Novice Mittens Crochet Along – Thumb gusset

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After finding a hook size that gave me the correct gauge, I spent some time over the past weekend working on my Novice Mittens. To begin, I worked my starting chain with a hook one size larger because the pattern specifies that the beginning chain should be loose. Otherwise, the opening might be a bit snug. For 2″, I worked even in double crochet, and this section went by in a flash.

Novice gussetThe main thing I accomplished over the weekend was the thumb gusset. Using a stitch marker made this section a breeze, and before I knew it, I had completed all of the necessary increases.

Novice done with gusset try onThen, I worked a short chain and skipped a few stitches to create the thumb opening. Afterwards, there are 3 decrease rows before you get to the hand section. I stopped here to try on my half-mitten, and it fit like a glove (erm, mitten)!

How are your Novice Mittens coming along? Have you finished the thumb gusset yet? If you haven’t started, you still have time to get your Novice Mittens kit and join in on the fun! I’ve fallen in love with this merino and possum yarn, and I’ve been singing its praises to all of my crafty friends. I had never worked with possum before, but I see many more possum projects in my future!

Let us know how your project is coming here or on Facebook. We’re always happy to help and we love seeing photos or updates on your progress, so visit soon!

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Math for future crochet designers (plus a FREE chevron pattern!)

Crochet designers never cease to amaze me. It seems like they are always coming up with new stitches or techniques that knock our socks off. However, designers are also experts at taking existing stitch patterns and sizing them to create garments, accessories, home dec items, or anything else you can imagine. If you are curious about dabbling in crochet design, this second approach is a fantastic way to get started.

First, you’ll need to find a stitch pattern you love. This is usually pretty easy, given the limitless number of patterns you can get from basic crochet stitches. As an example, I’m going to use a free chevron stitch pattern featured as part of the “Yardage: crochet vs. knit” article in the Weekend Crochet 2013 Issue of Love of Crochet. I chose this fun stitch pattern because it’s engaging enough to keep me interested, but easily memorized and relaxing.

Chevron swatch
Crochet Chevron 1 – Swatching it up!

Then, figure out how many stitches are in the pattern repeat. If this isn’t specified in the pattern, I find that the easiest way to do this is to crochet a swatch. I’m using the first chevron pattern in the article, and, as written, it’s the perfect size for a swatch. The repeat goes from either edge of your swatch to the center of the “peak” in the middle. Be sure to count your turning chain as a stitch, and you’ll see that the repeat is worked over 14 stitches and includes the following instructions: 3 dc in first st (one of these dc is actually your turning chain at the beginning of the row), 3 dc, [dc3tog] twice, 3 dc, 3 dc in next st. Add 3 for your turning chain, and you know that your starting chain will need to be a multiple of 14+3.

Chevron measure
4 stitches per inch using worsted weight yarn and an I hook

Next, you’ll need to measure your gauge swatch to see how long your starting chain will need to be. My swatch is 7″ across, and since I’m working over 28 stitches (2 pattern repeats), that means I am getting 4 stitches per inch.

To make a baby blanket 36″ wide, I multiplied 36″ x 4 stitches per inch to get 144 stitches. Remembering that I need a multiple of 14+3, I rounded 144 down to 143 to get the number for my starting chain. If you want a shawl that is 25″ wide, you will multiply 25 x 4 to get 100, then round that up to 101 to get a multiple of 14+3. If you want a full-size blanket that is 54″ wide, you will multiply 54 x 4 to get 216, then round that down to 213 to get a multiple of 14+3. You could make pillow covers, table runners, and even sweaters using the same stitch pattern and formula. The possibilities are endless!

Chevron blanket
The beginning of my chevron baby blanket

What would you make with this easy chevron pattern? Have you ever designed your own pattern based on a stitch pattern you fell in love with? Tell us your ideas and experiences here or on Facebook. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Get more bang for your buck with knitting and crochet pattern bundles!

Did you resolve to save money in 2015? Keep your resolution AND your crafting habit by getting fabulous knit and crochet patterns in convenient, discounted bundles! Each bundle comes with 3 different patterns that fit within the same theme, making them perfect for whenever you’re on a kick with a certain technique or type of project.

Knitters, if your home is looking a bit bare since you took your holiday decorations down, spruce it up with the Home Dec Knitting Pattern Bundle! This lace pillow, textured blanket, and stylish table setting will give any space a fresh, new look.

Winter is a wonderful time to explore Fair Isle and other colorwork techniques, and the Crazy for Color Knitting Pattern Bundle includes three irresistibly colorful patterns. The clever bag is a fantastic introduction to Fair Isle, and we are completely infatuated with this hat! The flattering top is created using slipped stitches and can be layered over a long-sleeved shirt, or you can wear it alone when the weather warms up.

Crocheters, the Skill-building Crochet Pattern Bundle is just what you need to learn a few new techniques this year. Explore creative ways to work the half double crochet stitch with the versatile sampler bag. Then, master the star stitch and crocheted cables with the two gorgeous scarves.

Tunisian crocheters are going to swoon over the three patterns in the Trendy Tunisian Crochet Pattern Bundle. The light and airy shawl features unique stitches to expand your skills, and the two sweaters are staple pieces that will go with anything in your wardrobe.

There are a bunch of other bundles that will help to satisfy your crafty cravings in 2015. Visit the Crochet and Knit Shop and find a bundle that inspires you!

Novice Mittens Crochet Along – Gauge swatch(es)

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We are starting our winter crochet along, the Novice Mittens, today! It has been downright frigid here, so I’m excited to stitch up some darling mittens to keep my hands warm. That’s right – I’ve decided to keep these mittens for myself. After all the holiday crocheting I did over the last few months, I think my hands deserve a treat.

Novice mittens- balls with coverI had a bit of trouble getting the correct gauge for these mittens, and I ended up making 3 different gauge swatches. First, I started with a G hook like the pattern calls for, but my stitches were much too loose. I went down to an F, but had the same problem. Finally, I tried an E hook, which worked perfectly!

Thankfully, the gauge is measured in double crochets, and all 3 swatches went quickly. Plus, making them gave me a fantastic excuse to play with this heavenly yarn!

I’ll crochet my starting chain later on today, and I’m hoping to get a fair amount done over the weekend. If your hands can use a treat after the rush of holiday crafting, join me in making these sweet mittens! The luxurious Rimu DK yarn by Zealana is a terrific way to reward your hands for finishing all of those gifts. Get your Novice Mittens kit to experience this soft yarn for yourself, and join me in this fun crochet along!