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Tips & How To

  • Learn to Crochet: Let's Wrap Things Up

    We've reached the end of our Learn to Crochet series, and it's time to wrap things up.

    learn-to-crochet-wrap-up

    Over the past ten weeks we've learned the basic stitches -- sc, hdc, dc, trc -- as well as how to work in the round, change colors, read patterns and charts, and increase and decrease. We've made fingerless mitts, a hat, and two cowls. This has been an intense crash course on crochet, and we're ready to make our ways into the world, armed with our hooks.

    Basically, we've all become expert-level crocheters. So where do we go from here?

    OK, technically we're probably more advanced-beginner than expert, but we've learned a lot in a short time. We don't want those skills to disappear, so it's time to practice!

    Practice New Stitches

    Our Stitch Finder page is a great place for practicing new stitches. Check it out to find lace, motifs, colorwork, and more to play with. Try making squares out of Crochet Cable, Basic Shell, Checkerboard, and Fanfare, all pictured above, or any of the other stitches listed.

    We will be spotlighting different patterns from the Stitch Finder -- in both knit and crochet -- on the blog going forward, so keep checking back.

    Patterns to Try

    Saddlebrook Cape Scarf by Two of Wands

    We have tons of great patterns right here on our site, and you can even sort them by difficulty. Levels 1 and 2 should be old hat (pun intended) for you by now, and you could likely handle 3 as well. Challenge yourself a bit and try level 4. Level 5 might be a struggle at this point, but with practice you'll work your way up to it.

    Easy Blanket Sweater by Mama in a Stitch

    With the skills you've learned, you can make projects of any kind. Sweaters, bags, blankets, shawls, you name it. If you aren't sure about something, I've found that the best way to learn is to just jump in and do it. Try that new stitch, or the shape you thought was too hard. Follow the directions and see what happened -- you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

    Tea House Wrap by Two of Wands

    Let's Wrap It Up

    I genuinely hope that this series has helped you learn to crochet. It's definitely been useful for me to write it -- I know I've learned a lot over the past couple of months. Learning to crochet was my New Years resolution, and for the first time in many years, I actually fulfilled it!

    These posts aren't going anywhere, so if you ever need a refresher, just pull them up and read! And if you need even more help, our Learn section has instructions on many crochet techniques as well.

    Thanks so much for being a part of this series and learning with me. You've got a whole lifetime of crocheting ahead of you, so go forth and do it. There are always new projects to try and new stitches to learn. Get creative, and most of all, have fun!

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  • Try This Stitch: Crystal Chandelier

    Crystal Chandelier is a lovely lacy stitch that would work well for a shawl or scarf.

    chandelier lace

    This lace would look lovely on many different projects, and the width is extremely adjustable. The pattern is eight stitches wide, with one more cast on for symmetry. So you would cast on 9, 17, 25, 33, and so on.

    The sample above is three repeats, so I cast on 25 stitches, using DIYarn in Hot Pink.

    In general with lace, it's best to choose a yarn that's not too fuzzy, so you can really see the stitches. You may also want to steer clear of colors that change to often. Something with a gradual or ombre effect might look nice without being distracting.

    We have a large selection of knit and crochet stitches and motifs, called the Stitch Finder. In it, you'll find all kinds of interesting things. Lace, cables, flowers, trims, you name it. You can make an entire blanket from the blocks you'll find on that page, too. All the patterns listed are reprinted with permission from various books.

    Crystal Chandelier

    Cast on multiple of 8 stitchess plus 1.

    Row 1 (RS): K1, *k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2; rep from * to end.

    Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl.

    Row 3: K1, *k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1; rep from * to end.

    Row 5: [K2tog, yo] twice, *k1, yo, ssk, yo, S2KP, yo, k2tog, yo; rep from * to last 5 sts, end k1, [yo, ssk] twice.

    Row 7: K1, *k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1; rep from * to end.

    Row 9: K2tog, yo, *k5, yo, S2KP, yo; rep from * to last 7 sts, end k5, yo, ssk.

    Rows 11–19: Rep rows 1–9.

    Rows 21, 23 and 25: K1, *yo, k1, ssk, k1, k2tog, k1, yo, k1; rep from * to end.

    Row 26: Purl

    Rep rows 1–26

    This pattern comes with a chart, as well, if that's the pattern method you prefer to use.

    If you are unsure how to do any of the stitches mentioned, see our Learn section for instructions.

    Reprinted from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Five: Lace, with permission from 6th&Spring Books; copyright 2010; photos by Jack Deutsch Studio. All rights reserved.

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  • Try this Stitch: Arrowhead Lace

    Arrowhead lace is a beautiful stitch that looks intricate without being too complex or difficult.

    arrowhead-1

    The four-row pattern repeats across 10 stitches, with one extra cast on for symmetry. A single repeat (11 stitches) makes a great headband, or can be incorporated into a larger piece, like a hat or sweater. Two or three repeats (21 or 31 stitches) make for a nice, open scarf. Cast on even more -- 61, 71, 81 -- for a wide shawl or wrap, perfect for summer nights or inside a chilly office.

    While the intricacy of arrowhead lace really shines in a solid yarn, something with subtle variegation could look lovely as well. You may want to avoid something with color changes that are too bold or too frequent, as they may detract from the stitchwork.

    We have a large selection of knit and crochet stitches and motifs, called the Stitch Finder. In it, you'll find all kinds of interesting things. Lace, cables, flowers, trims, you name it. You can make an entire blanket from the blocks you'll find on that page, too. All the patterns listed are reprinted with permission from various books.

    Arrowhead Lace

    arrowhead-2

    Cast on a multiple of ten stitches, plus one (11, 21, 31, 41, and so on).

    Row 1 (WS): Purl

    Row 2 (RS): K1, *[yo, ssk] twice, k1, [k2tog, yo] twice, k1; rep from * to end

    Row 3: Purl

    Row 4: K2, *yo, ssk, yo, sl 2 knitwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k2tog, yo, k3; rep from *, end last rep k2

    Rep rows 1-4.

    The sample pictured is knit with 24/7 Cotton® on US 6 (4.0 mm) needles. However, the Arrowhead stitch pattern would look lovely in any weight. One with good stitch definition like the cotton would be best, so for a slightly heavier knit, Woolspun® would be a nice choice. The sample is 11 stitches wide, which is one lace repeat.

    This pattern is reprinted with permission from  Vogue Knitting Stitchionary: Volume One, Sixth & Spring Books, 2005.

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