Crafting for a Change: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2017

Crafting for a Change, in Vogue Knitting Holiday 2017

I am not a fan of the word guru. Guru is what we call people who know a lot about something but don’t have a job title related to it, or who work in or around that topic in a variety of ways but aren’t defined by any one. I’m often described as a “crochet guru.” (If I’m asked for input on the matter, I usually request they just go with author or instructor.)

So I especially love that when she wrote about me in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting, Lee Ann Dalton called me “crochet genius.”

I mean, I’m not a genius, but I’m not a guru either. I’ll take genius any day.

Which is all to say: You guys, Lee Ann Dalton wrote about me, and specifically about craftivism, in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting. She also called me an “intrepid Canadian craftivist.” I’ll take that one happily.

I meant to mention this when the issue was still on newsstands. Um, four months ago. But better late than never, right?

The beret I’m wearing in the photo above is one of the patterns from my Crochet in the Round class, and the spiral hat next to it is the free Hat for Science.

 

New Class! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples and Waves

I have never been excited about a new class like I’m excited about this one! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples & Waves is all about my absolute favourite kind of project to crochet. (Uh, obviously, zigzags, ripples, waves, chevrons – whatever you call them.) Come learn how to bend stripes into cool shapes, from spiky chevrons to gentle waves. With texture or lace, and always with colour!

I designed the class around a baby-blanket pattern made in machine-washable yarn (as every baby blanket should be), and I walk you through the project from beginning to end.

There’s loads more in class, too! Learn how to use a zigzag pattern to make a project of any size, from a scarf to a king-size blanket. Explore how yarn weight and gauge affect the size of your projects, play with loads of colour, and learn how to handle all the pesky ends you have to deal with when you work in stripes. Discover how to make a wide variety of patterns, including the feather and fan pattern I’m using to make this epic scarf, and learn how to introduce variations into patterns so you can alter the way they look.

Get Crocheting!

Sign up over at Craftsy, or try out a free 7-day trial of Craftsy Unlimited – their awesome streaming subscription that’s like Netflix, but crafts.

Enter to Win My New Zigzag Crochet Class!

I have never been excited about a new class like I’m excited about this one! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples & Waves is all about my absolute favourite kind of project to crochet. (Uh, obviously, zigzags, ripples, waves, chevrons – whatever you call them.) Come learn how to bend stripes into cool shapes, from spiky chevrons to gentle waves. With texture or lace, and always with colour!

To celebrate the launch of the class, I’m giving away three seats in it!

I designed the class around a baby-blanket pattern made in machine-washable yarn (as every baby blanket should be), and I walk you through the project from beginning to end.

There’s loads more in class, too! Learn how to use a zigzag pattern to make a project of any size, from a scarf to a king-size blanket. Explore how yarn weight and gauge affect the size of your projects, play with loads of colour, and learn how to handle all the pesky ends you have to deal with when you work in stripes. Discover how to make a wide variety of patterns, including the feather and fan pattern I’m using to make this epic scarf, and learn how to introduce variations into patterns so you can alter the way they look.

Good luck! Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm (Pacific time) on March 14th and I’ll contact winners after that.

Happy crocheting!

Demystifying Double Crochet for Beginners

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes
How to make neat edges in double crochet – http://kimwerker.com/blog

I put together this double crochet tutorial about a decade ago – hence the delightfully dated "fail" and "win" terminology. FTW! But man, the photos are clear, so I thought I'd republish it here on the blog.

The single most common question I get from my beginner students is why their double crochet swatch ends up looking like a trapezoid when they're trying to make a rectangle. The answer is that double crochet can be a total pain in the butt, because the first and last stitches of a row can be confusing to place when you're still learning the basics.

So here's a step-by-step tutorial with photos showing each of the confusing bits and walking you through where to place the last and first double crochets so your edges turn out straight and tidy, and you maintain a rectangle shape because you're keeping the same number of stitches in each row.

CLICK HERE TO GET MY CHEATSHEET: 7 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CROCHET SHINE!

Where to Make the Last Double Crochet of a Row

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 1: Here’s what it looks like as you approach the end of a row of double crochet. I’ve circled the tops of the stitches from the previous row that remain to be worked. It’s very, very common for beginners not to work a stitch in the top of the turning chain from the previous row. So in the circle are the final double crochet (rightmost in the circle) and, to the left of it at the end, the top of the turning chain.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 2: The arrow is keeping track of the turning chain, and I’m inserting my hook into the next double crochet.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 3: I’ve pulled up a loop in the double crochet. The arrow is still indicating the top of the turning chain.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 4: I’ve finished the stitch and the arrow is still pointing to the top of the turning chain. See how easy it would be to skip it? After all, it sort of looks like the edge could straighten out after a little tugging. Alas, though, it won’t.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 5: Ok, no more arrow. Here I’m about to insert my hook in the top of the turning chain. By “top of the turning chain,” I mean the topmost of the three chains. Notice how I’m using the fingers of my other hand to open that sucker up. It can be tight and/or awkward to shove your hook in there, but persistence pays. Your crochet is not precious – you won't break it if you tug.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 6: I’ve pulled up a loop in the top of the turning chain. It’s pretty apparent now that we need to work a stitch here to make the edge straight, eh?

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 7: Here’s the completed final stitch of the row. There’s nothing to the left of it to stick my hook in, so I’m confident it really is the end of the row.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 8: Now we say to “turn your work.” This means to flip it around so your hook is poised to start the next row (in these photos I’m working right-handed, so at the beginning of a row my hook is on the right. If you’re a lefty and you crochet left-handed [hey, not all lefties do!], your hook is on the left at the beginning of a row).

Where to Make the First Double Crochet of a Row

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 9: Make 3 chains. This is the “turning chain,” which serves the purpose of raising the hook to the height of the stitches you’ll be making. Since double crochet is a fairly tall stitch, most patterns say to “count the turning chain as the first stitch of the row.” This is because that turning chain takes up about as much space as a double crochet. Since we’re counting it as the first stitch, we work the first actual double crochet into the second stitch of the row, not the first. (If we work it into the first stitch, the edge will bulge out and look wonky.) The arrow is keeping track of that first stitch that we’re going to skip before making the first double crochet.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 10: This might be a confusing photo because of how the stitches move around with my hook. If it is, ignore it. What it shows is that I’m inserting my hook in the second stitch, and the arrow is pointing to the skipped first stitch.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 11: Ok, this is better. Here I’ve pulled up a loop for the double crochet, and the arrow is pointing to the first stitch, which I did not​​​​ insert my hook into. At the very right, you can pick out the chains of the turning chain; see how they’re pretty much rising from that first stitch? That’s why we skip it before working the first double crochet.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 12: I’ve completed the double crochet and the arrow is still indicating the first stitch from the previous row. So even though I’ve only worked one double crochet, you can see it looks like we actually have two stitches in the row so far. This is why we count the turning chain as a full-on stitch. Now you just keep crocheting across the row, and make sure you work the last double crochet into the top of the turning chain.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

If tips like these are helpful, you'll enjoy my full beginner crochet class, which you can take right here, or enjoy as part of Craftsy's unlimited class streaming. I hope to see you in class!

CLICK HERE TO GET MY CHEATSHEET: 7 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CROCHET SHINE!

Behind the Scenes of a Crochet Class at Craftsy

I was at Craftsy HQ in Denver last week, filming a new crochet class. It’s such an odd, kind of surreal feeling to discover I’ve become comfortable on a film set. And even weirder to realize that filming classes is one of my favourite kinds of work to do. In no other manner could I have the chance to teach over 40,000 students how to crochet. Seriously, that’s how many students I’ve taught through my Craftsy classes. What a privilege!

It’ll be a few weeks before this new class comes out. I posted some slideshow updates from the set when I was there, which I’ve included below. Can you guess what the new class is about?

FIND OUT WHEN THE CLASS LAUNCHES!

I always tell my newsletter subscribers first.