Monday, November 26, 2007

Single Crochet -- Part 2

In the last installment, we talked about making single crochet stitches with either no foundation row (just a piece of cloth) or a chain stitch foundation. In this installment, we'll talk about making single crochet stitches in the top of a stitch or in a chain space.

First to recap about making sc's in ch sts. --- Here's the 6-foot chain again. This time it's much different. It's wider and a lot sturdier. I used the technique in the last picture of the last installment to single crochet in each chain stitch of the chain (except, of course, the one used in turning the work). You'll notice that it curls a lot. That can be fixed by blocking.

I've also made progress on the terry cloth dish towel. I've done sc 1, *ch 2, sc 1* to the end. That was the first row (done on the right side of the fabric). Also, all the sc's were made into the fabric.

Next ch 1 and turn the work. (The ch 1 is a substitute for the first stitch in this next row -- a row of single crochet stitches.) Then single crochet twice into each chain space. In the picture, I've already worked 3 chain spaces and am preparing to sc in the next chain space. (This is the beginning of Step 1. Step 2 is done just as before.) When I get to the end, I'll single crochet into the top of the last st (which was the first st of the previous row).

Row 2: Turn, ch 1, sc 2 in each ch sp across, sc in last st.

You're probably thinking that you'll end up with fewer stitches than you started out with. And you'd be right. The number of stitches will be decreased by about a third.

If I had wanted to keep the same number of stitches, I would have done one of the following:
Turn, ch 1, *sc 2 in each ch sp, sc in next sc* across
Turn, ch 1, sc 3 in each ch sp across
Turn, ch 1, sc in each st across
I would have taken the first option. First of all, it's easier to sc into a ch sp than a ch st. Second, it keeps the sts lined up vertically.

Finally, a word about what the top of a stitch looks like. It looks like a chain selvage on the edge of a knitted garment. When the directions say to sc into the next sc, it means to put the hook under the 2 loops on the top of the stitch (as part of Step 1). Then do Step 2 as usual. It really doesn't matter how you crochet the last st of this row, though, since it will be hidden by the edging.

Here, (a rippled afghan) is an example of what a crocheted piece looks like when one crochets in the back loops only instead of both loops.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Single Crochet Stitch

The single crochet stitch is abbreviated sc in patterns as in sc 2 in next ch sp (single crochet twice in the next chain space) or sc 3 in next st (single crochet 3 times in next st).

A word of warning:
This is American terminology. The British term for the same stitch is double crochet (dc).

As with all crochet stitches, one starts with a single loop on the hook. In the picture at the right, I started with a loop created by making a slip stitch knot around the hook (just as one often does in starting a cast on in knitting).

There are 2 steps to making the stitch.

First, with the yarn in back, draw a loop through. In this case, I used the crochet hook to poke a hole through the terry cloth dish towel. Then I wrapped the thread around the hook and pulled the thread through. (Terry cloth is woven loosely and so it is possible to poke holes through it without snagging the fabric.) There are now 2 loops on the hook.

Second, wrap the thread around the hook again (as in the first picture) and then pull the thread through both loops.

The stitch is complete and one is left with one loop on the hook.

To make the edging, I then did 2 chain sts before making the next single crochet.
sc 1, *ch 2, sc 1* to end

The second picture show several repeats of the pattern, ending with a chain 2. The chain 2 forms what is called a chain space. I did it this way to space out the single crochet stitches.

I hope you were able to make a 6 foot long chain of chain stitches. Here is mine. But, it looks so thin. To remedy that, let's single crochet back.

The video at NexStitch shows how to do just that. The last picture in this post (from the booklet from the American Thread Company) also shows how.

Remember when starting a row to skip the first st. The last chain st made (at the end of the previous row) serves as a replacement for the first sc (at the beginning of the next row).

We've talked about how to single crochet. We've also seen how to single crochet into fabric and into chain stitches.
Next time, we'll talk about how to single crochet into a chain space and also how to crochet into the top of a single crochet stitch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Are you looking for some fast crafting ideas that don't take a lot of time or materials? Part 6

Christmas Pattern

Christmas Crackers

And an early one for Valentine's Day:

Valentine Roses

I hope you have enjoyed this series of patterns.


Are you looking for some fast crafting ideas that don't take a lot of time or materials? Part 5

Woven Ribbon Tree

Winter Landscape

Embroidered Tree


Are you looking for some fast crafting ideas that don't take a lot of time or materials? Part 4

Smiling Snowflake

Skating Bear

Shadow Quilted Rose

Fun With Sequin Waste

Are you looking for some fast crafting ideas that don't take a lot of time or materials? Part 3

Here is Part 3:

North Pole Xmas

Parchment Craft Deer

Peek-a-boo (Ouch!)

Ribbon Wreath</span>

Are you looking for some fast crafting ideas that don't take a lot of time or materials? Part 2

Here is Part 2:

Holly Wreath

Fabric Picture Cards

Oval Patchwork Stars

Simple Symmetry

Are you looking for some fast crafting ideas that don't take a lot of time or materials? Part 1

Here are some great ideas.

Candle and Holly

Christmas Stocking

Christmas Robins

Dove Of Peace

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Chain Stitch

In patterns the chain stitch is abbreviated ch -- as in "ch 3" for chain 3 sts or "skip 1 ch" as an instruction to skip the next st (which happens to be a chain st)

The first step is to make a slip stitch on the hook (the same way one would make a slip stitch for knitting). Here is a video on making a chain stitch from Nexstitch. It doesn't start with a slip stitch, however. It has an ingenious way to start without making a slip stitch.

Or, in words, how to hold the yarn and start to chain, quoting from the booklet from the American Thread Company (since it describes how to wrap the yarn around the hand better than I can.)---- This quotation starts after instructions on how to make a slip knot and assumes that the thread is already hanging from the hook.

"Hold the hook in right hand as you would a pencil, bringing the middle finger forward resting it about midway between the broad bar and top of hook. With the thread in back of hand, place thread between fourth and little finger, across palm side of fingers and over fore-finger, if more comfortable, wind thread over finger once. Do not hold thread too tightly. Hold the hook in left hand, insert hook in loop, pick up the main length of thread on hook (this is termed 'thread over' ...) and pull through loop. Repeat this ch for required length. On this foundation chain may be worked practically any stitch desired."

I hold yarn for crocheting the same way I hold yarn for knitting. (I'm a Continental style knitter.) I hold a crochet hook slightly differently than I do a knitting needle. For crocheting, I have my middle finger farthest toward the end of the hook. For knitting, I have my index finger farthest toward the end of the needle. The fingers in the left hand are also used to pull the thread downward a bit to make it easier to pull the yarn through. Note also that the yarn starts out behind the hook.
The chain stitch is a multi-purpose stitch. It serves the same purpose as the cast on in knitting in that it can and usually is used as a foundation row. It also serves the same purpose as the yarn over in knitting in that it's used to make crocheting more lacy. It's used to make picots. It's also used as a substitute for other stitches at the beginning of a row. Instead of making a single crochet at the beginning of a row, one might be asked to chain 1 (or 2). Instead of making a double crochet at the beginning of a row, one might be asked to chain 2 (or 3). (Some people use the lower number -- because a ch 1 is the same length as a single crochet is in height. Some people use the higher number.) I also use chain stitches when I'm going to put crocheting down for a while. I chain a few stitches loosely so that if it unravels, I won't lose any of my work. Then before beginning again, I undo the chain.

Things do even out. Double or triple crochet stitches are often substituted for chain stitches at the end of a row or round.

Our Bits and Bobs "Mom" has posted a CAL that uses chain stitches and would be great practice in chaining. (For beginners, chaining a chain 6 feet long instead of single crocheting a chain 6 feet long is much easier. For those wanting a challenge, here is a link on single crocheting a chain.)

Finally, next Tuesday, I'm going to post directions on making a border on a dish towel. For this, you'll need a terry cloth dish towel (to be cut in half), a size 7 crochet hook, and size 10 crochet thread (100% mercerized cotton). The hook and crochet thread could also be used for the CAL.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Have you done Cross-Stitch and found it to time consuming?

This is a a really great technique and one I am going to try on an ornament later. This ornament is available in the 2007 Christmas Ornaments from the Just Cross Stitch Magazine. Wish me luck.

Stitch 'N Paint is quick option for cross stitchers. This is a technique I found on Leisure Arts website. They have PDF of how to do this.

As you can see they have done this with not only small pictures such as the sun, but with Disney charachters like Eeyore and the Princesses.

If anyone does this technique, please share with us, especially pictures.



The Materials List is similar to that for the Ravelry KAL

Thin yarn
Crochet hook
elmers glue


Make a chain 6 feet long.

That's right folks SIX FEET LONG! LOL!!!

Now inflate the balloon. Make a mixture of glue and water 1-1 ratio. Dip the balloon in the water and begin wrapping the chain all around the balloon. Any way you like. once the chain is completely wrapped up lightly apply the mixture to firm it. or you can use spray starch instead. add a coat and dry it, and repeat until it is really firm. Then apply tape to the balloon, and pierce the balloon through the tape. Remove the deflated balloon and attach an ornament hook. Crocheted Christmas Ornament!

Bits And BobS UnRavelled KAL Update

Ok the Ravelry group has started their KAL!

Materials List:
Thin Yarn or Crochet Thread
Size 8, 9,10, or 11 Needles, whichever you prefer
1 Balloon
Elmers glue
A bowl
Scotch Tape
A sewing needle

Basic Instructions:

Knit 50 rows
Bind off.

You can add beads if you like as you knit using the crochet hook method:
Slide an appropriately size seed bead onto your crochet hook.
Pick up stitch off of the left needle using a size 1 crochet hook. Slip the bead off of the crochet hook and onto the stitch that you are holding with the hook. Replace the stitch on the left hand needle. Add beads as you see fit.

Fold the piece in half lengthwise and stitch together. Seam up the top as well insert balloon and inflate to desired size. Then seam up the bottom.

Mix water and glue to a thin consistency. 1 part glue to 1 part water. Dip the balloon in the mixture and let dry. Repeat several times until your knitting is super stiff. you can even sprinkle with glitter while it is wet after the final dip if you like.

Once it is dry and firm. Place a piece of tape on the baloon and insert a needle through the tape. This lets the air out without popping the balloon. Remove deflated balloon and attach and ornament hook.

A lovely lace Christmas Ornament!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"Crochet is Quick"

This is the first installment in several on crocheting. I recently found a booklet , which belonged to my MIL, on knitting and crocheting (or at least the middle 20 or so pages) from, I believe, the American Thread Company (The first 6 pages are missing.). The booklet appears to be over 50 years old. The title of the section on crocheting is "Crochet is Quick".

I'll be posting parts of the booklet. Later, I'll also post directions for edgings -- since knitters occasionally used crocheted edgings to prevent curling -- and other projects (as the mood hits me). The first project is pictured at the right.

But, before we begin, we need some basics:

"What You Need and How To Begin
"Crochet work takes its name from the hook with which it is done. It is one of the oldest and most useful needle work arts. It is composed of a few foundation stitches by which every design may be developed.
"Crochet Hooks used, differ in size according to the material and object to be worked. The largest, usually of Composition, Bone, Ivory or Wood are used for the heavier kind of work in wool or heavy cotton, steel hooks are preferred for finer types of Crochet in cotton. The Afghan needle is longer than usual and is the same thickness throughout.
"Crochet threads vary as to twist, size and color. Whenever possible, use the thread recommended in the directions and be sure you purchase a sufficient quantity of the same dye lot. This applies to all colors, including Cream, Linen and Ecru. Wherever 'Gauge' appears, it is important that it be followed.
"Needle gauge means the number of stitches worked to one inch and the number of rows worked to one inch. It is wise to work about a two inch square with the thread and needle recommended. If the stitches per inch do not correspond, the size of needle must be changed. If there are more sts to the inch than given, use a larger hook, and if fewer stitches to the inch, use a smaller hook. Practice until correct gauge is obtained."