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New Technique Thursday- Week #2- Bullion Stitch

Tangled! That’s what I got when trying out this stitch for the first time! As I began my first attempts at this stitch I wondered to myself why on earth I would ever try a stitch like this. It’s because I saw this pretty picture of a Bullion stitch on Pinterest and thought I’d love to learn how to make it myself. So I visited the site from where this photo originated and I read the directions. It seemed relatively easy. I grabbed some yarn and a hook and dug my heels in. Whoa. While the process of making this stitch is quick, it is far from painless, lol.

So here I am, a number of hours later, and I’ve mostly gotten the hang of this stitch. One thing is for certain, my patience and determination were both found today!

What is a Bullion (or Roll) Stitch? It is a decorative stitch which is made by wrapping the yarn around the hook many times and then pulling a loop of yarn through all of the wraps made. When finished, the stitch resembles a spring or a coil. The tricky part about this stitch is in managing to pull your yarn loop through all of the wraps made, without snagging it or missing any of the wraps, and keeping the size of the wraps all consistent with each other.

I started off using worsted weight yarn and a variety of different sized hooks. None of that was working. My bullions were all wonky and the hooks kept getting stuck in the plies of the yarn, therefore pulling the yarn apart. So I took a new approach. I tried using #10 crochet thread and a 1.75 mm steel hook. Tada!  Success. Not perfection, but finally it was beginning to work out. So next was practice. And more practice and more practice.  Still, it’s not perfect, but I’m happy to say that I tried and succeeded in getting the basic stitch done. It looks relatively decent, at least I think so. Below is a photo of what my best attempt (so far) looks like:

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Because I worked my Bullion stitches in a round, they aren’t straight. Perhaps if I added more of them in the round they would all squish together and stand straighter? You can compare my photo to those photos of Bullion stitches found on other websites (they also provide instructions on how to make the stitch):

About.com

Lots of Crochet Stitches (this one shows it done in rows)

Stitch Diva Studios (also shows it done in rows)

I’m not really sure if I’ll use this stitch in any of my future projects. I definitely need to practice it more before doing anything with it. I think the Bullion Stitch would work best in a doily, or even a granny square. Have you used it before? What sort of project did you use it on?

Until next time….

Amanda

 

 

 

 

New Technique Thursday- Week #1- Crocodile Stitch

Having been a crocheter for over 10 years now, it might be hard to believe that I’ve never learned the Crocodile Stitch. Truth be told, I’ve been keen on the idea of learning it for quite some time now, but it’s one of those things where I just never made the time to do so. But now that I’ve officially put aside one day per week to learn something new, I can proudly state that I know how to crochet a basic Crocodile Stitch! 🙂

I “Googled” for a list of tutorials to follow, and after skimming through some of the search results, I decided to use the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to the Crocodile Stitch from the Red Heart blog.  The photos were a great reference when following the instructions which in themselves were very simple and straight forward. In fact, the sample piece, shown in the photo below, in which I made 3 rows of scales, took me only 1 hour to figure out and put together.

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I’ll be the first to admit that the gauge is all off, but I think that it’s pretty good for my first attempt.

While I was learning this stitch I couldn’t help but wonder who invented it, and when. The person who did so was brilliant! So, again I “Googled” for the information and found NOTHING. The closest thing I read about it was that it is a relatively new stitch. But how new is that? 5 years? 10 years? 100 years? 1000 years? lol

I don’t know what I’ll make using this stitch, but it’s definitely one worth practicing. Maybe a scarf? Scarves are usually pretty good first projects when dealing with a new stitch.

So, it’s been a very successful first New Technique Thursday for me. I am extremely happy that I set out to learn something new. I certainly look forward to next week’s technique (just have to figure out what I want to learn now!)

Later Alligator….In a while Crocodile…

Amanda

 

Crocheting On A Budget

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To tell you how many times I’ve stumbled upon patterns that I wanted to use but couldn’t would be impossible. I have downloaded countless patterns to my laptop and have invested in many hard copy books over the years, but it seems only a handful of those patterns have ever been put to use. And why is that? Not because I don’t have enough time to crochet (Let’s face it, serious crochet addicts like myself ALWAYS find time), but because I can’t afford to buy all the supplies required!

Tips On Getting The Most Out Of Your $$

  • Make smaller items which allows you to make more items per skein of yarn.  One ball of crochet thread can make many bookmarks, or even a couple of smaller doilies. One skein of yarn can make a pair of mittens and a hat, or a couple of pairs of slippers or socks.
  • Once you are done making your items, you’ll probably be left with a small amount of unused yarn. Wind this up into a little ball and put it in a special place such as a bin or a drawer. Every time you are left with that small amount of leftovers after completing a project, wind it up and add it to that special place. Before you know it you will have an abundance of small colorful balls of yarn…perfect for making granny squares! Or Flower Appliques which you can attach to hats and headbands. Scrapbookers also like flower appliques to add to their pages!
  • Scour yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets. You can find old pattern books, threads and yarns and tools too. When a crafter passes on, many times the family members will sell or donate their loved ones supplies. While it sounds a bit morbid to acquire your crocheting supplies in this fashion, it’s really not. Consider the fact that you’re helping this person’s crafting legacy to continue on through the projects that you create using their old supplies. (And sometimes it’s just a case of the crafter clearing out their stash to make room for a new stash!)
  • Have an old scarf (or sweater, hat, blanket) that’s outdated or you simply don’t want any longer? Unravel it and recycle it into something new! Or, you can buy old garments at the yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets and recycle them instead! You can also crochet using plastic bags, rags, and even wire!
  • When a pattern calls for a certain type of yarn, chances are there’s a cheaper version of that yarn. Scout the yarn aisle at stores such as WalMart for cheap alternatives.
  • Don’t splurge when you see yarn for sale! Easier said than done, right? But with a little willpower you can avoid this. I use to be guilty of this. What did it get me? An over-abundance of yarns that collected dust as I waited for a project to use them all on, and an empty wallet.
  • Find a pattern that you want to use, write a shopping list of the materials you need to buy to make it, write down the approximate cost of making the project, and budget it into your next paycheck (or 2 paychecks, whatever the case may be). Then when it’s time to shop, bring the list and stick to it!
  • Instead of paying for patterns, download and/or print them from the internet. There are many wonderful free patterns available. You could also make your own patterns. Simply write down the pattern as you’re creating it.
  • Visit your local library and you’ll find pattern books. Check the book out and if you’re not done with it by the time the book is due back to the library, you could check it out again. You could also photocopy or scan the pattern you’re interested in (just be wary of copyright laws).
  • Avoid getting sucked into buying accessories that you don’t really need. There are countless brands offering up many wonderful tools, however, it’s sometimes easier to just improvise. I don’t use stitch markers. I use safety pins instead. They are much much cheaper and have many different uses. For marking stitches you can also use contrasting colors of yarn. Just tie a little strand in the place you need marked.
  • Try selling what you make. There are many sites online (RavelryEtsy, Craftsy) where you can sell your projects (you might even get orders for more once people see what you have to offer!) Or you could rent a table at a craft fair or a flea market.
  • If you are new to crocheting or want to learn new stitches, don’t pay for lessons. Instead watch video tutorials online. YouTube has an abundance of videos that can help you learn.

Crocheting should be a pleasure, and not induce worry or anxiety about how much you spend on the hobby. In general, I think that the best way to avoid high costs is to buy only what you need, and not have too many different projects on the go at one time. Before you start a new project, finish the old one.

Amanda