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Lemon Peel Stitch

December 27, 2019

Foundation Row: Start with an even number of stitches (sts). Add 1 for base chain (ch).

Row 1: In the 2nd Ch from the hook, *(SC, DC). Repeat * until the end of the row. Ch 1, Turn.

Row 2: In the first st,*(SC, DC). Repeat pattern until the end of the row. Ch 1, Turn.
Note: Every SC should be stitched into a DC from the previous row and vice versa.

Repeat Row 2

Tips, Tricks & Techniques

How to Crochet a Straight Seam In the Round

December 27, 2019

Before we start this blog post, I want to make sure you’ve seen our other blog on “How to Crochet in Rounds“. This blog is a building block from this tutorial and will give you a better understanding of the baseline we are starting from.

It’s important to know how to create a straight seam in the round because if you don’t do it, then your seam will be noticeable in your hats, amigurumi, etc.

Seam 1: Pictured above is a seam that is a bit “wonky”. This is a seam we don’t really want in our projects because it makes the seam visible and what appears to be off-centered. The reason this happens is because a pattern designer may ask for you create an increase stitch in the first stitch of the round, instead of the last stitch.
Seam 2: Pictured above is a seam that is considered “invisible” and “straight”. This is a seam we do want in our projects because it goes unnoticed and makes your project look cleaner.

3 Techniques that I do are:

  1. I will always start my rounds by stitching in the same stitch as the joining slip stitch from the previous row.
  2. I make sure that I have good tension when joining my rounds to avoid any gaps that may occur.
  3. I do not start my rounds with an increase stitch.

In the “Seam 1” that is pictured above, the pattern would look as follows:
Start with the Magic Ring.
Round 1: Ch 2, DC 10. (10)
Round 2: Ch 2, *(2 DC) in the first stitch. Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (20)
Round 3: Ch 2, *(2 DC, DC 1). Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (30)
Round 4: Ch 2, *(2 DC, DC 2). Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (40).
Round 5: Ch 2, *(2 DC, DC 3). Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (50)

Notice how the beginning of the round starts with an increase by using 2 DCs.

In the “Seam 2” that is pictured above, the pattern would look as follows:
Start with the Magic Ring.
Round 1: Ch 2, DC 10. (10)
Round 2: Ch 2, *(2 DC) in the first stitch. Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (20)
Round 3: Ch 2, *(DC 1, 2 DC). Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (30)
Round 4: Ch 2, *(DC 2, 2 DC). Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (40).
Round 5: Ch 2, *(DC 3, 2 DC). Repeat * 9 more times. Join with slip stitch. (50)

Notice how the stitches are reversed and the the increases are done after doing single DC stitches.

Hopefully, this gave you a better understanding of how to get a straight seam in the round!

Tips, Tricks & Techniques

How to Crochet in Rounds

December 27, 2019

Working in rounds can seem daunting; however, it’s actually pretty easy! Once you learn how to work in rows of crochet, working in rounds is the nest step you should take in learning a new technique.

First, you’ll want to check out the blog post on “The Magic Circle“. This is the very basic foundation of how to start your circle.

You’ll learn crocheting in rounds (flat circle method) requires basic math skills. Below, you’ll see a sample of a cheat sheet made to know how many stitches you would need per round. For instance, if you start Round 1 with 6 stitches, then you will add 6 stitches per Round in order to keep the flat circle going.

In order to add additional stitches, it is important to count your stitches and create increase stitches. Below you’ll see how to create Rounds 1-5 beginning with 10 stitches in the Magic Circle.

Round 1: Start with Magic Circle (use blog post referenced earlier). Start with 10 DC stitches. (10 Stitches)
Round 2: After completing Round 1, Ch 2. Starting in the first DC from Round 1, *(2 DCs). Repeat * 9 more times. (20 Stitches).
Note: In Round 2, you will always do 2 DCs in each stitch in the flat circle method. If you refer to the chart earlier for stitch counts in the round, you will see that the second round doubles the amount of stitches used from the first round.
Round 3: After completing Round 2, Ch 2. Starting in the first DC from Round 2, *(DC, 2 DCs). Repeat * 9 more times. (30 Stitches).
Note: In Round 3, you will always do a DC in the first stitch followed by 2 DCs in the second stitch in the flat circle method. If you refer to the chart earlier for stitch counts in the round, you will see that the third round is the first round multiplied by 3.
Round 4: After completing Round 3, Ch 2. Starting in the first DC from Round 3, *(DC 2, 2 DCs). Repeat * 9 more times. (40 Stitches)
Note: In Round 4, you will always do a DC in the first two stitches followed by 2 DCs in the third stitch in the flat circle method. If you refer to the chart earlier for stitch counts in the round, you will see that the fourth round is the first round multiplied by 4.
Round 5: After completing Round 4, Ch 2. Starting in the first DC from Round 4, *(DC 3, 2 DCs). Repeat * 9 more times. (50 Stitches)
Note: In Round 5, you will always do a DC in the first three stitches followed by 2 DCs in the fourth stitch in the flat circle method. If you refer to the chart earlier for stitch counts in the round, you will see that the fifth round is the first round multiplied by 5.

You’ll continue this method for the rest of the rounds that you need in order to complete your project. Hopefully, you followed the method above. If so, you should find that you have a straight seam in your project.

In some patterns, you’ll find that the designer starts with an increase in the first stitch (DC 2) and finishing the round with a DC. When this is done, you’ll find a seam that becomes off centered and more visible. To avoid, this, reference our blog on “How to Create a Straight Seam” for the flat circle method.

Tips, Tricks & Techniques

The Magic Circle

December 26, 2019

Ever wonder how people work in rounds? Well, it all starts with the “Magic Circle”. The “Magic Circle” is a technique used to keep the center of the circle tight and you’ll typically see it used in a hat pattern or Amigurumi projects.

The tutorial below is an example of how to work Double Crochet Stitches in the Magic Circle.

Instructions:

Step 1: Wrap the tail end of your yarn as shown in the picture above. The end of the tail should be on top.
Step 2: Insert hook and draw up a loop as shown in the picture above.
Step 3: Yarn over and pull yarn through the loop. This creates a chain stitch.
Step 4: Create another chain stitch. You should have 2 chains as pictured above.
Step 5: Insert hook into the center of the ring to start the Double Crochet Stitch (DC). You’ll want to stitch over the tail of the yarn.
Step 6: In this example, I created 10 DCs into the Magic Ring.
Step 7: Grab the tail of the yarn. Pull it like a drawstring and allow for the stitches to cinch down together.
Step 8: Insert hook into the first DC of the round.
Step 9: Yarn over and pull yarn through.
Step 10: Join the circle with a slip stitch. This completes one round.
Crochet Stitches

Treble Crochet (tr) Stitch

December 26, 2019
Treble Crochet (tr) Stitch with 2nd generation CroChic Styles hook, “Snow Queen”, from the Fairy Tale Collection.

Instructions: Start with any number of Chain (Ch) stitches (sts). Add 3 Chs for Foundation Row. Yarn Over (YO) and insert hook into third Ch from hook. Pull yarn through. There should be 3 loops on your hook. YO and pull yarn through the first loop. There should be 3 loops on your hook. YO and pull yarn through the first two loops. There should be 2 loops on your hook. YO and pull yarn through last two loops.

Example Swatch:

Foundation Row: Any number of stitches (sts). Add 3 for base chain.

Row 1: Skip 3 Chains (Ch). Tr 1 into fourth Ch from hook. Repeat tr until the last Ch. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 3, tr 1 into fourth Ch from hook. Repeat tr until the last Ch. Turn.

Repeat second row.

Crochet Stitches

Double Crochet (DC) Stitch

December 22, 2019
Double Crochet (DC) Stitch with 2nd generation CroChic Styles hook, “Snow Queen”, from the Fairy Tale Collection.

Instructions: Start with any number of Chain (Ch) stitches (sts). Add 2 Chs for foundation row. Yarn Over (YO) and insert hook into third Ch from hook. Pull yarn through. There should be 3 loops on your hook. YO and pull yarn through the 2 loops, repeat.

Example Swatch:

Foundation Row: Any number of sts. Add 2 for base Ch.

Row 1: Skip 2 Chs. DC 1 into the third Ch from the hook. Repeat DC until the last Ch. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 2. DC 1 into the third Ch from the hook. Repeat DC until the last st. Turn.

Repeat Row 2.

Crochet Stitches

Half Double Crochet (HDC) Stitch

December 22, 2019
Half Double Crochet Stitch with 2nd Generation CroChic Styles Hook, ,”Snow Queen” from the Fairy Tale Collection

Instructions : Start with any number of Chain (Ch) stitches (sts). Yarn Over (YO) and insert hook into third Ch from hook. Pull yarn through. There should be 3 loops on your hook. YO and pull yarn through the 3 loops.

Example Swatch:

Foundation Row: Any number of stitches (sts). Add 2 for base chain.

Row 1: Skip 2 Chains (Chs). HDC 1 into the third Ch from hook. Repeat SC until the last Ch. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 1, SC 1 into second Ch from hook. Repeat SC until the last st. Turn

Repeat Row 2

Crochet Stitches

Single Crochet (SC) Stitch

December 22, 2019
Single Crochet Stitch pictured with 2nd Generation CroChic Styles Crochet Hook, “Snow Queen” from the Fairy Tale Collection.

Instructions: Start with any number of Chain (Ch) stitches (sts). Add 1 Ch for Foundation Row. In the second chain from the hook, insert hook and yarn over (YO) and pull yarn through. There should be 2 loops on your hook. YO and pull yarn through the 2 loops.

Example Swatch:

Foundation Row: Any number of stitches (sts). Add 1 for base chain.

Row 1: Skip 1 Chain (Ch). SC 1 into second Ch from hook. Repeat SC until the last Ch. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 1, SC 1 into second Ch from hook. Repeat SC until the last Ch. Turn

Repeat second row.

Tips, Tricks & Techniques

10 Tips to Start Your Handmade Business

November 9, 2019
LoveCrafts

I think many of us can say that we all have at least one time or another thought about taking our craft skills and creating it into a business. It crossed my mind many times, but it took years for me to realize that I had a craft that could be made into a business.

I’ve crocheted for years and it wasn’t until 2014 when I started to pick it up again as a serious hobby. My friends and family knew I could make almost anything they asked for–blankets, hats, and more! The downside to my hobby was that it cost a lot of money for yarn and it took a lot of time. I started to look up how much my items could sell for and my heart sank when I saw blogs showing how to calculate prices. I didn’t think that anyone would ever be willing to pay 2.5 times the yarn price or any of the other suggested methods. So, I did what probably most people do…I decided not to sell. However, time went on and in 2017, my husband and I looked into selling my crochet products. In 2018, my husband needed a hobby, so he started to make crochet hooks. In 2019, we established a crochet business that has grown into something we would never expect. How did we do it? Well, here are some things we learned:

  1. Find Your Niche! This is crucial. Find something you’re really good at that people will know you by. For instance, we’re known for our resin crochet hooks. If we sold personalized glitter tumblers, custom ornaments, and handmade jewelry along side our crochet hooks…then it creates a weird vibe and no one may be interested in your shop. Find a niche that is dedicated to a community of people.
  2. Do Some Research. Do some research! Spend time learning about what avenues you have to sell your products: e-commerce (we use WordPress with WooCommerce), social media marketing (i.e., Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), and more. You want to be an expert in your business.
  3. Create a Plan. Create a plan on how you’d like to deliver your product. How do you want to sell and deliver your products (i.e. Etsy, Shopify, Craft Shows, etc.)? How much are you willing to invest in your business? How much will it cost between the material, labor (time!), shipping, etc.? These are all really important questions to ask yourself because you’ll be at risk of losing money (or all your time) with a poorly managed business.
  4. Pay Your Business, not Yourself. It’s up to you on how much you want to spend on the initial start up for your business. My husband and I wanted a hobby that pays for itself. In 2017, we invested $100 towards starting up an Etsy shop and that took into consideration the cost of materials and shipping that would be back paid once an item was sold. When we started making crochet hooks we had to invest much more, and it was a big decision (equipment, materials, packaging, etc). It was a slow growth initially, but over time it was worth it. The big tip here is when you start getting a positive number in the bank account use it to make your product, process, packaging or customer service better. It may be hard to not go on a shopping spree for yourself, but that is the only way to have a successful business down the road. We’ve never been in debt to our business because we followed this rule.
  5. Legal Considerations. Depending on your craft, you may want to look into the legal considerations of your business. This could include copyright infringement, patents, return policies, taxes, and more. Get registered to be a small business in your state…no matter what or how much you sell. One of the biggest things we see in the “maker” community is copyright violations. We highly advise steering clear of anything that is copyrighted (i.e., characters from Disney, etc.) because you may end up with a court date, a fine and a cease to desist order (we’ve seen it happen). Just know what is copyrighted and what is not before you plunge in.
  6. Target Audience. Take into consideration who your target audience is. We learned this early on when we were trying to sell physical crochet products, crochet hooks, and crochet patterns. So many people loved our crochet products, but they didn’t want to purchase anything except crochet hooks and patterns. Why? Well, because our target audience was the crafter. Crafters/”makers” aren’t going to buy a crochet product when they could make it on their own. That’s when we moved away from selling physical crochet products (i.e., scarves, blankets, etc.) and only sell them at craft shows or as custom order requests.
  7. Social Media. Social media is a absolutely necessary. Find what you think is best for your business. For us, most of our business is driven by Instagram and Pinterest; however, we have accounts for Facebook, YouTube, and Ravelry. We wouldn’t be able to sell online if it wasn’t for these platforms. So make sure you create accounts for your business! Do keep in mind that it takes time for your business to grow and the number of followers doesn’t dictate how successful you are.
  8. Have Good Product Photos! Yes, good product photos are an absolute must. It makes a huge difference in how people view your business. White backgrounds are perfect for product photos. You don’t want to have photos that are in poor lighting and with a ton of clutter in the background. Keep it professional. Be careful with editing programs…you want the edits to turn the photo into what real-life looks like and not make it better/different than it actually is. We invested in a good Canon camera we found on Facebook Marketplace and Adobe Creative Cloud. Between the camera and Adobe Creative Cloud features, we were able to create photos and consistent marketing templates for all of our social media platforms. It’s 100% worth it.
  9. Branding. Again, we invested in Adobe Creative Cloud and in that package we have Spark Adobe. This is a life saver for our “branding”. We sell our products all online and are seen on various social media platforms. Customers remember us due to our signature teal accent to all of our photos and packaging for shipment. We budgeted for teal bubble mailers, cardstock “thank you” / policy cards, business cards and more. Our customers love their packages because they’re fun, colorful and presentable. It’s more about the experience than anything.
  10. Customer Service. This is something you MUST have in your business. For us, we are focused on excellent customer service. If you’re non-responsive or are not timely in responses then you’ll have a tough time keeping customers around. We’re not saying you should respond within seconds of someone contacting you, but at least acknowledge their response within a decent time frame (i.e., within 24 hours, within business hours, etc.)

Bonus Tip: Love what you do. When it starts to feel like work, remember why you started it in the first place!

Crochet Basics

Gauge–It’s Important!

November 9, 2019

I recently did a Crochet A Long (CAL) with a Facebook Group. It was my first CAL with hundreds of people participating in the same project as me. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I knew CALs were popular within the crochet community.

In this CAL, there was a lot of discussion in regards to the gauge and/or that their project was too big/small for what was recommended in the pattern. That’s when I realized…not everyone does a gauge. Not only that, but some individuals may not know how to fix their gauge to match what’s recommended for the pattern they’re using. So, I thought, “Well, why not blog about it?”. So here it goes…

What is a “Gauge”?
Gauge means there is a number of stitches per in/cm and number of rows per in/cm while working with a specific yarn and hook size. On the back of a skein of yarn or within your crochet pattern, you may find a gauge listed for a 4 in x 4 in (10 cm x 10 cm) square block. This is essentially a swatch you create to ensure you’re able to crochet stitches similar to the designer of the pattern. Many individuals skip on doing a gauge and I’ll be the first to tell you that I was a victim of that for YEARS! Now, I always make sure I always do a gauge.

Why does Gauge Matter?
Well, your project or garment may:

  • Not fit as it should or as you would expect.
  • End up with too much or too little yarn–who wants to play yarn chicken?!
  • Not look anything like the final product that was pictured

Factors that Impact Your Gauge
There could be a variety of factors that could impact the size of someone’s gauge:

  • Tension. One person may crochet loosely with their stitches, while another person may crochet tightly. If you have a loose tension, your gauge may end up bigger than expected. If you have a tight tension, your gauge may end up smaller than expected.
  • Yarn Type. Some individuals may want to use a different brand of yarn than what’s called for in the pattern, so they opt for something of similar yarn weight and fiber type.
  • Hook Size. I mentioned this in a previous blog called, “Getting Hooked–Types of Crochet Hooks“, but the size of your hook matters. Not only that, but even the brand or style of the hook (i.e., Boye vs Susan Bates, ergonomic vs aluminum, etc.). Let’s say you use a 5.50 mm aluminum crochet hook and decide to switch to a 5.50 mm ergonomic crochet hook. You may find that your stitches look different in size (stitches and/or rows) because your hand grip changes your movements, ever so slightly. So be very cautious in switching hooks because it may cause your project to look “wonky”.

How to Make a Gauge Swatch & Troubleshooting Techniques
Let’s use the Yarnspirations Caron Simply Soft as an example for our tutorial.

Step 1, Find your Gauge:
Look at your pattern or the packaging of your skein of yarn. You should see a recommended gauge. Caron Simply Soft shows that a 4 in x 4 in gauge with a 5.00 mm hook should have 13 Single Crochets (SCs) and 14 Rows.

Caron Simply Soft Gauge

With that being said, you will typically start off with trying to match this gauge when you’re a beginner. With more experience, you may already know if you need to change the hook size to meet this gauge. For instance, I know I am a “tight” crocheter, so I typically go up 0.5 mm or 1.00 mm in crochet hook size. Although the gauge states 4 in x 4 in, I would recommend making your gauge slightly bigger (i.e., 5 in x 5 in, etc.) so you can get a more accurate measurement.

Step 2, Create the Gauge Swatch:

Grab your hook and yarn and get stitching! Remember, the Caron Simply Soft Yarn is recommending to use a 5.00 mm hook for a 13 SC x 14 row gauge. If you get this right the first time, then kudos to you! You are pretty much set to go. If not, then your gauge swatch may look a tad bit off.

Below, you will see gauge swatches that are 20 SCs x 20 rows to show you what happens when you use different hook sizes and/or that your tension is too tight/loose. This is important to note because if you decide to change your hook type in the middle of the project, you may find it getting a bit “wonky” and shape into something wider or smaller than you expected.

(Left to Right): (1) 5.00 mm Gauge Aluminum Hook; (2) 5.50 mm Gauge Aluminum Hook; (3) 5.50 mm Gauge Ergonomic Hook; (4) 6.50 mm Gauge Aluminum Hook

Step 3, Measure the Gauge Swatch:

This is the crucial step. Some individuals will have different tools to measure the gauge swatch. If you’re using a tape measure, keep in mind that this can stretch over time and so the measurement may not be the most accurate. Some individuals may use a standard ruler. My favorite measurement tool is the “swatch ruler” and you can find this in your local craft store (i.e., Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, etc.) or online. The one I use is from Clover and I found this on Amazon.

Take your ruler of choice and measure both the width and height of the swatch to see if you’re meeting the gauge for Caron Simply Soft Yarn. Don’t be that person that tries to stretch the gauge swatch to match what’s required. Let the gauge swatch lay flat in its natural form.

Hopefully, you were able to meet the gauge. If so, you’re pretty much golden and you’re able to compete the project with no problem! If not, well…looks like you need to follow the next steps.

Step 4, Adjust your Gauge Swatch–If Needed.

“My gauge swatch is too small/big! What do I do now?”

  • If your swatch is too small, it may be due to your tension being too tight. The best way to adjust for this is to loosen your tension–but that can be extremely difficult for some crocheters to sit and focus on their tension. If this is a struggle for you, then another option could be increasing the hook size. If neither of these work for you, then you could opt to change the yarn weight; however, I personally do not recommend this unless you’re not concerned with the drape of the material or the way the switches may look.
  • If your swatch is too big, it may be due to your tension being too loose. If this happens, you’ll do everything vice versa of having a swatch that’s too small (i.e., tighten your tension, decrease hook size, decrease yarn weight, etc.)

“My gauge swatch is too short/tall! What do I do now?

If you’re struggling with the height of your gauge, then one of the best methods I have seen is the “Golden Loop” through Knit and Crochet Ever After who has a video tutorial on “Fixing Gauge when Height is Incorrect AKA Golden Loop Method Tutorial“. She has a very in depth video tutorial that can help with this problem!

(1) 5.00 mm Gauge with Aluminum Hook
(2) 5.50 mm Gauge with Aluminum Hook
(3) 5.50 mm Gauge with Ergonomic Hook
(4) 6.50 mm Gauge with Aluminum Crochet Hook

Step 4, Start Your Project

Hopefully, this blog was able to help you understand gauge and how to make adjustments based on your individual crochet style. Remember, don’t get frustrated. It takes time and practice in the beginning stages of learning how to crochet, but practice makes perfect. The gauge is often an undervalued and overlooked portion of any pattern, so don’t skip out on it!

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