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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
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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
2 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!

April 1, 2013
by mio
1 Comment

Fare thee well

Dear Readers,

I have greatly appreciated your support over the years. It was the best of times. It is with some regret that I must inform you that we are coming to an end here.

Some of you may remember a post I made a few years ago about why I started to crochet. To recap: I wanted to make a granny square blanket.

Now, I have made a few of these over the years: my first was one giant granny square. I also did some wonky things with layout. But I had never reached my ultimate goal.

Until today.

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That, ladies and gents, is a blanket made up of equally sized granny squares joined together to form a blanket.

It only took about 17 years, but I finally did it.

What now? Well, it’s time to stop crocheting, clearly. There’s nowhere left to go. Nothing left to explore. The goal has been met, and it’s happiness all around.

My best regards,
Mio

March 11, 2013
by mio
0 comments

A Bit Behind

Ok, so I know we were doing the novelty yarn challenge last month, but holy macaroni, look at this!

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That, ladies and gentlemen, is mio’s hat, made with Loops & Threads Pom-pom yarn as colour A, and Bernat Waverly as colour B, and using a 6.5mm double-ended hook.

I did make some alterations to the pattern, though. I did four wedges, and I’m pretty sure (it was hard to see what I was doing) that I missed 8 stitches on each one.

You may recall from my swatch that I discovered that this stitch pattern is only stretchy on the diagonal, and since stretchiness is a coveted feature in hats, I had to make one major change: This hat is made sideways, so the bottom edge of the hat will be at one end of a row and the top of the hat will be at the other end of the row; which end is which changes depending on the row. Basically, I added a stitch to the end of the row that was the bottom of the hat, and I made a decrease at the end of the row that was at the top of the hat.

I increased on the “lift up loops” part of each row by simply inserting the hook through the fabric between two vertical bars and pulling up a loop that way. I decreased on the “work the loops off” part of each row by doing a “yarn over, pull through two” if it was the first thing I needed to do on a row, or “yarn over, pull through three” if it was the last thing I needed to do on a row.

Now, mio’s hat is supposed to be a reversible pattern, but I don’t think this hat works well that way:
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Actually, it IS reversible, but perhaps doesn’t look very fashionable this way. It is, however, super-duper soft on the pom-pom side, so maybe you’d want to wear it that way anyway!

Sadly, this hat is too small for me. It’s stretchy, but not that stretchy! So here is Roopurt modelling the hat in a sexy glamour shot:
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She’s really, really beautiful, and not at all laying down because she’s been washed so often that the beanbag that is supposed to be supporting her neck keeps falling down into her bum. Honest.

March 3, 2013
by mio
3 Comments

Advanced Marathon

It’s March, and we all know what that means! It’s NatCroMo! National Crochet Month. Woohoo!

We’re going to merge our Project Crochet plan with the events of NatCroMo, which in this case means that our challenge for this month is: pick an advanced technique (or two, or three…) and run with it. Put it through its paces. See what it can do.

Pick a technique that you’ve never done before, or one that you have done and always meant to get back to.

Some ideas: Tunisian crochet, double-ended hook crochet, broomstick lace, hairpin lace… or maybe pick a particular stitch pattern like Jacob’s Ladders, crocodile stitch, or Bavarian crochet… the sky’s the limit!

For the truly daring: come up with something new! (Good luck with that!!)

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(Bavarian Crochet test swatch)

February 26, 2013
by mio
0 comments

Pom-Pom On The Double

I’m afraid I might be in the bottom three this month!

All I’ve managed to do with the novelty yarns so far is this swatch:
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It was made on a double-ended hook with Loops & Threads Pom-Pom and Bernat Waverly yarn. This is what the back looks like:
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I know, the colours don’t really go… but I used my patented “grab what’s nearby” method of yarn choosing.

I don’t think this fabric will work well with any of my current double-ended hook patterns. It’s not at all stretchy in two directions. It is stretchy when you pull it diagonally. I’m thinking maybe I’ll merge the mio’s hat pattern with the Hope’s hat pattern.

What has kept me so busy? This:
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That is my Jacob’s Snakes and Ladders pattern made all in one colour. Mostly to see what it would look like, but also to see how much yardage it would use. Almost 3100 yards! It’s a bit wider than I was aiming for, but it works. ^_^ It’s going to Blankets for Canada at work.

Oh, and so is this one:
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Also, way too many hats and scarves. :P

There are still a few days left in February though… perhaps I can pull off some kind of miracle! ^_^

February 5, 2013
by mio
4 Comments

Blankets For Canada at Michaels

Some of you have already noticed the new page listed up top there – B4C. If you haven’t clicked on it yet, B4C stands for Blankets For Canada.

I have taken up the position of Blankets For Canada coordinator at the Michaels I work at – Dixie Mall in Mississauga.

As a basic overview, this is how it works:

Crocheters and knitters make 8″ squares out of worsted weight acrylic yarn:
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Bring them into the store and drop them in the bin located near the yarn department in the classroom:
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And once a month we get together and join them together into blankets that are then donated to the local homeless shelters:
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We had our first joining party on January 20th and I think it went really well! It was my first time organizing something like this, and I couldn’t have hoped for more, really!

I sat down with the classroom coordinator and booked the classroom for the rest of our joining parties for 2013. Generally speaking, we will be meeting on the last Sunday of each month with some key exceptions: in March, the last Sunday is Easter and we’ll be closed, so the joining party will happen the second-to-last Sunday. In July, the last Sunday is my birthday (^_^) and so the joining party will happen on the second-to-last Sunday. We will be taking a break from joining parties in November and December as it’s just too busy a time. Not to worry, the blankets will still get joined together during those months (albeit, more slowly), and any excess squares brought in during that time will be joined at a big party in January 2014.

For the most up-to-date information about this program at the Dixie Mall location of Michaels, always check out the B4C page here.