Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Works in Progress



  Please, no more, lol! I made a goal to start completing more projects before picking up new ones, and I've been doing pretty good at it. Pretty good. I've finally finished sewing on all the flowers for Mom's Afghan, and all I need to do is wash it and get it to Dad. So now that my biggest project is out of the way, it gave me room to see the little projects I've been neglecting to finish.

crochet, WIP, work in progress


  Perhaps I shouldn't say it that way, because some of them see the light of day once in a while... And then there's that project that I started even though I shouldn't have, and I've been making pretty good progress on it. But there are others so neglected that I've forgotten them. Posting about them helps motivate me to get working again, so let's get a look at what I'm working (and not working) on:


crochet, plarn, rug
  The giant plarn rug I started with the kids' help... It's still growing, just like them. But without their help joining the plarn loops, progress has slowed. I ran out of bags for a while, but it didn't take long to stock them back up. I'm adding a few stripes of a lighter color to brighten it up, and it looks like I have enough material cut up to finish it. Is it big enough yet?



crochet, motif, snowflake
  Here's an awesome motif I started working on around the holidays... And I completely forgot about it until I found it under another project. I liked the design of the center of the Simple Snowflakes I created, and wanted to build on it to make a new interesting design. It's not an important project, because I was just playing around and didn't have anything planned for the square it would become. After finding it, I thought about scrapping the square idea and making it into a mandala.



crochet, bag, fabric scrap yarn
  This bag made of fabric scrap yarn is (almost) finished, but lacking the braided strap I still have to attach. It was supposed to be a free pattern. No excuses here, I just need to get it done. I lost the strap. I have to find it, or create a new one.



crochet, fabric scrap yarn, granny squares
  Another fabric scrap project! This is the one I wasn't supposed to start, because I had already made myself that promise... But you can hop over to my other blog and check out a post about a problem of mine, and you'll see why I was motivated to get moving!



crochet, doll, embroidery, ugly
  Lol, tell me honestly: Did that thing scare you a little? Meet The Troll's Ugly Girlfriend. (Well, her head, anyways...) She's something I've been keeping secret for a long time, because I wanted to share the pattern, but I quickly realized it's not an easy pattern to explain. This was started partly as a joke towards my embroidery skills, though the original idea (the body) was supposed to be a fairy. Knowing I wouldn't be able to create a decent-looking face with embroidery, I decided to embrace the ugliness of my stitching.

  That turned out to be the best idea ever! Instead of being discouraged by my poor skills, I had a ton of fun using my horrible embroidery to make her even more hideous. Lopsided eyes of "french knots" (wow, I'm bad at them) framed by puffy lids, a big bulbous nose using the same stitch, and a too-big, crooked smile of running stitches. I sewed the yarn tails over and over the same spot under the mouth to make a big, pointy chin. Adding some yarn bits to make sparse, ratty-looking hair completed my vision of what a troll's ugly girlfriend would look like. Now, all that's left is to attach the head to the body. That Troll has been acting up again, so maybe he needs a friend to play with.



  Since there's not much left to do on a few of these, I want to rush to finish them up. There's even more WIP's around here, and there's about to be one more... (Noooooo!) Even though I swore I would never take another special order, Big Bro sent me a picture of a cute elephant rug that somebody wanted, but he didn't know anything about the pattern. One search of "crocheted elephant rug" lead me to the pattern for the Josefina and Jeffery Elephant Rug (by Ira Rott) on Ravelry:


  I couldn't resist. In case that picture doesn't link back properly (I'm dealing with some errors), then you can click here to check out the pattern. And while you're distracted on Ravelry, I'll be placing the order for the yarn. As soon as it gets here, I'll be starting the project. *Sigh* There's that word again - start. I'm supposed to be finishing. But it's a cute pattern, I can always use the cash, and there's no "special" about this special order; they want it exactly how it is in the photo. All I have to do is follow someone else's pattern, and that should be a nice break from designing all the time. Plus, HOLY COW, I found someone willing to pay the price for a handmade without griping.

  So, I better get going and get to work on these WIP's! Even though that project is well within my skill level, it's pretty darn big. I have hopes of finishing it quickly because I won't be taking the usual time write down stitches while I work. But like I said, it's pretty darn big. We'll see how it goes!


Happy Crocheting! 


But wait... Hey, speaking of big projects... How did I write that whole post with only a tiny little mention of my biggest project? YAY! I FINALLY FINISHED MOM'S AFGHAN! It is a bittersweet finish, since Mom will never get to use it. But since this project has been part of my grieving process, it's a needed step in moving forward. I've decided to keep this exact pattern private, though I'll make some alterations to sell a different version. This way, Mom's Afghan will always be Mom's afghan, and nobody else will ever have it. But you can have a similar one someday. 

crochet, afghan, Mom's Afghan



Monday, June 20, 2016

Join Crochet Motifs with One Seam



  This is such a great method to make beautiful joins, save yarn, and have less tails to weave in! When I shared the tutorial for the "Join-As-You-Go" stitch using the Love Knot, I was only creating strips with my squares. Here's a diagram to show you how to keep going for a full square or rectangular project:

crochet, tutorial, one-seam join, seamless join, join as you go, how to join squares


(And by the way, you can use this with just about any stitch!)


  I also said in the previous tutorial that this wasn't the full Join-As-You-Go method, but forgot to remind you that the true technique involves joining while working the last round of the square. This is really just a "seamless join", but you'll find some calling it Join-As-You-Go. It's a confusing situation to me, because I think of it as "joining as you go", because you don't stop crocheting the seam. Plus, a seamless join makes me think of an invisible join, not a one-seam join. Forgive me if I've confused you, and please enjoy the diagram. Have fun only weaving in only two tails after joining all your squares, no matter what you call the method. And that's it!


*Gasp* That's it? Not a full page tutorial? No lengthy instructions?

You got it! That's all you need.


  But... Here's some verbal instructions, for my non-English speaking friends using translating software: Begin where you see the green circle. The grey arrows indicate where to work a regular stitch. The black arrows indicate where to work a stitch, then join to the stitch on the opposite side. End where you see the red circle.
(I've had a few complaints about putting text on photos, because translators don't work on pictures. I hope that helps!)


Happy Crocheting!

(P.S. Find the free pattern for that square here - There's a tutorial included!) 


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Join-As-You-Go with Love Knots



  The Love Knot is one of my favorite stitches, and I thoroughly enjoyed working out this joining method. I'm using my "Grannies in a Love Triangle" squares, but this stitch would be easy to use for a lacy join on any square. The large size of the Love Knot makes the joins amazingly fast. We all like that, now, don't we? But... you won't get to see a full Join-As-You-Go here (and I'll have more tails). *Get a diagram for the full seamless joining method here!

  I'm using the Join-As-You-Go method to create strips for my Grannies in a Love Triangle Shawl. Although you can use this technique to join all the squares in your project with one continuous seam, I'll be adding a border to the strips to work out some cool color work, and then joining them using the same stitch. You can find diagrams online to show you how to join a full J-A-Y-G project, so you can still use this stitch to follow the traditional method.

  This technique of creating strips would work for any square or rectangular project. If you want to use another square for your own design, then you'll have to work out the right size of your stitches yourself. But all you have to look for is puckering or rippling, and you'll know you need to adjust the height of your Love Knots. My squares also have convenient chain-spaces for joining, so you'll need to figure out your own stitch placement for a different square, too.



  For other designs, pay attention to the notes along the way. I made a corner that's a little too short, to add more design and some simple shaping to my pattern. If you're using this method for anything else, then you probably want to use one of the alternatives I've provided. This goes really quickly no matter what design you're using, so grab your motifs and get ready for a finish!



Need help?
Find a tutorial for the Love Knot here
And the tutorial/pattern for the Grannies in a Love Triangle square here


A typical Join-As-You-Go will continue after the end of the strip, joining a new row of squares after step 5. I'll be continuing at the end for a border all the way around the strip, so we won't be following the same pattern. (As I said above: You can still use these stitches to follow the typical J-A-Y-G pattern!)



Begin in a corner with a long single crochet (to make the beginning stitch, start with a slip stitch and pull up a Love Knot to count as the long single crochet). In each space across, make (one long single crochet, two Love Knots, and one long single crochet).



Work the stitches around three sides of the square (including corners to follow my pattern, or see the notes for a different corner option).
For the shawl pattern: End in the last corner space with just one long single crochet.
Other designs: You can make a full stitch set in the last space before joining a new square, and another full set in the first space of the new square. This will be preferred if you're using the stitch for a full J-A-Y-G, because you won't be working the border that fills in this space. Also see the note (*) a few steps ahead for another corner space option.



Make two Love Knots, then join the next square with just one long single crochet in the corner space (for the shawl). I know that leaves an odd space, but we'll be fixing that when we work around the other side. Okay?
Working up the joining side, you'll still be making almost the same stitch pattern in each space. After you make the long single crochet and the first Love Knot, slip stitch in the opposite (center) Love Knot.



You'll continue by making the second Love Knot, then the long single crochet in the same space as the first. Moving on to the next space, you make (one long single crochet, one Love Knot, slip stitch, Love Knot, and long single crochet).

*Hey! This method does create a spot at the join that is shorter than the rest of the stitches. It will be filled in with the second round for my Grannies in a Love Triangle Shawl. For other designs: Scroll to the end of the post to find an example of a different corner stitch I'm using in the border which would also be a great option to use while joining.



Now, that's all you need to know to get to the end of the strip. Keep following those directions until you've added all the squares in your strip, then work around the corners to the other side. I'll wait, because I know it won't be long until you're done...

Okay, ready? It's time to fix that odd space!

Make one long single crochet in the corner space, then make a Love Knot. Slip stitch in the Love Knot in the center of the join. Make another Love Knot, then a long single crochet in the corner space of the next square. Work (one long single crochet, two Love Knots, one long single crochet) in each space across, and repeat at the next join.


  Continue until you get back to your beginning long single crochet, make (one long single crochet, two Love Knots) and join with a slip stitch. To follow my pattern, we're going to work a second round. If you're working on your own design, then you can choose to bind off here. There's no need for a second round other than for my color work; the stitch pattern will be the same for joining.

  The stitches for the second round will be worked in the center Love Knots, so we have to work our way over to the first one. If you wanted to change colors again, then it would be simple to bind off and start right in a center knot. If you're following my pattern, then let me show you the easy way to (cheat!) get there:

After the joining slip stitch, there is only one long loop to work over until we reach out beginning spot. Simply pull up a long loop, then slip stitch into the center knot where we will begin. Now, you'll make (one long single crochet, two Love Knots, one long single crochet), just like before, in the center knot of each stitch group.


But what about that joining space? To fill in that "short" spot, don't work into the center knot here. Work (one long single crochet, two Love Knots, one long single crochet) in each space to the side of the slip stitch.

**And what about the corners? You have a few options here. You can't continue using the same stitch group in the corner, because it will begin to pull. To make a sharper corner, I worked another two Love Knots and one more long single crochet, making two stitch groups share a middle stitch. You could work the corners of the first round this way, too.

Not shown: You can also make sharper corners by working four Love Knots for your corner stitch. However, the extra Love Knots alone will create a huge open space that's bigger than the "diamonds" in the middle joins.

Here's one final example of how I continued building out with the new corner stitch, making one "shared" stitch on either side of the corner stitch (or space). That "short" corner that I made in the beginning join was made so that the strips of my shawl will taper down just a tiny bit, but it can also make your work pucker. Although the curling can easily be blocked out with this lacy stitch, I recommend that you use one of the other corner stitches for flat patterns. Whichever one will work best may depend on the design of your square.



  So, are you following along with this project, or using this joining stitch to create your own design? I'd love to see photos of your creations - Remember that you can stop by the Crochet is the Way Facebook page to share them!





Happy Crocheting!





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