#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 5 reasons to use locking stitch markers

5 reasons to use locking stitch markers on #Crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter

For most of my crochet life, I didn’t use locking stitch markers. If a pattern called for a stitch marker, I used scrap yarn instead.

Once I started knitting, more patterns called for stitch markers and scrap yarn was a bit harder to substitute. I decided to buy locking stitch markers, which could be used for both knitting and crochet.

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And this is how I learned about many great uses for these cute little notions! I’m going to share 5 reasons to use locking stitch markers for crochet in this post, and maybe I can make you a convert, too :).

Reason 1: To mark stitches, especially the start of a round

This is the most obvious reason to use locking stitch markers for crochet! You can use the markers as called for in a pattern, or when designing your own projects. I find locking stitch markers to be especially helpful when I’m crocheting in the round in spirals without joining.

Reason 2: To make measuring easier

If you don’t have pets, you might just lay your project out and measure it every so often. But with two black cats, I try to avoid placing my projects down on any measuring surface unless absolutely necessary!

Using locking stitch markers to make measurement easier on Underground Crafter

If my finished project needs to be 36″ long, I place a locking stitch marker on the side of a row halfway to that length (so, at 18″ in this example). Then I can just fold my project over periodically. Once both sides are the same length, I know it’s ready to finish up. This is a great trick to make measuring length for scarves and blankets and other long projects easier.

Similarly, you can also place a locking stitch marker periodically every certain number of rows. This is best for patterns where the length is measured by the number of repeats, rather than in inches or cm. It’s much easier to accurately count a smaller number of rows than a larger number of rows. So, for example, I might place a locking stitch marker at the edge of every 10th row if I’m supposed to crochet 50 rows. Once I have 5 markers placed, I know I have the right number of rows.

3) To make seaming projects easier

Locking stitch markers are great tools for lining up stitches in motifs, garments, and bags before seaming.

Using locking stitch markers to make joining pieces easier in crochet on Underground Crafter

I prefer using locking stitch markers to pins because there’s no need to worry about pricking my finger. You can lock the marker to chain spaces or to specific stitches – being sure to push it through both pieces – as you line up pieces for seaming.

4) To keep crochet from unraveling during travel

I crochet a lot while commuting. It’s really no fun to open your project bag to discover that a few rows or rounds have unraveled during transport.

Before putting a work in progress in my travel bag, I lock the loop that’s on my hook with a locking stitch marker. That way, if the hook loses its place in my bag, the loop (and my project) won’t unravel.

crochet-along

5) To mark the location for pieces to attach

Locking stitch markers can be used to mark the right location for attaching pieces. If your pattern mentions that a flower should be joined at round 3, for example, you can place the locking stitch marker as you finish that row so you don’t have to count later.

You can also use a locking stitch marker to pin appliques, pockets, and amigurumi pieces to the main project before joining. This will allow you to easily test out different positions, and to line up stitches before you make your final join.

I hope you enjoyed this crochet tip! If you have a crochet question – or a tip of your own – leave it in the comments!

Easy Fixes for a Foundation Chain with Too Few or Too Many Chains | #Crochet #TipsTuesday

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

When you’re crocheting a project with a long foundation chain – like a blanket or a scarf worked lengthwise – it can be so frustrating to discover (typically, at the end of the first row!) that you didn’t count your chains correctly.

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To prevent having to unravel my project or add on another piece of yarn, I always leave a very long yarn tail of 12” (30 cm) or more at the beginning of any project with a long foundation chain.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

Craftsy

Easy fix for when you end Row 1 with too few chains

When I get to the end of the first row and find I need to add a few more chains to my project, I pull up the loop on the hook so that it is very tall and won’t unravel.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

Next, I remove my hook. I locate the slip knot I created at the beginning of my chain. I gently untie my slip knot until it forms a small loop.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I place this loop on my crochet hook, and add as many stitches to the foundation chain as I need.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

(This time, I’m sure to check my count again before fastening off the foundation chain!)

Foundation Chain Too Long or Short 11

I finish by returning my hook to the loop and continuing across Row 1. I may waste a few inches of yarn when I’ve counted the chain correctly, but I save myself a lot of frustration when my chain is too short.

Foundation Chain Too Long or Short 12

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Easy fix for when you end Row 1 with too many chains

Sometimes, the opposite happens. I finish the first row and  find that I started with too many chains.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochetI locate the slip knot I created at the beginning of my chain.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I gently untie my slip knot.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I slowly unravel each extra chain until I reach the base of the last stitch of the first row.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I hold the base of the last stitch in one hand and the yarn tail in the other and pull them gently apart.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochetThis forms a new slip knot and the end of my first row.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I hope you enjoyed this crochet tip! If you have a crochet question – or a tip of your own – leave it in the comments!

How to Start a Crochet Circle

How to Start a Crochet Circle in Your Local Community on Underground Crafter

These days it can seem easier to find other crocheters online than in your local community! Meeting regularly with a crochet circle can be a great way to finish your crochet projects while having fun.

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What is a crochet circle?

A crochet circle is a group that meets regularly for socializing and crocheting, and they can take many different forms. Some circles are made up of close friends while others are open to the community. Some meet in public while others rotate visits to members’ homes. Crochet circles may meet as frequently as once a week or just a few times a year. Before starting up a crochet circle, think about what type of group you’d prefer to organize and join.

Membership

Open Membership

If one of your goals for the crochet circle is to meet people, you may choose to have open membership. For the privacy, safety and convenience of members, meet in public locations such as coffee shops, food court dining areas, public library community rooms, book stores, or local yarn shops. Many of these venues will allow a crochet circle to meet for a few hours free of charge while others will expect members to spend a minimum amount. Check with the manager if you are unsure.

You can recruit members with fliers placed in the meeting location and local community centers. Talk up the circle at your local crochet guild. (You can search for local chapters of the Crochet Guild of America here.) Online, spread the word by starting a thread in a local group on Ravelry, writing a Craigslist ad, or Tweeting using a local hashtag.

Network Membership

Perhaps you don’t have many friends and family who crochet, but you don’t want to open membership to the public. Target your own networks of friends and family, co-workers and alumni.

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Email your friends and family asking for referrals, or ask friends to share your Facebook post about the crochet circle. If you work for a medium to large employer, talk with a Human Resources representative. The company may be willing to promote your crochet circle as part of their efforts to increase work-life balance, and may even allow you to use a conference room during lunch or after work for meetings. If crochet circle membership would be industry-appropriate, consider sharing information on LinkedIn or with professional networking groups. Update your high school and post-secondary school alumni networks with information about your crochet circle, especially if you live near the campus. You may even be able to use an alumni lounge to meet.

With network membership, you may feel comfortable hosting the first meeting at your home, or you may prefer to find a public location.

Closed Membership

A personalized invitation can go a long way towards growing the membership of a crochet circle made up of friends and family. Create your own crochet-themed invitations using color pictures of a crochet project or yarn. Print invites at home on cardstock, or find some great customizable print invitations on Zazzle. If the first meeting takes place at your home, be sure to mention whether you are providing snacks or if it is a potluck.

The First Meeting

Set the stage for a fabulous crochet circle by welcoming everyone. Share your vision and get feedback from the other members for the next steps. Some discussion points to consider are:

  • Meeting frequency: Will you have a set meeting day and time, or will meetings change based on member availability? How often will the group meet?
  • Meeting location: Will you always meet at the same location or will you rotate locations?
  • Refreshments: Are meetings potluck/bring your own snacks, does the host provide refreshments, or do all members contribute towards the cost of refreshments? If you’re meeting at a public eatery, be sure to inform members about any minimum orders you have discussed with management.
  • Activities: Will you work on group projects such as charity blankets, pieces for a street art project, or a layette set for a mutual friend? Or, will each member bring their own project(s) to work on?
  • Skill Building: If some members are new to crochet, will other members provide technical support? Will the group want to hire a teacher for some meetings to demonstrate new techniques? Do members want to volunteer to teach a new project or skill to other members?
  • Field Trips: Will the group attend local fiber events together?
  • Communication: What’s the best way to get in touch with each other between meetings or on the day of the crochet circle if plans change?

Once you’ve established guidelines for your group and have grown the membership, the fun begins! Be sure to periodically revisit membership and guidelines to keep your group active and engaged.

Do you have a local crochet circle? What are your tips for keeping one active?

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet during NatCroMo!

Are you ready to have a great month celebrating crochet? I know I am!

March is (Inter)National Crochet Month, and I’m thrilled to share my love of crochet with pretty much anyone who is willing to listen! I’m also excited to kick off Crochetville’s 2015 NatCroMo Designer Blog Tour! Visit Crochetville here to see the daily schedule of blog stops, learn more about the featured charity, Halos of Hope, and find out more about the daily giveaways.

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet During National Crochet Month on Underground Crafter

I love celebrating (Inter)National Crochet Month every March, and I know a lot of other crocheters feel the same way. Here’s a list of 10 ways you can spread the love of crochet during March (and all year round).

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Share, share, share!

There’s plenty of eye candy on display during NatCroMo so it’s easy to share! Set up a special Pinterest board, share links on your preferred social media platforms, or create roundups of your favorites on your blog.

I have over 30 crochet boards on Pinterest, including this one you may enjoy!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Pattern Roundups on Pinterest.

Show appreciation

Do you have a favorite crochet blogger, designer, author, or teacher? What about a crochet-friendly local yarn shop (LYS) or yarn company? Is there a crochet book, hook, or magazine that you love? Show your appreciation by commenting or reaching out on social media, making recommendations to your friends, or writing reviews.

Start a crochet circle in your community

March is the perfect time to start a local crochet circle. Crochet circles are great ways to meet people and have fun together while crocheting.

You can find my tips for starting a crochet circle in this post.

Share your skills

Teach a friend to crochet or host a lunchtime class at work; volunteer to teach children, seniors, or hospital patients; or ask to lead a stitch demonstration at your next crochet guild meeting. You’ll have fun sharing your love of crochet and you may inspire someone else to pick up the hook!

Make a gift

Crochet an unexpected gift for a loved one. To keep the experience stress free, make it a surprise and choose a project you’ll enjoy making!

Wear your own crochet

If you gift more crochet projects than you keep, make something extra special for yourself and be sure to wear it to display your crochet pride!

Donate to charity

Contribute to a local or national charity by donating yarn or hooks, or crocheting blankets, chemo caps, or other items for distribution. Crochetville’s featured NatCroMo charity, Halos of Hope, lists their donation guidelines for chemo caps here. You can find other organizations that accept crochet donations through…

Always check with the charity to make sure the information is up-to-date before delivering a project.

Crochet in public

Take your hook outdoors and crochet on public transportation, in the library, at a coffeehouse, or wherever people spend time outdoors in your community. Be prepared to chat with strangers about what you’re working on, and don’t be shy about explaining that knitting is the one with two needles.

Learn something new

With all the excitement surrounding crochet this month, it’s a great time to learn something new. Pick up a new stitch, learn a new technique, or even try out a new project to keep up your enthusiasm for crochet.

Geek out on crochet gear

Visit Café Press or Zazzle and add a crochet t-shirt, bag, bumper sticker, mug, or other conversation starter to your collection!

Some of my favorite crochet-themed shops are:

What other suggestions do you have for spreading the love of crochet during NatCroMo?

I’ll be celebrating NatCroMo all month long on the Underground Crafter with great giveaways, interviews with crochet designers, and more!