Crochet 101: Single Crochet

How to make a single crochetLearning to crochet can take a little bit of time and practice, but is a hobby that you can enjoy your entire life. Not to mention the fact that you can also make some pretty great items for your wardrobe and home.

Once you know how to make a slip knot and chain, the next stitch you need to learn is the single crochet.

You can use any type of yarn as you are learning basic stitches, but as a beginner I recommend cotton because it is inexpensive and not very stretchy.

Materials


Directions


Start by making a chain.

When you are following a crochet pattern, it will tell you how many chains away from the hook your first stitch should be placed.

This is the first chain.

Tip: The loop that's around your hook is not counted.
And this is the second chain.

For our purposes we are going to put our first sc (single crochet) in the second chain from the hook.
How to Single Crochet

Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook.
Bring the yarn over the hook from back to front.
Pull the hook from left to right, catching the yarn in the hook.
Gently pull the yarn through the chain.
Now you have two loops on the hook.
Bring the yarn over the hook again. Slide the hook from left to right, catching the yarn in the hook.
Gently pull the yarn through both loops.
Yipee! Your first sc.

Let's make another.
Insert your hook into the next chain.
Bring the yarn over the hook.
Pull it through the chain so you have two loops on your hook.
Bring the yarn over your hook.
Pull the yarn through both loops.

Continue making single crochets across the entire chain.

When you get to the end of the row, ch 1 and repeat the same steps to sc in each stitch the other direction and keep practicing. As you work, try to make each single crochet the same size as the last.

How to make a single crochet

My next post will be twice as much fun and I'll show you how to double crochet.



Crochet 101: Slip Knot and Chain

How to make a crochet chainI'm getting ready to teach an introduction to crochet class next month. In preparation, I have been creating a step-by-step lesson for my students.

If you have always wanted to learn how to crochet, but feel intimidated about taking a lesson, over the next couple weeks I'll be sharing some very basic techniques so you can learn and practice in the privacy of your own home. At the end of the week, I'll even share a pattern for a washcloth so you can keep practice your new found skills and create something you can actually use around the house.

I like using cotton yarn with beginners because it's inexpensive, smooth and doesn't stretch as much as other fibers. That makes it easier for beginners to work with.

Materials



Directions


How to Make a Slip Knot -  Before you even pick up your hook, you need to make a slip knot to get things started.

Make a loop with the yarn, as shown, leaving about a 6-8 inch tail. (For photo purposes, I left a shorter tail.)
Put your thumb and index finger through the loop.
Pinch the strand on the skein side.
How to make a slip knot Pull the strand through the loop.
Pull on the tail to tighten the knot.
There are a variety of ways to guide the yarn with your left hand. I usually thread it over and under my fingers so that it ends up going over my left index finger. You may need to experiment to see how it is most comfortable for you to hold the yarn.
Insert your crochet hook into the loop.
Gently pull the yarn on the skein side to tighten the loop.
You want the loop to be secure around the hook, but there's no need to strangle the hook ;)
How to Crochet a Chain

To form a chain, bring the yarn over your hook.

Tip: A common abbreviation in crochet patterns is yo (yarn over). It means to bring the yarn over your hook from the back to the front, just like you are doing right now.
Pull your hook from left to right so you catch the yarn in the hook.
Carefully pull the yarn through the your first loop.

Hooray! You made your first ch (that's the abbreviation for chain).
Now let's try another.

Bring the yarn over your hook. slide the hook from left to right, catching the yarn in the hook.
Carefully pull the yarn through the loop.

As you practice making chains, first, repeat the steps until you are comfortable with the motion. After you can chain (without looking at the pictures or reading the directions) start to notice the tension of your yarn. The goal is for all your chains to be the same size and not too loose or too tight.

Crocheting is a lot like riding a bike. You may feel a little wobbly and uneven at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's a life long skill that's always there to bring you joy and help you relax.

How to make slip not and crochet chain

In my next post we'll add some dimension to your project and I'll teach you how to single crochet.




Crafty Saturday Show and Sell #38

Many thanks to Teena, from Serendipitini, who has been co-hosting Crafty Saturday with me, almost since its inception. Unfortunately, this is the last week Teena will be able to co-host. Fortunately, you can still enjoy interesting new projets on her blog and inventive items in both of her Etsy shops, Serendipitini and SerendipitiniPet.

Another Crafty Saturday change you may have already noticed, my co-host ZzzonkOwl has a new name. Dot's blog is now called All Things Etsy. It's the same blog with an exciting new focus that's sure to please anyone who buys or sells on Etsy.

Now on to things that have stayed the same, sharing two of  my favorite items from last week's link-up. Even though it is officially fall, temperatures here snuck back into the 100s, so I am still feeling a little summery.

Cross Stitch Pattern by lamonicadesigns
Floral Painting by artbymarion

Now, let's enjoy World Tourism Day (September 27) by sharing travel or culturally inspired items!




If you enjoy Crafty Saturday invite shoppers by sharing or +1 this post.





Picture Perfect: White Balance

Between my blog and my Storenvy shop, I take hundreds of pictures of my craft projects and products every month. I am continually looking for ways to improve my own photos because I know that quality photos attract customers and help me tell my crafting story.

You don't need to be a professional photographer, or have a fancy camera, to take decent pictures. There are a few simple things that anyone can do with a basic digital point and shoot camera. For example, taking your camera off of the "auto" setting and experimenting with different features, especially the white balance, can have a huge impact on your photos.

I adjust the white balance on my camera every time I shoot a series of photos. If you have ever noticed that your photos have a yellowish or bluish hue, your camera's white balance setting is probably to blame.

Here's how to show your product's true colors.


Most newer cameras have at least five white balance settings besides auto. They are sunny, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent and daylight fluorescent.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me show you how the white balance settings can change a photo. We'll start with a roll up artists case that I just made for my daughter. I took this picture inside with a white background and natural lighting from a window in the room. All of my camera settings remained the same except for the white balance. From left to right, my white balance settings were sunny, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, daylight fluorescent.

Learn how adjusting the white balance on your camera can impact your product photos
Click on the photo strip for a larger view

In this example the fluorescent setting provided a photo where the colors appear closest to the actual item color.

Now let's go outside and look at the fairy garden by my front door. Again, the only thing I adjusted in each shot is the white balance setting.

Learn how adjusting the white balance on your camera can impact your product photos
Click on the photo strip for a larger view

Even though I was taking the picture in the shade, the sunny setting produced the best results.

Here are a couple more examples, a hibiscus in my backyard

Learn how adjusting the white balance on your camera can impact your product photos
Click on the photo strip for a larger view

and one of the paintings hanging in my studio.

Learn how adjusting the white balance on your camera can impact your product photos
Click on the photo strip for a larger view

As you can see, the appropriate white balance setting depends greatly on your lighting conditions.

Don't be afraid to switch off the auto setting on your camera. It only takes a few minutes to experiment and see which white balance setting works best for your situation.


Craft Challenge Tutorial: Paper Bowl

How to make a paper mache bowl with Mod Podge and recycled magazine paperA couple months ago, my friend Teena, from Serendipitini, and I did a little recycled craft challenge using plastic. Today, we're back with another blog friend and a new material - paper, specifically catalog or magazine paper.

Let me introduce our upcycled challenge team and make sure to check out their incredible projects.


I decided to try a project that I have been envisioning for quite some time, a decorative (not for soup or cereal) paper mache type bowl. It's super easy to make, but rather time consuming and delightfully messy :)

Materials


  • catalogs or magazines
  • paper shredder
  • newspaper to protect your work surface
  • balloon
  • plastic bowl
  • Mod Podge Original, Gloss Finish
  • 1 inch wide flat paintbrush
  • pin or needle
  • scissors
  • yarn or string
  • tape
  • 1 inch wide foam brush

Directions


Start by shredding a few catalogs or magazines.
Cover your work surface with a couple pieces of newspaper.Blow up a balloon and place it tied side down in a bowl. The more you blow up your balloon, the bigger your paper bowl will be.
Use a flat brush to apply a generous amount of Mod Podge covering about a 4-inch square on the balloon.
Sprinkle on some paper shred.
Make sure the paper is flat against the balloon.
Paint a generous layer of Mod Podge over the paper shred.
Continue applying Mod Podge and paper until you have a nice layer of paper covering the balloon,

Let the Mod Podge dry over night.
After applying my first layer of paper, I held my balloon up to the light so I could see if I missed any spots. As you can see, I did. That's not a problem though.
Continue covering the balloon in Mod Podge and paper shred. I did five layers. Make sure to let the Mod Podge dry overnight before you add each layer.

Tip: I don't think you can really add too much paper or Mod Podge.
Once you have added 4-5 layers of paper and the Mod Podge is dry, you are ready to pop the balloon. If you want, place a couple pieces of tape on the balloon.
Poke a pin or needle into the tape and step back. Don't let go of the pin or needle because it could become a dangerous projectile when the balloon pops.

Pssssss.... Ka-Blam!
Peel the remaining balloon bits out of the bowl. It should be pretty easy.
Next you need to even out the jagged edges. Tie a string around the bowl. This is going to be your cutting guide, so make sure it is placed evenly. You can tape the string, so it doesn't slide around as you cut.
Use a sturdy pair of scissors to cut around the bowl 1/4 - 1/2 inch above the string.

Finally, use a foam brush to apply a coat of Mod Podge to the cut edge of the bowl and let it dry completely.
The inside of your bowl should be very smooth and the outside will be a bit bumpier. I just love this random, colorful bowl. It kind of reminds me of a bird's nest.

Tutorial: Decorative paper bird nest bowl

Now, hop on over to Serendipitini ans About Family Crafts to learn more about the incredible projects my blog buddies created. You'll never look at your junk catalogs and magazines the same way again!

Serendipitini - Leather, Wire and Paper Necklace

About Family Crafts - Fall Apple Bunting
If you would like to join our happy little group of crafty bloggers in our next upcycled craft challenge, just e-mail me and let me know you're interested.