I’m really excited to share a project that I’ve been working on, secretly, behind the scenes for months!
If you can cast on, knit, purl, and bind off, this sampler MKAL is for you!
Starting on January 1, a new “clue” will be released every second Wednesday through 2014. The Knitting Sampler MKAL will have 27 “clues,” including tips for starting your blanket project, 25 different patterns for 6” (15 cm) blanket squares, and instructions for assembling and finishing a baby blanket or throw.
We will start off with basic knit and purl combinations (to help build your confidence in pattern reading) and move on to stitches that incorporate increasing and decreasing, cables, bobbles, and other techniques. New techniques will be explained with written or photo tutorials and/or links to web resources.
Each stitch will be a mystery, with a picture only shared after the next clue is revealed, so even intermediate knitters can have fun. More experienced knitters can also join in to learn new stitches and share their tips with the group.
Welcome to the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL! If you’re just joining in, you can find the free pattern here in Crochetvolution. Ravelry members can join our CAL chat here. Our tag is 2013PFEcal.
Welcome to our second week of the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL. Apparently, some speedy participants have almost finished their shawls already, but do not feel rushed! The rest of us mere mortals will crochet a long at a leisurely pace!
Since I’m working a week ahead of the schedule, last week I shared progress photos of the first 8 rows, or the foundation, of the shawl. This week, I’ll share pictures of the first repeat, rows 9-14. These are the rows you will repeat until your shawl is the size you want (or until you run out of yarn – whichever comes first!).
Once again, I’m sharing my progress pictures.
It often happens that while reviewing pictures I take for the blog, I see mistakes in my work. I actually missed one of the increases on my original Row 14 (Apparently, I shouldn’t watch suspenseful Dexter episodes while making a sample shawl.) Here is the revised version, with all of the increases intact, but on a different background.
Once you make it through Row 14, you’ve done everything you need to finish this shawl. (Yay!) Keep in mind that you should be increasing the total number of pineapples in each row by four (two on each side) every time you complete Row 14.
Let me know if you have any questions about the shawl, and don’t forget to share your pictures!
Yesterday, I took an amazing class, Double-Ended, Circular Tunisian Tapestry with Lily Chin. I’d never taken a class with Lily before, but I’ve heard a lot of good things. Well, believe the hype, people, because she is an awesome teacher! It’s rare to find a talented designer who is also an excellent teacher, but Lily has the total package. In addition to being very clear and organized, she was also a lot of fun!
The workshop was designed to teach us how to do Tunisian crochet in the round using a double-ended hook. Once we had that technique down, we learned how to use the method for creating intarsia style projects along with several different ways to increase and decrease. (Lily has used this colorwork technique in several patterns, including the Bitmap Cowl, Graphic Ornaments, and Argyle Hat from the 2012 Interweave Crochet Accessoriesissue.)
Although my actual YOP goal was to learn a new (to me) knitting skill, this class taught me several new crocheting skills and my creative energies were totally inspired!
I’ll need to sit down with some different yarn and see what I can come up with. Perhaps, like Lily, I’ll experiment by making hats for charity. (She showed us a slideshow of over 100 hats she crocheted as chemo caps using this technique.)
After reviewing my progress in last week’s post, I decided to revise my list for the last half of the Year of Projects. This may not seem as ambitious as my original list, but for right now it works for me.
I’ve been purposely vague about the exact numbers of projects, etc. because I would like to keep my Year of Projects participation fun and not obligatory!
So without further ado, here’s my new list.
1) Continue to reduce my yarn stash and track my yarn consumption. I’m an active member of the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry, but I’m always looking for new ways of tracking my yardage. I started using KnitMeter yesterday, and I think this will be quite helpful. I’ve already learned a lot from entering the projects I completed (and didn’t unravel) in 2012!
My goal is to have one less plastic bin of yarn by the end of 2013, so I guess I should be about halfway there by the end of the Year of Projects. I have no idea what that represents in yardage!
2) Make more projects for myself. I never seem to focus enough on projects for myself. I’d like to make myself a pair of crocheted socks and a full winter accessories set (hat, scarf/cowl, and mittens or convertible gloves). If I could do this by the end of June, I’d be pretty pleased with myself.
3) Learn at least one (hopefully more) new (to me) knitting technique or skill. Some options I’ve been thinking about are entrelac, efficient use of DPNs (the horror!), circular knitting that starts with a small amount of stitches and increases rather than a large amount of stitches and decreases (like some of the great motifs from Knitting in Circles), and more advanced cast on, bind off, or colorwork methods.
4) Host at least 2 CALs or KALs in my Ravelry group. I had a lot of fun with the Ripple Mania CAL last year and the Chubby Sheep CAL going on now in the Underground Crafter group. I’d like to be more organized about how I approach these, though. Maybe I might even write up a mystery project for a fall CAL…?
5) Donate crocheted (or knitted) projects to charity. Crochetlist is a Yahoo group that I’ve been involved with on and off for years. I’ll be hosting the September challenge this year (pet blankets for Bideawee again), and I’d like to donate my own projects to at least one of the other challenges.
6″ squares (and I think we all know that I love to make grannies) for Casting Off the Cold by the beginning of June. But I’m not sure about the cost of shipping to Canada…
I could also participate in a charity drive through the New York City Crochet Guild or to send some 8″ squares to Sandy for Bridge and Beyond. And I’m actually hoping to find a charity that accepts crocheted toys. I know that I can look charities up on Bev’s Charity Links or Lion Brand’s Charity Connection, but if anyone has a suggestion of a US based charity that accepts crocheted toys that don’t need to be made in any particular colors, please let me know!
Right now, this list seems incredibly ambitious since I have two samples due next Friday, another one due at the end of the month, and I’ve just volunteered to help out Crochet Happy with her January CAL. But I’m sure once February arrives, I’ll be amazed at the small size of my list. I can always add more things to it if need be!
Whether you’re just joining in or you’ve been participating in the Ripple Mania Crochet-a-long since October, I know you’re excited to hear more about the prizes! The Ripple Mania CAL has four fantastic sponsors, Coats & Clark, Leisure Arts, Lion Brand Yarn, and Magique Enterprises, who have each put together a great prize package. This post describes the prizes, explains how you can enter the giveaway, and includes the schedule for the Ripple Mania CAL. All images are used with permission.
Lion Brand Yarn is sponsoring a wonderful Ripple Mania prize package – 4 skeins of Amazing in Strawberry Fields, enough yarn to crochet the Candy Color Ripple Cowl. You’ll have a fashionable accessory just in time for the deep cold of winter!
And for those of you who have been longing to try an Eleggant crochet hook after reading my review, Magique Enterprises is sponsoring a set including the Eleggant comfort crochet handle, six interchangeable hooks (in steel sizes 1.25 mm, 1.75 mm, and 2.25 mm, and in aluminum sizes 3.5 mm, 5.0 mm, and 6.0 mm), and o-rings.
Now that you’ve heard about all the amazing prizes available, you may be wondering how to enter this giveaway. Read on for details!
Ripple Mania Giveaway Rules
To enter the Ripple Mania giveaway for your chance to win one of these great prizes:
Photograph your Ripple Mania project! Smaller projects (accessories, baby blankets, cozies, washcloths, etc.) must be completed. Larger projects (adult sweaters, large throws, or bedspreads) must be at least 1/3 finished.
Projects must have been started and/or completed during the Ripple Mania CAL (between October 17 and November 28). You can use any crochet ripple pattern, though of course I’d love it if you used one of mine :).
Share a photograph and description of your Ripple Mania project by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 28. Each project counts as one entry in the giveaway.
To share your project on Facebook: Post a Wall photo on the Underground Crafter page. (Remember that if you don’t “like” the page, I won’t be able to message you on Facebook, so you’ll have to check back to see if you’ve won.)
To share your project on this blog: Post a link to a project photo (on your blog, Flickr, etc.) in the comments.
To share your project on Twitter: Tweet @ucrafter #ripplemania with a link to a photo of your project.
This giveaway is open to all crocheters worldwide.
By entering the giveaway, you are granting permission for your project photo to be shared in a collage of all entries on this blog.
On or about December 1, 2012, four winners will be chosen at random and contacted for mailing addresses. Winners must respond by December 15, 2012 or their prize will be forfeited.
Thanks so much for joining in, and I can’t wait to see the projects!
If you love crochet ripples, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m kicking off the Ripple Mania Crochet-A-Long today. This CAL will teach you everything you need to design your own fabulous ripple projects – how to select a color palette, how to increase and decrease, how to design your own ripple stitch patterns, and how to “square up” your ripples if you want to have straight (modular) pieces.
If you just want to dive into crocheting, that’s ok, too! Each week, I’ll share new ripple stitch patterns for you to crochet.
The CAL is free to join. Each week, an updated PDF will be available to download on Ravelry, and Ravelry members can chat in the Ripple Mania CAL thread in the Underground Crafter group. (You do not have to be a Ravelry member to download the PDF.) Once the CAL ends on November 21, Ripple Mania will be converted to a “for sale” pattern ebook.
All patterns will be available using both U.S. and U.K. crochet pattern abbreviation. Although I’ll be sharing some photo tutorials for this CAL, you will need to know the chain, US single/UK double crochet, and US double/UK treble crochet stitches.
If you need some ideas, check out this Gallery of Ripple Color Inspiration! (All images are the copyright of the crocheter and are used with permission.)
Welcome to Week 1 of Crochet 101, the first CAL/class in the Crochet Lyceum with Underground Crafter series. Visit this post for the full course outline and more information about how to participate.
Week 1: Materials and Project Planning
This week, we will focus on the basic crochet tools – specifically, the materials you will need for this six week CAL/class. We will also discuss different beginner projects.
This week is more text heavy than future weeks :). Feel free to “skim” to pick up the information that you need. Our outline for today’s post:
Choosing a project for the CAL
Making a supply list
There are two main ways to categorize yarn: by fiber content and weight.
In recent years, yarns made with many different types of fiber have been introduced in the marketplace. Rather than overwhelm you with every type of yarn that can exist in the world :), I will focus on fibers that are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and otherwise “beginner friendly.”
Some yarns are made with natural fibers while others are made withsynthetic fibers. In general,
Natural fibers create projects that are more breathable.
Natural fibers are biodegradable and are frequently more eco-friendly than synthetic fibers.
Synthetic fibers are often inexpensively priced and more readily available in “big box” stores and large retail outlets.
The fibers that I would generally recommend to beginners are (in alphabetical, not preferential, order): acrylic, alpaca, bamboo, cotton, and wool. This chart has more information about the properties of different fibers.
When the manufacturer is dyeing the yarn, there might be slight variations in color between batches of dye. The dye lot number allows you to identify yarn dyed from the same mixture so you know colors will be consistent across multiple balls of yarn.
There are many varieties of crochet hooks. The most common materials are bamboo, metal, plastic, wood, and steel.
There are also specialty hooks. I don’t recommend that beginners run out and spend a lot of money on supplies :), but you may find these hooks useful as you start to crochet more.
Like yarn, hooks come in a range of sizes. The millimeter size refers to the circumference of the hooks. In the U.S., hooks are also lettered and numbered. As the numbers increase and the letters move further into the alphabet, the circumference is getting larger. (The opposite is true of the U.K. sizing.)
For each yarn weight, there is a recommended hook size. This chart has more information and includes U.S. and U.K. hook sizing.
In addition to the yarn and hooks, there are some other tools which crocheters use regularly.
Measurement tools are critical to the success of most crochet projects. You can use a standard ruler or tailor’s tape. If you want to get fancy, the Knit Picks View Sizer or the Susan Bates Knit Chek can assist with both measuring gauge and figuring out the sizes of those mystery hooks in your collection.
A decent pair of scissors is invaluable. You can use full size, child size, or embroidery scissors. I prefer the portability of child size scissors because I do a lot of crocheting on the go.
Yarn needles are generally considered optional for crochet. However… when I compared the look of my finished crochet projects before and after I began using yarn needles, I decided to make them mandatory for myself :). Yarn needles come in metal and plastic varieties. I personally prefer 2 inch steel yarn needles, like Susan Bates 14081.
Choosing a project for the CAL
Next week, we will start crocheting! You will get to choose what type of project(s) you would like to work on. I will post a tutorial and/or video each week and will also be sharing some stitch patterns. Since we are focusing on the basics, most of what you make will be rectangular or square.
Some project ideas:
One small project each week, such as a washcloth, a short scarf, or small, decorative pillow, or
A larger sampler project for the whole 6 weeks, such as a pillow form cover, blanket, rug, or multi-stitch scarf. Each of these projects could be worked in one large piece with color changes or in squares/rectangles which could then be joined together. (Week 6 will focus on joining.)
Your choice of project(s) will influence your selection of yarn.
Making a supply list
Now that you have an awareness of the different supplies used for basic crocheting, you should get together a supply list.
Yarn: If you have a really defined project in your mind, review the Yarn Comparison Chart to see what type of yarn fiber would be best for such a project. Remember, you can post a message here, on Flickr, or my Ravelry group if you aren’t sure what type of yarn fiber would be suitable for your chosen project.
I recommend #4 medium weight (also known as worsted, afghan, or aran weight) yarn with a straight texture for our CAL. (In other words, no boucle or novelty yarn.) This type of yarn is readily available and easy for beginners to use. You should expect to use at least two colors for this CAL. If you are a beginner, light colored yarns will be best because it is easier to see your stitches.
Hooks:You will want to get at least two hooks in different sizes. If you get #4 medium weight yarn, what are some hook sizes you might want to buy? (Hint: review the Recommended Hook Sizes chart.)
Notions: Your notions purchases could be spaced out during the CAL. You will need a scissor starting in week 2, a measurement tool starting in week 3, and a yarn needle is optional for week 6.
Will you be collecting all of your supplies now, or week by week?
Your assignment for next week is to get your hands on some yarn, hooks, and scissors.
Remember that yarn labels often contain a lot of helpful information.
If you are already a knitter, you are welcome to search your stash for an appropriate yarn. If you are a new crocheter, your crafty friends might be willing to donate some yarn to your swatching fund :). Unless you have a very specific, large, beginner project in mind, or live very far from a store that sells yarn, I don’t recommend running out to buy tons of yarn. You may discover that you don’t love crocheting with a particular type of yarn or that you don’t need as much as you expected. Also, when we learn about gauge in week 3, we will talk about ways to estimate the amount of yarn you might need for a specific project.
You can post a reply here, on Flickr, or my Ravelry group if you have any questions or want to share your project ideas or supply finds.
My FO Friday post this week is about my online Crochet 101 CAL, which starts tomorrow. I’ve been working all week on photos and tutorials for the first two weeks of lessons, and am very excited to share the details with you. If you are new to crochet, please feel free to join in!
Welcome to Crochet 101, the first class in the Crochet Lyceum with Underground Crafter series!
Crochet 101 is an introduction to crocheting and is suitable for an absolute beginner or as a refresher course for a crocheter who is “feeling rusty.” The course uses U.S. terminology with reference links to U.K. terminology. Through this course, you will learn the six basic crochet stitches, how to crochet in rows, and some basic techniques for changing colors and finishing. You will also be introduced to pattern reading (using both U.S. pattern abbreviations and international stitch symbols).
The Crochet-A-Long (CAL) portion of this course runs from Saturday, September 24, 2011 through Wednesday, November 2, 2011. During the CAL portion, I will be available to help you out by answering questions and looking at uploaded pictures of your work for troubleshooting. The lessons will be available here on the blog, and you can share your pictures in the Crochet Lyceum with Underground Crafter Flickr group. While participation during the CAL is free, starting on November 3, 2011, an ebook with all of the lessons will be available for sale for students to work through at their own pace.
Students who share their work in the Flickr group by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 may be included in a student showcase post here on the blog on Saturday, November 5, 2011. More details will follow.
Week 1 (9/24): Materials and Project Planning
Different types of yarn, hooks, and notions
Choosing a beginner project
Week 2 (10/1): First Stitches
Forming the slip knot
Chain, single crochet, and slip stitches
Working into the front loop
Week 3 (10/8): More Stitches, Gauge, and Pattern Reading
Half double crochet stitch
Working into the back loop and the “third loop”
Introduction to gauge
Basic pattern reading using a two stitch pattern
Week 4 (10/15): More Stitches, and Changing Colors
Double crochet stitch
Creating simple stripes
Basic pattern reading using a three stitch pattern
Week 5 (10/22): The Last Stitch and Alternative Techniques
A new way to start the foundation chain
Triple (treble) crochet stitch
Basic pattern reading continued
Week 6 (10/29) (11/5): Basic Finishing Techniques
Weaving in ends
Taking care of your crocheted items
Student Showcase goes “live” on 11/5.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Underground Crafter (and why should I trust her as a crochet teacher)?
Because it is a great way to learn the basics! There are many online resources available, but many beginners struggle to make sense of it all. During the CAL, you will have a real, live, certified crochet teacher working along with you and helping you out.
What do I need to do to participate?
Each week during the CAL, there will be a new class posted on the blog. (Links to each post will be added to this post, below, as they go “live.”) I will also post a reminder in my Underground Crafter Ravelry group.
This CAL is free. Each week, I will add new information, including a lesson with photographs, illustrations, and/or links to different helpful resources. Some lessons will also include links to videos. At the end of each week’s lesson, there will be a homework assignment :).
To get the most out out of the CAL, read through the information, work on the homework between classes, and post your questions and pictures to the Crochet Lyceum with Underground Crafter Flickr group. (You won’t get in trouble if you don’t do your homework, but you probably won’t get as much out of the class.) You can also post questions directly on the relevant blog post. I will check in with the group daily, and will be available there to answer questions during the CAL. You can also upload pictures of your work and I can give you glowing compliments or help troubleshoot (or both!).
Edited to add: You may also want to subscribe to the blog to make it easier to remember to follow along.
If you use a blog reader, such as Google Reader, just add the blog’s feed address: http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog
If you’d like to get an email every time the blog is updated (including the Crochet 101 posts), go to the upper right hand corner of any page on the blog. Enter your email address next to the “Subscribe” button. Click the button, and then follow the directions to subscribe.
Do you have any general questions about the Crochet 101 CAL? Post them here!