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Long-Tail Cast On: Start Your Knitting Off Right with This Method of Casting On Stitches

April 12, 2017

There are tons of different ways that you can get started with knitting. It’s called casting on, which is how you get all of your stitches onto the needle so that you can begin a project.

While there are so many ways that you can get your stitches on the needle, the long-tail cast on is what I teach all of my beginners, because it’s the most versatile and best looking.

Let’s get started with my favorite method of casting on stitches. It’s called the long-tail cast on. Below the embedded video you will see my written out steps on what to do here.




What you’ll need:

  • Yarn (of course) – In the video below, I used Vanna’s Choice yarn. It’s 100% acrylic and one of the softer wallet-friendly yarns that I like to use for projects.
  • Knitting Needles – Choose the needles suggested by the label on your yarn. For this demonstration, I used US 9 circular needles (beginners, use straight needles – they come in a package of two with nothing connecting the two needles). You will only need one of your two knitting needles.
  • Patience – It’ll take some time to learn how to cast on your stitches and usually I took an entire 2-hour class period for teaching my students this method. That way they could practice over and over again and then get their project started before the end of class. Don’t get frustrated, every one takes quite a few tries before they get it.





Here we go!

  1. Make a slip knot and place this loop on your knitting needle. This counts as one of your cast on stitches. So, for example, if the pattern you’re making says cast on 36 stitches, that slip knot counts as one of those 36 stitches. Woohoo, you’ve already started something!
  2. Grab your tail. It’s important to remember that for how I teach the long-tail cast on, the tail of your yarn is always looped on your thumb. Thumb and tail both start with the letter ‘T’ and that’s how I remember.
  3. Wrap the tail around your left thumbJust as shown on the video, once you grab the tail of your yarn, you’re going to wrap the yarn around your thumb, forming a loop. It’s very important that you start the wrap by bringing your thumb from over the top and loop the thumb around in a counter-clockwise motion.
  4. Wrap the working yarn around your left index finger. Your index finger is going to come up from underneath the working yarn, the strand that is attached to the ball of yarn. The next step will help form that loop around your index finger.
  5. Rotate your left hand to get your yarn into position. The video is better at demonstrating this, but you’re left hand is going to rotate so that your palm is face up. That act helps loop the yarn around your index finger and thumb and makes the loops presentable for the act of casting on more stitches.
  6. Thread the needle through the loop on your thumb from below. Refer to the video for this step. Your needle tip will come from underneath the loop and through said loop.
  7. Grab the yarn from your index finger with your needle and pull through the thumb loop. Essentially, you’re pulling that top yarn, the index finger yarn, with the needle and pulling it through the loop on your thumb. Keep watching, the magic is about to happen.
  8. Drop the thumb loop. What?! Yes, I promise. Drop that loop off of your thumb. That will allow the loop you just made to close onto your needle.

You’re going to repeat steps 3-8 for the complete number of stitches that you need to cast on.




Some helpful hints:

  • You can use your thumb to tighten the stitches onto the needle, but don’t pull too tight. 
  • If your cast on stitches are too tight – the stitches should be snug on the needle, but loose enough to move freely once you start your next row – start over and keep playing around with tension.
  • Don’t drop the yarn from both fingers every time, just the thumb. The act of re-wrapping the yarn on your thumb can also help tighten your stitches.

Want to know when my next lesson is up? Want to keep an eye out for new knitting techniques? Join my email list!


Do It Yourself: How to Make a Modern Dream Catcher

March 29, 2017

In Native American culture, dream catchers are hung over beds to promote good dreams. In Ojibwa folklore, the net/web of the dream catcher acts as a filter, catching bad dreams, allowing the good dreams to pass through and onto sleeping child below, preventing nightmares.




Lately, I’ve been seeing a modern take on the dream catcher pop up as an alternative to macrame. They’re beautiful ways of decorating the home and a symbolic reminder of the Native American culture.

Being Native American myself (my grandfather told us stories of how his great-grandmother was assimilated into the Blackfoot tribe a loooooooong time ago), when I was given the green light to make a wall hanging for our bathroom, the first thought was to make a modern dream catcher using some of my favorite colors of my hand dyed yarn.

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this fun little project to decorate the walls of your favorite space:

What you’ll need:

  • Two colors of fingering weight yarn – I used OMG Vegas (A blend of Silk, Merino, Nylon and Glitz) in two colors; Earl Grey and Surrender.
  • One 6″ steel ring – Found in the jewelry, beading aisle at Hobby Lobby.
  • One 1″ steel ring.
  • One 1/4″ wooden dowel or similar sized tree branch about 12″ in length.
  • Scissors.
  • Tape Measure.

 Preparation:

  • Choose your main color and your complimentary color.
  • You will need to cut strands prepare for construction. Each attached fringe is a bundle of 5 strands.

Main color: Cut 75 strands, each 32″ long
Complimentary color: Cut 25 strands, each 32″ long

  • Cut an additional strand of the main color approximately 24″ long and set it aside.





Instructions

Step 1: Start by attaching your main color fringes to the 6″ ring as shown below.

Fold the bundle of strands in half, place the steel hoop on top like this.

Fold the tail over the hoop and insert into the loop as shown.

Now pull the tail tight to secure the fringe to the hoop. Woohoo! You’ve attached one! Now do this 14 more times. (There will be 15 “fringes” attached to your steel hoop in the end)

Step 2: Attach your complimentary color fringes to the wooden dowel as shown below, similar to how you attached the fringes to the steel hoop.

Remember: put the dowel over your bundle, fold the tail over the dowel, and pull through the loop, securing your fringe.




Step 3: Remember your single strand? Attach it to your 1″ metal hoop in a similar fashion to how you attached your fringes.

It’ll look like this. Make sure the tails that are hanging off the ring are of equal length!

Step 4: Tie the tails from Step 3 to the wooden dowel.

It’ll look like this. You can use a small crochet hook or tapestry needle to hide the ends underneath your fringes.

Step 5: Here comes the tricky part. You’re now going to attach the two pieces – the large steel ring and the triangle created from Step 4 – together.

Lay the large steel ring on top of the triangle.

 

Similar to how you attached your fringes, fold the strands with the small steel loop attached over the large steel loop and thread it through (my middle finger is where the metal ring was passed through).

Here’s another shot of that step.




Step 6: Make adjustments as necessary and hang your dream catcher!

 

How gorgeous is that?

Now remember, if you’re having trouble figuring out Step 5, let me know!

Need more inspiration? Follow my OMG Fringes Pinterest board. I love these and have saved quite a few pins with these unique takes on the dream catcher.




References.

How Do Dream Catchers Catch Dreams? (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2017, from http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-do-dream-catchers-catch-dreams

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This Crochet Mug Rug Will Leave You Saying “OMG”

March 21, 2017




My OMG Mug Rug has been gaining some interest for a few weeks now. As I mentioned in my post post titled “Crochet Design: Let’s Talk Filet Crochet“, I wanted to learn this new technique, so I sat down with my graph paper and plotted the OMG Mug Rug. I’ve been using the finished sample for it’s intended purpose and as a photo prop ever since.

So what is a mug rug anyway?

mug rug is like a little placemat for your favorite mug, sized to include a little place for a snack to compliment your beverage of choice. Most mug rugs tend to fit in the 4×7 to 12×8 size range, but they can be as big or as little as you want.

What you’ll need:

  • A ball of “Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread” in the Classic 10 size or any lace weight yarn.
  • A steel crochet hook, size 7 (1.5mm) or whatever hook matches the gauge for the yarn you’re using
  • Scissors (to cut thread when you’re finished)

Gauge is not important here, however, you will want to crochet tight enough for the finished project to be at least 4 inches by 7 inches.

See links below to order supplies.

Crochet Techniques You’ll Use:

  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • sc – single crochet
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • tr – treble crochet

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

You will need to be  able to follow a chart.

Make sure you read the instructions for each round before beginning each step. I detail how to do the corners after the main pattern of each round.




OMG Mug Rug
Instructions:

Body
Start by using filet crochet to complete the following chart:

OMG Mug Rug Chart (Opens a PDF file of chart)

NOTE: The chart is 28 squares wide and 20 squares tall. To begin, you will chain 88 stitches (85 to frame the bottom and 3 ch which counts as another dc). Since your first row on the chart is completely filled in, you will dc in the 4th ch from the hook and then dc all the way across and turn. 

Once you have completed the chart, you will have the base design!

Border
Now you will be working around the outside of the entire Body that you just completed from the chart.

Round 1: Ch 1 and sc around, working a [sc, ch 2, sc] in each corner. End with sl st to first stitch from beginning of the round.

Make sure you sc in every dc on the top and bottom and evenly spaced on the rows along the sides.  You should make sure that each side has a multiple of 7 stitches.

Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as a dc and ch 1 at beginning of round), sk st, *dc in next st, ch 1, sk st; repeat from * around, turning corners by completing a [dc, ch 2, dc] in each corner. End with sl st into 3rd ch at the beginning chains of the round.

Round 3: Ch 1 and sc around, working a [sc, ch 2, sc] in each corner. End with sl st to first stitch from beginning of the round.

Round 4: Ch 1, sk 1st sc, and sc in 2 sc, *ch 2, sk 1 sc, sc in next 6 secs; repeat from * to end, working a [sc, ch 2, sc] in the corner. End with sl st to first stitch from beginning of the round.

Round 5: Ch 2, *tr in next ch2 space, [ch 1, tr] 5 times in same ch 2 space; repeat from * in each ch 2 space to end, working a scallop in the corner space. Ch 2 at end of Round and sl st in end of the previous round.

Fasten off. Weave in ends. Lightly steam or iron to block.




Crochet Tip: Use This Technique When Crocheting in the Round

March 17, 2017




Not too long ago, we ALL were deep into holiday gift making, right? A couple years ago, I made a few crochet stockings, but noticed something rather annoying: the stitches from the beginning of the round didn’t start at the same spot every round. They were traveling and it bugged the heck out of me! I took to asking my friend who is an avid crocheter and she told me that it was a common thing for working in the round and that she hated it too. Neither of us knew how to fix it.

When you work in the round while knitting, this phenomenon doesn’t happen. The beginning of the round stays put. It doesn’t travel or jog, it stays put. We knitters use stitch markers to mark that beginning of the round on the knitting needles and it doesn’t change. Ever.

Fast forward to 2016 crochet stockings and I found a cute pattern that also worked in the round, but noticed one big difference: the beginning of the round stayed in one spot. What was the difference?

How to Prevent Beginning of the Round Travel in Crochet

I’m eagerly working on a filet crochet hat pattern and I definitely didn’t want the beginning of the round to move with each completion of the round, it would totally mess up the design. Rather than work it flat, I used this technique:

So, this is me, working the round as usual. The right side (outside) of the hat is facing me and I’m working in hdcs (half double-crochets) in the usual right to left. We’re good, right?

 

When I get to the end of the round, I do my little slip stitch to close the round. Nothing changes from the usual, EXCEPT…

 

BOOM! Turn the project and go back in the opposite direction. You’re now working on the wrong side (inside of the hat) and still working right to left, but from the inside. At the end of the round, slip stitch to complete the round.

 

Woohoo! Look at this! Every row is lined up nicely! That means my filet crochet lace at the bottom works out AND I don’t have that diagonal line up the side where the beginning of the round moves. *Happy Dance*

Alright, do your little happy dance and keep on crocheting! While I finish up the sample for this design, I’ll be using this technique to keep things pretty. It’s made with crochet thread, so there will be plenty of rows/rounds to demonstrate that this does work!

If you’re using one of my crochet patterns in the future, know that I’ll be writing this technique into my patterns, so you don’t have to change a thing. If you’re using another pattern, but want to try this tip, make sure you are working the wrong side rounds backwards since you’re “traveling” in the opposite direction while working on that side.

Make sure you contact me if you have any questions. Enjoy!




Duplicate Stitch: How to Avoid Fair Isle Like the Plague

February 13, 2017

About a year ago, a co-member of a local mom’s group, Broads with Babies, commissioned me to make her a HILARIOUS hat, because Wisconsin winters are rough (language, I know).

 

I’m actually not a fan of any type of two color knitting that is not a stripe – fair isle or intarsia – just because I can be a lazy knitter. Like the title suggests, I avoid it like the plague. I did, however, want to keep up with my knitting and get rid of some yarn. I did, after all, just close my yarn shop and had hundreds of balls of yarn sitting in bins in the attic.

 

Duplicate stitch, though technically an embroidery technique, is a great way to get personalized sayings or small graphics onto your knitting without having to worry about loose or tight floaters getting in the way. I have been using it quite a bit lately to complete some of my “craftivist” projects (I’ll be posting about that soon too).

 

Rather than reinvent the wheel here, I found a YouTube video from some of my favorite folks at KnitPicks.

 

Don’t forget to follow OMG Yarn on Instagram to see what I’m working on next! Some big projects are already in the works!

 

How to make a Boho Chic Headband: A Crochet Tutorial

February 9, 2017

Ola’s Boho Chic Headband

Like most people these days, I spend a lot of time looking on Pinterest for projects, inspiration, and development. Usually when I’m searching for crochet projects, I come across some gorgeous lacy design that’s just a chart or a picture linking to a website in Portuguese, Spanish, or Russian. Although I’m fluent in Spanish, the other two languages are just too far off from it that I can’t decipher what anyone is trying to do.

This time, I came across a simple chart with no explanations, no project linked to it, nothing. I thought, “That would be a really cute headband for Ola!” So I sat down and muddled through the diagram and figured out how to make something similar looking and thought I’d share the project.

 

What you’ll need:

  • A ball of “Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread” in the Classic 10 size or any lace weight yarn
  • A steel crochet hook, size 7 (1.5mm) or whatever hook matches the gauge for the yarn you’re using
  • Scissors (to cut thread when you’re finished)
  • A poly/clear ponytail band

 

Gauge isn’t important here though, because the length of the headband will depend on the size of the head you’re making it for. Ola’s little head is about 17″ around (for now).

 

Crochet Techniques You’ll Use:

  • ch – chain
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • tr – treble crochet

 

Instructions:

1. Ch 10 sts.

 

2. Join in ring.

 

3. Ch 4 sts.

 

4. Treble crochet through center of ring.

 

5. Treble crochet 3 more times in center of ring. Total 5 tr (includes your starting ch 4).

 

6. Right from that last tr, Ch 10.

 

7. Join in ring.

 

8. Ch 4 and attach it to starting ring with a sl st.

 

9. Turn.

 

10. Make 9 tr in center of the ring you just made.

 

11. Ch 10.

 

12. Join with sl st to form a ring.

 

13. Ch 4 and attach that to previous ring with sl st. Turn.

 

14. 9 tr in ring. Keep repeating steps 11-13 until about 4″ shorter than desired length. Keep in mind, with the nature of the stitch and how it’s worked, it will have a little stretch to it too. It may take a little trial and error before you get the right length. You want the total length of the headband (including the poly band) to be about an inch or two smaller than the circumference of the head it will go on.

 

15. With last ring, 5 tr and finish off.

 

Attach both ends of your work to a poly band however you’d like and that’s it!

 

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