How To Avoid Cramping and Fatigue from Crocheting

I’ve been crocheting for quite a long time, my best estimate is around 20 years. I’m 24 at the time of writing this, and I know I learned to crochet before I started school, so somewhere in the 20 years range.

During that time, I have made quite a few projects, spanning from plain squares to practice stitches, simple scarves, full afghans, amigurumi, to even monsters like the Sophie’s Universe afghan (which I really need to dig out and finish like the 15000 other projects I have started ha… ha…).

This has helped me to understand how to most efficiently, and painlessly, crochet anything my little hooking hands desire.

When I started making amigurumi 9 or 10 years ago, I really had to learn how to keep my hands from cramping. Hours on hours of tight single crochet was tiring. Which was part of the reason I moved away from that style. The other part was that I don’t like sewing the pieces together. I did appreciate that there were no ends to weave in, however, I just took the back end of the hook and poked them back inside the piece!

What would hurt the most after a crochet marathon was my right (dominant) wrist, and my right elbow. And my left hand would start to cramp a little. It would gradually slow me down to the point I had to stop for the day or at least give myself a break. If I crocheted too close to bed time, I’d wake up with swollen hands, which doesn’t happen to me on a normal day.

I’m of course not saying this advice will 100% fix your problems with cramping and fatigue, I’m just putting this out there to help you start to make changes to the way you crochet and the rest will fall into place. Some people will naturally be more or less tense than others, so you may just be doomed. I don’t make the rules.

But, here are some things that I’ve learned along the way that have helped me to crochet for hours on end with minimal discomfort, if any.

I have also made a video about this, showing you exactly how I hold the hook and yarn, I just have a little more explanation here.

Subscribe to my channel for more tips!

The number one thing that has made the most difference for me is how I hold the hook. Before, I would hold it like a pencil, and that’s the way my grandma showed me, and how she crochets to this day. She has arthritis and I have no idea how she does it, because I do not have arthritis and it kills my wrist!

I honestly don’t know where I picked up my new method, I think I just kinda figured it out. At the time I didn’t know there was an online crochet community so I suppose I just figured it out on my own. Yay me!

Now, I hold the hook more-or-less in my closed fist with my thumb sticking out, like a toddler holds a spoon. (I meant to say that in the video, but I said “how you hold a spoon/fork” and I definitely do not hold my utensils like that haha). Then really the only motion my hand is making is reaching for the yarn and slightly rotating the hook to catch it. Minimal stress on my wrist and elbow, not to mention I have a looser grip on the hook itself.

If you’re holding it like a pencil, you are moving your wrist and elbow, maybe even your whole arm, quite drastically. Or if not, your other hand is moving a lot to compensate for it. (Demonstrated in the video).

Now about the other hand. I have what some people think is a funny way of holding the working yarn, but it works perfectly for me. It’s really difficult to explain, so watch the video and practice. But basically, I have the yarn coming from my left side (or right if you’re a lefty), hold onto the end with your dominant hand, take your pinky of the non dominant hand and grab the yarn, use your pinky to wrap the yarn around, twisting it towards you, making a loop around your pinky, then rotate your hand so your palm is facing down, slide your index finger under the yarn, and hold your index finger up, and you’ll be working from the part that’s hanging off your index finger. Your middle and thumb will be holding the piece as you go. Like I said, sounds complex but is easy.

This method will help you keep a better and consistent tension, as the yarn isn’t just dangling there, it’s being pulled slightly taut. Everyone I’ve seen or have helped with tension or figuring out why their piece is all wonky, they all hold their working yarn in such a way that doesn’t help them keep consistent tension. I’m always surprised when the big-name crocheters on YouTube or Instagram don’t use either of these methods, but like I said, everyone is different.

Then as you’re crocheting and you’re drawing up loops, it’ll pull your index finger down a little. Just pull it back up as you stitch and it’ll draw yarn from the skein naturally. Pretty cool, right?

If you’re doing this method, remember to keep both hands fairly relaxed. This will help both ensure that you’re not going to cramp up, and that you won’t get yarn burn on your finger from your tension being too tight.

Another thing to remember also, is just like a desk job or anything where you’re sitting for a long period of time, pay attention to your posture. If you’re slumped over, your back and neck will start to hurt. I often find myself tensing up and my shoulders will go up and up, and I have to remember to relax. And if you’re a young’un like me, you definitely don’t want to start out the wrong way. Up until recently, I’d always sit with one foot under my bum, but stopped real quick when it was straining my knees and lower back and was making my legs stiff. Hi yes I’d like one senior citizens discount, please.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you try these tips, or if you have any of your own! Comment here or shoot me a message on Instagram @crueltyfreestitchery !

Denim Market Bag Crochet Pattern (with video tutorial)

I know, I know, you’ve seen 80000 different patterns for market bags. Or if you haven’t, I’m glad you’re here! I sat down to film an in-depth tutorial about how to crochet this bag, so you can watch that below, or just use the pattern. Or both, to get practice at reading patterns! Win, win, win!

Here’s why I called this the Denim Market Bag. I recently found this yarn from Wool and the Gang called Billie Jean, and thought it was a perfect fit for me, as it is made from upcycled denim and cotton. And it would be perfect for this bag, which is intended to reduce plastic waste.

Here is the video tutorial where you can watch and learn to make this bag, or just keep scrolling to read the pattern!

Denim Market Bag Crochet Pattern, Customizable

Materials:

  • Any cotton worsted weight (4) yarn, I used Wool and the Gang Billie Jean yarn for the sample, it’s made from upcycled denim.
  • Size K hook, gauge doesn’t matter for this pattern but I wouldn’t use a much smaller hook so the bag isn’t too stiff.
  • Scissors and a smaller hook to finish off. Or use the same hook like I do. Be a rebel.

Pattern:

Ch 32. HDC in 3rd ch, but only on the top side loop, not through both top loops. HDC across CH, then 2 more HDC in last ch. HDC around other side of CH (one continuous round), 2 more HDC in last ch. Sl St to top of first HDC.

2. Ch 2. HDC in next 30 st. 2 HDC in each of next 2 sts. 30 HDC. 2 HDC in each of next 2 sts. Sl st join to top of last rnd.

3. Ch 2. HDC in next 32 st. 2 HDC in each of next 2 sts. 32 HDC. 2 HDC in each of next 2 sts. Sl st join to top of last rnd.

4-6. Ch 2. HDC around. Sl st join to top of last rnd.

7. Ch 3. DC in next st. Ch 1, skip next st, dc in next, repeat around. Sl st join to top of last rnd.

8. Ch 3. DC in next st, ch 1, skip next st, dc on top of last dc, repeat around. Sl st to top of last rnd.

9-21. Repeat round 8.

22. ch 2. HDC around in each dc and ch sp. Sl st join to top of last rnd.

23-24. Ch 2, SC around. Sl st to top of last rnd.

25. Ch 1. SC in next 9 st, ch 20. Skip next 18 st, sc in 19th st and in next 17 sts. Ch 20, skip next 18 sts, sc in 19th st and around to beginning of rnd. Sl st join to top of last rnd.

26. Ch 1. SC across to ch sp. 20 sc in ch sp (or in each ch, whichever you prefer), sc arnd to next ch sp, 20 sc in ch sp. Sc arnd to beginning of rnd. Sl st join to top of last rnd.

27-28. Ch 1. Sc arnd. Sl st to top of last rnd. F/o.

How to customize:

In round 25, make the [ch 20] longer for a longer handle. Then in round 26, make that many SCs in the ch sp. (so to make a strap twice as long, chain 40 then in the next round, make 40 SC into that ch sp.

Follow me on Instagram @crueltyfreestitchery for more crochet related stuff, and to know when I post a new pattern!

Note: You may sell any finished pieces made from my pattern online or at craft fairs, but do not claim the pattern as your own.

Guide to Pricing Your Knit or Crochet Items

So you’ve started knitting or crocheting – you’ve got the basics, and people are either asking to buy your stuff, or telling you that you should sell it! That’s a good sign that you’re ready to start selling!

What kinds of things you sell is totally up to you, you can just make whatever you want and sell it as you go (just remember to honor if a pattern writer asks that you don’t sell the item!) or you can have a set product lineup that you maintain stock of. Or a mixture of both.

Then, you can sell it in a number of ways. There’s Etsy, Facebook marketplace, eBay, craft fairs, flea markets, consignment shops, and I’m sure many other places. A quick Google search will help you figure out the platform that’s best for you. (Keep in mind for later that websites will charge a fee for selling, fairs will charge a booth fee, and you’ll need wholesale prices for consignment shops – that’s another big topic that you can also Google for now, I’m still a newbie at wholesale). Basically the only “free” way to sell things is to friends and family in-person or on personal social media. But part of the extra charges that I mentioned account for advertising as well – people go to Etsy and craft fairs specifically in search of handmade items and you’re guaranteed traffic to your shop or booth.

But, one of the hardest things about getting started selling your knit or crochet items is not the “what” or the “where,” it’s the “how much?” It’s not as simple as other handmade crafts like soapmaking or jewelry where you’re putting some things together, it’s time consuming and has a lot of variables to it.

For example, I could make a scarf and list it for sale at $20, and that would be a fair price – but I would have to use a cheap bulky yarn, big hook/needles, and a simple stitch. Or, I could make a scarf and sell it for $50 or even $75 if I use a fine yarn and smaller hook/needles and do an intricate lace design. And that’s just factoring in the yarn and time, there’s still more to it.

The sad reality is that people very rarely can make a living selling their crochet products. (Don’t be discouraged by that, just keep reading haha). It takes a lot of time, and you know your house is already overflowing with yarn so it only gets worse (sorry). The thing is, people just aren’t willing to pay a fair wage price for things. We’re so used to buying stuff for insanely cheap because if you go buy a blanket or scarf at any big box store or dollar store, it’s made by people who are making pennies per hour, so of course it’s going to be dirt cheap. And if you charge what people are, largely, “willing” to pay, you’re also going to be making pennies per hour.

One thing to note is that your target market for knit or crochet products is NOT going to be “everyone,” and that’s a-okay. Don’t stress yourself out over that.

This is why makers are turning to writing and selling their patterns to other makers. Awesomely, knitting and crocheting has exploded in popularity thanks to social media, and there are a lot of people looking at and buying patterns. More so, I think, than there are people looking to buy the actual items. So that’s something to consider if you’re serious about making money from it. Digital patterns are free to produce (you just pay a listing fee to Etsy or Ravelry) and you can sell the PDF file an infinite number of times, without lifting a finger.

Anyways, back to pricing. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone willing to pay $500 for an afghan, which is a fair price for a large queen or king size, which may be too low in some instances. I think I would croak if someone agreed to pay me a grand for an afghan. Just use that money to buy my tombstone.

The most I’ve ever been paid for an afghan is $200. That was a twin size and a very tight half-double crochet stitch (a.k.a. time consuming) with a large character applique. I probably should have charged more, but I’ll explain why I didn’t in a second.

Because of all this, you’ll see people selling their products for WAYYYY too low. (For other crafts, I would suggest comparing your prices to others in the same sector to make sure you’re on target, but it’s nearly impossible with knit and crochet). They’ll barely charge enough to recoup the cost of yarn. I’ve seen people on Etsy selling beanies for LESS THAN TEN DOLLARS. NO SIR OR MA’AM. Even if you used half a skein of scratchy-saver you got for $2, add the etsy fees, cost of shipping materials, gas it takes to get to the post office, you’re already in the hole and you worked an hour or two for nothing. Even if you’re not trying to make a living and just do it for fun, that’s not a smart move. There’s really no point in even selling it, it would be cheaper for you to just donate the item and write it off on your taxes.

And because of THAT, people think that a “fair price” is outrageously expensive. It’s driving the market value down, which hurts everyone. Raise your hand if you’ve heard somebody say “well so-and-so can do it for way cheaper!” Because so-and-so isn’t making any money, which isn’t the customer’s fault, it’s theirs.

But, with all that being said, there is still a market for knit and crochet items, it’s just better in certain months and also in certain areas of the country. I sell a LOT more things around Christmas for gifts. I live in an area with all four seasons, so it gets cold. If you’re somewhere south that is warm all year, you may want to consider stuffed animals or lightweight items. And people are much more open to paying a little more than they normally would for something when it’s for a gift, especially when that something is handmade.

You can use this gift tactic to boost your sales in late summer and fall. Use that “FOMO” strategy and let people know when is the last day to get their order in before Christmas, or “orders are piling up, get yours in quick to get it in time!” I do this on my Facebook page and my Etsy shop announcement section.

Ok, getting sidetracked with a mini marketing rant. Now let’s get into actually pricing things.

So the short answer to this is that there is no exact mathematical formula that works for every item, every time. However, my starting point is to just calculate the cost of my yarn (and other items like buttons or safety eyes). The important thing that I do is to use the FULL price of the items, not the sale price. That way, if you ever reproduce an item if someone wants a second one down the road, you won’t feel pressured to raise the price on them if the yarn isn’t on sale the next time around. This has actually happened to me before and I was glad I thought to do that. If you get the yarn on sale and nobody buys a second one, or it’s also on sale the second time, then more money for you.

After that, I take the cost of materials and multiply it by three (3). This is the “industry standard” pricing method, but I use that as the baseline, or the bare minimum on a large item. It works because, generally speaking, the more you paid in materials (i.e. the more yarn) the longer it takes you to make.

I price custom items and pre-made items a bit differently. For custom items, I guess based upon the 3x rule, how much yarn I’ll likely need, how long it took to make a similar item in the past, and the complexity of the design. Then I give the client a final, total price up-front. This is so I don’t surprise them at the end and they change their mind because it’s too much. You do not want to be stuck with a large afghan and wasted dozens of hours. Personally, I require a deposit up-front if it’s going to be bigger than a baby afghan to front the cost of yarn in case they bail on me.

But, with pre-made items, you can be more precise. You can time yourself, charge a fair amount per hour, add your exact materials, listing fees, shipping mailer fees, everything.

With other handmade crafts, you would have to factor in any overhead costs like equipment, electricity, warehouse space, etc. But with knit and crochet, your only physical cost is just your hooks and needles which last indefinitely (until you lose them, I should say haha) or a pattern if you need to buy one.

Most importantly, though, is the cost for your expertise and good craftsmanship. That’s ultimately what will keep people coming back to you and recommending you to their friends. That’s why you never want to sell yourself short.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more about crochet!

Easiest DIY Crochet Christmas Garland

I had an idea while browsing the quickly-disappearing Christmas ornaments at JoAnn’s. 

Finding good ornaments at the tail-end of the Christmas sales is like a treasure hunt. Sometimes you find some that you like, and then other times all that’s left is headless reindeer or shattered balls. 

I came across some small ball ornaments that were at a steep discount, plus they had a coupon for an extra percentage off. 

And I knew that I had 13 bins full of yarn at home, as well as a plethora of hooks to use – and, surely, at least one of those skeins of yarn and one of those hooks would do the job for this project.

I bought a pack of assorted red, white, and green ball ornaments, and a pack of red, silver, and green slightly larger ornaments that had glitter chevrons on them. Although I would hardly call it glitter, it was more like sand, it wasn’t as sticky-to-everything as regular old glitter, but I digress. 

I got home, and whipped up the EASIEST garland ever. Here’s how I did it.

I’m sure I’m not the only person to ever have done this, I just thought it was a genius idea, so I’m not totally claiming it as original. 

I’ve seen a lot of the ornament walls and garlands, but they can slip around if you’re not careful about placing the ornaments. But with this method, they’ll always stay in place since they are embedded into the crochet chain!

Here’s what you’ll need, at least similar items – I’ll explain.

First, you’ll need some ornaments. It can be LITERALLY any Christmas ornament as long as it’s on a string or has a thing that a string would attach to. I just chose these little guys because a lot of them came in a pack and I could get a pretty long garland out of one pack. 

Next, you’ll need yarn. Again, pretty much any type of yarn will do. Just bear in mind the size of the ornament’s hanger loop thingamabob, because a bulky yarn probably won’t fit. I think it would be cool to get some of that sparkly tinsel yarn (you know the kind that you look at in the yarn aisle and think what on EARTH would someone do with that??). For this, I used the I Love This Yarn in Jelly Bean. 

And finally, you’ll need a crochet hook. Not just any old crochet hook (unless you’re attaching the ornaments from their string and not directly into the hanger loop thingamabob.) You’ll want to make sure that your hook fits through the hanger alongside the yarn. To test this, insert the hook into the hanger, and try to grab the yarn and pull it through. If it works, great. If it gets stuck or you break the darn thing, try a smaller hook. I used a size F (3.75mm) but probably could have gone with an E, because I struggled with some of them (as you can see in the video below). BUT, any smaller than an E will be a bit too small for a worsted weight yarn. Just use your best judgment. 

Now let’s get started. 

The only skill you will need for this is making a crochet chain. Here is a video I made about that, just in case you haven’t picked up a hook in a while. You’ll also, of course, need to fasten off at the end. That is done by simply cutting the yarn a few inches from the end, and pull the loop all the way through. 

First, it’s probably a good idea to lay out the ornaments in the pattern that you’d like them to be in. It’s not hard at all to undo if you make a mistake, but it’ll help you get an idea of where each one will go.

To start, make a chain of 20 (or longer, depending if you’re going to be tying the ends to something versus hanging it). 

Then, stick the hook through the ornament hanger (or string). 

Then, loop the yarn over your hook, and pull it through the hanger and the loop that was already on your hook. Basically you’re making a chain but the yarn has to pass through the hanger. 

Then, chain 10. Or more, again, depending how you want the ornaments placed. Keep in mind how long you want the overall garland to be with all of the ornaments on it. 

Continue adding the ornaments! 

Here is a video so you can see how I added the ornaments to the chain. As you can see, I struggled with the hook, but each ornament was made different, and I guess the first one I picked up was perfectly fine. 

Finish off, and weave the yarn tails through the chain. Mine is light enough to hang with thumb tacks, or if you prefer, you can use the tiny command hooks. Or wrap it around your tree, banisters, etc! 

If you try this DIY, tag me on Instagram @crueltyfreestitchery !! 

5 Things I Wanted to Learn This Year

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a blog about what I needed to learn in order to be my own boss here.

I was living on my own (well, with my fiance, I mean away from family) and was frustrated with my job/career situation. I have always wanted to be self employed since I learned that it’s a thing people do. Working at my own pace and on my own schedule is when I work best, which is why I absolutely loved online classes in college.

I had a few things in mind that I wanted to do, so I thought they would make a decent blog.

Looking back at the post, it’s clear that I was almost desperate for a second income.

A few months later, I quit my job and moved back with my parents. I had a few weeks of vacation time so I had some cushion to find another job, but I exhausted that pretty quickly. I spent a few months doing what I thought I needed to do in order to get the business off the ground, and also worked on my other unrelated YouTube channel. I was for sure I’d start making money off at least one of those ventures.

No such luck.

 

I had spent time doing the wrong things. I was focused on looking at what other people were doing, without actually doing the things that they were doing or even trying to make them work for me.

 

A few months later, I finally got the footing for my business structure. (I still don’t have a business bank account because the state’s registration website is outdated to say the least, it’s impossible to navigate and the bank needs proof that I am registered… long story, working on it).

I have a tentative product line that I am going to reproduce as they’re sold out, then I’ll do a few special pieces here and there, and of course take custom requests. I would like to get into craft fairs eventually, but I always vastly underestimate the amount of time it takes to prepare, especially since one blanket can take weeks to finish around my work schedule.

 

I was going to go through the list of 5 things I wanted to learn this year and talk about each one. But the truth is that I didn’t really…. do… anything about them.

 

And that’s the one thing I DID learn this year, just to DO it.

 

My favorite video was the one of Shia Labeouf where he’s saying “Don’t let your dreams be dreams – just DO IT”. I always tell my fiance that I’m going to get a tattoo about that one day.

 

You can plan until your hand falls off and your head explodes, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t do what you planned.

 

So one year from now, I’m going to do this again. And we’ll see what a difference this will make – actually DOING versus talking about doing.

 

“If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.”

 

With love and yarn,

Abby G.

Extreme Yarn Stash-Busting! (aka I have too much yarn)

Hello everyone!

 

I have posted a few stash-buster patterns on the blog previously. I have a few that I will post to Instagram (@crueltyfreestitchery) since they don’t necessarily require patterns, just a metric crap ton of yarn.

 

I’ve purchased um…. upwards of 150-200 skeins of yarn over the past year or so. Not exactly sure since I purposefully omitted the purchase date from my stash spreadsheet haha. Plus I started the inventory way after I had accumulated 4 or 5 bins full and I would have no way to tell how old they are. Anywho. The recent huge clearance sale at Hobby Lobby was a blessing and a curse…. high profit margin, low storage space.

 

Currently (as of June 27th 2018) I have 447 full and/or partial skeins of yarn. Round it up to 450 as I’m certain there are some that were missed. Also not including yarn that I am using for personal projects (gifts, etc), probably 50-60. But I won’t be necessarily focused on those for what I’m talking about in this post.

 

I’ve been severely slacking in a lot of things, thinks to some personal stuff. Crochet is one of them. I got my ducks in a row to get the business started then they all scattered. Such is life. I make primarily blankets and scarves to sell on Etsy, maybe some day a craft fair. This project will be a huge step in the right direction. I’ve got a huge basket full of finished blankets that are waiting to be listed and sold on Etsy but alas I’ve only listed one…

 

So, about this project.

 

My wallet and bedroom/office/yarn warehouse are suffering, and my sanity is right there with it. It’s less than 6 months until Christmas and I have a LOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTT of work to do.

 

My plan is to use up at least 100 skeins of yarn by Thanksgiving. I know, that’s a ton. It’s about 2.5-3 storage bins worth. I need to focus on that and not buying any more, plus I need the bins freed up to store the yarn that’s in bags on the floor…. yikes. I refuse to buy a 13th bin. If I focus (ha) I can use about 2 skeins per day, maybe more if it’s a bulky yarn.

 

During that time I’ll only buy yarn if I get a custom order, and hopefully I won’t come across any clearance sales.

 

If you’re a nerd like me, you might enjoy these totals and we’ll see how much I can use up.

 

I have…

  • 5 Bernat Baby Blanket
  • 8 Big Twist Sincerely
  • 14 Big Twist Value
  • 53 Caron Simply Soft
  • 63 I Love This Yarn Chunky
  • 25 I Love This Yarn Cotton
  • 92 I Love This Yarn solids/variegated
  • 13 Knit Picks Brava Bulky
  • 7 Knit Picks Dishie
  • 43 Lion Brand Heartland
  • 7 Lion Brand Homespun
  • 23 Lion Brand Landscapes
  • 2 Peaches and Creme
  • 3 Premier Sweet Roll
  • 9 Red Heart Scrubby
  • 10 RHSS stripes (all my other RHSS was picked for the stash busting, I had at least 80-90 at one point)
  • 17 Sugar n Cream
  • 4 Yarn Bee Eternal Bliss (I have more for a personal project…  the skeins are bigger than my head)
  • 5 Yarn Bee Scrubology
  • 8 Yarn Bee Soft Secret
  • 27 Yarn Bee Sugarwheel
  • 6 Yarn Bee Sugarwheel Cotton
  • 3 Yarn Bee Urban Chic

 

Another purpose for this is to move towards using more cotton yarn. It makes up a very small portion of my collection. What stinks is that cotton is more expensive and comes in smaller quantities than acrylic, so it’s more tempting to just get acrylic. I also wish there were more options for plant based yarns than just worsted and DK cotton besides using boutiques. Sure people will pay a higher price for cotton over acrylic, but probably not over $100 for a scarf. I feel bad charging that much for a blanket! (But not too bad, because it’s hard work).

 

Leave a comment, let me know if you’ve tried stash-busting before and how it worked out! I’m saving for another apartment (I moved out, had to move back in, long story) so I need to recoup my finances, business or otherwise.

 

Extremely Easy Stash-Buster Crochet Pattern! (FREE!) Endless Granny Square

Stash-Buster Endless Granny | Cruelty-Free Stitchery

 

Hello hello, welcome to the second pattern in my stash-buster series!

If you haven’t seen the last one, check it out here!

 

I came up with this series after being pretty annoyed at myself for buying several dozen skeins of Red Heart Super Saver for a project that I couldn’t even do (let’s just say I don’t want to be sued for copyright infringement… no idea what I was thinking). So I took that and some Caron Simply Soft from another failed project and came up with 3 easy patterns! The last is coming soon!

 

If you know how to make a granny square, then you can make this pattern without much of my help.

All I did was start a granny square and that’s pretty much it.

You can change colors at the end of each row, at the end of 2 rows, or whenever you feel like it (which is what I did). Depending on how big your “stash-to-be-busted” is, you can make a baby blanket, a throw, or even a king size if you want. Mine turned out to be about a throw/lapghan size. Also depends how often you want to be weaving in ends… haha.

I had enough of a stash to continue until the thing covers my house, but I’ll show you what I did with the rest of it in the last pattern in the series!

 

If you need help with granny squares, I just so happen to have a YouTube video on it! And click here for help with changing colors!

 

 

 

Triangle Granny Square Scarf / Wrap – FREE crochet pattern

Hello there, hope you’re doing well!

Over the next few months I am planning a few new patterns that will help you use up some of your stash! “Stash-busters,” if you will.

I am overrun by Caron Simply Soft and Red Heart Super Saver and want to diversify my yarn stash, but I need to make some room before I can do so.

This Triangle Granny Square Scarf / Wrap can be completely customized to fit the type of yarn and colors you have. You can make it bigger, smaller, one solid color, stripes, sew it together to make an infinity scarf, let your imagination go wild with it!

 

I was originally planning to make it a triangle-shaped shawl but I liked this layout better. And I love how the texture worked out – it’s not entirely flat and looks almost ruffled!

 

 

Materials:

  • Any colors of worsted weight yarn, about the equivalent of 2 skeins’ worth. For this I used Caron Simply Soft.
  • Size J hook (6.00mm) or whichever size you prefer. My triangles measured about 5″ on each side.
  • Blocking board (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle
  • Smaller hook to weave in ends

Abbreviations:

  • ch = chain
  • sc = single crochet
  • sp = space
  • dc = double crochet
  • sl st = slip stitch

If you need help with any of these stitches, visit the “Learn to crochet” section at the top of my blog and I have videos on how to do each stitch, and also a demo on making granny squares. The video on how to attach squares may also be helpful.

 

Making the triangles:

They are worked in the round. If you know how to make a traditional granny square, it’s the same pattern except you just leave off one side. I opted to SC once between the clusters because it helps the piece to lay a little flatter (but normally I do not SC between the clusters).

Round 1: ch 4, sl st in 1st ch to form a loop. ch 2 (ch2 counts as 1 dc throughout pattern), dc 2 in center of loop. ch 2. dc 3 in loop, ch 2, dc 3 in loop, ch 2, join to 1st ch2 with a sl st. Sl st over to 1st ch sp, ch 2.

Round 2: dc 2 in same ch sp, ch 2, dc 3 in same ch sp, ch 1, dc 3 in next ch sp, ch 2, dc 3 in  same ch sp, ch 1, dc 3 in next ch sp, ch 2, dc 3 in same ch sp, ch 1, join with sl st to 1st ch 2. ch 2.

Round 3-4: repeat in the same manner as above. After round 4, ch 1 and fasten off, leaving a tail at least 12″ long for sewing together.

I usually don’t leave a tail, but now I think I am a believer because this dramatically reduces the amount of time you spend weaving in the ends, because you can just weave in the end with the yarn needle when you’re done sewing.

 

At this point, you can block the triangles, or just start sewing.

I arranged mine on the blocking boards and let them sit overnight just to help them keep their shape. I made the squares in a few batches because I didn’t have enough space on the boards for them all at once.

 

After that, lay out the squares until you’re happy with the colors.

 

Now comes the fun part. Sewing! (ok not really the fun part haha)

Pick up the first triangle (I keep wanting to call them squares), and thread your yarn needle with the tail.

Hold that triangle and the next one with wrong sides together and sew under each stitch, making sure to go over the end a few times to keep it from coming undone. Then slip the needle back along under the seam to hide the end, and snip! No ends to weave in, woohoo!

It’s smooth sailing from here on out. My only tip is to be careful when you’re sewing them together, make sure you don’t accidentally sew the new triangle to the wrong side and end up making a circle instead of a line… learn from my mistakes.

Then sew the strips together longways. You’ll probably have to stop in the middle and get more yarn on the needle and keep going. Make sure that the tips of the triangles line up together, and reinforce it a little between each one.

And that’s it!

 

Like I said, you can customize this with whatever colors or kinds of yarn you want, you can even use bulky yarn. Or, if you have more patience than I, you can use a thinner yarn or crochet thread for a more delicate design.

If you want to go even farther with the “stash-buster” thing and you have varying smaller lengths of yarn, you could make each round of the triangles a different color!

 

If you use this pattern, tag me in your pictures on Instagram @astreetcrochet or post on the ravelry pattern page!

 

You may sell any finished items from this pattern, but please do not re-produce it or  claim it as your own.

Crochet Project Overload: Tips for Tackling Your Mountain of WIPs and Avoiding Burnout

So… you’re addicted to starting new projects, too, huh?

 

I can’t remember the last time that I completed a project start-to-finish without working on or starting another one (or two or three) in the middle of it. I actually have one that’s been in the works for TWO YEARS and I’m seriously considering just frogging the whole thing.

It’s an 8-bit Mario blanket. It’s really heavy, like not even exaggerating at least 20 pounds because I decided to make it queen sized. I don’t even want to think about how many skeins of yarn I ended up with. The squares are all finished, I just have a few more rows to sew together and make the border. At this point I’m so done with it. I can’t sell it because it’s copyrighted, and it wasn’t even my own pattern. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I’ll make a video of myself frogging the whole darn thing and call it “UNRAVELLING 300+ HOURS OF WORK”…

I could use the scraps for amigurumi or even a scrap blanket of some sort.

 

Then, the icing on the cake. I decided to make another granny square blanket that is also queen sized. Hello, my name is Abby, and I am criminally insane.

In the middle of all that, I learned (finally) how to do the corner-to-corner stitch. And I love it. So I have finished 3 blankets with that stitch, and have a fourth on the way. They work up much faster than granny square blankets though.

 

Here are some tips on how not to become what some Instagrammers are calling a “WIPaholic”. This also applies to making large amounts of items for gifts, orders, or craft fairs.

 

Set an approximate “to be finished by” date.

This won’t be the easiest solution for some, but try to give yourself a “deadline” as if you were making the item for a client. It works better than saying “ok I can’t work on anything else until I finish this” because you’ll end up just not working on it at all.

Reward yourself.

Give yourself a treat after finishing X number of rows/rounds. I will sometimes be eating candy or a snack when I am crocheting, and I will allow myself to have a piece if I finish half of this row, or the whole row if it’s a small item. (This also prevents tummyache from eating all the candy at once…).

Limit your projects to a certain container.

I keep my WIPs in a under-bed storage box. Which is full at the moment. So if I want to start another project I will have to finish at least one other one. Don’t think Sophie’s going anywhere any time soon.

Remember to let yourself rest.

Sometimes we can get too excited about a project and go too fast, and end up with a hurting wrist or a cramped hand. Make sure to give yourself breaks if you see sparks flying off the hook. Going too fast can slow you down in the long run, because you’ll want to take the rest of the day/week off to recuperate.

Bring projects on the go.

I was reluctant to do this for a long time. Now I always carry a tote with me to work. I even crocheted on the plane to and from vacation this month. I got so much done by doing a few stitches here and there between clients and on lunch breaks. (Just make sure your boss is cool with it first!). There are also some people who bring a WIP to work on while they are waiting in traffic… not sure about that one myself.

Save that pattern for later.

We’ve all been there, you’re scouring Ravelry for a certain pattern, when you come across so many pretty things you could make. Instead of forgetting the main goal, put those other enticing patterns into your queue to save for later. Don’t even open the link or print it out yet. Then when you’re at the other end of the spectrum and want to make something but don’t know what, you can browse the queue and find something!

Super Cheap and Easy Black Bean Burger Recipe

I know what you’re thinking… This is a crochet site. Well I would hope that some of you will appreciate this super easy burger recipe, you know “cruelty-free”… AKA “vegan”… hint hint.

 

I was getting rather hangry earlier today and I wanted a burger and was fresh out of the processed frozen variety. I have seen a few video recipes of homemade black bean burgers, but I couldn’t be bothered to look them up. So I fudged my own!

This is one recipe that you won’t see pictures of. Frankly, it looks like canned cat food…. but it’s tasty I promise. If someone wants to try it and send me an artsy pic to use I’d appreciate it haha.

Here we go:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 small/medium onion (white or yellow)
  • 1 medium carrot (or about 4 baby carrots) diced
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup of oats
  • 1/4 cup corn (optional)
  • Any spices you prefer (salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, etc. I didn’t use any for mine)

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Cook the onions in some vegan butter or oil until slightly brown, or you can caramelize them if you have more time.

In a food processor, combine everything except corn, process until well-combined and carrots are nearly invisible.

Mix in corn if using and process for just a few seconds, or just hand mix them in if you prefer.

You can even mash the beans by hand and just dice the carrots a bit smaller if you don’t have (or don’t want to dig out) a food processor. This would also combat the “cat food” appearance and texture.

Spread mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, in round patty shapes. My mixture made about 8 smaller patties, possibly 5 or 6 large.

Bake 5 mins, flip, bake another 5 mins.

 

They end up slightly mushy in the middle, so you can fry in a small amount of oil after baking if you prefer. Or maybe bake longer, I got hangry and impatient…

This is super delicious with some mayo mixed with BBQ sauce and dill pickles. I have “texture issues” so I would suggest some fresh onions or pickles or something on the burger to give it a crunch.

Prices, in USD, can vary depending on your area of the country, prices here in Maryland are pretty high:

Can of beans: $0.80

Carrot: <$0.05

Onion: $0.50

Oats: <$0.05

Corn: <$0.10

Total = <$1.50

Total time start to finish was about 20 minutes.

Leave a comment if you give it a try!