Friday, October 20, 2017

Weekend Update - Blankets and Charitable Crafting


A personal update as well as what I've finished and what I've started crocheting.

Do you craft for charity? 

Find your local homeless center or veterans' resource center and ask them how you can help!




The Penny Drops Blanket
Castaway Hat
Basic Guy Hat
Ripple Lace Afghan
Lilliana

The Knitting Broomstick Etsy


A Few of My Favorite Fibers

I know I can't be the only one humming along right now, right?

One of the most rewarding and yet most frustrating things crafters with wool and/or animal fiber allergies in general deal with is finding safe yarn and fibers.  Every allergy is different!  But, based on my personal experience as someone highly allergic to all animal fibers, here are a few of...

.. well, you know. ;o)



Spinning fibers:

Blaine Fleece and Fiber Etsy
Blaine Fleece and Fiber Ravelry
Supernatural Yarns Etsy
Supernatural Yarns Ravelry

Yarns:

Bernat
Caron
Lion Brand
I Love This Yarn
Baby Bee Sweet Delight
Loops and Threads Woolike
Bernat Pop!
Lion Brand Mandala (Don't worry, you can find it at Wal-Mart)
Knit One-Crochet Too Ty-Dy
Sheepjes Whirl
Cascade Yarns Sunseeker Shade
Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima Cotton
Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy
Valley Yarns Southwick
Mary Gavan Canyon (here's that poncho I mention)
Miss Babs Mulberry Silk
Miss Babs Wild Silk
Handmaiden Yarns Sea Silk
Prism Delicato Layers

I buy most of my higher end yarns from Yarn.com (WEBS) and my local yarn store.

Happy crafting!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tutorial - Puffs and Bobbles and Popcorns, Oh My!

Have you ever seen a project with textures bumps and wondered how they did it? 

Or perhaps you've seen patterns that use the term puff, bobble or popcorn without really explaining what they mean. 

Here's how to tell them apart, and try them yourself!


Puff Stitch - known for it's smooth even loops.

It's made by adding loops to a single crochet stitch like this:





In the middle of a single crochet row here, I'll be working all my loops into the next stitch.




The yarn over is loop number two.


Insert the hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull up loop three.






Repeat yarn overs and pull throughs until there are nine loops on the hook.

Yarn  over and pull through all nine loops to finish a puff stitch.







Completed puff stitch.  You can see that the working loop is pulled toward the right, which can skew your fabric.







So a lot of patterns will add a "chain 1" after the puff to bring the working loop to the left, ready for the next stitch.





Bobble Stitch - known for its taller double crochet height.

It's made by working a huge double crochet decrease into the same working stitch like this:




Once again, in the middle of a single crochet row, and I'll be working into the next stitch.







Bobbles are usually double crochet decreases, but of course they can be any size as determined by your pattern.

You might recall that a double crochet decrease is worked like a double crochet stitch all the way up to the last loop.





For this bobble, I worked five double crochet decreases.  You can see my first working loop plus five half completed double crochet stitches.


Yarn over and draw through all six loops.





Bobble complete!

You can see that the working loop is pulled toward the right, which can skew your fabric.






So a lot of patterns will add a "chain 1" after the bobble to bring the working loop to the left, ready for the next stitch.






Here's what it looks like after the next single crochet is worked.  See how is pushes the bulk of the bobble forward?








Here's how it looks from the top.  Patterns will specify whether they want you to work the next row into the bobble itself or the chain 1. 

Usually it's the chain 1 which lies at the top of the stitch - next to my hook here.





Popcorn Stitch - known for it's open top, which makes the shape more oval than a round bobble. 

Also usually worked in double crochet.






Yet again, in the middle of a single crochet row, and I'll be working into the next stitch.







Popcorn stitches are usually in double crochet, but they can vary based on the pattern.

Here's my first double crochet stitch.  The rest will be worked into the same space.





A total of five double crochet stitches...







Lengthen that working loop a bit, and remove your hook.






Count back to the first double crochet (in this case five) and insert your hook into that stitch.







Pull the working loop all the way through...







... pulling the double crochet stitches into a circle.

You'll ignore the stitches in the circle when working your next row, as the only stitch that counts is the first one you pulled the working loop through.






Here's how it looks from the front.









And now you know how to safely navigate through the forest of puffs, bobbles and popcorns.  Clear as mud? Then let me show you!


As always, please let me know if I can answer any questions.  Until next time, choose to be kind.








Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tutorial - Corner to Corner (C2C)


This week let's focus on a popular technique for afghans and blankets... Corner to Corner aka C2C.

It's wonderful in solids, stripes, and "graphgans" - colorwork charts/graphs.  Since there are more questions about working a chart/graph, I'll follow one here.  But feel free to crochet along in a solid color and skip the color changes!

For me, the coolest thing about working corner to corner is the fabric...

Stitches worked diagonally make for softly rippled yet solid texture.

It is important to view your graph the same way you'll be working it, in this case on the diagonal, RS rows from right to left, WS rows from left to right.

I like to use two row markers, one above and one below my working row.


C2C always begins with increase rows, where you begin with chain 6 and work your first block in chains 4-5-6 from the hook and end with one last block worked into the far edge of the block in the previous row. This gives you one additional block on each end of your work and creates the smooth bottom and left edges.

Here's how to work a basic C2C block:

Find the chain 3 in the next block in the previous row, this is where you'll begin.


Slip stitch into that space:



Chain 3:




Work 3 double crochet (dc) into the same space, around the chain 3 in the row below.







Slip stitch into the next block and continue across the row. If you need to change colors for your next block, do it in the last yarn over of the last dc so that your slip stitch is in the new color.

Once you reach the widest point of your piece, you'll work in decrease rows, which means your row begins with slip stitches to the next chain 3 space:





Continues across the row as usual:






And ends with a slip stitch in the corner of the last block in the previous row.





Rather than work another block, chain one and turn.... slip stitching back to the chain 3 space to begin your next row.



When you've worked your final block, rotate the square so you can work one round of sc around all 4 sides.

This will smooth out the edge and make it easier to join or finish with an edging.


Need another view?  Let me show you!


Wondering what my project above might be?  It's part of my Harry Potter Tote, using the graphs available from Crafty Ridge. While you're there, check out her amazing graphgan!

I took it to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and filled it up with souvenirs!



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Weekend Update - Woman's World

I spent some time in my thoughtful spot this week, and I just have to say something out loud.

It's time the majority of decent people speak up and do their part to stop the hate.  It's a global issue coming to a head - but don't let them fool you.  They are not the majority!  They just grab headlines while the rest of us try to be polite.

Be kind.  Play with yarn.  Repeat.



Finished Projects:
Atlanticus Violette - Baby Bee Sweet Delight in purples. See the Hooked on Sunshine CAL
The Basic Guy Hat - Premier Sweet Roll in Butterscotch Beer

Arizona - Community Resource and Referral Center (If you're local, I'm happy to pick up your charitable crafting!)

Michigan - Michigan Veterans Foundation

Spinning:
Blaine Fleece and Fiber - Faux blend in "Vive la France"
Supernatural Yarns - Mulberry Silk in "I Won't Deny I'm a Werewolf"
Blaine Fleece and Fiber - Sheepy Shells - wool *and* wool free blends!
The Fellowsheep!

WIPs:
The Penny Drops CAL - Tunisian crochet, in Yarn Bee Sugarwheel in Go Go Cocoa, and I Love This Yarn in Coffee. See the CAL

Art Nouveau Shawl - in Mulberry Silk by Miss Babs in "Pewter"

Casey Robin Art

... and let's not forget the dance party! 


TELL THE TRUTH.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Weekend Update - Tour de Bamboo

July is the month of the Tour de France cycling race... but for spinners that means Tour de Fleece!

Well... for those with wool allergies it means Tour de Fleece Free, or as I am calling it this year Tour de Bamboo.

I am still working my blanket CALs but managed quite a few finished projects too.



Finished Projects:
Dobby's Tea Cozy Hat - Caron Simply Soft
Half Granny Bag - in I Love This Sport
Peacock Feathers Shrug - Yarn Bee Sugar Wheel in Green Tea Swirl
Purple Shells Drawstring Backpack - Premier Gradient Set in Purple
Green Shells Drawstring Backpack - Premier Gradient Set in Water
Red Shells Drawstring Backpack - Premier Sweet Roll in Cherry Swirl and Wild Cherry
Dragon Neckwarmer - in Baby Bee Sweet Delight

Spinning:
Bamboo Oops #2 - 383 yards 3ply
Bamboo Oops #1 - 445 yards 3ply
Blaine Fleece and Fiber - Sheepy Shells - wool *and* wool free blends!

WIPs:
Atlanticus CAL in rouge and violette - Premier Sweet Roll in Wild Cherry/Cherry and Baby Bee Sweet Delight in purples.  See the Hooked on Sunshine CAL

The Penny Drops CAL - Tunisian crochet, in Yarn Bee Sugarwheel in Go Go Cocoa, and I Love This Yarn in Coffee.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Freebie Friday - Tunisian Practice Squares


If you've ever wanted to learn Tunisian Crochet, a great way to get started is with practice squares.  Squares in cotton yarns make great dishcloths, and squares in  other yarns are great for blankets or charitable square collections.

If you are ambitious, two quares would make great pair os basic fingerless gloves like we did with our slip stitch practice.

Be sure to check out the tutorial for how to work Tunisian forward and return passes.


To practice Tunisian Simple Stitch (tss):

Chain 26

1. Work a Foundation Row - forward pass: insert hook into second chain and pull up a loop. Repeat for each remaining chain. (I like to use the back ridge loop of the chain to leave a nice teardrop shaped edge on the bottom.) You'll have 26 loops on your hook. Do not turn!

Return/closing pass - All return passes begin with a chain one. This will give you space for your next forward pass. The rest of the return pass removes two loops at a time. Chain 1 though the last loop on your hook only - i.e. your loop count won’t change. (Yarn Over (YO) and pull through two loops) repeat across until there is only one loop remaining. Do not turn!



Finished foundation row (including forward and return passes)



2. Insert hook from right to left under the second vertical bar - where the hook is pointing here:




Insert hook under each remaining vertical bar, pulling up a loop each time.





When you get to the last vertical bar, you can see that there’s a little more space before you reach the edge… this is where that chain one at the beginning of your return passes comes in handy. Insert your hook through that chain one and pull up your last loop.




3.Work a basic return pass.

Repeat passes 2 and 3 to length.m  Mine is 22 rows.


Work one row of traditional slip stitch or single crochet to finish or "bind off" your last row. 




Remember this is stitch practice!  Don't worry about little mistakes here and there.  I promise the dishes won't notice.  ;o)

You can see a couple of mine here... and here.




Optional edging: Finish your last row with single crochet, and keep working in single crochet around all four sides of your square.

Fasten off and weave in your ends.

To practice Tunisian Knit Stitch (tks):
Chain 26

1.Work a foundation row. You’ll have one loop on your hook.


2.Starting with the second vertical bar (insert hook from front to back through the vertical loop that forms the vertical bar, pull up a loop) across. When you get to the last stitch, insert hook under both loops of the chain1 rather than through it.


Another way to find the vertical loop until you get used to seeing it is to literally grab it and twist a little to see both sides of the loop.



Here's what it looks like from the top once the hook is inserted through the vertical loop.




3.Work a basic return pass.

Repeat passes 2 and 3 to length.  Mine is 30 rows.

Work one row of traditional slip stitch or single crochet to finish or bind off your last row.



Again, if you look closely you can see my mistakes change the texture of the fabric.  This is ok for practice squares so I left them for you to see that, well, we all make them!

Optional edging: Finish your last row with single crochet, and keep working in single crochet around all four sides of your square.

Fasten off and weave in your ends.




Hope this little taste of Tunisian crochet gets you "hooked"  on trying more complicated stitches and patterns.  Please let me know if I can help you find any answers... til next time!