September 1, 2016

Choosing the Right Yarn | Choosing Yarn Weights, Materials, and Colors

Just recently, I posted an easy-peasy conversion chart for crochet terms as well as abbreviations. Check it out here. 

I remember when I was just a beginner crocheter, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Since I had no resources, books, no blogs to follow; I was lost. My first crochet purchase was a Susan Bates 3.75mm hook and 1 skein of Red Heart Super. I desperately searched online for an easy to understand tutorial, and I only ended up with an ugly chain, a mess of yarn, and a teeny crochet hook. 

Have you ever been there? Or even, are you there? The truth is that you're not alone. Every single crocheter has had a learning phase. Thats alright!! Today we are going to crack down on all things yarn. 

Yarn is awesome. It really is. But how do we know what yarn we should buy? It all comes down to three things; weight, material, and color.


Though the process of buying yarn may not seem a huge deal, the right yarn is important because you want to achieve the a beautiful end product. You can spend hours making a beautiful white sweater... only to hear that your friend has a bad allergic reactions to natural wool fibers.

Here's the easiest way to find the PERFECT skein of yarn for your next project.


Yarn weight the thickness of yarn. There are about seven common categories of thickness. Lace weight, super fine/fingering weight, sport weight, light worsted DK, worsted weight, chunky, and extra bulky. 

Yarn weight is important because it will determine the thickness and bulkiness of your finished product. If you choose a beautiful lace weight yarn to make a shawl, you'll a beautiful drape effect. However, if you use a bulky or chunkier yarn... the fabric you create will become very big and stiff. 

It is important to know what kind of yarn you are looking for. Usually, most patterns will have a specific yarn recommendation. It's never a bad choice to use that same yarn, the creator of the pattern has tried out the yarn and has gotten positive results. If the yarn is not available to you, try to use yarn of similar weight. 

This can also give you a broader horizon when it comes to materials and colors. 


Material is what the yarn is consisting of. Fibers consists of two categories.  Man-made fibers and natural fibers. Yarns can have pure fiber or fiber blends. There are 100% acrylic yarns as well as yarn that have 5 different fibers. But fibers aren't just thrown into a basket of roving and spun into a random heap of yarn.

Each fiber has it's pros and it's cons. 

Acrylic yarn is durable, color fast, and easy to wash. Acrylic also comes in a variety of colors. Cotton fibers are good for warmer weather... as it is a more breathable material in the first place. It's a very lightweight category. Bamboo (made from the pulp in a bamboo stalk) yarns are very luscious and soft, great for babies and children.  

The list goes on and on even more into very complex yarn blends. But regardless, it's an important factor to think of when buying yarn for a project. For chunky and warm cowls... try a soft wool blend. A rug or placemat... try more durable yarn like acrylic or t-shirt. 

Just like the weight of the yarn, the yarn make-up itself is extremely important. 


Now you have found the perfect yarn for your kick-butt project, now you can choose the color scheme. In my opinion its the best part!!

Color can evoke many emotions and feelings. There is detailed psychology behind this... and it can be more interesting than you think. 

That's what makes it so fun. You have complete control over the mood  of your crafted piece. You can have lots of happy pastels for a colorful and upbeat project. Or you can imitate a gloomy and cold winter scene with dark hues of blue and gray. 

Color blocking, contrasting colors, and hues of colors are also great choices.

There is NEVER any wrong way to go when choosing colors. The sky is the limit!! Its what you as the creator feel like making that day... it is entirely up to you. 




August 28, 2016

Top 10 Crafting Pet-Peeves

Us crafters can get ticked real fast. Thats why today we're going to look at the Top 10 Crafting Pet-Peeves.

          Whether it's not being able to find the end in a yarn skein or getting the seam straight, creating is not easy!! Though it may seem that all we do is sit at our crafting table, couch, or machine we are busy at work making our finest. Why not steal a laugh to kick-off the week?



1. When you're crocheting in public and a stranger asks you what you're 'knitting'.


Please! Someone needs to put a stop to this!! Who else is tired of repeating it?




2. When someone thinks they're being cute and repeatedly asks if they can have it.


Um.... how about Christmas???

gulp :|




3. When you can't find the right scrapbooking paper of knitting needles.


The struggle is real!!




4. The overwhelming joy of find the end of the spool or skein.


"I feel very accomplished right now. Don't ruin it yet."



5. Oh the dangers of my home.


Haha, this one would drive my family nuts!!




6. The final shot before you're finished.


Just think about all those hours of watching Netflix with your favorite pattern!!




7.  IF you've finished that mountain of WIP's.


I'm no where close to that point!! Definitely not.




8. That creepy lady that stares at knitted objects at the mall... yeah thats me.



Guilty as charged, this meme was perfect!!




9. Walking down the yarn aisle like a happy kid.


Oh yass gurl!




10. Figuring out the airline regulations for each flight.


               This one got me on my last international flight!! Why can't each country have an easy search bar like the TSA?







That's it for now! I wish you a happy Monday (not that it necessarily exists). If you'd like to see more of my favorite memes check out the board on Pinterest or simply share on social media with your friends! 

I'll see you soon...cheers.





August 21, 2016

Crochet Abbreviations | US and UK Terminology

If you remember waaaay back last October I posted my first resource. The crochet abbreviation chart!! As I was scrolling through these images, I was mortified. Back then... I had a few screws loose in my head.

But now I have NEW ones for you! One in US terminology AND one in UK terminology!!



The patterns I use are usually written in US Terminology. US terminology is more dominant between crocheters and the web. Since most people learn to crochet with US terms, and therefore many of the published patterns are written on these terms. I learned to crochet in US Terminology (just spoken in a foreign language)!! Therefore my patterns on this blog are written in US Terminology. You can find my patterns in the "Patterns" tab above.

UK Terminology is different. Also known as British crochet terms, they are popular through Europe and out. Though these terms aren't that different, it can be tricky to convert to and from a pattern in US terms. But how are they so different?

Differences 

Again, American and British crochet is not too different. UK terms are one step up from US terms. To further explain, here's an example using a US terminology double crochet(dc) stitch.

In this example, the British term would be Treble Crochet Stitch. In American terms it is still Double Crochet Stitch. The way the stitch is crocheted is the SAME. The name does not change anything.  An American double is crocheted the same way as a British treble. *Yarn over, insert hook into stitch. Yarn over and pull up two loops, pull through last two.*

But why is this so important?  Why do we as the crocheter have to change a perfectly beautiful pattern? Can't we just use a pattern in foreign terms and be okay? The answer is no, we really can't. If last week you went through something like me... you'd understand.

I started crocheting a beautiful backpack I found on Pinterest for my mom (Christmas crochet season is running away ladies)! The tutorial was beautiful and easy to understand, I had the perfect color yarn for it. But then I got to the 5th row and saw, Dc for the next 43 rounds, fasten off. Immediately I knew something was wrong. I scrolled through the pattern, trying to figure out where it came from. At the top were beautiful highlighted words stating that the pattern was written in UK terminology.

And, yes. I was very angry that I had learned to read patterns through an American eye.

If you just remember this 'one step' rule, you should be fine!! Now that you know, converting US and UK terms should be easy. Here you can download a conversion chart! as well as a charts with the US abbreviations and UK abbreviations.

Here you can download the US and UK Conversions. Basic stitch names and directions can be found all in one place!!!

Next is the US Crochet Abbreviation chart. All the correct stitch names and their abbreviations are here. Directions also included!

Last but not least, here is the UK Crochet Abbreviation chart. Like the US Abbre. it has all your basic stitches and the unique directions with their abbreviations.

That's it for this week everyone!! I hope that this helps you as much as it'll help me! Now converting crochet terms will be a breeze!!! 

Also, please share on social media and follow Geekly Chic Crochet on our platforms!! See our links here.  We will appreciate it!

                               Cheers,
                                                                                        

April 20, 2016

Crochet With Unsual Material

I bet you just read the title, Crochet With Unusual Materials. What does she mean by 'unusual'. If you don't crochet with plastic, then yes this will be unusual for you.

       
          For hundreds of years, knitters and then crocheters have either used natural or synthetic fibers spun together to create a strand. Depending on the thickness, they use a proper size of needles and hooks. But some have dared the fiber arts; in a out-of-the-box way. You can take a cheap house hold materials and create your own yarn!!!!!

       


Plarn is a term for "plastic yarn". Its pretty simple, yarn made of plastic. Many make plarn using plastic grocery bags. I made plarn myself...its SUPER fun. And the crochet outcome is amazing. It can stoke just about anyone you meet and the look you get is very one of a kind!!!
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About.com Style
Alexis from the blog Persia Lou has even tried crochet with plastic table cloths! I love that you have control over your colors and patterns. Why not take a dollar store item and transform it into something better? 

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Great tutorial by Alexis @PersiaLou

Now lets move on to something thought impossible. PAPER YARN. Yes, someone thought of this before you did. This world has very very creative people!!! I can't imagine the patience it takes. Considering...
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Similar to this yarn, Mademoiselle Chaos also has a tutorial.

I'll be honest, this one surprised me. Denim crochet is a real thing. No longer a fantasy. This technique is similar to T-Shirt yarn. It creates a continuous strand of yarn, letting you crochet and knit with it easily. This design is especially creative, adding the denim jean features.
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Tutorial by Diary of a Creative Fanatic

And last but certainly not the least, t-shirt yarn. as a byproduct of the t-shirt industry, this fiber has become very popular. You can make and also buy this yarn. Similar to plarn's characteristics, it can be durable and great for household items and accessories. It too is created like our denim yarn. By far, this tutorial by Mollie Makes is the clearest. If you are looking into new material I definitely recommend this.


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Mollie Makes tutorial



Heck is this cool or not!!! I'm going back on my yarn shelves and digging out that leftover plarn. What I am doing this year and the next is making plarn out of all my Micheal's bags. I'm collecting every bag,  cutting little strips inch by inch. I look forward to making a bag with it for my future yarn hunting!!

Peace 'til next time...

Lisa ;)

April 11, 2016

Name of the Game: How to Price Your Items

The inquisitive customer looks you in the eye. Your palms start to sweat, you're starring around the room. Your mind just can't decide on a number. As your eyes are directed back to the customer, you exhale deeply...



     We've all been there, we made something for a friend or valued customer and can't decide on a price. As ridiculous as it may seem. i got an email this week, exactly about this. Many of my custom orders come from people that I know...so when it comes to the payment, I really freak out. My very first oppurtunity to sell, A.K.A. the 5th grade Entrepreneur Fair, the highest price item was $4. And many of those patterns were terrible, and took me a few hundred terrible months to complete. Don't take crochet orders when you're 10 years old. I repeat!!!
     There are many methods out there; I like this one because it is so sweet and simple! No math or business terms. It can be done in a few simple steps. Material, Production, and You.
 




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    Never, sell yourself too short. (This applies to all parts of my method). The first and foremost thing you need to cover is your supplies. Wether it's yarn, your hook, the lining fabric, or zipper. You can't pay for the supplies yourself. Why? Think of it this way. You are the artist. In order to be an artist and perform your art, you must have your tools. Without your tools nothing be produced. If the customer wants your product, they must get you the supplies. If you didn't, then you would not make profit.

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     Once you have the materials to make the product...you have to now make the product. Think about it. Apple didn't invent & make their product in a day. It took many years to learn how to make these electronics. It took months to design. Then find supplies. Then produce. It goes on and on. If you sell phones on Etsy or not the question is how much it costs to produce and package and ship. Maybe your job takes up a few minutes. Maybe you have selected ingredients from far away. Maybe you went to the Kroger across the street to make it. Either you have a full blown facility or you stay at the comfort of your home. How much did it cost to make it??

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     This isn't being selfish, but it all comes down to what you went through to make the finished piece. If you crochet and knit like me, did this project use difficult stitches? Did you spend your entire Saturday? What sacrifices did you make? Was this stressful and did it get into your way? Maybe not. Maybe you poured your love and attention or dedication into the buyer's possession. This is like the production part. This is your paycheck. What do you deserve. Yes, the customer is always right and their needs are to be met. But you are also in the equation. Don't forget yourself.   :)


So next time you are deciding a price, look at this again and go through slowly. Take your time. The price is an important part of your business.

February 21, 2016

Let's Talk Ami

     Have you ever seen that plushy on Pinterest and wondered, how is it that humanly possible to actually CROCHET that thing? 


I was at that point as well. Yes that was a long time ago for me, but the same question still crosses my mind. This is called amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting 3-D objects such as stuffed animals and characters(stay tuned to see my first amigurumi project). First though, we have to know where it originated from.

Amigurumi started evolving from Japan to the world in the 50's. According to Wikipedia, western cultures didn't actually explode over amigurumi until 2003. They also mention that in 2006 it was the most popular selling item on Etsy. You tell that now its much larger than that, and still counting.

Yeah, okay, its from Japan and all... but what does the word amigurumi(編みぐるみ)mean?  'Ami' means knitted or crocheted; and  'nuigurumi' means stuffed toy or doll. Just as Rachel from Little Yarn Friends said,"...so knitt it, stuff it, and you have amigurumi." Pretty self explantory.

Most ami projects include, worsted/DK yarn and a hook smaller than the usual. Typically I use a 3.75mm F hook. The reason for this is to create a gauge that keeps the poly-fill stuffing in the crochet stitches. You'd hate to make something so looses and open that it falls apart. Safety toy eyes and stitch markers are also used. Safety toy eyes are an alternative to embroidered or button eyes. You can find them in various sizes and colors, from black to neon. Stitch markers help you keep your round end and start visible.  Amigurumi is worked in a spiral to leave out the stripe effect of color changing.

Last but not least, I wanted to prove to you that I wasn't an expert from the start. Here is a look at my first amigurumi project. An adorable baby pink elephant!


     Everyone welcome Ellie!! She was made by a pattern from Crochet by DK Publishing. As you can see, her ears and eyes are crooked and uneven, her tail still has an undarned thread, but heck. Its not that bad. You can imagine my excitement when I finished her. Surprised my parents didn't throw a party for me and my friends!!

Thnx,

          Lisa
Me after my first orchestra concert...

February 14, 2016

Meredith Slouch Hat~ FREE PATTERN

Hey Guys!

      Have you ever looked at somebody and said to your-self, she'd look good in a slouch hat. If not then that's okay. It just means you haven't gone mad like me.
  Today is yet another free pattern day. This is a really cute hat for anybody. Its also perfect if you want to look good and warm in the Fall and Winter. So with out further a do let's make the thing!

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Materials
  • Fingering weight yarn. I used a wool blend from a local farm, Wild Rose Farm
  • Chunky yarn. My choice was Charisma from Loops & Threads.
  • 4mm 'F' and a 6mm 'J' hook
  • Darning Needle and Scissors
  • Buttons and Thread(optional)
 Notes
  • You'll start with your thinner yarn and 4mm hook. 
  • The brim will be worked with chunky yarn.
  • Join rounds and chain as you normally do.
  • Made to fit a teen/adult. You may resize with more or less increase rounds.

1) Begin with a mr and dc 12.
2) 2 dc in each st.
3) *Dc, 2 dc in next. Rep from * to end.
4) *Dc in next 2, 2 dc in following. Rep from * to end.
5) *Dc in next 3, 2 dc in following. Rep from * to end.
6) *Dc in next 4, 2 dc in following. Rep from * to end.
7) *Dc in next 5, 2 dc in following. Rep from * to end.
8) Dc in each st around.
9 and on) Keep on rep row 8 until your hat has the desired slouch you want. Remember the brim you're getting ready to make. This will take up about 2 inches of your forehead. Fasten off.

For the brim... take your 6mm hook and thicker yarn. Tie on your yarn in any random stitch.

1) Ch 9.
2)Sc in 2nd ch from hk. On the hat,skip on stitch,sl st into the next.You might find its easier to skip 2.
3) Ch 1, turn.  Sc into the back loops(bl) only. By doing this you're creating a ribbed effect.
4) Ch 1, turn. Sc in bl. Join to hat like we did in row 2.
5 and on) Rep rows 3 and 4 until you've reached all the way around the hat.

Now stitch the two open sides of the brim together. After you've finished completely; sew on buttons and/or embellishments. VOILA !! Enjoy your hat.




Thnx,


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