Friday, January 28, 2011

Finally getting started!!

Warning: this post is picture heavy! But it sort of needs to I hope you understand everything. If not leave a note in the comments and I'll try to answer them the best I can!

So if you haven't already go on over to Ohmygoodknits and save, print, or bookmark yourself a copy of her mary jane slipper pattern. She asked nicely if people would simply link back to her pattern instead of copying it and reposting it. So you may need to refer back every once in awhile. But I will work line by line and explain everything in laimans terms!

This pattern starts by crocheting in the round. So you work in a circle rather than line by line up to a certain point. Then you will go line by line.

So we will start by making a magic ring. The "old way" of working in a circle would have been to chain so many stitches, join them to make a circle and work 8 stitches into this teeny tiny circle. Which generally resulted in the ripping out of hair. Because you want the circle to be tight and the last couple stitches would be very difficult o get in there. BUT whoever invented the magic ring is genius! It is adjustable and you tighten it AFTER you get all of your stitches into it! A very big excitement for me...I only wish I'd have known that after making 50 stars for an American flag blanket using the "old way" of crocheting in the round.

The pattern says to start by working 8 dc (double crochet) into a magic ring.


Basically just pull the back yarn (or yarn attached to the ball, not the tail) forward through the ring. 

I start EVERYTHING with the magic ring whether I am chaining to start (like for a blanket) or working in the round. At this point if you were going to chain you'd pull your tail and keep chaining. But were not so don't pull your tail just yet!

Lets make our first of 8 double crochets!

So you pull your "yarn over" through the next two loops. The two loops closest the end of the hook.

Remember your yarn should be BEHIND your hook you are bringing it over the hook toward you.

Repeat this until you have 8 double crochets in your magic ring.

The very first little "v" we did.

Now you can pull your tail and tighten your magic ring. Pull it as tight as you can without breaking the yarn off! haha that wouldn't be good! So this is your first round of stitches. 

This is 8 dc worked into a magic ring. 

Before moving onto the next round make sure you count your little "v"s to make sure you have 8. This is important if you mess this up now it will cause you many a headaches trying to get the right stitches later on in the pattern.

Got your 8? Good! 

Let me show you this. I used a bigger hook so that you could see the stitches a bit more easily. If you click on it you can see a larger image. It is important to know which space is where you joined and where the next stitch is. 

Ok, now that we've got that sorted out lets start the next round.

This is called a chain. In the pattern it says "chain 2", or "ch 2"

The next part says "2 dc into each stitch" So lets start with one dc.

I think you guys can take it from here and finish up to the toe section on your own. 

Let me explain a bit more about the next round. Anytime you see a asterick * it means this is where you start the repeat. So Line 3 says "1 dc into same space" this means after you chain 2 put one dc into the joining space or the "v" space from the picture above. Then the directions say "2 dc into next stitch" so work your two dc into the next stitch. Then you see the * this means pay attention you will repeat this all the way around. She says "*1 DC into next st, 2 DC into next*" So you will do 1 dc into the next then 2 dc into the stitch after that. Repeat this until you are back at the beginning. The last part of this line is to "slst into top of the first DC, ch 2". Slip stitch into the top of the first double crochet, then chain two. You should have 24 stitches at the end of this round. Be sure to check your work!

The next round (4) I think you guys can handle! 

Finally round 5 and 6 say "work 2 rounds even". Which means work one stitch into each stitch all the way around. 

At this point your little cup should fit over your toes. 

Sunday we will pick back up and finish off the main portion of the slipper! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Terms, terms, terms | American crochet terms

So today while I should start the pattern I thought I would tell you a bit more about crochet terms first. So that when I abbreviate you aren't lost in la la land! haha

When purchasing a pattern on your own or even hunting for free ones you want to look for patterns written in American Crochet Terms. There are other terms like British Crochet terms and even Scandinavian crochet terms. all which vary slightly. These terms obviously are for written patterns not chart patterns (which I touched on yesterday).

Isn't yarn beautiful? I just LOVE all the different varieties out there!
Here is a list of terms and their abbreviations for quick reference. 

sl st - slip stitch
ch - chain
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
tr - treble or triple crochet
dtr - double treble/triple crochet
yo - yarn over
finish off/fasten off

We will not be using all of these to make the slippers I think we only use the scdchdc, and maybe a sl st here and there. As well as a couple "specialty stitches" which I'll explain as we go. At the end after we finish our slippers I will explain the rest of them step by step for future use with different patterns.

So this is how I "hold" the yarn. My hook in my right hand (because I'm right handed) and my yarn in my left hand. Sorry I had to use my right hand to shoot the pic... I loop the yarn through my fingers under my pinky up over my ring finger, under my middle and over my index finger. This is how the by good friend Jamie taught me to hold it and I never looked back. Some people just let it hang from their left hand but I find that this allows me to control my tension better. Therefore creating even, uniform stitches.

Index finger lowered for looser tension.

Index finger raised for tighter tension.
I use my index finger like my tension. If I need stitches to be looser then I let my index finger down and if it needs to be tighter I put it up to tighten the tension.

I hold my work with my left middle finger and thumb. While my right hand does all the work with loops.

Tomorrow we'll start by learning the magic ring and work on the first section of the pattern! Yeah! I think I will explain the stitches in the beginning and then walk you through the pattern step by step.

Love and Hugs,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shall we gather?!

Note: I meant to post this last Monday but I was stricken by the plague. Ok maybe just the flu but I was in bed for literally 3 days straight. I'm still not quite right but at least I can sit up and stand now without the room spinning!

SO... lets tally the votes! haha

3 - slippers
1 - ear warmers
1 - fingerless gloves
1 - hat

Yeah! We'll do the slippers which I was really excited to make myself. But if I do my job correctly over this coming week you will know and understand crochet terms and stitches as well as the "magic adjustable ring" used so frequently to start crocheting. You should also be able to read a pattern written in American crochet terms and hopefully be able to create any of these quick and simple projects!

There are also so many patterns out there written in "graph" or "chart" form. And if I stumble across any free ones we can work on those too later on. I just learned to read these recently when I was making some Hello Kitty amigurumi (a big fancy Japanese word for crocheted doll) dolls for the girls. The patterns are "written" in Japanese luckily the book I purchased also had the charts! My hubby called me crazy for buying a book written in Japanese, until I showed him the charts. haha

So for the slippers you will need:

one skein of worsted (medium) weight yarn in the color of your choosing
a small bit of a contrasting color (for the edging and straps) in worsted (medium) weight as well
An H (5.00mm) hook
A couple large buttons
a tapestry needle (or any needle really, used to sew on the buttons)

Let me explain a bit. If you've never worked with yarn your probably asking yourself what the heck is a skein and worsted weight?

A skein is a length of thread or yarn wound in a loose long coil. So in simpleton terms that means one ball or bundle of yarn like what is pictured above.

Worsted weight is a general weight for yarn. It is a medium weight smooth yarn (also pictured above). It is easy to work with (since you can easily see your stitches). It also yields smooth, warm finished products. So your feet will be soft and warm! You will find what type of yarn on the label of yarn. See that little number 4 on the wrapper of a picture of yarn. That will show you your weight. Also on the label you will find the best suited hook for that specific yarn as well as the washing instructions and usually a lot number. If you are making a blanket or something larger pay attention to lot numbers when purchasing multiple skeins of yarn. Sometimes colors will vary slightly from lot to lot.

Basically, if you use a fine yarn your slippers will be too small in contrast to if you use a bulky yarn you slippers will be too big. I can usually tell by looking at the yarns. And soon enough you will be able too as well!

Please oh please refrain from purchasing these beautiful yarns for this project. Both are bulky weight (so they aren't the right weight anyway). But more importantly from a beginners standpoint you will want to rip your hair out because of how difficult the stitches will be to see! When working with a hairy yarn you more or less "feel" where your next stitch will go since the hair covers what you would normally look for. The finished product is beautiful (like the soft pink cocoon I did) but you will probably add some of your own ripped out hair to the product! haha And the bauble sort of thick yarn is really beautiful too. Probably easier to work with than the hairy one but a nuisance all the same. Either way these are examples of what NOT to get!

When you are looking at hooks I like metal hooks. They don't flex when you are working with them at all and they are nice and smooth making the stitches work evenly. You can get a variety pack for very inexpensive. You can also buy the ones with bamboo handles and they are good too more ergonomical or whatever?! But I hold my hook higher than the handles so they don't make much of a difference for me.

SO go gather and meet me back here on Wednesday and we'll get started!! In the meantime I'm going to work a few of these up and see if I run into any difficulties!

Love and Hugs,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Well...should we get started? Pattern voting!

Ok guys! I am so excited you want to learn! SO...should we pick a pattern? I've been scouring the internet for fun, funky, FREE patterns. My absolute favorite jumping point for searching for free patterns is Ravelry. It is sort of like the Ucreate of Crochet/Knit-world. Well almost. They do have alot of not free patterns. That are actually really reasonable if you cannot find a free one anywhere. Sometimes I get sick of searching and break down and buy the patterns.

So here is what I came up with for some free and easy starter patterns.

This sweet little bag by Tangled Happy. The size can also be easily increased!

Really really cute slipppers! By Ohmygoodknits. I have a pair of slippers similar to this that I got at Target and I LOVE them. So incredibly comfy!

To brim or not to brim by Vallieskids. I LOVE that little one on the end with the strap across the front and buttons on each side. Who doesn't want a cute knit brimmed hat? This pattern says it is for a baby so I'd need to make one first and adjust the size to fit an adult. But there is a good amount of give in the yarn so I dont think it'd be a huge issue.

Fingerless gloves. By Julia Crossland. I think these are beautiful. Picture your favorite colors!

Beautiful yarn necklace by creativeyarn. So simple and beautiful. This is probably the easiest project on the list.

Uhm, seriously? These are adorable! Either for Momma as ear warmers or lil girls as a sweet headband! Also by Tangled Happy.

Leave your vote in the comments section. I'll leave voting up for the rest of the week and weekend, then we'll start gathering supplies!

EEK! I'm excited!  I want to make everything on the list right this very minute!

Love and Hugs,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Do you crochet?

I finished these awesome pieces for a newborn shoot I had over the weekend. I purchased the patterns at Polka Dot Posh on etsy. The patterns were simple to follow and I had each piece done within a matter of hours even with the babes doing laps around me. I was sitting on the floor with my lap top in the play area. haha

The hooded cocoon
The hanging cocoon

So do you guys crochet? Would you like to? I've taught many a friends to do it and I'm sure with lots of pictures I can teach you guys too!

Of course we would NOT be making these ones because they are copy written. But I'm sure I can find a fun free pattern that we can work with! Just let me know in the comments and I will start looking for a pattern for us to work with. We can make it like a week long series and learn a little bit each day. Slowly working up to the finished project.

Love and Hugs,