Know your Ply Improve your Crochet

Yarn makes such a difference in your crochet. Often when we think of yarn color, or weight, maybe even fiber, but we often do not think about the ply. The ply however can really make a difference in our project.

So, what is ply? Well it helps to understand some basic yarn construction. Yarn is comprised of fibers that are spun together in one direction, this direction can be either clockwise or counterclockwise, the most import think is that all the fibers are spun in the same direction. These spun fibers are now what is referred to as a single, meaning a single strand of yarn.

Singles can be used as a yarn all by its self with no need for plying, but this yarn tends to be a little less stable, and honestly if you have to rip back your work it is not very forgiving. It also has a tendency to pill more in the final project, so something that is getting a lot of use may look aged quickly. However there is a benefit to this yarn, it is evenly round, its “tube” is an even circle.

The top yarn is a single, meaning it is not plied.
The bottom yarn is a 4 ply yarn, meaning that 4 singles are spun together in an opposite direction from the spin of the singles.

Plied yarns, take multiple singles and spin them together in the opposite direction from the original twist. Meaning that if the single was spun clockwise then the singles would be plied counterclockwise. This tension between the different directions of the spinning help create a stable yarn that holds up well.

So now how can your plies make a difference in your crochet if it is a stable yarn? Well it comes down to how “round” the “tube” is. If you ply two singles together you then have 2 round tubes spin together, the result is not a final “tube” that is really round, it is more flat of oval at best. There is nothing wrong with this, but the rounder the yarn the more stitch definition you have. This can be important when working textural stiches, as a cable stitch may not “pop” as much with a 2 ply yarn, verses a single.

Three swatches, using the same stitch, but the yarn changes the look.
The top swatch is a 6 ply yarn.
The middle swatch is a single.
The bottom swatch is a two ply yarn.

The more plies a yarn have typically the closer to “round” it becomes, while staying more stable. So yarns with a greater number of plies does allow textural stitches to shine more.

In some projects this may not be noticeable, but it is good to know, to ensure your project comes out the way you intend.

Festive Julie Ann Square- Moogly 2019 CAL

What a month…just last month I was working the last 2018 square for the Moogly CAL…now I am working up the second square of the Moogly 2019 CAL! Check out all the squares for 2019 here, and the 2018 square here.

I feel very privileged to be able to share with you this latest design, the Festive Julie Ann Square. Inspired by my student Julie Ann, who loves to work in the round, and makes a festive atmosphere where ever she is going.

The square uses long post loops, to create a stunning color play of the eye. Working this square for some reason always makes me think of flowers, I guess that is one of the reasons I see it as festive.

Festive Julie Ann by Linda Dean

Bring in the New Year with a bright star of festival with this square that elongates some post stitches to create a planned bleeding of the colors.

Materials:

*Red Heart With Love, #1907 Boysenberry (A), #1207 Cornsilk (B), #1101 Eggshell (C), #1562 Jadeite (D)

*Hook J/10/ 6.00mm

Gauge: 12”x 12” square (30.5 x 30.5cm) –After Rnd 3 you should measure approximately 4″ (10cm)

Long Loop Front Post Double Crochet (LLfpdc): Working over post stitch of previous round, YO, insert hook around post of stitch  2 rows below from back to front and right to left, YO, pull up a loop about an inch in height, (YO, pull through 2 loops) twice.

Note that you will work a double crochet and a post stitch in the same stitch.

Rnd1: With A, ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, join to top of beg ch. -12 dc

Rnd 2: Ch 3 (counts as a dc, now and throughout), fpdc in same st, 2 dc in next st, [(dc, fpdc in next st), 2 dc in next st] rep around, join. -18 dc, 6 fpdc

Rnd 3: Change to B, ch 3, dc in next st, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, [dc in next 2, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st] rep around, join. -30 dc, 6 LLfpdc

Rnd 4: Change to C, ch 3, dc in next 2 sts, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st, [dc in next 3, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st] rep around, join. -42 dc, 6 LLfpdc

Rnd 5: Change to D, ch 3, dc in next 3 sts, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st, [dc in next 4, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st] rep around, join. -54 dc, 6 LLfpdc

Rnd 6: Change to A, ch 3, dc in next 4 sts, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 4 sts, 2 dc in next st, [dc in next 5, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 4 sts, 2 dc in next st] rep around, join. -66 dc, 6 LLfpdc

Rnd 7: Change to C, ch 3, dc in next 5 sts, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st, [dc in next 6, LLfpdc in same st as last, dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st] rep around, join. -78 dc, 6 LLfpdc

Rnd 8: Change to D, ch 1, sc in same st, [sc in next 4 sts, hdc in next 3 sts, dc in next 2 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 3 sts, sc in next 6 sts] rep around, join. -40 sc, 24 hdc, 24 dc, 4 ch-1 sps

Rnd 9: Change to B, ch 1, sc in same st, [sc in next 7 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next st, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, dc in next st, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 9 sts] rep around, join. -64 sc, 16 hdc, 16 dc, 4 ch-1 sps

Rnd10: Change to A, ch 1, sc in same st, [sc in next 9 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 11 sts] rep around, join. -80 sc, 16 hdc, 8 dc, 4 ch-1 sps

Rnd 11: Ch 1, sc in same st, [sc in next 10 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 12 sts] rep around, join. Fasten off. Block. Weave in ends. -88 sc, 16 hdc, 8 dc, 4 ch-1 sps

Cathy’s Classic Handbag- Make It For Me!

Thank you to ELK Studio for putting together this Make it For Me event! what a nice way to kick off the new year, after months of crocheting gifts for everyone else it is time to rejuvenate and focus a bit more inward and create something for you! (Check out the entire list of month long projects here)

I am thrilled to be able to join this event with my Cathy’s Classic Handbag. It is made with less than one skein, so you can reach into your stash. I even provided two options for handles…I really like the wooden round handles, but reality…I enjoy crocheting and getting to the craft store or even ordering on line means I am not finishing it the same day I start, so I provided a crochet handle option too. (If you want to learn how to attach the wooden handles, I have some instructions to help you here).

This handbag was inspired by one of my students. Cathy always has a smile and carries herself with a rural, country chic charm. She brightens the room no matter what her day may have contained, and to get all dressed up I could see her with this classic style.

Cathy’s Classic Handbag by: Linda Dean

A classic handbag that is fast to work up and has a lot of charm. A bit of stretch and a bell shape add to this great purse. With optional handle options you can utilize a simple round wooden handle or crochet your own. 

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Finished Size Approximately: 7”x 16” (18 x 40.5 cm)

Gauge: 12 sts /16 rows=4”

Materials List:

  • K/10 ½/6.50mm size crochet hook
  • Red Heart With Love medium weight 100% acrylic (370yds/338m/7oz/198g) Sample color: 1907 Boysenberry or #1971 Tigerlily
  • Tapestry needle
  • Everything Mary Round Wood Handle (optional)

Abbreviations:

blsc: back loop single crochet (need help identifying the back loop, check this out)

ch(s): chain(s)

rem: remaining

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

yo: yarn over

Pattern Notes

The body of the bag is worked from one side across the bottom to the other side.

The body of the bag is worked with short rows.

The handles of the bag are attached to the row ends of the bag.

There are 2 options provided for handles.

Row 1: Ch 45, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, turn. -44 sc

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in next 5 sts, blsc in next 34 sts, leaving rem sts unworked, turn.  -39 sc

Row 3: Ch 1, blsc in next 34 sts, leaving rem sts unworked, turn. -34 sc

Row 4: Ch 1, blsc in next 34 sts, sc in next 5 sts of the row 2 below, turn. -39 sc

Row 5: Ch 1, sc in next 5 sts, blsc in next 34 sts, sc in next 5 sts of the row 2 below, turn. -44 sc

Row 6-61: Rep Rows 2-5 fourteen times.

Wooded Handle Attaching (Option 1)

Working along the row ends, sc around the wooden handle, working 32 sc across edge. Fasten off. (For tips on how to work around the handle, check out this tutorial)

Repeat on opposite side.

Crochet Handle Attaching (Option 2)

Ch 1, working along the row ends, 4 sc in first row end, working in a spiral (meaning that you are working in the round but are not joining the round, you continue working in the next stitch) to create a cord, blsc in the first sc worked in the end row, blsc in each sc until the cord measures about 14” (35.5cm), sl st to opposite end row from the beginning of the cord, sl st next 3 sts of cord to same st, sc in each row end across to beginning of the cord, fasten off.

Seaming

Folding handles together, whip stitch the open ends of the purse leaving between 1-2” open from the handles.

Weave in ends.

Long Anchoring Loops

One of the things that makes crochet so unique is the fact that you are working with only one live loop and you can work a new stitch anywhere. However this is also the things that can make pattern reading a bit more challenging, as you attempting to understand exactly where the stitch it to be placed.

This can readily become apparent when working stitches rows below, or around stitches in different places. For example, working a front post double crochet 2 rows below, can create a dramatic effect but can be difficult to explain the placement in written words.

The other point that is not always noted is the when working stitches in rows below, is that it helps to create “long loops”. If you keep your usual stitch tension you can often find that your fabric will pucker or become distorted, but a simple trick of pulling up the anchoring loop a bit taller can alleviate this problem.

With the term “anchoring loop” I am referring to the first “Yarn over and pull through” of a stitch. The loop immediately following inserting the hook in the stitch. I use the term “anchoring” as it is a step found in every stitch, and it adheres it to the fabric. Without this anchoring loop the stitch does not attach to the other stitches.

So, when pulling this loop through the other stitches (crochet fabric), you need to pull the loop up higher. High enough that when you finish the stitch you are working that it is even with the adjacent stitches.

Crochet Around- How to Use a Non-Crochet Foundation

Sometimes the classics of crochet are not really special stitches, but where you put them, or what you crochet them over.

This technique can seem daunting at first, but essentially you are using the item you are working stitches over as a foundation chain. It can be used to create padded hangers, rugs, wreaths, purse handles, just about anything you can imagine.

I typically recommend working a single crochet stitch (Double crochet if you are used to UK standard). I use this stitch as it creates more “yarn wraps” over the foundation item than using a slip stitch, while creating a stitch with minimal height.

To begin, you need to find a method of holding the item to be crocheted over, this can actually be the most challenging part of the process. You then work your crochet stitch.

Insert your hook, yarn over, 

 

pull up a loop, 

yarn over, 

pull through 2 loops to complete stitch. 

In the sample above I was working single crochet stitches over a round purse handle, I really like this simple approach to creating a professional looking handbag. This same approach created the padded hangers that rest in my closet, and the wreath holiday ornaments that I shared a while back (find it here). I have used this technique to save space with electronic devises (find that story here)…it can also be applied to creating baskets or rugs by crocheting over clothesline (it uses the same approach as the electronic devises that is still here).