Archive for the ‘crochet’ Category

This post is mainly for the knitters, but for those who crochet, you can cable too!  I found this Craftsy tutorial online for cables on crochet:  http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/12/how-to-crochet-cables/

If knitting cables is old hat for you, you probably already know all of this.  But if you are in the group who says “Wow, look at those beautiful cables on that sweater, I’d love to cable but it looks too hard.”, this post will help you out.  You don’t have to understand confusing looking charts to learn how to cable.  (I put off learning to cable for years because the charts looked hard.)  But it isn’t hard at all!  It really only requires you to look at your cable and do what it looks like needs to happen.  If you want to, you can just make them up and throw them into anything you make.  Here’s an example:RandomCables

Designing your cable:  In my recent poncho post, I showed this as my “random cable”. This is just one I made up that will go around the neckline on this work in progress.  All it takes to make it look professional is to do the same thing to each one and get a whole row of things done the same way.  To do that, make sure you always move your cables over the same number of stitches, and always at a regular interval (move cables every 2 rows, or every 4 rows for example.)  These are stockinette stitches on a garter stitch background.

I would highly recommend doing a project, (or at least a swatch with some leftover yarn), just to practice random cabling.  Just free wheel it and make stuff up as you go, and see how it all comes out looking.  That’s what I did a long time ago with this scarf.  This experimentation helped me know what worked and what didn’t.  It is a mix of random cabling of stockinette stitches with backgrounds of garter, purl and seed stitch, with garter on the edges to help foil curling.  I learned what parts want to roll inward, what parts came out looking wider, etc.  So, here we go!

Scarves - Patterned and Not

Link to post I made about this scarf while I was doing it:


How to cable

Moving stitches to the right:

Here we see a cable which I’ve moved randomly back and forth, stockinette on a purl background.  I’m 2 stitches ahead of my cable, so what I do now is stop and look at it, and decide what I want it to do.  I want this cable to now swing to the right.  I think about what will make this happen.  It will happen if the 2 stitches of stockinette cable go over the one purl stitch to the right of the cable, so that is what I’m going to do.


You need a cable needle.  You can use any big piece of bent wire if you don’t have one.  I’m going to move this cable over one stitch.  (You can also move over 2 or a few stitches if you want a more extreme bend to the right.)  I put the one purl stitch on my cable needle.


Now I think about how I want it to look.  I want the stockinette to be on the top of the right side of the cloth, so this means the cable needle stitch has to be in the back when I knit the stockinette cable stitches.  If I want the cable to move one to the right, I need to knit the cable stitches first. Throw the cable needle to the back side, then knit the 2 stitches that come next, the cable stockinettes. (photo below)


Next, put the stitch from the cable needle back onto the left hand needle, then work that stitch, (in this case, it’s a purl – do the stitch type you’re doing as your background.)  Then just continue on, working the rest of the background.


In short, just look at it, and see what it looks like you should do to achieve what you want to see.

Moving the cable to the left:

I’ve arrived at the cable, so I stop here and decide what to do.  I’m going to move these two cables toward each other, and eventually cross one over the other.  This means the first cable has to move one to the left.


I purl up to the cable, because I want to see the two stockinette stitches go over the top of the purl stitch on the left side of them, so I don’t need the purl stitch before the cable.


I put the two stockinette cable stitches on a cable needle, which will lay on the front side of the work.  (I don’t want them getting covered up, which they would if the needle with those on it hung to back side.)


I then purl the background stitch that was to the left of the cable, this moves it behind and to the right side of the cable.  Then put the 2 stitches from the cable needle back on the left needle and knit them.  You’ve finished moving the cable one to the left.


(The plan for this cable:  These two cables have been moved – one to the left which I showed you, then I moved the other one to the right – now they meet.  I’ll do the reverse side of this garment without moving any cables, then when I’m back on the right side for the following row, I’ll cross one cable over the other here.  To do that, I will move one cable over two stitches instead of one, just to get it all over at once.)


Doing a rope cable: 

This is a cable that just twists around and around itself to look like rope.  It has a stockinette background, so doesn’t stand out so much as it would if you do it over a purl, or other type of background.  To achieve rope, I wait 4 or more rows between each cable twist, (otherwise you’ll get a very tightly twisted rope – also okay, if that’s what you’re going for.)  You can see that it looks like three stitches just wrap around 3 stitches each time, and you can see what needs to happen next.  The three outlined in black will go in the front, and the three outlined in blue will go behind them.  So you have 6 stitches involved in  this cable.


When you arrive at this cable, the three on the right side (black outline) go on the cable needle and hang in the front, (because you want them to end up in the front). Knit the three on the left hand needle, (these were the blue outline stitches), which will bring those behind.


Then put the three from the cable needle back on the left needle and knit those.  Finished! Continue knitting.


How to cable a braid:

(If you don’t know how to braid, please do a search online for instructions.  You will need to know how to braid to do this cable.)  The braid cable is a little more complicated than the other three, but if you know how to braid you shouldn’t have any problem, you already know what it should look like.  The cable on the left is a braid on a stockinette background, but would stand out more on a contrasting background, as you see the cable over purls on the right side does.

I’m including a lot of detail in case it helps someone, but in short, you are only moving one section over the other, left and right, just like what was done to cable above.  I’ve covered cable braids a long time ago, but this is more detailed and has more pictures.

Lets braid: Go up to the stitches that are involved, and stop to think about what should happen next.  Notice I have a band of 3 stitches that are not involved (the three immediately after the purls).  I have already knit those to get them out of the way.  The next 9 on the left needle are all of the stitches involved in the braid.)


I’m braiding just like you would hair.  I have three equal sections to intertwine.  In this case, I made each section three stitches wide, so there are 9 stitches involved in this cable, but you only ever work with 6 at once, (you only ever cross one section over one other at a time, never two, just like when you braid).

I will keep these same three stitches outlined in yellow to make them easy to follow.  You can see below that these three are the left section that needs to cross in front of the middle section to make the next cross.  Also, you can see I waited 4 rows between moving each part of the cable, (at least up until this point, before I decided to just go crazy random with it).  I never cable on the wrong side for this, only the right side, and only every other visit to the right side.

In the photo below, I have knit 3 more stitches beyond the photo above.  To move the left section of the braid over the middle section, I don’t do anything with the right section of the braid right now.  I knit past it.


So what do you do now?  You want these 3 in yellow to go over the top of the three to the right of them.  See if you can figure out what to do with your cable needle, then check the photo below for the answer.


You can make this happen by putting the three that are next on the left needle onto a cable needle, and putting them to the back side of the work.  Now you are ready to knit the three on the left needle outlined in yellow, which will make them go in front and to the right.


After you knit the yellow ones, you put the three from the cable needle back  onto the left needle and knit those.


You’ve made the next section in the braid.  Continue the rest of the row.8BraidCable

A few rows later, how will you do the next section, which goes back the other way?  Of your nine braid stitches, three on the right hand side will have to go onto a cable needle and hang to the front while you work the three to the left of that (the middle section), then put the 3 back on the left needle and knit.  Just knit the leftmost section, and continue your row.

After you do a few cables, you will stop at the cable, look and think, and you will know what needs to happen next and how to do it.  If you make a mistake, and it doesn’t look right, it’s only a few stitches, you can always unknit those few and try again.


Making a repeating cable pattern: Once you’ve tried some cabling, and you know what cables you want to do on a project, then comes a little planning.   If you want it to come out perfect, you’ll have to do some counting to make sure you have the right number of stitches for each cable area with no leftovers.  It may be easier for you if you draw out what you want to do, just to help you count your needed number of stitches.

Counting example from what I did on the red poncho neckline above: The cable starts out 4 stitches wide at the bottom, then splits into 2 groups of 2 stitches, cabling to the left and right, then joins again as 4 at the top.  There were 10 garter stitches between each group of 4 starting cable stitches.  This means each motif was 14 stitches wide.   Great tip to make this particular cable super easy – If you do a stockinette cable on a background of garter stitch, always move your cables when you’re working on the purl side (back side) of the garment.  This will make it so the right side row is always all knits, with no cabling, all the way across!  I only moved the cables on the purl side so the knit side could always be fast and easy to do.

UPDATE:  How much random is too much random?

One piece of the poncho is complete, I still have to make the other rectangle.  Here’s how it came out.

Before blocking:


After blocking:


There might be such a thing as TOO random, as you can see by the very uneven braid.  I was still playing with this garment and doing many things in a very random way.   I didn’t worry about counting rows between crosses of the braid, so I have crossovers that are wider than others.  That can be good or bad, depending on how you view it.  If you have something so strangely made and unfactory-like, its obvious that its a home made object, not a storebought item of which there are a thousand other copies.  On the other hand, you can also view the “too random” cable as childlike, or unprofessional looking.    In the case of the leaves, I like the randomness, because it makes the cables look more like natural tree branches.  The uneven braid, I wound up liking less, because people aren’t used to seeing this much random on most sweaters.  But, that’s what can happen if you play.  As with many things I make up, it may be a little strange looking, but I will still wear it and not worry about it.

I will make the other rectangle using different motifs and see how that comes out!

Reference:  The cabled branches were random, but the leaf came from a chart.  The New Knitting Stitch Library. Lesley Stanfield. Quarto Publishing, 1992. Chart 179, pg. 116.  I didn’t do the cables on this chart, just used the center part of the chart which made the leaf shape, including the yarnovers above the leaf.






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Warning – This didn’t TOTALLY work out, the neck hole wound up a bit big.  See the final post on the finished product before deciding on measurements:



I’ve never been a great fan of ponchos, (mostly because if I’m cold, I want good coverage, not the open bottom).  Recently however, I saw one in the mall that looked so pretty, I wanted to make it.  It was something like this, with the flowy cable part of the pattern running around the neck and down the front and back:


I haven’t even started on one yet, (I currently have 5 other projects going on), but I did make my plan.  Here is how you design your own poncho.

A common way to make one is to make two identical rectangles and seam them together, like so:


You attach the two rectangles together with a seam, then you fold it over and seam the other edge, attaching blue star to blue star, white star to white star.  This is great, nothing could be easier than two rectangles – you can make them however you want -crochet, knit, or weave.

To make the appropriate size rectangles

-width of the rectangles
To get the width of your rectangles, (their width is the length of the poncho), put a tape measure on your shoulder where you want the neckline to be, and measure over the top of the shoulder and down your arm to where you want the end to stop near the wrist (or your length of choice).  You will have a longer point hanging in the front, but the length over the arm is probably more critical.

-length of the rectangles
The length of your rectangles will be determined by what size you want the neckline. You can tape measure the point in the front where the neckline is lowest, over one shoulder to the same point in the back.  (See the red line on the drawing below, this is where you measure).  This will give you half the amount of the neckline, so then double it.  When I measure I get 17 inches, (neckline a little lower down), so I will make my rectangles (17+17=) 34 inches long. I have seen patterns suggest 32 inches as a “large”, so try it and see what looks good for you. You just need it big enough to stick your head through it without having it so big it falls off the shoulders, or leaves too much neck area exposed to the cold.



Here is another method I used just to double check the size, (though the measuring tape is probably simpler than this one). 

Clip two towels together in the same way you would make the poncho, (following the drawing above). You can use binder clips, hair clips, clothes pins, whatever you have. Wide hair clips like I used will add more variation, narrower items are better.  (This is really a ballpark measurement in my case because I used 3 inch hair clips.)  Put it on. The long point will hang in the middle of the front and the middle of the back, so arrange your towels on you this way.  Adjust the two clips at the neck to the size you want the neckline to be, and move the adjacent two clips so your towel is pinned flat, like shown.  You can also add a clip near the wrist at one edge to mark the length you want the poncho to be (which is rectangle width).


Take it off and lay it out on a flat surface. Unhook clips from one seam only, but hook the clips back on to one towel if they weren’t on a corner on that towel.  Lay both towels flat like the drawing.  This will let the clips mark your new size. Measure from corners (or towel edges) to clips as shown, or if both of your end clips moved, measure from clip to clip.  The area outside of where you moved the clips shows length that you don’t want on the poncho.

Measure from any clips that were moved inward to the farthest clip.  You should still be getting rectangles in the general shape of a towel.  TowelMeasurePoncho


Measuring this way, I get 35 inches on both towels, so I know my earlier 34″ measurement was probably fine.  This is rectangle length.

TowelTrimPonchoIf you want, you can fold the towels to your appropriate rectangle length, re-clip, and try it on again. (Clip white to white, blue to blue.)


Now you’re ready to begin making two rectangles.

If you crochet, you may get a fairly thick poncho, unless you use skinny yarn.   This drawing shows one way you can do it, but you can get creative and make your rectangles in any direction you like.  Make two identical rectangles for the flowy neck pattern like the top drawing.


If you knit, you can cast on either direction here too, the drawings are just ideas.  Cast on the number of stitches you need to get your appropriate inches on the width or length. (For help with getting from number of inches to number of stitches, see this post.)  To get one like the drawing I put at the top, cast on the width and work up the length like this drawing, doing a cable on one side to get a flowy neckline, and make two identical rectangles.  If instead, you cast on your length, your stitches will be right side up when you wear it, (going up and down).  You can take advantage of this to do flowers or leaves growing upright at the bottom, or whatever you choose.  Whichever way you do it, plan your design carefully to avoid any curling at the bottom.


Attach and seam your two pieces like this, and seam following the stars on the drawing above. Make sure to seam on the insides and safety pin it first to check orientation before starting seaming.  (Probably sounds silly me saying that, but when I sew I’ll put one piece on backwards every time if I don’t pin and check first, so with no obvious sleeve holes, I know I’d do the same here.)


Hey, I started!  I realized one of my sweaters already-in-progress is a piece exactly 34 1/2 inches long, so that one is now going to turn into this poncho.  Due to the length it already is, I can’t run a longways cable around the neck, but I think what I’ve done already will make a nice neckline, and now I can maybe do some kind of flower pattern growing upwards from the bottom edge or something.   (It will need some kind of design to prevent the stockinette rolling up at the bottom as you see it doing here).  This design edge is just random made up cables on a garter background with a square of seed stitch at the corners.  When I finish this I will come back and add the completed photo to this post.





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I’m really loving the seamless / continuous crochet!  It makes such nice objects without the tedious working-in of the ends that you usually get with crochet squares.  To see sleeveless items I have made before also using seamless crochet, see here for part 1 and here for part 2. (Not necessary to read those to understand this post though, no worries!  …Also, that’s not a hole at the belly button area, that is where the jeans are poking through it.)

I have been dawdling over how to write this post for the past month, and how much detail I can go into.  What I made up on this sweater was how to get connected motifs into a sweater shape, but I had a drawing in a book to give me the idea, and the motif design itself I got from books.  (The motif I used in this sweater is in both books, see references below.)   So, this post will tell you how to construct the sweater with continuous crochet, but you need to know how to make a motif. In general, this means making a long chain, then slip knot into a ring, then do something of your design for row 1 for the center around the ring, then chains around the outside edge for joining (chains making corners and sides).  You can design your own motif if you wish.  As long as you do them all the same, you will get a pattern.

In one of the books I reference at the bottom (Nihon Vogue-Sha), they have a drawing on how to construct a similar sweater on pg. 77 (see reference at the bottom).  They do this differently than how I did it, and their way may be simpler and better than what I did.  I have not found this book in English though, only Chinese and Japanese, so exactly how they did it was not completely clear to me.  It looks to me like they complete a front half all the way, and then do a back half all the way, then seam some other way when the pieces are completely done.  I don’t think the pieces are joined as they go, but it could be I just didn’t get it.  So, exactly how to construct the sweater is what I made up as I went, generally based on their drawing.  Let me add, I LOVE this book even though I can’t read it.  It is full of drawings, pictures and interesting motifs, most of which I can use just fine just by looking at the drawings.

If you are interested in making these, you may want to buy a seamless or continuous crochet book. The drawings in the books help a TON in trying to attach these things together the right way.  The first sweater I made with continuous crochet was really very confusing as to what parts of the motif attach to what, even with drawings to help.  But you do get used to it the more you make, and it becomes very easy.

How my sweater was constructed:  Look at the photo below.  I made row 1 starting at the waist.  I made this bottom row 6 motifs across. (For sizing – hold your row of motifs up to yourself and stop when its wide enough to go across your hips – careful not to stretch unless you want a tight sweater).  It was worked the way continuous crochet usually is, doing bottoms and rights of the outer chain edge of each motif on row 1, then doing the top chain edge on all 6 motifs after all 6 were done, but leaving off the left outer edge, (meaning don’t work the outer chain on the leftmost motif of the row).  Do Row 2 the same way, the leftmost motif is joined at its bottom, make it, then do its outer bottom edge, joining it to the one below on row 1 as you go, then work its right outer chain edge,  then make the next motif.  After all 6 motifs are done, work the bottom and right outer chain of that last one, then work the outer chain edge over the tops of all of them to get back to the left, and leave off the left outer chain edge on the last one.  Row 2 is done.  The left outer chain edge is done after all rows are done to get back to the starting point.  So, I worked a rectangle with 6 motifs across and 8 rows high, (this is from the hips up to the armpits in this photo), then after working the outer chain over the top of the last row (row 8), I then did the left outer chain edge of all rows, bringing me back to the starting point at the left bottom.  The starting yarn-end is tied to the ending yarn-end and worked in, and those are your only ends to deal with on this rectangle (as long as you didn’t need to join a new ball of yarn).  Back half “body” is complete.

A note about my use of the words “left” and “right” for the remainder –  My words say what was done as I was holding it, however, I was looking at the backs of all of my motifs as I went (the inside of the sweater).  So left and right as I say it will match what it looks like when you are doing it, but you will notice it seems reversed in some photos, because the sweater isn’t inside out in all of them.

1ContinuousCrochetSweaterBackThen, to work the piece for the arms, I started at the left wrist and worked the first row all the way across to the right wrist.  That was joined to the first rectangle (the body) when I got to the point where the armpit would be, and as the bottom outer chain (of each motif) was worked on that first row.  You have to hold the arm motifs up to your arm to decide how long you want it to be, and make sure you are doing the same number of motifs for each arm and getting the body joined in the middle.  Using markers may help.

The photo above is not half of the sweater, my arms were going to be six motifs tall total, (3 on the front side, 3 tall on the back side), so this is 3 rows, which is the back half, plus 2 half rows which are really on the front, and allow for the neck hole.  (So the back half of the arm piece has no space for a neck hole, the motifs go all the way up, and it is simply a long rectangle.)

Neck hole:  This was kind of complicated, let me draw out how I did the half rows for the neck hole in 2 ways.  Look at the second drawing below, if it makes sense, that will allow you to skip all of these words!  Number one to remember, if it is a pullover, it has to fit over your head or you can’t wear it.  I used the already made parts of the sweater to stretch around my head and see how many motifs would have to be missing in the neck hole to get it to fit over my head.  This is pretty stretchy, and I only needed 2 motifs to be missing.  It may help to count these out before you start and mark the last motifs you do before leaving the neck hole.

The dark blue lines below are motif rows, worked to the right.  The other drawn-on colors show how the outer chain edge of each motif was worked (back over the top to the left).  So, we start with the bottom dark blue row, the last row of the back half of the sweater, (worked all the way across, to the right). For the right side – Follow the yellow line back to the left, this is the outer chain edge of that solid row, stop when you get to where you want the neck hole to be, don’t work over the tops of the neck hole motifs yet.  Then, work the dark blue row right above the yellow line, making motifs to the right, working them from the neck area to the right side wrist (in my case this was 10 motifs).  Then follow the green line back to the left for the outer chain, go over the tops of those motifs you just made, then go around the left side of the first/ leftmost one, then do over the tops of the solid row below for the neck hole, then do over the top for the length of the other sleeve to the wrist and stop.  The topmost solid row on the back half is now fully complete (except for the left outer chain edge, which you always leave off, for around the left wrist).  Left side – Then work the dark blue line over the left side sleeve, from wrist to neck, but stop, leaving a neck hole in the middle (have the same number of motifs as for the other sleeve, in my case 10).   Then follow the red line to do the outer chain over your last motifs on the left sleeve.  (You still leave off the left edge of that sleeve.)  At this point, your neck hole so far is complete, all of the outer chains are done everywhere except the left wrist.

1ContinuousCrochetSweaterNeckHere is another drawing in case one is easier to understand than the other, they say the same thing:


Finishing the front half of the sleeves and making sleeves into tubes – After the neck hole row / rows are done, you then do more solid rows the same way you did the first few.  (In my case, that was 2 more solid rows so that I would have sleeves 6 motifs tall.) You work the bottoms of the motifs that go over the neck hole the same way as you make them on the usual starting first row, just remember not to connect them so that you leave a hole.  Your neck hole should not have any unworked outer edges left on it after you pass over it with the next solid row, it is complete.

The photo below shows  how I connected the sleeves.  I didn’t seam them later, I used working the outer top edge of my last sleeve row (done on the leftward return after making the last row) to attach to the bottoms of Row 1 as I went.  (The bottoms  of row 1 were already finished when you did row 1.)  Looking at the photo below, you can see this joining.  It looks like I’m going the wrong way in the photo from what I said, but as I said before, it may be inside out when you are working it.

Complication modification – how I made this more confusing, and why you see another half row there at the top – (You don’t have to do this, you can make yours a solid row to make it easier to do.)  My sleeves are 6 motifs tall (in the middle) and 5 tall from the elbows to wrists.  I didn’t want my sleeves to have a very wide opening at the wrist, so I only made my sleeves 5 tall at the ends.  The simpler sleeve way – If you make yours the same number of motifs high all the way across, that makes it a little easier, you just join your sleeves into tubes as you are returning from the right with the outer chain on the top of the last row, making sure to leave openings starting at the armpit for the body as you are doing that top edge of the last row. (Just work across the body motifs without joining).  Once joined, your right sleeve is finished, and the edge at the right wrist is already done.  Once you get back to the left wrist, you work the outer edge on the wrist of the joined sleeve to finish it and cut the yarn here where it meets your starting tail.  Only one more yarn tail to work in, and both sleeves and the neck hole are completely finished.  You only need one more rectangle now for the front body.


The complicated way – Adding extra half rows for sleeve modification:  You can work row 5, (the last solid row on the long sleeve rectangle), get to the right wrist with the motifs, then starting at the right wrist join the top outer chain of row 5 as you go to the bottom of row 1 until you get to the right elbow.  At this point continue working over the top of row 5, but stop joining it to anything. Work over the top of the top row with the outer chain back over the neck hole and stop at the left elbow (or to wherever you want row 6 to start – lets say elbow for simplicity). Now you start making and joining row 6 motifs from the left elbow to the right elbow. Then when you get to the right elbow, work the top of row 6’s outer chain – you will continue connecting the right sleeve into a tube now (I made this text purple to connect you to when it was last purple – that’s when you stopped connecting the right sleeve into a tube). You will be using the top of row 6 to connect to the bottom of row 1 at this point.  (See note below on bunching up that first row 6 motif.)  Stop connecting into a sleeve tube when you get to the arm pit of the sweater.  Keep working across the top of row 6 for the body area doing your top outer chain, and go back to joining the top of row 6 to the bottom of row 1 when you get over to the arm pit on the other sleeve.  Join this sleeve down the length, first while working the top of row 6, then it will turn into row 5’s top when you get to the elbow.  When you get to the wrist, you then need to work the left edge around the wrist, and cut the yarn and work in the end.  Your end yarn should join at your starting yarn for the long rectangle sleeve piece.

Note on bunching up end of row 6 motifs:  Below you see the “complicated sleeve” elbow, and what the underside of the sleeve will look like if you add the extra half row.  Here you see row 1 joined to row 5 on the left, and to the right of it, row 1 joined to row 6 where you see the extra motif in there which is looking bunched up.  To make that join, you just squish the usual joining spots on the hook and pull the yarn through all of them at once.  Your joining happens under the arm so this bulging at the elbow is not really obvious, as you can see in the two photos where I’m wearing the sweater, you wouldn’t have noticed it.


Below is what it looks like after both sleeves are tubes.  The front body is another rectangle, identical to the back rectangle.  You work it in the same way, I would suggest starting at the waist and working up like you did the first piece, joining on the right side edge as you do the last motif of every row, then joining the whole rectangle to the front of the arm piece when you do the top outer chain of the last row. Leave the left edge undone and unattached to work last, and join at that left edge after you’ve joined the rectangle to the front of the arm piece at the tops of the last row, (row 8 on mine).  This is the simplest way to do it.  (Not what I did!  I attached the yarn at the armpit and tried to work downward, attaching to the arm piece first. It worked, but something about the joining was confusing and I had to cut and restart on the opposite side, so doing it the way you did the first piece in all the same directions and just attaching the two with the top edge of the last row of motifs, then the left edge, is probably the easier way to go.  Once again, your last yarn tail will be where your first starting tail was, so only one more tail to work it.


Whew!  I think it’s harder to explain than it is to do!  If you stuck with this post this far, bless you for your infinite patience, and may your projects all come out lovely!


Books on seamless / continuous crochet that have this motif in them:

Continuous Crochet Motif 60. Nihon Vogue-Sha. 2009.  ISBN-10: 9866817466.  The motif I used on this sweater is design No. 6, page 13.  This book also has a drawing showing how to construct a sweater in a little different way on pg. 77.

Seamless Crochet. Kristin Omdahl. 2011.  Interweave Press LLC, Loveland, CO. ISBN 978-1-59668-297-9.  The motif I used on this sweater is in this book too, called Lace Flower motif, pg. 60.



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It is very easy to design a bolero or shrug with either crochet or knitting.  The drawing below shows you just two ways a shrug or bolero can be made.  As shown in the top drawing, you can work across the body, starting at the end of one sleeve, increasing to make the body a little bigger, then decreasing to do the other sleeve.  Then seam the sleeves where the stars show.  And of course you can also work upwards instead, adding increases to add the sleeves, or downward, using decreases to remove sleeves.  Your choice.

Or as the bottom drawing shows, you can just make a rectangle, working upwards (or sideways), and seam the sleeves where the stars show.  You can decorate it by adding ribbing or a crochet trim to the top and bottom edges.  (My drawings are always a little crooked, but you get the idea.)

ShrugHowToBoleroHow to measure yourself (for knitting):  You need to measure across the back of your shoulders, then add to that measurement about 4 inches (10 cm.) to each end for short sleeves (or whatever number inches you want for any other length of sleeves, just add it twice for 2 arms.)  For long sleeves, measure your arms.   For the bottom drawing – example, 18″ body + 4″ sleeve + 4″ sleeve = 26″, so make it 26″ wide for a short sleeve shrug.  (You will need to know your gauge if you are knitting so you will know how many stitches to an inch.  See this post for gauge, inches and knitting calculations)

For the height, measure around your upper arms.  This is the height you want to make the sleeve part (or the whole thing if you’re making a rectangle).   You can add a couple of inches if you want a looser sleeve.

For crochet getting measurements is easy, you just chain until it’s wide enough, holding it up to yourself (no stretching).


The shrug above is the shape of the top drawing, made with arms and a body.  I started at the bottom / back with the star pattern (in blue), but since it is one of those that is alternate, I didn’t use stars the whole way.  (By alternate I mean not one motif above the other so it makes an even edge, but each motif over the space between the motifs so the edge is uneven.)   Since I wanted short sleeves, I did the second row with two end motifs that stuck out farther than the body.  I then did some arch mesh type stitches (just chains connected with single crochets here and there) across the top to even out the edge.  Then I switched to triangle mesh stitch (in purple, references below).

When you don’t have a pattern, and you switch from doing one thing to doing a very different thing, you never really know how many stitches to pick up as you go. So, I just added triangle mesh stitch from one end to the other. I knew it would be wide enough that way, but chances were also good that it would be too wide to exactly match the blue part.

It was, and this picture shows what I did about it. I had two choices, 1. I could have seen how it went, counted how many triangle mesh repeats would have made it perfect, then ripped back and done it right.  Or 2., (what I usually do), I made it work out as I went.  I had too much fabric forming after the change to the new stitch, so I pulled it together in a bunch – pulling a loop through, connecting several places on the row I was working, and pulling them tight. I did this once, then again on the next row in the same spot when I decided it was still ruffling out too much.  If you do this in the middle, it looks like you meant to do that!  Often button-down-the-front-shirts have that gathered place in the back to give you moving room, it just resembles something like that.  here you can see that pulling the purple top row stitches inward makes it into a butterfly shape. CrochetShrug1ChangingPattern

I then worked up until it was the height I needed, and ready to fold over and seam.  Here’s what it looks like at that point.  I also added the purple shell trim for the bottom edge at the back.  I waited to do the shells at the neckline, I did this as I seamed so that I wouldn’t have to cut the yarn and have more ends.


Below shows you how to fold to make it a shrug.  I made a seam across under one arm, then I crocheted the shell border across the top for the neckline, then seamed under the other arm.  CrochetShrug1Seaming


Above, the finished shrug looks like this.



This one is done in zigzag crochet, and used up lots of leftover yarn from other projects (yay!).  My cousins taught me this stitch, but something similar is in one of my books too so I can give it a reference below (they call it chevron stitch).  The zigzag made a nice shape for the neckline, so I didn’t bother with a border on this one.   It is very simple, almost just a rectangle.  I left a little bit of a “body” area for the bottom back, the two shorter rows you see at the bottom.


Then I rolled it over and seamed for under the arms as shown above.  This one had very short sleeves, so that is only 2 inches or so at the edges.


I’m not sure I like how the shorter body rows came out, I feel it makes the back a bit baggy.  I may just do shrugs as rectangles without them from now on.   I will see for sure soon though.  I’m working on a knitted shrug with Lionbrand Homespun, and that one will be just a rectangle.  I will come back later when that is done and add a photo of it as an update to this post, (to try to keep most of the shrugs together).


The knit shrug, simply a rectangle, which used up all the rest of my Lionbrand Homespun yarn.  This one came out with more of a casual look, like a fuzzy t-shirt.

I did ribbing (1k, 1p) for the bottom 3 or 4 rows in brown, then switched to stockinette with 4 rows of garter on each edge to help the sleeves to not curl.  I did this half and half colors as an experiment to see how that would come out -if it would make it so I could wear it one way or the other and have it look different on the front.  Then ended with the same, 3-4 rows of brown in k1, p1 ribbing, and seamed the sleeves as shown in the shrug drawing above.

KnittingShrugRectanglePreSeamMore detail on calculations:  I measured shoulder seam to shoulder seam across my back, then added 6″ for each sleeve, and did a small swatch in this yarn and needles to calculate how many to cast on.  I found something unexpected, the seaming caused the sleeves to pull inward (not sure why, I think I did it evenly, so I wound up with 5.5″ of each seamed area instead of 6″ for each sleeve.  (The swatch gauge was size 10 1/2 needles and 2 inches =5 st. with this yarn (so call it 2.5 st. =1 inch).  I made the body 15 inches, +6 inches for each sleeve = 27 inches wide.   To figure out how many cast on stitches I needed,  I wanted 27 inches x 2.5 (stitches per inch) =67.5 st.   So I cast on 68.

The top 2 pictures show it with the beige side facing front, the bottom 2 show it with the purple side facing front.  You can see that it got wider sleeves by doing a rectangle shape than you do if you made it like the top 2 shrugs.  It has more of a t-shirt look with short sleeves.  I was unhappy with the baggy back flap on the shrugs above.  This one doesn’t have a baggy back, but seaming a rectangle does give you bagginess under the arms.  (I haven’t decided yet which I prefer.)

It does keep you warm, I can see myself bringing this around with me in the summer, where many places have the air conditioning way too cold for comfort in sleeveless shirts.




Good news!  You can get pieces of the book I’m citing for free on google!  Link here, (or search for the book on google and you’ll find it).  Unfortunately you can only see the shell edging of the stuff I’m citing.

Chart for the triangle mesh stitch: The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. pg. 92 (not online).

Chart for the stars in blue:  Continuous Crochet Motif 60. Nihon Vogue-Sha. 2009.  ISBN-10: 9866817466.  Design No. 17, pg. 24.  (This book is in Chinese, I only follow the drawings.) (Often available on amazon in both Chinese or Japanese)

Arch mesh stitch: The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. Pg. 87. (not online)

Shell EdgingThe Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. Pg. 126. (online)

Zigzag stitch:  Mine was taught to me by my cousins, and is repeats of 7 double crochet, chain 2, 7 dc, 3 dc in one spot, repeat.  To see a chart that is similar for more details, this book has one called “chevron stripes” that is about the same thing: The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. 71, pg. 185. (not online)

Yarn: Top crochet shrug, purple is Red Heart Shimmer in “Purple”, blue is Red Heart Shimmer in Turquoise; bottom crochet shrug, sorry I don’t know!  These were all odd balls of yarn left over from other projects with no labels.  They are all the width of “sock yarn”, some of which had written on it “fingering weight”.  Knit shrug, all lionbrand Homespun.  I lost a couple of the labels, not sure about the brown but it might be “Prairie”.  The purple is “Gothic” and the beige is probably “Rococo”.

Hooks: Both done on size G (6, 41/4mm.).  Needles:  size 10 1/2

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This post is a continuation of Continuous Crochet Part 1, which you can find here.

In the last post, I explained my first attempt at a crochet tank top using the continuous crochet method, (meaning the method where you use motifs, but they are all connected to each other as you go instead of having to attach them all together at the end – eliminating seams and lots of loose ends).  I explained the troubles I ran into, and what I did to fix them.  This time, I used what I learned the time before, and chose a chart that would make it easier.  (By that I mean one that has motifs all in one flat row, no staggering.)  Here’s what I got:


You don’t need a chart, you can just do granny squares or anything else you make up, but I used one from the book in the reference below.   It is really a lot easier to start doing this method using charts, then try to make up your own motifs after you understand how they are worked together and you have had some practice.  It can be confusing in the beginning.

So, this is really quite difficult to explain, especially without violating a copyright and just showing a chart from the book, which would help it all make so much more sense.  So, if you can, get your hands on a chart.  Before starting to make a shirt just like mine, be sure to read the note below on the neck hole, this part of this design should be checked before starting.

The motif:  Essentially, you start with a long chain (on charts, the beginning chain is usually shown in blue), work your way up it as you make each row of your motif, then use the outer edge of the motif to connect it to surrounding motifs.  Row:  You leave the top edge off of every motif so you can work that at the end, getting your yarn back to the beginning of the next row, and you leave the left edge off to work after you’ve completed all of the rows, getting your yarn back to where you started.  Maybe this very undetailed drawing will help:


Making the body:  Each black circle is a motif.  Blue shows the long starting chain of each motif, it connects from the motif before it.  You make a long row of motifs, but you leave the outer edge off of them on the top, and on the left edge.  Red shows where you complete the outer edge, bringing your yarn back over the top to the beginning to start with blue again and do the next row.  You work the tops, but you still leave the left edge off so you can work that downward to finish it.  See the drawing below, and you see a purple arrow pointing downward.  That shows where you work the last left edge and get back to where you started.

This is how I started this tank top – the above drawing shows how I made the body of it from the armpits to the waist.  It is one flat piece, all motifs worked to the right, then return to the left doing the tops, then work the next row to the right. 10 motifs long, and 4 motifs high.  I knew to make it that size by holding it up to myself as I went.  The number you choose doesn’t matter, whatever fits you, but It is important to use an even number of motifs across, and plan where you want the arms and shoulder pieces to go. (You will need the same number of motifs under each arm, that is why even is important.)

I wanted one motif under each arm, so I knew I would be working a front and back piece separately that was 4 motifs each.

Once I had the 4 rows of 10, I joined them together using the outer edge (follow the purple arrow).  You just join them in the same way the motifs joined together on the flat part, this makes the tube for the body.  (I tried working in the round at the beginning, but I wasn’t ending up in the right place and there was too much backtracking.)  If your tube is too small, now is when you can make another row (or 2, to keep it an even number), on one end, going back and forth.   After joining them into a tube, you will need to make the back and front pieces above the armpit level.   I chose to keep going without cutting the thread.  This means what was the bottom before is now the top, the work is flipped upside down, and you keep working upward as if you always worked that way.  (So it may help to print this drawing out if you’re using it to follow because at this point you flip the drawing upside down too – everything on the shirt is still worked the same way as before.)

Work the front and back motifs back and forth in rows like before.  (I chose to keep the front and back connected as one piece instead of making a front and back separately and joining at the shoulders.  This kept me from cutting the yarn.)  The middle of the front/back piece, (indicated by green Xs), is where the neck hole goes, so don’t connect the motifs to each other here so that you leave a hole.  I realized late that this design gave me a very small neck hole, which worked out, but was a close call!  It is important to know if your head will fit through this hole, this should be checked …ideally before starting… but if not, be open minded to changing your design later.  If you don’t leave a big enough hole, you won’t be able to wear this thing at all.  When you’re working on the body, you’ve got some finished motifs there, see if you hold 2 of them together if your head fits through.  If your head doesn’t fit, design yourself another type of neck opening, or don’t connect between the sides of the 2 top middle motifs on the front piece to leave an opening to which you can later attach a button or other closure if you choose.

After making the last row of the back piece, when returning on the outer top edge, connect it as you go to the motifs on the body of the tank where it should meet to seal it up into a shirt shape.  If you didn’t ever run out of yarn, you didn’t need to cut it once during this project.  No messy ends!



Book reference: Continuous Crochet Motif 60. Nihon Vogue-Sha. 2009.  ISBN-10: 9866817466.  Design No. 3, page 10.

Yarn:  Phildar YSATIS, 427 (500 427 006)

Hook: G or 6 or 4 1/4 mm.

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This was my first project trying to wing it with continuous /seamless crochet motifs.  My tank top has a LOT of problems, but they were easy repairs, and at least I’ll know better for next time.  I’ll tell you all of the problems I had in case it helps someone else’s first project come out a little better.

CrochetContinuousMotifTankFrontHere is the front, this is the finished product, after most of the repair.  (There is one forgotten unconnected loop sticking out near the middle, but I’ve since tied that to an adjacent loop and that is fixed now too.)

Main Problem:  There is a great need for planning.  I just learned how to do continuous crochet (meaning making the motifs connected together as you go so you don’t seam any of them together).  So, I hadn’t wrapped my brain around all of this that thoroughly and I just had the most general of plans.  My plan was this:

CrochetTankTopMotifsI was going to make a tank top in this shape, with long straps only on one side which I’d attach at the back instead of making 4 identical straps to join at the tops of the shoulders.  I thought that might help avoid a potentially bumpy over-shoulder seam.  The width is long enough to wrap around the body and seam together under one arm.  (This seam is pretty obvious, it is the stripe of big holes under the arm in the top photo – lack of planning.  I’ll get back to that seam later.)  The same lack of planning caused other worse problems, such as those you see below.

CrochetMotifConitnuousTankBackThis has since been fixed, but this was how it looked.  The back neckline is crooked, where you have a high motif and a low one, and another motif is folding over under the right arm because it is also a high one.  This project would have been easy if my motifs lined up in a straight line, such as if you do granny squares and attach them together corner to corner.  You can keep connecting them and get a bigger square or rectangle with even sides.  If they had been the kind of motif that lined up evenly, the neckline and hemline would have automatically come out even, in a straight line.  Easy peasy!


In the chart of motifs I chose, one row of motifs nestles into the spaces between the motifs on each adjacent row (rows really meaning columns as they are worked vertically).  This makes for an uneven bottom, which was fine as it was decorative,  and an uneven top, which was less fine.  You have high columns and low columns alternating. (Excuse my bad art, but you get the idea.)

HexagonsSuch an organization of motifs can work, but it requires either some fudging at the end like I did, or more planning.  If you plan in advance, and draw out your design, you will see how many rows you need between the shoulder strap-having rows, and whether they end up tall or short.

Things you can do:

1.  Modify the number of rows as described in 2 pics below.   2.  Plan to do half-motifs to fill in the gaps (this is what I did to fix necklines after the fact, but if you plan for them, you can work them in as you go in the first place leaving no need for repair).    3. You can decide to work in another direction.  This top is worked vertically up and down, going across makes a straighter edge, but you may get the top portions of your motifs folding over at the necklines.  You may have to swatch a few to see if this is a problem for you.

About #1:  I needed only 2 rows between the straps  using a size H hook and the yarn I chose.  In other words, I had this (2 rows of motifs between the straps = uneven neckline):


If I had drawn it out and seen that, I could have planned for this instead (3 rows between the straps, giving 2 higher close to the straps and a lower one in the middle, making a reasonable looking design).  To make that happen I could have used a smaller hook, or thinner yarn to make the top come out the same size.


About #2:  If you have your heart set on a certain yarn and hook, you can plan to do half motifs instead to fill in any gaps.  If you put some thinking into it, you can figure out how to do a half motif and work it into your design seamlessly, doing it much the same way as the rest of the motifs on your chart.  This is how I wound up repairing the top edge – adding half-motifs after the fact.   After the fact means I had to work extra ends in.

About that holey side seam – again, lack of planning.  If I had drawn out what this design would look like, given the number of rows I was making between the straps and under the arms, I would have seen this row clash where the side seam was going to go.  It was a low column and a low column…. (More bad art, but you get the idea):


…instead of this (a high and a low column next to each other, meshing together like they did for the rest of the tank top):


To make them mesh, it would have required adding a row, or removing a row.  This can mean changing hook or yarn size, or it can mean adding rows and making a tank top with a little more give.  You can see if this can work by drawing all of this out and planning in advance.  You don’t need to be a major artist, just drawing rough circles in the place where they’d be will let you see how it will come out.  You will probably need to swatch or at least just make the first row so you can get an idea of how many motifs you’ll need to draw where.

About seamless crochet for anyone who may not already know it:  If you aren’t familiar with this technique, so far all of the seamless crochet I’ve seen consists of making a long chain, then working upwards on it to complete one motif, then moving on to the next motif by making a long chain, leaving off much of the outer edge on all.  Once you have a row of motifs, you then work back up the row doing the outer edge on the top halves where you left it off.  You still leave some outer edge off of the beginning motif because when the whole shirt is done, you will work that last edge of all of the rows as one.  For my tank top, each row is worked upward, then down, (vertically), and the last outer edge was the bottom hem at the hip.

Charts are very helpful because they show you exactly how much to work on each motif and when, which gets it to come out looking good.

CrochetConinuousMotifBookI used the above yarn and followed a chart from this book, putting my motifs into a tank top shape.  I do not speak Chinese, but you only need to follow the pictures.  In the handful of continuous crochet charts I’ve seen, the starting chain is always in blue, you do black next, then do dark pink last.   Some charts use purple for the very last finishing outer edge (though not in this book, both are dark pink.)  You can usually find this book in Chinese or Japanese on Amazon by searching for continuous crochet, and you can of course also find books in English.

For more on continuous crochet, see part 2 here, where I make a different style of tank top.

Book reference: Continuous Crochet Motif 60. Nihon Vogue-Sha. 2009.  ISBN-10: 9866817466.  I used design #2 for this tank top, pg. 9.

Yarn: Red Heart Shimmer in “Purple”. Art E763, Col 1536.

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Here I have a tunisian crochet entrelac purse.  There are patterns for this out there, but you can also just wing it.


I got my instructions on how to do “first triangles”,  “end triangles”, top and bottom ones, and squares from this book – reference at the bottom of this post.  (There is also a pattern for a tunisian entrelac bag in here, but for this bag I just put squares and triangles where I thought they should go and put this together as shown below.)  You can also search on the web for how to do entrelac tunisian, I believe there are youtube videos on it out there, but I haven’t watched them.  I wanted this book because it offers “how to”  for many different types of tunisian stitches, and it taught me the tunisian entrelac.


Construction of the entrelac bag was much easier than making the inner fabric bag, and the photo below is pretty much all there is to it.  Tunisian is always worked with the right side facing you, so you just do first triangles, middle squares, then last triangles, then once you’re done, fill in the top and bottom triangles to get your square or rectangle.  Voilà, you’ve got the front of a purse.  Then just make the back side to match in size.  For this purse, I did the sides and bottom in one long strip to wrap around and seam to the front and back pieces.  For this side strip, I just did a first triangle, then a last triangle, then a middle square between them, and repeated until it was long enough.

For the handle, I just did 8 simple tunisian stitches, attached at one side of the purse, then after 3 rows decreased to 7 and worked until it was long enough.  Then I increased back to 8 for the last 3 rows and attached to the other side of the purse.  The increasing and decreasing was just by choice, you can of course make it straight, or do as you wish with it.  Tunisian curls inward, so this naturally becomes a rounded strap as shown in the first photo.


Everything below this point is how to do the sewing for the inner cloth sack.  If you already know how to whip up a zipper bag, congrats!  You’re free!  Free like the birdies!  You just sew your cloth sack to the inside of your entrelac sack close to the zipper, and you’ve got a new purse.

Having a cloth interior will ensure that your stuff doesn’t fall out through the looser stitches of knitting or crochet.  (This is less likely through the tight stitches of tunisian, but you could still lose things like hairpins and pencils which can jab their way out.)

To make the cloth sack with a zipper, you can cut 2 pieces of cloth in a rectangle, or whatever shape you want your purse.  Cut them one on top of the other so they are the same size, and slightly bigger than the size you will want for the inside of your knit or crochet purse. (You will lose a little when you fold up the sides to seam them.)

Lay the fabric rectangles side by side with the zipper face up in the middle, oriented so that this will be the top of your purse.   Leave a little extra fabric at both ends of the zipper.   Fold the fabric edge in to be sewn under the edge of the zipper to seal it in.  It may help to pin it in place.  Wherever the inside of the zipper is will be the inside of your purse, so think about whether you want your seams inside your purse where you see them, or whether you want them between the cloth and crochet bags where no one sees them.  Think about which side of the fabric you want where, you might want the right side of your fabric to be on the inside of the bag so you see the pretty side when you look in your purse. (If so, when you set it up like the drawing below, the wrong side of the fabric should be up when zipper is right side up.)


Not what I did of course, I tend to sew things together backwards, even though I know I do that and try to watch out for it, and I did indeed do that again on this purse.  I wonder what’s wrong with me sometimes.  (Then I forget about it and go do something else.)  Here is what I will see when I look inside my purse.  I got my fabric inside out and my seams where I will see them.  I also didn’t have fabric big enough so I sewed a bunch of scrap squares together to make fabric, thus I have a whole boatload of seams to look at.


So your bag at this point should look like this drawing below from the inside (this would be the back of the zipper).  If you have plenty of fabric above and below the zipper, sew the pieces together where the red arrows show to seal up this side of the bag.


If you didn’t leave enough fabric on the ends of your zipper, you can do what is shown below.  Cut 2 more pieces of fabric and place them over the ends of the zipper, all edges folded under, and sew them on.  If your zipper really goes right to the end, you may want to cover the zipper a little with it and sew it across the zipper itself, that way you aren’t pulling the zipper off the end when you open the purse.  Hitting the zipper broke my sewing machine needle, as I did mine that way, so have some spare needles around.  (This was an idea that didn’t work out, I made the zipper go to the end because I didn’t want closed off space at the opening of my bag, I wanted all access.)


My kitteh won’t let me pose objects.  Awww.

You can see where I sewed over the end of the zipper on the inside of the bag here with white stitching, as my zipper went right to the end.

TunisianCrochetPurseInnerSackAfter that, you can just seam around the edges of the bag, (thinking about what side you want your seams to be on when you look in the purse), or you can make a side edge to add thickness to the purse as I did with the entrelac bag.  I just added a long cloth strip between the front and back to make sides and a bottom.

Now, if you want inner pockets, you can add some.  Cut a piece of cloth bigger than you want the pocket,  fold under and hem the top edge like shown.



Turn the bag so the zipper is inside out, and attach the bottom of the pocket where you will want it (to only one side. Be sure you are not about to sew the bag to itself on the back where you can’t see.).  Pin the bottom in place with the edges folded in like so and sew the bottom on.


Now fold the sides of the pocket under and sew them under with the same stitching as you use to sew the sides of the pocket to the bag.  I did some extra back and forth stitching at the tops of the pockets and ran off of the top a little so they wouldn’t pull loose if I put heavier objects in them.


Now you have open pockets on the inside.   Once your cloth bag is done, just sew it inside the entrelac bag close to the zipper, and you’ve got the finished bag.  You can use the sewing machine to sew right over the yarn, you just have to keep an eye on the foot to make sure the yarn isn’t catching on it.  You may have to lift it to release it on occasion, but it works fairly easily.


Book reference:  The New Tunisian Crochet, contemporary designs from time-honored traditions.  Dora Ohrenstein.  Interweave Press LLC, Loveland, CO, USA. 2012.

General tunisian entrelac instructions are on pg. 39.

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