Monday, August 30, 2010

How I Organize My Crochet Stuff

All we crocheters love our crochet supplies and love hoarding them for future use. But too much of it and things go out of control. You don't know how to organize them and they are all over the place. I finally decided to take some time to add some method to my madness and share it with all of you. I made a hook case to keep my hooks in. Finally, a well deserving abode for my hooks which do all the work. The hook case has ten hook pockets to hold hooks from sizes B to K. You can even add a pocket for your tape measure and stitch markers. Free pattern for this case will be coming up soon.

I had always kept my yarn bundled up in plastic bags. What an uncreative way of keeping such a beautiful craft supply! So one fine day I decided to shop for a big plastic box that would hold all my yarn. That is when I chanced upon this three tier plastic box with wheels. These are readily available in any Walmart or Target stores. Now, I store all my yarn in these and can conveniently wheel them around wherever I want to sit and crochet. You can also consider using one of the tiers for keeping your tape measure, buttons, sewing needles and thread etc.

Time and again, after starting to use a skein of yarn I end up loosing or misplacing the wrappers around the yarn. The result, I don't know which color or brand I am using to mention it in my patterns. Looking up the color names in the internet left me confused and I had to wait for my next visit to the craft store to confirm it. So I came up with this idea to cut out the name part and the color part of each yarn label and staple them with a bit of the yarn for future reference.

If any of you have more ideas please let me know and I would like to add it here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chunky Bangles (Free Pattern)

This is an extension of my recycled bag handle idea. This time I used a smaller plastic lid like that from Pringles to make this trendy bangle. Make them in any color combo to jazz up your summer outfits. I used a size H crochet hook (5mm) and worsted weight yarn. For one bangle I used colors grass and grape, both from Loops and Threads impeccable and color Aran from Red Heart. For the other I used Magenta from Vanna's choice and Terracotta from Loops and Threads again. 

Here is how to make it :
1. keep your size bangle on the plastic lid and using a marker draw along the inner circle of the bangle and cut it out. This will ensure that your bangle is a correct fit.
2. Slip stitch around the plastic circle you cut out and do 7 sc around it with grass colored yarn. ( Refer back to my Recycled bag handle to see how to do this.). Do not fasten off.

3. Now with one grass color loop on the hook insert the hook into the circle and yarn over the grape color yarn and complete one single crochet all the while taking care to carry the grass color yarn on top along the rim of the circle as shown. This will automatically weave it in .Do 6 more sc with this color.

4. Now drop the grape color and yarn over the grass and do total 7 sc. Repeat these steps alternating colors till you cover the entire bangle. In the end you will have only 1 tail to weave in. Using a yarn needle, weave it in along the same colored sc stitches on the bangle and cut off the excess.

5. Now cut out some aran colored yarn, around 150 inches of it from the skein and roll it up in a small ball so that you can easily pass it in through the bangle. Sl st it onto any sc and chain 8, insert the hook into the circle backwards.

6. Bring the working yarn under the circle and sl st again into the 5th stitch from the previous sl st made.
(You might have to bring the wound yarn in through the circle to untangle it.) This will make a slanted winding around the bangle. Ch 8 again and repeat as before till you cover the entire bangle. Sl St to the 1st sl st made and fasten off . Weave in the tail along the chain itself.

For the other bangle I embellished using some sequins I had. You can sew them on or use glue. You can try using jewels available in any craft stores too. Use your imagination and make it your own. If you make it please do post a pic on my facebook page here. Again, what do you think of this idea? What other color combinations can you come up with? What color dress can you carry these off with? Let me know.......

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tips for Making Baby Booties

1. It is always difficult for a beginner to get both the booties in the same size. Do not get disappointed, there are lots of others in the same boat as you. The first step is to make sure you do both the soles together and of the same size. If you do both the booties side by side, u can avoid changes to a large extent before it's too late. If you are making it for your baby, it's a good idea to try it on before weaving in the ends. A slight variation in size may go unnoticed when worn as crochet projects are stretchy and will take the shape of the feet.

2. Work into the back loops only means instead of inserting your hook under both the loops of a stitch, insert it into one of the loops only ( back as seen in pic) which will leave one loop of each stitch free. It helps to turn your work , like to turn the sides up from the sole.

3. Sole is worked in the round, or shall I say oval, around the foundation chain without turning your work at all. You work into all of the foundation chains and then go around to work in the back of the same foundation chain again. Making the sole involves a lot of counting. What you have to keep in mind is that the sole is made of two identical halves , one left half and one right half . So whatever increases you make will be symmetrical on both sides as seen in pic below. If your counting goes wrong then your sole will look like its turning to one side or have an extra bulge on one side. So make sure to count your stitches after each round. Use your hook to count your stitches and not your fingers. For beginners increases means doing more than one half double crochet or single crochet etc. into the same stitch. There are cases where the pattern requires the sole to have a sharper curve on one of the sides, but that is rarely required for baby booties. Each round in the sole is made using a mix of half double crochet, single crochet etc. This is to make the sole wider at toe side and narrower at the ankle side by making the longer stitches on the toe side alone. So watch out for the changes in the stitches in each round, do not end up doing sc where your pattern calls for hdc or vice versa. I hope these tips help you in clearing some of the confusions involved in making  baby booties.

4. Again, last but not the least when the pattern gives different sizes, circle all the variations for the size you choose before starting to work on it. All the best with your baby booties!