Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WBS Blanket Progress: Tips for Beginners and Beginning Squares

Let's learn as we begin the squares!

  In this post we'll work the first row of the square as we continue on the Nine Square Blanket for the World's Biggest Stocking. I'll show you how to work into that loose slipknot from the last post as if it's a chain stitch, beginners can learn the double crochet stitch, and we'll begin to weave in the tail as we work. I wanted to include the tutorial for the slipknot because when I was learning to crochet. I always found myself one chain short at the end of my foundation row. The book I learned from stated "The first loop after your slipknot counts as your first chain". I misunderstood, thinking that the actual knot was all they meant, and the loop counted as a chain. Looking back, I can laugh at myself now... But with only one book, no internet access, and no help, I was so frustrated!

  I've learned to properly count my chains since then, but I still have times that I accidentally count a stitch twice or skip one. And then there's always those times where you're making an afghan with a foundation chain of 500, and you reach the end of the first row to realize that you're 11 chains short... (Yes, you can fix that!) But that's another crochet tutorial for another day. The most important reason I work into the knot this way is because there isn't any knot! I love knot-less joins and can't stand knots anywhere in my work; so why not begin without a knot, too? And going hand-in-hand with the knot-less beginning, we'll start to learn how to weave in the tail as we work, which saves time and hides the end with no bumps or knots.

  Ready? Follow along as I begin the first row of one of the squares for the Nine Square Blanket. Please remember, this pattern is not mine; it's provided free by Yarnspirations for the World's Biggest Stocking! What I'm doing is providing help for beginners that may want to join the project. If you haven't already, you can download all the patterns for the World's Biggest Stocking here

Let's begin!

The foundation chain of each square is the same: 41. The first three chains from the hook will count as your first double crochet, so we'll be making the "second" stitch in the fourth chain from the hook. Yarn over from back to front to make a double crochet.

After you yarn over, insert the hook in the fourth chain from the hook. Beginners: Why do we work into the fourth chain, when a double crochet is equal to three chains in height? Because the fourth chain counts as the foundation chain for the base of the stitch!

For the next step of the double crochet: Yarn over, pull a loop through the stitch. You will now have three loops on your hook.

With three loops on the hook, yarn over. Remember to always yarn over from the back to the front during all steps of the stitch!

Pull through the first two loops on the hook. This will leave two loops remaining on the hook. (Beginners: This is known as a "half-closed double crochet", in case you ever read that in a pattern!)

You're almost done! With the two remaining loops on the hook, yarn over from back to front. 

Pull through the two remaining loops on the hook. You will now have only one loop on the hook. One double crochet complete!

Make a double crochet in each chain across, until you reach the slipknot that we will work into. (You will have a total of 39 dc's once the row is finished. You should have 38 when you stop here.)

When you insert the hook into the slipknot, you should see the front and back loops of the previous chain running into the center of this loop. For additional help, see each of these loops highlighted towards the end of last week's post.

Now, let's begin weaving in that tail while we work! If you notice your working yarn over your tail, then let's fix that before we continue.

Move the tail up and over the working yarn, keeping it behind the hook for the next step of the stitch.

Yarn over, pull through two loops. The tail will now be in trapped in the first loops of the stitch.

Before you yarn over to complete the stitch, bring the tail over the working yarn again.  You may sometimes see other crocheters yarn over the hook with the tail, instead of the way I'm doing it here. Go ahead and do that if you like! Both methods work, but I can still see the tail if I yarn over the hook with it. Most people don't notice it. I'm just super-picky like that. 

Yarn over, pull through the remaining two loops on the hook. Now the first row is finished! We'll work over the tail some more as we crochet the returning row, but we've gone through a lot of pictures! That's going to be all for this post!

Happy Crocheting!

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