In the following detailed instructions, the first stitch on a needle is the stitch closest to the tip of the needle, the 2nd stitch is the next stitch further away from the tip, and so on.

BASIC BIND-OFF

The most basic bind-off method is also known as a chained bind off because the bind-off edge looks like a chain of stitches. For a video, illustrations, and instructions for working a basic bind-off, click here.

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Great Endings to Your Crochet Project, Pt. 3: Edging

May 21st, 2013

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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. Click here to yesterday’s blog post; click here to see Sunday’s blog post.

The final touch for many projects is an edging. Below are photos of three samplers showing a variety of edgings. Instructions for each of the edgings follow the photos. Most of the edgings are quick and easy, some require a little more patience and skill. The edgings are grouped by type.

  • Sampler #1: Firm Edgings
  • Sampler #2: Simple Decorative Edgings
  • Sampler #3: Dramatic Edgings

MATERIALS

Firm Edgings

Great Endings to Your Crochet, Pt. 3 | Lion Brand Notebook
Click to enlarge image.

Make an adjustable ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, sc in ring, hdc in ring, (ch 1, 2 dc in ring) 5 times, ch 1; do not join, work in continuous rnds (spiral) – 12 sts and 6 ch-1 sps at the end of this rnd. Place marker for beg of rnd. Move marker up as each rnd is completed.
Rnd 2: (2 dc in each of next 2 dc, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp) 6 times – 24 dc and 6 ch-1 sps (4 dc each between ch-1 sps) at the end of this rnd.
Rnds 3-8: (2 dc in first dc, dc in each dc to 1 st before next ch-1 sp, 2 dc in next dc, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp) 6 times – 60 dc and 6 ch-1 sps (10 sts each between ch-1 sps) at the end of Rnd 8.
Rnd 9: Hdc in next st, (sc in each st to next ch-1 sp, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp) 6 times.
Edging Rnd:
Slip St: Sl st in next 10 sts, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Overlapping Sc2tog: Sc2tog, (beg in same st as 2nd leg of last sc2tog made, sc2tog) 9 times, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Slip St in Back Loop Only: Working in back loops only, sl st in next 10 sts, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Reverse Single Crochet on WS: Turn piece so that WS is facing you, ch 1, rev sc in next 10 sts, turn piece so that RS is facing you, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp. Note: Reverse single crochet (rev sc) is worked like single crochet (sc) except that you work in the opposite direction (from left to right if you are right-handed, and from right to left if you are left-handed).
Crossed Single Crochet: (Sk next st, sc in next st, sc in skipped st) 5 times, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Reverse Single Crochet on RS: Cut yarn, draw up a loop in last ch-1 sp, ch 1, rev sc in next 10 sts.
Fasten off.

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Great Endings to Your Crochet Project, Pt. 2: Weaving In

May 20th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay returns to share tips on finishing your crochet projects. Join her next month for tips on finishing your knitting project. Click here to see her previous blog post.

Great Endings to Your Crochet, Pt. 2 | Lion Brand Notebook

Weaving in well is so very important. If your ends are not woven in well, your ends could come loose and stick out making your piece look messy. Or worse, your work could come unraveled when the piece is used or laundered. There are two very important things to remember for successful weaving in; 1) Leave a long tail, 2) Always weave the tail in more than one direction.

Leave a LONG Tail

Always leave a long tail, at least 6″. When cutting the yarn, it is no time to be stingy. Cutting your tails short will not save you much money and is likely to cause you a great deal of frustration.

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Great Endings to Your Crochet Project, Pt. 1

May 19th, 2013

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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.

Fastening Off

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.

Great Endings to Your Crochet, Pt. 1 | Lion Brand Notebook

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.

Great Endings to Your Crochet, Pt. 1 | Lion Brand Notebook

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.

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Great Beginnings: Start Your Knitting Project Off Right, Pt. 2

February 19th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay returns to share her expertise on starting your knitting project on the right foot. Click here for the first half of this series or click here to check out Kj’s earlier blog posts on crochet.

Alternate Long-Tail Cast On (from “purl” side)

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Work same as long-tail cast on method demonstrated earlier until needle and yarn are in the “sling shot” position. In the “sling shot” position, the yarn has been attached to the needle with a slip knot and the two strands have been wrapped around your index finger and thumb. The tail should travel from the slip knot, between your thumb and index finger, around the back of your thumb and down into your palm. Similarly, the working yarn should travel from the slip knot, between your index finger and thumb, around the back of your index finger and down into your palm.

  1. Bring tip of needle down behind strand on side of index finger closest to you, then from top to bottom behind strand of yarn on side of thumb closest to you. Guide tip of needle upwards and slightly backwards and then from top to bottom over strand on side of index finger closest to you. Draw strand from index finger forward, then down slightly and backwards through the loop on thumb, taking care not to pick up any additional strands as you draw it through the loop.
  2. Drop loop from thumb, reinsert thumb between working strand and tail, and spread index finger and thumb apart to separate strands and tighten new stitch. Do not tighten stitch too much, as this could result in an inelastic edge.

Repeat this process until desired number of stitches have been cast on.

And this is just the beginning. There are many, many different cast on methods and many variations on the cast on methods you already know. You may enjoy listening to YarnCraft episode 129, for more information and inspiration. Click here for the episode guide to this podcast (an online radio show); use the player below to listen right now. 

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Great Beginnings: Start Your Knitting Project Off Right, Pt. 1

February 18th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay returns to share her expertise on starting your knitting project on the right foot. Join us tomorrow for the second half of this series or click here to check out Kj’s earlier blog posts on crochet.

“Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” — “Do-Re-Mi” from the Sound of Music.

When you read you begin with A-B-C. When you knit you begin with casting on. Thankfully to begin knitting, there is no need to learn every one of the huge number of cast on methods. It is wise to begin by learning one general cast on method, and forge ahead with your first few projects. After you have completed some projects about which you are deservedly proud, you may be in the mood to learn some new cast on methods.

Videos, illustrations and written instructions for a few of the most commonly used cast on methods are available in the Lion Brand Learning Center.

  1. Knitted Cast On
  2. Backwards Loop Cast On
  3. Long-Tail Cast (see below)

Long-Tail Cast On

The last of these methods, long-tail cast on, is possibly the favorite method for beginners and experienced knitters alike. This method uses two strands of yarn; a long tail and the strand of working yarn connected to the ball. New stitches are made by drawing loops of the working yarn through loops from the long tail. In this way a foundation of loops and a row of stitches are formed at the same time. There are actual a number of different ways to work a long-tail cast on. The approaches differ in manner in which the strands, and needle(s) are manipulated and can produce slightly different results. The most common approach is demonstrated in this Lion Brand video:

A long-tail cast on requires more motions than many other methods, but with a little practice it can be performed very quickly and provides a good beginning edge for almost all knitted projects.

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Great Beginnings: Starting Your Crochet Project Right, Pt. 3 – Magic Ring or Adjustable Ring

February 13th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for several articles on starting your project right. This is the last of her 3-part series on crochet. Click here for yesterday’s article, and click here for the previous day’s article. Join us next week for a 2-part series on knitting.

Adjustable Ring Foundations

Hats, bags, and toys often begin with a tight circle. Foundation chains can be used for this purpose and there are two common methods: 1) Work a short foundation chain (ch 2 for a circle of single crochet, ch 3 for half double crochet, ch 4 for double crochet, etc.) then work the stitches of first round into the first chain made, 2) Work a short foundation chain (but, longer than for first method), join the ends of the chain with a slip stitch to form a ring, then work the stitches of first round directly into the ring (not into the chains). Both of these methods can produce unacceptably large center holes that can be difficult to close.

An adjustable ring (also known as magic ring) is a wonderful alternative to foundation chains. There are different ways to make an adjustable ring. The differences include: 1) whether the working yarn or tail is wrapped into a ring, 2) whether the ring is wrapped clockwise or counter-clockwise, and 3) whether the ring is wrapped around a finger or wrapped in “mid air”. All the variations yield similar results.

 Adjustable Ring Method


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  1. Hold yarn in palm, leaving a long tail extending out the top.
  2. Wrap tail loosely around index finger counter-clockwise (do not allow wraps to cross), until there are two wraps on top of your finger. Insert hook under first strand (tail) and draw the 2nd strand (working yarn) through.
  3. Pinch ring where working yarn and tail cross and carefully remove wraps from finger. Work a beginning ch (e.g. ch 1 for sc, ch 2 for hdc, ch 3 for dc).
  4. Work stitches of first round into ring taking care to cover tail as stitches are worked.
  5. When the first round is complete, pull the tail to tighten center of ring.

Come back next week for tips for starting your knitting projects.


Great Beginnings: Starting Your Crochet Project Right, Pt. 2

February 12th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for several articles on starting your project right. Join us this week for a 3-part series on crochet, and join us next week for a 2-part series on knitting. Click here to see her previous blog post on foundation chains. 

Foundation Stitches

The use of foundation stitches for beginning crochet pieces has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. A major reason for this is because foundation stitches solve many of the problems associated with foundation chains.

Each foundation stitch consists of one chain and one standard crochet stitch. In this manner the foundation chain and the first row/round of stitches are worked at the same time. The chain is made by drawing up a loop in the base of the previous foundation stitch. This chain is then treated as a standard foundation chain. There is a corresponding foundation stitch for every standard crochet stitch, e.g. single crochet (sc), dc (double crochet), etc. Here are step by step instructions for working foundation versions of sc and dc. Notice that the Fsc and Fdc steps are very similar and that the final steps of each foundation stitch are the same as the final steps for standard sc and dc stitches.

Foundation single crochet (Fsc)

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Great Beginnings: Starting Your Crochet Project Right, Pt. 1

February 11th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for several articles on starting your project right. Join us this week for a 3-part series on crochet, and join us next week for a 2-part series on knitting.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato

When you crochet you begin with a foundation. The foundation may be a chain, a foundation stitch, a ring, or a separate object (e.g. a curtain ring, another piece of fabric).

Videos, illustrations and written instructions for some foundation methods are available in the Lion Brand Learning Center.

Foundation Chains

Working a number of chain stitches and then working stitches of the first row or round into the chains is the most common foundation method. It can be used for beginning flat, circular or tubular pieces. So, why are there so many alternatives to foundation chains?

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