Saturday, March 2, 2013

How Did I Miss This?

In my last blog post I talked about how much I hate trying to work that first row of crochet into the starting chain, and contemplated starting with a knitting cast on in place of that traditional crocheted chain. I haven't gotten around to trying that just yet, because I discovered the Foundation Crochet in single, half double, and double heights. I stumbled across them completely by accident while perusing patterns on Ravelry.

No more starting chains for me! :D

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Yarn Noodles

This post rambles a bit. Whatever; it's craftemplation. :)

I've been working on three different knitting projects lately, which I'm loving, but I'm also starting to get the itch to do something different. This happens to me all the time. I'll get hooked on a particular craft, go at it like mad for a while, then get bored and want to do something else. Eventually I circle back to the first craft; it goes in cycles.

One of the knitting projects I've been doing is Slither, and I love it! It's the first thing I've knitted that wasn't just flat, and there are different kinds of increases and decreases, so I get to see how they work and why they matter. You can find my notes on my progress at my Ravelry project page (though you will need to have a [free] Ravelry account to see it.)

So, I'm nearly done with my Slither gloves, and I'm already wanting to plan another project, but I'm thinking crochet, which I've been doing far longer than I've been knitting. I started surfing the patterns available through Ravelry, and Oh My Gods, so many beautiful patterns, and so many of them available for free! There are some crocheted shawls and stoles I would love to try, but they look like the beginning chains are sooooo long!

The hardest, most frustrating part of any crochet project for me is working that first row into the stitches of the starting chain. I crochet with a really tight tension, so much so that I usually have to go up at least two hook sizes to match gauge on someone else's pattern. This means that while my work may come out the right size, I still have a hard time working the hook into those tight chain stitches. If I make the chain with a larger hook, this might give me the room to move that I need to not go crazy, though I would need to make sure doing that wouldn't adversely affect the project.

But what if, instead of crocheting a starting chain, I cast on the required number of stitches as for knitting, using a long-tail cast-on on a convertible circular needle? If I use a needle size to match the hook size, I'll end up with perfect little loops that stand up free from the bulk of the cast-on, resting loosely along a thin cable. If I take one needle off after casting, insert the hook in the first stitch, pull up a loop from the working yarn and start crocheting into each stitch while it still sits on the cable, the cable should slip out easily enough once the first row is done.


I'll let you know how it comes out.

Image borrowed from Patricia at Knitting for the Soul.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Getting Good Gauge

New knitters and crocheters usually start with projects that are small, flat, and rectangular, like dishcloths and winter scarves. Usually these projects completely ignore the issue of gauge, as it just doesn't matter. You knit or crochet until it's the size you want, and you're done. And that's fine, as long as you never want to make anything else.

Yarnologue posted an excellent explanation of knitting gauge, why it matters, and how to adjust to get the correct gauge. This information applies to crochet as well.

Gauge IS Your Friend.

There, now that you understand gauge, go forth and drown your parents in socks, gloves, and hats. Heap piles of plushies upon your nieces and nephews. Stop your sister's shivering with shawls.

Just don't knit a sweater for your boyfriend.