Thursday, August 15, 2013

Crochet: How much yarn do I need?

Whenever I'm getting ready to start a new project, I always get stuck determining how many yards of yarn I need. Making hats and other small projects is usually no problem. I grab one or two skeins and head to the checkout. But larger projects, like blankets, I'm stumped. So I play the guessing game and hope I get lucky. So far, I have.

If you're working from a pattern, it's a little easier. Usually, the pattern will tell you precisely how many balls of yarn you need.

Number of skeins called for in the pattern × yards per skein = total yards needed

But if you are designing your own pattern, or using different yarn than suggested, it can get tricky. After some internet searching, I came across a helpful chart from Lion Brand. Using the chart, I was able to make an educated guess at the amount of yarn I'll need. It's definitely better than guessing!

I also came across a couple of mobile apps that may make future yarn shopping easier.

1. Crochet Handy - iOS - $.99
This app helps you quickly determine how much yarn you need for your next crochet project.
This seems like a great tool, though possibly missing out on some features, such as, hook size and a limited project list. Alas, I'm an Android user and this app is only available on iOS, so I haven't tried it. If anyone tries it out, let me know how it works for you. And please, someone make something similar for Android users!

2. Yarn Shopper - Android - FREE
This app helps you see how many skeins of yarn you'll need and how much you'll pay for your project. It has a built-in list of top yarns in each weight category, but lets you add and edit your own yarn descriptions as well.

This app makes shopping around for yarn so much easier! Though it may not be great for helping me determine yardage, it does help me keep yarn and prices organized. Hopefully, the developers will keep adding new features. I'd love to see a barcode scanner and a place to add an image.

If any of you have tried and true ways of determining how much yarn you need for a project, please share! I'd love to continue taking the guess work out or yarn buying.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crochet: The Magic Ring Tutorial

The Magic Ring has changed the way I crochet. I hated that little unsightly hole left in the center when crocheting in the round. I didn't want a hole in the top of my hats. No matter how tightly I started off my chain, I could never fully close that darn circle.

Sure, there are times when having an open hole may be desirable, for instance, when making granny squares, flowers, and other motifs. But I really wanted a way to control the opening. Then I found the adjustable ring. Possibly, my favorite crochet technique ever. Warning: Once you try it, you may never go back to the other methods.

Magic Ring Tutorial

I'll be demonstrating using double crochet and will assume you know how to chain, slip stitch, and double crochet.

Step 1: Begin by making a loop, putting the tail of your yarn behind your working yarn. Leave at least a three-inch tail. As you become familiar with this method, you'll be able to leave a shorter tail if desired.

Step 2: Hold your strands where they overlap and insert your hook from front to back through the ring. Pull up one loop on your hook.

Step 3: Ch 3 (*counts as dc; see Note)

Step 4: Find a comfortable way to hold your ring as you begin to work dcs. Dc into the ring. Make certain to crochet over the tail as you go. Continue working as many dcs as needed for your pattern.

Step 5: Pull the tail to draw the ring closed. If your tail has looped around a few times, untwist it before pulling tight.

Step 6: Slst into your first dc when finished to begin next round. How tightly you draw your ring closed is up to you and the desired effect you hope to achieve.

*Note: Often, I do not count the ch 3 as a stitch when double crocheting. It mostly depends on the type and thickness of yarn I'm using. Thick and chunky yarns, I count ch 3 as a stitch. Thin yarns, I do not count ch 3 as a stitch. Use your own judgement as to what looks the best for your project.

I hope you enjoy this technique as much as I do! Please feel free to contact me at with any questions or clarifications. Happy hooking. :)