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  • Learn to Crochet: Front Post Treble Crochet

    Hey, remember when I talked about back post crochet yesterday? 

    Remember when I thought it was weird and pretty and fascinating?

    Consider my mind still blown because front post crochet is also a thing. 

    It stands to reason that if you can work a back post crochet, there's probably a technique out there for front post crochet.  And, it's really not that "out there."  It's on the Leisure Arts YouTube channel.

    I was going to be consistent and post a front post double crochet video since I talked about back post double crochet yesterday, but whatever.  That video doesn't seem to exist, and the double crochet is one of the most common stitches ever.

    So this video is for the front post crochet treble stitches.  I feel like we don't talk about treble crochet enough.  I thought I'd posted a video on standard treble crochet stitches, but I hadn't.  I had even planned to just post tutorials for right-handed and left-handed treble crochet videos for this week, but those videos don't seem to exist on the Leisure Arts channel, either.  Which is weird, because I could have sworn that I saw them.  But that just means I dreamed it, and I'm dreaming about searching for videos on YouTube again.  I don't know what that means, and I probably don't want to.

    Anyway.......

    Front post treble crochet!

    So.  Front post crochet, eh?  How about that?  I went searching through some pattern books and noticed that any time a granny square featured a type of sunburst design with long lines above the rest of the fabric in the square (kind of like when you do an SSK in knitting, but much more noticeable), the front post treble crochet was how you make it happen.  I feel like I can do anything now!

    Ordinarily, this would be the point in the post where I'd show you a project I was working on so that you could have proof that I had tried out the technique for myself. 

    [Picture not included because I haven't tried this out for myself.  Yet.]

    I said I felt like I could do anything now.  Not that I was actually doing it.  Yet.

    But soon I will!  The process seems a little less mystifying now that I can pull up this video and play it on a loop while I try out some patterns. 

    I can't wait!

  • Learn to Crochet: Back Post Double Crochet

    I want to crochet a dishcloth.  Actually, I want to crochet several.  I like making dishcloths because I like quick projects.  I also like to have them on hand for gifts.  I currently have 0 dishcloths in my gift stash and I'd like to do something about that.

    And: I want to crochet them because of the book, Dishcloths.

    Hint: this book is about dishcloths.  Go ahead and judge it based on its cover.

    I'm not the kind of person who gets all excited and ridiculous over a washrag you drag over your kitchen countertops, but maybe I'm turning into one.  There are 17 patterns for dishcloths that anyone would be happy to receive as a gift--or that you'd be happy to see sitting in your stack of dishcloths.

    Some patterns call for simple stitches like a standard double crochet, and some call for crocheting in the round, and some call for techniques I've never heard of before.  This isn't especially odd since I'm not a very experienced crocheter, but I was really interested in back post crocheting.  I've flipped through some other pattern books and the patterns that called for back post crochet stitches started to jump out at me.  What is this stitch?  How do you do it?  How does it look?  Why does it sound vaguely acrobatic?

     

    This set of dishcloths is part of the Dramatic Dishcloths trio.  And that one of the right?  The
    Basket Weave dishcloth.  Back post double crochet all over the place.  Click the picture to see it larger.  I really like the look of that.

    I checked to see if Leisure Arts had a video tutorial for back post double crochet and, to my relief, they did.  I'm really glad, because I wouldn't have understood how this works if I'd read an explanation (which is included in the back of the book, if you're wondering).  Behold:

    Isn't that cool?  I can see why the pattern calls for different colors of yarn.  The checkered look is really interesting and I'm looking forward to trying it out!

    In fact, I'm all set.

  • Learn to Crochet: Joining with a Double Crochet

    Wow.  What a week.

    First there was the post where I talked to Kim Guzman.

    Then I posted about a left-handed tutorial before I posted a right-handed tutorial.  Watch out now!

    Then I posted about giveaways two days in a row and got "Give it Away" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers stuck in my head. 

    Then I wondered if it would be okay to embed the video for that song on today's post, decided I wanted to keep this job, and just linked to it instead (this is probably not safe for work, but I guess it all depends on your employer's policy on loincloths and suggestive gestures).

    So today I'm just posting this very safe and edifying video about how to join with a double crochet.  See?

    Go here to watch the video on YouTube.  I have a feeling this isn't going to post correctly.

    I really like this joining technique.  Maybe it's time to switch to a new color.  Or maybe you decided your project needs to be a little bigger.  This is such a smooth way to add new work to your project!

    I know this post is shorter than usual, but that's all I've got after this week.  Plus, I think you got everything you need from it--assuming you had a need to crochet some more.  And really, don't most of us have that all-consuming desire?  I hope so.  And I hope you get to crochet a lot this weekend. 

    It's National Craft Month! 

    It's National Crochet Month!

    It's the weekend!

    Have a good one, and happy crafting! 

  • Learn to Crochet: Join with a Double Crochet (Left-Handed)

    Did you guys knows about this?  Joining new yarn with a double crochet?  Is everyone but me out there making stripey crochet projects with ease and beautiful stitches? 

    What's that?  It's probably most of you?

    Okay.

    Well, here's a video for the rest of us who might want in on the fun.

    Oh that's right--that's the left-handed tutorial. 

    I know I normally post a right-handed crochet tutorial, and then a video for left-handed learners, but I felt like mixing it up this week and getting crazy. 

    Yes, I know your definition of 'mixing it up and getting crazy' may differ from mine.  But I felt like breaking with routine for a moment, and every bit of change can be exciting.  I was looking through some of the crochet tutorials on the Leisure Arts YouTube channel and I wanted to see crochet from the flip side. 

    I think this is a smart way to add new yarn, whether it's of a different color or not.  Starting a new beginning chain can show a loop sometimes, and tying your old yarn and new yarn can create some obvious knots that might be hard to weave in.  Joining with the stitch you're already using in your fabric is pretty, and looks seamless. 

    If you haven't tried, do it!  I think the trickiest part is holding the yarnover in place, and even that seems manageable.  And you only have to do that once before you're back to your regular crocheting. 

    Still, every bit of change can be exciting and this seems like a thrilling technique to know.  I mean it.  Thrilling.  It seems much less 'fiddly' than the ways I was already joining yarn, and goodness knows if anything can save me from a bit of frustrated fiddling, I'm going to try it.

    Try it!  Be thrilled.

    Happy hooking!

  • K2TOG: Knit Two Stitches Together

    Knitting two stitches together is probably THE most common decrease method.  A knitting friend of mine said that her husband understands almost nothing about knitting, but somehow he learned about knitting two stitches together.  So now whenever she mentions a project, he's all "K2TOG!  Are you going to do some of that?"  It makes us laugh in our knitting group, but there's a pretty good chance that she will, indeed, be knitting two stitches together. 

    When I thought about writing this post, I stopped and wondered if I had any pictures for projects that called for knitting two stitches together.  Then I laughed at myself.

    Like I said, a lot of patterns call for K2TOG decreases.  It's a very simple technique that involves slipping your right-hand needle into the two stitches of the left-hand needle and knitting through them like you would a single stitch.  See for yourself!

     Everyone has a favorite decrease stitch, and K2TOG is actually my second favorite.*  I just had to be honest about it.  Still, second-favorite is noteworthy.  There are a lot of good things to say about knitting two stitches together this way.  It's a simple decrease, and it doesn't stretch out the loops the way some decrease methods can.  It's quick, it's simple, and it's probably the most common knit decrease ever because it's the #1 favorite of a lot of knitters and designers--if not most of them.

    It might even become yours!

    *I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Lots of knitters have their own personal favorite decrease techniques. It's not weird at all. 
     

  • Learn to Crochet: 3 Single Crochet Popcorn Stitch (Left-Handed)

    Okay, lefties!  It's time to talk about the ever-adorable popcorn stitch. 

    For the slightly deranged love letter, click here.  For today's tutorial video, watch this:

    Isn't that adorable?  I still can't find a pattern that features a single crochet popcorn stitch.  In fact, I just flipped through 99 Granny Squares to Crochet and only saw stitch guides for popcorn stitches that used double crochets.  But I press onward, intrepid and obnoxiously hopeful for the day I find a pattern featuring a single crochet popcorn stitch.

    And when I do, I'll talk about it--and at great length and with many pictures--on here. 

    Try to contain your excitement.

    In the meantime, head on over to the Leisure Arts website to register in the Knook Giveaway.  5 winners will receive a bundle of Knook products.  And one very lucky person will win an iPad Mini!

    There's 23 days left to enter!  Do it!  Do it now!

  • Learn to Crochet: 3 Single Crochet Popcorn Stitch

    Good morning.  How was your weekend?  Mine was lovely.  I tried to figure out why I keep wanting to talk about popcorn stitches.

    This is what I came up with: they're cute.

    They just are.  It's rare that I (or probably anyone else) finds a crochet technique cute.

    Amigurumi projects are cute.  Baby sweaters are cute.  In the right light, even certain dishcloths can be cute.

    But the actual crochet stitches making up those blankets and hats and toys?  "Cute" is not a word that comes to mind. 

    It's not that they look bad, because if they did people wouldn't still be crocheting.  It's just that crochet stitches look like......crochet stitches.  It's not terrible, but it's usually not cute either.  I like the look of most crochet stitches.  They're substantive and textured, and something about them makes me think that crocheted afghans are just about the only kinds of afghans you should ever make and it's going to have to take a pretty special knitting pattern to convince me otherwise.

    But even with knitting, I can't think of knit stitches I'd characterize as cute.

    But popcorn stitches are cute.  They just are.  They're like little puffed-up stitches that pop up in the middle of your work, calling out "hey!" in a squeaky voice.  They probably wave with a little too much enthusiasm and get out of breath with excitement over unimportant things.  You know, in my imagination where everything is anthropomorphic in a cartoony sort of way. 

    And I like that!

    The popcorn stitches, not my imagination.  My imagination gets away from me a lot (you may have noticed). But I'm telling you, those popcorn stitches are just so stinking adorable.  And so I like them and they're my new favorite crochet stitch.

    I like them so much I decided I'd post about them for a few more days even though I don't have a pattern that features single crochet popcorn stitches so that I could make a cute little swatch and upload pictures of it onto this post. 

    I know blogging without pictures is pretty much a cardinal sin, but my giddy infatuation with all things popcorn stitch has clouded my judgement.  I know that if single crochet popcorn exists, then there are patterns that feature it.  Maybe you have a pattern that calls for it.  And maybe Google led you to me.  So you could see this tutorial and be absolutely sure you were doing it correctly:

    Isn't that just precious?!  It's a popcorn stitch with single crochets!  As if single crochets weren't sweet-looking enough, now I know that popcorn stitches with single crochets are a thing.  It's like miniature crochet!  With miniature puffs of happiness in your project!

    Stay tuned for tomorrow's post when I include the video for doing it left-handed!

    Yes, I will probably still be this weird about it.

    Yes, I'll be taking a break from popcorn stitches on Wednesday.

    No, I don't mind if you stay away until then.

  • It's Friday, I'm in Love

    Okay, so when I haven't been ripping off The Cure for post titles I've been knitting the Basic Beanie from Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.

    It's really basic and it's just what I needed.

    I have a lot of WIPs, a hectic job, and a big cold/allergy thing going on.  And my husband's sick.  And my daughter was sick.  She's getting better, but sick toddlers are so pitiful and cranky.  Between her insistence on watching the same 3 DVDs over and over for nearly a week, and my DayQuil abuse, my attention span was in no shape to follow any kind of pattern.

    Most of the time I feel a little snooty about patterns that seem to exist solely to be quick and/or easy.

    "Handcrafting is an art and a valuable skill!" I shout (clearheaded and with full lung capacity) from my soapbox.  "These projects should be timeless and well-crafted.  How can we expect anyone to value the time and effort we put into a gift if we just churn it out in an afternoon?"

    By the way, my soapbox is probably in the middle of desolate wasteland.  Most people don't have these hangups about how they should or shouldn't manage their time, even the ones who have infinitely more skill than I do.  And that would be most knitters.

    But this hasn't been an especially good week for knitting, or much else.  After a really productive weekend with a baby sweater made of sock yarn on Size 1 needles, I came down with the cold.  Then the weather turned ugly.  Then the entire extent of my yarncrafting efforts could be summed up with a sad little--and, might I add, still unfinished--granny square.

    The stark colors and gray background are a pretty accurate representation of my soul.

    A swatch for Monday's post aside, I haven't done much.

    Until Wednesday night.  I decided to cast on the Basic Beanie for several reasons.

    1. I wanted to participate in a stashbusting challenge on Ravelry, and needed a quick project so that I could finish up before Sunday.
    2. I wanted to use up a skein of worsted weight yarn that's just sitting around.
    3. I wanted to make my friend a hat even though I'm not sure she's a hat person.  Sometimes I just like to make something for people that they wouldn't pick out for themselves.
    4. I wanted to knit, but I needed something simple.
    5. This is a cute hat.
    6. With a button!  Buttons make every hat more fun. It's a scientific fact.
    7. The brim is knitted back and forth, and then you join in the round.  No accidental twisting!  I'm at a bit of a risk for it right now, and I don't know that my fragile psyche could handle that blow.

     So.  On Wednesday, I began.

    On Thursday, I finished the brim, began knitting in the round and worked until it was time for the decrease rows.

    And today?

    It's Friday, and I'm in love.   It's such a great knit! It's quick!  It's simple!  It's  pretty!

    It calls for Size 6 and Size 8 needles, so I'm using 5s and 7s.  Still, normal needles and normal yarn!

    Today I'll work the decrease rows and finish it.  Is there anything more exciting than waking up and knowing you'll finish a project?  Maybe knowing that you'll start one, but still.  Finishing is exciting. 

    Plus, I get the added jolt of excitement that comes from worrying about whether or not this ball of yarn will last me until the end.

    Laugh if you want, but my heart rate is up.  This is practically exercise.

    There are some lovely patterns in Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps, and this would probably be the best pick for a newer knitter.  Or just a tired one.  Or anyone else who just wants to make this hat.

    I'm going to finish up this quick and easy knit today, and I know I'm going to enjoy every bit of it.  In the meantime, I'd like to leave you with this.

    Have a great weekend!

  • Learn to Crochet: 4 Double Crochet Popcorn Stitch

    I'm working on Square #5 from the book 99 Granny Squares to Crochet, and the only thing holding me back is figuring out what color I'll use for the third row.  It's been a fun little project because I love granny squares, and it's giving me a chance to make more popcorn stitches.

    The center center row for this square is made up of 4 double crochet popcorn stitches.

    As you can see, the popcorn stitch adds an extra thickness and texture to the square. Plus I think it's really pretty. 

    The 4 dc popcorn stitch is a lot like the 3 dc popcorn stitch, except the popcorn is made up of four double crochets instead of three.

    A gold star for you if you figured that out before reading my explanation!

    I'm sure you get the idea, but here's a tutorial video just in case.

     
    I'm really enjoying making things with the popcorn stitch.  It's not nearly as complicated as I thought such a poofy-looking stitch would be, and it's just so pretty.

    I'm looking forward to making more granny squares and learning more popcorn stitch techniques!  I'm enjoying these little bumpy stitches that I'll be sharing more tutorial videos about them next week!  I'm sorry if you don't like them as much as I do.  I'll move on to something else eventually.
    I'll never apologize for the granny squares, though.  I just love them too much.
    How could I not?
  • Learn to Crochet: 3 Double Crochet Popcorn (Left-Handed)

    Time for a left-handed tutorial!

    I love that Leisure Arts has crochet tutorials for left-handed crafters.  I've enjoyed writing more about knitting lately, but I felt a little bad that there were no left-handed tutorials.  Most knitters are taught to knit right-handed--the one left-handed knitter I know went ahead and learned to knit right-handed to save herself the trouble of needing to re-write every pattern and reverse every knitting chart.

    Left-handed crocheters, however, can follow a standard crochet pattern and work from right to left.  The more I think about it, the more crocheting seems more suited to left-handed crafters entirely!  You work from right to left, and you hold the work and your strand of yarn in your right hand while the left hand does all of the dominant work. 

    Oh. 

    Maybe right-handed people are the ones doing everything backwards in this area.

    Weird.

    Okay, well, while I'm over here checking my privilege, enjoy this tutorial on the popcorn stitch with 3 double crochets.

    I thought I didn't like popcorn stitches, but I do.  They're cute, and add nice little pops of texture to any project.  I've been making dishcloths as a wedding present for a friend, and the new book Dishcloths (5951) has several patterns that feature popcorn stitches.  I haven't tried them, yet. 

    But I'm looking forward to starting!

    I hope you are, too.

    Happy hooking!

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