Trending on Pinterest

Are you a Pinterest fan? Pinterest is a great way to keep track of all the things you find and love on the web. If you have not discovered this fun, addictive form of social media you can go here to register and get started (it’s free). You can then create ‘boards’ and ‘pin’ your favorite finds by topics or projects. You might start a board for a remodeling project in your home, pinning all the neat ideas you find in one place. Or you could create a board to keep track of all the crochet projects you want to make, creating a separate board for gift ideas, or baby sweaters, or helpful crochet techniques. The possibilities are endless, as they say! Other people can look at your boards and repin their favorites adding to the number of repins and popularity.

We look at Pinterest to see what is trending in crochet and to keep track of what is currently popular. It is always inspiring to see all the beautiful crochet that is getting noticed and pinned!

Today we’re sharing a few things that have been trending this past month from Crochet World magazine, our online newsletter, Talking Crochet and this blog, Crochet Connection.

Many people have repinned our November 2014  blog post on how to make the magic loop. We have had loads of comments thanking us for posting these helpful directions. You’ll notice that when you go to this past blog post and hover your curser over the picture, it will give you the option to Pin it to one of your boards so you can find it later when you need it.

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 Another tutorial that has received a large number of pins, is this one on beginning and ending color changes with no visible join. Read the full post here.

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Over 3500 people have pinned this beautiful set of three doilies, Pretty Pineapples. We’re sharing the link to the free pattern here just in case you missed it.

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Another popular pinned Crochet World project this month has been Sunny Days Flowers, a pretty throw recently offered as a free pattern on our Talking Crochet Newsletter website.

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We hope you enjoy sharing and pinning these current crochet trends on your Pinterest board!

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There’s No Fooling Around With Gauge!

There’s a word many crocheters dread – gauge! Maybe it’s because in the excitement of starting a new project, you just want to get going! You may groan about making a gauge swatch because you never get the right gauge and don’t know what to do about it. Or you may not know the purpose of a gauge swatch and think it’s not that important and then find out your sweater doesn’t fit!

Today we’ll cover some of the basics of making a gauge swatch, measuring accurately and even some tips and ideas to help you enjoy, or at least tolerate, the process of making a gauge swatch.

  • The gauge swatch is an important first step to successfully crocheting any pattern. You make a gauge swatch to make sure your personal gauge matches the gauge used in the pattern. This may mean you have to use a different size hook. That is OK! The goal is to work at the same gauge listed in the pattern, even if that means you have to use a different size hook.
  • Making a gauge swatch is especially important if you are substituting a different yarn.
  • To make a gauge swatch, begin with the hook suggested and work over the stitch pattern indicated for the gauge. Don’t skimp here- you are creating a fabric and you need more than one square inch to figure out if you are on gauge. I suggest a gauge swatch at least 6 x 6 inches. Of course, your gauge may be over rounds or a specific number of pattern repeats so take that into account.
  • If you know you are a ‘tight’ crocheter start with a hook one size larger. If you are a ‘loose’ crocheter, start with a hook one size smaller. If you don’t know if you crochet consistently more loosely or tightly than average, just start with the hook stated. As you become more experienced you will know if you need to go up or down a hook size.
  • Once your gauge swatch is completed, block it if you plan to block the finished project. This especially holds true with lace and garments. If you are making a project where fit or size is not crucial, you don’t necessarily need to block. Find great information on blocking here.
  • Lay your swatch on a flat surface and with a metal ruler or good quality tape measure (your grandmother’s cloth tape measure won’t do here!) measure over the stitches width-wise and row-wise and place pins to indicate a 4-inch square.

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  • Count the stitches and rows including any partial stitches or rows between the pins. If your stated pattern gauge is over less than four inches, still measure over four and divide by the gauge. Again this is a handmade fabric which has some variation from row-to-row and stitch-to-stitch, so it is important to measure over at least 4 inches.
  • If you have more stitches or rows than stated in the gauge, you need to increase your hook size. Go up one hook size and re-measure until you have matched the gauge.
  • If you have fewer stitches or rows than stated in the gauge, you need to decrease your hook size. Go down one hook size and re-measure until you have matched the gauge.
  • Once you have achieved the correct gauge, you are ready to begin!
  • Save your gauge swatch to refer back to as you work. If you run short of yarn, you have your gauge swatch to sew seams or make a repair at a later date. Some people like to keep a project journal with notes about their projects. You can add your swatch as a visual reference. This is especially helpful if you re-stitch the same project in the same yarn. Your gauge swatch is already done!

Think of the time spent making a gauge swatch as the first step of your project instead of that annoying thing you have to do before you begin! Making the gauge swatch gives you a sneak peek. It gives you a chance to see how the yarn you chose and stitch pattern will work together. This is the place to make adjustments if needed, rather than when you are 10 rows in to a large project.

Next time you’re ready to crochet a new pattern, we hope you’ll get excited about starting a new project and do your gauge swatch!

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Learn Something New At The Zoo!

The new At the Zoo stackable ring toy has generated a lot of excitement! This fun project will be featured in Crochet World as a 3-part series in the June, August and October issues, giving you plenty of time to have it ready for someone special on your Christmas list!

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The first part in the June issue includes the instructions for the center pole and the cute-as-can-be hippo!

The center pole on which all the animals are stacked has a grassy-green based dotted with colorful flowers. The ‘grass’ is made with the crochet loop stitch which is quite fun to work.

If you have never done the loop stitch before, we have added a tutorial video on Annie’s Stitch Guide which can be found here.

And don’t forget, you can double the fun by making the original stackable ring toy, Into the Jungle which was first published in Crochet World in 2013. The two sets were designed to be interchangeable – all the animals in both sets can be found in the jungle or at the zoo!  The complete pattern for the Into the Jungle set is now available as a download.

Into The Jungle

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It’s Here!

Finally!  Get your crochet hooks ready! The new, long-anticipated set of stackable animal rings like our popular Into the Jungle set is here! The June 2015 digital issue of Crochet World which features Part 1 of the At the Zoo set is now available! The magazine will be available at your favorite craft store April 28.

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Parts 2 & 3 of the set will be featured in the August and October issues of Crochet World.

We also want to congratulate Red Heart for winning the Women’s Choice Award for America’s Most Recommended Yarn Brand! Both the At the Zoo and Into the Jungle Set are crocheted from Red Heart Super Saver!

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And don’t forget, the complete pattern for the Into the Jungle set is still available as a digital download. Animals from both sets can be interchanged for hours of fun!

 

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Stitch Away Stress!

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Beginning April 1st, in observance of National Stress Awareness Month, the Craft Yarn Council will be launching an interactive social media campaign to encourage people to #StitchAwayStress and would love for YOU to join in the fun.

Visit CYC’s Instagram (@craftyarncouncil) and Facebook pages throughout the month for 30 Days of Creative Ways to #StitchAwayStress. You’ll find a variety of fun and educational posts for using knitting and crochet to relax, relieve stress and boost mood, including activity ideas, giveaways, videos, health studies and stats, a one-of-a-kind stress busting pattern and more.

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Did You Know?

85% of 3,100+ people recently surveyed by CYC reported reduced stress from knitting and crochet.

90% of 4,000+ people recently surveyed by Wool and the Gang reported decreased anxiety from knitting.

Needlecrafting is recognized by major news outlets like Yahoo! as an effective alternative therapy to prescription drugs.

We hope you will visit CYC’s social media pages throughout April for more fun facts and ways to #StitchAwayStress with knitting and crochet!

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