This blog contains posts about both original designs and items I've made based on others' patterns. Any patterns posted here are my original work and are my sole property. They may be printed for personal use but may not be copied or reposted. Items are intended for personal use, gifts, or sale for charity.

24 January 2012

Beginners Scarf

 I have just started giving crochet lessons to a friend, and I find that I am largely underwhelmed by the kinds of projects found in beginner pattern books.  They're boxy and clunky, and I don't think beginners should be stuck with square animals, ill-fitting garments, or useless decor just because they're still learning.

I aspire to write several beginner's patterns for my friend.  They will be designed to take shape easily, to teach how to see the parts of stitches, to progress quickly, to make mistakes easy to see, to build skill, and to help people new to the craft understand how the same 5 stitches can work together to create so many different kinds of structures.  They'll also be cute and useful. (See my previous post for tips for beginners.)

This is the first pattern.  After working an admittedly useless swatch of sc and dc in boring straight rows, she will move on to this--a scarf for her first grade daughter.

A small swatch from this pattern.  Obviously, a scarf would be longer. 

Yarn: worsted weight acrylic
Hook: H or I (check the yarn)
Gauge: not important for this project

ch   chain                                
sc   single crochet
dc   double crochet

Ch 18.
Row 1: Insert hook in 2nd ch from hook. sc in each ch across. (17 sc)
Row 2: Ch 1, turn.  sc in each sc across (17 sc)
Row 3: Ch 1, turn.  sc in each sc across (17 sc)
Row 4: Ch 3, turn. (counts as first dc, so don't work into the first stitch!) dc in each of the next 2 sc. *ch 1,    skip next sc, dc in next sc* 6 times, dc in each of the next 2 sc.
Row 5: ch 3, turn. (counts as first dc, so don't work into the first stitch!) dc in each of the next 2 dc. *ch 1,                   dc in the next dc* 6 times, dc in each of the next 2 dc.

Repeat Row 5 until scarf is desired length.  After you've reached the length that is appropriate for your person:

Row ?: ch 1, turn.  sc in first dc and in each of the next 2 dc.  *sc into ch 1 space, sc into next dc* 6 times, dc in each of the next 2 dc.
Row ?2: ch 1, turn.  sc in each sc across.  (17sc)
Row ?3: ch 1, turn.  sc in each sc across. (17 sc)
Finish off.

On Reading the Pattern

  • When you see *...* in a pattern, it means you will be doing the same thing over and over a few times. In this pattern, you repeat what is between the *...* 6 times.
  • When you are working in dc, your turning chain counts as your first dc.  In order to keep the right number if stitches in the row, you need to skip the first stitch in the row below.
  • When you are working in sc, the turning chain is there just to give you leverage.  You WILL work into the first stitch of the row below when you are working in sc.

Tips for Beginners

I have just started teaching my friend how to crochet.  As a result of 2 lessons, I present to you, Interwebs, the following tips:

My Tips for Beginners

Tips on Yarn

  • Use worsted weight or larger yarn for beginning projects; it is easier to see the stitches.
  • If appropriate, use a larger hook than the yarn calls for; it's easier to see the stitches.
  • Use a light-colored yarn; it is easier to see the stitches.
  • If you want multi-colored yarn, go with a style that gradually transitions from one color to the next rather than one that mixes colors in twists.  It's easier to see the stitches.
  • Avoid those fun textured yarns like Homespun, Boucle, or Eyelash.  You'll NEVER find your stitches in all that yarn
[Have you worked out the running theme yet?  When you're beginning, you need to be able to see your stitches!]
  • Cotton is hard to work with.  Find a simple acrylic that feels nice. Begin with cheap yarn, but not one that makes your skin feel like it belongs on an alien.
  • As your patterns progress in difficulty, keep a skein of v. v. cheap crappy yarn on hand.  Work the pattern until you understand it, and then begin working in your real yarn.  That way you don't learn on your real yarn. (see the first point below)
Tips on Learning
  • Know you are going to mess up.  This does not mean you can't learn, and it doesn't mean you're a bad person.
  • Look at messing up as an opportunity to learn.  I taught myself to crochet, and I have wasted more yarn than I've used well.  Mistakes help you learn. (see points 6-7 above)
  • Practice your chain stitch until it's even and tidy.  It's not all that interesting, but that stitch is the basis for all crochet. Once you figure out how to hold the yarn to make that stitch even, the rest is gravy.
  • Working Row 1 into your foundation chain is the worst part of any project.  It's plain not fun.  It takes too long.  But work Row 1 into your foundation chain.  Because the rest of the project is awesome.
  • For some, learning to read patterns is more difficult than learning stitches.  Be patient and be willing to start over a few times. (see the first point in this section)
Tips on Equipment
You don't need special gadgets.  You need a few mid-sized hooks (G-J).  You need some yarn.  You need a yarn needle.  Be ready to improvise the rest.  Use your kid's math ruler to check gauge.  Use paper clips or small pieces of yarn as stitch markers.  Use free patterns online.  Watch youtube for video tutorials.

DO have a pair of scissors dedicated to crochet (and sewing, if you sew) and don't let your kids or significant other touch them.  They are not for going to clip herbs; they are not for cutting out paper snowflakes; they are not for opening the packaging to micro SD cards--they are only for crochet (and sewing, if you sew).

My next post is a pattern for beginners who have learned (in an admittedly useless, boring swatch) ch, sc, and dc.  Let's have fun!