Tag Archives: underground crafter

Ripple Mania CAL: Giveaway

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 & ClarkLeisure ArtsLion 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.

The Prizes

Red Heart Ripple Mania Prize Package (Retail value: $75)

Red Heart is sponsoring a fabulous Ripple Mania package including an issue of Crochet Today! and a copy of the Ripple Effect pattern booklet,  along with everything you need to make the Windsor Ripple Throw – 8 skeins of Red Heart With Love yarn (2 skeins each 1530 Violet and 1814 True Blue D; 1 skein each 1907 Boysenberry, 1701 Hot Pink, 1401 Pewter, and 1805 Bluebell) and a 6 mm (US J) Susan Bates bamboo handle crochet hook.  And, to make it easy for you to work on your project on the go, they’re also including a Red Heart tote bag.

 

 

Leisure Arts Ripple Mania Prize Package. (Retail value: $48.85)

Leisure Arts is sponsoring an awesome Ripple Mania prize package including 69 ripple patterns in 5 pattern books!  The package includes 40 Favorite Ripple Afghans (Ravelry page), Beauty of the Earth Afghans (Ravelry page), Vanna’s Choice Color It Beautiful Afghans (Ravelry page), Ripple Afghans to Crochet (Ravelry page), and Rippling Effects (Ravelry page).  These books will definitely keep you crocheting for quite some time!

 

 

Lion Brand Ripple Mania Prize Package. (Retail value: $33.16)

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!

 

Magique Enterprises Ripple Mania Prize Package. (Retail value: $24.95CAD)

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:

  • Join in the Ripple Mania Crochet-a-long!  You can participate in the Underground Crafter group on Ravelry, in the comments on this blog, on the Underground Crafter Facebook page, or by Tweeting @ucrafter #ripplemania.
  • 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 Ravelry: Add the project to your notebook with the tag ripplemania.  Share the project  in the Ripple Mania CAL Giveaways thread.
  • 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!

Ripple Mania CAL Schedule!

Wednesday, 10/17 – Ripple Mania Kick Off!

Ripple Mania CAL Chat on Ravelry

Week 1 Chat on Ravelry

  • Supply list and project suggestions
  • Colorize Your Ripple: Choosing a Palette for Your Project

Wednesday, 10/24 -Ripple Basics

Week 2 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 10/31 – Ripple Variations

Week 3 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/7 – Squaring Up Your Ripple

Week 4 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/14 – Adding ripples to hexagon and square motif patterns

Week 5 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/28 – The Big Reveal!

Stop by Ravelry to join in on the CAL.

Crochet Lyceum: Crochet 101: Student Showcase Giveaway!

This post is part 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.

I was planning to post Class 6: Basic Finishing Techniques today, but frankly, I’m too tired to do the post justice, so I will be delaying it for a few days.  I did want to give people who have been participating in the CAL a chance to win some giveaways that I’ve saved up just for you!

Next Saturday, November 5, I’d like to have a student showcase post with pictures of the swatches and projects that those of you following along for all or part of the CAL have made.

To enter the giveaway:

  • Email one or more pictures of your swatch(es) or project(s) to marie@undergroundcrafter.com/blog OR post or link the pictures to my Ravelry group.
  • Grant me permission to share the pictures, and let me know how you’d like to be credited (e.g., by your real name, your Ravelry name, etc.).
  • For each different project or swatch you share pictures of, you will get 1 entry.  You can enter as many pictures as you’d like, but pictures of the same project will only be counted once.
  • You must email or post the pictures with your permission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, November 3.

So, what are the prizes?

Yarn (3 prizes):

Notions Kit:

  • 3 sizes of crochet hooks, 1 set of yarn needles, and a gauge ruler.

Good luck!

To find more blogs participating in Blogtoberfest 2011, visit Tinnie Girl.  For Blogtoberfest 2011 giveaways, visit Curly Pops.

Crochet Lyceum: Crochet 101 – Class 5/6: The Last Stitch and Alternative Techniques

Welcome to Week 5 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 5: The Last Stitch and Alternative Techniques

This week, we will learn the final “basic” stitch, a new technique for crocheting in the foundation chain, and will continue exploring gauge and pattern reading.  Here is our outline for this week’s post:

  • A new way to stitch in the foundation chain
  • Treble (triple) crochet stitch
  • Creating a sampler: a review of gauge and pattern reading
  • Homework

Today’s post includes text and video.

A new way to stitch in the foundation chain

So far, we have been working our stitches into the front of the chain.

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association, Inc.

Another way is to work your stitches in the back of the chain.

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association, Inc.

The back of the chain has little ridges, sometimes called “humps” or “bumps.”

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association, Inc.

When you work your stitches into these little ridges on the back, rather than in the front of the chain, the bottom of your first row of stitches will look the same as the tops of your other rows, and it won’t be obvious where you started chaining.  This helps your projects look more polished.

You can crochet into the back of the foundation chain for any stitch, and the number of turning chains will remain the same.

Treble (triple) crochet stitch

The treble, or triple, crochet stitch is the tallest of the standard crochet stitches.  It has a lot of drape.  Because it is such a tall stitch, you are able to see the spaces between the stitches more clearly.  As a result, it isn’t generally suited for any project you want to look very tight or closed.

Six rows of treble crochet stitches, worked in the front loop only.

Download this handout and watch the video to learn how to make the treble crochet stitch.

Create a sampler: a review of gauge and pattern reading

Now that you know the six basic stitches of crochet (the chain, slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, and treble crochet), as well as two pattern stitches (crunch stitch and sedge stitch) that combine some of these basic stitches, you can start to make a sampler.

Making a sampler project using small squares can be easy with some planning.  For today’s lesson, let’s say that you are using 6 inch squares.

The number of 6 inch squares required for various sampler projects.

But how do you get your stitches to turn into 6 inch squares?  Start with a small swatch and measure the gauge.

Once you’ve measured your gauge, you can determine the number of chains you will need to begin a sampler square.

(number of stitches/inch) x 6 = (number of chains to start with)

You will need to adjust the number of chains slightly if you are using the crunch or sedge stitch, depending on the stitch multiples for your chosen pattern.  Tip: Adjust the number down, as it is easier to add a border to a block to make it larger than it is to “shrink” a block that is too large.

This handout will help you plan out a sampler project using 6 inch squares.

Homework

  • Practice your treble crochet stitches.
  • Figure out how many foundation chains you would need to start a 6 inch sampler square in single, half double, double, or treble crochet using your favorite hook and yarn.
  • Extra credit ;) – Figure out how many foundation chains you would need to start a 6 inch sampler square using the crunch or sedge stitch.
  • Make as many sampler squares as possible.
  • Post any questions about this week, or in anticipation of next week (the last week of our CAL) here, or in my Ravelry group.

 

Crochet Lyceum: Crochet 101 – Class 4/6: More Stitches and Changing Colors

Welcome to Week 4 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 4: More Stitches and Changing Colors

This week, we will learn one more stitch, learn a simple technique for creating stripes, and will continue exploring gauge and pattern reading.  Here is our outline for this week’s post:

  • Review homework and questions
  • Double crochet stitch
  • Working under both loops
  • One method for changing colors
  • Creating simple stripes
  • Review of gauge and pattern reading using a three stitch pattern
  • Homework

Today’s post includes text and video.  As with the previous weeks, I recommend that you read through the text first before watching the video.

Review Homework

How did your crunch stitch project or swatch look?  What was it like reading the pattern? There were several great questions on the week three Ravelry’s thread about gauge.

  • Stitches per inch vs. swatch size: Some patterns list gauge as the number of stitches in an inch, and some list gauge as the number of stitches in a swatch (usually, but not always, measured at 4 inches by 4 inches).  In general, I would recommend that you follow the instructions of the pattern writer for measuring gauge – in other words, make the swatch if that is suggested :).  However, you can also find the stitches per inch by dividing the number of stitches in the swatch by the number of inches in the swatch.
  • Gauge differences when you work in the front loop only, back loop only, the “third loop”, or under both loops: Using the front loop only, back loop only, the “third loop,” or both loops will change the gauge slightly. You may want to make swatches with more than one of the methods so you can see which you would you prefer for this particular pattern. You should measure the gauge for that method.
  • Getting correct gauge for a swatch, rather than stitches per inch: Last week, I gave some examples of how to change your gauge when it is measured by stitches per inch.  If you are trying to make a swatch of a certain size, if your swatch is smaller, you would need to make the entire swatch larger – you could use a larger hook, a thicker yarn, or a looser tension. If your swatch is larger, you need to make the entire swatch smaller – you could use a smaller hook, a thinner yarn, or a tighter tension.

There was also a question about whether you should turn and then chain, or chain and then turn.  It actually doesn’t matter, as long as you make your turning chains before you start your stitches into the next row.

Any other questions about gauge or last week’s lesson?

Double Crochet Stitch

The double crochet is another one of the basic stitches of crochet.  I would say it is definitely one of the most popular stitches.  It is a bit taller than the others we have learned so far, and has a very nice drape.  For those of you who have admired granny squares from afar, they are usually made up using mostly double crochet stitches and chains.

Six rows of double crochet stitches, worked into the front loop only.

Download this handout to learn how to form the double crochet stitch.

Working under both loops

We’ve tried working into the back loop (which creates a very textured crochet fabric), working into the front loop (which creates a mildly textured crochet fabric), and working into the third loop for the half double crochet stitch.  Today, let’s try working under both loops.

For this method, insert your hook underneath both loops as you make your stitches.

This technique creates the least textured crochet fabric.  It also creates a stiffer fabric with less drape. In the video, I will demonstrate working under both loops.

One method for changing colors

One method of changing colors is to change the color during the last yarn over of the last stitch in a row.  This method allows each row to retain its own color.

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association, Inc.

For the single, double, and triple crochet (which we will learn next week), use the new color for the yarn over when you have two loops of the last stitch in the row left on the hook. For the half double crochet, use the new color for the yarn over when you have the last three loops of the last stitch in the row on the hook. In the video, I will demonstrate changing colors for a double crochet stitch.

Creating simple stripes

An easy way to create stripes without a lot of ends to weave in later is to change colors every second row.  With this method, you carry the yarn along the side of your project.  In the video, I will demonstrate this technique. At the end of the project, you can create a border to “cover up” your yarn ends.

Watch the video and practice

Now that you’ve read about the double crochet and color changes, check out the video.  Practice making at least 12 rows, and making at least 5 color changes. http://vimeo.com/30608027

Review of gauge and pattern reading

Last week, we tried a simple two stitch pattern.  Now, let’s try a pattern that uses three of the stitches we’ve learned.  This stitch pattern is usually called the sedge stitch.

Unfortunately, the texture of this stitch is somewhat difficult to photograph.

Start with a multiple of 3 chains, +1, + 2 for the foundation chain. Row 1: Turn.  Sk 2 chs (counts as first sc).  (Hdc, dc) in next ch.  *Sk 2 chs, (sc, hdc, dc) in next ch.*  Repeat from * to * across row to last 3 chs.  Sk 2 chs, sc in last ch. Row 2: Turn.  Ch 1 (counts as first sc).  Sk ch. (Hdc, dc) in sc.  *Sk dc and hdc, (sc, hdc, dc) in next sc.*  Repeat from * to * across row to last 3 sts.  Sk dc and hdc.  Sc in t-ch. Repeat Row 2 until you reach desired length.

Homework

For next week:

  • Practice reading patterns by making the sedge stitch (as a swatch, or as part of a project).
  • Compare your stitches worked under both loops with your stitches worked into the front loop or back loop only.  Do you have a preference, in general?  Do you have a preference for each stitch?
  • Continue practicing the double crochet stitch.

You can post a reply here, on Flickr, or my Ravelry group if you have any questions or want to share your pictures of your stitches and projects.

Crochet Lyceum: Crochet 101 – Class 3/6: More Stitches, Gauge, and Pattern Reading

Welcome to Week 3 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 3: More Stitches, Gauge, and Pattern Reading

This week, we will learn two more stitches and will begin exploring gauge and pattern reading.  Here is our outline for today’s post:

  • Review homework and questions
  • Half double crochet stitch
  • Working into the back loop and the “third loop”
  • Slip stitch
  • Introduction to gauge
  • Basic pattern reading using a two stitch pattern
  • Homework

Today’s post includes text and video.  As with last week, I recommend that you read through the text first before watching the video.

Review Homework

How do your single crochet stitches look?  Here are some typical problems you might see with the cause and solution.

  • Stitches are all different sizes: Your tension is changing.  The hand controlling the yarn (left hand if you are a righty and right hand if you are a lefty) needs to get a more even grip on the yarn.
  • Very small stitches that are hard to get into: Your tension is too tight.  Before making the next stitch, run the loop on your hook over the thumb rest to stretch it a bit.  Relax the hold on the yarn in your yarn hand.
  • Huge, sloppy looking stitches: Your tension is too loose.  Before making the next stitch, pull the yarn more firmly so that the loop on your hook fits very snuggly.
  • You have fewer and fewer stitches as the piece grows: You are decreasing the number of stitches.  This is generally because you have forgotten to make your turning chain and then skipped the first stitch of the row.
  • You have more and more stitches as the piece grows: You are increasing the number of stitches, usually by working more than one stitch into each stitch from the row before.

I saw some nice pictures posted on Ravelry, so I know a few of you have even completed your first projects!

There were two questions about going into the front loop and whether or not it is “required” for single crochet.  With most crochet stitches, you will have the option of working the stitch into the front loop (which we did last week), into the back loop (which we will do today), or into both loops (which we will do next week).  Each option will produce a different texture, so you will probably develop a favorite over time.  Also, sometimes a pattern will specify which technique to use.  (True beginners: If your eyes are glazing over at this point, it is ok!  Just keep moving through the lesson :)!)

Half Double Crochet Stitch

The half double is another one of the basic stitches of crochet.  It is a bit “chubbier” than the other stitches and it also is the only stitch which has a “third loop.”  Because of that third loop, you can do some very interesting textural things with the stitch.  (Side note: I first learned about using the third loop in 2007 from Helen Jordan‘s wonderful book, Textured Crochet.  In my opinion, it is the only crochet stitch guide which makes wonderful use of this feature.)  The half double crochet has more drape than the single crochet stitch, and it is a bit taller, so your work will “grow” faster than with the single crochet.  It is actually my favorite stitch, and you will see it a lot in many different types of patterns.  I personally love using this stitch with hats.

Several rows of half double crochet stitches. You can see that there is more texture on this stitch than the single crochet.

Download this handout to learn how to form a half double crochet stitch.

Working into the back loop and third loop

After reading through the post and watching the first part of the video (below), you are ready to get started.  Last week we talked about the front loop, and this week we will explore the back loop.

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association.

This is a view of a row of stitches highlighting the back loop. (Working into the back loop is demonstrated in the video, too.)

In the video, I will also demonstrate how to use the wonderful third loop of the half double crochet stitch.

Slip Stitch

The slip stitch is a very interesting and underutilized crochet stitch.  We will learn more about it in weeks to come, but here is how you form the stitch.

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association, Inc.

Insert your hook into the stitch (in this picture, the slip stitch is being worked into the chain).  Bring the yarn over.  Draw the yarn through both the stitch and the loop (through both loops).

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association, Inc.

You will be left with one loop on the hook. If you are working entire rows in slip stitches, you will make one turning chain before starting the next row, just like single crochet.  Tip: Make your slip stitches loose, or they will be very hard to work into once you get to the next row :).

Watch the video and practice

Now that you have read about the half double crochet stitch and slip stitch, check out the video.  Practice by making at least 10 rows of each stitch.

Introduction to gauge

Now that you have some swatches of your half double crochet and slip stitches, let’s talk about gauge.  If you still have something you made with single crochet, bring that out, too.  For this part of the lesson, you will also need a measurement tool.

 

Illustration (c) 1984, The National Needlework Association. The text is my modification.

For some crocheters, gauge is a bit of a curse word, but it need not be.  Your gauge tells you the size of your stitches.  In the U.S., gauge is generally measured in stitches or rows per inch.  Across the row (horizontally, in the picture above), you can measure your stitch gauge.  Across the height of your project (vertically, in the picture above), you can measure your row gauge.  Not all patterns include row gauge, so for today, let’s focus on stitch gauge.

Your gauge is determined by four things:

  • Your tension (how loose or how tight you form the stitches),
  • Your choice of hook (with a larger circumference making larger stitches, so fewer stitches per inch),
  • Your choice of yarn (with a thicker yarn making larger stitches, so fewer stitches per inch), and
  • The stitch.  (You may have noticed that even if you keep your tension, yarn, and hook the same, the single crochet, half double crochet, and slip stitch will all be different sizes.)

Changing any one of those four things will change the number of stitches per inch.

Lay your swatch down on a flat surface, and place your ruler above it, towards the center of the swatch.  Why? You want to measure where you will have the most consistent tension, so that would be once you get comfortable and “into your groove.”

Measure across the row, for two inches.  Then, divide the number of stitches by 2, to get the average number of stitches per inch.  In the picture above, there are 6 stitches in 2 inches, or 3 stitches per inch.

Well, this is all very exciting, but what does this number have to do with anything?  When you look at a pattern, having the correct gauge ensures that your project will turn out the same size as the one in the pattern.  Having the wrong gauge means your queen sized blanket could end up a baby blanket, or your baby sweater could fit a teenager.  Linda Permann recently had a great example of what happens when you don’t check your gauge in this blog post.

What do you do if your gauge is different than the pattern’s recommended gauge?

  • If you have fewer stitches per inch than the pattern recommends, it means your stitches are bigger than those of the pattern writer.  To make your stitches smaller, you can use a smaller hook, a thinner yarn, and/or a tighter tension.
  • If you have more stitches per inch than the pattern recommends, it means your stitches are smaller than those of the pattern writer.  To make your stitches bigger, you can use a larger hook, a thicker yarn, and/or a looser tension.

Basic pattern reading using a two stitch pattern

The first big hurdle in reading a pattern is understanding the gauge.  Now that we are past that, what about the rest?  For today, we are going to talk about pattern abbreviations.  Most patterns in the U.S. are written, and use a system of abbreviations.  Reading patterns is kind of like learning a secret code language :).  This handout gives you the key to the secret code.

Let’s try a simple two stitch pattern, using the half double crochet and slip stitch that we learned today.  This stitch pattern is usually called the crunch stitch.

This picture shows the crunch stitch over many rows. The combination of half double and slip stitches, with their different heights and textures, produces a really interesting crocheted fabric.

Start with any multiple of 2 chs, plus 1 for the foundation ch.

(Side note: If you have a project in mind, start with a small swatch of about 15 chs, then check your gauge!  You can make the piece as large as you need by calculating the number of inches you would like the project to be and multiplying it by the number of stitches per inch in your gauge.  Add 1 chain to that total number to get the number of chains you should start with for your project.)

Row 1: Sk 2 chs.  *Sl st in next ch.  Hdc in next ch.*  Repeat from * to * across to last ch.  Sl st in last ch.

Row 2: Turn. Ch 2.  Sk t-chs and 1st sl st.  *Sl st in next hdc.  Hdc in next sl st.*  Repeat from * to * across.  Sl st in t-ch.  Turn.

Repeat Row 2 until your project is the desired length.

Homework

For next week:

  • Practice reading patterns by making the crunch stitch (as a swatch, or as part of a project).
  • Explore different textures.  Make one sample swatch where you make at least 2 rows of single crochet in the back loop and then at least 2 rows of single crochet in the front loop.  On the same swatch, make at least 2 rows each of half double crochet in the back loop, in the front loop, and in the third loop.  Look at the differences in textures.  What method (front, back, or third loop) do you like better for each stitch?
  • If you are feeling adventurous, alternate going in the front or back or third loop within the same row.  For example, in a half double crochet swatch with 15 stitches, work 5 in the front, 5 in the back, and 5 in the third loop.  With just a few stitches, you can make things that look very different!

You can post a reply here, on Flickr, or my Ravelry group if you have any questions or want to share your pictures of your stitches and projects.