Monday, August 10, 2015

Free Pattern: Tension Tamer Ring and Bracelet






  This lovely crocheted bracelet and ring set isn't just a cute way to accessorize... It's a crochet tension tool! These pieces can be worn together or separately to help you adjust your crochet tension. Whether you have a disability that makes holding your yarn difficult or you just can't fix tight tension, these tools will be your new best friends! I'll even show you different ways to wear these pieces to increase or decrease your tension as needed. This pattern is written to fit you, so finished sizes will vary. Dimensions of each piece I created for myself are given in the separate written directions.








  As I mentioned in a post while working on this set, I do realize that making these could be difficult if you find crochet impossible due to tension. Soon, there will be a no-crochet (and hopefully no-sew!) version of this tool. However, I held my tension tight while creating these, so you can see what yours will probably look like when finished. I'll give you a few tips along the way, so I encourage you to look over the whole pattern first before you give it a try!




Skill level:






Materials:
Any yarn you choose! I'll give you instructions in the pattern to adjust as needed.
Crochet hook - Try your yarn manufacturer's recommended size first!
*Tension too tight? You'll probably want a bigger hook :)
Yarn needle or smaller hook to weave in ends
Sew-on snap buttons - size 4/0
Needle and matching thread for sewing snaps




*I did some internet window shopping, and guess what I found: No-sew snap buttons that attach with prongs! I totally need these, but I don't think they would work with thicker worsted weight yarn. If and when I order some, I'll update my results here. In the meantime, if anybody has any experience with using no-sew snaps on crochet, please share your info in the comments!




Gauge:
Will vary depending on choice of yarn and hook size.




Notes:
Look for tips in and after the pattern! I've made two versions of these pieces, using two very different yarns. Hopefully my tips will help you be able to adjust the pattern to your yarn choice and needs. You'll find some loose directions first, then I'll follow up with the actual stitch count of each version I made.

The purple set is made with Loops and Threads Woolike super-fine (1) weight. It's 85% acrylic and 15% nylon - A great fine, stretchy yarn for this project, but may be difficult for beginners to work with.

The blue/black/brown/tan-ish grey(?) set is made with Loops and Threads Impeccable worsted (4) weight. Although I love this 100% acrylic yarn, it's not my first choice for this project. It's bulky and has no stretch, but I figured it's equal to any acrylic Caron/Red Heart/Bernat/Lion Brand worsted that's likely to be found in any beginner's yarn stash.

I did not design a version of this pattern in thread, because I presume that if you're having trouble with tension, thread is the last thing you'll want to work with. However, I find that my tension has more slack when I work with thread. Have a go at it if you'd like! Just follow the instructions provided to adjust the pattern.




Stitches and abbreviations:
Chain/s (ch/s)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)

Stitch (st)




Directions for Tension Tamer Ring or Bracelet:
*You may want to grab a notepad or a scrap piece of paper to keep track or your stitch count!

1. Chain the number of chains needed (write down that number!) to go around the wrist for bracelet, or whichever finger the ring will be worn on: I recommend the middle, but you may want to wear the ring on your ring or pinkie finger. The number of chains needs to be even. If you end on an odd number, add one more chain. You can always tighten up the fit with the placement of your buttons.


2. Chain the same number of chains again. (See? I told you to write down that number! But don't worry; no math...yet! You don't have to add these together.)


3. Decide what stitch you want to use. Don't add any chains for single crochet. Add 1 ch for half-double crochet (not shown). Add 2 chs for double crochet. Add 3 chains for triple crochet (also not shown).


4. Begin in one of the following stitches:
Single crochet - 2nd ch from hook
Half-double crochet - 3rd ch from hook
Double crochet - 4th ch from hook
Triple crochet - 5th ch from hook

The skipped chains count as your first stitch.


5. You wrote that number down, right? We just took two away from it by making the first stitch, plus the beginning chain. (You don't even have to do math here! Just think: Okay, I made two stitches. Now, how many more do I need to get to that number? Just start counting after two!) Make a stitch in each of the next [your number minus 2] chains.


6. In the same chain as the last stitch worked, make another stitch. Chain 1, and make 2 more stitches in the same chain.


7. Make 2 stitches in the next chain. Chain 1 and make 2 more stitches in the same chain.


8. Make a stitch in each of the remaining chains.


9. Bind off and weave in your ends! (I use a yarn needle for worsted and up, but for finer yarns like Woolike, I use a smaller steel hook.)

You can see in the following two photos that mine came out pretty twisty, just like yours will if your tension is too tight. If your tension is so tight that you find it difficult to work into your beginning chains, try creating this pattern by working into the back loops only. It will make your pattern a little wider and give it a tiny bit of stretch, so you might like it better anyways! Fix that twisty-ness with a little blocking. Dampen the finished item and flatten between two paper towels or dishcloths. I weigh mine down with a cookie sheet and a heavy bowl for about twenty minutes, and they come out looking much flatter!





Horrible instructions for sewing on the buttons*:

*If you haven't yet, see the post I am a Sewing Dummy for explanation - I am not the person you want to ask for sewing advice.


You will need two buttons for each piece. That's four pieces: Two button backs, and two button fronts.

I begin with about 18" of thread, doubled over on the needle. I begin my big ugly knot between the loops of the stitches.

And by big ugly knot, I mean I'm securing the thread under where the button will go:)

It doesn't really matter which side of the button you sew to which side of the pattern; you can choose. Just make sure that you sew the other sides of the buttons on the opposite side of the pattern.

This will allow the ring/bracelet to snap around without twisting. Repeat for each piece. I really do apologize for my lack of sewing skills, but I promise to make an update about those no-sew snaps!

Click here to jump to the how-to tutorial showing you a few of the ways you can use these tools!

Actual written patterns -

*The patterns for my rings came out almost the same! I found that the stretchy yarn needs less chains, despite being a lighter weight. The bulkier worsted with no stretch needs a few more chains than you would think! I've still included both patterns, since I used two different stitches. Hopefully this will help beginners understand the concept of how to adjust the pattern!

Ring:





For Woolike (1):
With hook size E/4 - 3.50MM and double crochet stitch - Finished size: 2.5" long by 1" wide (6.3 cm long by 2.5 cm wide)

Chain 20 (9 + 9 + 2) to begin.

Beginning in the 4th ch from hook, make 1 dc in each of the next 8 chs. Make (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the same ch as the last st made. Make (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the next ch. Make 1 dc in each of the next 8 chs.

Bind off, weave in ends.


For Impeccable (4):
With hook size H/8 - 5.00MM and single crochet stitch - Finished size: 3" long by 1.25" wide (7.6 cm long by 3.1 cm wide)

Chain 18 (9 + 9) to begin.

Beginning in the 2nd ch from hook, make 1 sc in each of the next 8 chs. Make (1 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in the same ch as the last st made. Make (2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in the next ch. Make 1 sc in each of the next 8 chs.

Bind off, weave in ends.


Bracelet:




For Woolike (1):
With hook size E/4 - 3.50MM and double crochet stitch - Finished size: 6" long by 1" wide (15.2 cm long by 2.5 cm wide)

Chain 52 (25 + 25 + 2) to begin.

Beginning in the 4th ch from hook, make 1 dc in each of the next 24 chs. Make (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the same ch as the last st made. Make (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the next ch. Make 1 dc in each of the next 24 chs.

Bind off, weave in ends.


For Impeccable (4):
With hook size H/8 - 5.00MM and single crochet stitch - Finished size: 7" long by 1.25" wide (17.7 cm long by 3.1 cm wide)

Chain 40 (20 + 20) to begin.

Beginning in the 2nd ch from hook, make 1 sc in each of the next 19 chs. Make (1 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in the same ch as the last st made. Make (2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in the next ch. Make 1 sc in each of the next 19 chs.

Bind off, weave in ends.




  To keep this post from becoming too long, I'm including instructions for how to use these pieces in a separate post. There's a few different ways you can use your new tools, and I've got a lot of photos for you :) Click here to go to the tutorial!




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