Monday, July 28, 2014

Granny Bag

Doesn't that sound so desirable? "Granny bag." Yeah. That's exactly what everyone wants: the bag a grandmother carries around. However, I call it a granny bag because it is composed primarily of granny squares, not because it has been out of style for thirty years.

So. My little sister requested this bag for her birthday. I had made myself one, and she liked it so much that she wanted her own. Here is the finished project:

Granted, she asked for it in plain gray and cream. Because she's boring and doesn't like color. I tell her often. But, I cannot use only plain colors. I cannot bring myself to leave off at least one bright and happy color. So, I threw in some purple - her favorite color. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and so is she.

Alas, I did not create this pattern. This person did. I just changed the colors and made it a little bit smaller. But it has such a fun outcome that I wanted to share the pattern. This bag is ridiculously simple and fairly quick to make. It only took me a few hours. As I said before, it is made of granny squares. If you don't know how to make such a square, this is the best tutorial I've yet seen for them. I thought about making my own, but if it's not broken, why fix it? This is actually the tutorial that refreshed my memory after many years respite from the square of granny. Granny squares are probably one of the easiest things to crochet after a straight line.

You can line this bag with fabric - and you probably should, but I do not sew. That is one skill I have not yet mastered. If you have, then, by all means, line this bag and make it stronger. Just keep in mind the very hole-y nature of granny squares when you choose your yarn and fabric. Don't choose a white yarn and a super brightly colored or patterned fabric unless you really want to see the fabric through the bag.

Now, I did the straps a little differently than the original poster did. Here's my "pattern:"

1 - 2. Sc in each st around twice, with sctog in each of the corners. By "corners," I mean these parts. Connect with a sl st after each round.

3. Sc in each st until you reach the top peak of the granny square where you'll make the strap. (Does that make sense? If not, I can add a picture.) Ch. 40 (for the strap). Do this again for the other side. Finish the round with however many sc it takes to get to where you started. You will still sctog in the corners. Connect with a sl st to first sc.

4 - 5. Sc around in each st and ch, sctog in the corners. (Twice - once for round 4, and once for round 5.) Connect with a sl st after each round. Fasten off.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Read Crochet Diagram Patterns

I'm not 100% that's what they're called, but if you crochet and search Pinterest for patterns, you probably know what I'm talking about. If not, check out this site. They have tons of fun project ideas,  but most of them offer a diagram rather than a written pattern. I've heard some people say that they don't understand what everything on the chart means, so I thought I'd dedicate a post to showing the basics.

I am not an artist, and I drew this diagram...without a ruler, so don't judge. This is for educational purposes only. This isn't a real pattern. It would probably look really weird if you tried it out. But, hey, if you want to try it, be my guest. Now, let us begin.

We'll go row by row, starting at the bottom. Those little ovals lining the bottom represent chains. Anytime you see an oval, it means chain. When there is an oval on the side of a row, like you can see on either end of each of the rows I drew, it means the chain that starts the row. These are usually after you turn when crocheting rows, or after you connect when crocheting rounds.

The row right above the oval-chains might look like little, lowercase Ts. These are single crochets. Sometimes they're drawn more like an X, but most of the patterns I've seen uses little Ts, so I drew those. You can also see them on the top row.

Above the single crochets, you have what look like mixes between Ts and Fs. These represent double crochets. If you look at the symbols towards the right end of that row, you will see that the lower line is kind of tilted. That's how you will normally see them. I realized that a little late, and I didn't want to erase and start over. Just remember that the double crochet symbol will resemble the ones on the right. Note: when there are more lines than two, that means a longer stitch. For example, if there are three lines, it will be a triple crochet. Four lines would be quadruple crochet, etc.

The next row up shows a little bit of a pattern. I'll explain each little bit. To start, there are three vertical ovals - the starting chains. Then you have a cluster of three double crochets. They join together at the bottom because they all are made in the same stitch. If you look at the bottom of that row, you can see that two double crochets from the row before are skipped, and the cluster is drawn just above the third double crochet in. That is where you make your cluster. Directly to the left of that cluster is a chain. Then, another two skipped double crochets and a double crochet cluster. This pattern goes until the end.

The top row starts with a chain, and then you would make a single crochet. Then three chains, single crochet, chain 3, single crochet, etc. until the end.

I hope this helps someone. There are some fun patterns that are made in diagrams. Now that you know how to read them, get out and make something. :)

If you have any questions, please let me know, and I will clarify.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hello World - a.k.a. The Simple Yellow Trivet

My first post! And it's a boring trivet.
At least it's pretty, right?

But, hey, I needed a trivet, and I had a small amount of cotton yarn that I wanted to use. So. My favorite part is the fun lines that are made by only crocheting in the back loops.
Here's a close-up.

I am an American, so I use American terms. Just to clarify. Also, this pattern is probably in the more intermediate-advanced beginner range, but I think it still counts as beginner. If you disagree, feel free to let me know. Note: I like to crochet in the same stitch as each round's starting chains, and I don't count the starting chains as a stitch. It's the best way I've found of making a solid round without the weird holes at the end of each round.

The Simple Yellow Trivet Crochet Pattern

ch - chain
st - stitch
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
bl - back loop
sl st - slip stitch
sk - skip
ch4-sp - chain 4 space (This is that gaping area where, in the last row, you had made four chains then single crocheted.)
[...] - The brackets indicate a pattern. For example, if you see "[1 sc, 2 sc] in bl around," you will make 1 sc in the first st, 2 sc in the next, 1 sc in the following st, 2 sc in the stitch after that, etc. etc. until you get back to where you started. And because it indicates "in bl," these stitches will all be made in the back loops.

Round 1: Ch 3. 12 dc in 3rd chain from the hook. Connect to 1st dc with a sl st (NOT the ch 2. Ignore those. They do NOT count as a stitch anywhere in this pattern.)

Round 2: Ch 2. 2 dc in the bl of the same st. 2 dc in the bl of each st around. Connect to 1st dc with a sl st.

Round 3: Ch 1. [1 sc, 2 sc] in bl around, starting in the same st where you ch 1. Connect to 1st sc with a sl st.

Round 4: Ch 2. [dc, dc, 2 dc] in bl around, starting in the same st where you ch 2. Connect to 1st dc.

Round 5: Ch 1. [dc, dc, dc, 2 dc] in bl around. Connect to 1st dc.

Round 6: Ch 1. [1 sc in each of the next 4 st, 2 sc in the next st] in bl around. Connect to 1st sc.

Round 7: Ch 1. [sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc, 2 dc, etc.] in bl around. Connect to 1st sc.

Round 8: Sl st in each st until you reach the 2 dc. Sl st in between the 2 dc. (See the picture below.) [Ch 4. Sk to the next 2 dc "cluster" and sc in between the 2 dc] around. You are no longer worrying about bl. End with 1 sc in between the 2 dc cluster you started at. Don't worry about connecting.

I tried to show where I either sl st or sc in between the 2 dc. You can also kind of see the ending sc above that middle circle. 

Round 9: 4 sc in first ch4-sp. No starting ch for this round. [5 sc in next ch4-sp, 4 sc in the ch4-sp after that] around. Connect to the 1st sc.

Round 10: Ch 1. [sc, sc, ch 1, sc, sc, sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc] around. Don't count the ch 1 as a st or sk any stitches because of it. End by connecting to the 1st sc with a sl st.