The knit version of the Hearts Abound beanie gets an upgrade with a custom heart shaped pom pom on top. If you follow the blog you know that I am now in love with my Clover Pom Pom maker so I had to add one to this beanie.
Get the knit Hearts Around Beanie for 50% off this week only.
Use promo code: heart50 during checkout for a discount at Etsy and Ravelry. Craftsy does not have promo codes, the price there has the discount already applied.*
The crochet version beanie and mitts are now updated with the easier to read format and are also available for 50% off this week. Contact me if you need an updated version of a previously purchased pattern. Otherwise, get your copy now!
Use the same promo code: heart50 during checkout at Etsy and Ravelry. Craftsy already has the discount applied, so no promo code needed.
I never actually hated the Clover Pom Pom Maker. I just was frustrated with it because I couldn’t get it to work correctly. I was ending up with misshapen floppy balls instead of dense beautiful hearts (see video below for the sad balls).
I finally figured out I was totally doing it wrong!
It’s actually quite easy once you understand the steps, and now I totally love it!
I made a video showing how and why I was doing it wrong and then showing how to make the super cute heart shaped pom poms step-by-step.
Have you tried this maker before? How did you like it? Let us know below.
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.
Receive any Craftsy Class for $19.99 or less with coupon FEBFLASH17!
Limit to one use per customer. Prices are in USD. Excludes The Great Courses. Coupon is not valid for in-app purchases.
Cannot be combined with other coupons or discounts. Expires February 21, 2017 at 11:59 PM MST.