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Thursday, January 19, 2012


If you have ever been interested in knitting or crocheting, then chances are you have heard of something referred as Tunisian crochet. In this article some of the history will be covered as well as some ideas for using Tunisian crochet instructions.

This particular kind of crocheting differs from classical crocheting and knitting in many key ways. I am going to cover some of the basic instructions on Tunisian crochet. Tunisian crochet is considered by the majority to be a hybrid between knitting and crocheting. The distinct fabrics created by this particular technique look more as if they have been woven rather knitted or crocheted.

Tunisian crocheting is done on a long hook with a stopper on one end of it and the hook on the other end. This is similar to a knitting needle in the fact that it is long. The stopper keeps the many stitches held on to the hook.

Tunisian crochet is different from the other two forms of creating fabric in the fact that each row is done in two specific passes. First is the forward pass in which the loops are worked on to the hook and then there is the reverse pass, where the loops are worked off of the back of the hook.

When you are doing any sort of Tunisian crochet the work is never turned, meaning that the right side of the fabric will always remain facing the correct side. Another name for this particular kind of crochet is Afghan crochet or the Afghan stitch.

This particular type of crochet creates a more tightly woven fabric and is perfect for things like blankets, sweaters, or sweat shirts.

The fabric this crocheted material produces is very warm and works very well insulating the body. As this kind of crochet makes the fabric lock tighter together. Which, of course, means that it is going to be more likely to keep out the cold elements of weather because of the fact that there are fewer openings in which the wind can flow?

Afghan rugs (blankets) have become valuable because of this kind of crocheting creates an almost air tight kind of blanket. Which means that it is going to remain warm unless it gets wet, however if you manage to keep it dry it is a great insulator whether it be a shirt, sweater, or a blanket. A vest made with this particular technique is extremely effective to wear underneath a jacket as protection against the very cold weather.

Many item items can be made using Tunisian crochet instructions besides a vest. There are beautiful baby blankets, shawls, rugs, and even toys made with the Tunisian crochet method. This is a wonderful and fun stitch that can be applied to many projects.

Happy Tunisian Crocheting…

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The definition of Tunisian Crochet is a needlework technique that borrows elements from both knitting and crochet, creating sort of a fusion of the two techniques.

The tool used to create Tunisian crochet resembles a straight knitting needle, except that it has a hook at one or both ends. This hook is much longer than a typical crochet hook; like a knitting needle, it has to hold a large number of stitches.

There are two proper ways to hold your Tunisian crochet work. Traditional crochet can be worked using either the “knife grip” or the “pencil grip.” Tunisian crochet is typically worked using the knife grip. If you want to know how to hold the hook for Tunisian crochet, you can also study the grips that knitters use to hold their straight needles.

Tunisian crochet, like most traditional crochet, begins with a foundation chain. In traditional crochet, you work a row of stitches, and the row is then complete. At that point, you turn the work and move on to the next row. Tunisian crochet is different. With Tunisian crochet, each row is a two-step process, and you never have a need to turn the work.

The first part of the process, called “forward,” is similar in some ways to casting on in knitting. When working the return part of the row, you draw up a series of loops, which are all held on the hook until you complete the second part.

The second part, called the “return,” has similarities to the technique of binding off in knitting. When working the return part of the row, you basically consolidate the loops, one stitch at a time, until only one loop is left on the hook.

The fabric is constructed by completing rows in this manner, alternating between forward and return, until the project is the desired length. Alternately, Tunisian crochet can be worked in the round.

There is no limit on the variety of different Tunisian crochet stitches that can be created. Possibilities include cables, textured stitches, ribs, laces, and many others. Tunisian crochet can mimic either knitting or weaving. It is an amazingly versatile technique.

There are several other names for Tunisian crochet. When speaking, reading, or writing about Tunisian crochet, you might encounter crocheters who use any of the following terms to refer to this technique: Afghan crochet, Afghan stitch, Tricot crochet, Crochet knit, Tunis crochet, and Shepherd’s knitting.

Some people refer to Tunisian crochet as “Shepherd’s knitting.” The same phrase is also sometimes used to refer to Bosnian crochet or pjoning, which are not the same as Tunisian crochet.

Have fun learning a new-to-you crochet technique…

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Friday, January 13, 2012


How about wearing something fun and flirty to wear for the summer? Crocheted dresses are becoming more and more popular lately with good reason. They look good, have a unique appearance and are an interesting alternative to basic summer frocks and sundresses.

I have 3 granddaughters, of which all three are currently in college. When they were little, probably 2 to 5 years old, I crocheted each of them a little pink dress. The girls looked so cute in their matching dresses. You couldn't tell that I am a very proud Grandma, could you! As one of the granddaughters grew older, and grew a little taller, her mom would dress her in white tights, a long-sleeved white turtle neck shirt, and used the dress for a long top. So cute!

There are many variations of crocheted dresses, ranging from a simple cloth dress with a crochet detail added to a completely crocheted dress. For those who have craft and art abilities, you can easily dress up an old dress by crocheting an addition to it, maybe like crocheting a flower to pin on it

Some dresses have just the back crocheted, while others have a panel or two added to them with a crocheted insert. There really is no limit to what you can do if you want to add a bit of crochet to a garment – the sky is the limit. You can even crochet an old dress, or add a new hem to spice it up a bit.

One great thing is that crochet dresses can be used for a summer cover-up. They are perfect for the beach, because they are so open and airy. You can throw it on over a swimsuit and head on out. Just make sure you wear sunscreen, or you could get some pretty interesting tan lines.

Many designers are carrying crocheted dresses and a lot of celebrities have been seen wearing them as well. If you are handy with a crochet hook, you can copy the same look for much less than the designers are charging.

One of the beautiful things about crochet is that there are so many simple easy crochet patterns to choose from. You can go out shopping for something simple or shake things up a bit and try for a more complicated design. You can keep the pattern constant for the whole dress or change it up and hook different simple easy crochet patterns for different sections of the dress.

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You also have the option of choosing different kinds of yarn to use. You can do a simple, monochrome look for your dress if you like. White is a great color for summer and it really shows off a good tan. Another nice thing about a white crochet dress is that you can match it with assorted kinds and colors of jewelry or any other accessories of your choice. Pick different colors for your accessories and it will go with the crocheted white dress.

You have the option of selecting cotton or acrylic yarn. Acrylic yarn makes for a more durable dress and one that won’t shrink as much with washing. Cotton yarn can in some cases be more expensive to purchase but it has a wonderful feel and look to it. Some people prefer the feel of natural fibers such as cotton on their skin. You just have to be careful when washing it as it will shrink.

Whatever you choose, a beautiful white crocheted dress is a fantastic option for the summer time. Have fun with searching out a new project!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


In learning the art of crochet is to learn the basic beginning crochet stitches. The beginning stitches to learn include the chain stitch, the slip stitch, the double crochet stitch and the treble stitch. It is important to be confident and capable about forming these stitches, as the majority of simple easy crochet patterns include all essential that you learn at least one of these basic stitches. Nevertheless it will not be long before you find the need to have both in your crocheting skills.

To begin crocheting it is essential to start from the beginning setup position. This is achieved both looping the yarn around itself into a looped ring, then insert the hook and catch the yarn with your hook, and bring it back up through the looped ring and lastly by tightening the slip knot onto your hook. The next is to hold the crochet hook in your normal dominate hand in the style that suits you (either like a pen or as when holding a knife) while holding the yarn securely with your free hand just below the slip knot.

The chain stitch is the first crochet stitch used in all patterns; providing the foundation row or ring for either straight line or circular crochet. It is a very simple stitch abbreviated as ch in simple easy crochet patterns.

To work a series of chain stitches, wrap your yarn around your hook (two loops on hook) and then pull your hook through the first loop on its shaft. Now you have only one loop, and one chain stitch formed. Repeat this process for as many chain stitches are needed for your individual crochet pattern or project.

When crocheting in the round (circular garments like hats and doilies and squares are made this way) you need to join the chain stitches together with a slip stitch. A slip stitch is abbreviated to ss in simple easy crochet patterns. This is very simple. Just insert your hook into the middle of the first chain stitch crocheted, pick up the yarn and draw the hook back out again leaving two loops on the hook. Now just draw the hook through the first loop on the hook thus leaving only one loop on the hook and joining the work into a ring.

The double crochet stitch abbreviated to dc or in America the single crochet stitch is very similar to the of the slip stitch just described above. However, the hook is placed into the next stitch to be worked. This will vary depending on what project you are making. After inserting the hook into the appropriate position, pick up the yarn and draw the hook back out of the stitch, leaving two loops on the hook. Now wrap they an again around the hook making three loops on hook. Now wrap the yarn again around the hook making three loops on the hook. Finally draw the hook through all the loops to leave just the one loop on the hook, with one double crochet stitch worked.

The last basic crochet stitch we are going to deal with is the treble stitch, abbreviated to tr in crochet patterns and also known as the double crochet in America. This is the hardest of the basic crochet stitches and is the meat and vegetables of crochet, as many advanced stitches and techniques are based around this stitch. Consequently it is a good idea to be proficient at performing this crochet stitch.

To crochet a treble stitch, first wrap the yarn around the hook before inserting your hook into the stitch where you wish your treble to be located. Catch the yarn as before and draw the hook out of the stitch. At this point you will have three loops on your hook. Again wrap the yarn around your hook, making four loops on the hook. Now draw the hook through the second and third loops on the hook, leaving you with two loops on your hook. Wrap the yarn around the hook again making three loops and draw the hook through these remaining loops, leaving you with just one loop on the hook and one treble formed.

You now have the basic techniques to crocheting, as we have covered the basic crochet stitches. You will be amazed at how many patterns and projects are now at your disposal with just this limited amount of crocheting knowledge. Take some time and go look for yourself. And have fun while you are shopping for yarn, thread, supplies, tools and simple easy patterns!

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Friday, January 6, 2012


If you love to crochet and are looking for an easy and exciting way to add new dimension to your work, beaded crochet might be just the answer.

Whether you prefer to crochet little niceties to give your home that warm, personal, cared-for look that only homemade items can give, or clothing and accessories to dress up your wardrobe and express your own unique taste and preferences, beadwork offers something for you. You can add beads to doilies, place mats, edgings, sweaters, purses, or jewelry – to name just a few – using your own designs or adapting pre-printed simple easy crochet patterns.

As with most patterns, it is best to get started on a small scale. That way you can keep the extra equipment and new tricks you will have to learn to a minimum. Then explore, using new materials, tools and techniques as you get more comfortable with what you have learned so far.

If you will be working with something small, such as seed beads or a larger bead with a small hole, you will need to acquire some beading needles and a needle threader. You will also need a small tapestry needle for weaving in the ends when finishing.

Now we will explore some threading tips. Threading small beads can be difficult if the thread is too heavy for the needle. Here is a trick to help you. First, you will need a spool of fine sewing thread. Second, lay the end of your beading thread over an 8 inch to 10 inch length of the sewing thread and tie two overhand knots tightly around the beading thread with the sewing thread. Third, thread one end of the sewing thread into the beading needle and string your beads over the sewing thread and down onto the beading thread.

As to your choice of beading thread, you have many options, depending on the size of beads you have chosen. You can use a size 8 pearl cotton or size 20 or 30 crochet cotton for small seed beads up to a size 3 cotton crochet for large wooden beads. Depending upon the technique you are using and whether or not the crochet stitches will be highly visible in the design, you may want to work with some of the lovely metallics available

Now it is time to talk about how to string beads. It is helpful, and highly recommended, to have a compartmentalized dish or a fishing tackle box or any other container with compartments, would work fine. These will be needed to hold all the different colors and sizes of the beads with which you will be working with. With just a little practice you can dip your beading needle down into the desired compartment, skim the needle lightly just under the surface, and thread a number of beads at the same time, adding or subtracting beds as needed.

It is important to keep in mind that your beads are always strung backwards. Begin stringing with the last color you will use and work back to the first color. If you make a mistake somewhere along the line because the kids are having a quarrel or the dog wants to be let out (or in), don’t panic. Just snip the thread right alongside the offending bead, slip it off, and if necessary, slip on the correct color. Then proceed to join in the tread as you would normally join it in. Pause long enough to tie an over knot on the wrong side (WS) of your work where the new and old threads meet, and work over the ends, for a few inches. This will avoid the tedious job of weaving in all of the ends after completion.

Now the fun begins!! Head on out to your favorite hobby shop or a craft shop or just settle down comfortably into an easy chair with a mail order catalog and a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate (or a cool glass of lemonade if the temperatures are soaring). Then you will want to let your imagination run wild in the bead department.

There is an almost infinite number of beads available in just about any size, color or shape you can think of. Imagination and sometimes the pocketbook are all that might limit you. However, beautiful beads can be found in any price range, and by combining the right sizes, shapes, and colors, you can create something just as eye-pleasing and fun to make with inexpensive beads as with beads that are more pricey.

Now we will explore the different ways of adding beads to your work using the basic stitches: ch, (chain stitch) sc, (single crochet) hdc, (half-double crochet) dc, (double crochet) and tr. (triple crochet). It all starts by simply sliding the desired bead up to your hook and then proceeding to work the chosen stitch. For example, to work a beaded ch (bch) (beaded chain), slide the bead right up against your hook and ch 1 (chain 1).

For a beaded sc (beaded crochet), insert your hook into the desired st. (stitch), yo (yarn over), draw up a lp (loop), slide the bead up against the hook and complete the sc in the usual manner. For a beaded hdc, (beaded half-double crochet), work the hdc in the usual manner until there are 3 loops on the hook, slide the bead up against the hook and complete your hdc.

On a dc, beads can be added at almost any or all stages of the st (stitch). You can do a *yo, insert the hook into the desired st, yo and draw up a loop, slide the bead up against the hook, then proceed to work loops off as usual; or you can work from * to *, do a yo, and draw through 2 loops on hook, then slide another bead up against the hook, and complete the dc. as usual. This results in a 2 beaded dc. A third option is the work the dc in the usual manner with no beads until two loops before the final yarn over (yo) rem on the hook, slide the bead up against the hook and complete the dc (double crochet).

The same principles apply to the tr (triple crochet). Experiment so you can see how each method looks, and then decide which you prefer based on the effect you want to achieve. Also make a note that, as a general rule, beads are added on WS (wrong side) rows because they have a tendency to settle on the side of the work that is away from you.

While working with beads and learning how to use them in crocheting, you will see how beads can add pizzazz to your work without a lot of fuss or expense.

I hope you will find that beading is fun and relaxing.

Happy beading…

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Most crocheters have become familiar with the fact that many crochet laces originated as attempts to replicate other forms of lace. Filet crochet is yet another example of this phenomenon. In some cases, it is an attempt to replicate net darning, also called “real filet.”

Like “real filet,” filet crochet is composed of blocks and spaces. The blocks in filet crochet are usually composed of 3 dc, the spaces of 2 chs followed by 1dc. The use of these blocks and spaces allows crocheters to introduce all manner of patterns, mottoes, and pictures – from the whimsical to the sub-line – into your work.

During the early part of filet crochet’s history, mottoes and pictures were often cleverly combined. For instance, an antimacassar bore the words, “Take a” and a picture of a chair; a cover for rolls had the inscription “Hot rolls make the” and a picture of a butterfly.

Most filet crochet today is worked from charts, often combined with a minimal amount of written instructions. Charts are generally read from right to left for RS (right side) rows and left to right for WS (wrong side). Since the pictures or patterns are presented on a chart comprised of squares, the ratio of stitch to row gauge is particularly important in filet crochet if you do not want the picture or pattern on your finished piece to be distorted.

For the most part, unless some type of adjustment has been made in the execution of the design on the chart, you want your row and stitch gauge to be identical; i.e., if you get 5 spaces to the inch, you also need to get 5 rows to the inch. Too much of a variation in this ratio will result in a finished piece with the pattern that is either elongated or flattened, depending upon in which direction the ratio is off.

As I previously mentioned, filet crochet is usually worked with double crochets (dcs), but it has been found that a triple crochet (tr) worked with ch-2 spaces will give a better stitch (st) to row gauge, hence a finished piece that will reflect the design as it is presented, without distortion from your simple easy crochet pattern.

Perhaps you already have a favorite simple easy crochet filet pattern that is too pretty to hide away in the house. Then why not take it out and about with you by turning it into a purse, dressy or causal, to suit your taste. While the entire design may be too large for your purpose, you can isolate an element to work on as you have the time.

You can also try using a finer thread and a smaller hook. Or, if your chosen design is too small, try a heavier thread and a larger hook. Keep making swatches until you find a thread and hook that will give you the right size and an appropriate fabric for your intended project.

Filet crochet also lets you to give it your personal touches. You can personalize any design by adding color. Instead of working it entirely in white or ecru, work the image of the pattern in a color that will match your d├ęcor.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. Just unleash your imagination and enjoy the distinctive results.