Tutorials & Patterns

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I’ve come across some great tutorials in the last week and I thought I’d gather them all here for your amusement.

Knitting

Tutorials

Patterns

Sewing

For other ideas, inspirations, patterns and tutorials (and to see photos for all these things) – be sure to follow my Pinterest board.

7 Reasons You Should Start Knitting or Crocheting Today

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The beginning of a project is often the best part. Well... except for the end of course.

When I talk to people who are not crafters, they often say they wish they could knit or crochet. But they usually follow it up with a list of reasons why they can’t do it. Common reasons are: not enough patience, not enough creativity, not enough time or just a general “I could never do something like that”. Well I firmly believe that anyone can learn to knit or crochet. Sure there are things which are hard to make, but there are also things which are easy to make. And its a very rewarding hobby. So I thought I’d present to you 10 Reasons You Should Start Knitting or Crocheting Today.

  1. It is a wonderful feeling when you wear something you have made in public, someone compliments you on it, and you can say “Why thank you, I made it myself.” And it doesn’t take a really complicated piece to get compliments. Often the ones with simple stitches and fantastic yarn get just as much attention.
  2. Everyone I have ever made a gift for using knitting or crocheting has greatly appreciated it. Handmade items make better gifts than anything store-bought because they are customized & personalized to fit that person to a T.
  3. Handmade items last a really long time and continue to look great. For example, I have a crocheted project bag I made in the 80s that still looks fantastic. Granted the colors are a bit dated, but I know if I hold on to it for another 10 years it will probably be back in style again. I also have afghans I crocheted decades ago that I still use on a regular basis.
  4. Crocheting and knitting give you something to do with your hand. This is great so many times but I find it helps to keep me from munching while I watch TV, gives me something to do during long phone calls, and even gives me an activity on plane flights.
  5. You can make an item exactly the way you want it. Heck, if you can’t find yarn in the color you want (highly unlikely) you can even die it yourself. Instead of being limited to what other people want to offer you for clothing or home accessories, you can make something to exactly fit your style.
  6. You can make just about anything. I’ve seen all sorts of wearables, jewelry, household items – its really just incredible the things you can make.
  7. Crocheting and Knitting are both very relaxing. Granted there are times of frustration, but the vast majority of the time I spend working with yarn is incredibly relaxing – almost like mediation.

What are some of the reasons you like to knit or crochet? Let me know if the comments.

And if you are trying to decide which one to pick up, be sure to check out my post Difference Between Knit & Crochet.

Choosing a Yarn

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A wrap worked in crochet showing different kinds of yarn: fun fur, mohair, and yarn with sequins and metallic threads.

For those of you who are just starting off with knitting or crocheting, here are some lessons I’ve learned about yarn that might be helpful.

  1. Texture requires experience. The fuzzier it is or the more textured it is, the more difficult it is to see your stitches. Textured/fuzzy yarn also tends to be harder to unravel (or frog) if the need arises. Really heavily textured yarns (like mohair) can require you to work pretty much by feel.
  2. Use at least worsted weight [4]. The larger your yarn is, the easier it will be to see your stitches.
  3. User lighter & shinier yarns. Color makes a difference in how easy it is to see your work. The two things which make yarn easiest to use are lighter colors and sheen. So a yarn which is black and doesn’t shine very much would be the very hardest to use.
  4. Check the dye lot.  Some yarns now don’t even have a die lot now days. This can be great when you don’t know how much yarn you will need for a project. You might think that dye lot doesn’t make much of a difference, but the first time you wear your new sweater into really good light -like sun light – you will see the differences between the skeins more easily. So unless you only plan to wear your project on a cloudy day, use the same dye lot throughout.
  5. Check the washing instructions. If you are making something for children, pets, or people with children (or sometimes pets) it can really make a difference. New moms dont’ want to wash that baby blanket by hand (and lay flat to dry) every time their kids spits up on it. At the very least the recipient of your hard work will appreciate knowing the best way to take care of their new treasure.
  6. Softer vs. rougher yarns. In my experience, yarns don’t get much softer over time. They will soften up a little if you can dry them with dryer sheets. And washing them with hair conditioner can also soften them up some. But in general, you should expect to get the softness it is when you buy it.
  7. Getting enough yarn for large projects. If you are making a project that requires more than about 3 skeins of any given yarn, you are probably better off buying your yarn online. These days, craft stores rarely seem to stock more than about 3-5 skeins of any given yarn and often that will include more than one dye lot.

Differences Between Knit and Crochet…

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I know a lot of people who knit and a lot who crochet but very few who really do both all the time. Most people have a preference. So if you were thinking of picking up a hobby, some information on the 2 might be helpful. In general, you can make all the same things with either craft (although some things are better suited for one or the other).

Knitting socks using double-pointed needles (dpn)

Knitting

With knitting, you use at least 2 needles (sometimes as many as 5) and you carry many stitches on each needle at a time.

Advantages:

  • Lots more patterns than there are with crochet (although this is changing).
  • Less bulky so its better for making socks (and probably some other things as well).
  • Many people can knit without looking at the work at all for long periods of time.
  • Usually knitting is stretchier – especially when working ribbing.
  • I can have longer finger nails when I knit. Hey: these things matter!

Disadvantages:

  • You can “drop” a stitch. This can be recovered from but it makes it a bit more difficult.
  • More difficult to go backwards if you need to unravel something and start over.
  • Patterns tend to be harder to read. They are more subject to interpretation than crochet patterns tend to be.
  • You have to weave in ends when you are finished.

Crocheting

With crocheting you typically have one stitch on your hook at any given time (there are exceptions for certain stitches or styles of crochet). Typically the work contains more holes than knitting.

Advantages:

  • Because you only have one stitch on at a time, you usually can’t drop more than one stitch at a time.
  • Its easy to unravel one stitch, several or even several rows. There’s only one stitch to pick back up after you unravel.
  • Easier to learn (in my opinion).
  • Patterns tend to be very precise and not as open to interpretation.
  • Many times, you can weave in ends as you go (unless the pattern is really lacy).
  • Usually doesn’t require much (or sometimes any) blocking.

Disadvantages:

  • Fewer patterns are available (again this is changing).
  • Stitches are bulkier, in general, than knitting with the same type of yarn.
  • Usually you have to look at the work. Its very difficult to do without looking.
  • You can make crochet stretchy, but most basic stitches don’t have a lot of give.