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.

crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


  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!

crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top
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...

crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top

*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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


For all panels that are lined up evenly, make (double crochet, chain **, double crochet). Replace ** with your number of chains.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


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).
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


When you reach the armhole panel, make one double crochet in the same space as the joining stitch.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top

Once you work across the armhole, continue with the same pattern as for the front.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top
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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top
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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


But first, the armholes:
A chart again for you...
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top



crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top
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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top


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.
crochet, how to, tutorial, free pattern, top, blouse, shirt, tank top

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.

free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial


  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!

free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial



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

free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial

*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.

free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial



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:
free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
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.

free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
3. Holding both loops secure with your finger and thumb, yarn over. 
4. Pull through both loops on the hook.


Instructions for heart:
 
free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
1. Chain 1.
2. Make 2 single crochet in the ring.


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
3. (Chain 1, slip stitch) 3x in the ring.
4. Chain 2 (makes the point).


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
6. (Slip stitch, chain 1) 3x.
7. Make 2 single crochet.


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
7. Chain 1, slip stitch.
8. Cut yarn and bind off. Pull the tail through the center hole before closing.


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
Pull the tail tight to close the center loop, and watch all those stitches scrunch up into a heart!


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
 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.


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
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.


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
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.


free crochet pattern, hearts, confetti, Valentine, tutorial
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. 😉

free crochet pattern, confetti, hearts, worsted, tutorial, Valentine

Happy Crocheting!