Category Archives: Crochet

Crochet

Craft Tip: Keep Balls of Yarn Tidy with a Pair of Old Tights

Craft Tip: Keep Balls of Yarn Tidy with a Pair of Old Tights | The Zen of Making

I’m working on a Color Affection shawl right now, and, while the knitting is super-easy, several weeks of juggling three separate balls of a particularly cranky linen/cotton blend has been just about enough to make me cry. So, after the 23rd time or so that the center-pull ball of my main color went supernova without warning (read: collapsed, then exploded around everything else in my project bag), my fiber-addled brain started coming up with some rather elaborate yarn-containment solutions. Luckily, before I went too far down the crazy invention rabbit hole, I remembered that tights existed, and my sanity was saved.

Craft Tip: Keep Balls of Yarn Tidy with a Pair of Old Tights | The Zen of Making

Is your yarn running amok? Do you have a drawer full of old tights (or stockings or hose or nylons) that should never again see the light of day? Perfect—we’ve just solved both your yarn and your tights-hoarding problems! Because, turns out, there’s no better place for your misbehaving balls of yarn to be than nestled snugly in the toes of old [clean] hosiery.

Here’s how it’s done:

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Knitting and Crocheting with a Plan

Knitting with a Plan | The Zen of Making

When you’re knitting or crocheting in the real world (read: with all manor of kids, pets, co-workers, friends, and spouses underfoot), there are tons of opportunities for things to go terribly, terribly wrong. But, thankfully, they don’t have to.

If you’ve ever snapped at your partner for interrupting you in the middle of a row or cried as you ripped out a lace repeat for the sixth damn time because you just keep getting distracted and losing your place, this post is for you.

Note: I use knitting in my examples below, but the same tips and tricks for staying on track can also be used for crochet projects. (Obviously, this excludes the bits about counting the number of stitches on your needles. Unless, of course, you’re working on some Tunisian crochet.)

Knitting with a Plan | The Zen of Making

Know Your Rows: Make a Row and Stitch Count List:

Unless you’re knitting in the quietest, coziest, most distraction-free nook imaginable, at some point, you’re going to lose your place in your pattern. And, when you do, you’ll probably consider screaming, crying, and/or indulging in some delightfully creative swearing. (We’ve all been there, so feel free to share your favorite knitting-related expletives in the comments. In case you’re wondering, I tend to alternate between dropping a good old fashioned F-bomb and yelling something hilariously old-timey like “CONSARNIT!” when I experience an epic knitting fail.)

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Video Tutorial: Crocheted Metal Washer Pattern Weights

Video Tutorial: Crocheted Metal Washer Pattern Weights | The Zen of Making

As an especially neurotic sewer, when it comes to my studio, there’s no such thing as too many pattern weights. So, to satisfy my paper-wrangling needs—and to avoid spending ridiculous amounts of money on “real” sewing pattern weights from the fabric shop—I headed to the hardware store in search of a cheap solution. Then, once I’d plopped down a whopping $2.00 for a set of 8 fender washers, the next logical step was personalize them. And, what do huge hunks of metal need more than anything else in the world? Cozies. (Obviously.) Thus, my handy new tutorial for crocheted metal washer pattern weights was born!

Video Tutorial: Crocheted Metal Washer Pattern Weights | The Zen of Making

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t exactly a new idea—tons of sewers use giant washers (or soup cans, or coffee cups, or beanbags, or bottles of booze) in place of more traditional sand-filled pattern weights every day. But, I’ve found that, in addition to making them look cute, adding a crocheted border around the edges prevents my washers from getting lost and keeps them from magically vanishing from my worktable.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Please note that the links to supplies and tools that are provided below are affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking through.

Supplies:
* Large metal washers (I used ⅜" x 1½" fender washers.)
* Cotton yarn scraps, worsted weight

Tools:
* Scissors
* Darning needle
* Crochet hook, 5.5mm (US I-9)

Want to give it a try? You’ve got two tutorial choices:

Since crochet is a technique that translates really well to video, I decided to put together one of my rare (gasp!) video tutorials for this project:

(Make sure you listen for the bonus cat meows in the background!)

And, for those of you who prefer words and pictures to a how-to video (yeah, me too), here are the photo step-outs:

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TZoM on Threadbanger: Crochet Basics with Twinkie Chan + Haley

TZoM on Threadbanger: Crochet Basics with Twinkie Chan + Haley | The Zen of Making

What happens when the Threadbanger crew comes over to play? A whole lot of yarn-y awesomeness, that’s what!

Check out the super-adorable Twinkie Chan and her fantastic studio (see also: her incredible crochet-related rap video), then stick around as I invite Threadbanger into my own studio space for a little bit of crochet 101.

Are you a tight hooker? Because, I’m definitely a tight hooker. (Watch the video and this will all make sense, I swear!)