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Two-strands together crochet

Josefly's picture

Help! I'm teaching myself to crochet, and after some practice learning the various stitches, thought I'd try a cute spiral scarf with "simple" instructions. The pattern specified using two yarns, one skein of each. For the first part of the scarf, the directions say to use two strands of "skein A", held together. Since I bought only one skein A (and one skein B, as directed), how do I get two strands of yarn A? Do I divide the skein and then hold one strand of yarn from each half-skein? I'd love to have some advice on this.

Katina's picture

(post #29279, reply #1 of 30)

Yes, you could do that, but you can also find the opposite end of the skein and then hold the beginning and end of the skein together. 

softfurn's picture

(post #29279, reply #2 of 30)

Divide the skein by winding off a second ball of yarn, and using together. If you try doing it from the same skein WITHOUT making a seperate ball, you will end up with a tangled mess.

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #3 of 30)

Okay, thanks, Katina and Softfurn. For some reason I'm having a hard time finding the inner yarn end on the skeins I'm using. I really AM a beginner, you see. I'll try making the separate balls.

Teaf5's picture

(post #29279, reply #4 of 30)

It is possible to work from both ends of the same skein at once, but it's very difficult to maintain even tension on both strands that way, so I agree that you should wind off a ball of yarn before starting. Then, to keep the ball and skein from skittering around, you can place them in a bowl to your left while you crochet. As you pull out more yarn, the ball and skein will jump and jiggle, but they'll stay within the bowl.

For your second problem, finding the interior end: Some companies print instructions for releasing the inner thread on the paper lable; one has you tug on one string (the outside end) which pulls the inner end out. But if that's not the case, or you forgot to do it that way, you can dig into the center of the skein with your finger and pull out a chunk of the center yarn, which will contain the interior end. You may have a few feet of yarn once it's untangled, but it's always better in crochet to have about a yard or so of yarn available so that you don't have to stop as often--your stitches will have more even tension, and the work will go by much faster.

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #5 of 30)

Thank you so much for the advice. I found the inner end of the skein just as you suggested. The bowl is a great idea -- I would've been chasing balls of yarn all over the place, I guess. As it is, I started the project last night, and finished this afternoon, late. If I'd known how quickly a crochet project could be accomplished I'd have started crocheting long ago! What fun! Of course it was a simple project, using bulky-fuzzy yarn, large hook, and triple crochet; the scarf was a twisty, ruffle-effect, only 3 1/2 inches wide and 55 inches long, with an edge trim of a mohair/metallic blend. My first non-practice, completed effort feels like a success. I may try to get a couple more of these done for Christmas presents, and I look forward to trying a larger project after the holidays. Any suggestions for a novice?

Teaf5's picture

(post #29279, reply #6 of 30)

This summer, I saw some amazing felted bags in a knitting shop in Colorado; the shopkeeper had made oversized crocheted or knitted totes in a variety of 100% wool, then shrunk them in the washing machine and dryer- very nice!

The rage among teens & young adults-both male and female- in our town is simple watch caps crocheted from free instructions available online from major yarn company websites. The easiest ones start at the top of the crown, making a flat circle about 7" in diameter, then doing straight rows for the next 6 or 7" and finishing either plain or with a 2" cuff.

Many vest and sweater patterns for crochet are simply different size squares sewn together. I made a paper pattern off a favorite commercial pullover and just kept going till I'd made enough stitches and rows to fill each piece, then stitched it together. Likewise, many of the new ponchos and shrugs are simply two rectangles joined along a couple edges; again, the instructions are available for free online.

In addition to being easy, crochet can also be very relaxing if you do it with your favorite music as a soundtrack, and the music can help you keep your stitches and tension even throughout the piece. Enjoy!

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #7 of 30)

Thank you for the suggestions. I definitely want to do the crocheted hats, and later will look for one of the sweater patterns consisting of squares sewn together. I know if I start with things that are beyond my abilities I'll just get frustrated and give up, so I'm very glad to have ideas for things I can manage with my limited knowledge and skills. I look at the beautiful yarns and want to try everything!

diday's picture

(post #29279, reply #8 of 30)

While I was Christmas shopping I found a fun little book called "Crochet Scarves" by Candi Jensen. It has pictures and instructions for simple projects. Here's a link (not in the book) for free crochet patterns that might interest you: http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/directory.php

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #9 of 30)

Thank you for the great lead. I had so much fun doing the scarves I made as Christmas gifts for my daughter and daughter-in-law, and they loved them! I see, on the site you suggested, patterns for an "Anthropologie-style" scarf, and they are sooooo cute. My daughter wants one of those, too.

Char9's picture

(post #29279, reply #10 of 30)

Hi Josefly!  Congratulations on your first finished project.  I've been crocheting since I was about 6 yrs. old when I got for Xmas a kit that was called "Crochet your own potholders".  As an adult I have always wondered why the heck a 6 yr. old would want her own potholders.  ???  LOL!  But that's how I learned.


All of the ladies on my Xmas list get scarves and sometimes matching hats.  And, as luck would have it, they really look forward to them.  It seems I have a knack for combining different yarns.  My favorite combination is the eyelash yarn used as a "carry along" with a coordination yarn.  I make sure the coordinating yarn is no smaller than sport weight.  Crocheting with the eyelash yarn alone, for me, is just impossible.  I can't see the stitches for all the eyelashes.  And I love the metallic yarns.  I made a short poncho for my goddaughter out of a black/silver metallic and black eyelash.  It turned out really nice.


Keep at it, Josefly, you'll be a pro in no time!


Char

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #11 of 30)

Thanks, Char, for the encouragement. After I did the scarves I tried a hat. It was way too big - I have a problem getting hats to fit my apparently small head. Anyway, I looked at crochet threads yesterday, by coincidence, and saw a pattern for a cotton crocheted hat with rolled brim, and I'm tempted to try it. I enjoy having something to do with my hands when I'm waiting for appointments, watching tv, etc.

On another project I'll try the eyelash yarn. I wonder how it would look combined with the "Homespun" style yarn?

I want to learn to crochet edgings. I have a fine-guage sweater with a turtleneck that is way too long, and I wonder if I can cut the neck off and finish the edge with a crochet trim. Have you done anything like that? I doubt I could match the yarn, but maybe I could unravel the yarn from the cut-off turtleneck and use that?

Char9's picture

(post #29279, reply #12 of 30)

What a good idea with the turtleneck!  But if its a knit I don't think I would cut it.  It could run and unravel.  How about folding it 3 times instead of two?  Whatever you do with it, I wouldn't worry about finding the same yarn.  A contrasting yarn crocheted in a pretty edging, much like a hankerchief edging, might look very nice. 


I hate to follow patterns so most of what I crochet comes out of my head. 


This is how I make hats.  I first make a length of chain stitches.  I keep fitting it around my head where I want the bottom of the hat to end up.  When it fits not too tight, not too loose, I join the ends with a slip stitch.  Be careful that the chain hasn't twisted.  I usually put another crochet hook in the first chain and just rest it on my lap and keep my eye on it so it doesn't twist.  After connecting, chain one, then single crochet all around.  Stick a 3" piece of contrasting yarn into the first single crochet so you can recognize it when you come all the way around.  Slip stitch into the first single crochet, chain one and continue building rows moving the contrasting yarn into the first single crochet each time.  As the hat gets longer I keep fitting it onto my head until I see that it needs to start coming in to fit the crown.  Then I divide my number of stitches by 4, making 4 "sections".  Mark the first stitch in each section with pieces of contrasting yarn.  Then I start decreasing, by doing one single crochet in the first 2 single crochet stitches of each section.  This is how the sequence goes:  Insert hook in first sc, yo (yarn over), pull thru stitch (2 loops on hook), insert hook in next sc, yo, pull thru stitch (3 loops on hook), yo and pull thru all loops on hook.  One decrease made.  Do this in the same place in each section.  When you have gone all the way around you will have decreased 4 times total.  Do the same sequence of decreases in the next row only put the decrease stitches in the 3rd and 4th stitches of the previous row.  Then the 5th and 6th, etc.


Just keep decreasing as the fit on your head requires.  Eventually you will be dividing into 5, 6 or more sections in order to decrease enough to make the hat fit.  When you get to where the hole at the top is about 2" diameter, decrease every 2 stitches.  Then run a length of yarn thru all stitches remaining and pull it closed.  Tie a square knot and bury your ends.  Make a tassle and tie it to the top.


If you want a cuff on your hat, go back to your first row, attach your yarn, divide into 4 sections and INcrease once in each section.  Then build your rows as before without increases or decreases, until it is the length you want. 


Don't worry if your sections don't divide evenly, they won't on every row.  Just even them out as best as you can.  If you have a row of 22 stitches, make your sections 5,6,5,6.  Just make sure you don't put the decreased stitches on top of each other.  You'll end up with points instead of a rounded appearance.

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #14 of 30)

Thanks so much for the excellent instructions for hats - it makes so much sense to go at it that way rather than the way I did - starting at the crown and increasing every row or so. I'm definitely going to try it.

As for the turtleneck, I've been folding it down twice, but don't like the bulky looking result - shows my neck to be short and fat. So I'll play with an edging of some kind.

Katina's picture

(post #29279, reply #13 of 30)

Yes, you could finish the neck edge like that. First I would recommend you machine stitch around the edge and then cut. That will prevent any unravelling of the yarn. I'd use a contrast yarn, as already suggested. You may want to check out thrift stores for a knit in similar weight to experiment on first; I have found this to be very useful. After washing and drying the sample item, you can cut it up and try out different ideas until you've found the best effect for your purposes.


Good luck!

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #15 of 30)

Why didn't I think of testing the idea on a thrift-shop purchase first? Great suggestion. And I'll stitch the turtleneck before I cut it off, too. Thanks so much for your advice.

Katina's picture

(post #29279, reply #17 of 30)

I'm so glad this helps. I've found that experimenting on an item I'm not concerned about really seems to get my creative juices flowing - so what if it doesn't work? and I always learn something.


Have fun!

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #19 of 30)

Yes, that seems like such an obvious thing, and yet I need to be reminded to practice on things that don't matter. Now I think about it, I always get a kick out of sitting at my sewing machine and just doodling around, experimenting with stitches and seam techniques, but I rarely do that either. It's a freer approach to learning, and I pledge to myself to do more of it. Thanks.

Char9's picture

(post #29279, reply #16 of 30)

The Homespun yarn is not one of my favorites, it splits and catches on my crochet hook too often.  But before I gave up on it I did combine it with eyelash yarn and it was beautiful.  I like one of my yarns to be a multi color or at least other than a solid and the other to be a solid so with Homespun's tweed look it worked very nicely with a solid eyelash.


One of the prettiest combos I've done was for Keith's neice who loves pink.  I used a multi pastel bulky baby yarn with a pink eyelash yarn.  It was so yummy and soft she wore it all thru Xmas dinner.  Her mon said she wore it to bed that night!

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #18 of 30)

Thanks for your description of the yarn combos. The pink combo sounds good - wonder if that would make a good shrug?

Can't wait to try some of this stuff.

Char9's picture

(post #29279, reply #21 of 30)

Oh, a shrug sound nice.  If you're following a pattern, just make sure the combo of yarns matches the stitch gauge called for in the pattern.


Char

Teaf5's picture

(post #29279, reply #25 of 30)

I agree with you about the problems with Homespun yarn. I love the colors, but the finished product pills quickly and ends up looking ratty fairly quickly-- not something I want to have happen to a pullover that took me months to finish!

In answer to the first question about crocheted edgings, they are remarkably easy and can solve all kinds of gaping and fit problems. Most "how to crochet" books have a whole section on "Edgings," including simple and elaborate as well as angular or curvy, so you can choose one that matches styel of the garment.

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #26 of 30)

How can the edgings be used to solve gaping and fit problems? Can you sort of pull an armscye or neckline in when adding the edging?

Katina's picture

(post #29279, reply #27 of 30)

Oh yes, very easily. Works with a knitted edging too. As you work around the edge, you 'gather' it by taking fewer stitches as needed to draw the edge in. You can adjust the number of stitches so that you get a perfect fit.


Katina

Teaf5's picture

(post #29279, reply #29 of 30)

Katina has already replied, but yes, you have a lot of fitting options when you add an edging. If you use a slightly smaller hook or slightly tighter tension to do the edging, you can snug up a neckline very smoothly. If I don't want to add too much, I'll do the edging as a slip stitch or single crochet in order to get the advantage of snugging it up and finishing it off nicely.

A wide edging can give a ruffle look, almost like a collar, that is very flattering and can lengthen sleeves for those of us with uncommonly long arms.

Sometimes I use the same yarn and sometimes use a coordinating one, but I usually try to pick an edging that complements the overall stitch pattern--a linear one for a more geometric pattern, or a scalloped edge for a more wavy or curvy overall pattern.

On sleeveless tops, I always begin and end the edging at the underarm, so that any "fudging" I have to do at the seam joint falls under the arm, where it is not very visible. For necklines, I start at one shoulder, work down and back up the front, and then around the back, again, so that the join falls at the shoulder seam instead of in the more prominent center front or center back.

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #30 of 30)

Thanks for all these tips on edgings, and using them for adjusting fit. One of the things I can't resist is antique linens with crochet trim, including handkerchiefs. Getting all kinds of inspiration here!

Char9's picture

(post #29279, reply #28 of 30)

Geez, I've been doing edgings for years and never thought of using them for fitting problems.  But I can see how they could fix a gaping armhole in a tank top.  Have you thought of extending it to a cap sleeve?


I have some really old crochet books that I picked up at antique fairs.  They're printed in black and white but the patterns are like nothing you see today.  Beautiful but very intricate.  On occasion I still do the very fine Victorian edgings on linen hankies.  I like to make them as part of a wedding shower gift and in one corner I embroider the bride-to-be's initials.


I used to crochet doilies but my eyes don't cooperate anymore.


Char

Gloriasews's picture

(post #29279, reply #20 of 30)

You could crochet slippers for Christmas, too, which I do just about every year.  There are quite a few free patterns available on the web, some on www.freepatterns.com & there are booklets of them in the yarn section of shops.  When you get your speed up, you can make a pair in a couple of evenings.  The one I make the most is a 2-part slipper - the sole is done first, then the sides & top in 1 piece, then they are crocheted together & trimmed to finish.  When I can get the old-fashioned scratchy Phentex, I use that with the yarn I am using on the soles, so they wear better.  The whole slipper is made with 2 strands of yarn, so, for men's slippers, I use 2 colours for a tweed effect, then trim it with just one of the colours.  They are always a big hit with the guys, & they're washable. 


Dish/face cloths are also an easy thing to make.  In fact, on Lion Brand website, they have free patterns for the cloths (different designs, but all easy) & a bath mitt.

Josefly's picture

(post #29279, reply #22 of 30)

Thanks. I'm so glad to be getting these suggestions. When looking for a project, somehow all the yarns and patterns seem overwhelming. So it's nice to hear of yarn suggestions and combinations and patterns that work.

Char9's picture

(post #29279, reply #23 of 30)

Glad I could help.

Gloriasews's picture

(post #29279, reply #24 of 30)

Oh, I forgot to tell you that the washcloths/mitt use cotton yarn.  For the slippers, I just buy supermarket yarn & the old-style Phentex when I can find it - think may they aren't making it much anymore, as it is hard to find.  The new Phentex yarn is nice & looks like "real" yarn, not the stringy stuff of the old Phentex.  Happy crocheting!  You'll learn as you go.