Friday, July 30, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
"Gone Fishin' or "Don't bother me; I'm knitting" or "Currently on the needles...a top down dress for Barbie"
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
When I was new to crochet, I bought myself a LOT of patterns. I bought patterns before I even knew how to work many of the stitches and techniques, knowing full well that they were beyond my skillset. Years after, I discovered Ebay and had an absolute field day purchasing vintage patterns for potholders, doilies and kitschy stuff that quite frankly I'll never have enough time to make--but I absolutely LOVE my (large) pattern collection. I think it might even be fair to say that I love my pattern collection more than I love the actual crocheting...did ya ever feel that way too? I can get lost in those patterns and they really hold a fascination for me.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Either sewn or crocheted, each seaming technique posesses its own special qualities. Corresponding yarn and a blunt darning needle are used for the sewing methods; a crochet hook is used for the others.
1) Single Crochet. This is a decorative seam on items with two pieces (front and back), like a pillow or tote bag, etc. It is sometimes used to stitch together afghans motifs where the ridge-like stitching is intended show.
To work a single crochet seam on a pillow or tote, place the wrong sides (what becomes the inside) together and use single crochet all around the edges. Simple as that.
When working single crochet to put stich afghan squares or strips together, butt the pieces together with right sides (fronts) facing. Stitch away.
2) Slip stitch. Less decorative than single crochet edging, this is also intended to show on the finished project. Again, it is useful for items with a distinct front/back and afghan motifs and works exceptionally well when attaching a pocket or pouch. To join items, work much the same as single crochet (above). Use the same yarn and you get texture; use contrasting yarn and you get texture and a pop of color. For adding a pocket, after placing it in the spot desired, slip stitch around it and through the 2 pieces to be joined.
3) Mattress stitch. Leaving only a small ridge on the wrong side of the work, this method is almost invisible and best used in garment seaming. Since it is worked with the front (right) sides of the work facing you, seams butted together, you can actually see how the seaming progresses. To work mattress stitch, place the project pieces, edges together, front sides facing you. Thus, there is a right piece and a left piece, fronts facing, edge to edge. With a darning needle and corresponding yarn, secure the yarn at the edge where you begin. With the needle pointing up, pick up the first stitch, leaving yarn loose; go to the opposite piece and pick up the corresponding row. Continue in this fashion and after three to four stitches, tighten the yarn so it "disappears, but not so tight that it causes your seam to pucker. Basically, you're creating a stitched zig-zag and cinching it tight after a few stitches.
4) Backstitch. Sturdy and popular for seaming together garments, this stitch leaves a bulkier seam than mattress stitch, but is very strong for sleeves, shoulders and underarms. With right sides together, with darning needle and correspondening yarn, secure yarn at the edge of one piece before piercing both pieces. Push the needle through both pieces at once, working across from right to left. Come up through both pieces at point A, make a stitch backwards and come up at point beyond where you made the first stitch. Imagine each stitch as a half inch segment in which the needle first pierces both pieces from back to front at point A, then pierces the pieces from front to back a quarter inch distance to the right, then pierces the pieces again from back to front half inch, repeatedly. Pull the stitches tightly to hide them, but not so tight that the seam puckers.
5) Whip stitch. With darning needle and corresponding yarn, hold two pieces together and insert the needle from back to front, continuing around and around (think of the stripes on a candy cane). This method is simple, and very good for seaming together afghan motifs. Worked on motifs through the back loops only with "wrong" sides facing, the stitching is almost invisible when the same color yarn is used, making the front of the project look as if the front loops of the stitches have become one. This is a basic, sturdy stitch. It can also be used for garment seaming where a "rustic" look is desired, but is rarely recommended for garments. I personally like this method for seaming garments..call me crazy.
If you would like to practice seaming, make a few squares of the same size. Seam them together using the various methods. It is a practice piece; it doesn't have to "be" anything.
As always, look to the internet for photo or video tutorials.
Since we crochet back and forth naturally, the easiest way to add color to a project is with horizontal stripes. Adding a new color via striping (introducing new yarn) is done by dropping the yarn in use at the end of a row, and adding the new color at the start of the following row. This can be accomplished by:
a) fastening off the first color and pulling up a loop of the next color in the first stitch, or
b) working the last stitch almost to completion, then pulling up the last loop with the new color to be used (regardless if working sc, dc, trc, etc.).
The above is the simplest way to "pop up" your color palate and should not be too intimidating for a beginner.
Of course, the question of "to knot or not" comes up. So here is my answer. DO WHAT SUITS YOU, and I won't judge you. If you are comfortable weaving cut yarn tails into their own colors, do so. If you prefer to knot 2 tails together before weaving into their own colors, do so. Now I know some will cringe at the idea of tying knots...but here is the thing: sometimes yarn is knotted inside a skein, right from the manufacturer...so it happens. Secondly, a well hidden knot is nobody's business - :) Lastly, if a knot brings a bit of comfort to a crafter that their gift won't come undone in the wash...I say do it. Tie a knot. Matter of fact, some people make a piece that is all knots...scraps tied together and crafted into...whatever, and the knots are a featured part of the piece. Whatever gets made from that mystery ball of knotted yarn is certainly UNIQUE~!
WHEN TO NOT TIE A KNOT: Ah, you knew this was coming, didn't you........here is when:
There are other ways to add color, such as blocks of color, vertical stripes, or as in a charted design, by carrying, weaving or crossing the yarn. For these color techniques, the use of separate skeins or bobbins simultaneously may be necessary, depending on how many colors are in use. For some colorwork, checkerboard for instance, the yarn may be woven into the piece by carrying it across the stitches of one color block and crocheting over it....then dropping the color in use and picking up the color that has just been woven over, etc. Crocheting over a “not in use” color is similar to hiding yarn tails at the beginning of a row. Literally, you crochet right over the yarn to be carried to the next space, and it disappears into the stitches. This could cause a problem, however, if the yarns in use are terribly opposite to each other...in those instance, you may be able to see the yarn carried over...it is doesn't bother you; then it isn't a problem...it becomes the nature of the piece. :)
An alternate method, carrying the yarn from section to section along the "wrong" side of a project, may be used for items where only the front of the piece (for instance, a chair cover or wall hanging) will be seen. In carrying yarn across the backside, if it spans more than 4 stitches, the yarn should be caught into the stitches being worked every 5 stitches or so. To to this, at intervals of 5 stitches, catch the stranded yarn with your hook and work over it, that is, crochet over it with that one stitch, then strand it again for 5 more stitches, etc. and so on. The reason for this is that since it is one-sided, you don't want the bulkiness that working over each stand will bring, and also perhaps it is a very dark color in contrast to the main yarn, and you would not want that to show through to the front. (For knitters, this is quite similar to fair isle/stranding technique.)
Lastly, if the design is suitable to the need for various bobbins, with lots of color blocking through the design, each color should be worked to its necessary point, then dropped and said yarn crossed with the next color needed, and so on. How this is done is simple. Drop the bobbin containing the current yarn and bring the next color yarn bobbin up and under to the right of the bobbin dropped, which twists the 2 yarns, then proceed with the next stitch, pulling it a little bit tighter than usual. Proceed throughout the piece this way at each color change.
We make many decisions based on the project itself. This is no different crocheting with color. The design will indicate which method is best.
Basically, color changes without cutting yarn are made by working the LAST loop of the last stitch of one color with the next color.
If you are tying knots at the end, make them as inconspicuous as possible and weave each tail into its own color.
When using bobbins, it is important to keep them untangled. Seriously.
When carrying yarn, don't carry it across too many stitches; remember to catch it every 4 to 5 stitches.
VERY IMPORTANT: Carry the yarn loosely across the back so that it doesn't cause your item to pucker...but not so loose that your beginning and ending stitches are obviously loose.
Yarn tails throughout a spectularly colored piece should always be woven into a yarn row of the same color.
When using the crossed yarn method, use the necessary amount of bobbins for each separate section of color. It is worth the time, trust me.
Sometimes, even when using the carrying method, it may be best to utilize separate bobbins for different sections of the same color to avoid carrying yarn across wide expanses.
The above is my experience and opinion. If anyone has something to add, your comments, tips or tricks are most welcome and invited. Again, look to the internet for videos and\or tutorials.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
So, if anyone is reading this post at all, if you've experienced turning side to side crochet into in the round crochet, I'd love to hear from you and how that worked out and if you've got any special "tweaking" tips you would like to share.