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January 22, 2015
by mio
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All Squared Away – Twin 1

It’s time for another blanket in the All Squared Away series! These blankets all feature traditional granny squares in a variety of sizes (making them ideal for using up scraps!) joined together using a continuous joining method that is quick, fun, and best of all: leaves fewer ends to weave in!

This time, it’s a twin-sized blanket – perfect for a student going off to college, donating to charity, or for curling up under on the couch.

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Buy this pattern on Ravelry for only $1.99 USD

Click to see all of the All Squared Away Baby Blankets and All Squared Away Bigger Blankets

January 20, 2015
by mio
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All Squared Away – Child

I mentioned a while back that I’ve been obsessed with this continuous join-as-you-go technique. I wasn’t blogging at the time when I released the baby sized ones (which you can find here), so let’s start with this child-sized blanket!

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You can use any yarn you want for these patterns. This one in particular was tested in a variety of yarn types.

If you want a blanket that measures approximately 64″ x 45″, use about 2500 yards ofsport weight or worsted weight yarn with an appropriately sized hook.

For a blanket that measures approximately 44″ x 32″ use about 2000 yards of a thinner yarn (testers used dk or fingering).

This style of blanket is excellent for using up scraps! With multiple sizes of squares needed, you can use up your yarn right down to the last yard!

For this child-sized blanket, be sure to have about 850 yards of your joining yarn on hand, and you’re golden!

Buy this blanket pattern on Ravlery for only $1.99 USD

Watch for more patterns like this to be released over the next two weeks!

January 13, 2015
by mio
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Recursive Echo – an EGS pattern

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the “granny” tab has disappeared from the top of this blog. For those who were fans of that pattern, there’s no need to fret! You can find it, re-written for clarity and still absolutely free on Ravelry here.

The reason for this is that I have been playing around with the technique to come up with some new layouts. This has been a long time coming – this next blanket was supposed to be released over a year ago, but a disastrous move and other personal issues intervened. We need not wait anymore, though!

Introducing: Recursive Echo blanket!
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The pattern is the first in what is turning out to be an extensive series, and it includes the instructions to make a baby blanket using worsted weight yarn, including written instructions for a traditional granny square (though, feel free to use a pattern you’re comfortable with!), a schematic to walk you through the steps, and tutorial pictures for any tricky bits. It also includes information and ideas on how to alter the pattern to fit any yarn or gauge or finished size you’d like, including downsizing it to use it as a motif, like in this blanket:
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Buy it now for only $1.49 USD!

Note: you will want to brush up on a granny square join-as-you-go method first.

December 30, 2014
by mio
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Foundation Stitches – Making Holes

This is the last tutorial (for now!) in the Foundation Stitches series. Start with Foundation Stitches – General Instructions. You can then move on to Solid Increases and Solid Decreases. Here, we round it out with how to make open increases and decreases, which will add holes to your first row.

In regular crochet, to make an open increase, you typically make a chain stitch (or more) between the stitches you’re using for that row. To make an open decrease, you typically make a stitch, then skip a stitch (or more) before making the next stitch.

You can also create a hole in your row using both of these techniques at the same time – make a stitch, ch1 (or more), skip a stitch (or more) before making the next stitch.

In this tutorial, we’re going to make that last one so that we can cover both techniques.

Once again, I will be using dc stitches to demonstrate, but you can use any stitch.

Work your foundation row until the point where you want the hole to be. To make the “open increase” part of this, you simply ch1:
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(Or do as many chains as your heart desires pattern calls for.)

Open increases are just as easy as that!

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Now let’s add the “open decrease” which will emulate “skipped chains” in your pattern. For this tutorial, I’m going to emulate a “skip 1 ch” instruction.

So, yarn over as many times as you need to for your chosen stitch:
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(I’m doing dc, so I did one yo.)

Then, yarn over a number of times equal to how many “skipped chains” you need:
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(So in this case, 1)

Insert your hook and pull up a loop:
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*yo, pull through 2 loops* a number of times equal to how many “skipped chains” you need:
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(In this case, just once)

ch1 (because we’re doing foundation stitches)
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Then finish your stitch as usual:
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And remember, if you’re trying to only do the increase, or only do the decrease, just ignore the other half of the instructions. Either add your chains and then continue on as normal, or yo as required for your stitch, and yo as many times as chains you need, and follow the last half of the directions.

December 22, 2014
by mio
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Foundation Stitches – Solid Decreases

This tutorial builds on what we learned last time with Foundation Stitches – General Instructions. Use it together with Foundation Stitches – Solid Increases to create a ripple!

This tutorial covers how to do solid increases and decreases while making a foundation row. (“Solid” meaning it won’t leave a large hole).

You should get familiar with how to do solid decreases in general before attempting them in foundation stitches.

Outside of the foundation stitches technique, these stitches are normally written as dc3tog or sc2tog or some such. The basic description of this instruction is to work the number of stitches indicated, but only up to the last “yo, pull through”, leaving an extra loop on your hook. Once you have the required number of stitches, you yarn over and pull through all loops on your hook.

What this does, is to join the tops of the stitches into one stitch.

In foundation stitches, you start by making your first stitch, all the way up until just before the last “yo, pull through”. I’m doing double crochet, so this is what my first stitch looks like:

Get all of the loops on:
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ch1:
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Finish the stitch, stopping short of the last “yo, pull through”:
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Repeat that for as many stitches as you need, then do a final, “yo, pull through all loops”
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(This is dc2tog)

Done!

December 16, 2014
by mio
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Foundation Stitches – Solid Increase

This tutorial builds on what we learned last time with Foundation Stitches – General Instructions

What do I mean by “solid increase”? I mean an increase that maintains a solid fabric. In other words, no holes!

When making a solid increase in crochet, you work multiple stitches into one spot. This is usually written as “3dc in next st” or “3dc inc” or some such.

To do this in foundation stitches, you work the first stitch of the group as a foundation stitch, and then work the rest of the stitches in the group into the base of that first stitch (as regular stitches, not foundation stitches). Once your increase is done and you’re ready to work in a straight line again, you insert your hook in that same spot yet again, but start making foundation stitches again.

Here is is in dc stitches:

Start with a foundation stitch:
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Make a dc stitch (NOT a foundation dc) into the ch1 at the bottom of the previous stitch:
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Do that as many times as you need to, always inserting your hook into that same spot. Then, work a foundation double crochet to continue on in a straight line:
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Here’s what the 3dc increase looks like:
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December 9, 2014
by mio
0 comments

Foundation Stitches – General instructions

Here, you will find a more general version of this tutorial I posted ages ago, with a few extra things clarified. I am using double crochet in this tutorial as well because I feel like it’s a good stitch to learn this technique on. However, the instructions are written in such a way that you can (hopefully) easily apply this technique to any crochet stitch, from single crochet, all the way up to bullion stitches (if you are feeling so insane inclined).

A note about terminology – I was introduced to this technique so long ago, that I don’t even remember where I learned about it, but I’m positive it was called “chainless foundation” stitches. I like the term as I feel it differentiates it from the base chain, which is sometimes called a foundation chain. Current trends are calling this technique “foundation” stitches, omitting the “chainless”, mostly because the chains are still in there. It is the same technique. In patterns you will see it referenced as “foundation dc” or “fdc” (or “foundation sc” and “fsc” and so on…)

Let’s get started!

To understand this technique better, you must first look at your stitches in a slightly different way than you might normally.

Divide the stitch into two parts. The first part involves putting loops on your hook. The last part involves working the loops off of your hook.

For example: with double crochet, the first part would be “yo, insert hook, pull up a loop. 3 loops on hook”. The last part would be “yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through 2 loops”.

For foundation stitches, you sneak a little “ch1″ in between those two parts (that’s the easy part).

So, for a foundation double crochet (fdc) you would do:
yo, insert hook, pull up a loop. 3 loops on hook
ch1 (yo, pull through 1 loop, 3 loops on hook)
yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through 2 loops

This is how you break down any stitch you want to work this way.

For example: for single crochet stitches, the first part is “insert hook, pull up a loop. 2 loops on hook”. The last part is “yo, pull through 2 loops”.

So, for a foundation single crochet (fsc) you would do:
insert hook, pull up a loop. 2 loops on hook
ch1 (yo, pull through 1 loop. 2 loops on hook)
yo, pull through 2 loops

The tricky part to this technique is: where do I insert my hook? In the examples above, where it says “insert hook” you insert your hook into the “ch1″ you put in the middle of the instructions for your last stitch. Make sure you go under both arms of the V, just like you normally do when working into a previous stitch. Don’t worry, there are pictures of this below!

You may find it useful to put a stitch marker in the ch1 as you do it so that you can more easily find it when you go to do the next stitch. Once you get the hang of this technique, though, you should probably find you won’t need the stitch markers.

Start with a slip knot on your hook:
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ch1 (this is where you will be inserting your hook later)
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Make an appropriate turning chain for the stitch you’re doing. In this example, I’m doing double crochet stitches, and I’ve found that ch2 is a good turning chain for me when doing dc, so I ch2 for this picture (for a total of 3 chains)
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Now it’s time to do the first foundation stitch. Do any yarn-overs you need and insert your hook in that ch1 you did before (the chain farthest from your hook)
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This is the “first part” of the stitch.

Now ch1 (yo, pull through one loop)
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This is what the ch1 looks like from the bottom:
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Remember, put a stitch marker here if you think you might not be able to find it later!

Now it’s time to finish the stitch as you normally would!
(In my case: yo, pull through 2 loops twice)
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Here’s a view of the bottom of the stitch again:
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Do you see the 2 arms of the V? It’s kind of a rounded-looking V…

For the next stitch, go ahead and do any yarn-overs you need and insert your hook in that ch1:
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Here I am, finished the “first part” of my dc stitch:
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ch1 (yo, pull through one loop)
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Then finish your stitch as you normally would:
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Keep on going like this until you have as many stitches as you need:
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And keep an eye on the bottom of your stitches – you should have a nice row of V’s to match the ones on the top of your stitches:
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Remember, you can use this technique on any regular crochet stitch, from single crochet to bullion stitches. You can also do increases and decreases, just like in a regular row of crocheting. (Tutorials for how to do increases and decreases will be coming soon!)

July 25, 2013
by mio
4 Comments

Continuous Join-As-You-Go Tutorial

Lately I have been completely obsessed with the continuous join-as-you-go concept. The idea is to take the concept of join-as-you-go, where you join one motif to another while working the last round (which can add a lot of ends to weave in if you want the joining rounds to all be the same colour), and working it in such a way that you don’t need to cut the yarn when you move from one motif to another.

It’s kind of like those puzzles where you have to draw a certain shape without lifting your pencil.

There is a way to use this technique on just about any square layout, but for this tutorial I’m going to focus on the standard one – all of the squares are exactly the same size and are arranged in a regular grid. This exact method can also be used if you arrange your squares of different sizes so that every column of squares has only one size of square in it. This version takes some math to make sure you end up with a rectangle in the end, but don’t worry – I’ll be releasing a layout that works very soon!

You will want to familiarize yourself with a granny square join-as-you-go technique like this one. (I have been using a slightly different version lately, where I don’t remove the hook before inserting it in the space on the other motif, then ch1)

Let’s get started!

The first thing you need to do is decide on a layout for your squares. Here is a layout of 6 squares with a schematic for a general overview of what we’ll be doing:
cjayg-schematic

Take the square from the top right corner and crochet around three sides:
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Take the square that goes *below* that corner square and put it next to the square you were just working with. Work 3dc into the corner of the second square:
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Now rotate that second square up and join it along that side to the first square:
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Crochet around two more sides of this second square:
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Continue adding squares down the column by repeating how you added the second square.

The last square of the column is slightly different! Only crochet along one more edge after the joining edge:
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Take the first square at the bottom of the second column and put it next to the last square of the first column. 3dc into the corner:
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Rotate the new square so that you can join that edge to the previous square. When you get to the corner of the square you’re working on, work 3dc in the corner, ch1, slip stitch to the adjacent space, or in this case since they line up, around the join of the adjacent two squares:
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ch1, then take the next square up in the second column and start joining it to the previous column:
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Do this with all of the squares in the second column so that you end up with something like this:
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It’s time to finish the edging on the second column now, which will work almost exactly the same way as the first column.
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Go all the way around the first square. When you reach the spot where four squares meet, ch1, join to the square directly across from the one you’re edging with a slst in the corner space, ch1, then start edging/joining the next square.
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Continue in this manner until all of your squares are joined.

All that will be left is to work across the bottom and up the right side of the blanket.

There are a few ways to do this to get it to look “normal”. I tried a few of them before settling on “3dc in the corner of the first square, ch1, sc between the edging on the two squares, ch1, 3dc in the corner of the next square”:
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I like to work a second round of edging (as each of the internal squares looks like it has two rounds of edging), and when I get to the bottom and right edge, I work a group of 3dc into the sc.

Here is the blanket before the extra outside border:
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Here it is with an extra round:
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The difference is subtle, but I like it. ^_^

April 9, 2013
by mio
2 Comments

Finishing School

I’m a bit late on this, but our next challenge is a bit of a doozy!

This time around, we’re in a finishing mood! Finish those WIP’s! Finish those patterns! Finish that stash organizing! Whatever makes sense to you!

Personally, I’ve started by organizing my WIP pile (it turns out there was a whole other couch under there!)
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… and hopefully finishing off some patterns I’ve been working on.

I’m going to make this a two-month challenge, so be ambitious!