Crochet Question & Answer Session - November 2008

I am going to create this post for crochet questions that you may have. I know I have learned a lot in the past, and still do, from people asking questions. You can still post questions on any other blog that you would like to. Questions don't have to be related to the project. I will do my best to answer and anyone else that has an answer is more than welcome to post a comment. Comments are open to everyone now. You do not need to have a blogger account and you can post anonymously.

For those of you familiar with html, you are welcome to post a link to your sites, pictures, wip, reference material etc. This is how you post links in the comment section on blogger. The web address goes between the quotations where it says "link_of_site". You put the name of the site where it says NAME OF SITE.


  1. What are the best techniques for connecting crocheted pieces so that they lay flat instead of developing a ridge?

  2. alisaterry,
    What do you mean by developing a ridge? If the piece is pulling up, that would indicate there are not enough stitches in the connecting round so you may need to add more stitches, making the outer round fuller so it will lay down. If you are slip stitching the squares together or slip stitching at the top of a double crochet or half double crochet, there will always be a ridge on the backside. That is why I prefer sewing squares together.

  3. Teresa,

    While I am a beginner/intermediate crocheter, I would love to know your pattern design process. Do you start with a diagram or a picture of something you want to create? Whenever I see a pattern for a creation, I immediately start thinking of other things I could make, but am not sure how to draw out the stitches to make my design. I am sure it takes a lot of practice. Any insight is helpful!

  4. Ha! I'm full of questions-- I know a while back you posted a yarn calculator. Could you explain more how to use it? I find that when working on a project, I don't have enough yarn or use 1/4 of a new ball. What's the best way to measure what you have left? Should I measure what's remaining by inches or weigh the remaining yarn to see what I can make from the remnants? Also -- I would love see a post on how you and others use scrap yarn. --Thanks!

  5. Valencia,
    I will have an idea of something that I want to crochet. A lot of my ideas come from taking a walk. They can come from something that someone has requested to my experimenting. I feel that any object can be turned into crochet, a tree, car, computer monitor, skillet, soda can etc. I will use a hat as an example since there are thousands of combination's of hats that can be crocheted. All I do is embellish from the basic idea of a crochet circle. If I can work them through the pattern in my head, then I can most likely crochet it. Not all of them work. Once I have crocheted it in my head, I will get my yarn and hook and start fine tuning the instructions with yarn and on paper. Sometimes I will draw something out but not very often. I do wind up with a lot of chicken scratch on my rough draft patterns. Prior to the Internet revolution, I would create patterns and never write them down but I would remember them. The baby booty pattern is a good example since I made those booties for my kids. I only wrote it down when I wrote the pattern on my blog. It is important to have a good understanding of increase and decrease. You want be able to increase and decrease the unusual pattern stitches so you can work with more stitches than the basic stitches.

  6. Valencia,
    Some skeins of yarn will have different weights so it will calculate grams to ounces and ounces to grams. It will also help you determine how many skeins of yarn you will need. Some patterns will tell you how many skeins of yarn or how many ounces of yarn you need for the pattern. I have never been that exact to measure or weigh scrap yarn or any yarn. I always buy extra yarn because I know I will use it. Once I purchase my yarn and finish my project, it has served its purpose and goes into the scrap yarn bin. There are dye lots with the yarn so the chances are great that the yarn will not match another skein of yarn. I have a lot of projects posted here that are ideal for scrap yarn and will do a blog with suggestions.

  7. Teresa -- thanks for the information. I guess the more I crochet the better I will get with being creative. Just last night I finished a scarf with ruffles that I wanted to only use 1 skein of yarn. I had just a tiny bit of yarn left. I'll make a curlie-cue out of that! I love to crochet!!! I don't think I've gone more than a day without working on something. Ok -- I'll stop gushing now...

  8. Wheee! My turn to gush! But my question first...

    they split the pattern into 2 parts and my eyes just glaze over when they start w/the 2nd part, "with right side facing...etc.,etc.,"

    Am i starting the second half on the first half's head, so to speak?

    Ok- back to gushing- Yay! Yay! I went from ZERO (ok, I could make a chain)to Amigurumi in less than a month! Thank you!!!

  9. Angelica,
    What right side means is a side that the stitches are all the same. When you work crochet rounds with a hat, all the stitches will be on one side. If you think of an article of clothing, you have a right side and wrong side where the seams are at. When working in rows, both sides will be the same so it cancels out a right side. It looks like they want you to join on the same front side as the first row of stitches. It looks as though there will be a seam down the center of the shawl.
    I looked at the pattern and side two looks like it is supposed to be identical to side one. I just don't see why you can continue with side one for your length. I am wondering if that is what the person who commented on the pattern is talking about. She continued making it for 72".

  10. Teresa,
    I'm a beginner working on a shell afghan. When I chain 3 at the end of a row, as part of a half-shell, I'm not sure where to do the 2 dc after I turn. I tried to use the stitch at the base of the 3-chain, but that doesn't want to work. So after I turn I look for the center of the first shell, skip the 2 stitches to the right of center and do the 2 dc in the 3rd stitch. Seems to work, but is that right? I tried to figure it out by watching your scarf video, but can't quite make it out.
    Also, I'm changing colors every 8 rows. Could use your help with how to do that properly. Many thanks! Love your work! and videos! and...well everything!

  11. Hello Teresa! I just want to say that this Q&A is wonderful! Just reading other's questions is helpful! You really do inspire me to always be working on some piece of crochet work! Thanks! ♥Mannie

  12. LOL!
    As usual, T, you are simplifying my crochet world.
    Thanks bunches!

  13. Hi Teresa, I still haven't forgotten that am supposed to send u snaps with ur cute little hats, but just could not hold back from msging here when I saw this Q&A session.I am also too full of questions all the time, and you also would have realised that ! This sure is going to be a good learning process for alI crochet-lovers out there.
    I have a question on increasing stitches. I realised its actual purpose only when I started doing this baby beanie cap which you had posted way back on ur blog. Till then, I just have been blindly following pattern instructions. The cap didn't turn out be for my toddler's head but was much smaller. After all the reading from your site, I understand that it depends on the hook, yarn and tension of work. But suppose I want to continue with the yarn I have, am I correct in understanding that the more I increase rounds in the initial stage before continual rounds, the cap can still be made to fit my kid's head ? & I'm not sure if I have observed it correctly, does the pattern remain flat when we keep increasing stitches and only when we start the continual rounds, the hat begins to take the actual shape? If yes, in what pattern should I increase the stitches? Is there any calculation for that ? I thought that if there is a basic understanding of inc & dec, it maybe much easier to crochet hats and caps....I seem to always go wrong in hats and caps...and since you love making hats, you sure would have a good grasp on this. If I have overlooked any tutorial of yours on this topic, pls do send me the link. Thanks.

  14. Hi Teresa, may I know where can I get the pattern for the pineapple doily you made for the October giveaway?

    Thanks very much.

  15. Oh, one more thing,
    Can you do another 'where to place my hook' tutorial for a picot stitch?

    Thanks again!

  16. Barb,
    Thank you. When you chain 3 with the half shell, you are doing this from a single crochet. You will crochet your 2 remaining stitches in the single crochet, which is at the top center of of the previous half shell. The single crochet will go in the 3 stitch over. I have posted symbol instructionsShell Scarf that might help you see where the stitches go.

    When you change colors, you join your new color in the top of the ending stitch, with a slip stitch. You will do you appropriate amount of chains and continue on with the pattern.

  17. Mannie Vincent,
    Thank you, I do appreciate your comments.

  18. Melisa Sriwulandari,
    I am not sure what magazine the pattern came out of. It would have been an old issue of Magic Crochet or Decorative Crochet.

    I will put the hook/stitch placement for picot on my "to do" list.

  19. Vidya,
    Think of a pattern as just a guide. You can alter the pattern and should alter it so it works for you. When you follow a recipe, you may add nuts to a recipe that calls for raisins. Maybe you double your recipe in size. The process for making a crochet pattern larger or smaller is no different than following a recipe. With a recipe, you have a basic understanding of measurements to make the recipe larger or smaller. With crochet, you have a basic understanding of increases to make a hat larger or smaller.

    You can do increases while you are doing your continual round as long as you are using a yarn marker. The yarn marker will give you an idea where the beginning of your round is at so you know when you are done increasing and where you will need to increase again.

    I have hat patterns that are flat and more rounded. The flatter top caps have increases every other round. For instance round 4 may be an increase round with 12 stitches so round 5 will be 12 stitches. It is placing stitches evenly around so it will lay flat. It may be a little different for each person so you may need to modify the basic pattern with more or less increases. There is not formula, just a basic understanding of increasing and decreasing. There are a lot of tutorials that will be applicable to creating hats. Anything done in a round, that includes squares, can apply to making a hat.

  20. Teresa, I posted a question here yesterday but I don't see it so I will ask again...about yarn! I am not experienced with different types of yarn and is there something that would help? For example I am not even clear what 4-ply or worsted really means, and how to substitute one yarn for another in a pattern.

  21. Cynthia,
    It refers to a different size of yarn. I am listing just a few sizes. The label will have the size marked. There are so many different sizes that the best thing you can do is go to your local yarn store and read the labels to visually see what the difference is. You will learn the differences when you are working with it. 4-ply is just the standard size that I have used forever. On occasion I will used 3 ply or baby weight yarn. Baby weight is just a lighter weight yarn.
    4-Ply = Big
    3-ply = Medium
    2-ply = Small
    They create different sizes all the time that I can't keep up with all of them. They have some called chunky, 8-ply and medium 4-ply to name a few.

  22. hi, thanks for such a detailed explanation. now for sure, only practice will make me more comfortable with inc & dec. & yes, with the wonderful videos you are presenting everyday, it sure makes me want to learn more and more. not only are your videos so detailed, but it also lets me explore the creativity within. Kudos to the effort you are putting in teaching crochet to thousands of us out her !

  23. Teresa,
    You were God sent to me couple month ago when I found you on youtube.I always wanted to learn to crochet and you made my dream a reality. Huge thanks.I just finished dress for my baby girl.
    I hope link works. But if you could make some tutorial how to make sweater for kids with sleeves It would be greatly appreciated.

  24. I have a question about changing colors at the end of a row. I'm making a striped scarf. Should I use yarn bobbins or tie off at the ends, join with a slip stitch and work in the tails?

  25. Valencia,
    If you plan on putting an edging on your scarf, then you can carry your yarn. It will save you sewing in all the tails later. You could just use the skeins of yarn to switch between colors at the end of each row. The scarf will work up really fast so you would spend a lot of extra time winding yarn bobbins when it is not necessary. If you are using 3 colors or more with your scarf, you may want to cut at the ends and sew in the tails, that is up to you. Yarn bobbins are more for the detailed pictures, where you are changing colors several times in the same row.

  26. momtotwins,
    Thank you. Very nice job on the dress. I really like the ruffle you put on the arm cap.

  27. Hi there, I am a newbie to the world of crochet.

    I am having trouble with choosing the appropriate yarn for a project as well as the size of hook to use.

    I want to make your baby beanie however, the hook size is "F" - I see and F5 but no "F" - I prefer in mm as I live in Ontario, Canada.


  28. Thanks Teresa, the shell symbol instructions and your explanation are most helpful.
    I still don't have a handle on the color change. Is the old color "knotted off" so to speak, and then just start with the new one? Does "top of the ending stitch" mean just the front half of the crochet stitch?

    Which of your videos do you suggest I look at to see how you finish....where you pull that loop to finish it?

    Sorry for my lack knowledge about the correct lingo (and I'm really tired right now). Just wanted to get these questions out there in the hope you'll have a chance to respond by the time I resume working on my afghan tomorrow. It's color-changing time :)

    Thanks again - best to you,

  29. This may sound like a very dumb question.

    I have been told that you are to pull your yarn from the centre Inside) of the skein and not from the outside.

    Is there an "easy" way to find the end that is in the centre? I make such a mess pulling yarn from the middle of both ends, all in the hunt for that piece!!

    For me, it's easier to pull from the outside but it's not as "neat".


  30. I am looking for a pattern to crochet. I have seen "wristlets", "fingerless gloves", and "wrist warmers" in knit patterns, but can not find one in crochet. Any Idea's of where I could find such a pattern? Do you have a pattern perhaps?

  31. caz,
    F5 is the same as what I am using. Some of my hooks are 20-30 years old. Your size F5 will work.

  32. Barb,
    You just end the shell with a knot. I thought I included the ending with the shell but I realize I did not. It is the same as any other ending. You can look at the baby stripe beanie cap as a reference for ending. Each row in the beanie is ended as a new color is attached. I like to put the new color through both loops. I feel that makes it more secure. You can put it through one if you want to but I prefer both. The baby stripe beanie is a good example of changing color and adding color each row.

  33. caz,
    That is a very good question. You are able to pull the yarn from the center of the skein. Some are easier to find than other. What I do is look to see if I can find it easily. Sometimes I can, but most of the time I just wind up pulling a ball from the center of the skein. I just wrap it back up around the yarn so it will not get knots in it.

  34. Becki,
    I would suggest doing a google search to see what you can find. I am sorry but I don't have any. There are many yahoo crochet groups that share pattern links. If you are interested in searching that direction, I can let you know the names of them.

  35. Hi, My question is about starching. The sugar starch works well sometimes for me and other times not. The starching liquids too. I live in India. I dry my starched pieces in hot sun. So I am confused how to dry a starched piece when there is no hot sun :( ?
    What is the best method of starching Crochet pieces and drying them? especially white pieces?
    Radha, India

  36. Teresa,

    I have a stitch combination I would like to use to create a hat in rounds. The stitch combo is sc, dc alternating to the end of the row. Can I adapt this to a hat? How would I do the increases? Or would the hat have to be started with a chain and stitched up?
    thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

  37. Valencia,
    You are describing the seed stitch, which is the stitch I made one of the recent scarves with. You can increase with this stitch. You can do two (seed stitch)SC, DC combo's in the same stitch. This might make the top of the double crochet full and create a hole. If that happens and you don't like how it looks, the alternative is to increase in the previous single crochet. It is a pretty easy stitch to adapt to increasing. Write back if you need more help.

  38. Teresa,

    Thanks for the color change and "ending" info...will take a look at it tonight. New question: I'd like to crochet an olive to put in an oversize martini glass that I'm giving as a gift. Do you think one of your pumpkin patterns would work - or modified to work? Many thanks - Happy Thanksgiving.

  39. Barb,
    I believe modified would work pretty well. I would not do the ridges. I would crochet between each half double crochet to create a smooth texture. The single crochet will be fine crochet in the top of them. Less rows since olives are slimmer than pumpkins. You could do a red circle at the top, plumped up a bit for the pimento and you have your olive. You could even use a brown pipe cleaner for the stir stick. Take a picture and post a link when you are finished.

  40. Thanks for the modification tips...this will be fun!

  41. hi, ur writeup on ply yarns was very useful.

    this time, i have a question on hooks. the one which i use are numbered 5/0 and 6/0 on either ends. i'm a novice at crocheting... so dont really have much of a collection. but i wanted to know how significant they are in crocheting patterns. as you always say, its upto us to make the best combination work for us, but in general, what would your recommendation be for using this hook for patterns?

    i see that you mention hooks with alphabets in your writing patterns.i presume those are the ones u use on a regular basis. but is there any way that these alphabets and numbered hooks can be compared to one another, or are they independent on their own ?

    i think you had posted a writeup on hook numbers and alphabets but i am not sure in which of those months you had posted. please let me know where i can locate them.

  42. another question too soon. and i really feel stupid asking this but I thought if beginners to crochet see this session it might help them.

    what is worsted weight yarn ? i was doing some googling and came across this link as the first hit.

    it was mentioned that
    " The “weight” of yarn reflects how fine it is."

    say, i have this yarn which i newly purchased, and weight is mentioned as 40g, and after reading your tutorial on ply yarns, i could see 2 strands of yarn, which means its a 2-ply.

    so, is this the kind of yarn generally preferred for making sweaters or hats ? and does this yarn also mean worsted weight ?

    i really developed good interest in crochet only after i came across your site, and i want to have a good understanding like rest of your readers....i am not really keen on sticking to the rules but i believe that if foundation of concept is strong, i can improvise better...and i really look upon ur tutorials for my really sorry to bother you with such basic questions.....

  43. Teresa,

    The stitch pattern is sc in 1 stitch, dc in the next stitch. I tried working a sample by increasing in a separate sc. So it would be sc, dc, sc increase. It looks like it's sort of working -- just playing around. Any suggestions?

  44. Radha, India,
    I am going to do a tutorial on starching. After you saturate your piece in the starch solution, I lay it out on top of a mattress covered with an old thick towel. I pin it to make sure it is all even. I just let it air dry. In the summer I may point a fan over it to help speed up the drying process. Most of the time I just let it air dry naturally. It takes about a day to dry.

  45. Vidya,
    I have a Crochet Hook Conversion Chart. It shows the US sizes compared to metric sizes. There are still other size hooks that are close but different in size. If you are crocheting clothing, like a sweater, the size of the hook will matter. If you don't have the correct size hook, you will need to understand GAUGE so can crochet your piece to fit. Otherwise it will be to large or to small. If you are just doing granny squares or something simple like a bookmarker, then size of the hook will not make that much of a difference.

  46. Vidya,
    I posted a blog on yarn ply yesterday morning with picture examples of different types of worsted weight yarns. Worsted just means the twist in the yarn.

    Defining Ply of Yarn with Crocheting

    Your yarn looks like is has a looser twist. You can make a sweater out of any yarn that you would like. You just need a general idea on the sizes of yarn and that is what ply is about. There is always going to be varying degrees of twist, thickness and size like with my example of Caron and Red Heart. Both are 4-ply worsted weight but they work up different in size. You learn that as you work with different yarns.

  47. Valencia,
    It would be SC, DC, then SC, DC for the increase in the same stitch or the next single crochet. You can do the full seed stitch to increase.

  48. Thanks! Oh yeah -- I made the flat top beanie with reverse sc trim using multicolor yarn. It was for my neighbor and she absolutely loved it! I was so excited to give it to her, that I didn't get a picture. I'm making another so I'll be sure to send you a pic. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!

  49. Thanks for the idea, I did google it and you were right, had no idea that there were that many to choose from!! Lots of cute ones. if you get a chance, I would be interested in your favorite crochet groups to refer to. I really love your site and have been using your help quite a bit. I was looking for a crochet group to attend and learn, but there is not any in my area, so I just happened upon you and so glad I did! Thanks

  50. Becki,
    There are two that I like really well. They are small and you don't have to stay on the topic of crochet all the time. Both are very warm and friendly. You can let the group know what you are looking for and there is probably someone that will be able to share a link to what you need.



  51. Thanks so much Teresa, I will check them out.

  52. Thanks so much for the link on gauge as well. You just seemed to read my mind as I was thinking to ask you if I were not to use the specific hooks, how important would a gauge be. And well, I brushed thro' what you wrote and not fully read it. But as you had mentioned, gauge is something confusing to understand. Let me read that and get back to you if anything comes up in my mind. All these are just yardsticks for my learning. Now let me get on with the hooded scarf I mentioned to you abt earlier. Will send u the pics once done. Do give me ur inputs.

  53. Valencia,
    You are welcome. I would like to see a picture. ~~Teresa

  54. Hi Teresa, I have a question on "Guage" I am new to crochet...and I am having a hard time understanding how to make a guage swatch. The pattern I have says 5 sts X 4 rows=2" in hdc.
    So how do I start the swatch? Thanks, ~Becki

  55. Becki,
    What you are doing with the swatch is making a small version of your pattern stitch. If your pattern stitch is single crochet, you would make your swatch out of single crochet. If your pattern stitch is the shell stitch, you would make your swatch out of the shell stitch. You are making the swatch to get the measurement of the size of your stitches.

    The pattern you are doing requires 5 stitches to get 2". 4 rows will make 2". You just crochet a 4x4" square then measure your gauge. I have included a link on gauge.

    Crochet Gauge

  56. Okay, I am a bit confused by guage but I think I am getting it. This is probably a very stupid question, How do I start the guage? Like , how many chain stiches would I start with for the
    5 sts X 4rows = 2"hdc.
    does the 5 sts mean hdc's? and how many hdc's across would I try first? Thanks again~Becki

  57. Becki,
    A 4" swatch or larger is recommended so you pick the chain amount. With my crochet and tension, I can crochet a chain of 21 with a size H hook and get a 6 inch square. It is not necessary for you to crochet that wide of a square. You could chain about 14 chains which should give you an approximate 4". The swatch does not have to be exact or perfect. The 5 sts X 4rows = 2"hdc is the gauge measurement, that you will measure your swatch against. You will measure 5 stitches on your swatch to see what they measure. You will measure 4 rows on your swatch to see what they measure. If you wind up with a big difference in measurement from the suggested gauge, you will need to adjust. If your stitches and rows are 2" or pretty close, then you are going to be pretty accurate with the pattern gauge.

  58. Thanks so much for your patience with me. I get it now! I am a little slow. You are very helpful and I appreciate your explaining in detail. Thanks for the gauge site as well. I think I was trying to make gauge a hard thing to do but it really is NOT and just wish I did not need to take time to gauge, b/c I am anxious to get started on the project! :) I understand now the necesity of it and now off I go to make my swatch. Thanks again Teresa!

  59. Becki,
    You are welcome. That is what I am here for, to try to simplify the crochet terms and meanings.


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