Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer Series: Crochet 101 - Part 3

I sincerely apologize for not having this post ready at the beginning of the week.  I really wanted to get it done, but it just didn't happen.  Anyway, this summer I have been sharing one of my favorite crafts with you, CROCHET.  I have been teaching my daughter and I thought I would share on here too.  You can read Part 1 and Part 2 by clicking the highlighted links.
Today I want to show you the basic chain stitch.  It is easy and usually starts every crochet piece.  Take the time to practice the chain stitch over and over because you want a consistent starting chain for your work.  I know this is an easy thing to learn, but trust me it is important.  When I say consistent it means that all of the loops in your chain are approximately the same size and your tension is the same on the chain all the way through.  I think this one is best taught in pictures so here we go:
  1. Start with a slip knot.  You wrap the yarn around your fingers and pull the end that is still attached to the skein/ball of yarn through the hole.  Pull tight until you have a starter loop.

  2. Slide your hook into the starter loop.
  3. Put the yarn that is attached to the skein of yarn over your finger for tension.  There are several different wrapping methods to get tension and you can see from the picture I wrap my yarn around my forefinger.  This is just the method I learned when I started.  I have seen other methods and they all seem to work.  Do what is comfortable for you. 
  4. Grab the yarn that goes over your finger with your hook - this is called YARN OVER (YO).
  5. Pull the yarn on the hook through the loop that is already on the hook gently.  Your original loop that was on the hook when you started is now your first chain stitch and you have a new loop on your hook. 
  6. Yarn over (YO) again and pull it through the new loop on the hook.  It adds another stitch to your chain.  Repeat until you get the desired number of stitches in your starting chain.  
The picture below is what your chain will look like with a lot of stitches in it.  This chain has 13 stitches in it.  There are 5 pink stitches, 5 orange stitches, and 3 yellow stitches.  You typically do not count the loop that is still on the hook unless a pattern specifically tells you to.  Notice that my stitches in my chain all look about the same size and have the same tension or tightness.  This has taken me a lot of practice with chaining.  I will tell you that when I get new yarn or use a different hook, it is not unusual that I have to chain it a few times and then rip it out and start again to get my starter chain consistent.  

The picture below is the "back side" of the chain and this is where our stitches for the next row will go in.  This way you will see the pretty front side of the the chain as a finished edge to your work.

If you are just learning to crochet, take the time to practice a starting chain.  Make one and then rip it out and make another one.  It seems really boring and tedious, but in the long run it is very helpful because before you know it you will be able to make a pretty, consistent chain the first time every time.  If you think chains are boring, think again.  There are some beautiful scarves, headbands, and bracelets you can make with just a starter chain.  

Do you have any questions?  I would love to help you out and answer any questions you have.  What kinds of things would you like to be able to crochet?

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