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Tag Archives: tips and tricks

I swatched, now what?

The dreaded words every crocheter hates…gauge and swatch! Yup 5 letter words that make us cringe! Let’s put down our fear and learn to love them…
So really why must I do this?
+ Uniformity of your stitches-
When I start a project, I often notice that the starting couple of rows are tighter than once I get going. If you swatch out your project, yes I do mean all 4 inches or more, you can establish the uniformity in height of your project.
+ Sizing
If you achieve gauge in your gauge swatch it helps you to better predict that you will achieve the specifications of the garment that your designer has so lovingly chosen.
+ Helps to get used to the stitch pattern
I like to swatch to know what I am getting into. Sometimes I love a complex stitch pattern, other times I do not. If I swatch properly I can assess what I am getting into.

Help…my swatch has too many or too few stitches…
1) Don’t panic it happens to all of us
2) Let’s assess the situation
– If you have too many stitches per inch–> Switch to a larger hook
– If you have too few stitches per inch –> switch to a smaller hook
3) Check your pattern to see how important the gauge is…
– Some patterns it is not as crucial, for example if your gauge is close to the pattern it is called for in an item like a scarf, bag or baby blanket its not a huge deal just realize you may need more or less yarn then the pattern calls for
– Gauge is ALWAYS important in a garment. (Can’t blame the pattern writer if your gauge is off)

So now I have all these gauge swatches what do I do with them?
In Lily Chin’s Crochet Tips and Tricks book, she suggests to
1) Start a crochet scrapbook and log what yarn with what hook and what project
2) Give the swatch as the gift if the bigger item isn’t finished yet (Brilliant Lily… now why didn’t I think of that
3) Make something new out of your swatches like a baby blanket, clutch or bag
(My two cents: I really like the idea of making coffee cup cozies and coasters- the summer brings ice coffee and I hate when it drips on my desk)
Some of my ideas
4) Make them into little doll blankets and or security blankies- My daughter can literally take my yarn swatches and play with them for hours
5) Bring them to your local stitching group so you can brag I mean share about all the cool techniques you are using
6) Frame them and decorate your craft space or studio with them
7) Use them to make a charity project-
Just remember when using them for a charity project please make the color choices cohesive crocheting for charity does not have to be ugly.
8) Make a patchwork scarf and then pin it on pinterest ! lol

What do you do with your swatches?

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Awesome Swatches on display at Purl Soho

Crochet Technique- Working in the Round

Nothing excites me more then sharing the tips and tricks of the craft. One of my favorite segments on the Martha Stewart Show is when she takes the time at the end of the show to share the tips and tricks she shared in the show in one spot. So in this post I wanted to share with you a little bit about working in the round.

Why work in the round?

  • Right side of your work is always facing out
  • Minimizes or Eliminates timely seaming
  • Totally fashionable right now- Cowls are the hottest thing
  • Great way to make other accessories as well such as hats and bags

How do I start working in the round?

1- Working with a couple of chains ( we of course are partial to chaining two), you can either work into the first ch (if your chaining two) or join with a sl st to form the round. When it is this little it is usually called a ring

2- Start a long chain and then use a slip st to join to form the round

3- Use an adjustable ring (will discuss in a future blog post)

Pitfalls of working in the round:

1- Just like knitting once you join your ring you can not untwist it no matter how hard you try. There are ways to “jerry-rig” it but trust me beginners not a good idea.  (However if you do it purposely you can create an infinity cowl or scarf that is oh so chic right now)

2- Counting your stitches- It is always good to count your stitches so that way you do not end up with a cowl with a wide opening and then one you can not get your head through. Again beginners this is a serious warning- so many times we say oh it will work it self out. Do yourself the favor

3- Gauge while worked flat is ever so different when worked in the round so make sure you check your patterns to make sure how they tested their gauge

Great projects to work in the round:

1- Cowls- We like the ones from our summer issue! The Lake Champlain Cowl, Stone Wall Cowl and the Infinite Sunshine Cowl are great suggestions

2- Hats- preemie hats are a great place to start

3- Capelets, ponchos and sweaters- again we recommend The Farmer’s Market Capelet

We would love to hear from you, your stories about working crochet in the round! If we get 5 comments we will post a pattern that is worked in the round for free!

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