Front-Post and Back-Post Double Crochet Stitches

Now that we have covered the foundation stitches, single crochet, half-double, double, and triple crochet stitches, we can move into more complex stitches that build on these stitches.

Front-post and back-post crochet stitches are great for adding texture to a project. The stitches make the project thicker, but not overwhelmingly thick, because the stitches are kind of squishy.

In this example I am going to create front- and back-post double crochet stitches. You can front- and back-post on all stitches, where you have to yarn-over before inserting the hook into the stitch of the previous row. In other words, you cannot front- or back-post with single crochets, chains, slip stitches or any variants similar to these.

I have chained three, to create the first double crochet, then double crocheted in two stitches. At this point, I am going to begin a front-post double crochet. The difference between a front-post and a back-post stitch is only what side of the project the stitch is made on. Front-post stitches are made on the side of the project that faces you while you are crocheting and back-post stitches on the side of the project facing away from you.

With a traditional double crochet, we create the stitch in the heart at the top of the stitch of the previous row, pulling through the front-loop, the back-loop or both loops. Do not confuse the loops with the posts.

To create a front-post stitch we are going to crochet around the stitch of the previous row, this means we are going to insert the hook underneath the stitch and pull the yarn around the stitch. Once you have the yarn looped around the stitch, you make the double crochet as you normally would.

For this project, I chained (ch) three, created two double crochet (dc) stitches, then I created two front-post double crochet stitches (fpdc), 2dc, 2fpdc, 2dc, 2fpdc, 3dc.

To keep the stitches on the same side of the project, you will need to alternate between front-post and back-post stitches. For the pattern, this means that each fpdc will need to be changed to a back-post double crochet (bpdc).

To create a back-post double crochet you will need to insert your hook around the stitch like you did for the front -post, but now you should approach the project from the side of the project facing away from you. Again, how you start this stitch is what makes it unique, otherwise you create the double crochet as normal.

Continuing this pattern will create a project with two very distinct looking sides. The one side of the project will have the raised post-crochets. On the other side you can see where the yarn is wrapped around the stitches. I love the variety of looks that this simple stitch can create. I will show some of them to you in my next post.

Are you a fan of front-post and back-post stitches? What is your favorite project you have made using them? Have any other tips or tricks for explaining front- and back-post stitches? Let’s Talk!

Changing Colors and Weaving-in Ends

changing colors

Most yarns are a singular color, to add another color into a project you will need to change yarn. After creating however many rows of whatever color you want, and you have decided to change colors, work your project to the last stitch of the row.

In this example I have created double crochet stitches. Before yarning over and pulling through the last two loops on the hook, stop. Take your yarn and cut a 4- to 6-inch tail. Leave the tail for now.

Now, it is time to add the next color. Make a tail between 4 and 6 inches, then grab the yarn with the crochet hook and pull the yarn through the final two loops on the hook of the primary color. Chain the appropriate number of chains for the stitch you are going to make and crochet down the row.

You can foresee, the more times you change colors, the more tails you will have to weave in. Some people weave-in ends as they go, I try to be one of these people, but I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I get to the end of the project and have so very many ends to weave-in, ugh.

 

weaving in ends

Weaving in ends is my least favorite thing about crochet. I think it may be every crochet makers least favorite part of crochet. In the blanket for my mom, I changed colors a lot, eight times in fact. And, I didn’t understand how to properly weave-in ends, so on top of having kindergarten lines along the sides of the project, I have little knots and frayed yarn all over the project.

So, what do you need to weave-in ends? A needle, of course. When I first started I only saw plastic yarn needles at the store and I broke them, ALL THE TIME. Then one day I was yarn shopping and saw metal yarn needles and weaving in ends was made slightly better. I would recommend you buy the metal yarn needles. I bought two sizes, the smaller one is better for smaller size yarns, and the larger one is better for chunkier yarns.

Feed the yarn through the yarn needle, then feed the yarn through the project, about half the length of the tail.

At the half-way point of the tail, you will need to feed the yarn back through the project.

When creating stitches, we yarn-over and pull through loops on the hook. In the project then, there are areas of two loops close together, this is the area where you want to weave- in ends.

To anchor the yarn appropriately, you should feed the yarn under one of the loops and then feed it over the first loop and under the second loop. Like I said, this is ideal. If you cannot find the loops or you don’t care to find the loops, it won’t be the end of the world. Weaving-in ends is about feeding the tails through the project in a way that hides the tail most effectively, but also it is about ensuring that your project doesn’t fall apart. It is so important, just really not any fun.

Do you have a secret way to make weaving in ends any better? Do you have a song suggestion that would make it better? How often do you change colors in your projects? Do you have techniques for changing colors that I didn’ discuss here? Let’s talk!

Foundation Stitches: Half-Double, Double and Triple Crochet

While working on that incredibly large blanket for my mother, I got really good at single crochet stitches, and got really bored with single crochet stitches. I have not completed another project of the same magnitude with a just one kind of stitch; when I make blankets now, I make them smaller and tend to use a variety of stitches.

I cannot understate just how important single, half-double, double and triple crochet stitches are. You will want to take the time to practice these stitches, make these stitches until all your stitches look the same. I promise it is worth it.

When I described how to make single crochet stitches, I explained that stitches can be made in the front-loop, in the back-loop, or through both loops. This is also true for the stitches that I will show you today. However, now and in future tutorials, I will go through both loops, this is the more traditional way to make projects.

Half-double crochet stitches

 

 

In these photos I created a row of single crochet stitches and built the half-double, double and triple crochet stitches onto that row.

 

When making half-double crochets you start with a chain, of one or two stitches. Most instructions will tell you to start with two chains, I like to start with a chain of one. Because I’m different.

 

 

 

When you turn your project, you will need to decide which stitch on the row below you want to crochet into. It is most often recommended that you begin working into the second stitch of the first row. The chains created serve as the first stitch in the row. You can choose to begin working in the first stitch in the row, I do, this is why I only chain one (for half-double crochet stitches).

 

 

 

Unlike with a single crochet, to make a half-double (and double) crochet you will need to yarn-over (once) before you insert your hook under both loops. Once your hook is under both loops, you will need to yarn-over and pull the yarn up, you will now have three (3) loops on your hook.  To finish the half-double crochet, you will yarn-over and then pull through all three loops on the hook.  Pulling through all three loops will leave you with one loop on your hook, and a completed half-double crochet stitch.  You will repeat this process all the way down the row.

 

 

double crochet stitches

When making double crochet stiches you start with a chain, of two or three chains. Most instructions will tell you to start with three chains. Starting with two will make your edges tighter, which may or may not be something you like. I mentioned that double crochet stitches start the same way as half-double crochet stitches.

 

You will need to yarn-over and insert your hook under both loops of the stitch in the row below. As I explained with the half-double crochet, you can begin your row in the first stitch of the row below or the second. With double crochet stitches, unlike half-double crochet stitches, I start my double crochet in the second stitch of the row below. I count the three chains at the beginning of the row as the first double crochet of the row. There is an active conversation about which is the “right” place to start your row and whether you should count the chains as a stitch. I don’t think that everyone will ever agree, so you get to decide. Just make sure that you keep it consistent throughout your project and count your stitches.

Then you will need to yarn-over and pull-up, you will now have three loops on the hook, just as with the half-double crochet, but here is where the stitches differ.

When you yarn-over to pull through the loops, you will only pull through the first two loops on the hook. This will leave you with two loops on the hook. You will yarn-over and pull through the remaining two loops on the hook. You have just completed a double crochet stitch. Now repeat.

Ch 3, y-o, insert hook, y-o, pull-up, y-o, pull through two, y-o, pull through two.

When you get to the end of the row you will need to make your last stitch in the top chain of your turning chain. Double crochet, chain three, turn and begin your next row.

 

 

triple crochet stitches

 

Triple crochet, also referred to as treble crochet, starts with three or four chains. When you start half-double and double crochet stitch, you begin by yarning over once, but with triple crochet stitches, you will yarn-over twice.

You will insert your hook into the second stitch of the row below, just like with the double crochet stitches.

 

 

Then you will yarn-over and pull-up, this will leave you with four loops on your hook. You will yarn-over and pull through two loops, three loops left on hook. You will yarn-over and pull through two loops, two loops left on hook. Yarn-over and pull through the final two loops.

Now you have created a triple crochet. Repeat across the row.

Chain four, insert hook, yarn-over, pull-up, yarn-over, pull through two, yarn-over, pull through two, yarn-over, pull through two.

Now you have learned now to make the four foundation stitches: single, half-double, double and triple crochet stitches. Do you have techniques for creating these stitches that I didn’t mention? Have questions still about how to make these stitches? Let’s talk!

 

 

 

Foundation Stitches: The Single Crochet Stitch

The first crochet project I ever started was a blanket for my mother’s birthday. A blanket as a first project is not what I would recommend, start smaller. If you do decide to make a blanket as your first project, I would not make it in a single crochet stitch, like I did. Single crochet is one of the foundation stitches in crochet. When created it makes a small knot, that sometimes looks like a small flower.

After creating a traditional chain you can build stitches onto the chain. If you are using a pattern it might read chain (ch) 26, turn, single crochet (sc) 25 stitches. You will see that you chained 26, but you will end up with only 25 single crochet stitches, why is this? Well, if you tried to crochet into the last chain that you may just cause yourself to undo the final chain.

 

However, the more traditional answer is that the final chain becomes the “step” up to the next row. In crochet this chain is called the turning chain (t-ch). So, we will begin creating our first single crochet in the second to last chain.

 

The chains, as you can see, look like a sideways zero, or an eyeball, to me they have always looked like hearts. I will use the heart description. To begin the single crochet, insert your hook into the middle of the heart and push the top side of the heart over the crochet hook. You can see that you will have two loops on your hook.

Next, you are going to yarn-over (yo), take your crochet hook, place it under the yarn and loop the yarn over the hook, of the crochet hook.

 

Now you will pull the yarn through both loops on the hook.

That is how you create a single crochet. You will repeat this across the chain. Insert hook into the middle of the heart, push one loop of the chain over the hook. There will be two loops on the hook. Yarn-over and pull the yarn through the two loops on the hook.

 

After you have completed a series of single crochet stitches across the chain, it will be time to turn the project again. Flat projects must be turned at the end of each row because it is very difficult to crochet backward across the row, turning the project makes it easy to create the next row.

As I was explaining previously, at the end of each row we need to create a step up to begin the next row, in other words, we need to make one chain at the end of the row. When we turn to make our second row of single crochet we have three ways we can create the row.  Along the top of our single crochet you can see the hearts, like the hearts of the chain, these hearts will appear on the top of all crochet stitches.

 

 

When you are crocheting, these are referred to as front-loop, back-loop and both loops. The back-loop is the loop that is nearest the body when crocheting, the front-loop the other. When you crochet you can crochet through just the front-loop, just the back-loop, alternate between front and back-loops, or crochet through both loops.

Crocheting through the front or back-loops will create stripes across the project. When you alternate between crocheting in the back-loop and the front-loop the stripes will stay on one side of the project, the side with the stripes can be referred to as the right side (RS) and the back, without stripes can be referred to as the wrong side (WS).

 

If you crochet in only the back-loop or only the front-loop then the stripes will appear on both sides of the project, on the RS and the WS. You can see that the stripes created by alternating loops or by only crocheting in one loop are different. I prefer the stripes when they appear on both sides, i.e. when I crochet in the back-loop only.

The final way to create single crochet is by crocheting through both loops. Crocheting through both loops with not create any stripes, because there will not be one loop left, which is how the stripes are made. Crocheting through both loops creates a tighter project.

Now you know how to create a single crochet, one of the foundation stitches in crochet.

Do you have other advice on how to create single crochet? Do you have a favorite project made in single crochet? Still have questions about single crochet you need answered? Let’s talk!

 

 

“Chain, Chain, Chain”

There is a scene from a movie or television show, where someone wishes their life was a musical, but I don’t remember exactly where the scene is from. In musicals, people suddenly break out in song and dance. I wish for my life to be like a musical ALL THE TIME, so, I try my best to fill it with song and dance. In my life I don’t have choreographed dance scenes, which is a shame, but I do break out into song. Occasionally there is someone around to join in song with me, but mostly I am just singing by myself and to myself. While I crochet I sing to myself, a lot.

The songs I sing tend to reflect the part of the project that I am at, or the person that I am making a project for. When I start any project, I sing Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” It is not hard to understand why I would sing this,  every project’s foundation is some kind of chain.

Chaining is a necessary, but not particularly fun, part of a crochet project; Aretha makes the experience better. As I explain how to create a traditional chain, and as you make chains in the future, I hope Aretha makes the experience more joyful for you.

 

 

I started my crochet journey with Vanna’s Choice Yarns. It is a good yarn to start with, not that I knew this at the time. Vanna’s Choice Yarn is a medium size yarn. Medium yarns are the most common size of yarn, the size is very easy to work with and the yarn can make a variety of projects. When you buy most yarn, you can find the yarn size on the label. You will also find other important information on the label, like the recommended hook size. For this explanation I will use the recommended hook size, a J/10, 6.00MM hook, I will use a Boye Hook.

 

To begin all projects, you must start with a slip knot. To begin a slip knot, you make a pretzel with your yarn. How do you do this? Begin my making a circle with your yarn. The loose end of your yarn should be on the right-hand side of the circle, the yarn connected to the ball of yarn on the left. The loose end of your yarn should be between 4 and 6 inches long.

 

Next, take the loose end of the yarn and create the pretzel, like I showed in A, B, Crochet: Learning to Crochet is like Learning to Write.

 

The loose end of the yarn will create the pretzel fold on the right of the pretzel. The right side pretzel fold is this part of the yarn that becomes the slip knot. You will need to feed the yarn through the circle/pretzel enough to create a loop, but not so far that you feed the loose end through. This loop is where you will place your crochet hook.

 

To tighten the loop on the hook you will need to take the loose end of your yarn and move it from the right to the left and pull both the loose yarn and the yarn connected to the ball of yarn. Pull the slip knot tight enough for the stitch to stay on your hook, but it needs to remain loose enough to be able to work a chain into.

 

A good way to gauge that your slip knot is loose enough is that you can pinch the bottom of the slip knot between your thumb and a finger. You will need to keep the bottom of the slip knot pinched to be able to create your first chain. As a right-handed crocheter I hold my hook in my right hand and wrap my yarn around my left hand.

 

To create a chain, you will need to “yarn-over” and then “pull-up a loop”. To yarn-over, this means that you move your crochet hook under the yarn and grab the yarn with the hook. Then you will need to pull the yarn on the loop through the stitch on the hook. You will repeat this process of creating a chain, yarn-over, pull-up, for as many times as you need chains. Traditionally, as you create chains, you do not count the slip knot as a chain. However, the pattern you are using may tell you to count the slip knot as a chain if it does make sure to count it.

As I have explained previously, I suggest that you practice making chains over and over again until your chains are pretty much perfect.  This means that your chains are all the same size, they can be tight or loose, just so long as they are consistent. Now, go “Chain, Chain, Chain” away!

 

Are you a fan of Aretha? What is your favorite Aretha song? Do you like to sing to yourself? Do you walk around thinking about choreographed dance numbers that would fit into moments of your life? Are you learning to make chains? Do you have some advice that I didn’t include? Let’s talk!

Crochet Guild of America

As I discussed in my last blog post, I just found out there is a National Crochet Month and there is a Crochet Guild of America. I am not surprised that I just learned this, I have only this last year committed to joining the larger crochet community. I have been enjoying every day since I decided to take that leap. It has lead to me to learn so many things I didn’t even know that I wanted to learn. One of the 25 things, from the Red Heart- Heart Strings Blog, to do during National Crochet Month, is join the Crochet Guild of America.

So, I thought I would look into it. According to the website, www.crochet.org, “As is the only national organization dedicated to the craft of crochet, CGOA provides the opportunity for members to learn more about crochet, be inspired by innovative designs, and connect with other passionate crocheters.”

Good first pitch. But how did the CGOA come to be? Gwen Blakley Kinsler wanted to attend a crochet only conference, there was not one in existence, so she decided to create one. From 1991 to 1994, Gwen worked diligently, to bring about the The Chain Link crochet conference, “Ancient Roots, New Beginnings,” which took place in Chicago, Illinois in August of 1994. At the second conference, in 1995, attendees voted to establish the CGOA. The CGOA was earned its 501(c)(3) status in October of 1995. CGOA was “run and managed by volunteers during its first 10 years”, and received day-to-day business support from the Craft Yarn Council “(1997-2002); Reach Unlimited (2002-2003); Offinger Management Company (2003-2017); and now Celtic Chicago (2017). Today, CGOA is still the ONLY organization exclusively for crocheters.”

What a great way to start an organization, a conference. So, when is the conference this year? July 25-28 in Portland, Oregon. Registration will open Mid-April. This is really close to home, only a nine-hour drive. I couldn’t seem to find the price to attend the conference online, maybe that won’t be up until Mid-April.

But I probably will receive a discount on the conference ticket price if I become a member of CGOA. Membership. Member ship for an individual is $35.00 for individuals in the U.S. and the benefits of membership are many.

There are also CGOA chapters that CGOA members can join, but, of course, there is not one in Reno. And, I don’t have the capacity to start one right now, so, I will stick with the online crochet community for now.

I am really excited by the CGOA, I am absolutely going to become a member.

Are you a member of the CGOA? Have you attended the Chain Link Crochet Conference? Are you a member of an organization for your hobby or business? What has your experience been with membership? Have you attended an industry conference? Let’s talk!

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Another reason to love March: It’s National Crochet Month!

Apparently, March is National Crochet Month. ). I found this out while reading the Red Heart, Heart Strings Blog, which discusses 25 ways to celebrate National Crochet Month.  I am going to add all 25 items on their list to my crochet to-do. According to the article, “In 1994, the Craft & Hobby Association named March as National Craft Month, celebrating the creativity of all crafting. Six years later, the Crochet Guild of America named it National Crochet Month.” There is a Crochet Guild of America? Yes, the internet confirmed it. I am going to look into membership.

I have always found month long celebrations an interesting thing. There are only twelve months in a year, but infinitely more causes than twelve worth recognizing. Who decides which causes have to share? Some things are easy to see why then ended up in a month, like Irish-American Heritage Month occurring in March because of St. Patrick’s Day. (Btw… St. Patrick’s Day is my birthday!)

March is Women’s History Month because International Women’s Day is March 8th. Why is International Women’s Day March 8th? According to the United Nations International Women’s Day History of the Day “The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.” Then in 1917, “Against the backdrop of the war, women in Russia again chose to protest and strike for “Bread and Peace” on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.” Historical moments in suffrage movements around the world occurred in March. But it wasn’t until 1975, “During International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March.” So it makes sense to me that other women focused month long celebrations would happen in March. National Breast Implant Awareness Month and International Black Women In Jazz & The Arts Month, occur in March.

But, why is March National Craft Month and National Crochet month? I couldn’t find an answer for why March is National Craft Month. There is also no good reason why March is National Crochet Month, except for the fact that March is National Craft Month. There is some strong linkage between women and crochet and there is a specific kind of crochet referred to as Irish Lace. So, I could make something up about National Crochet Month happening in March because it is also Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month, but I won’t. We will just have to accept that March is National Craft Month and National Crochet Month just because it is. After all, March is Optimism Month, we should be optimistic even though we didn’t find a satisfactory answer.

I was already a huge fan of March, it holds my birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, reminds everyone how awesome women are and, now I know, it celebrates my favorite past-time. March for the win. Now, I am off to drink lots of coffee and disobey the recommendation given this March during National Caffeine Awareness Month.

Do you have a favorite month? Celebrate a birthday recently? have fun stories from St. Patrick’s Day? Are you excited to learn that March is National Crochet Month? Let’s Talk!

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“Jolly Holiday”

Crochet is a world with a language all its own, but if you practice you can learn the language. When I was discussing the value of stitch markers I mentioned that a stitch markers favorite movie is Mary Poppins. Why is this you might ask? Well, I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of movies where they sing, dance and, especially, where they make up words. I am projecting these loves onto stitch markers. In other words, I love Mary Poppins. The Off-Broadway Mary Poppins came to my hometown a few years ago and I was so sad that I could not afford to go. I will see Mary Poppins live one day. #goals #bucketlist And, you best believe that I am anxiously awaiting Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. I may even get brave enough to go watch a movie on it’s release date, which is Christmas of this year (2018).

So, what does Mary Poppins have to do with crochet? If you are a true fan of Mary you might think of her scarf, but that is a no go (it is knit). Although, there are some crochet makers who have made imitation patterns, I confess I have not tried any of them. What is it then? The songs of course, or rather the parody I am about to introduce to you. All Mary Poppins songs are awesome, like A Spoonful of Sugar, Pavement Artist (Chim Chim Cheree), Jolly Holiday, Super‐cali‐fragil‐istic‐expi‐ali‐docious, Stay Awake and Step in Time, to name a few. I think of Mary Poppins when I crochet because there are so many applicable lessons in the songs from the movie. I like to think of what having a Mary Poppins to help me through my crochet journey would be like. I think it would sound something like this:

In every crochet project that must be done,
There is an element learning,
You find that thing and snap!
The project becomes a game.

And every crochet project that you create,
Each stitch becomes more innate,
A double crochet, a chain, the excitement is easy to maintain.

A spool full of yarn makes the person calm down,
The person calm down-down,
The person calm down,
Just a spool full of yarn helps the person calm down,
In the most creative way.

A parent wanting to clean the home,
Has very little time alone,
While ferrying the children around town,
The parent loves the children well,
But wants to crochet for a spell,
And knows that crochet will make a house a home.

A spool full of yarn makes the person calm down,
The person calm down-down,
The person calm down,
Just a spool full of yarn helps the person calm down,
In the most creative way.

The person looking for patterns,
From the internet to the yarn store,
Never tires of searching for the perfect one,
Because they learn a little bit,
From every project they don’t quit,
And so,
They find,
Crochet brings them peace of mind.

Ya-a-a-a-a-a-rn, Ya-a-a-a-arn!

A spool full of yarn makes the person calm down,
The person calm down-down,
The person calm down,
Just a spool full of yarn helps the person calm down,
In the most creative way.

If you didn’t figure it out I created this crochet parody from A Spoon Full of Sugar. That is what I think a crochet Mary Poppins would sound like. Do you imagine having a Mary Poppins/god-mother like person helping you along your crochet journey? Are you weird enough to come up with song parodies that they might sing to you? Are you looking forward to the Mary Poppins remake with Emily Blunt? Tell me about it!

Feel like you need some more Mary Poppins right now? Me too.

Find this video on Youtube.

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X Marks the Spot: Using Stitch Markers while Crocheting

One reason crochet is wonderful is because of its portability, you can crochet “Whenever, Wherever”. Grab a crochet hook and yarn, and you can create crochet goodies. But, there are other tools in the crochet world that will make your crochet experience better. I introduced you to the first crochet accessory, stitch markers, while discussing the importance of counting while crocheting. However, in that post I did not do justice to the stitch marker, I told you its first name, but nothing else. This post, this is a proper first date with a stitch marker, by the end you will know its last name, where it works and its favorite movie.

I will start off by saying this, you are not required to use stitch markers, crochet is cool with that, keep living dangerously. I like to live a little dangerously. I will admit I don’t use stitch markers as often as I should, but I am getting better about using them more regularly. I know for a long time I didn’t use stitch markers because I simply forgot to bring them with me around town. Now, I have this tea box that I keep with my crochet stuff that makes it easy to bring stitch markers around town with me. Another reason that I didn’t use stitch markers is that I didn’t know great they are. And, stitch markers are awesome.

So, let’s talk about what a stitch marker is. It is anything that you use to mark a place in your crochet project. There are bulk manufactured stitch markers you can buy from yarn stores and there are handmade stitch markers that you can buy from physical and online craft marketplaces. Then there are the less conventional stitch markers, like paperclips, earrings, and scrap pieces of yarn. I have been in need of a stitch marker before and used a bread tie. Crochet doesn’t care how fancy you are. The most important thing about the stitch marker, is that you can easily remove whatever you decide to use as a stitch marker from your project. This means that you cannot use anything that is a complete circle. If you go to the yarn store and see circular stitch markers DO NOT buy these, they are for knitters. Now that you have a use for all of the bread ties that you have been hoarding in your kitchen drawers, we will review all the reasons why stitch markers are awesome.

Awesome at Helping You Count Stitches

Using stitch markers can help you count as you crochet.

Awesome at Calling Out Places in the Pattern

Some patterns will include instructions to “place a marker”. This may be because the area in the pattern will be difficult to see when you come back around to it, or the yarn the pattern requires does not have good stitch definition. But, if the pattern calls for a stitch marker, I would advise following the recommendation. The person who wrote the pattern is the person most familiar with that pattern, if they say to use a stitch marker, I trust them and I use one.

Awesome for Pattern Repeats

Some projects have patterns that repeat. Think about trying to remember the following pattern: 1, 12, 2, 12, 3, 12, 4, 12, 5, 12, 6, 12, 7, 12, 8, 12, 9, 12, 10, 12, 11, 12, 12, 12; and repeating it over and over again. Which 12 are you on?  Which 12 in your pattern are you on if you have to repeat this pattern 15 times? If you mark the 1 at the beginning of the pattern and/or the 12 at the end of the pattern, it will be much easier to start your count over. Using the stitch marker means that you only have to count 24 stitches, and not up to 360 stitches, to know where you are at in your pattern repeat.

Awesome for Helping You Seeing Where You Were and Where You Are Going

One of the most common places to put a stitch marker is the beginning/end of a round. Think about laying bricks in a circle to create a tower. On the second or third row you might still remember which brick you laid down first, but by the 20th row will you remember which brick you laid first? A stitch marker makes it very easy to see where the beginning/ending of your round is. Using a stitch marker in this fashion is especially important if your pattern does not ask that you join the round with a slip stitch, i.e. if it does not ask you to create an ending to your circle. If the pattern wants you to crochet in a continuous row/round (not join) then the stitch marker will help you keep track of the number of stitches you have made/need to make. You can use a stitch marker while working in the round if your pattern calls for you to join, but I tend not to. I can clearly see the beginning of my rounds, but if you are having a hard time seeing the beginning of your round, or if you just prefer to not have to question where you are in your round, the stitch marker will highlight this for you and make your life easier.

Awesome for Keeping Count of Rows/Rounds

You can place stitch markers on each row of a flat project or each circle of a round project (row/round) or at a certain number rows/rounds to help you keep track of which row/round you are on in your project. There are other tools you can use to keep track of rows/rounds, but stitch markers are an easy and obvious way to do this.

Awesome for Attaching Pieces

Stitch markers can be used to call out the places in a project that need to be stitched together and can be used to hold pieces together while seaming. Using the stitch markers, you can count the number of stitches in your pattern, place stitch markers at the same intervals, ensure that your stitches line up evenly and your seams are perfect.

Awesome to Keep Your Project from Unraveling

I carry my crochet all around town, and the country and to other countries, my crochet goes everywhere with me. For many years, I would throw my crochet into a bag and when I would take it out to start working again I sometimes had lost a whole row/round of work, so frustrating. But, placing a stitch marker through the last loop that you made prevents the project from unraveling.

 

Stitch markers are awesome! But, there is one part of this date that we didn’t get to, what is a stitch markers favorite movie? Mary Poppins. Check back on Thursday for my next blog post and I will explain why!

What kind of stitch marker do you like to use? Do you have a unique way to use a stitch marker while crocheting? I would love to hear about your stitch marker stories.

Meme Credit

Count von Count

I wish I knew why I ultimately decided I had to make a blanket for my mother, and why it had to be a blanket for a king size bed. Why couldn’t I just have made a throw? An Afghan? Why wasn’t I satisfied with a scarf? Why? It is probably because I always feel I need to swim the deep end. I wouldn’t recommend learning to crochet the hard way, like I did. If you are going to learn how to crochet, start small. Make a dish cloth, coasters, a beanie, don’t make a huge blanket. But, no matter what you make as your first, or even fifteenth project, there are some important things that you should do as a beginning crochet maker. As I mentioned previously, it is essential that you practice your stitches. What comes after that?

Embracing crochet specific arithmomania. What is arithmomania? It is a disorder which involves the obsessive counting of surrounding objects. My favorite arithmomaniac, Count von Count from Sesame Street. If you need some inspiration from the Count you can follow him on Twitter.

I know that you may not think that counting is such an essential part of crochet, but trust that it is. Here is why. Let’s do the math to figure out the number of stitches that went into the three-year blanket for my mom. My goal was to make each row 300 stitches wide. I mentioned previously that I picked up a Vanna’s Choice yarn in cranberry, dusty rose, and dusty green, but then I also bought navy, chocolate, dusty purple, pale grey, and beige; eight colors total. I don’t think that I mentioned this before, but I decided to make the blanket for my mom for her 45th birthday, so I decided that there should be 45 rows of each color.

45 rows multiplied by 8 colors is 360 rows total, multiplied by 300 stitches per row is 108,000 stitches.

Fortunately, you don’t have to keep counting up to 108,000, but you need to count the stitches in each row. I don’t know about you, but I don’t regularly count to 300, and when I have occasion to, I often miscount or lose my place. I am not Count von Count, I need some assistance, when crocheting this assistance comes in the form of stitch markers. When crocheting you must count, I cannot stress this enough. Not keeping track of stitch counts can leave you with holes in your project, or more egregious, will make the sides of your project look like a kindergartner tried to draw a straight line with their eyes closed, using their non-dominant hand. So not pretty. Use the stitch markers to help keep track of stitches using easy to remember multiples, i.e. place stitch markers every 20, 40, 50 stitches or as many stitches along the project as you feel is appropriate. I did not do this. As I was making this blanket I could see that the sides were not straight, but I didn’t know why. Now, I know that one of the biggest reasons for this was not counting my stitches.

 

Working on your first project? Just finished a project? Count von Count knows how you feel.

Are you a fan of the Count? What techniques do you use to help you keep track of your stitches while you crochet? Let’s talk!

Video from the Youtube Channel of Sesame Street.