Sunday, September 17, 2017

Video Tutorials For Beginners

Hello everyone!  I uploaded video tutorials for beginning crocheter.  Please check them out.  Thank you.  Please click here
Have a wonderful Fall Season!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How To Understand The Language Of Crochet -- #1

Crochet has it's own language and to a person just starting to learn the craft, it must be daunting.  One student told me, when we were talking about "dc on dc",  "you know how crazy that sounds!?"
This phrase or crochet command sounds perfectly sane and normal to me but I've been crocheting off and on since I was seven or eight years old.  One thing I realized is that crochet instructions are sentence short hands and this is the part that beginning crocheter learning to read pattern need to understand.

Crochet instructions usually omits words such as "you make" or "you do" because it is understood that the reader (you) of the pattern is the one being addressed.  To include these words on the instructions will be very repetitive and cumbersome and will make the written pattern so much longer.  In the following sentence, for example:  You make a double crochet stitch on the next double crochet stitch of the previous row (round), in crochet pattern instructions it will be written as, "dc on next dc," see how short this instruction is?  The words "you make" is ommitted, and "dc" instead of being a noun becomes a verb which tells you to make a double crochet stitch.  The phrase "of previous row (round)," is also omitted.  It is understood that the new crochet stitches is being attached to stitches of previous row or round so there is no need to keep repeating this phrase with every command to do or make a stitch.

What does next dc mean? when the pattern says "next dc", it actually is referring to the dc of previous row or round (as mentioned above), that is next or adjacent to the current stitch just made, because in crochet, the crocheter is always working on the previous row or round, except when working at the sides of rows to make edging or borders.  In the photo below the current stitch which is a ch-2 counted as a dc is marked by an arrow and the arrow is pointing to the hole which the ch-2 created when attached or fastened into a double crochet stitch of previous round.  The next stitch where the hook should be inserted to make a dc (double crochet) is the hole where the pin is located.  In order to see which one is the next stitch, you have to see where the last stitch (current stitch) is attached and the stitch closest to it is the next stitch.  See photo below.

Stitch VS Space

Where do you insert the hook, on a stitch (st) or space (sp)?  It is important to know that the two are not the same.  One obvious difference between stitch and space is that the hole to which a hook can be inserted on a stitch is a lot smaller than that of the hole (space) created between 2 stitches.   The hole of a stitch is sometimes hard to see and you have to use the tip of a crochet hook to pry the stitch open and see the hole to which the crochet hook can be inserted as in the  above photo where the pin is placed.

Crochet instruction variations that mean the same:  Sc on next sc also can be written as Sc on next st. It means to make a single crochet on next single crochet stitch.  Stitch is a general term for all crochet stitches such as: Sc, dc, tr, slst etc.

Space:  In Crochet usually refers to the space between stitches or the space created under chain stitches.  Space under chains can also be referred to as a loop.  It is important to remember the distinction between stitch and space to get the expected result that the pattern calls for.   See Photos below.

In photo above the hole associated with the stitch is where the pin is located.  This is where the crochet hook is to be inserted when a crochet instruction says "dc on next st" or "dc on next dc stitch" another instruction variation is to say "dc on top of next dc" they all mean the same thing.

On the photo above, the bottom pin is placed in space between 2 dc(s) or double crochets and the top pin is place on the stitch.  An example of crochet instruction that is requiring to use the space between 2 double crochet will say something like this,  "skip 2 dc then dc on next space (sp)".  In this case, if you are a right handed crocheter, you will start counting from right to left, from the stitch where your last stitch is attached and skip the specified number of dc(s) then insert the hook on the space immediately after the skipped stitches.  If you are a left handed crocheter then reverse the direction of counting and use the same instructions.

In above photo, the pin is placed on the ch-3 space, which is a space under the 3 chains at the corner of this granny square.

Use one loop or two loops?  There are 2 strands of yarn visible on top of each stitch:  The one facing you is called front loop; the one facing away from you is called back loop.  Unless the pattern specifies to use either back loop or front loop, both front loop and back loop are used when inserting the hook to make a stitch.  Using both front loop and back loop makes a stable and strong crocheted fabric and using only one will result in the opposite characteristics of the crocheted work.  See photo below.

On photo above, the crochet hook is inserted on both front and back loop of a stitch.

There are a lot more things that can be discussed related to this topic but I will save them for my next post.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope I shed a little light that help beginning crocheter.

Happy Crochet Day!

The Importance Of Making A Swatch In Crochet

What is a crochet swatch?  It is a small piece of crocheted work that represents all the stitches used in a pattern for a specific crochet project.  It is also used to check the gauge to make sure that the crocheter meets the required measurement per number of stitches.  It is important in making fitted garments or fashion accessories to ensure that the finished measurement of the garment is met.

Another purpose of making a swatch is to get the crocheter be familiar with the instructions and how the series or string of crochet instructions look once they are made.  It becomes easy to follow instructions given once a crocheter understands and see the result of the crochet commands given.

To determine the size of the swatch, one must look at all the stitches used and the series of repetitions vertically and horizontally.  The swatch should include all the stitches used and all the stitch combinations and repeats both vertically and

Sometimes a pattern is made up of a series of motifs.  In this case, make a swatch that is composed of one motif.  You can determine the size of the project based on the swatch by measuring the width and the length of  the swatch and multiplying them by the number of times to repeat the size of the swatch to obtain the desired size of the project.  You can also use the swatch to determine how many yards of yarn it will take to finish a project by determining how many yards of yarn it takes to make the swatch; then multiply the number of yards per swatch by how many repeats of the swatch it will take to complete a project.

How to determine how many yards per swatch is another topic, I'd like to discuss in a separate post.

Thank you for stopping by and have a fun Crochet Day!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tips For Beginning Crocheter -- How To Read And Follow Written Crochet Instructions

Crochet Pattern Instructions are usually made up of series or string of instructions within a single sentence and the best way to understand and follow it is to read and do one string of instruction at a time.  The string of instructions are usually separated by comas or semicolon and end in period at the end of the sentence.  Begin by reading and doing from coma to coma or from coma to semicolon or to period.  This action is similar to taking small bite of food so that it can easily be chewed.

Reading a Crochet Pattern Instructions alone does not make sense.  It is hard to understand crochet commands or instructions unless they are followed word for word in proper sequence within the string of commands.

Skipping one or two commands or instructions is a common mistake because they are so similar and hard to distinguish from one to another.  It is easy to get lost within the series of instructions.  The way I minimize error due to this fact is to use lead pencils or see through labels which I use as markers for current string of command I'm currently doing.  I move the label to the next string or if using pencil I check mark the end of the string I completed, before I start the next string of command.
See photo below.

On Round 1 of this pattern, there are 4 strings of commands indicated by red numbers and brackets.
The strings are separated by comas, and period.  The commands must be followed word for word from 1 to 4 in sequence.  Note the yellow transparent label that I placed over string of command #1 to indicate the current command or instruction that I'm doing.    I don't worry about the next command until the current one is done.

Crochet Pattern Instructions is either for projects that are made up of crocheted rows or the project is crocheted in the rounds.

Crocheted rows require turning the work right side up then wrong side up alternately.
Crocheted rounds start at one point and ends in the same point.  A marker is usually used to mark the beginning/ending point.

This is all for now.  I hope this post is of some help.  Thank you for stopping by.

My next post will be "How To Understand The Language Of Crochet."