Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Horizontal Bar/Third Loop Method

About a year ago I purchased a pattern that I couldn't wait to start.  The problem I ran into was that one of the stitch techniques used was one I had not even heard of.  Fortunately, the writer gave great instructions on how to work the technique - she referred to it as the Third Loop Method.  As time has passed, I've written patterns myself using this technique, and have recently discovered that many people also know it as the Horizontal Bar.  For those who don't know what this stitch is, it is used to give the appearance of knit without actually knitting.  Here is a step-by-step tutorial using Half Double Crochets to make it easier to see:

When working with crochet stitches, you normally see two loops - the front and back (also known as top and bottom).

What you may not realize is that there is actually a third loop.  This loop is also known as the Horitzontal Bar.  To locate the third loop, you have to start by locating your front and back ones.  Once you do so, look behind the loop on the backside of your work.  There should be a loop running almost parallel to your back loop - that is the third loop/horizontal bar.

Here is what it looks like if you're working a Half Double Crochet into that third loop/horizontal bar.

If you're looking for a fun hat to practice this stitch, check out our Ribbed Slouchy hat.  You can find it on Ravelry or Craftsy.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Moogly CAL - Square #3

I finally got some time to work the third square in the Moogly Afghan CAL.  Week 3 was the Hugs & Kisses Square by Aurora Suominen.  I love how it turned out, but I have to say that this square is sending my OCD into overdrive in a big way.  LOL  Here, let me show you why...

Do you see how the star in the center is turned off-center?  Yeah, that is going to drive me insane everytime I look at it.  Unfortunately, with stars having 5 sides and squares having 4, I can understand why it's like this, but that doesn't shut the little voice in my brain up.  :)  This was actually an interesting square to work - it challenged me a little more than other squares  because of the Back Cross Stitches.  I'd never worked those before so it was nice to learn something new. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Moogly CAL - Block #2

The second square in Moogly's Afghan Crochet-Along was announced on January 23rd and is the Catalina Afghan Square by Julie Yeager.  I worked it a few days after it came out but hadn't taken any photos to share with ya'll yet.  Here is how my finished square turned out:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Woven Cup Cozy by Lhea Hamilton

Today I decided to try out a new cup cozy.  It's been awhile since I made one and I was long overdue.  Besides, I need a new one for cup since the rubber one that was around it broke off.  I received the Woven Cup Cozy from Lhea Hamilton and decided to give it a shot.

Before working a pattern, I've made it a habit to read through the entire thing first.  If you don't already do this yourself, I highly recommend it.  It gives you the opportunity to make sure you are familiar with all of the stitches and techniques used, as well as to be sure that you have all of the materials you need on hand before beginning.

The first thing I noticed was that all of the stitches seem simple enough that even a beginner could handle this pattern.  The other thing I noticed immediately is that there was no gauge given.  I've learned that gauging is a huge necessity for me before I start a pattern because I tend to crochet tighter than most patterns are gauged for, causing me to have to use a larger hook.  The last thing I noticed about the pattern, which isn't a pro or con, is that I would have liked to have seen a larger photo of the finished product on the pattern.  That is completely a preference thing though - as a photography hobbiest, I love pictures.  :)

On to the pattern - Lhea did a great job of giving step-by-step instructions that were clear and easy to understand.  She even included a link on how to work the Basketweave Stitch.  I hadn't actually worked this stitch before but the link wasn't needed because her instructions were written so well.  The pattern worked up quickly and is going to be a great go-to for last minute gifts for all of my coffee-loving friends!!

If you decide to give this pattern a try, you may want to familiarize yourself with the Third Loop Method, also known as using the Horizontal Bar.  Check our Stitch Techniques page out because we'll be adding instructions soon!

To purchase your own copy of Lhea's Woven Cup Cozy, visit the Nomadi Crafts shop on Ravelry or Etsy.  Lhea Hamilton has been crocheting for over 10 years, starting after her grandfather taught her the basics.  The name of her shop, Nomadi Crafts, was inspired by crocheting being a hobby that she could take with her wherever she travelled.  This is one of her first of what we hope will be many written patterns by Lhea.  Be sure to follow her on Facebook for future designs.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Invisible Join

It always makes me smile to finish a project, but that last slip stitch can be such an eyesore.  Well, let me introduce you to the Invisible Join.  This is the perfect way to complete any project - it's easy, takes only a few seconds longer than a regular slip stitch, and makes the last row of any crochet project look great. 

The process actually creates a "false stitch" - this means it looks like there is a completed stitch rather than the join and it hides your end point.  Follow these step-by-step photos and instructions to learn how you can use the Invisible Join to finish off your own crochet projects:

To work an Invisible Join, start by fastening off your yarn after working your final stitch - do not join!  Using a yarn needle, work through the stitch you're joining to, pulling to tighten. 

Bring the yarn back around to your last worked stitch and go down into the stitch from the top, creating what appears to be an actual stitch.  Adjust yarn if necessary to make it blend in with other stitches.  Weave in end.


What are your thoughts?  Is the Invisible Join worth trying??

Calling All Crocheters!!

In an attempt to try out some of the patterns that have been lingering in our pattern library, I've decided to do some Pattern Reviews.  These reviews will be purely my opinion - I will not be getting paid by the designer or anyone else to say good (or bad) things about the designs reviewed.  I will be doing my best to keep all criticism constructive and helpful to others who may try the pattern in the future.

On that note, if you are a Crochet Pattern Designer and would like to have one of your patterns tested by the Housewives, please send an email to HookingHousewives@yahoo.com.  Be sure to include your name, contact information (email is fine), Shop name, any websites/links, and a link to or photo of the pattern you would like us to test.  If your pattern is selected, you will be notified for additional information.  We will want some basic information about your Shop to include with the pattern review.  In addition, if the pattern is not free, we may request that you provide us with a copy. 

All reviewed patterns will be featured on our blog with links on our Facebook page to help promote the blog post.  We're open to testing all kinds of crochet patterns - if it's a blanket you're wanting tested, we may work out a way make a mini version or work just a section (enough that the pattern is still being given a fair chance). 

So who wants to have their pattern tested?  READY, SET,GO!!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chainless Foundation Method (Single Crochet)

The most common way to start a new crochet project is using a chain and working your first row of stitches into that chain.  That all changed for me when I learned the Chainless Foundation Method (CFM) about a year ago.  It looks so much cleaner and more uniform to the last row when you look at it... And if you're working a hat from the brim up, it gives more stretch than starting with a chain allows for. 

For those who don't know the Chainless Foundation Method, here is a step-by-step photo tutorial to help you learn:

Start by working a chain 2. 


Insert your hook into the first chain and pull up a loop.


The next step is to pull up another loop through the loop you just made.

 You'll then pull up a loop through 2 loops on your hook.  You have now completed one single crochet. 
To work the next CFM, start with the first yarn over and follow the steps again.  To work the next stitch, insert your hook into the first chain you created in the previous stitch and pull up a loop.  Continue from * to finish the stitch.  Repeat this step until you have your desired length. 

This is what your first row should look like.  You have worked the starting chain and first row of single crochet all in one.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Who doesn't love Snappy Tots patterns!?!

If you know me, one of my favorite crochet pattern designers is Heidi Yates, the brilliant mind behind Snappy Tots!!  Her patterns are always so much fun and whimsical, and even an inexperienced hooker can work them up.

She is currently running a Pay it Forward with Patterns contest.  Each month one winner will be chosen - the winner will receive 10 free patterns, including all new released patterns for that month.  Plus, the winner will get to choose one person to receive 10 free patterns of their own!!

If you want to take your chance at winning some free patterns, stop by and check out her blog post.  And while you're there, check out the link to her Ravelry store - she has all of her patterns 48% off through the end of the day!!