Reading Between the Comma’s

Happy (super-early) Hump Day!

I’ve decided to dedicate a post to some extremely useful info I received recently at my LYS (Local Yarn Shop), Stitcher’s Haven.  (If you live in the Broward County area, you should totally check them out! The people there are sort of amazing! :D)

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but if I had to rely solely on books for learning to crochet, I don’t think I would have seen it through.  I find crochet patterns kind of read like stereo instructions that were originally written in Klingon and then translated (very very poorly) into English.  YouTube was really my teacher in my first few weeks –  and it still is most of the time.

I found myself trying to read patterns that were written out and just kind of going, “Well wtf..” afterwards, because I had no idea what any of it meant. My small-ish projects that I have tried from written patterns generally did NOT turn out like the picture, which was only all the more frustrating.

I posed this question to the owner of Sticher’s Haven last weekend, when I was there for my first lengthy visit to sit, stitch, and chat with the other nice lady and menfolk that were hanging around that day. The answer I received cleared up a lot for me, and those same project that had me producing scary amoeba-like  tangles of yarn now yield the finished product they should have originally!

Let’s throw an example out here, just so I can kinda get the point across:

Case

Using MC, chain 39 Row 1: SC in second chain from hook and each chain across. Ch 1, turn. (38 SC)

Rows 2 – 7: SC in each SC across. Ch 1, turn. (38 SC)

Row 8: IN BACK LOOPS ONLY – SC in each SC across. Ch 1, turn.  (38 SC in BLO)

This is  a snippet from a pattern that I’ve actually followed to completion. The orignal and entire pattern (for a really super cute crochet hook holder case) can be found on Ravelry.

So, I was reading this one entire line at a time, and frankly, I found it confusing, hard to understand and it just made my brain hurt in weird places.  According to Ginny (owner) from Stitcher’s Heaven, you should read from comma to comma (or period to period, as it were).  It doesn’t really read like a novel, or a book.  Each comma/period kind of breaks up the steps within each row.

For example:

Row 1: SC in second chain from hook and each chain across. (We chain whatever number and then we single crochet (SC) in each stitch along the initial chain.)

Ch 1, (Chain one – generally there is always a turning chain at the end of a row. Depending on the stitch, your turning chain number will vary. sc-1, hdc-2, dc-3, and so on!)

turn. (38 SC) (This prompts us to turn our work and begin another row. Also, I’ve noticed most (not all) patterns have the total number of stitches (and some even total number of chains) per row at the end of each line. This is super helpful if you rely heavily on counting, or lose count… I lose count A LOT!)

See? There is generally instructions for each row or round, but within each row there are steps. If you read from comma to comma (or period), you can see clearly each step within that row, and it breaks the pattern down a little better, as well as making it easier to follow!

Also, crochet patterns tend to be super-duper abbreviation central. Most come with a beginning legend for each abbreviation for each stitch/term, but not always! It’s something that you may want to brush up on, on your own so when you start reading patterns you’re not sitting there for 45 minutes trying to decipher the seeming nonsensical letters at random places (in case you were wondering, yes, I did this. Numerous times. Klingon! Klingon, I say!).

Short-ish post for a late night filled with insomnia! I hope this helps! Check out that crochet hook holder case, it’s easy, cute and making your own, is a great low stress project to start on! 😀

See you soon!

~Amanda

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The Thing About Chain Stitches Is…

That apparently I’ve been doing it wrong for the last few weeks… Yep. And here I thought that I was just moving right along, crocheting all the things and taking names! Not so much apparently, lol.

I’ve decided that this is something worth sharing, so perhaps some novice in the future won’t fall into this as well! Before I get into the pictures sharing of what not to do, I want to add a few really really helpful links. These videos got me started, and  despite my revelation last night that I’ve been doing one of the fundamentals the wrong way, I still think that if you’re wanting to learn to crochet, then these are your first steps to achieving that goal!

So without any further ado:

This is an excellent place to start. The video is very clear (for the most part) on the beginning steps of crochet, and it moves slow enough that you can mostly comprehend what to do in each step. There will be some pausing, rewinding and repeating involved, but I found both videos to be extremely helpful! 🙂

Another exceptional place to start is here: I Heart Stitching’s YouTube Channel . There are lots of beginner friendly pattern videos, as well as the basic steps of crocheting! Check ’em out!

Right, so back to pointing out my mistake in the hopes of clarifying this to other newbies!

We’re going to start with a chain of 8 (I’ve made it nice and loose so you can hopefully see what I’m doing!)

pic1chain8

So to kind of give an idea of what I’ve been doing, I’m going to do a few single crochets (SC) to show you the wrong way:

wrongway

See the massive gaping holes in the chain stitch as I attach my sc? I do! I thought that was just the way it went, and  generally it would get a little less gapey as I continued my work, so I just thought it was  the nature of the beginning chain beast.  Not so much.

What I have been doing, basically, is only sliding my hook under  one of the stitches in the chain, instead of both.  Ready to see it done right? I am!

under the v

The top of the chain stitch makes a ‘V’ shape. Your hook should be going under BOTH parts of the ‘V’ and then doing your single crochet (SC) from there! (I was only doing it under one, and would get sloppy-ish loose looking stitches).

The right way!:

rightway

Looks so much better! 😀

So that’s my Newbie Tip of the Day! i hope you found it helpful, and please, check out those videos I mentioned above! 😀

Happy Thursday~

~Amanda

See What Had Happened Was…

May as well ring in the New Year with something new, right?  I was a bit torn on whether my creating a blog would be a good idea or not. On the one hand, there are already a ton of amazing, helpful and creative blogs out there (I should know, I follow as many of them as I can), but on the other, the thought of following my progress from (almost) day one, seemed like it could be something fun, and maybe a little helpful to others who are looking to get into crafts, DIY, crocheting, knitting and all the fun (yet somewhat overwhelming at first) that comes with it!

So here I am! Making a blog, and seeing where it takes me.  I hope that whoever reads this finds it helpful, or at the very least a little amusing.

I have decided to start with crochet as the first rung in my ladder of DIY. A friend at work, shared some photos with me, of granny squares she’d made with her kids, and I guess that was really the first point of interest for me. It looked fun, and they were so cute! I had been looking for some sort of creative outlet, I could claim as my own hobby. I was formerly an MMO Junky, though the interest there had started waning a while back.

I sort of dragged my feet about it. figuring it would be something that was much too complicated to get into, and I’d probably not have the patience for it anyway (Patience and I are -not- simpatico, in case you were wondering). Then a few unexpected things happened. I found myself unable to see well as a side effect of having extremely high blood sugar while in the hospital at the beginning of December 2013.

Unable to drive, work, or spend my free time online playing games with my hubs, I suddenly had lots of free time and nothing to occupy it with. One late night shopping trip to Wal-Mart had me grabbing what I thought was the right kind of hook and some yarn, figuring now was as good a time as any to try to teach myself something new.  It was frustrating. There was a lot of cussing, and obscenities being flung the first few days.  I couldn’t really see, my vision was (and still is to an extent) blurred and I had to rely on listening to tutorials on YouTube on constant repeat, until I started getting the hang of things.

Here I am a few weeks later, still mostly unable to see clearly, but managing to keep myself occupied with crochet.  That’s a little about my journey so far. There will be more to come soon. 🙂

~ Amanda