Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Tutorials' Category


Bind-Offs: Great Endings to Your Knitting Project – Practice Binding Off

June 11th, 2013

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Bind-Offs: Great Endings to Your Knitting Project, Pt. 1Techniques 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.

It can be a bit nerve-wracking to try a new bind-off for the first time on a valuable piece of knitting. Instead, knit a swatch or two and practice the bind-off technique on the swatch(es). Using a swatch to practice provides several advantages; you don’t risk messing up an important piece of knitting, you can unravel and practice again and again until you are sure you have mastered the technique, and you can see and handle the bind-off edge, checking that it has the desired properties, before committing to using the technique.

Before making a swatch, study the variety of bind-off techniques available. Select a technique that is designed to produce the type of edge desired (e.g. firm, loose, “in pattern”, stretchy), and matches your personal style (e.g. Do you prefer two-needle bind-offs? Are you comfortable attempting a sewn bind-off?). Then knit a small swatch in the appropriate pattern stitch and bind off following the steps for the technique selected.

Basic Bind-Offs

The swatch can be a simple rectangle, or if you would like to practice and compare multiple different bind-off techniques, try our octagonal or square bind-off samplers. The samplers are a great way to practice and to study the differences between bind-offs. Some of the differences are very subtle, others are quite noticeable. Detailed instructions for each bind-off technique appear following the sampler photos. See the previous blog post for details on the different bind-off methods mentioned below.

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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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Unlock the Secrets of Crochet Cables

March 12th, 2013

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Crochet Celtic Afghan

Knitting teacher and author Heather Lodinsky joins us for another article on the wonderful world of cables. Click here to read her previous blog post on knitting cables.

Creating cables with yarn may conjure thoughts of knitting—but did you know that this magic twisting of stitches can be worked in crochet?  Last month, we explored how cables in knitting are created by the use of a cable needle to change the order of stitches and to shape the resulting left or right twist of the cable.   The first time I saw a crochet cable pattern, I thought there must be a complicated technique  to “twist” stitches that were already worked.  In knitting, cables are made rearranging the order of “live” stitches (ones that are not bound off, or finished).  So, with the exception of the one loop on your crochet hook, how do you create a cable with stitches that are already finished?  The answer lies in how you work each stitch and in which order they will be worked in a given row.

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Advanced Crochet Techniques Part Two: Colorwork

March 11th, 2013

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In celebration of National Crochet Month, I’ll be featuring advanced crochet techniques each Monday on the Notebook. Missed last week’s feature on Tunisian crochet? Check it out here.

No matter what you call it–colorwork, tapestry crochet, fair isle, intarsia, jacquard or otherwise–the art of working a design into the fabric of a crocheted product simply by changing colors is a skill that never gets tired. Though intarsia has long been popular in Scandinavian-inspired knitwear, especially sweaters in rich neutrals, it is a method that lends itself to nearly any personal style, from formal and traditional to the fun, “geeky” project a friend is doing with the logos of favorite video games. Whether you seek to create a colorful abstract jacquard pattern or really want a blanket with your favorite sports team’s logo stitched in, learning colorwork is the way to get there.

As difficult as it may look, the great news about colorwork–which is most typically called tapestry when talking about crochet–is that it’s a relatively easy skill to learn, and only requires the patience of changing colors multiple times and following a chart as opposed to a typical pattern.

step2 colorwork  All you have to do to change a color mid-row is to crochet your stitch except for the last yarn over and pull through.
step1 colorwork The last yarn over will be with your new color, and you’ll pull that color through the two loops left on your hook from the previous color.
step3 colorwork Once you’ve linked that new yarn in, you’ll continue crocheting as you had previously.Just don’t forget to weave those ends in as you would any other end to ensure your treasured project doesn’t unravel!

Now that you know the basics of how to change colors in crochet, take a look at some of these crochet blocks from stitch finder that will put those skills to work!
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3 Videos: See Bellini Yarn in Action

February 28th, 2013

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Last month, I did a demo of our new Bellini yarn at Vogue Knitting Live, showing how to knit and crochet this yarn to create a rich texture, perfect for great scarves, as well as cool purses.

If you’re curious to see this yarn in action, we’ve made a few videos, so you can learn from the comfort of your own home:


 
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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: 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.