Thursday, 25 October 2012

How can I avoid starting my crochet project with chain stitches?

"I'm bored of starting my project with chain stitches" is a phase I have heard a few times and have thought myself many times but in fact there are a few ways of starting a new crochet project without having to chain stitches which I will share a couple of with you now.

These suggestions are based on, say, making a baby blanket or a scarf, so flat square projects rather than working in the round say for a hat.

So my first suggestion to avoid chaining is to try a double crochet foundation stitch. This is a great way to start a project if working in double crochet stitches throughout your pattern (US terminology). This technique avoids having that slightly harder edge caused by chain stitches and means you can get straight into your double crochet pattern with a nice soft edge that will also be the correct size.

I say correct size because sometimes when you chain to start and then work double crochet stitches into the chains your project can increase in size a little or become looser which is frustrating when you want to use exact measurements. There is nothing worse than measuring out your chains to the length you need, you then work your double crochet stitches into your chains and your project has increased in length. So this technique avoids that problem.

My second choice is using the Half Knot foundation stitch, a truely unique way to start a project. You can either then work a second row of over-sized single crochet stitches to then begin your pattern on the third row or you can just repeat the Half Knot stitches on your second row. I will do another video in time on how to do this exactly. This is just a quick demo of the foundation Half Knot stitches.
So I hope that has inspired you to start your crochet projects in a different way to the standard chain stitch. Happy crocheting!
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Friday, 19 October 2012

How to crochet a shrug bolero

I think one of the most desirable crochet items that any beginner crocheter would love to make apart from hats would have to be the bolero shrug. Yet it is one of the hardest to get your head around.

The bolero shrug basic pattern is in fact very easy to make once you get your head around how to put it together and once you grasp the basics you will want to make more and more of them!

So here is the HappyBerry Crochet technique of how to make a simple yet stylish bolero shrug, made to measure.

The first thing to do is to make the basic rectangle shape which will become the main body of your shrug. You can crochet this shape however you like, imagine you are just making a lovely baby blanket, so you can use any stitch you like. For this shrug I went with a simple double crochet stitch.

Before you start your rectangle shape you will need to measure from shoulder to shoulder. This doesn't have to be a perfect measurement because the longer it is the more length you will have in your arms. I preferred to just measure over my shoulders behind my neck and finishing about the middle of each upper arm.

You then crochet your foundation stitches. In this pattern I crocheted some double crochet foundation stitches so I didn't have a hard edging. This came to 54 double crochet foundation stitches and I was working with a chunky yarn and a 10mm hook.

So now we need to crochet our length. So we need to keep repeating our double crochet stitching or whatever pattern you have chosen until the length reaches about half way down your back when draped around your shoulders like a shawl. Each corner should also be able to connect under each arm.

When working your rows I worked an extra 'chain 1' when I reached the end of my row and then turned my work to crochet my next double crochet stitch into the first stitch on that row. Don't count your chain 1 as a stitch though. Now you can see the shape coming together! So what's next?

Well we now need to stitch together our corners with a couple of stitches to keep the arms holes in place. Now we have the basic bolero shrug shape which we can now play with!

The next thing to do is to crochet a round of single crochet stitches around the central opening to neaten off the edge. You can also do this for the arm holes if you prefer but I haven't done this for this pattern.

Now we need to think about some fancy edging to really bring our shrug into shape.

For this pattern I have opted for some ribbing which is quite long which will add shape.

Now you have completed your round of single crochet stitches, chain about 19 stitches out from your shrug, then crochet 1 single crochet into your 2nd st from hook and in each st along. Slip stitch into the next stitch on your main shrug to join.

To create the ribbing effect now you need to crochet into the back loops only when working up and down your ribbing edge, chaining 1 at the end and then turning to work into the first stitch on the next row.

Once you've reached the end just simple slip stitch along to join each side of your ribbing together, fasten off and try it on!

I hope you enjoyed that quick tutorial. If you have any question then just pop along to my Facebook page here: where you can also find lots more free patterns and tutorials.

Happy crocheting!

© HappyBerry This pattern can not be reproduced in any way without credit given to HappyBerry. This includes copying and pasting into another blog or website, and filming the pattern for use on YouTube. You can however print it off for personal use or for use in a crochet group. Thank you.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Baby Girl Dress Sizes

It's always handy to have some sizing charts to work with when crocheting!

I've been working on crocheting some baby girl dresses lately and I thought I would share with you the measurements I have been working to. These are just guidelines to work to and are estimates only.

Newborn:      Height: upto 21" - Chest: 15"
0-3 months:    Height: 21-24" - Chest: 17"
3-6 months:    Height: 24-26" - Chest: 18"
6-9 months:    Height: 26-28" - Chest: 19"
9-12 months:  Height: 28-30" - Chest: 19.5"
1-2 years:       Height: upto 36" - Chest: 20.5"
2-3 years:       Height: upto 38" - Chest: 21"
3-4 years:       Height: upto 41" - Chest: 22"
4-5 years:       Height: upto 43" - Chest: 23"
5-6 years:       Height: upto 45" - Chest: 23.5"
7-8 years:       Height: upto 50" - Chest: 25"
9-10 years:     Height: upto 55" - Chest: 27"