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Linda's Crafty Chronicles

Welcome to the April 2000 issue of my newsletter. I hope that no one has been blown away with the winds around the USA. I guess March went in like a lamb and out like a lion.

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Here are the articles for this months edition:

Interchanging yarn types
Deciding how much yarn to buy
Gauge
Designing a pattern and what makes it original
2 new patterns - 1 knit and 1 crochet
Next month

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Interchanging yarn types:

Basically there are 4 types of yarn: baby or fingering weight, sport weight, worsted weight(4 ply), and bulky weight. You probably have scraps of those you use most often in your needlework bag. Make a gauge swatch approximately 4" x 4" in both sc and dc with each weight of yarn , using several different size hooks. As you finish each square, note on paper the weight of yarn, brand name, the size of hook, the number of stitches per inch and number of rows per inch. Keep this as a part of you needlework library. As you add new yarns, you can add a page to your gauge book for each one. If you run across a pattern that calls for a G hook with a gauge of 4 sts = 1" and 8 rows = 1", all you need to do is check your chart to see which yarn and hook size gives you the correct gauge. Substitute what you used for your swatch for the yarn called for in the pattern The finished item should duplicate the correct size. You can do these same steps for your knitting needles also.

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Deciding how much yarn to buy:

Four ounce skeins are being replaced with 3 ounce or even 3 ounce skeins. Many of the newer imported yarns come in gram weights. All of this just adds to the confusion. A 40 gram ball = approximately 1.4 ounces and a 50 gram ball = about 13/4 ounces. However, merely converting to ounces is not always enough. For example, a 40 gram ball of one type contains 240 yards and a 40 gram ball of another has 130 yards. Here's where a little detective work comes into play. Look carefully at the photo of your project to determine a few things. Is the yarn smooth or fuzzy? Are the stitches loose and lacy or tight and solid looking? If it is a garment, is it loose or tight fitting? Next, check the hook or needle size recommended and the gauge. By putting these "clues" together you can figure out which of the four categories (see above article) of yarn you should use. If the pattern calls for one of the American made yarns in ounces (except novelty yarns), you can follow this general rule of thumb as to the number of yards per ounce by each of the categories:
Baby weight - 1 oz. = 170 - 175 yards
Sport weight - 1 oz. = 90 - 100 yards
Worsted weight or 4 ply - 1 oz. = 50 yards
Bulky weight - 1 oz = 30 - 35 yards
Multiply the number of ounces called for by the yardage above to determine the total number of yards needed. Once you have determined the number of yards yo need, divide that by the number of ounces in the actual skein you will be buying. Remember to do this for each color if the item uses more than one. As a safety precaution, purchase one extra skein so any errors in figuring yardage will be compensated for. This helps you keep in the same dye lot. Novelty yarns - mohair, angora, chenille, homespun, etc... may not work with this formula. Many companys have an interchange chart or swatch card. This will help in getting a rough estimate of the ounces of yarn you needin the categories used above. For example, with experience, you will learn that 6 oz. of baby yarn will complete most any 3-piece baby set, no matter how many grams of a totally unknown yarn are called for.

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Gauge

Always remember the hook or needle size called for in a pattern is only a suggestion - not an absolute rule. That is the size used by the person who made the pattern or item. You may crochet or knit looser or tighter than that person and you should use whatever size YOU need to obtain the proper gauge. Here is where your needlework swatch library come in hand. (See above article on interchanging yarn types). I tend to crochet to gauge, but knit one size looser that what is called for.

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Designing a pattern and what makes it original:

This is a real foggy area for most people. A design is considered an original if it is your work from start to finish. The combination of stitches, the style, the colors, and the choice of yarn must be your own. You can take a basic body style, in the case of a sweater, and combine it with the sleeve style from one pattern and the neckline of another using your own stitch pattern. You cannot merely change a color or type of yarn and call it an original. You also cannot change a solid color item into a striped one and call it our pattern. The best way is to start with something small. Potholders, dishcloths, ornaments, afghan squares are all good places to begin. Experiment with yarn. Hook size and stitch combinations until you like what you see. In the case of a small item, crochet or knit a completed one as a sample, making any changes needed as you go along. Then make a second, writing down step-by-step exactly what you are doing. Rewrite you instructions using standard abbreviations have a friend or yourself crochet another sample using the instructions you have written down. After you have created several different patterns, you will be able to eliminate the second copy and write as you go with the very first copy - correcting errors as they occur. If you made more than one copy of the item, use one for the photo and unravel the other and measure the yardage used.

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2 new patterns - 1 knit and 1 crochet:

I had a reader email me asking for knitting patterns too. I create 2 new patterns this month. One is a Knitted Toddler Hat/Helmet and the other is a Crocheted Easter Egg Coaster. My granddaughter gets ear infections easily and needs a hat that will stay on when the wind blows. This one covers the child's ears and has a chin strap with buttons. The coaster is a fast and easy item to make using scraps of worsted weight cotton yarn from your other projects so far. A great Easter Basket filler.

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Next month:

I'm not sue what to write about at this time. If anyone has any suggestions, please write in. If I don't know the answer, I will find a link to someone who does and post this in the newsletter. Suggestions can be sent to: smile@idsely.com

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Linda Bohrn
Linda's Lists
smile@idsely.com