Get ready for the party with the new and improved Alien Invasion Beanies. Both are 50% off this week only!
The crocheted Alien Invasion is back with new and improved formatting for easier reading. It comes in 4 sizes to fit babies through adults.
If you own it already, you can download the new version from your pattern library on your favorite site (Etsy users, please contact me for an updated version, they do not change the pattern in your library).
If you don’t own it already, get it now for 50% off this week only.
Use promo code: alien50 during checkout for discount at Etsy and Ravelry. Craftsy does not have promo codes, the price there has the discount already applied.*
Scroll to the bottom of the post to watch a video on this technique.
If you’ve ever worked any project in any stitch other than single crochet, you’ll know what gaps I’m talking about.
When you start each new row of a crochet project, you will perform a “turning chain”.
For example, if your project is in double crochet, the normal turning chain will be a chain 3. You make this turning chain so your row will have the proper starting height it needs to keep the entire row even. If you leave it out and just start double crocheting, your first stitch will be squashed down and not look the same as the rest.
However, that chain 3 isn’t actually worked into the first stitch, or any stitch for that matter. Instead, it sits just to the right of your first stitch. Then as normal crochet goes, you make your first double crochet in the stitch after (the 2nd stitch of the row) and you end up with this gap that results from the distance of the chain 3 to your first stitch.
One way some people eliminate this gap is to not count the chain 3 as your first stitch. and then go ahead and make the chain 3
They will CH 3 and double crochet in the first stitch of the row. But again, the result is not great. Now you get a bump every other row from the chain 3 being forced to stick out from the stitch that was made in the first stitch space.
There is a fix for both of these problems. This technique can be substituted whenever you want and for any stitch you want. The result will be a nice flat edge project with no gaps.
This technique can be substituted whenever you want and for any stitch you want (above a single crochet). The result will be a nice flat edge project with no gaps.
This technique is super simple and is the same for any stitch you use it for.
All you will simply do instead of making your normal turning chain, is make a super extended single chain. Let me show you.
Your first step in this technique is to take the loop on your hook and pull it out to the height of the stitch you are making. Don’t worry if it’s not the exact same height, somewhere in the ballpark will be good enough.
But, it is better to make it a little shorter than taller than the stitch you are making. This will keep it more hidden and less likely to stick out.
Next, secure this long loop by making a chain stitch at the top.
Now you have a skinny “turning chain” that will sit right next to the double crochet you will make in the first stitch.
Whether the project says that the turning chain counts as a stitch or not, when using this technique, you will make the skinny turning chain and a stitch in the first stitch you come to. That means you don’t count the skinny turning chain as a stitch. In other words, it will be ignored when counting stitches.
Now your project will have nice edges and no gaps!
Check out the video to see the technique in action.
Note: you can click on any of the yarns below to learn more about them.
Mmmmmmmm, cake. Wait, I’m getting off topic.
Why is some yarn called a cake? Or a hank, ball, skein, cone, or donut?Why are there so many different names for yarn?
Yarn is yarn, all of these other names are simply the way the yarn is presented to you, the buyer.
Each name refers to a different configuration of the yarn you are buying. Here is a visual breakdown:
Flat on the top and bottom and round in the middle, just like a cake. Usually, these are made from winding your yarn from a hank on a yarn winder. However, some companies (like Caron above) are marketing the yarn in cakes where you can see the color changes better.
You can either work from the center or outside tail of the cake as is.
Many independent yarn sellers offer yarn in this form. Unwinding it produces a big loop, which is how they work with it to dye it. It’s most cost effective for the dyer to leave it in this form when selling.
You cannot begin a project from yarn in this form. It will become a tangled mess. You must first wind it into a cake or ball. I have a video on how to do this here.
We’ve all seen a ball of yarn. It’s rare to see them sold as such (the awesome Zauberball above is an exception), but we’ve all wound up leftovers from projects.
Pronounced skeyn, this is how most big box yarn companies sell their yarn. It is wound on a machine and forms a fat oblong shape.
You can either work from the center or outside tail of the skein as is.
A cone is yarn in a cone shape and usually has a cardboard core. These come with mass amounts of yardage to be used for knitting machines mostly. However, they come in handy at home with a yarn bobbin holder for larger projects.
You will only have access to the outside tail on a cone.
My favorite yarn (Chroma by Knit Picks pictured here) is sold in donut form. Like its name, the yarn is shaped like a donut: round with a hole in the middle. The donut helps to show the different color changes on self-striping yarn.
You can either work from the center or outside tail of the donut as is.
The second free pattern was something I asked my Facebook followers about.
I’ve been reading some articles where NICUs are using crochet octopuses to comfort the babies. They believe the tentacles remind the baby of being in the womb with the umbilical cord. Plus the tentacles keep the baby from pulling on the wires they might have connected to their tiny bodies. It is really amazing!
Facebook said, “YES!” when I asked if they would like a pattern and video to help support, so here it is. Of course, I’m not a medical expert, so ask your local hospital if they would like these before donating.
Bonus use though: my cats love this! It’s made in one full piece so no worry of the tentacles coming loose.
There are three main materials for crochet hooks: wood, plastic, and aluminum (or other type of metal).
Obviously, which you prefer will be subjective and me telling you that I love aluminum might not be the best choice for you.
There are some considerations to be made though that could help you on choosing a hook material depending on your skill level and yarn being used.
If you are new to crochet.
I would recommend wood or plastic to a newbie. Wood’s natural materials make it “sticky” to yarn. That is, when you are crocheting, the yarn will slide slower along your hook, which can help you keep from losing loops as you learn to crochet different stitches.
Plastic is the next “stickiest”, but will allow a little more movement than wood. However, plastic hooks are known to “squeak” when using certain types of yarn, so that might deter some.
Once you get your stitches down, I highly recommend aluminum hooks. They are the “fastest” hooks for any type of yarn (more on that in a second).
The yarn you are using.
Any hook will be okay for more yarn you choose; however, some hooks will do better with certain types of yarns.
When crocheting with slippery yarn, like rayon, or some cotton, a wood hook can come in handy to keep your loops from slipping around and falling off.
Other yarns, like boucle (knubby yarn), can be much easier to work with on aluminum hooks.
My best advice is to get one of each hook, try them out, and see which you like best. We are lucky that hooks, for the most part, are not too expensive and afford us the opportunity to experiment.
What is your favorite type of hook? Let us know below.
I love Craftsy classes. I’ve taken over 10 already. So when they have a great sale like this, I have to share it. It’s only good for today though so head over and see if anything looks good.
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Limit to one use per customer. Prices are in USD. Excludes The Great Courses. Coupon is not valid for in-app purchases.
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The simple answer is hook manufacturers have different US letter (as in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world go by the metric measurement) designations for some of their hooks.
It’s hard to find out how and when this started, but my theory is that because we’ve never adopted the metric system here in the US, the manufacturers came up with the US letters to help us out back in the day.
Why Can’t I Just Get The Same Letter Hook As The Pattern Calls For?
Because it could affect your gauge.
For example, the 4mm could be labelled as either a US-F or a US-G, and a 10mm is either a US-N or US-P. And the reverse is true, a US-N could be a 9mm or a 10mm hook depending on the manufacturer.
If the pattern only gives the US letter hook size, you could potentially be off by one whole mm, which will greatly change your gauge (check out my video below to see more on gauge and hook size).
What Should I Do If The Pattern Only Lists The US Letter Size For The Hook?
Start with that hook, only a couple of hooks have the different mm size, most are the same. My favorite hooks:
The Clover Soft Touch have both letters printed on their hooks. Try to make gauge and go from there (again, see my video down below if you need help with gauge).
So Which Letter Should I Choose if A Pattern Only Has The mm Size Listed?
And the simple answer for that is: don’t worry about letter size. If you have a pattern calling for a hook that comes in multiple letters, stick with the mm size. That is the actual measurement of the hook head and not just the letter the company that made it decided to name it.
You will be much closer to what the designer used when making gauge when you first try to make gauge yourself.