Saturday, February 25, 2017

NSFW Scarf

In the opening for this scarf's pattern, I made excuses for it being behind schedule because "Sometimes designing doesn't go the way you want it to". 

*FACEPALM*

  There are things that sometimes go unnoticed until it is too late... I could have quietly tucked my tail and gone on like it never happened. To tell the truth, that's exactly what I wanted to do at first. The more I thought about doing it, the more I felt like I shouldn't... I've created patterns and tutorials for this stitch. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but it's a bad design.

*SIGH*

  Okay, here's where I do the grown-up thing while we cover a slightly childish subject. And speaking of childish, you should probably tell the kids to go to another room before you scroll past the first few pictures. Chances are the older ones have already seen this scribbled on walls or notebooks, but the younger ones should be protected. 

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  If I don't delete the pattern for this scarf, then I really need to attach a warning to it. I didn't see the issue at first because my mind only saw what I was trying to design: Dragonflies. O.M.G. I made a few squares using this pattern and was going to make a BABY blanket. 😥 It's a project I'm so glad I never completed.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  The Dancing Dragonflies Scarf was originally created to be donated to charity. Being too lightweight and light-colored for a homeless donation, it was supposed to go to a nursing home where it could brighten someone's day... But I've had no luck finding any place locally that is accepting such things. Out of four facilities that turned my box of shawls and scarves down, one actually asked me to call back when I made some afghans. I thought that was rude, so... HA! Well, I'm really happy that this scarf didn't make it to a donation box. Eventually I gave up, and it ended up stuffed in a drawer in The Kid's room.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  The Kid. I gave it to my underage kid. I can't believe I gave this scarf to my child. 😳 I know that it was an honest mistake, but there's a little part of me that feels like this was a bad-mom-move. Surely a more diligent person would have realized what they were bestowing on the innocent... 

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  I breached her territory, armed with a vacuum and spray bottle. The scarf was stuffed in a clear plastic drawer where it was visible to all who dared to enter. When I noticed it, I remembered the garden-themed baby blanket that would be full of flowers, butterflies, and "dancing dragonflies". I crossed the room with my weapons of mass disinfection, stopping to push in a drawer that was sticking out. (The drawers always stick on those cheap plastic carts.) Bending down in front of the cart left me eye-level with the scarf.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf

  Maybe at first, all you see is the lacy dragonfly design. That's all I saw for a long time, too. I guess I was looking through that plastic drawer at the right angle, because it was clearly obvious what this design could be mistaken for:

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf

  No. NO! Omg, no I did not create this thing! But yes, I did create this thing. And eventually gave it to my kid. Wow, don't I just feel like Mom of the Year? Many parents eventually have a "don't look, DON"T LOOK!" moment of some kind with their children... Had one myself as a kid on the beach when an old man decided to change his trunks behind some trees that didn't do much to cover his coconuts. I survived! But I'm sure that never, ever in history has anyone put something that is suggestive of a "tree" and "coconuts" on a scarf and given it to their child.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  Again, it was supposed to be "dancing dragonflies". It was never my intention to make a scarf that's NSFW. I'll be removing it from my kid's wardrobe and pretending like it never existed. And oh! If only it could stop there... This free pattern is also available as a six-part tutorial, right here on the Crochet is the Way blog! 😭 This scarf still makes enough views to make it into my top 20 posts. OMG, are there people making this? What do I do?! I hate to give it the shaft, but I need to get the ball rolling on putting up that warning. 

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


Happy Crocheting!

PS - It's not a total loss! If you like the concept of the lace but don't want X-rated dragonflies on your scarf, the pattern could be worked with the butterfly stitch instead. Perhaps I'll rewrite the pattern and create a new G-rated version for The Kid.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Make it Your Way Top (4)


  Although I loved the look of the pointy-bottomed panels on my top, I decided they were a bit too exaggerated for my style. And since I still had a ton of yarn left over, I figured it couldn't hurt to play around with the bottom edge. I'm so glad I did it! This part of the tutorial is totally optional (especially if yours is a one-color project), but I think the extra stitching around the panels helps them to hold their shape without the need for blocking.


  I'm also extra-pleased with the color design that resulted. What I'm not happy about is the way these tutorial photos came out... I'm so sorry that I trusted auto-function settings for this project. For this part of the tutorial there's help with a new stitch, but the photos for some rounds were a blurry mess... Removing my background helped towards the end, but I did it too late. It's a mistake I hope I won't make again.

Not surprising: I adjusted the settings and managed a batch of beautifully focused photos in which I turned out looking like a mutant zombie. Still hate being the dummy...

tutorial, how to, free pattern, crochet, tank top, blouse, shirt, easy, lace, beginners

Now, enough complaining... Let's get started!




Contrasting color (round 1):
To begin, I worked one round along the edge in the contrasting color. (I love how it combines together with the joining seam!) I shortened the stitches in each space to help pull the panels together, but this first round didn't do much for the shaping. Here's how I did it:

Again, I began with a standing double crochet stitch. This I made in the end space of the point.

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In each space up to the one before the joining seam, I made (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet). In that space before the join, I made (double crochet, chain 1, single crochet).

In the same space as the joining stitch of the first panel, I made one single crochet; and another in the joining space of the next panel.

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Repeat backwards on the way back up the next panel: (Single crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the first space, then (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in each space to the point.

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In the tip of the point, I made (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet), chain 1, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) again.
(3 chain-1 spaces in point)

Here's where the photos were unusable:
I completed the round by making (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet), and chain 1. Because this was the only round I was working with this color, I joined with a slip stitch. (The following rounds are joined with a stitch to make a chain-space.)

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Main color (round 2):
(No pics for this round)
Again with the main color, I joined with a standing double crochet in the point of a panel.

Now, here's the thing I did that you may want to reconsider: The following stitches were planned out to reduce the points of the panels, give it a softer angle, and fill in the spaces between them*. (Double crochet, chain 2, double crochet) in the next two chain-1 spaces, and the skip the rest of the stitches in the panel. Moving on to the next panel, double crochet in the next two chain-1 spaces.

I wanted to mimic the design of the large holes in the tips of the points, so I made (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) in the tips for this round. If you don't want this in your design, you could make a similar set of stitches as in the previous round.

In order to finish the set of stitches in the beginning point, I used a double crochet stitch to join (makes chain-3 space).


*If you want to keep the exaggerated points of the panels, then it would be easier to stop working rounds (unless you're confident you can work out a stitch pattern). If you continue working into the same stitches, your work will begin to pucker. But if you still want to work more rounds for the color play, then try reducing the number of chains between stitches, or make just a stitch without a chain space near the "V" between panels (something like the two single crochet from round 1).


Round 3:
(Pics again!)
Here is where filling in the spaces really starts, and I used a not-so-easy-for-beginners stitch to do it: The double-crochet-4-together. But don't get scared! If you can make a double crochet (and you probably have been if you're following this pattern), then you can make this stitch. Let's get started with an example of the stitch placement first.

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I began with a chain-1 and double crochet in the joining space/point. (Same for all remaining rounds.) *See end of round for a note!
In the next chain-2 space, make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet). Make a double-crochet-4-together (dc4tog) across the next four chain-2 spaces. (That's 2 spaces on this panel and 2 on the next.)  (Double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the next chain-2 space.


Now, let's cover that dc4tog before we get to the point (lol).


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Just like for a double crochet, yarn over, insert the hook; yarn over and pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook.) Yarn over and pull through 2 loops. STOP. (2 loops on hook.)


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Yarn over, insert the hook in the next space. Yarn over, pull up a loop. (4 loops on hook.) Yarn over, pull through 2 loops. STOP. (3 loops on hook.)

Getting the hang of it? You're making a half-closed double crochet in each space that you want to join together.

Let's speed it up a little:
*Yarn over, insert hook in the next space, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 2 loops.* (4 loops on hook.)
Repeat * to * (5 loops on hook).
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Yarn over, pull through all five loops on the hook.

Remember, there's one more space to make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in before the point.

In the chain-3 point, make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 3, double crochet, chain 1, double crochet).
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So after the dc4tog, you will have (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) twice, then the (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) of the point, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) twice before the next dc4tog.

*Beginning with just one double crochet in the beginning space left me ending past the chain-3 space of the point. So, I couldn't join with a double crochet stitch for the chain-3. I had to work (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) in the beginning space, then joined with a single crochet to make the chain-1 space.


Round 4:
(Sorry, no pics again but this one is simple!)
Make 1 double crochet in each chain-1 space (4 total). Make (3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet) in the chain-3 point.

That's it! just repeat all the way around and join.


Round 5:
(Almost the same as the last round!)
Skip the 3 double crochet to the left of the point, make a double crochet in the space after. (This is where I had to begin because of how the last round ended.) Make a double crochet in the space after each of the next 4 double crochet (5 total). In the chain-3 point, make (3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet).

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Repeat around and join.


Well, that's it... For this one, at least! I'm still disappointed in my photos for the tutorial, but I do plan on making another top like this for The Kid. Hers will have a different style (maybe sleeves?), so it will prove how easily this format of top-making can be adjusted to a different shape. I'll update here with a link when I get it done... Shall we see if I can do it within a year?


A word about caring for your top:
Before I washed and (slightly*) blocked my top, the dc4tog caused a minor pucker around the gaps between rounds 1 and 2. This was easily blocked out, but I wanted to create an easy-care pattern that didn't need blocking! I'm sure if you split the dc4tog into two-dc2tog stitches, it would completely eliminate the need for any blocking... But then you'll have to work the next rounds a bit differently.

*By blocking, I mean I shaped it out on a towel and smashed down on it for good luck. No pinning or weighing down needed. I allowed it to dry flat and the pucker was gone for good. (Or perhaps until the next wash!)

But prior to spreading it out, I thought I'd hang it up to "pre-dry" for awhile... That was bad. Really, really bad. LAY FLAT TO DRY. The stretchy lace weighed down with water stretched to what seemed like twice its length! And worse, allowing it to stretch that way caused the slight pucker to turn into an ugly ruffle. (Nobody wants ruffles around the waistline, right?) Thankfully, I was able to get my top back into shape when I did it right the second time.


How does it fit?
I think I'm a great tester for this subject, because I'm so very picky about my clothes. I don't like things that bulge out, hang loose, or ride up. Although my top has a few places that could be better, it fits well enough to pass my test.

No tricks and no staging to make it look good! (After all, you're getting the world's most awkwardest person as a model here...) In the following photos, I'll point out the things I love and hate about my top:

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If I lift my arms higher than shoulder height, it creates a wrinkle in the middle-back of the top. I think I'm nit-picking about that one, but I noticed it in some photos. (And I still haven't figured out how to pose without looking like I'm smelling my armpit.)


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See the shadow on my shoulder? This gap doesn't hang out when I bend down, and the straps don't slip off my shoulders. It's actually caused by a combination of the decreasing around the armhole and the lace stretching over my chest. It's barely noticeable and it's not uncomfortable... But didn't I mention that I'm picky? It bothers me a little. But if I had decreased less, it would be too loose.

On side note, this could just be an issue with my body shape. I have a very pronounced dip there in my shoulders that I don't think "normal" people have. Same thing for that back-wrinkle, too... My shoulder blades stick out (like wings!) when I raise my arms the right way. Sometimes I think I might be part alien. Anyway... You can see in the next photo where my "wings" are pushing the straps of the shirt out:
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Notice that the back is also wrinkled again in this example. I used a similar picture at the beginning of this post, but I had been mindful of how I was raising my arms. There's no back-wrinkle in the photos that I don't have my wings extended (lol).



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Overall, it fits great. There is one last thing that I totally love, but I thought maybe others may not like it as much: The decreasing around the armholes and neckline pulled the "strap" of the armhole panel together. It creates a tiny ridge that's no more textured than the seams I used to join the panels. Honestly, I think it looks pretty freakin' cool the way the panel stretches over the chest then decreases to a thin line over the shoulders. It's like a masterpiece of shaped lace, all while it's nothing but the same stitch worked a different direction.


With the tank-style sleeves and the just-past-the-waist length of my top, I think it will be easy to accessorize. I have a cute little denim crop jacket and an even cuter black vinyl crop jacket... I can't wait to see which will go better with it! Nope, you don't get to see that here, because the point of this tutorial was to inspire everyone to make their own version. And to me, part of making it your way is how you accessorize the final product, too.

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I'd love to see photos of what you've created! Find Crochet is the Way on Facebook to share a pic, or come join the Crochet is the Way community on Google+ if you're not already a member.

Happy Crocheting!



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Late Valentine Video

  Things are still hectic around here, so I just wanted to pop in to share the latest video! I haven't had much luck with getting a usable video out of the new camera, but I finally succeeded with a short tutorial for my Confetti Hearts.




  I had hoped to have it available early this morning, but ended up running into YouTube's mysterious 500 error most of the day. Since it got to be a little late, I decided to cut the Valentine's Day message I had added to it. (So, happy "late" Valentine's Day!) While I was waiting for the issue to be resolved, I started playing around with the video editor and learned some things. The changes I've made to my video format are subtle (I think). But I hope they help to make my videos even better, just like the new camera.


  I have quite a few videos planned because of requests! So if you're one of those who are waiting, I apologize for the delay. I'm usually pretty quick at learning my new toys, but this one's proving to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be.

Happy Crocheting!
and
Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sometimes I Just...

  2017 was supposed to be focused more on free patterns and tutorials. But sometimes, I just need to vent. (Warning: I'll be doing that here.) Sometimes I just need a break. And sometimes, I just feel like I'm going to lose my mind. I've been working hard to get the last of the tutorials for the Make it Your Way Top finished, but sometimes I just have to walk away from the computer and forget that there's 500 more photos to sort and edit. (I'm finally down to 163.) Sometimes, I just need to start a new project to get my mind off all the other projects I'm not finishing.

crochet, granny squares, WIP, work in progress


  It's only sometimes. But that's how my couch got full of WIP's. And I still want to start more! Oh, c'mon brain, give me a break. C'mon reason, kick in and make me stop this insanity. Of all the times I've been told I'm an intelligent person, I feel like an idiot when I know I have too many things already and I start something else. Sometimes, I just wish life could be easier... Don't we all?

crochet, WIP, work in progress, organizing


Sometimes I just want to play with new yarn... Okay, so that's an irresponsible choice to make when I still can't see the couch.

Sometimes I just can't work out a stitch count or shape... Working on something else helps me go back to it with a fresh mind. 

Sometimes I just need to make some money, so I take in a special order... I won't feel bad about that because then it's work. (Well, most of my projects are work, but ads on free patterns don't make me enough money to survive on my own.) Plus, I actually finish those because I want my money. 😉

And sometimes, I just need an excuse to do something other than laundry.


  That is the thing that is going (?) to make me lose my mind now. Rip van Winkle has (maybe) learned his lesson about avoiding the doctor, but I'm still doing load after load (after load) of laundry. I think I've never mentioned that I make my own laundry soap... It's gentle on yarn, my skin, and our budget. I make about 6 month's worth of my own powdered soap for about $6. And lately I've been using that amount in only one month.


(Does that mean I'm really doing 6 months of laundry in a month? No, just 3, because I've been doubling up on the soap I'm using.) 


  So as men (sometimes usually) go, he's not doing a darn thing to help himself while I'm doing all the work to get him better and save myself from catching his super-bug. Scratch the infection then lean on the dinner table? Sure! Somebody else will disinfect it for you... Leave your pus-soaked laundry sitting around random places in the house it shouldn't even be in the first place? Hey, what's laundry, anyway? Sorry, but I'm getting to be bitter over this.


Sometimes, I just want to scream the F-word. Loudly and repeatedly.


  Maybe what I should have said was that my ever-loving husband is about to make me lose my mind. Don't get me wrong... I don't mean to sound insensitive when he's facing a life-threatening MRSA infection, but he's not doing a darn thing to stop it. And it doesn't seem to hold him back until he has to clean up after himself. I caught him picking at the infection, then scratching his belly without washing his hands. Two days later, he developed what looks like (and most likely is) staph on his belly. Now it's spreading to his back, too. I told him if he didn't quit, I was going to make him do his own laundry if he wasn't dead... He told me to stop worrying about it so much.


Sometimes, I just give up.


  But how can you give up completely when you're trying to save yourself, too? You can't. When others won't lift a finger for themselves, then I stop feeling sorry for them. But I won't give up on trying to stop myself from contracting this. I just keep following him around with my spray bottle full of essential oils while sometimes catching a glimpse at that WIP-covered couch... Actually hoping I could pick up that project I discarded because I hated it... Finally thinking about where I went wrong on the shaping of my circle vest... Wanting to complete that blanket I was so close to finishing... And not being able to do much other than keep cleaning.

crochet, WIP, work in progress, rectangle jacket


Sometimes, I just want to crochet and forget the world exists.


  There is strength to be found in that "I did it" feeling of finishing a project. There is courage in trying a new stitch or method. I need them both right now. There is energy and excitement in working with that new yarn. I could use a little. (Energy that is, not more yarn.) There is only persistence to be found in that next load of laundry... I already have enough of that and I don't need more unless it's applied to uncovering my couch.


  Okay, I'm done ranting. Thank you so much for listening. I used to hate writing about my personal life, but sometimes I just feel better when I can spew about a problem. Thank you for being here. This situation has greatly reduced the amount of time I can spend online, and I've been missing a lot of posts and projects from my friends and fellow bloggers. I hope that whether or not I can find my couch (and sanity) again, that you all continue with

Happy Crocheting!



PS - Lately, any free time at all is spent learning with the new camera. Sometimes I just have to take a kitty pic for you.

crochet, cats, Lucky


Friday, February 10, 2017

Make it Your Way Top (3)

  Part 2 of this tutorial showed you how to join the panels together to create your top. Now in part 3, you'll see how to create a border around the rough edges and make minor adjustments to the fit.

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  My own top came out pretty close, but I needed to make some changes to the armholes... The stretchy lace of the panels allowed the armhole to stretch just a little too much for my size, leaving the top hanging way too low. But - This is the neat part! By making some simple decreases in the round, we're going to give the top some super-cool shaping and extra character. (And by "simple", I really mean SIMPLE! No new stitches needed here.)

  Joining your panels will leave weird jogs in the pattern that need some shaping. If your top fits as-is, then you'll want to stick to the same stitch pattern of (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet). I'll be reducing the chain space in the middle to a chain-2, and further to a chain-1 to get the decreases I need. More advanced crocheters - You could throw some dc3tog stitches in there if you want to... But if you're using this lacy pattern, there's no need to make it any harder. Now, let's turn this "mess" into a masterpiece!

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I'll be using the contrasting color to start, then finishing off with just a little more of the main color. I worked back and forth between the neckline and armholes, just to make sure I'd be happy with the color changes. You can start with the neckline or armholes, and you can finish either at one time - It doesn't really matter.

*The bane of photography: I tried auto settings with the new camera. 😞 Sorry a few of these are washed out and a bit off-color.


Joining with a standing double crochet:
I used this stitch to join new yarn in the neck- and armholes, plus on the bottom edge (coming up in part 4). I know, I told you no new stitches, right? If you're not comfortable with making a standing double crochet, then you can join with a slip stitch and chain-3 for the first double crochet.
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Yarn over the hook from back to front; crossing the tail back in front of the working yarn under the hook. Holding the tail against your work, insert the hook so that the tail of the yarn will be trapped inside the space you're working into.
Yarn over, pull up a loop. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on hook) 2x to complete as a double crochet.



Working around the neckline:
For you chart lovers...

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*Check out how I worked around the armhole before you begin! You can work around the neckline the same way if you choose. I liked the tiny bit of shaping I created around the neckline by working this way. (It's just a little less "round" than your average round neckline - See the end of the post where I explain.) The method I used around the armhole will "round out" your pattern faster (and it's a little easier, too).

Join in any space you want, as long as it's not on the side of a panel. I prefer to start in the top of the highest panel, with just one double crochet. We'll come back around and create the chain space while joining.


*If your top needs a lot of tightening up and not just some shaping, you may want to consider removing a panel. Using a chain-1 space for all stitches in the first round may cause a pucker. You can alternate using chain-1 and chain-2, or work all chain-2 now and shorten to a chain-1 next round. 


For the first round across the neck and back, I mostly kept the chain-3 between the stitches. For each space next to a longer panel, I changed to (double crochet, chain 2, double crochet).
In the side-post space below the top space, make only one double crochet. 
Moving on to the space below it (the one that has your last joining stitch in it), make only one double crochet.
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For all panels that are lined up evenly, make (double crochet, chain **, double crochet). Replace ** with your number of chains.
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The other side (going up the next panel) will be worked just the same: Make only one double crochet in the same space as the joining stitch, and one double crochet in the next space up. In the top space of the panel, make (double crochet, chain **, double crochet).
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When you reach the armhole panel, make one double crochet in the same space as the joining stitch.
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Because you're working up the side post spaces of the armhole panel, (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) will be a little too wide. I changed to a chain-2 all the way around each armhole.
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Once you work across the armhole, continue with the same pattern as for the front.
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For a smooth join that will allow you to begin another round from the middle of a chain space, we'll use a double crochet instead of chains and a slip stitch. Remember that first double crochet we made? You'll make another double crochet in the same space to make the first of the (double crochet, chain **, double crochet). Then instead of making chains, make a double crochet in the top of the first double crochet of the round.
-To make a chain-3 space, chain 1 before making the joining double crochet.
-For a chain-2 space, just make a double crochet.
-If you need to use a chain-1 space here, you can use a single crochet stitch.
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To begin the next round, chain 1 and make a double crochet inside the chain-space created by the double crochet (or other stitch).


Continuing rounds:
Because I knew I would work a few more rounds, I made my decreases gradually at first. In this second round, I kept the chain spaces around the front and back the same as the first round.
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Working around the armhole panel, I shortened to a chain-1 space.

*Keep in mind that even though you're working around the "armhole" panel here, you're actually adding to the neckline. It's something that might seem obvious, but every time I worked around the armhole panel, my mind went back to thinking... Armhole. I had to frog my original attempt because of this - Not wanting to tighten up the "sleeve" too much, I had kept my stitch count the same... But I soon realized that my top needed to tighten up quite a bit as the neckline got higher!

Two rounds of contrasting color later, I'm ready to bind off to work more rounds of the main color.
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But first, the armholes:
A chart again for you...
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I worked around the armholes by making (double crochet, chain 2, double crochet) in the tops of the panels, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the side-post spaces of the armhole panel.
When working up (or down) around panels, skip making a double crochet in the same space as the joining stitch; just make (double crochet, chain **, double crochet) in each open space.

Join with a double crochet as explained for the neckline to work more rounds.

For the second round of contrasting color, I shortened the stitch to (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) all the way around. This finally gives the armhole the shaping of a (sleeveless) blouse's "sleeve" instead of the strap of a tank.
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I only worked one round of main color around the armhole. In the stitches around the tops of the panels, I made (double crochet in the first stitch, chain 1, double crochet in the next stitch, chain 1). When I reached the stitches around the armhole panel, I went back to making (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in each space.

Although it fit me fine before that final round, decreasing just a little more around the bottom of the armhole added even more shaping - But not really to the armhole; it tightened up the front and back a bit. The relaxed fit turned into a form-hugging top without being too tight to put on.
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I made three rounds of main color around the neckline - For the first two rounds, I stayed with (double crochet, chain 2, double crochet) around the front and back, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) around the armhole panels. I decreased to (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) all the way around for the final round.
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And that's it for the top part of my blouse! In the next part of the tutorial, we'll finish of the bottom of the panels with a little more color play. That is, of course, if you're using multiple colors and pointy-bottomed panels. You could wear it as-is now, but my panels were just a little to floppy at the bottom for my liking. The final stitches will bring it all together for the perfect - perfect - shape.
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Now, I promised an explanation... You might be saying "but that neckline is round anyway!" Yes, it is rounded, but can you see how it dips a little lower than your "average" round neckline? If you work the pattern for the armhole here, then your top will be just a little different with a higher neckline in the middle. Just a little. So little (like 1/2") that it almost doesn't matter. Why not work it the same as the armhole if you think it's easier?


Until next time...
Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Confetti Hearts in Worsted

  When I first designed these "confetti" hearts, I used crochet thread to make tiny heart confetti. Needing a bigger version for my Granny Heart Tote, I revisited the pattern using worsted weight yarn. The result was still small at 1" across, but the thicker gauge created a dense, almost puffy heart.

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  Of course, these hearts are so fast to make that I couldn't stop with just the few I needed for my bag! And then I had to experiment with a three-strand version using all the colors of the smaller hearts... Now, what to do with them all? I used some glue to attach them to a piece of a broken cutting board, and ended up with a simple and easy Valentine's decoration!

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Skill level:
Easy


Materials:
Worsted weight acrylic yarn
-I used Caron United in Cherry, Burgundy, and Black
Crochet hook size J/10 - 6.00 mm

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*You may need a yarn needle for other projects, but I'm just tying the ends before gluing.
...So, to create the project shown, you'll also need glue - I'm using Tacky Glue (all-purpose craft glue), and some scrap wood. A piece of 1x4 would take the place of my up-cycled bamboo cutting board. And you could also paint the board, but I like the faded look of the bare wood.

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Gauge:
Not important. Each finished heart measures 1" (2.5 cm) across.


Notes:
The shape of the pattern can easily be changed by increasing the number of stitches across, or chaining more for the point.


Stitches:
(American terms)
Chain
Slip stitch
Single crochet


How to begin with a magic circle:
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1. Hold the tail of the yarn behind the hook. With the working end, yarn over the hook from back to front.
2. Holding the loop on the hook secure with your finger (leave a nice big loop!), yarn over the hook again.

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3. Holding both loops secure with your finger and thumb, yarn over. 
4. Pull through both loops on the hook.


Instructions for heart:
 
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1. Chain 1.
2. Make 2 single crochet in the ring.


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3. (Chain 1, slip stitch) 3x in the ring.
4. Chain 2 (makes the point).


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6. (Slip stitch, chain 1) 3x.
7. Make 2 single crochet.


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7. Chain 1, slip stitch.
8. Cut yarn and bind off. Pull the tail through the center hole before closing.


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Pull the tail tight to close the center loop, and watch all those stitches scrunch up into a heart!


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 If you sew in the ends around the center loop, the heart gets even puffier. But I'm being lazy and using glue for my project! I'll come back to tie off those tails later... First, there's one more heart to make! So far I have two of each you see above.


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To create this bigger heart, I held a strand of all three colors together. But instead of going up a few hook sizes, I used the same hook as for the single-strand hearts. It creates a super-solid, thick heart that would be cool for a key chain or garland. I changed one other little thing for this version: The point is made with a chain-3.


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If I had gone up a few hook sizes, the 3-strand heart would be huge! By using the same size hook, it is only 1/2" (1.2 cm) bigger.


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I made one last check to make sure all the pieces would fit on my scrap wood, then I tied off and trimmed all the tails. A screwdriver quickly pried that one loose panel off the rest of the board, and gluing commenced.

Honestly, hot glue would have been faster and easier, but I used up the last of my glue sticks attaching the pieces to the Granny Heart Tote. At least I suffered no burns this way. 😉

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Happy Crocheting!