Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Yarn Tales Tuesday

A New Year

  This will be the last Yarn Tales Tuesday article of 2014! YTT was started with the intention of prompting discussions about crochet, needle art, and yarn-related subjects. I began writing this series in August of this year, and so far, it's been a success!

  Sometimes, I use YTT to just rant about things that have affected me personally, but I still keep it yarn-related in some way. From educational posts about checking your gauge, to silly subjects like Bi-Polar Craftitis, these articles have been (for the most part) fun to write. They don't always inspire the discussions that I had hoped for, but sometimes it's just a way for me to get a load off of my mind. Many of you have thanked me for information, let me know that you got a laugh, and helped to build my confidence in ways you may never know.

  I want to use this last Yarn Tales Tuesday of the year to thank everybody. Every time I see one of my posts or projects get a like or a share, and every time I receive a comment I know that someone appreciates my work. Thank you to Subscribers, Followers, repeat visitors, and even to those of you who are visiting for the first time for taking the time to stop by to see what I have to share.

  Thanks also goes to Free Indie Crochet Patterns, Crochet Pattern Bonanza, Crochet at Play, Daisy Cottage Designs, Knot by Gran'ma, and All Free Crochet for sharing my patterns. Just like it takes work to design and create crochet, it also takes work to share and link to patterns. Whether it's a big website with a ton of employees or a fellow blogger working alone, I appreciate every time one of my patterns, tutorials, or posts are shared. If you've shared my work and I don't know about it, then thanks goes to you too, and please contact me so I can give credit.

  Additionally, I want to thank the staff and my fellow Makers at +Guidecentral. This blog business doesn't make enough to keep me in yarn and hooks. Thanks to this innovative D.I.Y. site, I've been able to earn a little side cash for more supplies. It has also provided me with an easier way to create crochet tutorials that often correspond with my free patterns. Fellow Makers also contribute daily to my crafting inspiration with their beautiful and interesting creations. Whenever I get "burned out" on creativity, a quick look at what the Guidecentral community is crafting will get the ball rolling again. And make me go to the craft store for supplies!

  For those of you who are interested, I've set some new goals for the upcoming year to expand the Crochet is the Way business. Some of them are realistic and already in motion, and some of them may be a bit harder to reach. Hopefully I will be able to achieve some of the more unrealistic goals, but even if I don't, Crochet is the Way will still have more to offer in 2015. I don't want to spoil any surprises, but a big one will be, hopefully, a store!

  I find that to reach a goal, it helps if you tell someone about your plans. Have you set any crochet-related goals for the new year? If you're planning on finishing that project you've been putting off, or perhaps you're ready to learn a more advanced stitch, let us know about it!

Hope you've enjoyed the Holidays and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Yarn Tales Tuesday

Crocheted Gifts

  Did you make anything to gift for the holidays this year? Has the recipient asked for something specific, or did you just make it for a surprise? If the receiver has already opened their present, what was their reaction?

  So, I've asked you my questions...Now let me answer them myself: I think I may have failed! Late in the year, I got a request from my mom for a Christmas-themed table runner. I gave her the Lacy Fall Table Runner I designed, and she wants one for the holidays.

This is as far as I've gotten with it.

  Sure, I could have made the Fall table runner in holiday colors, but no-oooo. My creative brain had to get the bright idea to design a different one. And sometimes, that leads me to a good place. But sometimes, it leads me here. I have a vision in my head, and I've had some difficulties making it work. Now, I have the pattern written out. I just have to rush to complete the squares. She said not to worry if I can't finish it, but doesn't that still leave you with that "I failed" feeling?

  I really hope I can get it done. At least she could have it for Christmas, for the kids opening their presents and stuff. So I'm going to quit writing and CROCHET! In the meantime, share with us what you've worked on.

Happy Crocheting!

Friday, December 19, 2014

How to: Rolled Double Crochet Variations

  From bags to baskets, from hats to mats, the Rolled double crochet stitch can be used to add texture, strength, and thickness in your crochet projects. Don't confuse this stitch with the "Roll" stitch, which is also known as the "Bullion" stitch. I recently made a Guidecentral Guide for how to make the original version of the Rolled double crochet stitch, which you can view here.

  Although I always tell everybody to never get discouraged, this will be difficult for beginners. If you are new to the regular double crochet stitch, or if you're still confused over turning chains and the beginning of the row, these stitches will be very challenging. Checking out the original Guide will show you more of the step by step process for creating a double crochet stitch and what the work should look like as you turn, as well as some extra pointers for what stitch to work into.

  I'll be covering a condensed version of how to make the original stitch at the beginning of this tutorial. Some of you may want to check out the Guide for extra steps (*cough*...and maybe sign up with Guidecentral so you can "like" my Guides *cough*). The Guide will show you how to work double-thick and double-sided versions of this stitch into a pattern, which won't be covered here.

  Anyways, this tutorial is going to show you some Rolled double crochet variations. It was difficult to work them into the Guide, but I still wanted to share them with everybody. So, let's get to it!

The original:

A regular Rolled double crochet is made by working backwards through the top of a double crochet, then into the same loops as the bottom of the stitch.

For the beginning of the row, insert the hook in the current stitch from back to front.

Insert the hook from front to back into the same loops as the bottom of the stitch.

Slip stitch, then chain 3 to count as the first double crochet.

For all other Rolled double crochet in the row, yarn over, insert hook in the next stitch from back to front.

Insert hook in the same loops as the bottom of the stitch from front to back.

When you swing your hook around to the back, it will pinch the stitch and look like this:

Complete a double crochet. For each additional stitch, the top loops of the next stitch will be pulled slightly to the front, as a ridge begins to pop up below the current row.

The texture will be entirely on the side facing you.

As a return row of regular double crochet is worked, you can see that the opposite side of the fabric is basically flat.


For all variations, you will begin the row in the same manner as the original version, working into the designated loops for that version, instead of into the whole stitch.

Remember to yarn over for a double crochet for all other stitches in the row.

Front loops only:

Insert hook in the front loop of the next stitch from back to front.

Insert hook in the same loops as the bottom of the stitch, from front to back.

When you swing your hook around to the back, it will pinch the stitch and look like this:

Complete a double crochet.

You can see that a row of front loop rolled doubles will leave a thinner ridge with less thickness, but with more character.

As a return row of regular double crochet is worked, you can see that the back side of this stitch is still basically flat.

Back loops only:

Insert hook in back loop of next stitch from back to front.

Insert hook in the same loops as the bottom of the stitch, from front to back.

Complete a double crochet.

This stitch has the same texture as the front loop version, with the unworked loops slanting in the opposite direction.

As a return row of double crochet is worked, you can see that this stitch is also flat on the back side, but with a little bit of extra texture from the unworked loops.

Compact version:

With this version, the very first stitch can be worked without a turning chain. Insert the hook directly into the bottom of the current stitch.

As you pull up a loop, don't pull up extra length. Snugly tighten the loop so that it compresses the stitch underneath it.

Complete the double crochet.

This stitch creates less of a ridge on the front side, with just some extra thickness added to the row.

As a row of return double crochet is worked, you can see this stitch adds more texture to the opposite side.

The back of this stitch still has no ridge, but more of the thickness shows on this side.

Create your own version:

Experiment with different combinations to make your own textures. Here is an example with alternating regular double crochet and rolled double crochet.

This combination I made looked a bit messy from certain angles, but I think it would look better if all the rows were worked this way. Compared with the other rows' straight-lined ridges, this texture looks out of place.

As a return row of regular double crochet is worked, you can see that the alternating combo actually has some pretty interesting character.

Backwards compact version:

I saved the most difficult for last. This version requires you to work the stitches with the yarn in front of the work.

Insert the hook from back to front in the same loops as the bottom of the current stitch. Move the yarn to the front to grab with the hook.

After you pull up a loop, keep the yarn to the front of the work.

Complete the double crochet.

This stitch looks exactly like the regular compact version, but the texture pops to the front.

Other design ideas:

There are just too many techniques you could use to make these stitches even more interesting! Imagine changing colors on the return rows so that the ridges pop out in a contrasting color...Or using beads in any of the rows...And what about weaving ribbon through the regular double crochet of the return row?

That would look beautiful on a small clutch or bag.

Or how about using surface crochet to fill in the gap of the return row with another color?

Although one-sided, this makes a super-thick fabric that would be great for hats or gloves.

With so many variations, what will you make?

Happy Crocheting!

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