See it. Try it. LOVE it! – If at first you don’t succeed…

All of us here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office have been eager to learn some new skills as we See it. Try it. LOVE it!, and we finally had a chance to sit down and test the waters.

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After picking our projects and yarn, we planned a special “yarn time” so we could help each other as we learned.

See Try Love - working on 1 inch
Testing the waters of our new crafting endeavors

This yarn time was not nearly as chatty as usual because we were all concentrating on holding our tools and creating each stitch. We made a tiny bit of progress on our projects, and when we got a bit more comfortable we began chatting about the challenges we were experiencing. Maybe I should just admit it – that’s a nice way of saying we were whining! 🙂

Autumn Entrelac
Jen’s first few base triangles

Jen, everyone’s knitting and crochet lifeline, is making the Autumn Entrelac Shawl. She had a hard time figuring out where to put the hook for the Tunisian crochet M1. With knitting, there are distinct places to insert the needle when creating new stitches. However, in Tunisian crochet she found that as long as she inserted her hook somewhat close to the space (you could go under two strands, only under one, or even in the hole between two stitches), the pattern seemed to work out fine. She found the Tunisian stitches easy enough to create, but she is wondering about her tension and choice of hook. She may try to go down a hook size, but this might just be her perfectionism acting up again.

Kathy, a first-time knitter (and crochet-aholic) making the Palisades Scarf, mentioned that she was having trouble remembering which way to insert her needle and wrap her yarn as she knit and purled. We tried sharing ways to help her remember, but we’d love to hear any hints you have too!

Danielle, our new crocheter making the Charcoal Neckwarmer, said that she has trouble knowing where to insert her hook. She’s used to knitting and the neatly ordered line of stitches on the needle telling you exactly where your next one should be.

I’m new to Tunisian crochet, and I’m making the Ocean Breeze Placemats and Coasters. I started with the tweedy coaster which has a color change on every left side, and I had trouble with the last stitch of my forward pass. It’s pretty easy to miss, and this caused me to lose stitches a couple of times.

Even though we all struggled a bit, we had fun challenging ourselves and trying something new. We have a bit more confidence now, and we’re going to keep plugging along. I’ll keep you posted as we get a little further into our projects.

See it, Try it 3
We made some progress!

Watching us all fumble with our needles, hooks, and yarn reminded me of my first crocheting experience. The awkward feeling of the hook in my hand and the super tight stitches I created made it seem like I’d never get the hang of it. However, not long after that I was obsessively crocheting dozens of granny squares for no reason at all! With that, I’ll leave you with some advice from Adventure Time’s Jake the Dog.

Jake the dog advice

What challenges did you experience when you first learned to knit or crochet? Visit us on Facebook and tell us how you overcame them!

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One Hour Cowl Crochet Along – This stitch will steal your heart!

I started my One Hour Cowl, featured in our special Crochet More Issue, last week, and I’ve already made a fair amount of progress! Even though I’m in lazy crafting mode (as opposed to feverish, obsessive crafting mode) as I enjoy the last few weeks of summer, this project is flying off my hook.

One Hour Cowl 2
Savoring the summer with some outdoor crafting

This cushy yarn is getting me excited for fall weather, but I decided to take my crocheting outside on one warm, sunny day. As I worked the easy, repetitive stitch pattern, I began to understand why Kathy, the designer, loves it so much. It’s a breeze to crochet, and the results are fantastic! I was able to crochet my heart out and still keep an eye on my daughter as she decorated our front stoop with some sidewalk chalk. The fabric is both plush and stretchy, and I can’t wait to wear this cowl! I may slip into obsessive crafting mode.

One Hour st patt
This amazing texture is so easy to create!

Have you finished your cowl yet? Even though this project flies by, you still have time to order your One Hour Cowl kit! You are guaranteed to be smitten with both the yarn and the stitch pattern, and this pattern is perfect for any crocheter. Be sure to share your progress with us here or on Facebook too! We love seeing your works-in-progress and finished pieces!

Learn to crochet – losing stitches while working in rows

Are you a new crocheter who finds yourself unintentionally losing stitches during every row? This drove me crazy when I first started crocheting, and almost every new crocheter I’ve spoken with shares the same experience! This could be caused by several factors, so newbies – take note. We have a few tips to help you save your stitches when you’re working even (not increasing or decreasing) in rows of either single or double crochet. I wish someone had spelled these things out for me when I started my obsession with crochet!

Crochet stitch

Stitches almost always get lost at the beginning or end of the row. This could happen if you miss the last stitch in your row, which is easy to do because it likes to fold over a bit onto the edge of your work. To avoid this problem, you could place a stitch marker in the first stitch of every row to remind you that this will be your last stitch of the next row. Remove the marker before working into that stitch, and replace it in the first stitch of the following row.

If you are working in double crochet, your turning chain (chain 3 at the beginning of each row) usually counts as a stitch. Read your pattern carefully because it will tell you if it does or not. If it does, and you forget to stitch into your turning chain at the end of the next row, you will end up losing a stitch. Use a stitch marker to mark the 3rd chain of your turning chain so you know where your last stitch of the next row should go. This is essentially the same as placing a marker in the first stitch of your row, like I mentioned above.

If you are working in single crochet, you could also lose a stitch by missing the first one in your row. In single crochet, your turning chain (chain 1 at the beginning of each row) typically does not count as a stitch. After you chain 1, you will single crochet into the last stitch you made on the previous row.

Crochet patterns vary a lot, so always follow the instructions carefully as you work. Whether or not your turning chain counts as a stitch, marking the first stitch (either the turning chain or your first actual stitch) will be a big help! Also, by counting your stitches after every row, you can avoid having to rip back a chunk of fabric after realizing you’re crocheting a triangle instead of a rectangle!

When you move on to more advanced patterns, you may find yourself breaking these “rules” to achieve a certain look or effect. However, these general guidelines can save you from losing your stitches – and you marbles – as you learn.

New crocheters – we’d love to hear about your experiences, and we’re always here to help! Veteran crocheters – do you have any other tips for saving your stitches? Share them with us here on our blog or on Facebook, and help a new crocheter out!

One Hour Cowl Crochet Along – On your mark, get set, GO!

I’m super excited about this crochet along! The One Hour Cowl is one of those fun and easy projects that makes a big impact, and I’m already picturing different outfits I can wear with it.

One Hour Cowl 1
This yarn is amazingly plush!

This beautiful pattern can be found in our Crochet More Issue, or you can get the pattern in a handy One Hour Cowl kit to make the yarn selection easy. Along with the pattern, the kits contain two skeins of Chunky by Misti Alpaca. You are guaranteed to fall in love with this fiber after one touch! The color options have something for everyone, so pick your favorite neutral or bright hue and order your kit today if you haven’t already.

One Hour Cowl 1.5I was so stoked about this project that I forgot to wind my yarn before I took it home last night. I ended up winding the whole 109 yards by hand, which was a great excuse to run it through my fingers before getting started! I’ll make my starting chain later today, and I invite you to do the same.

Remember, even though this is a quick project, I’ll be taking it slow. However, you should feel free to stitch this baby up as quickly as you like to see if you can finish it in about an hour! I’m eager to hear how your cowl progresses, so keep me posted by commenting below or through Facebook or Twitter. Happy crafting!

Filet crochet patterns and inspiration

Filet magThe Crochet More Issue of Love of Crochet is full of fast and fun projects, and the Stitch Dictionary in this issue, featuring 3 filet crochet patterns, is no different. Filet crochet is such a quick and easy technique, but it can be used to create impressive, elaborate designs. As you work filet, you are basically forming “blocks” that can either be filled in with double crochets or left open by chaining and skipping stitches to leave a hole. This technique is addictive once you get started, so grab a copy of our Crochet More Issue for a more in-depth explanation.

Heart larger

The 3 patterns in this Stitch Dictionary create modern, geometric designs, all using only chains and double crochet stitches! I’d love to make an afghan using one of these stitch patterns because the fabric would be warm, but the open blocks would allow it to breathe. For now, this helpful article has inspired me to reignite my own passion for filet crochet, and I’ve stitched up a simple heart motif to get my filet fix until I can begin my “someday afghan.”

Cozy Cowl

Any of these stitch patterns would also make a beautiful scarf or cowl, and there really is no limit to the projects you could create with them! Once you’ve gotten the hang of filet crochet, make the Cozy Cowl from our Winter 2012 Issue. This easy, filet-inspired cowl is worked in worsted weight yarn, so you can finish it in no time.

Have you ever tried filet crochet? Whether you’re a seasoned filet crochet veteran or an inspired first-timer, the patterns in this Stitch Dictionary are simply irresistible!

Charity Spotlight – Knitting Without Borders

School is back in session for most children, and many of us are in “kid mode,” gathering up school supplies, packing lunches, and taking memorable photos of their first day of school.

One wonderful way to make a difference in another child’s life is to donate a handmade bear to Knitting Without Borders. Don’t let the name fool you – this fabulous charity donates both knit and crocheted bears to remote villages, orphanages, and hospitals. The impact of this charity is worldwide, and they provide donations to children in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America, and South America.

Crochet bear with heartInclude your own kiddos in the project by teaching them to knit or crochet, and have them help you create a meaningful teddy bear for a child in need. After all, compassion and creativity are important lessons to be taught both at home and in school.

See it. Try it. LOVE it! – We’ve picked our yarn!

All of us here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office are excited to broaden our crafting skills as we See it. Try it. Love it! After picking our projects, we’ve been scouring Jen’s office and sifting through heaps of gorgeous fiber to pick the perfect yarns.

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Jen See it...
Get the pattern in the Fall 2014 Issue of Love of Crochet!

Jen has chosen a delicious, juicy color for her Autumn Entrelac Shawl by Sheryl Thies. This luscious fiber from Red Barn Yarn is going to be a dream to work with! Jen is a pro at knitting entrelac, so she’s hoping those skills transfer over to crochet.

Kathy See it...
Chunky Peruvia Quick yarn by Berroco will be great for a first-time knitter!

Kathy will be using Berroco’s Peruvia Quick for her first knit project, the Palisades Scarf by Christine Marie Chen. She is hoping to give her finished scarf to her husband, and this color is a great choice!

Danielle See it...
We’re loving this color!

Danielle picked Cosma by Berroco for her Charcoal Neckwarmer. She may decide to leave off the buttons, and we all agree that this design would look stunning with or without them. Don’t you just love being able to personalize your own accessories?

Jamie See it...
The Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet Color Changes in this issue will be my best friend.

I chose two different yarns for my Ocean Breeze Placemats and Coasters, by Sheryl Thies, because I fell in love with the color combination. I’ll be using one hank of Creative Linen by Rowan in Leaf, a rich olive green, and one hank of Modern Cotton by Berroco in Del, a soft and sunny yellow. Since the Creative Linen is actually a DK weight instead of a worsted weight like the pattern calls for, I might have to adjust my hook size and stitch count to get the correct size.

Now that we have our yarn, we are ready to get started on our See it. Try it. Love it! projects. We’ll update you on our progress soon, so cross your fingers for us in the meantime! What do you think? Have we picked manageable first projects to help us learn our new skills?