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Helpful Tips & Hints on Crochet

With experience come ideas and tips that make life easier. It's the same in the crochet world too. That's why we've listed some ideas, tips, and hints whether experienced or novice, all can benefit from another's experience.

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Keeping a "Grip" on the Hook

Sheaths for crochet hooks can be purchased from most craft stores. Or you can make your own sheath by following the instructions and images provided below by Kimberly Way.

First, wind some crochet cotton tightly around the needle itself making your own sheath. You would start by laying the cotton alongside the hook with the end at the bottom, and then wind from the top down to the bottom, and tie the end to the beginning of the tail. That way you could make it as thick as you want.

demonstration one demonstratiion two

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Ending off correctly

New crocheters are enthusiastic over their first project, but inevitably the question comes up, "how do I end off correctly?" This question also comes up for those who have been crocheting over an extended time.

  • For solid stitches:

  • After the last stitch is complete, pull up a loop, clip the thread/yarn and pull the end through the loop. Cinch down tightly but not to the point of "puckering" your finish. Thread a tapestry needle with tail, the choice of needle size will depend on the medium used. Weave the needle through the base of stitches in the last round/row, weaving through the stitches, splitting the fibers if possible. Make sure it doesn't show on the right side. Skip a thread, then weave back in the opposite direction. You only need to weave in either direction for approx. an inch or less. Clip end and stretch your work so the end slips inside and disappears.

  • For chain stitches:

  • Hiding your ends and ensuring they won't ravel presents a more difficult task. One way is to weave your thread through several chain stitches in one direction, Be sure not to pull tightly so that your work puckers. Skip a stitch and weave back in the opposite direction. Clip thread. It's hard to hide your work, but if you if take your time, it will be hard to see. Another way is to treat the end much like sewing on a button. Pull your needle through the last stitch itself, then up and over your work and back up through the center stitch again, approximately 3 times, then proceed as instructed above to finish weaving the end securely.

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Safety Pin Tips

Saftey pins can be very helpful while crocheting. Listed below are some great tips to make life easier and crochet, easy and fun.

  • When making a long foundation chain
  • Place a safety pin in after a designated number of stitches to keep count easily.

  • When crocheting in a spiral
  • (Or where rounds are not joined), place a saftey pin at the beginning of the new round to keep track. Move the safety pin to each new round as you work.

  • When working afghans
  • Or similiar patterns, place a safety pin after a designated number of rows to keep track easily.

  • Use safety pins to mark
  • Where corner increases are made to avoid mistakes.

  • When through working
  • Place a safety pin in the last stitch worked to keep stitches intact.

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Yarn Splitting Problems

Work from the other end of the skein. Yarn is made of plys that are twisted together in one direction. If working against that twist, the yarn tends to split.

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Run-Away Thread

There are many products on the market and online that are wonderful, but if you already have an old teapot, place the thread in the teapot and feed the end through the spout.

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Keeping Track

Below are some helpful tips for making crochet easy and fun. No more getting lost in instructions or keeping tabs of certain projects!

  • Make cheat sheets:

  • If you grow weary of reading all the "fine print" in the pattern instructions, such as joining, re-write the basic concept on index cards and attach to the pattern. This is a great way to filter out redundant instructions that take up room. The more experienced crocheter can "weed" out more instructions such as the beginning chain for each new round/row or where instructions are repetitious only changing in the final stitch count as in pineapples. Re-writing the "heart" of the instructions will save time while crocheting, and make it easier to read! Submitted by Elaine B.

  • Post-it Notes:

  • Post-it notes are a great way to keep tabs where you're at in the instructions, simply write down the round you've just completed. Lose track? Simply check your post-it note to see which round you're currently working on.

  • Safety pins - contrasting yarn:

  • These are ideal for marking the foundation chain or row count. Place them every few chains or rows to keep tabs. No more counting from the beginning to see which chain number or row you're on. Just count the markers instead.

  • Making copies:

  • By making a copy of instructions, you can mark on the copy. This is wonderful for filet instructions. Beside each row draw an arrow to indicate in which direction you'll be crocheting. At a glance you'll know which way to read in the instructions. Please note that making copies for personal use to facilitate reading the pattern instructions is not against the copyright law.

  • Write down pertinent information:

  • When working several projects at once, it's best to keep a journal indicating which hook size, yarn or thread brand and color, along with where the pattern instructions can be found. If the project is put away for an extended time, you'll have all the pertinent information at your disposal.

  • Keep a handbook or notebook handy with abbreviations & definitions:

  • This saves time if pattern instructions don't give the definition of a certain stitch. A notebook is especially nice to jot down the different names a stitch is called. For instance, the reverse single crochet is also called the crab stitch and the shrimp stitch.

  • When crocheting a project with lots of instructions and brackets inside brackets:

  • Take graph paper and chart out the pattern using one square per stitch placing abbreviations in each square for the type of stitch. Once the project is charted, take a highlighter and color the squares as you complete the project. With a glance you can see exactly where you are. Submitted by Cindy Walker.

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Foundation Chains

For afghans and similar projects where a loose foundation chain is made, use a larger hook than suggested in pattern instructions, then switch back to the recommended hook size.

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Making Quick & Easy Angel Arms

One of the older books I have suggests crocheting a cover for the pipe cleaner arms - a simple 6 rows of sc the length of your pipe cleaner. Just fold the rectangle of crochet around the pipe cleaner and stitch it up. It makes a very nice finish for the arms. I've used it for your little angel without the arms looking too heavy. Submitted by Donna Leggee.

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