The long-awaited post is here!! I know you can barely contain yourself because you are so excited to start reading patterns! In fact, some of you have already jumped into it, which is great (that's what I would do) but don't wander off too far just yet. This is a really important lesson chocked full of really important information. Information that might save you a lot of time in the long run.
First things First, you need a pattern. There are many places to find patterns; books, magazines, on-line/blogs, and pamphlets are most common. If you have a stock-pile of "I must crochet this pattern as soon as I know how to crochet" patterns then finding a pattern won't be a problem for you. If you really want to browse around for patterns I suggest you use Ravelry (more about this below) or you could even type crochet in a search on Pinterest and see lots of pinned photos of crochet patterns.
Before you get all crazy looking for free on-line patterns though, let me give you a word of warning; The stuff we are going to cover in this lesson may not apply to a lot of on-line patterns. On-line pattern writers don't always adhere to common pattern writing "rules" and therefore are not always the best places for beginners to start. I'm not saying books and magazines don't have mistakes, because I have plenty of books in my collection with pages of errata that I've had to tape in, just start with a pattern that looks like the person knows what they are doing, which means that they will have a lot of the information we will cover today written into their pattern.
So the first step for this lesson is to find a pattern. Just Kidding, I've got you covered.
For this lesson and the next few lessons, I am going to be referring to a pattern I wrote specifically for this course. This is a really easy pattern for ribbed wrist warmers and it demonstrates a lot of the things we have or will learn in crochet school. This pattern shouldn't take you very long, but you most definitely don't have to make it. I'd rather you use a pattern that excites you and if this one doesn't, by all means find one that does. I just needed something to refer to without worrying about copyright issues. So download and print the pattern linked below and we will get started.
While I usually plan differently for every project, I'm going to share with you the best practices for planning for a pattern in this video.
Do I do all of this every time I start working on a project? No way. But there have been times where I regretted not following my own advice because I wasted time making something that didn't fit just because I didn't take that extra 30 minutes to do a gauge swatch.
Drape is a close cousin to gauge and pretty much just as important. I've talked about drape a little bit already, but now that we're talking about gauge, I should probably talk about drape in a little more depth as well. Drape is how the fabric falls. Remember that old stiff afghan I talked about? it was crocheted too tight so it wasn't squishy and comfy. The drape was too tight. I was going to do another video about drape, but then I read a really great blog post on the subject so I thought I would just have you guys read that. It's been awhile since I've given you a required reading anyway ;)
Required Reading: Drape and Crochet: What it is and how to achieve it
Since I hold a Master's of Library Science and work in a library, Ravelry really makes me happy. It is an on-line database of all knitting and crochet goodness. If you find a pattern somewhere, chances are it has been added to Ravelry. With a simple search, you can see information about the pattern, see if there are corrections to the pattern available, see if anyone else has made the item and if they have you can see what the finished item looks like and see if they made any yarn substitutions, etc. It offers a wealth of information for crocheters and knitters.
It also can help you keep yourself organized. Each account has a notebook where you can keep all kinds of information. I mainly use it to keep up with all the projects I have made, but you can also keep track of your yarn and hook/needle stash as well. You can queue patterns and make friends. Ravelry also serves as a great place for mingling and sharing what you've made. There are groups of like-minded crafters (Harry potter crocheters anyone?) that you can join and participate in discussion boards and share your finished projects with. And all this only touches the surface of what you can do on Ravelry.
- Read through the class pattern or find another easy pattern to start with. Though we will be crocheting the class pattern together in the next lesson, FYI.
- Pick a yarn for the pattern and make a gauge swatch. Adjust as needed until it is a 4(ish)" square.
- If you have an extra skein of yarn laying around. Do the swatch exercise by making the swatch called for on the ball band and then making one with a hook size smaller and one a hook size larger, just to see the difference it makes.
- Make a Ravelry Account. Share your name in the comments if you want classmates as ravelry friends.
I did not intend for there to be such a long break in between classes!! Things got crazy around here. We'll just call that our Fall Break ;)