Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cascading Fans Tunic/Dress

Hi, there, amigos!  Not a lot to post today, but I wanted to share a tunic/dress I recently made for my four-year-old niece.  A piece of advice:  Don't pull an all-nighter to make a garment when the little girl is asleep.  Guesstimating measurements is really not a good idea.  Who would have known?  It fits my 10-year-old niece perfectly.  I'm making a smaller one for my younger niece, this time with her around to try it on.  I'm attempting to put it to paper too.  Soon I hope to have it up on Ravelry.  It will be my first paid pattern!  How scary!

We have had a scorching heat wave in the Los Angeles area.  How are you all faring weather-wise?  Please send cool, rainy thoughts to us.  We desperately need them.

Hasta la proxima!

FYI, she is wearing shorts underneath :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Good Intentions

It's been a very long time again, hasn't it?  I always have good intentions to blog, but then I procrastinate.  I get too nervous because I don't feel I have much to say that's interesting.  I'll find a rhythm eventually, I guess.  Today I think I'll share some favorite techniques for starting and ending projects.


Technique No. 1:  Magic circle.  Why?  Because I can close the circle as tightly as I want.  I prefer no openings.  It works for making amigurumi or patterns with a circular beginning.  Here's a helpful video.

Technique No. 2:  Chainless foundations.  Why?  Because the side you start in with chains is usually narrower and/or tighter than where you end the project.  I hated this on blankets or scarves or really anything else.  I tried using bigger hooks to start the chains and switching to smaller hooks to continue, but I didn't like the result either.  This technique looks better, I think, and is a lot more elastic.  Here's a helpful video.


Technique No. 1:  Invisible finishing.  Why?  Because I like to be as clean and neat as possible.  Have you ever put granny squares together and accidentally counted the ending pointing where you slip stitched and cut the yarn as two stitches?  Maybe you haven't, but that ending section gets tricky when joining squares.  Even when not joining squares, I like the end of my projects to look uniform.  There's no awkward section where I finished off that's noticeable.  I think it's one of my favorite tips.  Here's a helpful video.

Technique No. 2:  Securely weaving in ends.  Why?  Because they like to get loose with washings or use.  They were a big pet peeve of mine until I learned this technique.  Whereas many tutorials suggest using a blunt tip needle, I use sharp needles.  I weave in back and fourth over the same section three times and make sure that the needle is splicing the yarn so that the ends are secure.  Then I pull a little, cut, and then flatten the piece.  I have yet to have any ends peek through since I started using this technique.  However, keep in mind that the thicker the yarn, the more noticeable the place where you wove in the end will be.  In that case, separate the end into two or three strands and weave into different sections.  Here's a helpful picture tutorial.

Technique No. 3:  Leave enough of a tail.  Why?  Because if you don't, all your hard work will unravel before your eyes.  Never, ever, ever cut your yarn right where you finish.  If anybody tells you it's worked for them, they haven't been keeping a close eye or the piece is framed.  I don't frame my pieces.  They're intended to be used.  Leave at least a 4-inch tail and weave in as demonstrated in technique No. 2.  You must keep in mind that something may eventually happen to your crocheted piece that will need emergency surgery.  Keep a long tail available to work with.  Yes, weaving it in securely makes it a bit of a pain to undo, but it is possible.  I've done it when I've found a mistake that I have had to go back and correct.  Those long tails have helped a lot.

So there you have it!  I will post pictures of many things I've made since I was last here.  One thing I never made was a video tutorial for the soccasins.  I am playing with the idea of making it a photo tutorial split into several posts, sort of like a CAL.  I hope it generates enough interest to do the same with other free patterns.

Have a happy weekend, everybody!