9.22.2016

Half Double Crochet and hdc Decrease

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Today's mission is to show you how to make a half double crochet stitch, and also, how to make the most basic half double crochet decrease.

Wool Yarn from Knit Picks

First off, when you see the abbreviation "hdc" in a pattern, it means half double crochet. This stitch is sort of half way between a single crochet and a double crochet, both in it's height, and in the way you make it. So, here we go...


As in the photo above, you'll start by wrapping your yarn around your hook. This is what we call a "yarn over", usually abbreviated "yo".


Next, insert your hook under both loops of the next stitch or chain, then it should look something like the photo above.


Then, wrap your yarn around your hook again and pull this through the stitch, by catching it under your hook as you pull your hook through the stitch. I usually turn my hook a little toward the left as I slide it. It catches the yarn well, and slides through the stitch more easily. If I were writing these instructions into a pattern, this part would say "yo, pull up a loop".


In the photo above, the loop closest to the hook is the loop that I just made by pulling my yarn over through my stitch.


Now, yarn over again, and pull this through all 3 loops on your hook. Now, I do this quickly because I am used to it, but you may find that pulling through the first two loops goes smoothly, and then you need to change the direction of your pull slightly to get through the 3rd loop. I tend to push the non-working end of my hook up into the air a little more as I go through that 3rd loop.


Ta-da! All finished.

Felici Self Striping Yarn from Knit Picks

Now, for the decrease stitch. You'll see this one abbreviated like this: hdc2tog. This is short for "half double crochet two stitches together", which means that you are going to turn two stitches into one stitch, or decrease by one stitch. This is helpful when you are doing something besides making squares and rectangles. You use decreases when making hats, or amigurumi (3-D crochet stuffed animals or dolls), or when shaping garments. In the project I'm working on in these photos, I am using decreases to shape a raglan seam in a garment. So, here's how to do it:


Here's how it looks before.


Yarn over (or wrap your yarn around your hook).


Insert your hook under both strands of the next stitch.


Yarn over, and pull that yarn through the stitch, just as you did for the half double crochet.


Now, yarn over again, but don't pull this through the three loops.


Instead, insert your hook into the next stitch.


Yarn over again, and pull this through the stitch.


Now, yarn over one more time...


And pull that yarn over through all five loops! Finished!

I hope this was helpful to you! Please visit me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ravelry, or Pinterest! I love hearing from you! Interested in this project I was working on? It's my latest crochet pattern! Primary Sweater Dress.

Happy stitching!
April

New Chroma Yarn Colors from Knit Picks












9.15.2016

Crochet in the Back Loop

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Have you ever seen a pattern instruct you to crochet in the back loop of a stitch? Sometimes this may be written like "sc blo" or "hdc in BL". There may be other ways that designers notate this, but if you aren't sure what an abbreviation means, check the intro material of the pattern for an abbreviation list, check the back pages of a magazine or book for a list of abbreviations, or contact the designer or publisher if you aren't sure.


Stitching into the back loop only is very simple. Normally, when crocheting into a stitch, you should work under both loops.  Look at the picture above. The last row you see worked (in orange), has several single crochet stitches. The tops of them each look like two little parallel lines. Sort of like an equals sign. Sometimes, they look a little more like a sideways 'v'. To work a typical crochet stitch, insert your crochet hook under both of these strands of yarn.

Craftsy

To work through the back loop only, you will insert your hook only under the strand furthest from you, the strand towards the back of your fabric. Notice that which loop is the front, and which is the back, changes when you turn your fabric. The front loop is the one closest to you when it is time to work the stitch. The back loop is the one furthest from you when it is time to work the stitch.


Looking at the picture above, you can see that I inserted my hook under just the back loop. You can see the front loop still, just under my hook, and my hook only has one strand of yarn over the top of it. 


Once you've inserted your hook, you complete the single crochet stitch as usual: yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through both of the loops on your hook. 

You can see in the picture above, my newly completed single crochet stitch, plus a few others. You might notice that you can still see the unused front loops forming something of a line under my newly-formed stitches. Back-loop-only, or front-loop-only stitches are often used for just this reason, to leave this line on the fabric, to provide texture, or a certain look. 

I hope this has been helpful to you! Please visit me on my Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter! I'd love to see you around!

Happy stitching!
April

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9.08.2016

Book Review: Crochet to Calm

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A month or so ago, I was sent Crochet to Calm by Interweave. I was rather surprised to receive it, as I was not expecting it. It's a really nice book. The projects are on trend, but oh-so-easy. All of these are simple patterns that make nice TV-watching or conversation-having projects. 

I'm not familiar with all the yarns used in this book, but it seemed that most of them are inexpensive yarns that you can find at the hobby stores, so that may appeal to some. Of course, you can always substitute if you're more of a Local Yarn Shop crocheter.

Here are a few favorites:

Honeycomb Blanket, by Adrienne Brigham

Peachy Arm Warmers, by Julie King

Slouchy Slipper Boots, by Lisa Van Klaveren

and Small Crochet Basket, by Desiree Hobson

Not long ago, I went on a sock-knitting binge. I made 2 pairs of socks for myself in quick succession. My four girls all started begging me for handmade socks of their own. Well, one day I started looking through the yarn vault for suitable yarn to begin a pair of socks for Lady Hops-a-lot. She asked what I was doing, and quickly showed me just the yarn she wanted. It was Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable, which is a heavy worsted weight yarn....not your typical sock yarn. This was not what I'd had in mind, but it would be a lot quicker. I thought of the Slouchy Slipper Boots pattern in this book and showed her the picture. She immediately agreed that the pattern would be perfect. Hooray! I began her slipper boots on Monday. By the end of the week I had completed, not one, but THREE sets! Lady Hops-a-lot, Princess, and Baby, all had a set in the color of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable of their choosing. I made these while watching the Olympics. It was a great project to keep my hands busy while spending much more time than usual watching television. Here are the sets I made:




 Aren't they so cute! The pattern was easily memorized and fun! I look forward to trying other patterns from this book as well! I hope you'll get the book and try them too!

Happy stitching,
April

8.12.2016

Roserock Ripple Hat

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This is Roserock Ripple Hat. Maybe you're my biggest fan and you're already be familiar with my Roserock Ripple Scarf and realize that this hat is made to match it. However, maybe you're a new friend and didn't know this. No problem. Years ago, I designed a scarf. It was made in a ripple stitch that has stripes of solid and stripes if mesh. It was beaded. I found the leftovers of the yarn in my yarn closet and decided to design a matching hat.

Interweave Store


The hat is made in the same ripple stitch pattern and is also beaded. It begins with a wide band and is long enough to be a slouchy hat, but you can easily shorten it to make a fitted hat instead.


The pattern is written in sizes 16", 18", and 20" head circumference. That's the size of the hat. You should choose a size 1-6" smaller than your own head circumference because this hat is very stretchy. It uses 2 skeins of Jojoland Melody, a wool fingering weight yarn, and a size F/5/3.75mm crochet hook. I really love the colors of Jojoland Melody, it's really a favorite of mine for that reason.

Color Stress Away with Coling Books at Interweave

If you make this hat, I'd love to see photos! You can share them on Ravelry or on my Facebook page.

Happy Stitching!
April

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7.14.2016

Knot My Hat & Mitts


 A few months ago I had the joy of seeing this new pattern of mine released. This is available from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, a delightful yarn company out of Canada! This hat and fingerless mitts set is made in their 100% Superwash Merino fingering weight. The colorway is called Cross Stitch Sampler. Isn't that a great name?! I love it! It reminds me of being a little girl and watching my mom cross stitch. I'd watch has she's gradually fill in a little section of color, and then another next to it, until at least I could see the beginning of a picture. One thing I LOVE about Ancient Arts is that they offer several yarn bases, but then you can get any of their gorgeous 140+ colorways in any of those yarn bases!


This is a slouch hat with a knot tied in the bottom. You actually begin by crocheting the long tie pieces and then work up to the rest of the hat. you can roll the bottom edge up and tie it if you like that look, or leave it unrolled to leave the hat slouchy in the back. You can also easily add length if you want your hat longer, or leave out some rounds if you want it shorter.


The fingerless mitts also have ties crocheted into them that you tie in a knot to decorate your mitts (and hat). I love this! I am so pleased with how they turned out. I especially like the picture below because I think it does justice to the beautiful colors of this yarn.


The pattern stitch is seed stitch, or what I have also seen called moss stitch. The pattern is a little complex because of the ties that are made, but nothing that an experienced stitcher can't handle. If you are newer to the craft, you may need to invite your crochet buddy over for an evening to help you through that part, but when is that ever a bad thing?!

When you finish your hat and mitts I hope you'll share your photos on Ravelry or on my Facebook page! I love seeing photos of finished projects from my patterns!

Happy stitching!
April


Craftsy

6.02.2016

Book Review: Continuous Crochet

This post contains affiliate links. It helps my bottom line when you click on one and load up your cart, so thanks in advance.

Today I'm here to review a new crochet title for you dear readers. This is Continuous Crochet by designer Kristin Omdahl.

(C) Interweave Press
Available from Interweave Store for $22.99
The lovely thing about all of the projects in this book is that there is very little finishing involved. From Kristin's introduction:

"This collection is dedicated to a variety of ways in which one can crochet designs and shapes and joining, all without cutting the yarn. I love sewing as much as the next person, but not when crocheting. So in this collection, I've placed considerable emphasis on reducing the number of ends to weave in, while pushing the envelope on what can be done within the parameters of garment design."


Color Stress Away with Coling Books at Interweave 

Designer Kristin Omdahl and Interweave Press are a wonderful team and you can feel confident that you'll find well-written patterns in this book. There are stitch diagrams for every project, schematics for all the garments, and other diagrams and graphics where needed for explanation. The back contains a key to all the abbreviations and explanations, and graphics of any special techniques used.

Now let's get to the fun part! I am happy to share my three favorite projects in the book:

Twilight Skies Cardigan
 This is a lovely cardigan. I think it would look especially nice to work the 5 sided motifs in a separate color from the body so that they would really stand out. The motifs are all fastened off at the end of the motif, but they are joined together as-you-go to form the yoke, then the body continues off the bottom of those. I really love the yoke, don't you?!

Alfresco by the Lake Cape
 I really like the versatility of this cape! You can wear it with a belt or without. I think it could be great over a cami in warmer weather, or it can be a nice outer wear piece in cooler weather. The pattern doesn't look complicated, so I'm hoping this could make a nice chatting-with-friends pattern.

Tigress Pullover
The construction of this top is really interesting. It is made with Bruges lace, which if you've never tried, is pretty neat. The Bruges lace spirals around the body and is all joined as-you-go. I really think I may have to try this! Not only is this a neat project to make, it is really pretty! I like the wide waist and cuffs as well. They look ribbed, but they aren't. They are also joined as-you-go.

Interweave Store

I have the opportunity to give away one copy of this book to a reader in the US, Canada, or UK! The book is provided by the publisher, Interweave/F+W, so, many thanks for their generosity! Please leave a comment here for a chance to win, or share the link to the blog post in Twitter or Facebook. In order for Twitter entries to count you'll have to tag me, or I won't see it. My handle is @BananaMoonStdio (notice the missing 'u' in Studio). For a Facebook entry to count, you'll have to share the post from my Facebook page and make your share public, again, so that I can see it. I'll choose a winner in one week and announce it here!

Happy stitching!
April

5.10.2016

Book Review: Vintage Modern Crochet

This post contains affiliate links. It helps my bottom line when you click on one and load up your cart, so thanks in advance!

(C) Interweave/F+W

Today I'm here to review a new crochet book for you! This is Vintage Modern Crochet by Robyn Chachula.

I love this book! The idea of this book is to take vintage crochet techniques and show them off in ways that are sure to appeal to modern stitchers. There are so many patterns in here that I would love to make for myself! Let's start by showing off my favorites!

(C) Interweave/F+W
Fleur Swing Top
Designed by Megan Granholm
I love this top! It is made in Cascade Heritage Silk. A sweater made in dreamy soft merino and silk sock yarn?! Yes please! That just sounds so delightful. I love the different stitch pattern in the yoke vs. the body. This is not a complicated pattern, but it's just simply beautiful. The button detail is a really neat idea that adds so much character to it. This is Tunisian crochet. I've never made anything this large in Tunisian, so this interests me because it's different than other things I've made.

Color Stress Away with Coling Books at Interweave

(C) Interweave/F+W
Leopold Pullover
Designed by Robyn Chachula
This top is classic Robyn Chachula. She's designed a lot of motif tops that are really fabulous! They make for really beautiful lacy tops! What's interesting about this one is that the motifs are joined using Bruges lace techniques. I've done a little with Bruges lace in my Scamp Bandana, but I've barely tapped the surface of the incredible things that Bruges lace can do, and this book contains four patterns that will allow you to really dive into the awesomeness that it produces!

(C) Interweave/F+W
Temperance Jewelry
Designed by Robyn Chachula
I'm in love with this jewelry set! It reminds me of peacock feathers, which are so colorful and exotic! I really like the color combinations! I've never made crochet jewelry either, so this is another project that would be something new for me.

Interweave Store


(C) Interweave/F+W
Priya Cowl
Designed by Robyn Chachula
What draws me to this project is the color combination, the edging, and the buttons. I have a lot of cowls, scarves, and shrugs, but none quite like this one. This is also a Tunisian project that uses several different stitch patterns, so it's a great project to explore what Tunisian crochet can do.

So, besides great projects (so many more great ones in addition to these!) what can you expect from this book? Every project has at least some stitch diagrams. All the garments contain schematics. There are lots of diagrams included, everywhere you'd want them. It comes from stellar designers, and a great publisher and book team! You can be assured of quality patterns. As you may have noticed from the patterns that I featured above, Robyn isn't the only designer whose work is in the this book, but she had a hand in choosing all the patterns. The other designers included in the book are top notch as well!

I have the very fun opportunity to offer a free book to a lucky reader (in the USA, Canada, or UK only), courtesy of the publisher, Interweave/F+W. You can comment here, or on my Facebook page, or on Twitter (@BananaMoonStdio). Tell me which project in the book is your favorite, and you'll be entered in the drawing! I'll announce the winner in one week, so be sure to check back!

Happy stitching!
April