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Archive for the 'Crochet-Along' Category


Glittery Shrug Crochet-Along: Front/Back Post Stitches and Blocking

June 14th, 2012

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Crochet-AlongHello everyone! I hope everyone’s projects are still going well. The good news is that we’re coming close to finishing our shrugs, and after next week we’ll be done and able to wear them! At this point, we have finished the upper and lower half and completed the finishing border on the lower half. This week I am going go over the beginning of the finishing of your Glittery Shrug, which is the upper half border and the blocking. The border on the upper half uses the same front and back post double crochet stitch that the cuffs use. After doing the upper half border, you will be completely prepared to do the sleeve cuffs next week!

Front/Back Post Stitches

The upper half border starts with one plain row of single crochet and then one row of double crochet. The pattern calls for two single crochet stitches in each of the mesh stitches. This means you will be working two single crochet stitches into each chain space along the edge of the upper half. When you get row 3 of the edging, the special stitches are abbreviated as BPDC for the back post double crochet, the first of the two stitches that you will be working, and FPDC for the front post double crochet, the second of the two stitches. The difference between a standard stitch and a post stitch is that in a regular stitch, you are working horizontally, inserting your needle underneath a little “v” along the surface to create your stitch. With a post stitch you are working the around the base of the stitch from the previous row instead of in the top of this stitch. This is quite easy with the double crochet, as it is a taller stitch, and easy to work around the post.
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Glittery Shrug Crochet-Along: Working the Lower Border Edging and the Upper Mesh

June 7th, 2012

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Shrug BadgeHello everyone! Hope you all are doing well on the first part of your Glittery Shrug! If you decided to start the lower half last week and didn’t get through it all, that’s ok! It’s the most time intensive part, but working on both pieces together helps to break up working all that single crochet.

Working the Lower Border Edging

One thing that I hadn’t mentioned last week about the lower part of the shrug is the border edging. When you are done with the lower half, you are ready to move onto the border. The border is super simple and is worked across the bottom edge of the lower half (the straight edge that measures 26 inches). If you kept the underarms sloped, then this measurement will be from the marker to where you start decreasing for the right sleeve. The border is just one row of single crochet, then one row of double crochet.
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Glittery Shrug Crochet-Along: Selecting a Size and Working the Lower Half

May 31st, 2012

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Glittery Shrug Crochet-AlongHello everyone! If you’ve been following along with these blog posts in real time, then today is the day that we start our Glittery Shrug! For those of you who are just now joining us, it’s not too late to work up a gauge swatch and jump in! You can also look back at these posts later and follow along at your own pace.

Selecting a Size

When you read through the pattern before you start the garment, you’ll notice that the shrug is made in two pieces, a top half and a bottom half. Since the whole base of the garment is just two pieces, it’s easy to customize. The finished bust measurement is a bit flexible since this isn’t a traditional cardigan. Also, some people will want to wear the shrug closed across the bust, and some will want to wear it open, in which case it can afford to be a little smaller. The first set of numbers in the measurement section is the Finished Circumference for the front opening. This measurement is the edge that comes around your neck, down the front, around your back and back up again. This finished circumference is made up the top (collar) edge on the upper half, and the bottom edge of the lower half.
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Glittery Shrug Crochet-Along: Choosing a Yarn and Gauge Swatching

May 24th, 2012

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VanessaHello fellow yarn crafters! My name is Vanessa, and I will be your host for this Crochet-Along. I am one of the store associates at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, Lion Brand’s store and education center in NYC.  I have a degree in fashion design, and I have been knitting for fifteen years and crocheting for seven years. The project that we’ll be working on for the next several weeks is the Glittery Shrug pattern done in Vanna’s Glamour yarn. Don’t worry if you haven’t done a gauge swatch yet. Even if you have not yet selected your yarn, this post will help guide you in the right direction, as well as provide you with helpful tips.

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Announcing Our Summer 2012 Crochet-Along: the Glittery Shrug!

May 17th, 2012

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Each season we host a crochet- or knit-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. There’s no need to sign up! Simply follow along with the blog posts at your own pace as you crochet your project, and feel free to share your comments and/or photos as you progress.

The Votes Are In!

Thousands of you voted, and this season, we’ll be making the Glittery Shrug in Vanna’s Glamour. This crochet-along will be hosted by Vanessa, one of our fantastic associates at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio (our retail store & education center in New York City).

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Vote for Our Spring 2012 Crochet-Along Project!

May 9th, 2012

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Spring has sprung, and our crochet hooks are itching for a new project. That means it’s time for a new crochet-along! Before we get started, we need your help to choose the next project.

Vote for the Crochet-Along!
Clockwise from left: Glittery Shrug, Temair Throw, Tunisian Throw

Have you picked your favorite? Click here to submit your vote. We’ll announce the winner here on the Lion Brand Notebook on Thursday, May 17th. We can’t wait to see which project you pick!

New to our online crochet-alongs? Click here to read our guide to getting started. Remember to check the Lion Brand Notebook on Thursdays for the latest crochet-along posts!


Half Medallion Bag Crochet-Along: Adding Handles, Seaming, and Finishing the Bag

December 1st, 2011

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How exciting to be nearing the finish on this project! I’m thrilled with the finished bags I’ve seen so far, and very happy people are succeeding with this project.

Today I’d like to discuss making the flap for the handle, attaching the handle to the bag, and then joining the front and back with a slip stitch seam. The flap is simply a piece of fabric we make along the top edge of both the front and back of the bag. It will fold over the handle and then be attached to the inside of the bag near the top edge. For the bag to hang correctly from the handle, the flap must start out the same width as the top edge of the bag. It needs to be long enough to fold over the handle and reconnect with the top of the bag again.

[Editor’s note: click here to see two wooden purse handle options–perfect for this bag–that are available on LionBrand.com.]

First, join yarn to the right top edge of either the front or back piece, not at the very outside edge, but one row in, before the all-bobble row (row 17), in other words, at the beginning of row 16. Work evenly spaced single crochet stitches along the top of the bag (32 stitches in all), ending at the end of row 16 on the left side. In my original, the handle is very close to the same size as the top edge of the bag, so I decreased only once, on row 3, to make it a bit smaller. Rows 4 – 6 are the part of the flap that will fold over the handle and are worked even. In the pattern, the decreased stitches are added back again on row 7. Here’s a look at my finished flap:

Flap

Several people in the CAL group on Ravelry have used handles that are not as wide as mine. If you want to go that route, you can still work the flap as in the original. When you fold the flap over the handle, the fabric will gather a little, which is perfectly OK. Or, you can make the flap a bit smaller by decreasing at each edge of the handle on rows 2 and 4, working two stitches together at the beginning and end of each row, just as is done on row 3. Work row 5 even, then make sure you add on the stitches again by making an increase on each end on rows 6, 7 and 8, ending with 32 sc on row 8.

Once you’ve completed the flap, fold it around the bottom of the handle, then pin it on the insider to the bottom of the first row of the flap. With a tapestry needle and yarn, sew the flap down to the inside of the bag. Then do the same exact procedure for the second handle on the bag’s second side. It’s a lot easier to do this before connecting the two sides of the bag–trust me!

Seaming the bag

Our last step is joining the front and back. It’s done with a simple slip stitch seam, worked from the Right Side of the bag. I generally prefer to seam with the Right Side of the work facing, so I can tell exactly how my finished seam will look.

What’s important in making a nice-looking slip stitch seam is 1) matching stitches on the two pieces to be joined 2) controlling tension on the slip stitches. Hold the Front and Back together with their Right Sides facing out. Using safety pins, pin them together at a few points – each end, the center, and a couple more. To begin your slip stitch seam, leaving a tail of about 6″ (which will be used to secure the seam), draw the yarn through the first stitch on the front AND back pieces.

Slip stitch

Now insert the hook into the 2nd stitch on both pieces, yarn over, and draw a loop through. Depending on how tightly you pull the tension of the yarn as you draw it through, the slip stitch will be larger or smaller. You want it to be just slightly tighter than the tops of the stitches you are working into, but just a bit. If you make the slip stitches too tight, it will distort the edges of the bag. Use your eye as a guide. Work your way all around the bag in this manner, and after the final stitch, end off leaving another 6″ tail. You’ll see that the seam is visible and rather attractive, in my opinion.

Finished seam

The beginning and end of this seam will get a certain amount of wear and tear, every time you open and close the bag. For this reason, it’s wise to make the ends very secure and tight. Place one tail on a tapestry needle, and work a short little seam along the top edge connecting the bobble on the front to the bobble on the back. You can make the stitches here tight and close together, as they should disappear into the fabric. Reinforce the last stitch by working into the same place 3 or 4 times, then weave in the end securely. Repeat on the opposite tail and voila! You’re done!!

I hope you enjoyed making this bag, and that you’ll get even more pleasure from using it!

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Half Medallion Bag Crochet-Along: Lining the Bag

November 23rd, 2011

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Like many other crocheters, items that require sewing skills with needle and thread can be daunting to me. To find a no-sew way of lining this bag, I consulted my friend Leslie who is an expert sewer and finisher. She suggested the two items that make this lining easy: felt for the actual lining, and Stitch Witchery, which is a type of fusible interfacing, or, in plain English, a super thin material that melts into glue when heat is applied. Black felt comes in 9 x 12″ sheets at many craft stores. That size should work with this project. If your half bag is larger than the specified measurements, you can buy felt by the yard in many fabric stores. Stitch Witchery is also widely available. Here’s what you should do before making the lining of the bag.

Before making the flap for the handles, steam each half bag piece into its final shape and dimensions. This kind of blocking will work on wool, and even on acrylic in many cases. Remember not to directly touch your iron to the acrylic. I recommend this technique instead of wet blocking, as the latter may alter the bobbles and posts more than is desirable in this design.

Once you have the final shape, the next step is to cut the felt and Stitch Witchery into the same shape as half the bag. There are several ways this can be done. In the accompanying photos, you can see how the bag was pinned to the interfacing, and used as a guide for cutting it, then the interfacing was used as a guide to cut the felt.


Cutting felt

If you prefer, you can use chalk to trace the outline of one side of the bag on the black felt. Or, you can cut a piece of paper to match the bag and use that as a pattern to cut the felt to size. Any of these methods is fine, so use whichever you find easiest. After cutting the felt, trim it down by about 1/2″ all around. Then cut the same shape in the Stitch Witchery. You should end up with two half medallion pieces of black felt and two pieces of Stitch Witchery, all the same size.

The next step is to get your iron ready for steaming. Carefully place the Stitch Witchery between the felt and the bag.

Lining up Stitch Witchery

Apply steam slowly and carefully, allowing the Stitch Witchery to melt and the felt and bag to fuse. Keep in mind that too much heat and pressing will cause the bobbles and post stitches to flatten, so go slowly and gently until the fusing happens.

Fusing

After you’ve done this, you can puff up the bobbles and posts by hand. Follow this procedure for both sides of the bag. Once this is done, you can make the flap at the top of each half, for attaching the handles to the bag, which we’ll discuss next week.

Editor’s note: For those who would prefer a traditional sewn lining, please follow the directions in the pattern for tracing out your fabric lining and sewing it in.

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Half Medallion Bag Crochet-Along: Working the Front Post Stitches

November 17th, 2011

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CAL badgeAs most of you know, post stitches are not worked into the tops of other stitches, but rather are worked around the post of a stitch in a previous row. By being worked in this manner, they tend to be raised from the surface of the work and can therefore be used to create some very interesting textures, such as basketweave. In this bag, the treble and half treble post stitches frame the bobbles.

Remember to work these stitches fairly loosely, so that they don’t pull the work out of shape. You can experiment with your tension until they look right. Please remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to tension on these stitches, just trust your eye! When they lie nicely on the surface, not pulling at the work, they’re just right.

In the first series of Front Post Stitches you encounter in this design, you have two post stitches worked into the same stitch. You mark the stitches in row 4 so you can find them when it’s time to do the post stitches in row 6. You wrap the yarn the indicated number of times — 3, since it’s a treble stitch — and insert the hook from front to back and then out the front again in the indicated stitch, then finish the stitch as usual.
Front post treble crochet
Front post treble crochet complete
Then you work the specified number of hdc before working the second FPtr, which goes into the same place as the first. Make sure you skip an hdc where instructed to do so. To place the second post stitch correctly, insert your hook BELOW the point where the earlier post stitch was made, as shown in the photo here.
Second post stitch
The next Post Stitches occur in row 8. They are worked around the posts of the earlier post stitches, which are very obvious. Note that they are half trebles, and are worked off as described in the Special Stitches instructions.
Front post half treble crochet
The third group may seem a bit tricky, because you are working two FP stitches together. Keep in mind, however, that it’s just like any other instance when you are working two stitches together: insert the hook where indicated, work off 2 loops on the first FPtr leaving the last loop on the hook, then insert the hook in the next indicated stitch, work off 2 loops, then yo and work off all the loops. Again, these should be worked quite loosely.
Crochet 2 front post treble together
Decrease complete
Some people have noted that the post stitches don’t seem to frame the bobbles on their projects. It’s possible that this is caused by miscounting of stitches on previous rows. Pay attention in particular to which stitches are skipped in the rows before, as this will also affect the alignment of post stitches. As mentioned in the last lesson, it’s important to count stitches at the end of every row, and check that each half of the row is a mirror of the other — this will insure that your bobbles and posts are in the correct place.

When I worked the project, my bobbles were nicely framed by the post stitches, and in one or two cases I moved the post stitches by hand around the bobbles. Feel free to do this if necessary (as in this example below).
Moving stitch

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Half Medallion Bag Crochet-Along: Getting Started

November 9th, 2011

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Most crocheters have worked in the round and know the “standard” formula for increasing to make a circle: you add the same number of stitches in each round. You might start with a round of eight stitches, for instance, and in the second round you put two stitches in each stitch, in the third round two stitches in every second stitch, in the fourth round, two stitches in every third stitch, etc. This bag follows a similar plan, but some variation was necessary, for two reasons: Firstly, it’s a semicircle, and secondly, we have a decorative pattern that calls for special stitches in some rows, which effects how we count stitches and how the increases are placed.

To make a semicircle at this gauge, I figured out after much experimentation, I would start with 4 stitches and increase 4 stitches on each round. Basically, this pattern follows the standard formula — adding one more stitch between increases on each row, except for the rows where there are special stitches. But, as I experimented with the design, I saw that if I followed that method in this half circle shape, it wouldn’t come out symmetrical: wherever your increase points are, you get little “points” in the circle shape, and they would end up in different places on the right and left sides of the semi-circle — no good! So I had to figure out a solution for that.

What I did was make a center stitch in each row, and the increases are mirrored on each half of the bag. For example, in row 4 of this pattern, you need an increase every 3 stitches. The pattern has hdc, hdc, 2 hdc, hdc, hdc, 2 hdc, then a center stitch (also an hdc), then on the second half of the row you have 2 hdc, hdc, hdc, 2 hdc, hdc, hdc. Up to the halfway point, the increases come at the end of the group, after the center stitch they come at the beginning of the group.

That same method is used on every row of the bag. I think if you take note of this, it will make stitch counting much easier. You might want to place marker in that center stitch and check that your rows look symmetrical on each side of the marker. Keep in mind that the ch 2 that starts each row is counted as the first stitch (as noted in row 2 of the pattern).

On the rows with Bobbles (Clusters), I followed the same plan. The Clusters count as one stitch in the row. Let’s look at row 5 closely and you’ll see what I mean. In row 5 the increases happen every 4th stitch.

Row 5 (Cluster Row): Ch 2, turn, sk first st, hdc in next 2 sts, (5-dc Cl, hdc) in next st, hdc in next 2 sts, 5-dc Cl in next st, 2 hdc in next st, hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next st, 5-dc Cl in next st, hdc in next 2 sts, (hdc, 5-dc Cl) in next st, hdc in next 2 sts, hdc in top of beg ch – 21 sts at the end of this row.

Ch 2 at the beginning is one stitch, then there are two more hdc, and then we need an increase, because we are at the 4th stitch. Since that’s where the first Cluster goes, we need a Cluster and an hdc in that spot. We work hdcs in the next 2 sts, a Cluster in the next stitch, and now we’re at the 4th stitch again, so we work 2 hdc. The next hdc marks the center of the row, and after that we do everything in reverse: 2 hdcs, then a Cluster, then hdc in next two stitches — that’s our first group of 4. In the next group, hdc and cluster in the same spot and 2 more hdcs for the next group of 4.

In this way, the two halves — right and left – are mirrors of each other. Is it starting to make sense?

In the rows with post stitches, I departed from the grand plan described here. In row 6 for example, I knew we would need 8 post stitches to go around the 4 Bobbles. So, when making 4 of them, we also work into the hdc behind the Post, which makes 4 increases in the row. On the other 4 Post stitches in the same row, we skip the hdc behind the post.

Now, I know this leads to some long lines of instruction, but perhaps understanding the designer’s “logic” can make it easier to follow.

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