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This post was made in collaboration with Emmaus UK

Every crafter loves a good challenge. When I was challenged to make some Christmas decor in support of the charity Emmaus, I couldn’t refuse. Who doesn’t love a good bit of craft in support of a good cause?

Hunting for treasures and imagining them in a new form is so much fun. It adds an all new spin to shopping and makes it all the more satisfying. At least in my books.

At the Emmaus superstore in Leeds, I picked up this old spurtle (a Scottish tool for stirring porridge and soups) for 30p. Using a small amount of affordable materials this tree topper angel came to life. Here’s how to make your own!

What you’ll need

  • Thrifted item of your choice for the body (mine’s a spurtle)
  • Wool curls
  • Needle felting needles
  • Preferably a needle felting mat
  • Section of tulle or other thin fabric of choice (mine was 1m x 50cm)
  • Rhinestones
  • Scrap of leather
  • Gold wire
  • Superglue

Alternatives to the above:

  • Body: A rod, broken rolling pin, vintage clothes pin, old knife sharpener, etc
  • Hair: Yarn, felt, fabric strips
  • Tools: If using the above, thread or glue instead of needle felting tools
  • Dress: A much smaller section of felt or hessian – just wrap your fabric around the rod to see how it looks
  • Finishing touch: Glitter, metallic ribbons, little bows, some metallic paint on the hem – find a festive twist!

This project is so fun and flexible, you can dig through your stash or the local craft shop’s bargain bin to make something entirely your own.

Putting it all together

Because it was central to my angel, I started with the hair. In hindsight, it might be easier to do the clothes first as the hair might get in the way at the end! But this is the order I did it in, and took pictures in.

To get the hair started, I cut off a tiny bit of felt to start felting the curls onto. The felt piece was hidden entirely by the time the hair was done. I used white felt so it was easier to cover up.

After felting most of the hair, I started felting with it on the spurtle to give it better shape. Work carefully, so you don’t stab your fingers or break the needle on the wood. I shaped the work by felting straight from above around the edge of the spurtle, so it laid flatter against the head.

When the hair was ready, the section underneath was solid enough that I simply used superglue on the wood (a thin layer all over the contact areas) and held the hair in place for a minute to let it settle. Voila!

The tulle piece was folded into quarters so it left a small section of the spurtle easy to hold. I used some thread to gather the fabric using running stitch, and tightened it in place. After tying the thread, I wrapped the top with a length of wire to hold it more securely.

In my angel this gathered section will be covered, but you could leave it at just the skirt and paint the chest instead!

About 1cm of the leather was folded back and glued flat to create a collar. I started with a rectangle longer than it needed to be, and measured it to length by wrapping it around the body. Where the leather aligned, I cut it to shape. I then glued it in place where the collars meet.

The finishing touch! Rhinestones! The subtle amber sparkle was perfect for the earthy look, and was the final ingredient to make her festive. I used superglue on the flat back of each rhinestone and carefully laid it in place on the tulle.

I let each section set for 20 minutes before turning the angel to work on the next section. I learnt my lesson – the first time I tried to turn her the glue wasn’t ready. It wasn’t fun cleaning the glue off the carpet after the rhinestones fell off!

On that note, maybe it’s a good idea to cover the table and perhaps the floor before you start working. Oops!

To enjoy the angel on your tree, use wire, twisty ties, cord, or anything you have at hand to tie her in place. I don’t recommend tape as it will easily stick to the skirt and involve some ripping to get off. :(

To store, I recommend using some newspaper or bubble wrap up the skirt as well as wrapping it around the angel, to help the skirt keep it’s shape.

(Please don’t quote that out of context! We crafters walk into dangerous territory by making angels with skirts!)

Whether it’s for Christmas, a birthday, or just because – I can’t recommend shopping at your local charity shops enough. Emmaus UK supports formerly homeless people by giving them a place to live and meaningful work.

That little spurtle you buy, the napkin rings you donate, the furniture you bring home to paint into a masterpiece – all of those choices can contribute to keeping people warm, fed, and in work this Christmas. (Finding a bargain for a fun DIY is just a bonus!)

What’s your all time favourite charity shop find?

Lots of crafty love,

Full disclosure: I was invited by Emmaus to visit a store and select items for a crafts project. Although I was offered to take the items for free as part of the deal, I chose to pay for my items in support of the work that they do.

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This post is sponsored by Jewellery Maker.

What’s your vote on craft kits? I’m still pretty 50/50. Some of them are amazing and fuel creativity, while others feel a bit cookie cutter and restrictive.

When Jewellery Maker said they have a new range of DIY kits, I wanted to try one for myself. The kit touts itself as “everything you need in one box to take you through the basics”.

And since I had never made a seed bead bracelet before, I just had to put that claim to the test! Scroll through to get my 5 top tips for working with seed beads so you have an easier time than I did figuring it out for the first time.

DIY Seed Bead Bracelet | Kit Review [SPONSORED] - YouTube

Check out the video for the full unboxing, the making process in just a couple minutes, and the highs and lows of the process. (There was a pretty major oops at 9min 49sec.)

I went to a jewellery class with my mom nearly ten years ago so I knew how to attach clasps and use the crimp beads, but that was as far as my memory went.  Verdict? This kit is absolutely beginner friendly. Once I got over the hurdle of attaching the first jump ring and crimp bead, the beading process was really calming. It made 10 minutes feel like two.

The kit has LOADS of extra materials. It’ll keep even an experienced jewellery maker occupied. You get several packs of quality Miyuki beads, much more than you need to make the bracelets it’s based around. After making my bracelet I’ve hardly made a dent in the materials!

To sum up the kit, it includes:

  • Miyuki seed beads in colours black, white, silver lined, turquoise, and “lavender” (aka sparkly mermaid scales)
  • Dark grey Fireline thread
  • 4 beading needles
  • Silver plated basics kit (21pcs including clasps, crimp beads, chain, etc)

Is the price worth it? I compared the prices of buying everything individually and the price of the kit at £19.95 is really good value. The two big tubes and Fireline thread are worth roughly £18 on their own. Plus it’s nicely curated and has enough to try a little bit of everything.

The only downside was that because the kit doesn’t tell you how long the bracelet will be, you have to guess or test it. I made a string of the bead design to get a rough idea of how long the bracelet would be. My wrist is smaller than average, so keep that in mind if you’re making this specific kit too.

FYI, my bracelet is 6 3/4 inches (17cm) long.

Miyuki Delica silver lined crystal – look at that sparkle!

5 tips for seed beading

Straight from the mouth of a beginner – I’ve literally just been there, so I know how helpful it would have been to know these things straight off!

1. Use a sharp set of cutters

It took me 45 minutes from start to finish to make my bracelet. (I know this, because I filmed it. You can see the process boiled down to a couple minutes in the video above!) No joke, 15 minutes of this was struggling with cutting the threads. You have to cut them three times throughout the process of making the bracelet. My dull clippers (with jagged edges and all) made the job way more work than it needed to be.

2. Hold the beading needle near the bottom

This means you have more needle between your fingers and the beads – which made it much easier to keep them on the needle!

3. Work on a textured surface

You’ll see I used a bit of calico fabric to work on. This kept the little beads from rolling everywhere as I worked. Even when they jumped a little bit the texture of the fabric grabbed them right away. Phew!

4. Make sure everything’s well lit

In the video above, the room I was in had loads of natural light. That night I tried to do some more beading but the area I was working in had crap lighting. Cue headache. It’s not very fun to squint at tiny little beads. I’m considering a magnifying glass like they showed on the Jewellery Maker YouTube video about the kit.

5. Kick out the cats.

Yeah, I think this one is a bit self-explanatory really.

Get a free tool kit!

Jewellery Maker have a fantastic offer for you – use the code CraftFingers to get free postage AND a free tool kit when you buy one of their DIY kits. Offer ends October 14th 2017. Take advantage of some nice sharp cutters, don’t spend 15 minutes cutting the thread like I did. Shop here!

Have you ever made your own jewellery before? I love bracelets but don’t wear them very often as I find it tricky to find cute designs that fit well. I think DIY is the way to go! There are a ton of beads left from my kit and I think I might just know what to do with them…

I might even have to try some bead embroidery!

Lots of crafty love,

P.S. Don’t forget to use your special offer CraftFingers on the Jewellery Maker website Shop DIY kits.

P.P.S. Here’s the video again if you missed it!

DIY Seed Bead Bracelet | Kit Review [SPONSORED] - YouTube

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Every week is Stationery Week in my book.

With an overflowing to do list and too many scattered thoughts to count, putting pen to paper is a lifesaver for me. There’s nothing better than some crispy fresh paper and smooth ink to get my creative juices flowing. Mmmmmhmmmm.

To celebrate stationery, social media, and my teeny-tiny obsession with boho themes, I’ve made this fresh and chic set of weekly planner printables. For free, for you, right now! 

All you gotta do is sign up to the email newsletter and you’ll get your free printables instantly. (The internet is for real magic.) Use this special form here:

Yes! I want my planners!

Download three free weekly planner printables when you sign up to get the best DIY & crafts inspiration straight to your inbox

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Once you sign up, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you click that confirm button you’ll be redirected to the PDF so you can download it right away and get planning.

No planner would be complete without a notes section and a spot to remind yourself about the next week, too. Each of these planners has a section for every work day and a joint section for the weekend, so it’s easy for you to use whatever day your calendar week starts on. Holla to my US friends!

Here’s a proper look at all three designs:

I love Twitter chats but always forget to use them, so there’s a column to jot down your favourite Twitter and Instagram hashtags. Community is so important, and I firmly believe scheduling time for it makes it so much more worthwhile (and less stressful than “spontaneously” checking it every three seconds).

The planners come joined in one PDF, so print the specific page you want to use one design at a time. Or mix things up and plan ahead by printing all three weeks! The last printable is especially for those of you who want a bit of boho planning love but want to save on ink, too.

If you have any troubles using your printables let me know and I’ll do what I can to help!

Speak soon crafty friends!

Lots of love,

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The second best part about staying at my parents in Finland is their house. (The best best part is, obviously, spending time with family.)

Mom and Dad’s house is HUGE. As in, the place is massive. As in, you can lose someone in it and so we regularly use our smartphones to find each other. As in, there’s always a cool project to dig your teeth into. (Skolbacka used to be a schoolhouse, how cool is that?)

Because I move a lot and rent I’ve never bothered painting walls. So at Mom and Dad’s I jumped on the opportunity to try wall painting.

That’s right. This is the first time I’ve ever painted a wall and it’s the first time I’ve ever used Annie Sloan Wall Paint. Let the experiment commence!

Annie Sloan Wall Paint + Brush REVIEWED - YouTube

BEFORE ANNIE SLOAN

Every wall of the cafeteria, including the arch, was painted magnolia from floor to ceiling. As you walk in, the first thing you notice are the bright stencils all over the arch. Artistic license I guess? Yeah, those stencils gotta go.

AFTER ANNIE SLOAN

With just a bit of paint and some elbow grease (OK a brush and a roller too) the arch has been transformed into a chalkboard black accent. All we need is some wall decor and it will look ace!

We’re thinking of large letters spelling Skolbacka. What would you do with it?

What you’ll need:
  • Annie Sloan Wall Paint (shown here in Graphite)
  • Wide brush OR roller (I got the official Wall Paint Brush – verdict below!)
  • Tape, newspaper, apron, etc to keep tidy
  • Appropriate tin to pour in your “working” paint (something you can cover works well)
  • Paint stirrer
  • Ladder, if necessary

There’s no fancy cleaning equipment required. Just use lots of (cold) water to wash out the brush and anything else.

You can actually use Annie Sloan paint to dye fabrics, too, so definitely use paint clothes. Even if the texture washes out, it might dye! (My paint clothes were some old jeans and top. Not those overall things you can find in DIY stores.)

Putting it all together:

Working with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is incredibly simple, and using the Wall Paint is almost as easy. I used this paint because it doesn’t need any special prep.

When you’re painting a 15ft tall wall who has the time to sand, prime, and paint multiple layers? No thanks! With Annie Sloan you don’t need to sand, prime, or (in most cases) paint multiple layers.

And as part of the Wall Paint formula, it claims no waxing or other finishing is required. So you get a wipeable, scrubbable surface straight out of the tin. I’m sold!

To sum up the fantastic properties of Annie Sloan Wall Paint:

  • No sanding required
  • No priming required
  • Covers in ONE LAYER
  • Dries with a wipeable finish
  • No strong stinky smell
  • It’s non-toxic, perfectly safe for kids
  • Cruelty free with no animal testing or animal products
  • Water-based (easy to clean & thin down)
  • Can tolerate heat, e.g. when used on radiators
  • Dries in approx 40min

Get all the product info on the official Annie Sloan website

The wall paint comes in 2.5L tins, and it claims each litre should cover about 14.5 square metres. We bought it from måla & more in Helsinki for 79€. (So it’s 31.90€ a litre vs 38€ for a litre of the normal Chalk Paint – the wall paint is actually cheaper!)

BUT. Fabulous, high-performance paint and a high-quality brush don’t automatically mean magical results. This was, after all, my first wall painting project.

How to use Annie Sloan Wall Paint

Here are some tips and tricks to save YOU the time and hassle. (And money, as I’m sure I wasted a bit of paint in the process!) I spent about 8 hours solid over two days to finish this wall, and I know it could have been done MUCH more quickly and easily.

WALL PAINT DOs:

  • Make sure the wall is clean & dry before painting
  • Use masking tape and perhaps some newspapers to cover up surrounding surfaces
  • Wear paint clothes! (The paint is drip free, but are YOU drip free? Yup, I’m messy.)
  • Try both a brush and a roller to see what works best for you
  • Buddy up, someone needs to spot the ladder!
  • Supply yourself with easy drinks and snacks
  • Pour some paint into another container so you don’t contaminate the tin with any dust or residue
    • Something that has an air tight cover is even better!

WALL PAINT DON’Ts:

  • Water down the paint UNLESS you want to make multiple layers for a silky smooth finish. The paint sits on a brush or roller better straight out of the tin, so if you want a single layer just use it as is.
    • If you water down the paint, be prepared for a little dripping. You’ll likely need to paint multiple layers, too.
  • Paint a second layer before the first layer is dry. You’ll just pull off the drying paint.

See how many DOs there are compared to DON’Ts? This paint is that easy to work with!

So, about that Wall Paint Brush…

After watching a comparison video by Annie Sloan showing off her brush skills, I bought the official Wall Paint Brush. According to the video you get the same quality coverage AND use much less paint. I love the all-natural Annie Sloan brushes (which I’ve used on furniture) so I jumped in and bought the Wall Paint Brush, too.

The verdict? I’m 50/50. The Wall Paint Brush is incredibly comfortable to hold and well-balanced, so my hands never hurt even after hours of painting. However, the fibres just didn’t dig into nooks and crannies as well as the other Annie Sloan brushes I’ve used. I’d say this is down to the mix of natural and synthetic fibres; whatever the reason, it was difficult to cover the textured wall. The fibres did hold up well and still look great after use.

(If you do use the brush, leave it somewhere a bit warmer to dry off. Mine stayed damp for a couple days and got a little stinky. You can see the moment I find that out right at the end of the vid!)

On the second day, I used a roller to touch up the patches. Painting with the roller was so much easier. If I had just used a roller instead of the brush, I’m sure I could have painted the wall in a quarter of the time.

My time saving tip: Just use a roller! Or if you want to know for yourself, patch test one section with a roller and one section with a brush. Even if it uses more paint, getting the project done quickly would have been my preference. Since I had to make a second layer, I probably used more paint with the brush anyway.

Good intentions and all that. I’m going to retry the wall paint brush on a smooth wall and let you know how it goes.

All in all, paint brush included, I’m so pleased I chose Annie Sloan. The final result is stunning and exactly the nostalgic chalkboard black look we were going for. With a bit of wall decor the transformation from dull magnolia to dark & bold will be complete!

By my estimate this wall used about 25 to 30€ of paint to get the job done, or about a third of a tin. All the tools we used, roller and paint clothes included, will be used again and again in other projects. I’d call that good value for money!

I will definitely use the Wall Paint again. I love the Chalk Paint and do think it’s even easier to use, but maybe that’s just with experience. :) After all, the wall paint was beginner proof! You can’t ask for much more than that.

Have you ever used Annie Sloan Wall Paint or Chalk Paint? I’d love to hear your experiences, good and bad.

Lots of crafty love,

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I did work for an Annie Sloan stockist a couple years ago. This post isn’t sponsored or affiliated in any way (I wish! Hit me up!) but I did learn about Annie Sloan’s range of products in a work setting. The Wall Paint didn’t exist when I worked there, so I was really excited to finally get the perfect excuse to use some.

P.P.S. The Wall Paint is only available in Europe for now. If you’re outside Europe, you can definitely use the normal Chalk Paint on your walls. It just takes a little bit of extra elbow grease to finish it off with wax, too.

P.P.P.S. Here’s the video again if you missed it:

Annie Sloan Wall Paint + Brush REVIEWED - YouTube

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Warning: this post is a massive rabbit hole into the world of crochet. It’s 2400+ words. You can cheat and watch the 5 minute tutorial video to get the good stuff fast. I can’t take responsibility for any addictions that may arise. This tutorial assumes you know NOTHING about crochet, and goes through all the tiny details that confused me when I started out.

Already know how to crochet? Advanced tutorials are coming next! Subscribe to the Crafting Fingers YouTube channel to get the latest free tutorials. For now, share this post with a friend and you’ll have the perfect excuse to dig through your yarn stash. I’d love to hear what your first crochet ever was! @craftingfingers

What you’ll learn
  • What hooks & yarns to use
  • How to get your yarn onto your hook
  • How to hold the yarn & the hook
  • How to crochet chains
  • How to crochet double crochet
  • What UK and US crochet terms are
  • How to work double crochet in rows
  • How to bind off your project

PLUS, I’ve picked 5 free crochet patterns you can make with just the skills you learn in this post.

What you need to get started
  • Some yarn or cord
  • A crochet hook

Sizes don’t matter at this point. Use what you got if you don’t want to buy! The exception is using small crochet hooks with big thick yarns. You can try, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

LEARN TO CROCHET IN 5 MINUTES

Crochet 101: Learn crochet basics in 5 minutes - YouTube

OK but seriously what hooks go with what yarn?

When you’re learning to crochet, it really doesn’t matter. Yes, I wrote that twice. I’m being serious. You can even crochet with your fingers if you don’t have any hooks. There’s no point wasting money buying ALL THE THINGS if you don’t know if it’s your jam, you know?

BUT if you want to do things all proper like, get to a craft shop. In person. I suggest using baby soft materials like bamboo or quality wools like merino to start with. Get something that’s nice to touch and a bit stretchy so it’s easier to work with. Scratchy yarn will make your fingers sore, no matter how good it looks. Pick something you ache to make with! Then, you’ll find the recommended hook size on the yarn label. 

Or, if you’re really eager to get going and you can’t get to a shop soon, you can buy this starter crochet hook & tool set** and this lovely DMC cotton yarn** (use a 3mm or 4mm hook) on Amazon.

(**Linked marked with ** are affiliate links. If you do buy after going through the link I’ll get a tiny commission and you don’t have to pay an extra penny. This helps me continue to make free DIY guides like this one. Thanks for your support!)

Quick tip! Bamboo hooks & yarn needles are “cute”, but they can be difficult to slide yarn over. They also tend to splinter as they wear. I recommend metal hooks. Metal hooks also don’t break if you sit on them. Keep the bamboo sets for cute Insta shots or buy hybrid metal & bamboo hooks.

How to secure the yarn to your crochet hook

Slip knot was a practical and vital skill in cute crafts WAY before the band ever existed.

Knots make more sense if you watch it then try to read it. It’s like tying a simple knot, but instead of pulling the working yarn all the way through, you stick the hook in the way and it makes a neat little knot.

So why a slip knot? This is a simple yet incredibly clever technique. By tying the yarn this way, pulling on the “tail” at the start of the work will not tighten the stitches. Only by pulling on the “working yarn” can you manipulate the stitch work. This makes a tidy, secure knot that won’t mess up your jazzy masterpiece.

Watch at 00:44:26 in the video

How to hold the yarn when you crochet

Once you’ve made a slip knot, it’s time to figure out how to hold the yarn and manipulate it with your hook. Just take your time, and if your hand starts to cramp take a little break.

You want to hold the yarn over one finger with some tension. There are many ways of doing this, and it all depends on your hands. My preferred way is to use my ring and pinky fingers to pinch the working yarn to my palm, then my index finger acts like a pulley by stretching out the yarn to give it tension before it reaches the hook. Tension makes the yarn easy to grab when you crochet.

Holding your hook takes some practise too. I like to hold mine like it’s a pencil, but there are (again) many ways. You’ll probably even change technique as you get more practise.

How to chain stitch (ch)

Now it’s time to practise your yarn & hook holding. Use your right hand to hold your hook, and your left to control the yarn. As there is only one little loop on the hook at this point, I like to pinch the end in place. This adds to the tension and helps control the hook.

To chain, grab the yarn with the end of your hook, and pull this yarn through the loop you have on your hook. That’s one chain. Keep repeating until you feel comfortable controlling both hands and the stitches.

When the very first stitches in a project are chains (which is most of the time) they are called a foundation chain. Many patterns say “ch [number here]” before they even start on “Row 1”.

Watch at 01:14

How to count chain stitches in crochet

In my video I have made an example “foundation chain” of 10 chains. If you lose count of how many chains you have made, they are easy to count. Each “v” or “u” like shape is one chain, and you count them backwards from the hook. The loop that is on the hook itself does not count. That’s 0. The next v/u is 1, then 2, 3, etc until you get to the end and there’s nothing but the tiny knot and tail left.

How to crochet in a row (DC/SC)

Watch how to double crochet (US single crochet)
at 01:39 in the Crochet 101 video

So you made a chain. Let’s pretend your chain is 10 chains long like mine. Where does the row go? You make this by crocheting into the chain. You can work your double crochet into the nearest chain to the hook, the 1st chain, or into the 2nd chain from the hook. It actually doesn’t matter when it’s double crochet.

Push your hook into the stitch or gap you need to work into. Wrap the yarn around the hook like in the little video above (called a yarn over) and pull the yarn through the stitch. You’ll now have what’s called “two loops on hook” – literally, there’s two loops. Yarn over to grab the yarn again, and pull it through BOTH loops on the hook. That’s one double crochet (US single crochet).

Just keep practising until it makes sense. I find working into the foundation chain and the second row are the trickiest, even now after years of crochet. Making new crochet stitches is easier when there’s more of the project to hold and keep things in place.

ADVANCED CROCHET TIP

You clever people will notice I skipped the nearest chain, and crocheted into the SECOND chain from the hook. So what’s the difference between 1st or 2nd chain? You can count the 1st chain as a “turning chain” and work the first double crochet in the 2nd chain. More on that below, as this relates to all your rows. In Crochet 102, we’ll talk about stitch height and how the foundation chain usually needs to include the turning chain too, but let’s talk about what we need to know for now.

How to work rows, AKA what’s a turning chain? (tch)

So you made a row! Heck yes! Now what?

So at the start of each row, you need to start the next row by chaining one or more stitches. These are turning chains. If you simply start to create the new row without this chain, you will distort the end of your rows by stretching them out of shape. This is especially noticeable with the bigger stitches. (Like treble crochet. We’ll cover those in Crochet 102.)

The number of stitches in your “turning chain” depends on what crochet stitch you are using. This refers to the stitch “height”. Double crochet has a “height” of one chain. So at the beginning of the row, you chain 1 before working the rest of the row as double crochet.

The turning chain, whether 1 for double crochet rows or 3 for treble crochet rows, counts as the first “stitch” of the row. So if you have a row of 10 double crochet, it will be made of 1 chain and 9 actual double crochet.

ADVANCED CROCHET TIP

So “i” before “e” except after “c”, right? When you make turning chains, this chain normally counts as the first stitch in the row. But thing is, double crochet is quite dense. So a chain stitch at the start of the row can look a bit empty. One trick advanced crocheters do is chain 1, AND work a dc into the right-most gap. This can make the edges more even and full. The trick is to remember your chain doesn’t count as the first stitch in this instance, so make sure you’re keeping count and not making your rows longer and longer!

Where does the crochet stitch go in a new row?

Good question! At this point, I just worked wherever I could poke the hook. Get really hands on with the cool crochet fabric you’re making. Don’t overthink it! The more you play the more it makes sense.

The proper spot is the little gap right near the top of the previous stitch. From above, the previous row looks like bunch of connected Vs. Underneath these V loops, you’ll see a tiny gap. This is where the hook goes.

The key is to put the hook through the gap straight on, so you go through both sides of the V.

Also, these Vs are how you count your crochet stitches. When you view them from above and count along the top of the work, you’ll know how many DC you’ve made so far in that row. Counting Vs works for any stitch type, and larger crochet stitches have a stem-like appearance which is even easier to count.

ADVANCED CROCHET TIP

When you work a stitch into the gap underneath the Vs, you are working through “both loops”. You’ll find references in more intermediate patterns about working in the “front loop only” (FLO) or the “back loop only” (BLO). This is literally either the front-facing half of the little V you can see, or the back-facing half. When you work through only one side instead of going clean through the gap, it changes how the pattern looks.

There are UK and US crochet terms???

Oh yes. As you’re learning crochet online you NEED to know there are different “languages” in crochet. Otherwise you’ll find yourself confused when you find a pattern that’s not using the same set of terms you do. I nearly gave up crochet when I wasted hours on a pattern only to realise UK double crochet is NOT US double crochet. Not even close.

The same name can be a completely different stitch depending on the region. Here’s a quick translation table:

UK crochet terms: US crochet terms:
chain (ch) chain (ch)
slip stitch (sl st) slip stitch (sl st)
double crochet (dc) single crochet (sc)
half treble crochet (htr) half double crochet (hdc)
treble crochet (tr) double crochet (dc)
double treble crochet (dtr) triple crochet (tr)

My advice? Learn & prefer one set of terms. US terms are, globally speaking, more common online & in magazines. I learned to crochet from UK mags so I know the UK terms and they just make sense to me. Pick which group of terms makes sense to you.

Point is, just pick. Then just be aware not all DCs are DCs and not all TRs are TRs. I’ve made an easy guide on how to tell if a crochet pattern uses UK or US terms. (If you’re having problems, shoot me a comment – I’d love to help!)

So I made some rows, what do I do now? AKA Finishing

Right. So you’re done making rows, and want to get on with some pattern making. From the bottom of my heart I recommend you keep your first practise swatches. This is the first step of a very exciting journey, and it’s great for nostalgia.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. To keep your crochet intact, you need to bind off the yarn. This sounds complicated but it’s the easiest step in the whole thing. Pull your working loop loose, so it’s big enough to poke a couple fingers through. Put your hook to one side. Then, cut the working yarn with a few inches spare, and pull that yarn through the loop. Pull to tighten, and your work won’t unravel!

To make a tidy finish, use a yarn needle to weave the yarn tails into the work. If you just cut them close to the ends, your work will unravel as it loosens itself up. Just weave an inch or two of yarn through the crochet stitches, and cut. Try to leave the cut end close to the work so it doesn’t poke out.

And that’s it! Your masterpiece is complete!

5 FREE patterns you can try now

With just these techniques, there are thousands of projects you could try. And lucky for you, you’re alive when the internet is a thing so you can find a gazillion free crochet patterns online. These five crochet patterns are amazing AND you can make them with just the techniques you’ve learnt by following this post:

Happy hooking!

Questions? Comments? So frustrated you could chuck everything in the bin? Comment or DM me @craftingfingers and I’ll help however I can!

Lots of crafty love,

P.S. Make sure to subscribe to the Crafting Fingers YouTube channel to get the next lesson, Crochet 102, when it goes live. I’ll be posting DIY videos (crochet, sewing, and more) every Tuesday.

P.P.S. If you missed the Crochet 101 video, here it is again:

Crochet 101: Learn crochet basics in 5 minutes - YouTube

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