How Tues…er Wednesday: Scrappy Squirrel

You caught me. I forgot to post my How-to yesterday. Considering I knew what I wanted to share, I have no excuse, other than Tuesday is NCIS day. I get very distracted by NCIS.

Last week Rick asked me what to do with scraps after cutting out a pattern. If you’re a crafter you know what I’m talking about.  Nowadays people buy fabric to color coordinate their quilts, but once upon a time, people used the scraps to make quilts. The quilt on the bed in DS3’s room is a scrap quilt that DH’s grandmother pieced. My mother-in-law recognized some of the pieces as we quilted it together.

Scrap quilt

When I hit the Google for some ideas, I ran across this quilt pattern that uses strips rather than squares. Great use for long, narrow pieces left after cutting out a sewing pattern. Fabric scrap banners are also another good use for those. I also found this link with ideas for using fabric scraps. The geek in me loves this idea to cover binder clips. If you wonder why you’d want to use a binder clip for anything other than clipping binders, just look here.

As a knitter, its just as hard to toss bits of yarn as it is for the sewer in me to toss bits of fabric. I’ve used them for:

Once again, hit the Google and see what kind of trouble you can get into. Now we just need storage ideas. How do you store your yarn or fabric scraps?

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How Tuesday – Learning New Stitches

Gone are the days when you have to personally know someone to show you a new stitch for crotchet.

When I took back up crochet this last year, I needed a refresher on some basic stitches, but didn’t have my mom or aunts handy to show me the stitches as they did when I was younger.  So, …

I turned to YouTube.

There are MANY a video tutorial online for how to do many stitches, from the basic single crochet  – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqhaQQajt0U to many more detailed stitches (search to your heart’s content).

One thing to be aware of, when watching these videos, make sure the videos are shot from the perspective as though you were looking at your own piece of work or you will learn the stitch “backwards”.

And, for the knitters reading this, check out the videos at http://www.knittinghelp.com/

Oh no, not gauge!

It’s How-Tuesday, or as I like to call it, How-To’s Day. (Yes, I know it’s like The Oneders. Go with it.) My topic is…gasp…getting gauge.

I  know what you’re thinking. You either gauge nothing or everything. You have this wonderful yarn that your hands are itching to work into that amazing pattern. How could you be expected to wait while you check gauge? That is, of course, if you’re not one of those asking what is gauge anyway?

Gauge is simply how many stitches per inch in your project. The pattern will generally tell you how many stitches per inch you should have. Simply grab the yarn, grab your needles or hook, and cast on. Gauge is usually measured on a 4 inch square. I usually aim to make a 6 inch square, and, when knitting, I take it off my needle when I measure it since the needle can stretch your swatch. If the swatch is the wrong size, try the next size up or down in your hook or needle.

If you’re one of those who gauge everything, you probably learned the hard way that being off gauge one stitch (or even one quarter of a stitch) either way can mean your sweater doesn’t fit. Unless you use the same pattern, yarn, and needles every time, you need to check your gauge if fit is important. This is because the pattern, the yarn, and the needles all affect gauge. So does your mental attitude, distractions such as TV and kids, and even how much coffee (or wine) you’ve had.

So, what do you do if you can’t wait to start your project? Usually when I’m finishing up on one project and dreaming of the next, I’ll start a swatch when I can do some brainless knitting. I’ve swatched at ballgames, during TV shows (like NCIS) that put my regular knitting at risk of frogging, even at church. Making my gauge swatch before I’m ready to start the project usually prevents the temptation of starting without making a gauge swatch.

One reward of a swatch, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the yarn in your project, it gives you a chance to see how the yarn works up. Sometimes a yarn looks yummy in the skein, but when you knit it the drape is wrong, the colors pool oddly, or you just don’t like how it works out. Working a swatch gives you a chance to see a new yarn in action. It’s well worth the time you put in if it saves you from frogging a project later.

How Tuesday – Starting Your Chain

When picking up the crochet hooks again, after many years, one of the hardest thing for me to relearn was how to start the initial loop to start my chain. I attempted intricate knots, multiple wrapping of the yarn around the hook, etc. I knew it just had to be easier.

One day the end of the string was just laying on the table in such a way that a new way to start the chain struck me. (I have since learned that this is a common way).

Hopefully my sharing this little trick will save you some time and frustration –

Step 1 – Make a loop in the end of your yarn –

Step 2 – Bring the end of the yarn back under the loop you just created –

Step 3 – Put your crochet hook through the loop, yet under the center string

Step 4 – Grab both the end of the yarn and the main string of the yarn and pull the loop tight around your hook. (Note – this will create a slip knot. If you take the hook out and pull, the knot will come out)

Now you know!

National Crafting Month On Wired Yarn

It is March and that means it’s National Crafting Month!

That gets us going here at Wired Yarn! LOL

To celebrate this wonderful month, (an additional Christmas for all us crafters, right?) we will be adding a new line of posts to the blog.

How-Tuesdays

Every Tuesday this month, Wired Yarn will take  time to show you how to do a little something crafty and fun!

Also, Sandy and I are very excited to be hosting our first event this month! On March 15th, you just MUST come to Camelot Cellars Winery in Columbus’ Short North for Yarn Swap.

Whether you knit or crochet, we all have that skein or ball of yarn that we’ve had forever and just can’t
ever seem to find the right project for. It’s time to swap it!

The swap will happen like this:
– You bring that skein/ball of yarn you’ve had laying around forever and just can’t find the right project for to Camelot Cellars on March 15th.
– When you arrive, you place your ball in a bag and write the name of the color on the outside.
– On your way out, you can pick a new (to you) ball of yarn based on the color’s name. (& some new found inspiration for a next project)

The Yarn Swap will benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Bring in an already completed knitted or crocheted item to distribute to those in need.

There will be 3 raffle prizes. Bringing in your ball of yarn will get you one raffle ticket. A donation to Nationwide Children’s Hospital will get you another. The winners will be announced at 8PM. You must be present to win!

Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing on Facebook.

Invite your friends! Hope to see you there.