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September 27, 2012

Hiding Yarn Floaters with Crocheted Binding--Part 2

On Tuesday I compared a single crocheted edge, with a crocheted binding.  Today, I'll go into detail on how to create the binding, but first, a reminder of what the binding looks like (left pic=right side, right pic=wrong side):

Now, how to crochet the binding
Step 1)
Slip Stitch just inside of the edge

Step 2)
*Crochet along the slip stitch border from step on.
*I did single crocheted rows, but, really, you can do whatever stitch you want.
*When you are crocheting the first row (in the slip stitch border) crochet in the top loop only.
*Make sure you do three stitches in the corners, instead of one or two.

Step 3)
*Rinse and repeat steps 1 and 2 for the other side
*But make sure your slip stitches are in the same ones as the other side.

Step 4)
Pull all your strands inside the two pieces of binding.

Step 5)
Single crochet the two pieces together by putting the hook through all 4 loops of each stitch.

And that's it!  Easy Peasy!

Personally, I like the binding better than the single crocheted edge, and I'm in the process of making the binding for that afghan, but because the afghan is over 6 feet long, and about 5 feet wide, it's taking me forever to do.  FOREVER! Don't worry, I'll be sure to post pictures when I'm done...whenever that is.

September 25, 2012

Hiding Yarn Floaters with Crocheted Binding--Part 1

I have been working on the same afghan for about a year and a half now.  Here's me, working on the afghan not that long ago:

I 'm just to the point where I finished working on getting it the size that I want, but now I have this problem (see picture on the right)

Instead of cutting off the yarn strands at the end, I just stranded/floated them up when I needed that color again (because, in the end, it leaves less strands of yarn to weave in).  Thus, leaving the strands of yarn for all to see, which is not attractive.

I have two options:
a) single crochet around the edge
b) create a binding to sandwich the edges in

I created two small samples to show what each option looks like

Option A (single crochet around the edge)
This is pretty straightforward, and on the right side (left) it looks alright.  It looks like what it is: a crocheted edge.

But when you get to the wrong side (right) you can see that the stranded yarn bunches up and is quite visible, which isn't very attractive.

Option B (create a binding to sandwich the edges in)
With the binding, you essentially are sewing on a border (just like when you sew on blanket binding).  This hides the strands, and shows no evidence of them on either side (right side=left picture, wrong side=right picture).

Stay tuned for Thursday's post,  for instructions on how to create the binding.

September 20, 2012

The Affects of Being Left Handed

People normally don't talk about the affects of being left handed: what actually changes when you knit or crochet something left handed, when the instructions are written for right handed people.  When books talk about learning these crafts left handed, only a paragraph or so is dedicated to the topic.

But what really happens?  How do your projects actually change?

Three words: Mirror Image Effect.

-tall crocheted stitches lean to the right for lefties, instead of the left.
-when doing tapestry crochet in the round, the colorwork pattern leans in the opposite directon
-seams spiral in the opposite direction

and this:

If your piece isn't truly symmetrical, this is what you get: a true mirror image.  I had my mom crochet the piece on the right, since I am sloppy when I crochet right handed, while I made the piece on the left.

Despite our differences in gauge, you can see that by following the exact same pattern, we got mirror images.

Normally, this isn't a big deal, but what if you are following a pattern that says to applique the right side to something, and you aren't aware that you, being left handed, are supposed to sew the wrong side instead to make the same shape (crochet only, knitting is a whole different beast).

Knitting, like I said, is a whole different beast.  For knitting, (because there is a clear wrong side, and right side), you would have to completely alter the pattern in order to make it look the same, by shifting around where increases and decreases are.

Being left handed is a pain, sometimes, because of this.  If you aren't aware of how it changes the piece you're working on, it'll be frustrating if you find out the hard way.

September 18, 2012

My First Stitch Pattern: A Net Stitch

The first stitch I ever learned, the twisted half double crochet, was also in the first stitch pattern I ever learned, and the woman who taught it to me called it a net stitch.  Now, I have looked for this pattern for years, in so many books, magazines, and on the net.  Even if I take into account that the twisted half double isn't a "real stitch" and substitute it with a half double, I still haven't found it anywhere.

But I like the looks of this stitch, so I thought I'd share it with you guys.

The Pattern:
chain a multiple of 4

Row 1) sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, sk next ch, twisted half double in next ch, ch 1, [sk next ch, sc in next ch, ch 1, sk next ch, twisted half double in next ch, ch 1] repeat to end.  Turn (you should have the ch 1 after your last twisted half double on the hook).

Row 2) [sc in the twisted half double st, ch 1, twisted half double in the sc, ch 1] repeat to end.  Turn.

Repeat row two until you reach the desired length.

When I was learning this stitch, getting used to it, I had a mantra going on in my head, "Tall, short, tall, short, tall, short, tall, short......."  In other words, sc in the tall stitches, twisted half double in the short stitches.  Just don't forget to ch 1 between stitches, and you'll be fine.

Here's a pic of me 7 years ago, making an afghan  using this stitch.  This pic takes me back down memory lane.  Many a "Stargate: Atlantis" audio commentaries were watched during the making of that afghan, and I was so proud when I was done.  After all, it was the first afghan, and biggest project I had ever made by that point.

And then, like most the things I make, I gave it away.


September 13, 2012

Problem Solving, with Yarn

Problem: You live in an apartment, dorm, or even a house, with a window that puts an awful glare on your TV.  This glare is constant every day, all day, and it bothers you.

You want to get blackout curtains to fix the problem, because even a regular curtain leaves the glare on the TV, but you don't want (or aren't allowed) to put nails in the wall, so hanging a curtain rod is out of the question.

Solution: buy the blackout curtains and heavy duty Command ™Hooks, then either
a) sew a blanket stitch onto the top edge of each curtain, then crochet along the blanket stitch a few rows. (same as the picture)


b) Knit a few rows that's as wide as the curtain (so the whole top of each curtain is covered), bind off, and sew onto the curtains.

After the edges are attached to the curtains, attach the Command ™ Hooks to the wall (the amount of strips depends on the weight of the curtains).

Wait for the hooks to set, then hang the curtains on the hooks.  No damage is done to your walls, and the pesky glare on your TV is gone!

This problem happened to me, in the last apartment I lived in Oregon.  And this solution worked quite well for me.  When I wanted to pull the curtains back, I simply tied them to the side.

September 11, 2012

Knitting vs. Crochet

In a previous post, I kinda covered this concept of knitting vs. crochet, but I forgot to add the most important bit of comparison!

Knitting: It's stuck on the needles and you don't know what shape the piece will really take until you bind off.  For instance, take this picture right here:
If I were to bind off right now, at this stage of the piece, it would ripple, but you wouldn't really know that unless a) you were able to visualize it, b) you've experienced it before, or c) all of the above.  You do all that work binding off the needles, and then you see it ripple on you and you think, "crap, I didn't want that."  You have to frog it and get it back on those dang needles.

This is my biggest pet peeve with knitting--you don't really know how it's going to turn out until it's a grrrr issue to get it back on the needles.

Crochet: It's not stuck on the hook, so you always know what you're getting as you're doing it.  You don't have to rip out multiple rows because you realized you goofed...usually it's just a few stitches.  And it's no big deal to rip out the stitches, unless you really dislike the excess yarn in your lap from the stitches your ripped out.

With crochet, it's "what you see is what you get."  And that's why I'm a crocheter who knits.  That's why I add crocheted borders to knitted pieces if I goofed.

Crochet is easier to manipulate than knitting because you don't have to bind off to see what it'll look like.

Knitting looks more professional (in my opinion), which is why (I think) clothes are more knitted than crocheted, but it's a whole lot easier do your own thing in crochet than knitting because it takes less planning.

September 6, 2012

When you don't like frogs... don't want to rip-it!

On Tuesday's post I talk about how to alter a pattern to make it your own, to add your own unique spin on a pattern.  Well, sometimes patterns don't have a gauge, and this really messes with me every time.  Even when there is a gauge, I always seem to have to buy a new pair of knitting needles because I don't have the right type in that size (circular, double pointed, straight, etc.)  This is my constant battle with knitting, and someday, I will win!  I will have bought all the needles I need!  Muahahahahha!

**clears throat**

Excuse me, I don't know what came over me there...

Going back to the kerchief I made for Tuesday's post--it was itty bitty when I was done.  ITTY BITTY, let me tell you!  Not nearly big enough.  So, when that happens, what do you do?  I mean, I've already bound off, I'm stuck with a itty bitty kerchief.

Knitting Solution: Get a needle that's smaller than the one you used, pick up the stitches in the row before the bind off and frog it out (rip-it).  Then follow the pattern like normal until it's the desired size.

Crochet Solution: Crochet in the bind-off and make it the shape you want.  Because this pattern increases two stitches every other row, I just did the same, only crocheting instead of knitting.

Either way, it's frustrating.  You put all this work into something, then find out it's not the right size.  And this all could have been solved with a gauge swatch...Why? **waves fist in the air to pattern designer gods** why must you torture me so!

I chose the latter of the two solutions.
And here's my final piece:

September 4, 2012

Make it Your Own

So, I've been wanting to knit a kerchief for awhile now to keep dust and whatnot out of my hair.

The only pattern I had was from the Stitch 'N Bitch book by Debbie Stoller, but the pattern in the book was written in a garter stitch (where you knit every row).  And I didn't really want the texture of a garter stitch.  I wanted something that suited my tastes more.

But, alas, I didn't have a pattern that fitted what I wanted exactly.  So, I do what I always do--alter the pattern.

I hardly follow patterns, never really have.  I've always just used patterns as a basic reference more than anything.

But when you alter a pattern, you have to take into account the reasons for why the pattern was originally written that way.  There are consequences to altering a pattern, but don't be afraid to try it.  So, why was this kerchief pattern written in a garter stitch?  Just like crochet, certain knitted stitches tend to curl, and the stockinette stitch (the stitch I wanted to use) is one of those curling stitches.  So, in order to keep my stockinette stitch, and not have the sides curl, I kept the garter stitch on the edges, then had the stockinette stitch in the center.

But I didn't want to just stop there, I wanted to have a purled ripple effect on the bottom.  Since I was keeping the garter stitch on the edge, I knew I could add this because I was already knitting the stockinette stitch in the body of the piece.  So, by just mapping out when to purl via my knitting graph paper I made my ripple effect.

Note, in the picture you see the stockinette stitch, and the ripple effect at the base, but the single crocheted edge will be covered in Thursday's post!

And there you have it, how you can alter a pattern to make it your own.