Newbie Newsday ~ How To Get Rid Of Those Annoying Gaps In Your Work

Scroll to the bottom of the post to watch a video on this technique.

If you’ve ever worked any project in any stitch other than single crochet, you’ll know what gaps I’m talking about.

When you start each new row of a crochet project, you will perform a “turning chain”.

For example, if your project is in double crochet, the normal turning chain will be a chain 3. You make this turning chain so your row will have the proper starting height it needs to keep the entire row even. If you leave it out and just start double crocheting, your first stitch will be squashed down and not look the same as the rest.

However, that chain 3 isn’t actually worked into the first stitch, or any stitch for that matter. Instead, it sits just to the right of your first stitch. Then as normal crochet goes, you make your first double crochet in the stitch after (the 2nd stitch of the row) and you end up with this gap that results from the distance of the chain 3 to your first stitch.

My finger on the left is in one of these gaps, you can also see other gaps on the right of the work and two rows above my finger..
My finger on the left is in one of these gaps, you can also see other gaps on the right of the work and two rows above my finger.

One way some people eliminate this gap is to not count the chain 3 as your first stitch. and then go ahead and make the chain 3

They will CH 3 and double crochet in the first stitch of the row. But again, the result is not great. Now you get a bump every other row from the chain 3 being forced to stick out from the stitch that was made in the first stitch space.

You can see how the ends are very wavy looking. That is the chain 3 being forced out and creating a bump.
You can see how the ends are very wavy looking. That is the chain 3 being forced out and creating a bump.

There is a fix for both of these problems. This technique can be substituted whenever you want and for any stitch you want. The result will be a nice flat edge project with no gaps.

This technique can be substituted whenever you want and for any stitch you want (above a single crochet). The result will be a nice flat edge project with no gaps.

Look at my sides, no gaps and no waves!
Look at my sides, no gaps and no waves!

This technique is super simple and is the same for any stitch you use it for.

All you will simply do instead of making your normal turning chain, is make a super extended single chain. Let me show you.

Your first step in this technique is to take the loop on your hook and pull it out to the height of the stitch you are making. Don’t worry if it’s not the exact same height, somewhere in the ballpark will be good enough.

But, it is better to make it a little shorter than taller than the stitch you are making. This will keep it more hidden and less likely to stick out.

Pull the chain out for the normal height of whatever stitch you are working. This project is using double crochets.
Pull the chain out for the normal height of whatever stitch you are working. This project is using double crochets.

Next, secure this long loop by making a chain stitch at the top.

Just yarn over and pull through the loop to make your chain as usual.
Just yarn over and pull through the loop to make your chain as usual.

Now you have a skinny “turning chain” that will sit right next to the double crochet you will make in the first stitch.

You will make your first double crochet (or whatever stitch you are working) in the first stitch. No skipping.
You will make your first double crochet (or whatever stitch you are working) in the first stitch. No skipping.

Whether the project says that the turning chain counts as a stitch or not, when using this technique, you will make the skinny turning chain and a stitch in the first stitch you come to. That means you don’t count the skinny turning chain as a stitch. In other words, it will be ignored when counting stitches.

Here is the finished skinny turning chain and first double crochet shown together.
Here is the finished skinny turning chain and first double crochet shown together.

Now your project will have nice edges and no gaps!

Check out the video to see the technique in action.

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Newbie Newsday: Which Material Is Best For Crochet Hooks?

There are three main materials for crochet hooks: wood, plastic, and aluminum (or other type of metal).

Obviously, which you prefer will be subjective and me telling you that I love aluminum might not be the best choice for you.

There are some considerations to be made though that could help you on choosing a hook material depending on your skill level and yarn being used.

First Consideration

If you are new to crochet.

I would recommend wood or plastic to a newbie. Wood’s natural materials make it “sticky” to yarn. That is, when you are crocheting, the yarn will slide slower along your hook, which can help you keep from losing loops as you learn to crochet different stitches.

Plastic is the next “stickiest”, but will allow a little more movement than wood. However, plastic hooks are known to “squeak” when using certain types of yarn, so that might deter some.

Once you get your stitches down, I highly recommend aluminum hooks. They are the “fastest” hooks for any type of yarn (more on that in a second).

Second Consideration

The yarn you are using.

Any hook will be okay for more yarn you choose; however, some hooks will do better with certain types of yarns.

When crocheting with slippery yarn, like rayon, or some cotton, a wood hook can come in handy to keep your loops from slipping around and falling off.

Other yarns, like boucle (knubby yarn), can be much easier to work with on aluminum hooks.

My best advice is to get one of each hook, try them out, and see which you like best. We are lucky that hooks, for the most part, are not too expensive and afford us the opportunity to experiment.

What is your favorite type of hook? Let us know below.

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Newbie Newsday: Why Doesn’t My Crochet Hook Letter Match Yours?

I get this question from time to time.

The simple answer is hook manufacturers have different US letter (as in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world go by the metric measurement) designations for some of their hooks.

It’s hard to find out how and when this started, but my theory is that because we’ve never adopted the metric system here in the US, the manufacturers came up with the US letters to help us out back in the day.

Why Can’t I Just Get The Same Letter Hook As The Pattern Calls For?

Because it could affect your gauge.

For example, the 4mm could be labelled as either a US-F or a US-G, and a 10mm is either a US-N or US-P. And the reverse is true, a US-N could be a 9mm or a 10mm hook depending on the manufacturer.

If the pattern only gives the US letter hook size, you could potentially be off by one whole mm, which will greatly change your gauge (check out my video below to see more on gauge and hook size).

What Should I Do If The Pattern Only Lists The US Letter Size For The Hook?

Start with that hook, only a couple of hooks have the different mm size, most are the same. My favorite hooks:

The Clover Soft Touch have both letters printed on their hooks. Try to make gauge and go from there (again, see my video down below if you need help with gauge).

So Which Letter Should I Choose if A Pattern Only Has The mm Size Listed?

And the simple answer for that is: don’t worry about letter size. If you have a pattern calling for a hook that comes in multiple letters, stick with the mm size. That is the actual measurement of the hook head and not just the letter the company that made it decided to name it.

You will be much closer to what the designer used when making gauge when you first try to make gauge yourself.

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Newbie Newsday: What Is Frogging?

What is Frogging?

You might hear this from a veteran crocheter, “I didn’t get gauge, so I had to frog my project.”

Frogging:

The process of ripping out your crochet project when you find an error. It is called “frogging” because of the sound of saying “rip it, rip it, rip it” over and over.

Now you can throw that into your crochet vocabulary and sound like a pro!

Be sure to subscribe to learn more fun tips and tricks on Newbie Newsdays!

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Newbie Newsday: What Is Pattern Errata?

Tuesdays are the day for tips, tricks, and sometimes just fun. Read on for your first Newbie Newsday.

Pattern Errata:

list of errors and their corrections inserted, usually on a separate page or slip of paper when an error in a pattern is found. 

Why is it important?

Working from a pattern that has mistakes can be frustrating and time-consuming. Having to rip out your work when something is not working or not being able to even finish the pattern are just a couple of problems you might run into.

Usually, independent designers (such as myself) have the freedom of correcting errors as soon as they are discovered and can release an updated version. I personally also have a pattern errata page with the date the pattern has been updated so you will know if you have the latest version or not.

However, published books or magazines obviously are not able to do this. Because of this, finding out if there is pattern errata before beginning a project is a good idea.

When working from a book or magazine, go to the publisher’s website (find it on their masthead) and look for a link to pattern errata. Most if not all craft publishers will have this link. Check out your title and see if there is any errata and print it out before you begin so you don’t get frustrated with a project that is not working out correctly.

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