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.
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.
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Editor’s Note: We’re excited to welcome Devin, the newest member of our team. With a background in fashion design and patterns published in magazines like Vogue Knitting, Devin will be sharing her own take on trends, techniques, and more. Read more about her here.
As the holidays drew nearer, Kelloggs (my pet bunny) decided he wanted to ring in the season with style, so I made him this festive sweater! For this sweater I used Vanna’s Glamour® yarn in red and Jamie® yarn in white. Although not all pets are as keen to dress up, the technique I used to monogram his initial onto the sweater can be used on any knit project. The “K” is embroidered with a tapestry needle instead of using color-work. There are three reasons that you would use this technique:
Hint: the yarn you use for your monogram doesn’t need to be the same type as the yarn used for the rest of the project, but it MUST be the same weight.
As an obsessive coffee drinker, I love handmade coffee cozies! The coffee sleeves cafes use always seem to be too thin, so coffee cozies are an amazing reusable alternative. In the winter, they keep my coffee warm and my hands burn-free; in the summer, they keep my beverage cool and my hands dry. No matter what your style is, you can make your own cozy in just a few easy steps. Here’s how to do it!
1. Gather your supplies. Choose a yarn you want to work with and the appropriate hook or needle size. If you’re using buttons, grab some of those as well. Remember that wools are fantastic for insulating beverages, and both wool and cotton will absorb condensation from your cup. For my cozies, I used Martha Stewart Crafts Roving Wool in Sea Glass Blue and DaVinci in Quartz.
Halloween is right around the corner, but crafting for the holiday doesn’t have to be a fright! In just 15 minutes, you can make your very own sparkling wreath. All you need to gather is a styrofoam wreath (any size; mine is 6 inches wide), a styrofoam cone (mine is 2.5 inches tall), some glue, a crafting/Xacto knife (be careful!), a writing utensil, 1 ball of Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash in Onyx, and one package of Bonbons in Beach. Ready to craft? Let’s get started!
Have you ever knit stripes in the round only to find that they look a little lopsided? It’s not just you. The nature of circular knitting causes stripes to jog, which means that they don’t line up. The good news is there’s a technique for knitting stripes in the round that straightens up your stripes. Best of all, jogless stripes are just as easy to knit as regular stripes, so they don’t slow down your knitting at all! Are you ready to take your stripes to the next level?
Finishing work is usually saved for the end of the project, but it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of easy ways that you can speed things up. Here are my favorite ways to add new colors or change skeins without weaving in ends.
The Russian Join: This is a fantastic way to add a new skein of yarn to your work without weaving in any ends. It creates a steady, secure join, so it’s great for most yarns.
The Felted Join: Working with wool or another feltable yarn? Try the felted join! This technique locks your two yarns together, creating a solid join without a darning needle.
Crochet over your ends: Why use a darning needle when you can use your hook? This quick strategy allows you to keep crocheting as you tuck your yarn ends into place.
Do you have a time-saving tip? Be sure to share it in the comments below!
Pinterest user Ada(: recently pinned this nifty project on wrapping headphone cords with embroidery floss, and Apartment Therapy wrote a wonderful tutorial on making it. I love simple, clever projects like this one and knew I wanted to try it on my headphones right away! When the first packs of our new Bonbons yarn arrived, I fell in love with the sparkling colors and got started. I took step-by-step pictures as I used two colors to cover my headphones, and I’ve also included written instructions to help you re-create this project at home. One of the great things about using Bonbons instead of embroidery floss was that I didn’t have to wind the yarn onto a bobbin first, the tiny Bonbons skeins were already the perfect size to craft with.
Here’s the step-by-step story of how I made my sparkling, tangle-free headphones:
Let’s face it: weaving in ends is not nearly as fun as crocheting or knitting. My favorite way to avoid weaving in ends is the felted join. Also affectionately dubbed the spit splice, this method is the perfect way to add join a new skein to your work. Keep in mind that this will only work on feltable fibers like non-superwash wool, alpaca, mohair, and so on. Here are step-by-step instructions on this fast and easy technique. I used 2 different colors so that you can better see the technique, but this works brilliantly for attaching the same color yarn practically invisibly.
Step 1: Carefully untwist your yarn for a few inches and separate the half of the plies. This Fishermen’s Wool has 4 total plies, so I’ve divided my yarn into 2 sets of 2 plies each. 2-ply yarn would be separated into 2 sets of 1 ply each, 6-ply yarn would be 2 sets of 3 plies each, and so on.
Step 2: Take one set of your plies. A few inches down (4-5 inches, just to be safe), break these plies. Now you’ll have a set of longer plies and a set of shorter plies.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the yarn you’ll be joining.
Step 4: Lay the long sets of plies next to each other. This will be the transition section of your yarn. Because each long piece of yarn only has half the plies, you’ll end up with roughly the correct thickness in your join.
Step 5: Get your yarn wet. You can dip it in water, mist with some water, add some saliva — just get it wet. Remember, felting simply requires heat, humidity, and agitation.
Step 6: Let’s felt! Rub the yarns together in your hands briskly. Continue for a few minutes until the fibers have locked together. You may need to add some more water if your yarn isn’t wet enough.
Step 7: Give both sides of the yarn a gentle tug. If they’re firmly locked, congratulations! You’ve made a felted join! If not, just continue the felting process until the yarn is secure.
Now you’ll have an easy and secure join in your yarn, so you can continue crafting with having to weave in ends.
Center-pull balls of yarn are convenient to use and to store, and are perfectly easy to make! Rest assured: if you can wind yarn into a regular wrapped ball, you have all the skills it takes to make a center-pull ball. Use this one trick to keep your yarn safe and tidy in storage, and stop it from bouncing all over the floor as you work!
Yarn: Skeins, wrapped balls of yarn, spools and hanks can all be wound with this method. If you’re winding yarn from a hank, you’ll need a swift to keep it spread out (or a volunteer to hold it spread out as you work). For this tutorial, I used a skein of Alpine Wool in Olive.
A smooth, sturdy winding tool: I like to use a thicker-gauge crochet hook or long knitting needle. You could use a pen or a pencil in a pinch, they just have to be clean, sturdy and smooth.
Making your own hair ties is a great way to get creative with your favorite yarns, colors and textures. It’s a wonderful way to try out new yarns, or to use up scraps. Your finished decorated hair ties make excellent gifts for girls sports teams, clubs, girl scout troops, or you can make them as party favors (and don’t forget to make a few for yourself while you’re at it)!
First, check out these step-by-step instructions with pictures we wrote on how to create your own crocheted hair tie. In this post, I’ll show you how to expand on those basic instructions to create a variety of looks by using different textures, colors and techniques.
Here are some inventive variations you can crochet to make your hair ties (or those you are make for others) extra special!
Get this look by using a straight yarn like Vanna’s Choice for the first round in double crochet, and used a strand of Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash to create a border! Once you’ve completed the first round, join the second yarn and make one single crochet stitch loosely into each stitch and chain-1 space. If you find your stitches are tighter than you’d like, single crochet into each stitch but chain one stitch in between, to add more give to the finished project.