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  • Learn to Crochet: Foundation Stitches and a Free Pattern

    Remember when I said that chain stitches were the foundation of any crocheted item?  Foundation stitches are also the.....um.....foundation of any crocheted item!

    Simply put, starting your project with foundation stitches is another way to start your project as you're crocheting your first row.   As the nice lady says in the video, beginning your project with foundation stitches saves you the trouble of counting chain stitches on a large project and your finished product will have a stretchier edge.

    And before I forget, here's the video for the left-handed crocheter.  I wouldn't want to leave you hanging.

    Back to it: a stretchier first row helps you set the right tension for your project.  If you crochet your chain stitches too tightly, you'll have a hard time crocheting into the stitches and your crocheting may get a little puckered-looking by the time you have a few rows of stitches done in the right tension.  This probably won't be too noticeable on something like a scarf or a cowl, and you're likely to be the only person it bothers.  But if you're making a hat or a sweater--or even something that needs to be seamed together with other pieces of crocheting--you're going to notice that inflexible edge a lot.

    (I thought about including a picture of how this has happened to me, but pride and my disorganized photo-organizing habits have saved your eyes from this horror.)

    Not to be a fear-monger, but does anyone want to think about what happens if you're several rows in on an afghan and figure out that the problem with the pattern is due to the wrong number of chain stitches and you're going to have to rip the whole thing back?

    Man, I really am getting into the spirit of Halloween!  I'll stop now before things get too terrifying.

    My point is, foundation stitches are a great way to start a project and it's always helpful to know different methods for starting a project.

    AND!  If you follow along with the video, you'll know how to do the single crochet stitch!  You're crocheting now!  High five!  Here's a free scarf pattern!

    I know, I know.  A scarf.  But scarves as a beginner's project are cliched for a reason.  They're straight, simple, and scarves.  I'm sure my personal bias for scarves is showing now, but whatever.  We're settling into fall, the air is cooler, and this scarf idea is super cute.

    Just a tip for reading patterns: "ch" means "chain" and "sc" means "single crochet."  You'd probably figure that out on your own, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.  

    I also think I should mention that the pattern tells you to chain your beginning row, but there's obviously nothing stopping you from trying out your new skills at crocheting foundation stitches.  Do it!  It's going to be fun!  You're crocheting!

  • Learn to crochet: Learn to chain left-handed

    I was talking to my husband this weekend about the fact that Leisure Arts had made HD videos (also available on their website) and how I thought that was cool, but he just snorted and asked if anyone really needed to watch a crochet tutorial in high definition.  I promised to show him some of the videos I've watched online that were so fuzzy and shaky that I nearly got car sick.  When the simple act of trying to learn a new technique reminds you of watching The Blair Witch Project, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong with your crafting experience.

    He seemed to find my comparison a little dramatic (it's almost time for Halloween.  Maybe I just have scary movies on the brain), but then he's not interested in yarn crafting.  Maybe I should have told him there are tutorials for left-handed people like him.  I don't know if that would have convinced him, but I still think the left-handed tutorials are exciting!

    In knitting, left-handed crafters are usually told something to the effect of "See what I just did?  If you're left handed, just do the reverse of what I did.  It's that simple!"

    Actually, left-handed people are usually told this when they're trying to learn anything.  Or so that left-handed husband tells me.  He also told me it's usually not that simple.

    And in crocheting, it's apparently really, really not that simple.

    So here's  a video showing you how to crochet your beginning chain if you're left-dominant.  Rejoice, 10%--20% of the population! Your HD crafting tutorial videos are here and your days of muddling through instructions lost and alone are over!

    Click! Right! Here!

    The 'right' pun was unintended.  I'm sorry.

    But I think this is exciting!  I'm a very visual/tactile learner, and it's really helpful for me to watch an instructional video as I attempt to follow along (usually 3 or 4 times in a row).  The idea of trying to translate instructions for myself as I'm trying to learn a new skill would probably discourage me from even attempting it, which is why I think this is awesome.  I hope you do, too.

  • Learn to crochet: Learn to chain

    I love crocheting.  I'm primarily a knitter, and so I kind of forgot how much I liked crocheting for a while.  But then I started crocheting more and more this year because I got sucked into the amigurumi trend.  Since I've started knitting more, I realized one of the things I like so much about crocheting is that the Size H crochet hook you use for an amigurumi Easter egg is the same Size H hook you use for a granny square potholder, which is the same Size H hook you use for an afghan big enough to cover a king size bed.  With knitting, you need different lengths and types of needles for different projects.  Not so with crochet.  Even better?  If your crochet hook falls out of your project, you're fine.  You just pick it back up, place it back in your one loop, and go on about your business.

    (We don't have to talk about what happens when all those knitted loops fall off the needle.  It's too upsetting for mesomepeople.)

    Crocheting is a great car-trip activity, and most crochet projects go faster than knitting.  Did I mention amigurumi?  Can I mention it again?

    I really didn't want to write this post without showing you those little owls.  So cute!

    There's just something about crocheting--I don't know if it's the texture of a crocheted item, or the look of granny squares, or if it's just that crocheting is a much more accessible activity for some crafters.  Whatever the 'something' is, I just like crocheting and I think everyone else should too.

    Now that I've convinced you, here's how you get started!

    The first step in crocheting is making a chain.  Here's an HD video showing you how.

    Some people never learn anything more about crocheting once they learn how to make a chain.  I have a sister who is one of those people and her house has a lot of very nice garland around Christmas time!  But there's really no need to stop there!  Now that you know how to pull yarn through a loop, you can do anything!

    Fine, maybe not anything.  But you know how to set up the foundation of a crocheted project and that's the only place you can start.

    It's only going to get more exciting from here!

  • Knooking in the Round, Videos, & Free Patterns

    Have you experimented with the knook yet? There’s a new set available—the Knook Expanded Beginner Set for light, medium, and bulky weight yarns. It comes with more hooks and other goodies than the original Knook Beginner Set.

    Currently, I’m intrigued with the idea of knooking in the round. The experts at Leisure Arts tell me that it’s much easier to knook in the round than it is to actually use knitting needles. Plus, I like to crochet in the round so much, knitting in the round with the knook sounds like a pretty good idea to me!

    To get ready for this new knooking in the round experience, I’ve been checking out this free video from Leisure Arts: How To Knook: In the Round (Right Handed). There’s a how-to video for lefthanders, too: How to Knook: In the Round (Left Handed)! Very cool!

    And to make use of my new knooking in the round skills, I’ve also downloaded two new free knook baby hat patterns from Leisure Arts:

    Free Knook Ridges Baby Hat Download Pattern

    Free Knook Ribs Baby Hat Download Pattern

    Both of these adorable hat patterns were designed by Dorothy E. Uhlir who also came up with all the pretty projects in our Baby Beanies Made with the Knook pattern book! (It’s available in both hold-in-your-hands printed and pdf downloadable versions!)

    Wish me luck on my knooking in the round journey! Let me know if you decide to try it, too. I wanna see pictures!

  • Knook Versatility—New Patterns & Video

    Hope you’re having a wonderful 4th of July weekend! I know, I know, I’ve been teasing you all week, taunting you with the idea of new Knook downloadable patterns and a video on the horizon…Well, guess what! They’re here!

    Experience the versatility of the Knook! To learn how to use the Knook to combine knit and crochet on the same project (how cool is that?) watch our new video “How to Knook: Combining Knit and Crochet” and check out our FREE Sampler Scarf Knook Download Pattern to practice what you’ve learned.

    We’ve also added five more new downloadable Knook patterns to our website. Take a look:

    Hot Pad & Pot Holder

    Man’s Scarf

    Fingerless Mitts

    Baby Legwarmers

    And one of them’s even FREE!

    How adorable is this cat toy? Make it for FREE with our Free Cat’s Butterfly Download Pattern.

    Happy knooking! With our instant downloads and teach yourself videos, you can get started right now!

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