Archive for the ‘Crochet’ Category
Lively and crazy aren’t always the first things that come to mind when we think of knitting. It’s the kind of thing you sit down for, quietly stitching for hours on end. But people who think that probably haven’t worked with Can Can yarn—a line of yarns, patterns, and knitting tools whose products are the farthest thing from boring.
The Can Can line is made by Rico Design, a German yarn maker known mostly for its colorful designs and its wide variety of patterns. It stems from the same lively range as their fluffy Pompon yarns, which make great scarves and socks. Rico products range from classic soft colors to chunky, textured and multicolored designs, as well as specialized materials such as merino and organic wool. Although the styles and colors are their main selling point, Rico yarns are more than just eye candy—each strand is made first and foremost to be strong and comfortable.
Can Can yarns are excellent proof of this rule. Thick and comfortable yet surprisingly sturdy, they make top-quality scarves and accessories that can rival their pricier machine-made counterparts any day. And they don’t let style suffer either—Can Can scarves come in a wide variety of colors, from simple neutrals to eye-catching brights and fluorescents. The textures appeal both to the eye and the skin, adding lots of personality to your everyday fall outfit while keeping you warm.
The yarns are designed work with 8-mm needles and are surprisingly easy to work with, despite their thickness. Basic solid colors include black, brown, gray, turquoise, red, cream, and purple, and make great everyday pieces. You can also go for a “mix,” a two-tone thread with a striking gradient pattern. Red and black, green and blue, black and blue, blue and pink, green and black, pink and purple, and black and white are among the most popular. Each ball has enough yarn for one standard-length frilly scarf and sells for about £10 ($16) online.
Can Can yarns are a great choice for intermediate to advanced knitters who want to try their hand at bolder designs, although the patterns are perfectly manageable for beginners as well. Each ball of yarn comes with a scarf pattern, so all you have to do is pick up your needle and knit away. Make a couple for yourself or give them away—it makes a unique, inexpensive gift for the holidays!
Sirdar is a UK-based manufacturer of yarns and other knitting products. Established in 1880, it started out as a spinning company run by two brothers whose sole goal was to produce high-quality knitting products. By 1934 they had built a steady market and moved to their present location in Alverthorpe, passed the business on to their sons, and decided to focus largely on knitting yarns. At the same time they renamed themselves after the title of an Egyptian king, and made it a point to show this glory in every product with rich colors, beautiful designs, and top-grade material.
Although yarns and knitting tools remain their main products, the company is perhaps best known in the knitting community for their project patterns. Sirdar patterns are credited with making knits fashionable, running the gamut from baby sweaters and hats to stylish cardigans, shirts, shawls, and scarves for both men and women. This is because they update their collections regularly, following trends from the catwalk to the high street. When well-made, Sirdar creations can outdo their factory-made counterparts in terms of craftsmanship and style.
Babies’ clothes are especially popular in Sirdar’s line. The soft, warm feel of their yarns lend themselves very well to babies’ sensitive skin, and parents around the UK and beyond attest to their comfort and quality. They have patterns for baby coats and ponchos with matching hats, tanks and waistcoats, baby blankets, and a wide range of accessories, including caps, bootees, and mittens.
They also have a varied range of children’s clothes, from sweaters to scarves and hats. The patterns and colors are very age-appropriate, and the finished products make for an excellent school wardrobe. For adults, the line includes sweaters, tops, cardigans, and waistcoats, with designs for both men and women. Beginners will especially love the small accessories such as hats, socks and gloves, as many are particularly easy and come in attractive color combinations. Parents can even create matching pieces for their children—a perfect gift for the holidays!
The secret to the longevity of Sirdar patterns is that they are made to keep up with the times. It’s not just about dressing for the seasons—it’s about reflecting the needs of people. Their decades-long collections have included wartime pieces from the 1940s and colors and frills from the 1970s. If you’re looking to knit something that’s just as meaningful as it’s fashionable, a Sirdar pattern is a great start.
One of the first things you learn in crocheting is how to crochet a circle, the first step in most of the popular projects. But although it’s easy to learn—most of us are taught to chain two and then add stitches to the first stitch—making a perfect circle is harder than it seems, even for experts. And that’s tricky because if you start with an imperfect circle, you’ll end up with a lopsided product.
Many enthusiasts abide by the magic ring technique, a surprisingly simple way to come up with perfect crochet circles every time. What’s good about this technique is that it’s flexible, meaning you can alter it for your comfort and still get the same results. Start by looping the yarn around your three middle fingers, inserting the short end between your middle and index, and securing this end with your thumb. The other end should wrap around the base of your pinky and hang free. This will allow you to control the tension by bending your little finger; you will need to keep it snug to make your circle hold.
You’ll be working with your hand sideways and your thumb on top. Hook the yarn where it loops around your index finger, passing your hook under the middle finger. The hook should end up over your index finger. Now twist the hook to take the yarn on your index—this is the part you’ll be working with. Create your first loop by pulling on the yarn that goes over your middle and ring fingers.
Turn this loop into a single crochet by hooking the ends together. This should leave you with a single stitch jutting from the ring, with your hook outside the circle. Push the hook into the circle on your middle finger, making sure it’s just under the tail, then use it to grab the thread on your index and slide it through the loop. This will make a second loop.
Next, wrap some of the yarn around your hook and pull it through both of the loops to complete your first stitch. Pull more yarn through the loop as instructed above, repeating until you reach the size you’re going for. One that’s done, hold the stitches with one hand and pull the tail with the other. This will pull the stitches together and create a slightly curved circle, like a kidney bean. Complete your circle by sliding the working yarn through your first stitch, using your hook.
Crochet hats are one of the oldest clothing items still in popular use. They’ve adorned people’s heads from runway to subway, coming in all shapes, colors and sizes, ever since we’ve learned to adapt to the weather. But chances are you’ve never stopped and wondered how they’re made, unless you’re a DIY enthusiast.
Making your own crochet hat is easy, mostly because it’s a flexible project. You can make it as basic or complex as you like. If you’re new to crocheting, of course, you’ll want to start by learning how to crochet a hat for beginners. It’s a nice little project to start you off, plus you’ll have something to show for it right away.
Start by choosing your yarn (one skein should be enough for a standard-sized hat). It’s mostly a matter of personal choice; i.e. how warm and thick you want it, what color you want, whether you want to add accessories. If you need to, you’ll also need a hook that’s made for the yarn you’re using.
When you’re ready to start, start by crocheting in the round. This basically means creating a small central circle—the top of the hat—and working outward from there. The first circle is made by making a series of about four chains and hooking the ends together with a slip stitch. You extend it by making more single crochet stitches into the center of the ring, extending the central ring, and repeating until your circle is the right size.
For a hat, the right size is about the size of the top of your head (or the head of whoever will wear the hat). It should end just where the hat is supposed to drop down to your ears. Some yarns are stretchy, so you may want to make it a bit smaller for a snugger fit.
You then start increasing the intervals between stitches, i.e. a two-crochet only every other loop instead of every loop, for a few rounds, until the drop is big enough to slide over the head. Make more rounds this way until the hat is the right height to cover your ears. This should be three to four rounds, depending on the thickness of your yarn. Make sure to test-fit every round or so to make sure you’re going the right way.
At this point you should have a serviceable hat, and it’s up to you to add accessories or other details. For example, you can add a brim by increasing the rounds again from the bottom. Steadily increase the rounds for a wide, floppy brim, or make it roll up at the edges by keeping stitches steady for a few more rounds.
Granny squares are often one of the first things taught in crochet books. They are the building blocks of some of the most popular crochet projects, such as blankets and table mats. But it’s one thing to learn how to crochet granny squares, and another to do them well. It’s the kind of thing that’s easy to learn but takes time to master—but it’s well worth the effort. Read on for a few quick tips.
Most people would start with a slip knot or magic ring, and that works for the square itself or for small projects. If you’re working on something bigger, like a blanket, a six-chain ring might do the job better. Projects that get pulled and tugged on a lot will need much tighter knots to hold up to the abuse. If it’s just for show (rugs and covers, for example), you can go with whatever’s easiest.
Start with a three-chain ring as your first double crochet, then add a couple more over it. This makes your first shell (each round creates a shell, which also makes room for the shell over it). Do another two-chain and three more double crochets over the ring, then repeat a couple more times. Then add a two-chain and hook the yard onto the third chain of the outermost round. You should have a small square at this point.
You can choose to add a second color after your first square. To do this, join the new yarn with one of two-chains on the corners. Make your first double crochet with a three-chain ring, then add a couple more, followed by a two-chain and three double crochets. This should create an outer corner. Next, skip the shell and repeat the same steps over the other corners, so that you have a nice secondary square.
Next, you can add another color or use one of the two you already have. Join it into one of the corners as described above, then follow the order three-chain (which makes a double crochet), two double crochets, chain ring, then three double crochets, two-chain ring, and another three double crochets. You’ll be adding three double crochets to each single-chain space. Repeat the steps until, as above, you have your third outer square.
At this point each shell sets the stage for another one, so you can stop or make your square bigger. Once you get the basics, you can experiment with other colors and yarn sizes, or combine different yarn types. The secret is to keep mixing and matching—you never know what you can come up with!