We hope you are having fun with, and enjoying, our lovely new crochet-along, designed by Lucia Dunn of Lucia’s Fig Tree, hosted in our magazine!
Part 1 launched the CAL in issue 27 in April. Every issue, we are bringing you 2 squares to create your own beautiful and colourful sampler blanket, with each issue designed to challenge you with a new skill, and allow you to relax with, or build upon, a more familiar skill. This might be a stitch you are familiar with (such as regular double crochet), or it has you build on something you’ve done previously in the CAL.
Because some squares are designed to challenge your skills, it does require some new techniques – so we hope this article will help you to understand some of the techniques needed, and every issue we will bring you blog posts and videos to help you master the stitches needed! If you haven’t already, make sure to join our Facebook group for helpful hints, support, and a great place to simple chat to other readers about how you are getting on with the CAL! And if you have a specific question about the CAL or the magazine, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get back to you.
Working with yarn held double
Throughout this crochet-along, the pattern will instruct you to work with your yarn held double. If you haven’t done this before, don’t fret – it’s so easy! Where you would normally work with a single strand of yarn, you just need to hold two strands next to each other in the hand that normally holds your working yarn, and with every stitch make sure you catch the strands together with your hooks. By doing this, you will have a lovely, dense fabric, and it allows you to play with colour in unusual ways.
Here are our top-tips for working with your yarn held double:
- Prepare yourself for some tangling – as with any colour work (such as intarsia and C2C), working with multiple strands of yarn will always result in some tangles
- Wind your yarn into smaller balls, and keep these in a yarn bowl (or larger mixing bowl from the kitchen) as you work to prevent them from rolling around and getting tangled
- Before you start, you could even hold your yarn double and wind this into another ball to crochet from, minimising tangling even more
- If you are sat on a chair, try to keep one ball on either side of you, separated by your legs or the chair, to prevent them rolling into each other
- For changing colours, you might find it easier to cut the yarn each time– this will take longer however and use up more of your yarn
- Check your tension again – after a couple of months practice with holding yarn double, you will find your tension changes slightly as you relax/get used to working this way: I needed to go down from a 7mm to a 6mm hook to keep my squares the same shape after 2 issues. If you don’t want to do a swatch again, simply work 2 or 3 rows of the next square and compare it to your last square before you carry on an further
Tartan square – Jacquard technique
By using two strands of yarn held together, you can create wonderful colour techniques, such as the tartan effect! This can be duplicated in scarves, shawls and blankets.
You will only ever need to have 3 strands of yarn attached to you work at one time. In this example, you can see CC3 (Mustard, held double) and CC1 (Sage and Mustard) are being worked. Although you might think you need to attach 4 strands, as long as you carry 1 strand behind your work at all times, you can easily use 3! In this example, CC3 is being used, and 1 strand of Sage is being carried.
When it’s time to change colours, insert the hook into the next st, yrh (making sure to go under the Sage as well) and pul.
Then, simply drop one strand of Mustard, and pick up 1 strand of Sage – your CC3 has now become your CC1!
In order to carry the yarn neatly across your work, try to hold the strand not in use at the back of the square and make sure your hook goes underneath this strand as you work your dcs. When you come to the last colour change (in this example, from CC1 to CC3), you can even leave the Sage in place, and not carry it to the end of your work, because when you turn you would only need to carry it back. Instead, pick it up again when you reach it, as below.
Remember though, that when you turn your work at the end of the row, the front will become the back, so you should carry the yarn in front of you.
Rejoining Sage to swap from CC3 to CC1.
Want to join in?
Join the conversation in our Official Facebook Group, and make sure to use the #riseandshinecal when sharing your pictures online so we can see how you are getting on.
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