Category Archives: Crochet

Are you ready for the team Scoreboard KAL?

Hey Alpaca Direct Team!

We’re gearing up to start our Team Scoreboard KAL sponsored by Skacel.   This KAL uses a great yarn called ‘Simplicity‘ that is very wearable and machine washable!  The KAL is fun because you get to create a unique “Knitted Record” of the scores for your favorite team in a scarf that tells the story of their season!   Each scarf has at least 2 colors.  Every time your team scores you knit the number of rows for points your team gets. If the opposing team scores, you knit rows for their points.  When the game is over you knit a purl row to call it wrap and begin again on the next game!

scorecard-kal photo

Be sure to pick your colors and order up your yarn so you can participate and share in the fun this football season!  We’ll posting photos along the way and having fun knitting while we support our favorite teams!

Author, Teacher, and Designer Michelle “Knit Purl” Hunter is once again teaming up with skacel to create the most highly anticipated knit-along of 2015!

Slated to kick off with the beginning of the football season, the 2015 Scoreboard KAL will allow fans to capture their favorite team’s season in the form of a hand-knit SCOREBOARD cowl!

THE SCORECARD KAL PATTERN WILL BE AVAILABLE  ON SEPTEMBER 3, 2015!

Let’s show some team spirit and…may your favorite team win!

Here’s the college colors by number:

collegiate

and here’s the Professional Team colors by number:

professional

 

Happy knitting!

Learn to Crochet With This Free Tutorial

We have created a visual step by step guide to help you learn about the basics of crochet. Whether you’re new to stitching and would like to learn how to crochet or if you’re a knitter looking to diversify your skills today we’ll teach you how to get started crocheting!How to Crochet by Alpaca Direct

Make A Slip Knot

Before we begin we’ll need to start with a slip knot. Hold a loop of yarn in your right hand, with the yarns crossed. Pick up the strand that is still attached to the ball. This is underneath the cut end of the yarn and is called the tail. How to crochet by Alpaca DirectPinch the strand of yarn that’s still attached to your ball of yarn and pull through the loop on your right hand, holding the ends in your left hand. 
How to crochet by Alpaca DirectPlace this loop on your crochet hook, you’ve created a slip knot! Pull the ends of the yarn to tighten the knot on your crochet hook. Now we’re ready to crochet. 
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Chain Stitch

Step 1: Bring the yarn over your crochet hook, making sure that the yarn is coming from behind the hook and towards you over the hook.

How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 2: Pull this loop through the stitch on your hook. You’ve chained one stitch! How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Continue to chain stitch until you have enough stitches for your pattern, or you’re happy with the width of your crochet piece.
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

 

Single Crochet: First Row

Step 1: Skip the first stitch down from your hook, and insert your crochet hook into the second stitch from the hook, inserting through the center of the stitch. How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 2: Bring the yarn over the hook, making sure that the yarn is coming from behind the hook and towards you.

How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 3: Pull this loop through your chain stitch, you’ll now have two stitches on your crochet hook. How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 4: Bring the yarn over the crochet hook again, then pull the loop through both stitches on your hook. How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 5: You’ll be left with one stitch on your hook, you’ve just completed your first single crochet stitch! Insert your hook into the next stitch, and repeat from Step 2 until you’ve worked a row of single crochet into all of your chain stitches.

How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Single Crochet: Next Row

This is what your piece should look like after completing your first single crochet row.
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 1: Turn your work, and chain 1 stitch by bringing the yarn over the hook, then pulling it through the stitch on your hook. This will give height to the edge of your work so that you’ll have straight edges and clean corners.
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 2: Insert your hook into the first stitch of the first single crochet row, going through the center so that you’ll have two strands over your hook. Single crochet as before, going back to Steps 2-5 of the Single Crochet First Row. How to crochet by Alpaca DirectAll consecutive rows are started like the this, and the single crochet is the same throughout. It’s important to remember that on the first row you skip the first chain stitch, and then on consecutive rows you chain 1 stitch at the beginning of each row.

To finish cut your yarn, and pull the stitch on your hook up until the cut end of the yarn comes out the other end of your work. How to crochet by Alpaca DirectDon’t forget… when learning a new skill it will take some practice. Soon you’ll be crocheting like a pro!  Have you tried crochet? We’d love to hear your thoughts on learning to crochet.

My sister in law, Elizabeth wearing her Sisters Cowl

Do you crochet? We do!

Knitting. It’s the new yoga. It’s hip. It’s trending. You can knit on your arm or fingers. Celebrities knit. We hear more about knitting today than any other craft.

What’s happened to crochet?

Plenty! Crochet is full of innovation, creativity, and beauty. I sometimes feel crochet is the craft people “admit” to doing.  I hear customers in our store say, “I don’t knit, I only crochet.”, almost as if crochet is something less than knitting.

But it’s not less, it’s just different.

I did a quick search on youtube- the word knitting returned 717,000 videos. The word crochet returned 1,670,00 videos. I believe that people like to crochet!

Crochet was the first needle craft I learned. I grew up surrounded by thread crochet pieces that my grandmothers and great-grandmothers had made and I was impressed. At age 17, I went to my local yarn store and took a beginning crochet class. That began a fiber adventure that has lead me to knitting, spinning, tatting, and now even working in a yarn shop.  I still enjoy crochet. It’s my personal favorite way to use a lace weight yarn.

If crochet has been overlooked by the major pattern and yarn companies, it has not been overlooked by independent designers. There are patterns all over the internet, both free and purchased that are beautiful and wearable.

I know that crochet has a bad wrap sheet- I remember the days of toilet tissue covers and Christmas candles crocheted to fit over aluminum cans. It was ugly.

But today you can find a huge variety of patterns and styles that are stunning. One of my favorite designers is Tara Murray. Her patterns are a delight.  I made these cuties out of Cascade 220.

Galilee Booties, designed by Tara Murray, crochet by me!
Galilee Booties, designed by Tara Murray, crocheted by me!

 

The crocodile stitch is really hot right now and a fabulous design element. My favorite design that incorporates this stitch is Crocodile Stitch Booties, from Ravelry. I saw a pair of these given an outstanding award at our county fair in August.

Exquisite booties by Bonita Patterns.
Exquisite booties by Bonita Patterns.

 

Maria, one of our staff members, made this project  in Cascade Ultra Pima  early this summer:

Angel Wing Pinafore, designed by Maxine Gonser, crocheted by Maria
Angel Wing Pinafore, designed by Maxine Gonser, crocheted by Maria

She was busy the rest of the summer, filling  requests to make more!

 

Crocheted Mobius Cowl from Churchmouse Patterns, crocheted by Tina
Crocheted Mobius Cowl from Churchmouse Patterns, crocheted by Tina

Another staff member, Tina, made this beautiful cowl from Cascade Kid Seta and taught it as a class here in the store.

So, do you crochet?  We do!

We haven’t forgotten crochet here at Alpaca Direct. We carry a variety of crochet hooks, both beautiful and practical. You’ll find crochet patterns on our website, and a passion for crochet in our staff members! If Alpaca Direct is your local yarn store, look for a Begin to Crochet Class in January 2015 followed by other crochet classes in the late winter and spring.

Here’s my contribution to the crochet pattern community. I hope you enjoy it!

My sister in law, Elizabeth wearing her Sisters Cowl
My sister in law, Elizabeth, wearing her Sisters Cowl

My sister sent me photo of a scarf she admired, asking if I could make something similar. This pattern is the result. When my sister-in-law saw the finished scarf, she asked for one too! So it’s the “Sisters” scarf, because I’ve been blessed with a wonderful sister and sister-in -law!

Enjoy your Free Pattern!

Sisters Cowl, by Kjirstine Prickett

Materials:

2 skeins Berroco Ultra Alpaca or approximately 430 yds worsted weight yarn

US J Hook

3- 1-¼” buttons

Gauge is not terribly important to this project. You should adjust the hook and yarn to produce a fabric that you like. I wanted it slightly drapey, but still wanted to maintain a certain amount of structure.

Finished dimensions:

Approximately 8” x 60”

Abbreviations:

Ch- chain

Dc- double crochet– wrap yarn around hook once

Trc- triple crochet– wrap yarn around hook twice

 

Chain 203

Row 1: Dc in 4th chain from the hook, dc in each chain across. Ch 3, turn

Row 2: Trc in 2nd dc, trc in each dc across, dc in top of turning chain, ch 2, turn

Row 3: Dc in 2nd trc, dc in each trc across, dc in top of turning chain, ch 2, turn

Row 4-5: Dc in 2nd dc, dc in each dc across, dc in top of turning chain, chain 2 turn

Row 6: Dc in 2nd dc, dc in each dc across, dc in top of turning chain, chain 3 turn

Row 7: As row 2

Row 8: As row 3

Row 9-10: As rows 4-5

Row 11:As row 6

Row 12: As row 2

Row 13: Dc in 2nd trc, dc in each trc across, dc in top of turning chain. Finish off.

 

Block gently, stitch buttons on one end to correspond with Triple crochet rows, which are used as buttonholes.

Happy Crocheting!

 

 

Summertime Knitting & Crocheting

 

Up here in the Northwest knitting and crocheting seems to get put on the back burner  as soon as flowers begin to bloom and sunshine warms our faces. Our hooks and needles grow cold and lonely while we lounge on beaches or dig in gardens. Why do you suppose that is? It certainly isn’t due to a lack of reasons to continue our fiber love affair! There are multitudes of celebrations to keep our fingers flying :) Below, I’ve linked up some ideas and samples to each item. Just click on each item to get inspired!

Graduations
Mothers and Fathers Day
Fourth of July
Birthdays
Anniversaries

And the most charming and/or sexy fashions to create…
Swimwear
Camisoles
Footwear
Jewelry
Shorts and summer tops

Summer friendly fibers are light and comfortable too…
Pima cottons
Cotton blends
Sock weight yarns
Novelty yarns
even wool and Alpaca!

There is also the fact that Christmas is just 6 short months away! You know, it’s never too early to start those personalized handmade gifts…Of course if that doesn’t get the creative wheels turning, it’s perfect weather to yarn bomb a bus!

What are you working on this summer? Do you have a favorite pattern or project just for warm weather? Or are you working away on your gift list for the holidays? It’s Show and Tell time :)

Maria

What does worsted weight mean anyway?

Many times I am asked the question, “What does worsted weight mean?” It’s a good question! There are several thicknesses of yarn which we refer to as weight. Don’t confuse this with the actual gram or oz weight listed on the label which reflects the heaviness of the yarn. I am referring to weight as it is called for in a pattern, such as sock weight, worsted weight or bulky weight, to name a few. It can be a mind boggling affair and it is not uncommon for two experienced knitters to disagree about the weight of any particular yarn they are considering.

Enter The Craft Yarn Council of America! This fine institution has for many years now made a valiant attempt to standardize the Craft Yarn industry. Many larger yarn companies and publishers use this standardized system when labeling yarn and patterns as you see below:

Standard Yarn Weight System

Categories of yarn, gauge ranges, and recommended needle and hook sizes

Yarn Weight Symbol
& Category Names
lacesuper finefinelightmediumbulkysuper bulky
Type of
Yarns in
Category
Fingering
10-count
crochet
thread
Sock,
Fingering,
Baby
Sport,
Baby
DK,
Light
Worsted
Worsted,
Afghan,
Aran
Chunky,
Craft,
Rug
Bulky,
Roving
Knit Gauge
Range* in
Stockinette
Stitch to 4 inches
33–40**
sts
27–32
sts
23–26
sts
21–24
st
16–20
sts
12–15
sts
6–11
sts
Recommended
Needle in
Metric Size
Range
1.5–2.25
mm
2.25—
3.25
mm
3.25—
3.75
mm
3.75—
4.5
mm
4.5—
5.5
mm
5.5—
8
mm
8 mm
and
larger
Recommended
Needle U.S.
Size Range
000–11 to 33 to 55 to 77 to 99 to 1111
and
larger
Crochet Gauge*
Ranges in
Single Crochet
to 4 inch
32–42
double
crochets**
21–32
sts
16–20
sts
12–17
sts
11–14
sts
8–11
sts
5–9
sts
Recommended
Hook in Metric
Size Range
Steel***
1.6–1.4
mm
2.25—
3.5
mm
3.5—
4.5
mm
4.5—
5.5
mm
5.5—
6.5
mm
6.5—
9
mm
9
mm and
larger
Recommended
Hook U.S.
Size Range
Steel***
6, 7, 8
Regular
hook B–1
B–1
to
E–4
E–4
to
7
7
to
I–9
I–9
to
K–10 1⁄2
K–10 1⁄2 to
M–13
M–13
and
larger
* GUIDELINES ONLY: The above reflect the most commonly used gauges and needle or hook sizes for specific yarn categories.** Lace weight yarns are usually knitted or crocheted on larger
needles and hooks to create lacy, openwork patterns. Accordingly, a
gauge range is difficult to determine. Always follow the gauge stated in
your pattern.*** Steel crochet hooks are sized differently from regular hooks—the
higher the number, the smaller the hook, which is the reverse of regular
hook sizing

I recommend you print this handy guide out and tuck it into your pocketbook. You will always be able to figure out what yarn you need or want based on the information here even if it isn’t marked with the standardized system! Alpaca Direct has also incorporated the Standard Yarn Weight System into
our website! What a great resource when shopping for yarn. I am so
excited about this new feature. Let us know how it helps you!