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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Scrunchies [2]: Crochet around hair elastic ties and make crocheted mini roses to your scrunchies.

3:08:00 AM 3 Comments
Scrunchies have been one of my favorite item to crochet. They are perfect to manage my various scrap yarn, yet easy and quick to make. Furthermore, no serious counting during the making. It is great a gift and sell well too!
A while ago, I had been lost on Pinterest looking for ideas for my scrunchies, but things I found was the 'old school' one and the other seem too complicated.
I wanted to add flowers to my scrunchies, and there is no one..

I have made dozens scrunchies with spirals, beads and my favorites edging patterns here. And now I want to go further, creating another creative scrunchies I can make!
So here it is...
I do not have any video tutorial for this, but I really hope the pictures and words can be easy enough for you to follow.

Materials needed to make scrunchies are:

1. Two skeins of yarn. One for the roses (pink), and the other (green) to make the leaves background. Actually, we can pick any colors, even we can do the roses and the background in the same color, but here I make them in contrast color because it is going to be a lot easier for me to explain.
2. A scissor.
3. Crochet hook. I used 2.5 mm.
4. Tapestry needle.
5. A hair tie. 

1. Basic stitch.

First thing in  scrunchie making is wrapping the hair tie. In my first tutorial of scrunchies here, I used bigger crochet hook and double the yarn in the purpose of covering the hair tie as quick as possible. For now, we will do two things together, wrapping the hair tie and make roses. 

The beginning.

# make a knot just like as we start to crochet, and chain around the hair tie 5 times.
I used hair tie that has diameter around 4 cm, for this size of hair tie we are going to add 8-10 roses on the top.

I strongly suggest to use 100% acrylic yarn to crochet the roses. Soft cotton is not sturdy enough to maintain the shape and ended up like curly edging. Earlier, I tried to add more roses (like 18 roses for the hair tie using cotton). It is still pretty, but too curly and hard to be recognized as rose's shape. Lets have a look how I crochet around the hair ties and start making roses.
This picture depicts the knot to begin 5 first chains to cover the hair tie.
It is similar to usual chaining, but aims to covering hair tie and making backbone  for the roses.

2. Making the roses.

# After the knot was made, continue to chain 5 times around the hair tie (see picture below).

# Chain 7 times upward to make the rose's petals foundation chains.

# Do half double crochet at the third chain from edge.
# Add more 2 half double crochet at the same chain.

# Then chain twice.

# Slip stitch at the same chain. Now we have our first rose petal done.

# To start the second petal on the next foundation chain, start with slip stitch, followed by chain twice, 3 times half double crochet, chain twice again then slip stitch on exactly same foundation chain where the second petal was made. Repeat these step to make third and fourth rose petals on next following chains.

# Once we have 4 petals, then do slip stitch into the second petal's foundation chain. This step will create 1 centre petal which is surrounded by other 3 petals we had made.

# Then chain 2.

# Chain 5 times again around the hair tie.

# Repeat the steps of rose petal making and the 5 times chaining around hate tie until we have 8 roses. At the last rose, after chaining 2 chains, do slip stitch to the first start chain.

# When it is finished, we will have 8 roses and 8 sets of 5 chains around the hair tie. Then fasten off, and cut the yarn.

3. Making leaves or background.

For the background, basically we can do anything you like. It could be using leave pattern, edging, or even just covering hair tie, and leave it as if.
Notice that there are holes or uncovered parts between the roses we can see from the back? There background or leaves should be placed.
Let's cover it!

Leafy background

* Change yarn to green and make knot.
Do 5 chains around hair tie at the empty/uncovered gap on the hair tie. I recommend to do it at the same point where we start making the roses earlier.

* After 5 chains filling the gap, then chain 10 upward.

* Then slip stitch into the middle of pink 5 chains around hair tie.

* Chain 7 times up upward.

* Then make the leaf following this pattern.
after we have 7 basic leaf foundation chains, continue creating the leaf following this pattern.
1. Chain 1
2. Half double crochet/hdc (US term)
3. Double crochet/dc (US term)
4. Treble crochet/tc (US term)
5. Double crochet/dc (US term)
6. Half double crochet/hdc (US term)
7. Slip stitch (shown by black dot on the picture below)
When it is finished we can see one side of the leaf had been created.

Continue making the other side of the leaf by repeating the same pattern.

* Fold the leaf, and go to the back of it. Chain 1, slip stich at any back bone-leaf you can find. Do it 4 to 5 times until you reach the end of the leaf.

* Then chain 10 upward.

* Slip stitch in the empty gap, and start chain 5 again to fill it and covering the hair tie. Continue working on the gap and create the leaves until you cover all the hair tie.

When it is finished, we should have 8 flowers and 8 leaves.

This scrunchies made with combination of milk cotton(shocking pink) for the flowers and 100%cotton  for the background( navy blue). The roses are not really sturdy but still pretty tho.

The flowers of this scrunchies was made using acrylic, but the background is not leafy motif.
I am so excited to share another scrunchies I created with all of you!
And if you all find any difficulties regarding to this, feel free to contact me or just drop comments.
I am thinking to prepare like pdf file for all subscribers who wants to print it and keep it in their folders. Just comments, subscribe and leave your e-mail if you wish the file.

Earlier in this post I suggest to make the roses using 100% acrylic than cotton. But then I found lion brand 24/7 cotton yarn which is able to maintain the roses shape! And guess what, it turns out very beautiful. Let the picture do the justice. For this project I used 2 crochet hooks, 4.5 mm to crochet the roses, and 2.5 mm for the leafy background.
Have fun ladies!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Yarn storage systems: Multiple tips on how to keep your yarn stash organised.

11:11:00 PM 0 Comments
Hi everyone!
I am back (again) after a while too busy of other thing non-crochet related!
And now really miss anything about crochet.
I have been asked lately, how do keep my yarn? Do I have tons of them at home? 
Well, yarn storing could be frustrating, I had been there too. I tried so many tips suggested by other crocheters. I have dig so many ideas from Google, Instagram, and even from yarn store while stocking my yarn stash.
Then I realized that there is no one of them really work for me because my home furnitures are very basic and I arranged them only based on our family needs. So there are no fancy things and I do not have specific room for my yarn stash and crafty things. Plus, I have my 2.5 year old and 11 yo boys that always feel an urge to check mommy's property, lol.
Nonetheless, I am still a crafter and need to find a way to keep my yarn stash and my fabric scrap safe, out of children reach, free of dust and well organized.
Here I share my ideas of my yarn storage system, which might not applicable for all the readers but at least giving you ideas so you can adjust them based on your own needs, your home and your daily activities.
Check out all of these tips and pick ideas!

1. Yarn sorting.

First thing is, Unless it is a clearance, have an ordered project or run out of stock, I promise my self not to buy new yarn.
Yes, I tried to change my habit collecting yarn, but not my crochet skill. I found that specifying the pattern prior to purchasing the yarn is more effective than buy the yarn first and decide the project later, like  I had wrote here, I need to adjust my yarn to be fit inside my tiny home. 

First of all, I divided all the yarns based on types. So I have groups of cotton, acrylic and nylon. I don't go with color because it did not work for me! (I tried it before) the reason is simple, because even two balls of yarn have a matching color, if they are not in the same type (example nylon Vs cotton) they would not be beautiful to be combined in one project, they look a little bit weird. Some small project sometimes super fine to have combination of two types of yarn, but big project usually requires exactly the same yarn type.

Another advantage sorting them in type is we will have idea what type of yarn we have most, and which one lack of stock. For me, I have more cotton and acrylic, so then maybe if I find clearance again, I will buy more nylon. 

After I have the exact number of my skeins, I decided to occupy my medium sized cupboard placed in my bedroom, where all my crafty things should be fit in. Believe me it is not an easy tasks! lol.
As an extras, I also purchased boxes in different sizes. A set of plastic bags and sticky tape.

2. Storage system.

Basic need for an effective storage is keeping the yarn untangled. So, for this goal I put one or two skeins in a 1 liter plastic bag, then seal them. The reason why I bought 1 liter plastics so I can keep each yarn separated, untangled and dust free. But you might need the bigger one if you have a lot of giant skeins. Another advantage putting then inside a plastic bag ia we can squeezed them a bit before sealed with sticky tape and make more space without hurting the yarn. 
I put one or two balls in one litre plastic bag then seal them, just like seen on the picture.
This is my cotton group when tightly arranged inside the cupboard. By this method, I can easily check colors, and pick the one I want to work without messing around looking for color! 
My medium sized cupboard which is full of my crafty things inside. The yarn concentrated in the white-3 layered middle part, but I still have more in a bag on the left.
Yes, my yarn is hidden. I realized some part of me really want to see all color I have, but the other say, 'oh maybe no!'. When my kids get older and bigger, I might re-arrange my stash again. To adjust the amount of skeins that may grow bigger, a long with bigger cupboard I might purchase in the future. But for now, this method is the safest from my kiddos, dust free and fit in my tiny home.

3. The WIP's (working in Progress).

I usually have 3-4 projects at a time. It works for me due to I am an-easily get bored-person. So, if I do not have 'sister-projects" to accompany the major one, I will lost my crochet mojo. There is project I have not finished for months, while another finished in 3-4 days, lol. But I never worried about the unfinished-yet one, because she meant to be a side project.
Then, how do I keep my WIPs?
I have one bag for one WIP. So if I have 4 WIPs then I will have 4 bags for each of them. In each bag of WIP, I put a piece of paper that contain information the name of the project, crochet hook for the project, and where I am up to. 
Just take a look one of my WIPs bag!
One of my WIP for toddler at home, so I keep the yarn, crocheted item in a safe bag, exclude the crochet hook. I am not suggesting to put the hook inside without a case, it can easily gone somewhere without us noticing it, or the worst it can tangled to the stitch and ruins the project. 

4. Crochet hook managements.

My crochet hook case was made following a pattern from Priscilla Hewitt. It is great to keep my aluminium crochet hooks but not comfortable for one with rubber/silicone handle. But I really love the case, it becomes my favorite ever since. As my crochet hook grows in number, I found another case suits for them and to keep little things for the ongoing projects.
My ultimate crochet hook case, A zipper is added to keep the crochet hook fall off out off the case. It can manage stitch markers and tapestry neddles too. 
My other 'on the go' crochet hook case, plus other mini things needed during the project. I got this cute bag from sophie martin when purchased a travel bag. Originally it is to keep wallet, travel ticket and other sort of travel things, but it is great for my needles, threads and my scissor too...
I keep my ultimate crochet hook case in a safe place, inside the cupboard, in a box. But the "on the go" crochet hook case usually accompany me everywhere along with my project.

5. How to remove the smell.

Keeping the yarn in a safe place doesn't always means it is free from a certain smell. I got some of mine smell like dust. It is maybe because I avoid to put freshener inside the cupboard. I had a thought it would not be safe for my 2.5 yo toddler, because he tends to taste everything he found.
One of my friend was given a yarn that smell like smoke, well yes the giver is a heavy smoker. How do we cope with this? 
Dealing with dust is a lot easier than removing the smell. I discuss about dusty acrylic yarn and how to remove the dust in this writing. But to remove the smell got me some reading for thoughts.
Here they are some tips that you might try to overcome the unpleasant smell on your yarn.

How to remove unpleasant smell or cigarette smoke from yarn:

1. Put outside under the sun.
It is worked for not-so-strong smell. Lay the project under the sun for hours or days. Let the nature fresh air refresh the yarn or your crocheted project.

2. Febreeze fabric spray.
I never tried this one, but some people strongly recommend this product.

3. Wash after the project completed, how ever if you cannot tolerate the smell during doing the project then wash the yarn before hand.

4. Put Lemon essential oil in a bucket of water and soak the yarn outdoor for a while, lemon essential oil can be replaced by lemon juice or lemons.

5. Use vinegar.
Others said combination of vinegar and lemon juice and orange oil is good for cleaning, as well as removing the smell.

6. Use fabric softener after washing, then lay flat to dry outside.

7. Try a combo of vinegar+baking soda +regular detergent +fabric softener, wash them immediately in a ziplock bag, them dry them with no heat.

8. Try odoban.

The chemical from the cigarette may still on the yarn despite the smell. So we should notice the receiver of the crocheted product whether it is made by smoker or not, so they can decide. For some people who have asthma, this information may really helpful for their health. So does if we have pet around us, we might give notice too to the receiver/buyer prior deal making sales, some people get allergic of pet fur.

Ok then beautiful people,,
Have fun managing your yarn stash!
and don't missed the sale!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What to crochet ( or to do) when you are bored: small tips to back in crochet in no time.

11:18:00 PM 0 Comments
Back in the day when I was still working from 9-5, crocheting has never fail making me relax.
But since I have a career switch, become a freelancer, blogger, doing freelance editor and crocheting is one of my income stream, there are days I cannot read pattern right and kept making mistakes on counting, have to frog rows and tired of looking for inspirations to re-gain my crochet soul.

First thing we need to understand is that sometimes, getting bored with activity that we usually enjoy is completely normal. Having crochet as a hobby, side hustle or the major income are completely different. For the last one, the pressure is real and it is totally understand-able that make a living with crochet is completely not an easy thing. That is why, we get bored easily, along with a bit of frustration, and lack of rest. It took me a while to think how I am going to solve this, but at least these are points to try on to heating up again. :)

1. Try to work on something small, quick and easy project.

Could be hat, bookmark, small bag, small granny squares, scrunchies, anything small will work. The project should be finish in 0 day and it will give us sense of gratification. Once the small project finished, I can tick my daily to do list and feel completed. I know it sounds silly, but it works for me, so I can move on to other things, like read a book which has 'heavy' content, why? the only reason is just aiming to keep the brains in balance. next chapter will explain it well.

2. Switch to your left brain exercise.

As a crafter, a blogger and editor, I feel like I have to do the job everyday. That is the reason behind my super busy to-do-lists. Successfully ticking one chore is sooo..satisfying. When the right brain done exercising through crochet, time to upgrade my left brain speed. There are advantages in keeping both left and right brain in balance, science says it helps us in long run, to identify problems, finds solutions, take action in righteous ways. For sure, being an entrepreneur needs both brains to work in harmony. What do we do to 'activate' the left brain? easy, just read something, not a pattern this time please.., but something that trigger your analytical thinking, rational thoughts, scientific and time oriented readings. My self usually buried under my biological books and scientific journals I love to read, besides, it gives me advantages while doing editing for some scientific papers.

But another time, I munched lots of writing suggestions, hacks, keeping up with audience or anything for my blogging success. It is a rewarding short escape from crocheting, by learning something else at a time. Great way to save the day!

3. Don't pressure our self.

Take it easy! It is ok not to do crocheting while it put us in pressure. Magazines and books are good to relax too. Maybe by seeing colour combinations or new pattern can heal our crochet soul. So just enjoy something you would love to make, not because someone else would like it. The last would be the main idea, make something you love, do not bother whether the customer will love it or not. It is time our self first. Anything else can wait.

4. Make something to donate.

A sense of giving can bring us joy too. A lot of people feel more completed after making donations, which also confirmed by science where it says sense of giving activate brain areas identical to pleasure. The worth of giving affects our happiness too. 
Some people concern about how and where we could make donations.
Well, there are plenty charity foundation easily found online, or we can access nearest hospital, or mosque, or church that regularly help the needy. Even we can start our own fundraising to help wild animal care, homeless or orphanage. We can sell things or directly giving our crocheted item to the one who need it, sure if they need it they will love it as much as we do.

5. Take a break.

What I mean is days off from the crochet hook and the yarns. It could be just one day, one week. It is up to you. During the break we can do horse riding, go to the sea, ... or maybe yarn shopping like I always do. It never fail bringing back my mood. 
I usually have my break planned at least 2-3 days before. At the early hours of the break, what I always do is re-shaping my schedules. I do note taking a lot, to records which one of my plans are work, and which one are failed. Then followed by future planning. By doing this, I keep my business on track even on holiday. Re-planning and re-scheduling like that usually only take 1-2 hours, then I am ready to play with my kids and leave the business behind for a while. The key is just time management! :)

6. Switch to knitting or sewing!

I have to admit, I do not know how to knit, but a most crocheters can do knitting too, hahahah. But I can sew neatly, *laugh*.
When my tedious state strikes, I sew easy things. It could be re-newing my pillows, sewing small pouch or just an easy sling bag. I am totally in love any kind of sling bags. Many times, while I was completing my sewing projects, I am badly miss my crochet hook and yarn stash again. :)

7. Re-arrange the yarn stash and our working space.

Oh my, this part is my favorite!!
I really enjoy arranging the stash , based on color, types and I do it regularly. My work space is very tiny, it is just occupying one small sized table and 1 medium sized cupboard. And everything should fit inside, plus I have a very active toddler that always curious about my 'treasure'. So, I have to make them (all my yarn, buttons, sewing machine, and all my crochet and sewing tools) away from his sight. But the good thing is, I frequently fell like finding a new stock of yarn, ribbons or new buttons anytime I do cleaning and re-arranging, hahahah. It was my own, just buried under other things.
Just try it, guarantee you will amazed finding your 'old' things too :).

Well thats all I can suggest to bring back the crochet spirit.
Just try to crochet something new, or definitely leave crochet for a while, you will back with new enthusiasm.
I would like to hear your stories too, just leave comments or subscribe so we can connect.
Thank you, and happy chaining again crafters :*
send my love from Indonesia!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Small crochet projects to sell: a zippered key cover tutorial

9:53:00 PM 0 Comments
Have you ever think that you have too much excess yarn like I do?
My experience taught me that left over yarn is valuable when it followed by a matching crochet pattern.

Previously, I was happy utilising the left over to make mini appliqués, but then I lost my mojo to crochet flowers or other appliques, what do we do then?
I have tons of left over yarn after making a bag, rugs, and blankets. They have different texture, colours and sizes. I felt that I was barely make money with it.

Until one day, during my lazy time surfing on Pinterest, a key cover free pattern caught my attention. I copy the pattern and made some of it. Well, my first batch was not a great success, and decided to gave them to my friends but then ask for a review. Hearing my friends honest comments really help me to make some improvements. And they started to sell! I am happy to share tutorials that will include both, key cover which made following original pattern and updated key cover with some upgrades.

1. Key Cover Original Pattern 

There are hundreds of key cover pattern available on Pinterest. But since this is the first time I am into it, I decided to pick the easiest. The pattern I adopted is not written in english, but it is easy to understand. Unfortunately, the pattern does not comes up with yarn and crochet hook suggestion. So, I was totally blind, how big it is going to be. I decided to go with small ply soft cotton yarn, using 2.5mm crochet hook.
This pattern saved from this link, easiest key cover pattern that I can make. I do not understand the words, but the pattern is just readable to me.
On First trial making key cover, it turns out to have 7cm of width and 9cm of height (2.5mm crochet hook with small ply cotton yarn), not too big. It fits only for 2-3 keys inside. But they looks sooo cute. I used local made cotton yarn from Crochet Republic. Bought them when the store had sale and I love it. It is quite soft (but not too soft also), and not too stiff nor itchy. The colour not even fade after my friend used the key cover for 2 weeks, but need to find out later whether it is going to fade after washing.

First time making these key cover. We absolutely can play with colours , beads, buttons and anything.
I have to admit, even though the key cover looks extremely cute, since this thing is not quite popular yet in Indonesia, it was hard to sell them. I decided to gave some to my friend as a gift with an exchange receiving an honest review of the product. My beloved friend's reviews are true gold. They reviewed the size, the length of the tail that hold the ring to attach keys, the yarn, and put some other things that might make the key cover make more sales, which I never think about it before.

2. Functional Improvements of Key Cover's Original Pattern

**First thing that I need to work on is the length of the tail. Apparently, I made it too short, so whenever the user need to use the keys, they should pull the cover a little bit hard, not really nice though :(. But later on, I make sure that I added extra 1-2 cm from its height.

Blue circles point to the extra 2 cm long I added on the A key cover compared to the B key cover.

As seen on the picture above, the 'B' key cover is the first batch I made. The key ring hardly seen to be pulled out. Took the lesson, and then I added extra 2 cm for the second batch. Both A and B were made exactly using the same pattern, but since my beloved friend said it only able to takes up 2-3 keys inside, I made it with a bigger-acrylic yarn. Well, it is rather stiff, but on this size ( 14 cm tall and 11 cm width), it can manage 6-7 keys inside.

Another option is using bigger ply of cotton yarn. I have tried it by using worsted cotton from local yarn shop too (Poyenghobby), using 4.5 mm crochet hook, then it meets almost all the requirements. It has comfy size (9cm of width and 10 cm tall), the tail a lot easier to pull out. The last, worsted cotton make it smoother compared to acrylic, so then it would not scratch any other thing inside your bag or pocket.

All those three key cover were made with the same pattern too. The pink is made out of super soft baby cotton, using 3mm crochet hook, the blue was made with worsted cotton using 4.5mm crochet hook and the grey-sleeping baby owl key cover using 100% acrylic yarn with 4.5mm crochet hook. The difference clearly seen on their size. The lesson is, if customer requested for larger or smaller size of the key cover, instead changing the counting on pattern, just use smaller or bigger ply of yarn. Because changing pattern will have consequences on its shape, there is possibility we will end up having -not so proportional size and shape- unless you are really a professional in re-making a crochet pattern.

** Second thing that I worked on is to put zipper on it.
 There is request to keep keys stay inside the cover, so it would not scratch other thing. Well, this is a point that I never think before, yes of course, don't we hate it right? I often found new scratch on my cell phone caused by the keys, they are the absolute culprits because all coins safely grounded in my purse, lol.

At first, I had a thought to add a button. But well then, I think button can not keep the keys entirely inside, there is still chance keys will leave out the cover. So, zipper would be the best. Well, then attaching zipper onto the key cover is another real problem. I have tried sewing it using sewing machine, but the size of the key cover does not fit into my sewing machine, it is away too small.
Then I sew it by hand, here is how I managed it:


Cut the zipper but with addition 2 cm for every corner.

Put a mark (dot) for every 0.5cm. Then start making a net around it using using exactly the same yarn and tapestry needle. When it finished, should be like picture below.
2. Next step is preparing stopper for the zipper.
We can use fabric, but here I used ribbon for the quick result. Picture colase below is the step I was adding stopper to the zipper.
3. Final step is sewing zipper onto the key cover. We need single strand yarn and tapestry needle. But any needle as long as it has big hole to carry the cotton yarn is fine.
Carefully sew the zipper to the key cover, this is why I was suggesting to use same yarn, to make the stitches look perfect and seamless. I think any type of stitches would do too. Besides using tapestry needle, we can attach the zipper using crochet hook too, both results are look fine and neat.
Picture below is the final look of the zipper.

Once zipper done, it is time to apply appliques you have, or maybe buttons, pearls. Basically we can decorate it with everything we love.
After all, those zippered key cover is kind of similar with mini crochet coin purse but with slightly different purpose.
I really enjoy making it.
Hope you have a good time making some of them too..
Happy crocheting my crochet fellas 😘😘😘

Monday, May 13, 2019

How to teach crochet to beginners

3:22:00 PM 0 Comments
Teaching crochet to a person or a group of people that totally new about crochet could be challenging yet fun!
Soon after few minutes teaching a crochet class for beginner, we will notice that there is someone who easily engaged to crochet, while others struggle even to hold both yarn and hook at once. I remember my first class teaching crochet, pretty awesome to me. Gives me insight what to prepare for next classes.

Later on, when we talk about crochet classes in a closed group, everyone shares their experiences teaching a crocheter beginner, and here are some points to put into consideration for those who will have their first crochet class. 

1. Preparation speech

I always think that giving a front speech about crocheting to beginner is nice, to give them idea that we are at the very beginning point of becoming a crochet crafter. I always do this for the class, not very long, it is usually around 5-10 minutes include introducing myself. I usually explain that later on, we might face the feeling called a crochet block, but then there are also days when all we want to is just crocheting, nothing else! We have to understand that all these things are normal, everyone been there! But to maintain our crochet mojo is a must to make a fortune, even if we must also consider taking a break during the way. Don't forget to tell them that the beginning is always the hardest, then should get easier by the time.  

2. What to make?

For the first meeting on crochet class, almost all audiences will love something finished to take home.
Chose the small project carefully. It should not be too complicated, because we might have to introduce many stitches at once along with learning to understand the pattern.

So here are some lists of small projects that might help for teaching a beginner.

* Making a super simple wash cloth, granny squares, coaster.
Remember that they will have something to make since day 1 and show progress. Start from the easiest. A lot of crochet crafters recommend granny square is good to learn stitches and tips at once.

* When we teach teens, it might a little bit more challenging. Because sometimes they automatically think that crocheting identical to grandma stuff and definitely not cool at all, lol.
Well, one of my crafter friend experienced this too, haha. But then she stole those little girls heart by teaching them making pompoms, because the idea is to make them feel comfortable with the yarn first. Other suggest making stitches using bare hands (hand crochet), but this option might be more challenging when we have a left handed person.
Next class there will be some people refuse to attend, but don't worry, crocheting is always only picking the right person, :P. Next crochet class for teens we can try to make book markers, which they can use when they back to school. 

3. What to learn?

-Definitely, how to hold the hook, yarn and start chaining, make a constant chain is the very first thing  they should master at.  Some people who are teaching crochet many times suggest to use hook J or H,  they are perfect for beginner, not too small neither too big. So the purpose of having finished project to take home could be easier.

-Soon after the class member feel more comfortable handling the hook and yarn, it is a sign to learn the basic stitches. As I mentioned before, use medium-large hook (H or J size) and thick yarn. it would be more advantageous to use solid and light colour, so the class members can see the difference between stitches.  Using too small or too large hook and yarn tend to make the beginner frustrated. Too small hook and yarn will take longer time to finish, and the tension also a little harder to maintain, on the other hand, using too large hook and yarn can be challenging in making the stitches.

-Next step is teaching them about how to change row without losing stitches, here we remain them the importance of counting. Sometimes I feel sorry when one of the learner made mistake in changing rows, yet feel grateful at a time because they will know exactly what will happened if they miss even only one stitch, and of course it is a good lesson for the whole class too. What I usually do is we then teach them how to count properly and match it with the pattern, so they clearly have ideas where the mistake was, and not to repeat it in the future.

my crochet note of the first year learning crochet. Reminds me that things  are not always easy, but  passion is worth to follow.

-Reading a pattern is one of crucial thing of crochet crafter should be skilled. I have met some people, they can crochet neatly (which is amazing). They learned it from other people by watching them to see how it works and able to repeat it. However, they cannot read pattern, this put me into a shock. Months later, I did not see any improvements or any creative products making they could have, just because they can't read patterns which are available and accessible freely from internet or books. So, this is our duty to get the learners understand the importance of reading pattern and how to do it correctly. Please introduce them with both diagrams and written patterns.

4. What else to prepare?

I put these lists just in case we might forget something prior the class. I usually prepare the bags of crochet stuffs for class at least 1 day before.
- make a copy of lesson ( written instructions and charts) to take home so they can make a practice at home.
-videos or youtube might help too! prepare suggested lists to watch at home.
- bring at least one of our finished product that they are going to make at the class. Believe me it helps a lot, it is helpful to show them mistakes (if they made it) and a great way to compare between pattern and the end product.
- get someone as a helper to reach all people to make sure they are doing right thing. If it is impossible to have a helper, having the beginner itself who is already engage with the lesson might help too, she/he can teach others next to them to make sure they are fine.
- carry a box of paper clip to mark stitches and rows, it help them counting.
- if the class is for teens, make something fun and funky because they don't want to be seen like grandmas. We can try bracelets, hair clips, etc
- bring our stock of excess yarn, make something quick with the scraps in multi colours is what most girls love. It is also good to give them a skill on changing yarn during the project.

At the end, all I just can say is to be patient. We are all know that crochet might not for everybody. The first and second class are usually the hardest. Notice that even holding a hook and yarn altogether are also a big progress, remains them and our self that there will be a lot easier later.
Have fun teaching!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

How to wash acrylic yarn: The Acrylic thread -the science and treatments-

12:10:00 AM 2 Comments

Acrylic yarn is quite popular among crafter and crocheter around the world because often it charges lower price compared to other yarn.
Days ago I found 3 to 4 skeins of my acrylic stash were dusty.
Then questions came across my mind, can I wash it? does it safe? will the colour fade like cotton yarn? and most important is, can I wash it using my washing machine?
Here we go, some informations gathered from serious reading of scientific paper and some of popular writing.

Yes, acrylic can be washed easily by hand or washing machine. Both are fine because acrylic well known for its stability. What is more with acrylic?

Acrylic is a man made.

It is a synthetic fiber and made of polyacrylonitrile. I just found out that most of those commercial acrylic yarn consist of 85% of the acrylonitrile polymer, when it down to 35% people called it modacrylic that usually used for wig, hair extension, carpets, etc. Nowadays, acrylic's chemical properties has been modified to increase its level of water adsorption.

Conventional acrylic retains water only 3% whereas new acrylic able to retain up to 15% of water before it will feels damp. To obtain this -good- level of water absorbance, the conventional acrylic undergo several treatments with selective solvents. I would not mentions all the chemicals, but surely it makes me a little concern. Science says that newly modified acrylic has core and sheath structure which able to push water into the core of the fiber, so we will feel the yarn still dry outward before it adsorbs 15% of water, this character a lot better compared to 13% for wool and 11% for cotton yarn. So now it is explain a lot, we found a new acrylic yarn as good and comfy as natural fiber. Even able to replace wool for its warmth.

Does acrylic yarn toxic?

Now we are informed that several chemicals(solvents) are involved to produce such a good quality of acrylic. So then, does it bad for health?
Well, we aren't going to eat it, I haven't found any significant relevancies between having a close contact with acrylic yarn and specific illness ( I will update this post soon I read something about this). But personally, I will avoid acrylic for baby and kid stuffs, like blanket, dolls, hat and any kids and baby warmer. For wearables I will go with cotton, rayon or mohair/wool, or at least acrylic that is combined with other natural fiber. 

How to wash Acrylic yarn and its crocheted products? Does it shrinking?

Acrylic can be washed by hands or washing machine. I have tried both and it was fine.  
I read other crafter's writing suggesting to hand wash acrylic yarn using shampoo. when I had 1 skein of dirty yarn I washed it by hand, and dry it under the sun. Shorter time to wash, but longer to dry.
But when I found 5 skeins full of dirt, I was too lazy to wash it by hand, instead I used washing machine in soft mode to wash them. But first don't forget to put all the yarn in a clothing pocket to keep yarn safe and not tangled, then dry them in a dryer without heat. Remember, they are made of a plastic component, when it hit by heat, there is a chance to shrink.

Acrylic dry faster than other types of yarn. My pure acrylic took 1 day to completely dry.
No changes on its colour, shape, everything stays the same before and after the washing except the dirt. One more credit for acrylic for the easy maintain. Moreover, the sturdy character of the acrylic makes them suggested for crocheter at the beginner level, because it is easy to recognise the shape of different stitches with acrylic, yet easy to count the stitches too.

How to wash combination of Acrylic and mohair? 

Well, this is interesting. I have washed 100% acrylic and acrylic in combination with mohair.
How do I wash those combinations of mohair?
I have 2 types of acrylic-mohair yarns. The purple yarn skein has 40% mohair and 60% acrylic. The brown one (2 skeins) has less acrylic, unfortunately I lost the cover so I can't say the components in precise. But I think it has more mohair than acrylic due to the look.
The purple skein is 40% mohair combaned with 60% acrylic. Whereas the brown skeins have more mohair in it.

Basically, I treated those mohair-acrylic yarn in the same way with pure acrylic. But we can see the different results later.

Here is the tips:

1. Before the wash, get a clothing pocket that has a big pores. They meant to protect the yarn plus to keep them untangled. Put the yarn inside the washing pocket, soak them in water with diluted shampoo.
Basically, any fabric pocket would do the job as long as it porous. Mine is actually from a package while we bought a pair of mountain slippers.

2. Let them sit for 30 minutes.

3. Wash-Rinse-Dry.
I set the washing machine on the soft mode with cool water. Rinse them, and dry it with no heat.

4. I put all the washed yarn in the room with natural light and still keep it away from the kids.

My acrylic-mohair yarn has small changes and took 5 days to completely dry. Mohair yarn made of the hair of angora goat. Some of those natural fibers were pulled out after the washing, not much but noticeable.
The purple skein (40% mohair and 60% acrylic) not much change.
However, the brown with motives and plain brown had a little tangled up on its fiber, so we need extra care to pull the yarn.

Pros and Cons of Acrylic.

There are Pros and Cons of acrylic among crafters. 
The one that loves acrylic usually goes with all these reasons below:
# Good thing about acrylic is that it is able to show contour of stitch we are using to crochet, because it is stiff and quite strong. 
# Affordable.
# Lightweight.
# Warm.
# Washable with ease.
# Resilience, it is easily returns to original shape after washing.

On the other hand, some would avoid acrylic due to these reasons:
* Higher chance to get shrink.
* Some people feel itchy to work with acrylic.
* Some other concern about environmental reason, living with minimal amount of plastic. Also, during the process of the acrylic making which involve some kind of chemical that are harmful to the nature.

After all those informations, despite of the disadvantages of using acrylic yarn, it  involves in advancing human creativity through crochet and knit. Maybe in the future human being will be able to make synthetic acrylic yarn that has features as good as natural fiber but less negative impact to environment and proven harmless for human too. Who knows, science never have barrier.