How to crochet a puff stitch around a post

 

Have you seen my Valladolid shawl design?

 

It's a top-down shawl design that's got enough spice to keep things interesting, but it's got meditative portions where you can go on stitching autopilot as well. It's a fun project and it features an unusual spin on one of my favorite stitches--the puff stitch.

 

Usually, puff stitch is worked into a stitch in the previous row.

 

But in this design, puff stitch is worked around the post of the double crochet stitch just worked on the very same row! 

 

Here are the instructions for making this interesting stitch:

1. Ch 3 after the double crochet you've just made.  You need at least 2 or 3 chains to create space for the puff stitch you are about to make.

2. Yarn over, then insert your hook from the front to the back in the space to the right of the post of the double crochet stitch you will be working around.

3. Yarn over, pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook).
 

4. Yarn over, insert your hook in the same spot as step #2, yarn over, pull up a loop. (5 loops on hook).
 

5. Repeat step #4. (7 loops on hook).
 

6. Repeat step #4. (9 loops on hook).
 

7. Yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.
 

8. You are done!  Work at least one chain stitch to secure the puff or follow directions in pattern.

 

If you're a video person, here's the stitch in action:

Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen

Lucet Hearts and Valentines

 

Valentine's Day is coming and it's a great time to pick up the lucet.  Why?

Frequently when we're beginners at something, the projects that really attract us are beyond our skill level. With Valentine's Day approaching, here's a chance to use your lucet to do a super fast and easy project.

It's thoughtful, supremely giftable and sure to be worn on the day it's given! It's a really easy way to make your special people feel totally special: What's better at showing you care than a handmade heart? And what better project for a beginner with a lucet?

Even if you don't already have a lucet, you can easily make one with things you have around the house. This is such a quick and fun way to explore a new technique and make something useful for gifting.

Megan has a great (and super simple) tutorial on how to turn an 8" lucet cord into a heart. She also provides 5 different ideas for using those hearts to create Valentines and decorations. I couldn't resist giving it a try and experimenting with different yarns from my stash.


lucet cord yarns

I raided my stash for different red yarns and made myself a few hearts.  I made four hearts in less than an hour and it was really fun to see how different yarns worked up into very different cords. (I was actually on a conference call while I was making the hearts and it made that meeting so much more rewarding!)

red lucet cords for hearts in different yarns



I used the Basic Turn Cord (free tutorial or learn how on Day 2 of the 7 Day Lucet Challenge) but I could have easily also used the Basic No Turn Cord.  It's just personal preference, the results would be the same.

I used yarns I don't usually use, including a novelty yarn and a thick and thin yarn, and the resulting cords were fun to see. The easiest yarn to use was the plied merino. It was springy and bouncy and the loops felt almost elastic around the lucet horn.  But as far as finished results, I thought the thick and thin and novelty yarns were really fun.


Lucet cord valentine heart pin

Megan has some great ideas for what to do with the hearts. I made pins with mine.  Now that I'm finished, I'm thinking these would have been even more impressive with a few beads worked in as well.  That's a project for next year!

Don’t know how to lucet? I teach a free, 7 day online challenge, in just minutes a day you can conquer this simple technique in only a week.

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Learn to Lucet

The most comprehensive guide to this ancient tool yet published!

Do more with the yarn you already have! Learn to use this ancient Viking cording tool to make strong and very sturdy cords that you can use in so many ways.

Make your knit and crochet projects even better. Use them to make drawstrings, lacings, buttons and embellishments for your knit and crochet projects. Also make jewelry, designer shoelaces, home improvement hacks and more with these strong cords.

Author Jennifer Hansen teaches you 6 fundamental cord types and give you full instructions for 8 fun, easy and useful lucet projects.

Learn more.

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Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen

I Made a Swank Pair of Lucet Shoelaces

Jan 12, 2017 12:00:38 PM

Lucet Shoelaces

 

I have a much-loved pair of Fluevog shoes that needed a new pair of shoelaces.  

And since I'm a girl with a lucet, I've got a handy way to whip up a pair of pretty shoelaces whenever I please. I also have magic powers in color-matching my laces to my shoes as long as I can find the right yarn color. (Try to find a full array of colored shoe laces for sale in the length and style that you need. Not going to happen!)  

I felt like keeping the look of these shoes classic and versatile. In this case black yarn was a pretty easy color to get a hold of. The sheen and weight of Lucci Rayon was perfect for my trusty heels.

 

Lucet in action

 

I was lucky enough to be taking a cruise when my shoelace-making activity was going on.  Here's my view while luceting and enjoying a prosecco. Wish this could be my view every day!

I used the Basic Turn Lucet Cord worked to the length of the original shoelaces.


Shoelace Tips

 

Then I also used pliers to attach these shoelace tips (called aglets) to give my laces an extra-fancy finishing touch.

Got any shoelaces that need replacing? Make yourself something fancy!

Don’t know how to lucet? I teach a free, 7 day online challenge, in just minutes a day you can conquer this simple technique in only a week.

_________________________________________________________________________________________


Learn to Lucet

The most comprehensive guide to this ancient tool yet published!

Do more with the yarn you already have! Learn to use this ancient Viking cording tool to make strong and very sturdy cords that you can use in so many ways.

Make your knit and crochet projects even better. Use them to make drawstrings, lacings, buttons and embellishments for your knit and crochet projects. Also make jewelry, designer shoelaces, home improvement hacks and more with these strong cords.

Author Jennifer Hansen teaches you 6 fundamental cord types and give you full instructions for 8 fun, easy and useful lucet projects.

Learn more.

Tags:

Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen

How to Edge a Stashbuster Blanket

Oct 28, 2016 4:13:21 PM

Crochet a stash buster blanket

 

I’ve made about 20 Stash Buster Blankets over the last 10 years or so.  I absolutely love them because they’re like painting with my stash yarn. They are made with the odds and ends of left over and forgotten yarns that I can't bring myself to donate but never seem to use either. 

Usually I use yarn that I would never want to wear: eyelash yarn for example.  But they look fun as home decor.  (And I still have a ton of stash eyelash yarn that’s a decade old!)

Last year I moved from a cold place to a warm place (Hello Florida!!!).  I needed a new throw for the couch. Something lighter than the blankets I used to make in California. And in colors reflecting my new sub-tropical attitude.

I raided my stash for yellows, oranges and little pops of pink and red.  If you're familiar with my Stash Buster blanket design, you know it’s based on my 3 Color Tunisian Technique. You're always switching between 3 yarns as you stitch the project. These yarns can be single strands or many strands held together.  The key is that you are working with 3 "groups" of yarn.

I've gotten so many question over the years on how I choose my colors. My favorite blankets all had a "main yarn" that contrasted with the rest of the changing colors and textures. This main yarn (or yarns!) provided a backdrop of continuity for all the change in the rest of the blanket.  So when planning yarns for my current project, choosing this “continuity yarn” and making sure I had enough of it was a critical first step.

Let me explain what this means by showing my yarn choices for each of the 3 "yarn groups" in the project.


homespun

Yarn Group 1

I used a single strand of a bulky yarn here - Lion Brand Homespun to be exact.  This is one of my “continuity yarns” and I use it throughout the blanket as the only strand in Group 1. In fact, I only had one ball in my stash, so I went out and bought 2 more just to make sure I had enough yarn to last for the whole project.

It’s not a yarn I love and I’ve been really disappointed by how it frays and pills with wear. But -  when combined with several yarns in a blanket like this, that problem just isn’t that distracting or obvious. It’s a great low-budget “backdrop yarn” for this kind of project.

other yarn  

Yarn 2

I had enough white eyelash yarn to use throughout the project, so this is one of my “continuity yarns” as well.

I hold it always with another strand of orange yarn that changes as I use up my stash.  The effect is that this group of yarn changes subtly as I work since one strand is always the same while the other changes.

 

Yarn group 3  

Yarn Group 3

I hold 3 strands of yarn throughout this group.  I just used whatever I had in my stash, but I had a rule about how I did that.

I always used one red yarn, one sparkly yarn and one orange yarn.

This group of yarn changes gradually throughout the length of the project in a rather subtle way since only one of the 3 will change at any given time.

 

Besides a balance of continuity and change, I try to pay a lot of attention to the yarn weights when I switch yarns out.  If you replace a thin yarn with a thick one, you will change the gauge (and thus the width!) of your blanket.  You may have made a stash buster blanket with wildly varying width. What happened is that you didn’t keep your yarn gauges consistent as you switched out your yarns.

The other thing I've started doing is crocheting an edging on my stash buster blankets.  The edges of these blankets can get a little floppy: especially the starting edge of the row. Edging the blanket helps balance out any width differences. Even more important, it just adds a nice frame to the controlled yarn mix chaos that unfolds within the blanket.


stash buster blanket

 

The edging you choose depends on your blanket. What finishing touch goes best with the blanket you make?  For this project, I like something that's simple and made with basic stitches. To me that’s in keeping with the spirit of the blanket project itself.  I think there's just so much going on in the body of the blanket, I want to put a nice frame on that. I also want to firm up the edges and add a little weight to them so my blanket drapes well over the edge of my sofa.

Make sure you have enough yarn to make the edging!  My approach is to use my “continuity yarns”and try to bring everything together.

So without further ado, here are edgings that I swatched with a little explanation for each. I'm still deciding and plan to swatch a little more. Based on what I've shown here, which one would you choose?


Edging Group 1

 

First, I did the simplest edgings possible: a row of single crochet.  The difference between the 2 photos is that the photo above is with the S hook (same size hook used in the project), and the bottom version is made with a hook that is half the size, working 2 stitches in every edge stitch.

 

Group 2

 

Then I played with ways of adding a second row to the first.

Top Edging: 2 rows of single crochet with the smaller hook.

Bottom Edging: 1 row of single crochet, 1 row of reverse single crochet with small hook. (compare to big hook below)

Even though my goal was to keep things simple, I decided that I really needed to spice these edges up.

 

group 3

 

I decided to throw more yarn into the mix.

Top edging: First row single crochet with big hook, 2nd row double crochet (double the stitches) with smaller hook and some orange/peach yarn, last row single crochet worked in between ever 2 dc.

Bottom edging: All done with the smaller hook, first row single crochet, 2nd row single crochet with the peach/red yarn and top row reverse single crochet.

It was after I did the bottom edging that I decided that my accent yarn needed to include the white eyelash and the red so that it blends well with the rest of the blanket.

 

 

Group 4

 

Here I'm beginning to experiment with the white eyelash and red accent yarns.  I'm also liking how the smaller hook and greater amount of stitches in the 2nd and 3rd rows of the edging adds an extra weight to the edge of the blanket.

Top Edging: First 2 rows done in single crochet with big hook.  Reverse single crochet with smaller hook and double the stitches for 3rd row.

 

Bottom Edging: It’s almost the same as the top edging. The only difference is that the 2nd row is also done with the smaller hook and double the stitches.  This gave the edging a little more substance.

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Stay tuned - I'm finishing up the blanket now and will post how it turns out.  Any thoughts on these edgings?  Have you tried a Stash Buster Blanket of your own?  Let me know how you like to make them or if you had any challenges that you want to share.

Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen

Blocked vs. unblocked crochet

Lace requires blocking, otherwise it just looks crumply and distorted! I don’t care whether you’ve knitted or crocheted your lace: just please block it once you’re done! (Case in point: Guess which swatch above is blocked and which one isn’t?)

In this post, I’m going to talk about the different blocking techniques and provide links to where you can learn more about them. (There are many ways to block and everyone has a favorite!)  Then I’ll share my favorite blocking technique with you and the tell you why it works best for me. I haven’t seen anyone else do a write up on the technique I use.

Blocking knitting is the same as blocking crochet. There are so many great tutorials online for how to block. I link to a few good resources down below but want to make sure you understand something: When you read about blocking online, don’t worry whether the particular information you read is about blocking knitting or blocking crochet. The blocking technique described is the same no matter whether you knitted or crocheted your project.

There are really just 3 major types of blocking: Wet Blocking, Steam Blocking and Killing. Take a look at the table below for a description of each. At the end of each row is a clickable link to learn more about each method. (Did I forget anything that you think I should add? Is there a blocking tutorial online that you believe is just head and shoulders above the rest that you think I should include in my table?)


 

So my favorite method for blocking is using the Eurosteam because the results are usually immediate. If you already know how to iron, then using the Eurosteam will be nothing new to you - you handle it just like an iron. Based on your project, you may or may not want to pin it before you block.  But here’s how it’s different from steaming with an iron:

The Eurosteam doesn’t have a temperature control: it is always set to a very low temperature. I have been able to put it directly on everything that I’ve knit and crocheted so far: wool, silk, cotton, bamboo, acrylic….  The weight of the iron helps in evening out irregular stitches.

The steam that comes out of this thing is HIGH PRESSURE.  This is not your typical steam iron. It’s a steamer that looks like an iron.  The steam comes out at very high velocity and shoots through very thick fabrics with no problem at all. You use less water vapor at higher velocity to steam block your projects.

 

 

blocking cotton swatches with Eurosteam

 

So what does this mean as far as result?

Immediate results (no waiting!) and less water means less time to dry.  Sometimes no time to dry - it just depends how many passes I made on my project with the iron.


 

Blocking Valladolid

 

The photo above is how I blocked Valladolid, a crochet shawl that I designed a few months back. This shawl has a geometry that really needs to be pinned when blocked. Because my blocking board wasn’t big enough, I just pinned it to my bed. Then I hit it with my Eurosteam and let it dry about an hour before unpinning it from my bed and taking photos.

For projects that don’t have geometries that need to be pinned, the process is even faster. No pinning, I quickly run the Eurosteam over it and it’s ready to go.  

The Eurosteam also really shines for projects that I try on as I work: like a top-down fitted sweater.  I can just quickly steam the work in progress, try it on, make adjustments and keep going.  Try wet blocking a try-on-as-you-go sweater mid-project. NOT good times and a 24 hour waiting period.  And with traditional steam blocking I typically have to pin the project to get it nice and flat before steaming.  With the Eurosteam, the weight of the iron running on top of the stitches is usually all I need and I can avoid pinning altogether.

 


Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen