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Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Basic or Simple Stitch

The basic Afghan or Tunisian Crochet stitch (sometimes called a Knit Stitch) creates a knit-like fabric with an Afghan or Tunisian Crochet hook. This stitch creates small squares perfect for further decorative needlework. I’ve seen some lovely and complex afghan designs made with this basic stitch used to crochet the main afghan in a single-colored yarn. Then beautiful designs were embroidered or cross-stitched in one or more colors over the afghan’s grid.

Basic T

 

In Afghan or Tunisian Crochet (also called Tricot) each row is worked twice using an Afghan or Tunisian hook to “cast on” a forward pass and to “cast off” a return pass.

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Foundation Row: Begin with a regular crochet hook, usually a size smaller than your Afghan/Tunisian crochet hook. Loosely chain the number needed for your project.

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Cast-on: Switch to the Afghan/Tunisian crochet hook. For a nice chain bottom edge, work through the back loop of your foundation chain only. *Insert hook under the next back loop, yo, pull through adding a loop to your hook; repeat from * across row.

NOTE: Foundation Row only. To create a nice chain stitch up the non-dominate hand edge, yo on hook before the final loop cast on.

Cast-off: *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * across row, ending with one loop on hook.

Basic Stitch Rows:

Cast-on: *Insert hook under vertical bar, yo, pull through adding a loop to your hook; repeat from * across, ending by inserting hook under final 2 loops of chain stitch edge. (Picture 2 below shows 2 loops at edge.)

DSC00615DSC00616

 

Cast-off: *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * across row, ending with one loop on hook.

Binding off: After you have reached the desired length and you have cast-off your final row, place the final single loop over the regular crochet hook you used for the foundation chain. *Insert hook under vertical bar, yo, pull through loop on hook (slip stitch); repeat from * across row, ending with final slip stitch under last 2-loop chain stitch edge. End off. Weave in ends.

NOTE: I like using the slip stitch; however, you can choose to bind off with a single crochet by *inserting hook under vertical bar, yo, pull through, yo pull through 2 loops; repeat from * across row.

For more information, watch video: Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Basic Stitch

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Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Purl Stitch or How to Stop the Curl

How do knitters control the knitting curl? They use a row or two of the purl stitch as the beginning and ending edge of an article or panel. The same thing can be accomplished with the Afghan or Tunisian Crochet Purl Stitch.

Purl 2

 

Use the purl stitch in your foundation row and the first row or the second and third rows of your project. Just be sure to finish the same way to create a consistent edge.

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To work a Purl Stitch:

Note: Hook is always behind the yarn.

1. Cast on – *With yarn in front of hook, insert hook under vertical bar, hold front loop down with your thumb, yo and pull through adding loop to afghan hook; repeat from * across row. Yarn wraps around front of vertical bar.

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2. Cast off – *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * across row.

To Stop Curl:

Make the foundation and first rows using the Purl Stitch. End the panel with two rows of the Purl Stitch. Bind off with a single crochet or slip stitch.

Since it can be a little awkward working a foundation row with the purl stitch, instead cast on using a basic afghan stitch for the foundation row. Then work the next two rows using the purl stitch. Repeat at the end of the item or panel. Bind off with a single crochet or slip stitch.

Video: Simple & Sensational™ – Purl Stitch or How to Stop the Curl

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Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Create a Finished Edge on All Sides As You Work

How do you crochet a finished edge around your Afghan or Tunisian Crochet panel or item? It’s easy with a few tricks.

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1. Loosely chain your foundation chain with a regular crochet hook, usually a size smaller than your Afghan/Tunisian Crochet hook. Switch to the Afghan/Tunisian Crochet hook.

Cast on – Work this foundation row in the back loop of your foundation chain. Chaining loosely will make it easier to work through the back loop. This will also create a finished 2-loop chain stitch on the bottom side of your panel or item.

2. DSC00616On the foundation row only. Before working the final cast on of the foundation row, add an extra loop by yo once. Then complete the cast on of the final back loop of your foundation chain.

 

 

 

3. Cast off – *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook (not the customary 1 loop on the first cast off); repeat from * across row until 1 loop remains on hook.

4. To create a clean, 2-loop edge on your non-dominate hand side, work remaining rows as follows:

Cast on as required for the stitch you are working. Be sure to work the last stitch of the pattern. Finish the row by inserting the hook under the 2-loop chain edging, yo, pull up loop on hook.

DSC00617Cast off – *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook (not the customary 1 loop on the first cast off); repeat from * across row until 1 loop remains on hook.

 

 

 

5. To Bind Off:

Repeat the one or two rows of the purl stitch (if that is how you began to alleviate the curl) or complete the final row to match your beginning cast-on and cast-off pattern. When one loop remains on your hook, return to the regular crochet hook you used for the foundation chain.

*Insert hook under vertical bar, yo, pull under vertical bar and through loop on hook (slip stitch); repeat from * across row, ending with final slip stitch under last 2-loop chain stitch edge. End off. Weave in ends.

NOTE: I like using the slip stitch; however, you can choose to bind off with a single crochet instead by *inserting hook under vertical bar, yo, pull through, yo pull through 2 loops; repeat from * across row.

If you follow these tricks, you will see that not only does your dominate-hand end have a finished chain edging, but now your non-dominate-hand end will also have a finished chain edging. The top and bottom edge of your panel will have the same chain edging, eliminating the need to “fix” the border with an added edging row. Of course, you can still add a decorative border or just crochet the panels together using one of the methods shown in Joining Granny Squares Blog Series found on April 20 and 24 and May 1 and 8. For a demonstration of these techniques, check out the videos listed below.

Videos: Simple & Sensational™

Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Create a Finished Edge on All Sides As You Work

Joining Granny Squares – Part 1 with Needle & Yarn

Joining Granny Squares – Part 2 with a Chain Seam & Single Crochet Seam

Joining Granny Squares – Part 3 Single Crochet Single Loops

Joining Granny Squares – Part 4 with Chain Seam and Dc2tog

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Project Linus

This month’s charity is Project Linus – providing security through blankets.

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“As Charles Schulz’s Linus character from the PEANUTS® comic strip was comforted by his blanket, Project Linus strives to do the same and more for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. The blankets our nearly 400 chapter coordinators collect from thousands of “blanketeers” (volunteers) across the United States and then distributed to these children provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort.”

Blanketeers provide new, handmade, washable blankets to be given as gifts to seriously ill and traumatized children, ages 0-18. All blanket styles are welcome, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, and receiving blankets in child-friendly colors. Blankets must be homemade, washable, free of pins, and come from smoke-free environments due to allergy reasons.

With chapters in all 50 states, blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies or anywhere that a child might be in need of a hug. Contact your local chapter for specific needs since each area of donation has special requirements.

Sizes depend on local chapter needs. My local chapter is looking for adult blankets of at least 40″ x 40″ in knit or crochet. Baby blankets are at least 30″ x 30″. They also accept booties and hats for newborn babies.

Some designs suggestions are:

  • Double Crochet with a Twist
  • Slip Stitch
  • Plain Double Crochet or Single Crochet
  • As always, make sure the yarn is super soft

More patterns can be found at www.projectlinus.org. Links to web sites that offer special discounts to Project Linus friends and who donate a percentage of their Project Linus sales back to the nonprofit can be found here also. Click the “Patterns/Links” link on the top menu bar for more information.

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Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Knitting with a Crochet Hook

The beauty of this stitch is the textured knit-like fabric it creates. The Knit Stitch results in columns of inverted “V’s” so it really looks like knitting, but it’s all done with an Afghan or Tunisian crochet hook.

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Knit TKnit 2

 

To work a Knit Stitch:

1. Cast on: *Insert hook between front vertical bar and back vertical bar to create the V, yo, pull through adding a loop to your hook; repeat from * across, ending by inserting hook under final 2 loops of chain stitch edge.

Note: Sometimes it can be a little confusing since the inverted “V” pattern is not evident in the row you are working. To keep track of the vertical bars, remember that you skip 2 vertical bars – back vertical bar of previous stitch and front vertical bar of next stitch – then insert the hook.

2. Cast-off: *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * across row, ending with one loop on hook.

Return to regular crochet hook and bind off with a single crochet or slip stitch.

Videos:
Simple & Sensational™ – Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Knit Stitch
Simple & Sensational™ – Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Create a Finished Edge
Simple & Sensational™ – Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – How to Stop the Curl – Purl Stitch

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Halos of Hope® – Comfort for those living through the side effects of chemotherapy

When I was at Stitches West, one of the charities present was Halos of Hope®, founded by Pamela Haschke, IBC Survivor since 2004. At www.halosofhope.org Pamela states:

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“The most apparent aspect of chemo is hair-loss. I thought this was going to be the easiest part of the treatment I would experience. After all, it’s only hair. And it grows back.

Your hair falls out in clumps and your scalp hurts feeling like pinpricks where the hair follicles used to be. It’s not possible to perform a simple an act like running your fingers through your hair without strands becoming entwined. As the chemotherapy eradicates the cancer cells within your body, you’re recovering internally while the pain on your scalp makes you want to cry.

My favorite scarves & hats were those that people made for me because I knew they were made with affection and love. And sometimes a soft cap works wonders when you tire of wearing the wig, or just need to kick about the house.”

There are some lovely cap patterns donated by various designers to be used for Halos of Hope®. Two of my favorites are (each takes one ball of yarn):

  • Mary Beth Temple’s Halos of Hope® Chemo Cap which is a simple cloche found at http://alpacaaddict.blogspot.com First Project for 2012.
  • Kim Guzman’s Charleston Cloche, a stylish cloche made with Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller™ Washable Ewe is found at http://stitchnationyarn.com free patterns.
  • Another great one especially for beginners is Easy Sideways Hat found at www.LionBrand.com free patterns. It’s worked flat using self-striping yarn (Amazing) and then seamed together.

Hat Guidelines:
Handmade
New, unworn
Washable (preferred)
“Soft” means comfort to a bald head
Cottons are an excellent choice.
If the cap contains any wool, please label the cap; some people have wool sensitivity.
Hats made with thinner yarns and fabrics are ideal for summer.
Fleece, heavier yarns and fabrics are great for late fall and winter.
Scarves and turbans are also needed. Cotton knits are an excellent choice.
Sleep caps are also needed. Best when seamless or soft-seamed, and made from thinner, lightweight yarns or lightweight fabrics.

Head CircumferenceHat Sizing:
Head Circumference Chart

For an accurate head measure, place a tape measure across the forehead and measure around the full circumference of the head. Keep the tape snug for accurate results.

Head Circumference Chart

Finished hats can be mailed to the P.O. Box listed below or dropped off at one of their participating locations:

General mailing address:
Halos of Hope
P.O. Box 1998
Arlington Heights, IL 60006-1998

List of drop-off locations found at http://halosofhope.org How to Donate Caps.

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Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Waffle Stitch & the Secret to Prevent “Growing”

The beauty of this stitch is the textured knit-like fabric it creates. The Waffle Stitch results in a pleasant waffle-like pattern on one side and rows of running stitches on the other side.

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Waffle

Foundation Row:
Begin with a regular crochet hook one size smaller than the Afghan/Tunisian crochet hook and loosely chain desired number of stitches.

Cast-on: Switch to the Afghan/Tunisian crochet hook. For a nice chain bottom edge, work through the back loop of your foundation chain only. *Insert hook under the next back loop, yo, pull through adding a loop to your hook; repeat from * across row.

NOTE: Foundation Row only. To create a chain stitch up the non-dominate hand edge, yo on hook before the final loop cast on. You can begin with the Purl Stitch for the foundation row, but it can be a little awkward if you are not used to the stitch.

Cast-off: *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * across row, ending with one loop on hook.

Waffle Stitch Rows:
Note: The waffle pattern will “grow” towards the dominate hand so one row adds the waffle at the beginning of the row and not the end of the row. The other row skips the first waffle and adds it at the end of the row. It helps to use a marker at the beginning of Row 1 so you always know which type of row you are working in. I move the marker up every time I begin Row 1 so I know the next row is a Row 2, especially when I have to put my panel down. It also helps to count the loops on your hook to be sure you are not missing a stitch.

Cast on Row 1: Insert hook in space after 2 loops of chain stitch edge (dominate side), yo, pull through adding loop to your hook, *skip 2 vertical bars (1 front, 1 back) insert hook in next space, yo, pull through adding a loop to your hook; repeat from * across, ending by inserting hook under final 2 loops of chain stitch edge (non-dominate side). Do not pick up a loop in the space in front of the final 2 loops of the chain stitch edge.

Cast-off Row 1: *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * across row, ending with one loop on hook.

Cast on Row 2: Skip first waffle space, *skip 2 vertical bars (1 front, 1 back), insert hook in next space, yo, pull through adding a loop to your hook; repeat from * across, ending by inserting hook under final 2 loops of chain stitch edge. Be sure to add waffle in space before final 2 loops of chain stitch edge.

Cast-off Row 2: *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * across row, ending with one loop on hook.

Return to regular crochet hook and bind off with a single crochet or slip stitch by inserting hook in waffle space, yo, pull through loop on hook and make a slip stitch or single crochet.

Videos:
Simple & Sensational™ – Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Waffle Stitch
Simple & Sensational™ – Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – Create a Finished Edge
Simple & Sensational™ – Afghan or Tunisian Crochet – How to Stop the Curl – Purl Stitch

 

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Captions or What’s she saying?

While watching a video demonstration have you ever wondered – What’s she saying?

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When shooting videos, I know I stumble over words, I’m not always articulate about the process and sometimes I actually say the wrong word. So what’s the solution? Captions. I’ve begun adding captions to all my videos. The new ones have captions available upon release and I’m working on including captions with the older videos too.

The beauty about captions is you can choose to use them or not. If you choose to use captions, simply turn them on by hovering over or clicking on the closed caption (cc) button located at the bottom right of the video player. The menu opens. English (transcribed) is the Google Translate machine translation. Even though it is well intentioned, unfortunately the translation rarely makes any sense. So instead click the English – Ruffled Purse (or name of pattern/design) translation instead since these are the captions I’ve added in English.

If you need to view the captions in another language, first open the closed caption (cc) button and then click inside the language box. Scroll through the list until you find the language that you want. Click OK to set the language.

Hopefully, captions will help to make the videos and the processes presented easier to understand and available to more viewers.

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Mesh Yarn – How do I begin?

When I first began making ruffled scarves, I followed the manufacturer’s instructions – jumping right in and working along the top edge. The problem: after I was finished, the ragged end just hung there, not always hidden under the ruffle. I experimented and found an easy solution.

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Video: Simple & Sensational™ – How to Begin and End Crocheting with Mesh Yarn

Mesh1Working along the beginning end, start at the top edge, insert your hook from the back to the front, weaving your hook front to back and back to front through the mesh until you reach the bottom edge. Grab the bottom edge and pull it through the mesh loops on your hook.

 

Mesh2Now you have your first loop for working along the top edge. What’s nice is you also have a neat edge for your first ruffle. What to do with the unsightly tail? You can either: twist the tail and work it in as you crochet or drop the tail and later you can twist it tightly, lay it back over the core and tack it down.

This technique works with a close mesh yarn such as Bernat® Twist and Twirl or a wide mesh such as Premier® Starbella.

Mesh25When you reach the end, the process is the same. Starting at the top edge, insert your hook from the back to the front, weaving your hook front to back and back to front through the mesh until you reach the bottom edge. Grab the bottom edge and pull it through the mesh loops on your hook.

 

Mesh3Since you are at the end, you can grab the tail and pull it though the last loop, forming a knot. Twist the tail tightly, lay it back over the core and tack it securely down. Gently pull the ruffles down at each end.

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Tanis Galik’s New Crochet Designs – Quick & Simple Collection

I am happy to announce I have two new crochet designs available in the Quick & Simple collection published by FW Media and D&C.

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Crochet for the Home, 10 Designs from Up-and-Coming Designers!

My Boy’s Granny Square Baby Blanket is found on page 8. With its eye-catching starry center created by Front Post stitches, this cheerful granny square baby blanket will brighten any boy’s room. Crochet it for your own baby or as shower gift. Either way, it will become a treasured reminder of your thoughtfulness and love.

Crochet Scarves, 9 Designs from Up-and-Coming Designers!
DC with a Twist ScarfDC with a Twist Scarf is found on page 5. This elegant yet easy-to-crochet scarf consists of one row of single crochets and one row of double crochets with a twist. It creates a lovely pattern that appears much more difficult than it really is. Make it in a comfy yarn such as Red Heart Soft Yarn for everyday use, or chose a shiny, novelty yarn for evening wear. Either way, it’s the perfect scarf for any occasion!