How to Make and Measure a Crochet Gauge Swatch

One of my most popular crochet patterns is the One Hour Beanie. The most common problem that I’ve heard from people who use the pattern is that their hat turns out too small. And the main reason why this happens is that they crochet tighter than I do. So, even though they counted correctly and followed the instructions, the end product is too small.

The solution to this is to use a bigger hook than the one that I list in the pattern. Then, your stitches will be bigger, even though you may crochet more tightly.

Or, an even better solution is to make a gauge swatch BEFORE you even start working on a new pattern!

Then you’ll know if you can use the hook size that I recommend based on what I do, or if you need to use a bigger or smaller hook to achieve the correct sized stitch.

Watch the video below to learn all about stitch size, hooks, yarn and gauge so that your next project will turn out the perfect size!

How to tie a magic knot

When you run out of yarn and need to tie on a new skein, or you're making a scrap yarn project and changing colors, the magic knot is the best knot to use!

Here's why you should try the magic knot instead of a regular square knot...

Ever run out of yarn while you’re in the middle of crocheting a project? Next time this happens, try the magic knot! This knot is so sturdy that you don’t have to worry about it coming undone. And it’s so tiny that you’ll never notice it making your project lumpy or bumpy. Click through and watch my crochet tutorial on the magic knot! #crochettutorial #magicknot “Thanks for the GREAT magic knot tutorial:)” - Julia W.

1. The Magic Knot is sturdy. I have used hundreds of these and I have never had one come undone. Unlike a square knot which can be hit and miss.

2. You can trim off the ends and avoid the tedious task of weaving them into the wrong side of your work later. This knot is so strong that you can cut those ends off super close and you don't have to worry about it unraveling.

3. This knot is small and you can easily hide it inside of the stitches so that it doesn't make a funny bump in your work. It's totally invisible after you crochet it into your piece!

4. The magic knot is quick and easy to do. Once you get the hang of it.

Here's a video to show you exactly how to tie a magic knot.


The hat I'm crocheting in the video is a Pussy Hat that I made for the 2017 Women's March!

Here's what it looks like when it's done. I love it so much. Even though the march is over, I still wear mine all the time!


The magic knot is also super useful when you're doing a lot of color changes and making a scrap yarn beanie! You'll save tons of time weaving in ends if you use the magic knot as you go.


How to Crochet a Beanie: Fasten Off and Weave in the Ends

Hi Happy Hookers!

It's time to fasten off and weave in the ends! Guess what!? If you've made it to this step, then you're almost done with your beanie! Hooray! 

In case you missed them, click the links below for the previous videos and steps to making your beanie:
Magic circle/ring - mc/r
Single crochet - sc
Increase - inc

In this video, you will see my favorite tips and tricks for fastening off the beanie to make the edge nice and smooth. I know, everybody hates the part where you have to weave in the ends, but here I'll show you 2 different techniques to make weaving quick, easy and as painless as possible.

Did you like this video? If so, please comment below and share it with your crochet friends!

If you'd like to make the striped beanie that's featured in the video, please visit my pattern store here.

Why I love amigurumi!

Amigurumi is my summer obsession! Basically, it's a fancy name for crocheting stuffed animals. And it is so much fun!

I think everyone should try it, and this is why. Last summer I crocheted a baby toy for my sister-in-law's baby shower. It's a ring toy where the middle post is a snake and each ring is a different insect: a bee, a ladybug and a dragonfly. I was really proud of how it turned out and it inspired many other future creations.

My nephew Andrew was born in November and I got to visit him when he was a couple of weeks old. My brother and his family live in Pittsburgh, so seeing the new baby was a very special occasion.

baby Andrew

When I went to Pittsburgh, I saw Andrew's room and my amigurumi ring toy was sitting on the shelf. I was glad it was on display, but I wondered if he would ever play with it. 

Then, a couple weeks ago I got this picture from my brother.

My nephew Andrew with his amigurumi ring toy

The feeling I got when I saw this adorable picture of my nephew playing with the toy that I crocheted for him... there's nothing like it. I love seeing pictures of people wearing my beanies, but this was a whole new level of love, pride and fulfillment.

So, I want to share the amigurumi love. I've been creating lots of boards on Pinterest, so click here for some free patterns and amigurumi inspiration. And, this week I've been working on designing my own patterns, which is loads of fun and I'll be sharing those very soon!

Peace, love and amigurumi!

 

My favorite crochet class...ever!

Craftsy, one of my favorite crafting sites, just celebrated it's 3 year birthday. As a birthday gift for Craftsy, I decided to write about my favorite Craftsy class. Really, it's my favorite crochet class that I've ever taken.

Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster

Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster on Craftsy

If you didn't know before, amigurumi is a term for crocheting stuffed animals. I have always loved stuffed animals, so when I found out that I could crochet them, I was ecstatic! 

Aside from my love of stuffed animals and all things crochet, I really especially like this class for the following reasons.

1. Stacey Trock is the instructor. Stacey makes amazing amigurumi designs and has a fun, bubbly personality. I subscribe to her blog and follow her on Pinterest.

2. In this class, Stacey totally nerds out on crochet and talks about the pluses and minuses of various techniques and stitches. She answers questions that I've been wondering about for years but never knew who to ask! Is it better to crochet under the back loop only or both loops? How do I measure my yarn in yards? and How do I write my pattern as I go so I remember what I did?

3. Even though this class is about designing amigurumi monsters, I have found it incredibly helpful with designing beanies. I learned a lot about how to shape my crochet projects and how to plan them out from start to finish.

Pssst...This class is not for total beginners. If you're new to crochet or to amigurumi you can watch the Amigurumi: Woodland Animals class on Craftsy first.

Amigurumi: Woodland Animals on Craftsy

Crocheting amigurumi projects and beanies are very similar techniques. You use a magic circle, single crochet and increase, just like beanies! Watching one or both of these classes on Craftsy will help you make adorable amigurumi animals and crochet better beanies! 



How to Crochet a Beanie: Increase

Today you're going to learn one of the most important steps in crocheting a beanie, the increase. An increase does just what the name implies, it makes the beanie bigger. You use increases to make the top of the beanie about as big as the crown of your head (or the head of the lucky recipient of your handmade awesomeness). Then, once you've reached the desired size, you stop increasing, turn on your favorite TV show and tweedle away until your beanie is finished perfection.

So, check out the video below and learn how to do this important step and you're on your way to crochet greatness.

When you master the increase, you can use it in all of my crochet beanie patterns:

Click here for beanie patterns

With this video I'm drinking red clover blossom tea, and I mentioned that I had a funny story about this tea. 

I bought the tea when I was doing a health cleanse, because it's supposed to help clear out your system. I ordered it online because I couldn't find it in the store and I wanted to buy the loose leaf variety. Little did I know that when you buy a pound of loose leaf tea it comes in a huge bag! Check out the picture below. I've been drinking this tea for 4 months and I've barely put a dent in this huge bag of tea leaves. So, if anyone wants to try some red clover blossom tea, I've got plenty!

Loose leaf tea in a mason jar

Loose leaf tea in a mason jar

One huge bag of tea leaves!

One huge bag of tea leaves!