It has Started!

Hey all my lovely readers, Stitch Makers Live 2019 is underway on FaceBoook. Even if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, you still can thru Saturday September 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Click here to purchase your ticket and join the fun!

Now you might be thinking, why would I want to buy my ticket if the event is already happening? Because you will still get access to all the Live Videos to watch as many times as you want over the next year, you will get all the patterns, and you’ll be able to read the conversations and questions on the various patterns.

Of course, the sooner you purchase your tickets the more of the Live Videos you’ll be able to participate in Live. Tickets are now $80, but that is still a bargain for all the lessons and patterns. I have paid anywhere from $85 to $95 for one 3 hour class at a conference, and you will have access to 15 classes with the addition of being able to review them as often and at any time over the next year.

Whirling Ends Scarf – Andee Graves/M2H Designs

At $80 that comes out to approximately $2.67 per class and pattern. Plus you don’t have to get dressed up, you can join the classes and fun interaction with your fellow crocheters wearing your PJs if you want.

I’ll be teaching later today at 5 p.m. all about Mastering theTricks for Easy Perfect Crochet Spirals. Go grab your ticket now to join me, or even if you miss my class time today you can still watch the video later and learn all about crocheting spirals.

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All the Work and some Fun

Oh my goodness, I have had a crazy busy couple of weeks. I have been preparing for teaching 2 different classes.

One is at Longmont Yarn Shoppe where I will be teaching this coming Sunday, September 15 from Noon to 3p. I’m teaching a striped hat class worked with 2 colors. You can still sign up for the class on the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website or call the shop at 303-678-8242.

It is definitely getting to be the time of year when hats will be needed again. The last couple of evenings the temperatures up here on the mountain have dropped into the low 50s and high 40s. Our days are still fairly warm, though I have to confess I am not missing the 90+ temperatures of August.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

I am sad to see less hummingbirds at our feeders in the evening. The photo above was taken one evening when our flock was at it’s largest. The whirring of their wings and the cloud of them around the feeders is impossible to describe. Now most of them have headed off to warmer climates, the few we are still getting are likely just stopping for a meal on their journey.

The other class I am preparing for is my ” Master the Tricks to Create Easy Perfect Crochet Spirals” at Stitch Makers Live next week. I am really excited to be one of the teachers at this event and I hope you’ll join me.

With the one ticket you will get 15 classes, and 15 patterns. It is quite the bargain at $80. The one class I was able to squeeze in at the CGOA conference in July cost me $85, and it didn’t include a pattern.

If you missed the Early Bird Price for Stitch Makers Live, and are sad because $80 seems like more than your budget will bear don’t despair. I have a coupon code for $20 off the ticket price for Stitch Makers Live. The code is: 2019SML20off. The code is only good until Monday August 16th at 11:45 p.m. Eastern time. Click here to buy your ticket now and join me and all the other teachers for an awesome online conference.

Don’t Miss Out on Early Bird Pricing

UPDATE September 13, 2019 – If you missed the Early Bird Price and are sad because $80 seems like more than your budget will bear don’t despair. I have a coupon code for $20 off the ticket price for Stitch Makers Live. The code is: 2019SML20off. The code is only good until Monday August 16th at 11:45 p.m. Eastern time. Click here to buy your ticket now and join me and all the other teachers for an awesome online conference.

My latest finished design is the Whirling Ends Scarf and the pattern will only be available for the next year to attendees of the Stitch Markers Live 2019 online conference. The pattern contains my usual detailed photos, stitch charts and written instructions to help you successfully complete this project.

With your ticket to the conference you be able to take an online lesson with me where I demo my tricks for making spirals, including some secrets I’ve never shared before. As well as being able to ask questions and get help from me the whole 3 days of the conference.

But that is not all! You get all 15 patterns from the 11 designer/teachers and the opportunity to attend 15 different live lessons. Plus the same live access to all the teachers. You don’t have to worry about the agony of deciding between one lesson over another, because each class will be offered one at a time. You can attend each live lesson if you want, all for the single ticket price, no paying a separate fee for each lesson.

Even better, you will have 1 year access to all the lessons from the conference. Which means if you don’t get to one of the projects right away, you can have a refresher by reviewing the lessons.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

I’m reminding you that today is the last day of Early Bird pricing for Stitch Makers Live 2019. Early Bird Tickets are $55. After midnight eastern tonight (Monday, Sept 2nd) tickets will go up $25 and will be $80. That comes down to less than $1.85 per pattern or lesson.

Don’t miss out on your chance to take classes with these marvelous teachers for such a great price!

Click here to get your ticket NOW!

Something New in Crochet is Coming…

Stitch Makers Live 2019 is coming soon and I’m so excited to be a part of it!

What is Stitch Makers Live?

Stitch Makers Live is a 3-day virtual event during which over 10 crochet designers and teachers (including me) are going to spend time with you – right on Facebook. 16 crochet sessions LIVE with industry experts!

Each class comes with a BONUS crochet pattern – to help you master those skills.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

From September 19th thru September 21st , you can participate in every one of these classes. But that’s not all!

There’s even a virtual party in the evening after the last day is over!

PLUS, you’ll get full access to the recordings in the group for ONE FULL YEAR!

And YOU are invited! Click here to register to join the fun..

These are the industry professionals that will be joining me

·        Edie Eckman

·        Tamara Kelly of Moogly

·        Mary Beth Temple of Hooked For Life Publishing

·        Alexis Middleton of Persia Lou

·        Marie Segares of Underground Crafter

·        Jessie Rayot of Jessie At Home

·        Pia Thadani of Stitches ‘N’ Scraps

·        Linda Dean of Linda Dean Crochet

·        Julie Desjardins of ACCROchet

·        Courtney Whitehead of Creations by Courtney

These experts are passionate about crochet, and excited to share their knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to improve your skills in hat making, gather the bravery to begin your first sweater, or dive into short rows, our goal is to help you. The teachers and designers were handpicked to bring you the best instructors on a variety of crochet topics.

This is the first CROCHET ONLY online summit we know about – and we’re excited to launch it with you on board! 

Take advantage of Early Bird pricing and purchase your tickets before midnight eastern on Monday, September 2nd. After that tickets will go up to full price! 

So go ahead, register for Stitch Makers Live today!

I can’t wait to see you there!

The Anatomy of Your Stitches

No matter what your crochet skill level it is helpful to understand the anatomy of your stitches. This is especially handy when you are weaving in tails or repairing crochet fabric. It is also very useful when teaching crochet so you can show your students what to look for while working on their projects.

The anatomy of a Chain Stitch

The first stitch most of us learn in crochet is the chain stitch, it is used in many ways in crochet patterns.

Vs on front of Chain Sts

The tops of the stitches are the V that you see in the above photo. They are what the working loop on your hook becomes as you make each stitch.

Back Bumps of Chain Sts

The chain stitch doesn’t have a “post” or “legs”. There is simply the back “bar” or “bump”. You will see either term used in patterns. It will depend on the publication what terminology they chose. This back bump is formed by the working yarn each time you pull thru a new loop with your hook to make a chain stitch.

The anatomy of a Single Crochet Stitch

The single crochet stitch is usually the first regular crochet stitch we learn to make after the chain stitch. The instructions for this stitch are: insert hook in stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull thru both loops on hook. But where do all those various loops end up?

Like with the chain stitch, the working loop on your hook is key. When you finish a stitch you have a working loop of yarn on your hook (yellow arrow pointing to it in above photo).  That loop becomes the top of the next stitch you make, no matter what stitch you are crocheting it will still become the top of the stitch.

When looking at your single crochet stitches as you make them (this is the Right Side row) you can see 2 “legs” (vertical yellow lines in above photo), these are the bottom of the loop you pulled up thru the stitch. Looking at the single crochet stitches from the back side (this is the Wrong Side row) you can see the top of that same loop (horizontal yellow lines in above photo) just below the top of the stitch.

If you turn your work over and look at the stitches from the back you can see the path of the working yarn coming into the stitch and out of the stitch (marked with bright pink and arrows in above photo) forming the “post” of the stitch and the new working loop (top of next stitch) on your hook. The aqua and pink line shows the top of the stitch that had been the working loop previously.

The above image shows all the parts of the stitches in 2 rows. The top row is the right-side row being worked and the next row below is the wrong-side row stitches being worked into. Agua lines highlight the tops of stitches, yellow lines show the second loop made for the single crochet stitch, pink lines and arrows show the path of the working yarn and “back legs” of your stitches. If you look closely you can see that the pink back legs are wrapped around the top of the stitches in the third row below.

How do I work into my foundation chain?

Answering and understanding this is one of the most important skills to have in your crochet tool box. The typical start for a crochet project is to chain a length and then work back into the chain. Of course this often leads to the questions  about how to work into the chain. Which loop do you work under and how many of them?

 

Traditional method

One of the first ways I learned to work into a chain was by going into the center of the V on the top of the chain and catching the back bar and top leg of the V in the stitch being made. This is the more traditional way of working into a foundation chain.

 

Trad method free loops

This leaves a single strand at the base of the stitches in your first row. This can work well if you are working pieces of a garment that are going to be seamed together along the base of the foundation rows.

Trad method showing twist

The first row worked into the chain using the traditional method tends to have quite a bit of twist to it before you work additional rows.

Shells worked into chain

It also is more stable when you are starting a stitch pattern that requires multiple stitches worked into some of the chain stitches of your foundation. For example…shell stitches.

Another option is to work under both legs of the V on each chain stitch. I find this to be the most difficult way to work into the chain. It does give you a very stable foundation and the single strand at the base is free for seaming pieces together along the foundation. Working into a chain using this method is easier with a very loosely crocheted foundation chain.

 

The finished row will again have single strands at its base, but they will be a bit more centered. This row will have a lot of twist to it like the traditional method of working into a chain.

 

Sts wrkd in back bump base view
Arrow points to foundation chain’s loose Vs when stitches are worked into back bar.

If a pattern doesn’t specify which loop of the chain to use, I tend to use the back bar (or back bump). I like the way the finished foundation looks as it echoes the top of the stitches on the last row of the project. When putting an edging all the way around the finished project I find the base of this foundation easier and neater looking to work into.

Unless a pattern specifies a particular way of working into the chain you can do whatever works best for you. You only need to be consistent for the stitches of your foundation.

 

Chain w larger hook

If you find that your chain foundation stitches seem to always be tighter than the rest of your crochet fabric it can help to use a hook one size larger for the foundation chain, then switch down to the next hook size when you are ready to begin your first row of stitches into the chains. 

Finding the top of the stitch

Now you have an idea of where to spot the tops of your stitches in a chain, but how do you tell where the top of a regular stitch is?

The simple answer, just like for our chain stitch, the top of the stitch looks like a V.  If you stop and hold your work so the Vs appear stacked they are easier to identify. As long as you don’t remove your hook from your working loop you can manipulate your fabric without losing any stitches.

Am I working in the right direction?

Once you can identify the top of your stitch it becomes a lot easier to tell if you are working in the right direction.

Vs pointing away

If your pattern tells you to turn at the end or beginning of a row, then the Vs of the stitch tops of the row you are working into, should be pointing away from your hook.

Working in the Round

If you are working in the round without turning at the end of each round, then the Vs of the stitch tops of the round you are working into, should be pointing at your hook.

Where do I insert my hook in the stitch?

Insert hook under 2 legs

For your standard crochet pattern you are going to insert your hook under the 2 legs of the V in the top of your stitch.

Gap to Insert Hook thru

To avoid splitting your yarn look for the little gap on the side of your stitch just under that V.

Some patterns will give you special instructions about where to insert your hook to create different textures in your fabric.

Back loop

If your pattern instructs you to work in the back loop of your stitch.  This is generally referring to the back leg of the Vs after you’ve turned your work to begin your new row.

Front loop

The same is true for working in the front loop of your stitch. You would be inserting your hook under the front leg of the Vs after you’ve turned your work to begin your new row.

 

What if you need to work more than one stitch in the same stitch?

This can be tricky when you are new to crochet. Especially once you work the first stitch the V top of the stitch is obscured. My favorite trick involves manipulating the fabric.

Pulling up to find stitch

If you gently pull up on the stitch just made it becomes easy to see where the base of that stitch goes into the previous row. This hole is where you will insert your hook for your next stitches if the pattern tells you to work multiple stitches into a particular stitch.

Now you have a better understanding of your stitch anatomy time to experiment with some crochet swatches.

Chain 15, then work single crochets back along the chain (using whichever method you like) starting with the second chain from the hook.

Chain 1 and turn to work back along the first row of stitches working a single crochet in each stitch to the end of the row.

Right-side view of blue row

Wrong-side view of blue row.

If you change colors for each row of single crochet stitches you can see more clearly how the stitches fit together.

Beginner’s Mind

The further along the journey of life we travel the less patience we often have with ourselves regarding learning a new skill. I have often met people that say, “Oh I always wanted to learn to crochet, but I’m too old now.”

???!

No way! You are never too old to learn a new skill. In fact it has been proven that learning a new skill in our later years is a great way to increase the agility of our mental faculties. You just have to treat yourself with compassion and patience as you learn a new skill.

This is what is referred to as “beginner’s mind”. In many eastern teachings it is about beginning a new experience without expectation.  To just be in the moment.

I am often reminded of what that looks like when I am teaching young children. Whether it is crafts or math, teaching youngsters can be so engaging. They have no expectation of knowing how to do the task, they are completely in the moment of learning something entirely new or unexpected.

Sadly, children outgrow this most of the time about 8-10 years of age. Like the adults they will grow up to be, they have an expectation of how they should learn, instead of just being in the learning.

For me, one of the things I love the most about crochet is 40+ years after I first made my first stitches with a  hook I’m still learning new things. Sometimes these are things I learn from the teachers in my life, other crochet friends or students in my classes. There are so many things to discover and explore with crochet I’m never bored.

Even though National Crochet Month is over it is never too late to learn to crochet (or tackle a new craft). Just be kind to yourself and allow the new experience to happen without self-judgment. Have fun with being a beginner again.

If you are feeling like starting your crochet journey visit my “Getting Started with Crochet” blog post for some pointers. There are illustrations for both Left handed and Right handed crocheters on holding the yarn and hook.

 

I Love Yarn Day

Head and Heart full of Yarn
Head and Heart full of Yarn

Saturday October 17th is “I Love Yarn Day”. This is a day that is very aptly named for the life I lead. Of course, that is sort of my day everyday, since a love of all things yarn is what put my feet on this journey as a designer and teacher.

ILYD-2015_instagram1_200x200

I was thrilled that the theme this year is “Stitch it Forward”, which is all about teaching others how to craft with yarn.

Playing and Crocheting w Andee

Very appropriate as I want to introduce you to my latest teaching tool. My YouTube Channel. I’ll be doing a series of videos titled “Playing and Crocheting with Andee”. The first 2 videos are now available and I plan to be adding to them frequently. I’ll be announcing here on the blog (and on my Facebook page and Twitter feed) whenever I have a new video up. Next month you will also be able to find a directory of my videos and the links to them on my “YouTube Channel” page here on the blog.

The first video is a tutorial on working the Adjustable Slip Knot.

The second video is a tutorial on making the Foundation Single Crochet.

I hope you have a wonderful “I Love Yarn Day” and hopefully an opportunity to teach someone else the love of yarn.