Sunday, August 21, 2016

FAQ Part 2

I decided to break this up since it was so long.

FAQ - Part 2

What do the skill level terms found at the beginning of a pattern mean? The designer of the pattern determines what skill level he or she chooses to put on it, if any.They mean different things to different people. You might also remember that being ABLE to do something and wanting to do it or wanting to take the time to mess with it are not the same thing. You might have the skill to do it, but it may not be something you are interested in doing.
I love this knit pattern! Can I crochet it? In my opinion, you cannot get an exact duplicate of a knitted item in crochet. I can tell you that if you are trying to duplicate colors of a knitted item (like a scarf, for example), you need to know if the designer has written the pattern in rows or ridges. It takes two rows to make a ridge. Here’s some info that might be useful. I use it when working my Doctor Who scarves.
2 rows knit = one row single crochet
3 rows of knit = 1 row half double crochet
4 rows of knit = 1 row of double crochet
6 rows of knit = 1 row of triple (or treble) crochet

My pattern calls for a hook I don’t have. Can I substitute another size? Of course you can. However, your project may not turn out the size it says in the pattern and you may not have the right amount of yarn. Check your pattern BEFORE buying your yarn. Keep in mind that some things are made to fit. In that case, you should check gauge before choosing a hook and purchase the yarn weight suggested if you want that fit.
How do you measure crocheted squares? Across, not diagonally.
I need to join my squares. Should I use sewing thread? No. Do not use sewing thread. Use the same material with which you made your project.
How long will it take me to finish this pattern? Well, that depends. How fast are you? You don't know? Then you need to find out.
Every pattern will be different because patterns are of different complexity. If you need to know whether you have enough time to finish an afghan before Christmas or a special birthday or whatever, time yourself while crocheting one row of the project. You might want to time yourself say three separate times and take the average. Then figure out how many rows you need. Multiply the time it took you to make one row by the number of rows and voila, that's how long it will take you to make the blankie in a perfect world.

Keep in mind that this is if you continue to crochet without stopping. Of course, you're going to stop - you have to cook, eat, use the bathroom, shower, bring the kids here and there, check your e-mail. You also will not crochet without stopping, especially if you're having a conversation or watching a movie or TV program that steals your attention. So figure at least three times whatever you come up with (in daylight hours unless you crochet in your sleep). Or you might double the time you get for each row. Say it takes you 15 minutes to do a row when you're concentrating fully on that. Estimate then that it will take you 30 minutes per row when you're not doing something else while crocheting.

Don't forget to add time for edging and sewing in ends, which can take quite a while. Your edging will take longer than your rows because the length will be longer.
Example 1: I timed myself while crocheting a row in a doll blankie I was making. It took me 6 minutes to do one row. I knew I needed 45 rows, so that is 270 minutes, or 4.5 hours. If I would have done nothing but crochet on that blankie, I would have finished it in approximately 4.5 hours, probably a little longer since you won't go at the same speed the entire time you're crocheting. When you're timing yourself you tend to go faster to meet the challenge. How long did it actually take me? Two days. Besides the 45 rows, I also did a two round border and then had to sew in the ends.
Example 2: I was working a dc ripple using blo (back loop only). I mention the blo because it takes longer to do. You wouldn't think so, but it does because you have to pull that back thread where it is more automatic to go through both loops. You have to watch what you're doing. I timed myself crocheting one row. It took about 16 minutes. Later, I timed myself while watching television. It took about a half hour. There were times I found it took even longer if it was an exciting show or the dog wanted to go out often, or the kids needed something. I estimated I would need about 130 rows. At the shortest time that would be about 35 hours for the afghan, not counting the edging and sewing in the ends. At a half hour per row, that would be 65 hours, also not counting edging and ends. That's quite a difference - well, almost twice as long *grin*. Unless you have a family who really appreciates crochet, you won't get more than a couple hours where you can concentrate on crocheting. I cheated. I found movie marathons and got them interested in them because this was something I wanted to finish before Christmas and I definitely needed more than 2 hours per day of crocheting time. I also went no-mail on my e-mail lists, and didn't plan any elaborate meals during that time. :-)
So, how long would it take to complete that afghan? It is a twin size afghan if you're wondering. Figuring 2 hours per day at the longer time because that is more realistic, it would be 33 days.
Why do all this figuring anyway? Well, in this case, I didn't HAVE 33 days to complete this project, so I knew I needed to work more than 2 hours per day, possibly spending a few late nights.
Don't forget to add mailing time if you have to send off that project!
I can’t read this pattern! It looks like Greek to me. What do I do?
Copy the pattern text into a word processing program then change all the abbreviations to their actual meanings. For example, change sc to single crochet. Be careful if you use find and replace as you could change something you were not expecting. Another option is to put each instruction on a separate line. Print out an abbreviation list for reference.
I’ve made an afghan from a pattern I found in a book. Can I sell it?
That depends on the designer/publisher’s policies. Always check first if it’s not specifically stated in the book or on the web site.

I might also note that for works copyrighted before 1923, they are now in the public domain and anything published after 1978 is considered copyrighted whether the person has filed or not. Other years require more information to know whether they are still copyrighted or not. When in doubt, check it out.
If the designer or publisher does not say specifically that you can, then you must ask permission, even if you purchased the pattern.
My pattern uses rounds, not rows--how do I do it? Working in rounds means that you will be going in a circle rather than working right to left or left to right in rows. There are many tutorials dealing with the technique. Check my YouTube channel.
Should I weave in as I go, or wait until I’m finished with the project? It really doesn’t matter as far as how your finished project will look, but if you are one who can’t help but rip back when you find an error, no matter how far back it is, then you might like to save the weaving until the end when you’re satisfied all is well with your work and there are no mistakes. That is because it is sometimes hard to rip the section where you wove the ends in, especially if you did a really good job. You might end up having to cut the yarn in places and not have enough left to weave in again.
How can I keep my work from unraveling before it’s completed? I have used various methods to keep my stitches from coming apart when someone accidentally gets tangled up in my work, or I put it down and when I pick it up again, I have to search for the end of it etc. Stitch holders work, as do paper clips, and safety pins, but of late I have been using "Lil’s Knot". By using this method, I don’t have to make sure I have a handy paper clip or safety pin or stitch holder. All I need is my fingers and the yarn, which I have. LOL
How big should I make this ...? In regards to afghans, measure or look up how big the area that you want to cover is. If it’s a scarf, I have read that it’s customary to make a scarf at least as long as the person is tall.
What can I do if I discover too late that I didn’t make enough foundation chains? If your pattern says chain 150, just chain 155 or 160. When you complete the required stitches of your pattern, you can undo the extra stitches. It is easier to undo a few stitches, than to have to redo 150 chains! I do recommend you go back and check your pattern to be sure you didn’t make a mistake before you undo those chains--especially if the first row is straight sc or dc. :-)

You can also add a few stitches by making more foundation chains on the end of the ones you’ve already made. Just insert your hook in the slip knot and use the dangling strand to make the chains. Now in order for this to work, you need to leave a looonnggg yarn end. So if you plan to be short *smile*, make sure your yarn end is long. I suggest leaving a long end regardless.
Jean Leinhauser has a wonderful lesson (with pictures) on this method in the book, The Crochet Yearbook (ASN). There are several great tips and tutorials in this book. I highly recommend it.
If you are interested in another method where you do not have to make a long chain, but can make your first row at the same time as your foundation chain, then there is another way to handle this problem. What you do, briefly, is to chain 2 for a foundation chain, single crochet into the second chain from hook, then for your next stitch, you insert your hook into the base of your sc, yo and pull up one loop, yo and draw through one loop on hook (this becomes the base or chain for your next stitch), yo and draw through both loops on hook.
You can find many videos on variations of starting your row with both the foundation chain and the first row together. It might be called the foundation single crochet, or foundationless single crochet, or no foundation chain, or some other variation.
Should I wash my finished project? I have discovered that washing projects sometimes causes strange things to happen so better to happen to me than the person I’m sending it to, right? Threads you thought secure may pop out at you. Also, some yarns become much softer after washing. Red Heart yarn is this way. Stiff to work with, but soft after washing. I’d rather send off a soft piece than a rough one.
If you’re short on time, though, and your ends don’t normally pop out, you can certainly send it without washing as well. Most Moms wash newborn items before using anyway. It would be thoughtful to include the yarn label washing instructions, or your own little note telling the recipient how to wash the piece. I find people are sometimes hesitant to wash a handmade item as they are afraid to damage it.
How should I wash crocheted pieces? I just throw mine in the washing machine, on gentle cycle with my regular detergent. Cold water, gentle cycle and low heat are good for most acrylic items. Then in the dryer with a softener sheet. If it’s for a baby, I usually use Ivory Snow or Dreft or anything made for babies that won’t take the fire-proofing stuff out. For preemie items, the softener smell may be too strong so you may prefer to use softener in the washing machine rather than the dryer for those items or use one of the fabric softener sheets with no scent added.
Keep in mind that crocheted items may stretch if hung, so they should be folded and stored flat. You can wrap in tissue if you’re storing it for the summer or a long period of time. In her book, Crochet 200 Q&A, Rita Taylor suggests using blue tissue paper to keep white cotton items looking white. I was glad to read this hint because, to my disappointment, I have had items develop yellow spots.
Bonnie in Washington suggested hand-washing items which use mixed yarn types with a mild shampoo.
Some yarns have a longer drying time than others. Make sure your piece is completely dry before packing it into a plastic bag or your item will arrive damp and the bag will be full of droplets.
Why do I always hear not to make knots? What’s wrong with knots? 
Why do we not like knots?
First you should understand what I don't mean by knotting. I don't mean the finish-off or loosely tying two pieces together when you've joined a new skein of yarn, to hold them together temporarily while you continue working, then weaving in each of the long tails in later. If you are making a project for donation to a charity and are not sure what your particular group means when they say knotting, ASK, because some groups have strict rules about knotting and you want to be clear on this as you want your hard work to be used.
What I do mean by knotting is tying your two strands together tightly and/or then tying them again. Or tying your single strand into a knot. In either case, if you cut the strand right after the knot, this is bad, bad, bad. Whether you choose to tie, leave a long strand and weave it in, or you choose not to tie and weave your long tails in, I won't cause a fuss. There is a lot of controversy about which is best so you have to do what you feel is right. But please do not knot and then cut right there because that just won't work. Your lovely work will come undone.

I believe that right and wrong is a blurred line in most things crochet - if it works for you, it is okay. But some things are wrong at the core because they will not give you a quality finished product that will bring pleasure to you or the recipient for many years.
Knotting and cutting at the knot is one of these. Knotting and leaving a 1" piece of yarn is another. Always, always leave a long tail as noted above.  
But WHY? Why is this bad, you want to know? Here's why.
1) They can pull apart, before, after, or during a washing -- no matter how tightly you think you've tied them. I've had squares come apart while assembling an afghan of donated squares.
2) If you did tie them tightly, this can weaken the strand and it may break. I have also seen this when, in order to save the square, I've tried to sew in strands that have been knotted. If you pull too tightly on them the yarn breaks. You can see this yourself if you pull tightly on yarn. Some kinds are more susceptible to breaking than others, of course.
3) It creates a bump that you can feel. This is actually painful to sensitive skin (cancer patients and preemies for example) and even if you do not have sensitive skin it is not good to feel that hard bump in an otherwise soft, smooth piece.
4) Knots are hard to crochet over, particular in adding to a piece (for example, a charity assembler adding an edging to a square) or joining squares or strips or clothing pieces.
5) After washing, the tip of the sewn in tail sometimes pokes out and can be clipped if you have sewn in a long strand. In the case of two ends that have been knotted, occasionally the section where the knot is will come out. This is next to impossible to sew back in, because there is no "open" segment to thread.
The preferred, professional method of finishing is to weave in long tails.
Why do I have to leave long ends? There are several reasons that I, and other experienced crocheters, suggest leaving long ends. Dee Stanziano, of Crochet with Dee, put these into list form for us. I have received permission to share them with you in my own words.
1. The more you weave in, the less chance your afghan/sweater or whatever will later come apart. (added note: some folks like to weave a few inches and one direction and then head back in the other direction for extra stability.)

2. If you left a long tail at the beginning of your foundation chain, and you find you made too few, you can make more chains with the beginning long strand. As Dee says, "it's a plug on amazing "fudge-ability" crochet has to offer over knitting".

3. In later years if a hole develops or repair is needed, the crocheter can use that long tail to make the repair, matching the fiber and color exactly.
Amy Ries also gives some insight into why the long ends (reprinted with permission) from the viewpoint of an assembler joining squares.
Assembling is like building a house of cards. You make a square with a certain yarn, a certain tension, a certain pattern. Several other people also make squares with a different yarn, a different tension, a different pattern. Then I [the assembler] come along and add yet another card to the tower with my yarn and a joining method. It creates stress on your square that wouldn't normally happen if you just made a stack of squares yourself and joined them all together. I've seen the best intentioned squares unravel, and it's horrible to have it happen once the ghan is complete. That's why I say that making a complete ghan is your chance at individuality. Making squares is all of us coming together making something as similar as possible. That's why there are rules about squares.  Not to cramp your style, just to make sure we create something that will last. If your square comes to me with a problem, it takes me extra time to fix it. That adds up to less ghans that I'll have time to assemble.

Happy crocheting!

No comments:

Post a Comment