Pop culture patterns and more

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Technical Thursday: C2C Sizing and shape.

How are you, hookers? Hope you're well. It's been a crazy busy week here creekside, with a fresh wave of subarctic temperatures, a MIL birthday, new furniture and our troop started meeting again :)

So this week, we'll be discussing the sizing and shape from your C2C project. Once I can hold a hook again and get back to work on my afghan(hammer, cheap screwdriver and speed work with an unpadded F hook have left me unable to hold a hook right this moment), I'll get the color change technique up and running.

So there are 3 types of "blocks" you can do with your C2C.

1. Increase-  Chain 6, turn and put a DC in the 4th, 5th, and 6th chain from the hook. 

2. Decrease-   Slip stitch across the top of the most recently completed block, Ch 3, 3 DC in the same space

3. Interior-   Ch 3, 3 DC in same space, slip stitch into next space.

So those are pretty simple, correct? We've already done our basics. Now you want to make it to the proper size.

First off, the basic shape is a square. You simply do increases on both ends until a flat side is the size you want it to be, like so:

Please note that 1, the picture is sideways(I still haven't figured out how to fix orientation on here yet) and 2, I always put the tail where I started on the left hand side closet to me when I measure. That is just my personal preference. As you work on your C2C, you noticed the characteristic triangle shape, with 2 straight sides and the wavy working edge. You can measure on either flat side for our purposes. 

For a Square shape, once one of your straight edges has reached the size you want it to be, you simply decrease on both sides until you are done. 

Now comes the more difficult rectangle. Now, you're going to pick a straight edge to be the bottom(A). So when you get to that corner, you're going to do a decrease block with the slip stitch up the recently completed box, and work interior blocks until you get to the other side. On that side(B), you're going to do an increase block, then turn and continue back towards the bottom corner. Complete as many rows as it takes, taking care to increase on the same side as you did previously, and decrease on the same side(C-though I didn't put it on my sketch). So then you have your bottom edge, and a side edge. Once your side edge on the increase side is the size you want it to be, you will switch to doing a decrease on both sides. 

I've prepared (embarrassingly) simple sketches showing the progress of a rectangle C2C. 

Remember, Side A is the BOTTOM edge. It is the size I want it to be. Let's call them 1" blocks, so it's 4".  So every time I get to the end of a row on side C(again, that'd be the right side of the sketch, D will be the top of our project), I will DECREASE- which adds no more blocks along side A. 

So once I get back to side B, I'm going to INCREASE which makes my project start to take a rectangle shape. 

And again, I will Decrease on side C, and Increase on side B. 
Now, side B is my desired 6" tall. 
So now I decrease on both sides(C and D). 

And finally, I've reached the corner again. And it's a rectangle! Practice with a scarf, or if you have a tablet, you can make a quick practice tablet holder by making side A just as wide as your tablet, and side B twice as long, then fold it in half and sc or slip stitch the sides together. 

^That's my kindle sleeve, made with a sport weight yarn and G hook. 

Thanks for reading :) And have a happy hooking day! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Technical Thursday: C2C basics

Hello Hookers!

Welcome to TT ;) This week, we're beginning a mini series on C2C, aka Corner to corner- sometimes referred to as a diagonal box stitch and even called a slanted shell stitch.

Confused yet?

Don't be. C2C is actually an extremely simple(almost too simple!) stitch pattern to pick up. Can you chain 6 and 3, slip stitch and make a DC(US terminology)? If so, you can join the C2C craze.

 For this tutorial series, I'm going to insist on using some liquid stitch- it's important for the almost seamless method I use to change colors. So you need yarn(any size), the appropriately sized hook for the yarn(I used a worsted cotton and an H hook as recommended by the label), scissors, and the liquid stitch(or other permanent clear fabric adhesive).

Today, I'll go over the very basics. For the next couple of weeks, I'll take a more in depth look at both the color change, increasing and decreasing, and how to make taller than it is wide. 

Starting your C2C:

Chain 6. DC in 4th, 5th and 6th chain from hook. (Sorry, some of the pictures are sideways and it's not letting me rotate them)

After completing the 3rd DC(in the 6th chain), chain 6 again. It should look like this:

Now DC in the 3 chains closest to the orignal box:

Now comes the part where people get confused(sometimes): You're going to rotate the box you just made and slip stitch between the end of the ch 6 and first DC you made in the previous box. It's the opposite corner from where your tail is:

Now, we're doing an increase row, so that means we need 2 boxes before we move onto the next row(for a total of 3 altogether). So we're going to chain 3 after completing the slip stitch. 

Now, make 3 DCs around the same chain. Then, we're moving onto the next row, so chain 6 after the final DC:

Again, make 3 DCs in the last 3 chains. Turn, and slip stitch into the ch 3 space from the previous row. Because it's an "interior" box, you're going to Ch 3:

Just remember- interior boxes are ch 3, 3 DC in same spot, slip stitch in next ch 3 space and continue until you get to the outside edge. It will look like a triangle because we're on the increase side. When doing an outside edge, you ch 6, 3 DC in last 3 chains, turn and slip stitch. 

I'm making a coaster, so I want it to be about 3.5" square. With the worsted weight yarn, that's five rows. (For more information on color change, see NEXTWEEKINSERTLINK). 
So to measure, I'm going to lay my measuring tape along one of the straight outside edges and put the zero at my tail. Now we're ready to decrease. 

To decrease, we're going to slip stitch across the tops of the 3 DCs in our corner box, and into the ch3 space. In the picture above, I'm also doing a color change, so I'm just going to tie on in the space I need to be in. Note that the decrease side is similar to the increase side, but instead of Ch 6, it'll be slip stitch in next 3, chain 3 before you continue.
So you've got your chain 3, now do the 3 DC in the same space. Slip stitch into the next stitch and continue across until the next to the last box. Complete the slip stitch, and instead of ch 3 to make another box, you're going to turn your work and slip stitch back across the tops of the 3 DC you just finished. 

Ch 3, 3DC in same spot, and move on. You should be counting(When in doubt, count it out!). Because my increases stopped at 5, the first row on the decrease will be 4. Then 3. Then 2. And finally one. Please note that you will NOT be finishing off in the opposite corner from the tail.

Now, I could tie off here, but using a varigated makes my slip stitches on the decrease size more visible than I'd like, so I'm going to put a simple border on it- Ch 1, sc in same spot, then sc around, putting 1 sc on the top of each DC, or 3 across a ch 3 space. On corner squares, I'll put 2 dc across the tops or ch3 space, then 3 sc in each corner until I come around again and am able to finish off.
The SCs cover the slip stitches nicely.

And that, my hooker friends, is how you join the C2C craze ;)

Until Next week!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Technical Thursday: Hints on reading a pattern

Hello hookers!

Hopefully we're all warming back up by the time this posts, it's really cold today!(Yes, I try to get this written a bit a head of time ;) )

Today, I thought we'd go over some basics and helpful hints on how to read a print pattern. Some people can watch videos and do it, I'm not one of them. I have trouble with charted patterns, but I can, and do, read printed patterns on a daily basis.

So today, we'll be using a pattern by Crochet by Jennifer called Adult Chunky Slippers- download the entire pattern here, on ravelry.com. Visit Jen at http://www.crochetbyjennifer.com to see all of her most awesome patterns.

First, you need to decide if you want to try a pattern. Look at the difficulty level(easy). Do you have the suggested hook size(K), and the suggested yarn(Bulky, or 2 strands of worsted weight)? And then, what crochet language is it in? I can't tell you the amount of times patterns are abandoned and disparaged because someone used their US terminology to try and make a UK terminology pattern. If it's not listed on the pattern or the pattern hosting site(Jen writes in US terms), then you may have to do a little sleuthing- if they're based in the US or Canada, it's most likely US terms, if it's UK or Australia, then it's usually UK terms. But don't assume. You can also determine the terminology by looking at stitch definitions. 

So, while we're looking at the beginning of the pattern, you should read through all abbreviations, and a special stitch section(if there is one). If you know how to do everything on the list in a competent manner, then you can start working on the pattern. If there's something that appears difficult, you should go find a tutorial of your choosing(in the same terminology!) and review the methodology before you begin. 

Designers use different abbreviations by their own preferences, and the language is always evolving. 20 years ago, a MC meant "Main Color". Nowadays, it usually means magic circle (I've got a picture tutorial here). 

Jen's definitions are as follows:
Abbreviations Used:
st or sts - stitch or stitches
ch - chain stitch
dc - double crochet
fpdc - front post double crochet
bpdc - back post double crochet
sl st - slip stitch
rnd(s) - round(s)
sp - space
ea - each
beg - beginning
prev - previous
YO - Yarn Over

Pretty basic, right? The only ones that might be difficult are the front and back post dcs, so then we look down a little more and find the special stitch definitions- Jen's an awesome designer, so she provides links to tutorials:
Special Stitches Definitions:
Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc): Working from the front, YO and insert the hook from right to left
under the post of the double crochet indicated from the previous round. YO and complete the stitch as a
double crochet.
Back Post Double Crochet (bpdc): Working from the back, YO and insert the hook from right to left
over the post of the double crochet indicated from the previous round. YO and complete the stitch as a
double crochet.
FPDC and BPDC Video: You can find a great video for learning fpdc and bpdc here: http://
Magic Ring: You can find directions for the “magic ring” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=FHYVutk2iYY. You do not have to use this method; alternate directions are also given.
Invisible Join: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsHggQGFq3A

So we've read all definitions, we know the stitches, now to start. Since we're making slippers for an adult, there are large size charts included in the pattern. I won't copy/paste those charts, but they're not hard to read. For our purposes, I'll be making a woman's wide width, size 8.5 (US sizes). So I'll find it on the woman's size chart and know that the slipper measurement from heel to ankle is 7 inches for all widths. Then I'll chose my width using the following directions:

How to choose the width:
Three different widths are given for this pattern. Most sizes will fit into regular width because
there is a lot of stretch to these slippers. However, directions for “wide” width are given, as well
as extra-wide. Men with larger shoe sizes should use the wide width. Only extremely wide
widths (EE or wider, up to EEEE) should use the extra-wide width, it is very large!
Select width and go to that section, after rnd 5, all sizes will continue on to Part 2.
Regular width: 10-11” circumference, start on page 4.
Wide width: 11-12” circumference, start on page 5.
Extra-wide width: 12-13” circumference, start on page 6.
*Note: circumference of slipper is measured on the outside, inside measurement is much smaller.

So I'll then scroll down to page 5. As I start reading, I see:
Select a size from either the first or second column of the chart (menʼs or womenʼs), this
will tell you which measurement to use from the third column after rnd 5.
Note: ʻch 2ʼ is counted in stitch count until otherwise noted. When pattern says “dc in
very next available st”, make the dc in the top of the same post that was just used for
the fpdc.
Remember, I'm making an 8.5, so I know the measurement to use is 7".

So I've got my K hook, and my 2 strands of teal worsted weight yarn.
Now, we go back to our basic order of operations. Much like math class, you do things in order. Having completed round one, I've got 12 DCs in a circle, and am ready for round 2:

Rnd 2: ch 2, [fpdc around st directly below, dc in very next available st] to end of rnd,
beg ʻch 2ʼ counts as last dc, join with sl st in top of ʻch 2ʼ. (24)

So I chain 2. Now there are brackets. The brackets tell me I should complete every instruction inside of them before trying anything else. These brackets can be interchangeable with parenthesis ( ) as well, depending on designer. So it's telling me to FPDC, then DC in the top of it, to the end of round. Going back to our lesson on making things in the round, we're putting 2 stitches into 1, 12 times. 12 x 2 is 24. So before moving onto round 3, we're going to count them. With this particular pattern, we're going to have 12 ridges, and 12 "valleys" alternating. If you've got 2 ridges side by side with no vally between them, then you need to redo round 2.

Although not every designer puts a stitch count at the end of their rows/rounds, while you're learning, it's always better to do the math yourself if not provided and COUNT EACH STITCH on EVERY ROW/ROUND. This prevents the dreaded ripping out(frog- rip it, rip it) to the beginning of the pattern. 

So we've got round 2 complete, and there are 24 stitches(12 valleys and 12 ridges). Time for round 3:

Rnd 3: ch 2, [fpdc around next 3 sts, dc in very next available st] to end of rnd, last st
will be around ʻch 2 from prev rnd, beg ʻch 2ʼ counts as last dc, join with sl st in top of ʻch
2ʼ. (32)

And, repeat. Ch 2. Do the brackets. Read the entire line of instructions before beginning the round, and count your stitches. The pattern has changed now, so it'll be 3 ridges, and a valley. 24 ridges, 8 valleys= 32 stitches.

Now we get a gauge check:
Gauge check: Diameter of circle should measure approximately 3.75 to 4.25” here.

So we pull out our handy dandy measuring device and lay it across the entire circle. Center it, and see if you hit gauge. If you didn't, you need to fix it. Frog it all and start over- change one thing: hook size, or tension. Some designers like you to swatch it out before beginning, then make sure you keep your tension exact as you work, while some build it into the pattern like Jen has.

And hey, you're doing it- you're reading the pattern! Now keep going. With our slippers, we're going to work round 4 once, and move on to 5. After you finish your first rnd 5, it says:

Repeat rnd 5 until length reaches measurement in 3rd column of either menʼs or
womenʼs chart. Continue on to part 2.
Notes on final length of slipper: The total FINAL length should be either the same as
the measurement of the foot, or smaller. These slippers will stretch a LOT once they
are worn, do not make them longer than the actual foot measurement or they will end
up too big!

Remember that 7" from earlier? This is where it comes into play. I'm going to repeat rnd 5 until I can measure 7" from the start to the row I just worked. Your slipper is now vaguely torpedo shaped ;)

So now we continue on to part 2, or page 7 if you printed:

Hey, there's something bold- better read it!
Note: This next section is now worked in ROWS instead of RNDS. When pattern says
“dc in very next available st”, make the dc in the top of the same post that was just used
for the fpdc. Use the number color-coded for the size you are making.

This means that instead of crocheting the entire way around, we'll stop at a certain place and turn our work. I'm doing a wide width, remember, so I'm using the pink color coding. It's not going to show up on this blog, that's why you went and got the pattern yourself ;)

Row 1: ch 2, dc in same st as ch 2, fpdc around next (22, 26, 30) post sts from prev
rnd, dc in very next available st, leave remaining 6 fpdc unworked. (22, 26, 30 fpdc plus
the ch 2 and 2 dc)

So with Jen's pattern, the parenthesis means it's a stitch count- and they're color coded for easy use, I'm using pink, which is 26. If you're doing a regular width, you'd use the yellow 22, and for an extra wide, the blue 30. So as we work the row, you follow the instruction and repeat as many times as it says in the parenthesis. So a ch 2, dc in same stitch, then 26 FPDCs, and a final dc for a total of 29 stitches.

At this point, you can complete the pattern. Just take it slow and follow the instructions as presented. I hope this helps you gain the confidence and knowledge that you can read a written pattern, and don't hesitate to ask if you need a little clarification. You can do it. Takes practice, just like all other aspects of crochet ;)

You can doooo eeeeetttttttt! :D

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A New Year, A New Look

Well, I've given the blog a facelift, hopefully that'll resolve the complaints about not being able to read the white text on the purple background with a non-average font :)

Coming soon:

How to read a print pattern!

C2C- Corner to corner topics including
                    Color Changes
                    Making it a rectangle and how to measure

A monthly pattern roundup on a variety of topics- I think keeping warm this january would be nice ;) I'll try to make it ones I've actually made, but there's only so much time in a day and I'm getting orders too. If you're a designer and would like me to consider your paid pattern, I've got to at least proof read it.

That should keep me busy through mid-February, so we'll revisit the topics list in a couple weeks and see what else needs kept up. I'm working on a very large special order, and that's gonna take priority for the time being :)

Happy Hookin'!
(I'm going to start "signing" my posts with a picture of my current WIP)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Technical Thursday: Hooking with ruffle yarn(a one skein scarf tutorial)

Welcome to 2014!

I lurk on quite a few different crochet oriented pages/groups on facebook to get ideas for technical thursdays, and one of the things I've been seeing pop up a lot is "How do I work with ruffle/sashay/starbella/this weird yarn?"

Now, I own a single pair of knitting needles, but I am a hooker at heart ;) So I use a crochet method to make my ruffle scarves :)

So this week I'll be talking about options for ruffle yarn, how to use it properly, and helpful hints.

First things first- what are you going to use it for? You can make a scarf, or add ruffles to a skirt, or even the cuffs of a long sweater. Or you can use it as a plain, slightly flat super chunky weight yarn to make just about anything. For our purposes, we're going to say that we didn't spend $5 on 30 yards of super bulky yarn and are going to use it for ruffles.

One of the main problems people have with ruffle yarn is using it as intended, spreading it out into it's ruffle form as they work. It takes a very coordinated hand to hold, feed and spread at the same time. There is a very easy solution for this problem, but it does add to your time totals- a toilet paper roll :) Simply take 15 minutes and gently flatten it out as you roll it onto the tube and then you're ready to go :)

I've rerolled my yarn and am ready to work with it now ;)

Yes, the pictures are out of order. But now that we're ready to work, which side do we use? Hmm, maybe that side with the thick edge and sparkles wove in! Nope. Actually, we work in the second row of loops from the top, opposite the sparkly edge. 

How to make a 1 skein ruffle scarf using a crochet hook

 So now I'm stretching it out a little bit- I want to start my stitches in the 2nd row, the second "hole" that is not cut open.

 Now I insert my hook from front to back, and yarn over by drawing the top edge around the back of my hook which I immediately stick into the next "hole" and create a working loop by slip stitching.
 Next, pick a magic number- the higher the number(I'd recommend between 6 and 10), the tighter your ruffles will be. I use 8 or 10. By sticking your hook in every other "hole" on the 2nd row, you want to get your magic number of loops on your hook.
Once you've got the desired number of loops on the hook, stick your hook in the next "hole" and perform a slip stitch. 
Then start over, doing a slip stitch every 8-10 loops on the hook. Continue this until you run out of yarn- 1 skein makes 1 perfect sized scarf for most purposes. When you get to the end of the skein, simply leave the last 5 or so "holes" unworked and pull the loop left on your hook as wide as you can and slip your end into it, and pull it tight. Some people add liquid stitch to make sure it holds, some use a bit of thread or coordinating yarn and hem the end, some just leave it as it is.

Got a knot? Gently untie it if you can, and do a slip stitch to hold both ends together as you continue to work on the scarf. Or, if you're so inclined, you can leave it knotted and work over it, it'll disappear into the ruffles(usually- there's always the wicked knot/ball determined to prove me wrong, but on a general basis, it works).