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Tips 'n Tricks

Do you have a helpful hint or handy trick that will make any aspect of crocheting easier? Share it! Post ideas on scrap yarn usages, stitch markers, starching, hook organization, color changing, maintaining your sanity while following a difficult pattern, etc. There is most probably someone out there that will benefit from your help. Need ideas yourself? Read others' comments--we all live and learn!

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Thursday, February 09, 2006Name: Oracle428

Subject: Stitch Counting & Fringe

Comment: Paperclips make great stitch counters... (and who doesn't usually have a handful of extra paper clips lying around)... just pop one on the stitch you want to mark. (Safety Pins work great as well and are a little easier to put on and take off, but I never have as many of those lying around).

If you don't have one of those handy fringe maker tools, an easy way to make fringe is to wrap your yarn around a ruler length-wise... hold on to one end of the yarn at the top of the ruler and wrap the yarn around as many times as you want for one group of fringe (I usually go 4 times for standard groups of scarf fringe)... end with yarn at the top of the ruler again and cut it even with the top of the ruler. Then slide your scissors under the strings of yarn on the front of the ruler, slide scissors to top and cut straight across... stop here if you want longer fringe (about 12 inches minus the length taken up by the fringe knot)... If you want shorter fringe (about 6 inches minus whatever is taken up by the knot), flip your ruler over and cut the other ends the same way (careful not to let go of your strings)... do this for each group of fringe you will need. If you want more variety of fringe length possibilities, cut pieces of heavy cardboard in the desired lengths (it needs to be a little longer than what you want your finished fringe to be - don't forget the fringe knot takes up length).

Thursday, February 09, 2006Name: Dorothy's Daughter

Subject: Free stitch markers

Comment: I have found that the flat plastic bread-bag "clips" are great (and free) to mark your increase/decrease areas, or to mark the center, etc. Best of all, when they break, you have a new one at hand!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006Name: Jo

Subject: Keeping everything neat

Comment: With cats, dogs, and children, I kept finding yarn all over or projects cut off my skein (aren't 3 year olds HELPFUL?) so I found a cheap pocketbook at a thrift store with 2 large zippered pockets, put my yarn in one (after removing the zipper) and my projects in another (with the zipper left for a bit of protection). So far, I've finally finished an afghan without "help"!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006Name: Chanel

Subject: Tip

Comment: 3 liter pastic soft drink bottle. Cut a slit in the side and slip the skein in. Twist off the cap and pull the thread through the opening. It can roll around in the car, on the floor or wherever you are. Keeps the thread clean and the cat can't get to it.
Extra Bonus! The first question everyone asks you is "How did you get the thread in the bottle?"

Wednesday, February 08, 2006Name: Bright Eyes

Subject: crochet needle gripper!

Comment: I grab an elastic band.. sometimes from broccoli if it's a large hook, and sometimes those braces elastics for the really tiny hooks and wind it around the needle.. move it to where it's going to be your gripping point and VOILA, almost free hook gripper! I really really need it when using needles that are slippery!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006Name: Jessica van de Kieft

Subject: Keeping your yarn clean

Comment: I have four dogs and I was always noticing that their fur was getting caught up in my yarn and into my projects, I now keep my yarn in baby wipe containers, just feed the end of the yarn through the dispenser hole (this only works if you have the yarn being fed out from the inside of the ball)

Sunday, February 05, 2006Name: Tanya S.

Subject: Keeping count

Comment: Hi! I am just turning 35 and learning to crochete. What I do is take a twist tie and thread it throgh every 20th stitch to keep count... Otherwise, I am pulling it out, starting the row over, pulling it out, etc., etc., etc. and so on... This making the project take twice as long as it should, lol... I hope someone can use this tip, and thank you for this sight! Happy sewing!:>)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006Name: aardvark

Subject: Storing Works in Progress

Comment: I use ziplock bags which now comes in LOTS of sizes up to 2 gal. They go into my large hand-crocheted "work bag", which I keep near my door.

I also usually keep a couple small projects, with no particular deadline, in my car for those times I run an extra errand or two on the spur of the moment while already out. That way I'm never stuck out someplace without something useful to do that keeps me occupied.
I never dread waiting as it simply represents the unexpected gift of time to work on my crocheting or cross-stitching.
Last week I was runing a quick errand before dinner and got a call on my cellphone that our special needs son needed to go to the emergency room; I was able to go straight there (almost an hour from here) and take him to the ER (where there is always a wait) and not have to stew without working, or going home )the opposite direction, which would have meant a lot more time out.

Thursday, January 26, 2006Name: Tee

Subject: counting stitches

Comment: hey everyone i have a tip for yall. Whenever i start a project, i put the pins or something else in the stitches so i dont have to recount, wasting my time. Im only 13 so i know what im doing but i wish that i had that idea when i started crocheting at age 11.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006Name: Laura Rusch

Subject: Graph paper for patterns

Comment: I love this site! When I have an idea and I need patterns, this is a great site for ideas.
I found a great graph paper program and I want to share it with everyone - neither my word processor nor my paint program can make the patterns I need to model ideas. Please share this and send it to some knitting and quilting sites! It makes all kinds of shapes on graph paper. Hope it helps!

Monday, January 23, 2006Name: Susan Trumblay

Subject: Hook Organization

Comment: I make hook organizers from scraps of heavy fabric (corduroy, twill, denim works great). Cut two 12" squares, sew around edges leaving a small opening to allow for turning right side out. Slip stitch opening.
Then turn up bottom 4", stitch along left and right side, to form a pocket. Then place largest hook, in pocket at far left and place a pin vertically along the edge of the hook allowing a little extra room; mark a line with disappearing pen vertically and sew, anchoring at each end of stitching.
Continue doing this with largest hooks first and ending with smallest hooks, in numerical order. Allow extra spaces for hook sizes you don't have.
Take an 18" piece of ribbon and stitch the center of it to the center of the left hand edge of the project so that you have two 9" pieces of ribbon.
Put in your hooks. Roll up the holder starting from the right side then wrap one piece of ribbon around the back of roll and tie!! Neat, compact holder for your crochet hooks also for knitting needles. Knitting needles will need a taller piece of fabric of course.
I make these for gifts for my friends who knit and crochet.

Monday, January 23, 2006Name: Denise

Subject: scrap yarn

Comment: Many crocheters have lots of scraps of varying thickness yarn and thread. It's hard to find ideas that combine all sizes. Try using thread as an edging for that scrapghan, or twist 3 or 4 threads for a "4-ply" yarn. Or use 2 strands of 4-ply as a "bulky weight". Another great idea is the russian joining method (found on this site!) to combine all those pieces (same size) into one variegated yarn or thread.

Friday, January 20, 2006Name: Heather

Subject: binder portfolio

Comment: I filled a plastic 3-ring binder with clear page protectors. I put my patterns in the page protectors. When I finish a project, I slip a picture of it in with the pattern. In the front of the binder is a flat canvas pencil case (the kind made for a 3-ring binder) with a clear front that holds my hooks, small scissors, and yearn needles.

Monday, January 16, 2006Name: Donna C

Subject: Holding hooks

Comment: Just another way to hold crochet hooks by your side... How about those stands they sell for holding multiple toothbrushes? I see them at yard sales and thrift stores all the time.

Saturday, January 14, 2006Name: Kendra

Subject: Blocking

Comment: You don't need anything special to block pieces. I just pin them to the floor. It's free, gives you a lot of working space and the carpet backing holds the pins in place perfectly. Just make sure both your carpet and your work are clean and colorfast first.

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