Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Question From Reader: Beginner Garment Help

Dear Dee,

I recently purchased the book "So Simple Crochet" by Melody Griffiths because I am a new crocheter and want to try making items other than scarves.

There is a pattern in the book called "Shimmery Tank Top" that I'm thinking of making since it looks like it's made out of double crochets.  Can you tell me how to change yarn colors, and how would I substitute the Sirdar Duet that the pattern calls for to use something else? Also how do I figure out if it will be comfortable to wear?
Your blog fan,

Hi Allison,
I love getting to know who my readers are; thank you for contacting me with your questions about changing colors, yarn substitutions, and figuring out if an item will be comfortable to wear.

First, let me state that upon reading your email I checked my personal library and found I do have this book!  The tank top you mentioned looks like it would be a fairly easy project -- a great project for a beginner crocheter to try!  So, let's start with your first question: How do you change colors?

I think the best way to change colors is to crochet your pattern stitches until you get to the very last stitch required with the old color.  Begin that last stitch with the old color until you come to the point of the very last yarn over ... instead of yarning over with the old color, you'll want to yarn over with the new.  Once you pull the yarn over with the new color through the loops on your hook you're ready to start crocheting!  Leave long tails (4" -6") to weave in later. has little video clips you can watch on your PC for free -- including on how to change fibers as I just described.

Moving on to question #2: How to substitute yarn.  If you look at the pattern, it will give you a gauge.  It is very important that crocheters work up at least one swatch to ensure they're meeting the required gauge to ensure the garment will fit.  This means, Allison, that you can use whatever fiber you'd like as long as you meet the gauge required for your project!

And this leads me to the answer for your third question: How do you know it will be comfortable to wear?  Ah -- the swatch holds the answer!  I just stated moments ago that you should work up at least one swatch, but really, I recommend creating two!  The first swatch will act as your control.  As you are working it up, take note if you like the way the fiber feels slipping through your fingers and looping over your hook.  If you're not happy with the feel at this point in the project, then pick another fiber to try.  We crocheters tend to finish projects with fibers that make our fingers happy!

Second, work up that second swatch I strongly recommend and then "beat it up!"  Throw it in the washer/dryer for a few cycles and then, since you're a girl, tuck it under your bra strap for a few hours.  The second swatch will tell you how well the fibers held up, the color fastness, AND if it will be comfortable against your skin!  If you're not happy with the results, then pick another fiber and try again.  If you are happy with the swatch results then you made a great choice!

Happy stitching,


dani said...

i have bought this book and started to stuck this place-

ROW 2: working into 2nd ch at end of following rows contain dc work 14 more rows
what do i do here
i don't turn?
i work just like previously war i worked the sc into the dc?

what kind of shaped is formed? said...

Unfortunately, Dani, since I do not own this book (the blog post is from 2007), I can only answer general questions, such as knowing if you need to turn or not (as you asked in your comment above).

The biggest clue will be in how the pattern in written. If you are to work rows it will state "Row 1" and so on. If you are to work in rounds, then it will state "Rnd 1" and so on. And yes, both rounds and rows can be within the same pattern.

Based upon the instructions you wrote, your row is telling you to repeat making rows 14 more times, turning to create each new row.

Happy stitching,