Behind the scenes crochet tips that happen without you realizing it. Mini swatches of problem solutions.
The power of a swatch may be much better than the Star Wars force! I’m just saying, you don’t need a black mask and dusty robes to get the hook to speak to you. You can always swatch!
I know, some of you are thinking, swatches are for sissies! Oh crap, I’m saying the quiet part, out loud! Truth is, they aren’t for sissies but for hooker rock stars! Are you buying what I am selling so far? Can I interest you in swampland in Florida for purchase? Hehe. Work with me here!
In the wise words of Master Yoda, “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”
Let’s look at examples where a small section of a project is the pathway to the light!
Why Am I Gaining Stitches?
Emails fly in often. I am gaining stitches WHY!???? Help me… The sky is falling and the project is due tomorrow! Firstly, putting the email title in all caps doesn’t make me move faster! Let’s get that out in the open.
Of course, I will usually answer back with professionalism but one of these days, I am going to write back and say… “I’m stumped… why are you gaining stitches?” But no, I want to be helpful and get their drift. They’ve got problems and they’re multiplying… they are about to lose control.
So stop, breathe… get off the computer or put down the phone and do this…
- Do a swatch… OMG Brilliant eh (huffs on nails and rubs against my moob)! But wait, for two equal payments of $19.95, I throw in the second piece of advice for free plus free shipping and handling!
- Just do 10 stitches and count. When you think you are done… count. If you are one too many… You’ve just solved your problem. You are going somewhere in the row that is a ‘no no’.
Watch your hands, watch your movements. Do it again… to the proper count. Inspect where you are. Look at what the end of the row looks like. Turn the project. Do it again to test yourself to see if you visually identify the end of the row. If you are again counting an extra stitch or stitches… you haven’t learned your lesson yet. Try again.
Master Yoda would say “Feel the force!” Try again. Watch yourself. It took me 30+ years to finally get the motion of the Bullion Stitch. I learned it… ended up I didn’t enjoy it… but I get it. It has its place but not in my house or coming out of my hands! “Over the game is! Moving on. Over it, I am.”
I cannot reach through to where you sit. You have to try, try and try again! Put it down if it’s kicking your butt. Try again the next day!
- Learn How To Read Patterns
- Crochet Easter Bunny Patterns
- Crochet Swatch Scarf Pattern
- Figuring Out Pattern Repeat
Where Can I Get This Yarn?
The store has sold out of yarn or the colour is perpetually sold out. You, of course, need that extra ball to finish the project. If you don’t finish it, you could blow your top and it ain’t going to be pretty!
The yarn guru, aka me, doesn’t have a list where the yarn is sold. It’s not top-secret, like Canadian Military Secrets, but it’s up there.
And please, don’t be staring at my yarn wall with lust! That’s my job and I do it very well on my own thank you very much.
You have a few options and my secrets really are so hot, you better fan yourself before reading.
- Ask on social media… I know… how on earth did I ever think of that all by myself!
- If people don’t know or give you an answer that satisfies you enough, the next move is so top secret, it will blow your mind. Contact the yarn maker through their website using email! There I said it… Such a relief. They will know.
The problem with social media, and trust me, there are many, is that people will resort to only using social media for questioning a manufacturer or store. Sometimes, depending on the mood swing of the moment, there could even be anger, frustration or even a threat to get the retailer or manufacturer’s attention. That’s just an attention needy move. Trust me… there’s such a better way. I’ve also done attention needy moves too! It’s not new.
Many manufacturers and retailers are still building their social media presence. Usually, a person or a few people are monitoring but with social media moving at the speed of light. It’s hard to keep up. So an email, yes, a simple email of inquiry will do you wonders.
But wait there’s a catch. Oh you know I would have a catch. Emails usually go into a queue format. Meaning, you need to wait your turn. I get emails and the people want answers immediately but I already have people ahead of them I have to answer first. So people need to wait. The biggest problem and you can insert a huge eye roll here, people aren’t available 24-7 generally and sometimes companies don’t do weekends. I know, right!? How on earth are we ever going to manage?
But I will stand by the email comment because you will most likely get the correct answer instead of a lot of guesses on social media. You just have to wait for the answer a bit longer! I know… I know… you have yarn to play with and patterns to do and you want to finish that project.
When Testing a Project
This is really more for me, but I will share with you because that’s the type of person I am.
Many of you know the Study of Texture Afghan went through several revisions! To the point, I seriously wanted to wipe it off the face of the earth. I did the sample, it worked but I couldn’t get it into the words accurately enough. Of course, I get that mean girl comments about my patterns sucking and the whole nine yards! You know, beat up the designer day! Nothing feels like great motivation from getting my butt chewed for my incompetency! Please Miss, can you throw some rocks at me too, my feelings aren’t hurt enough! Insert a big pity party here.
The Tech Editor did something too amazing, so old school, so brilliant… I peed myself for days over the solution. She crocheted just one side of the blanket to test me. One side… ah huh… that’s right! She didn’t even do the blanket. So revolutionary. Why didn’t I think of that! That’s so incredible. It was like “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard moment!”
Guess who has been testing 1 side applications of a blanket… mmmm hmmm. Me. Because I am too kewl to do it all! haha Lawdy, I need to settle down tonight.
So why would you care about this if it’s a behind-the-scenes thing! Well, dahling… when the stitchwork isn’t working out… just doing one side will let you know if you are understanding the stitch multiple or procedures right. Because, if the side you are working on is screwing up, you don’t have a hope in hell to get the other 3 sides right eh!
So how this is done. They start off with a chain count of where they are starting on the side below. Some patterns have stitch counts per side. So they will chain and do 1 row off single crochet that matches the same count before the row you are struggling with. They will do the side as if it’s like a row instead of a square. It’s fast and a great way to test.
You could also do an entire blanket doing 1/4 of it. Do a little bit before a turn of a corner… 1 full side and a few stitches after the 2nd corner. Then restart again before the first corner. It’s smart and brilliant. Now, you will have a useless project but hey, you will know if the stitches are right!
It’s a quick way to determine if the designer, aka me in this case, is deserving of a good ‘ole fashion email or social media bashing or maybe the person isn’t following the pattern exactly right. It’s a great tip.