Posted in Crafting Corner, crochet

Why You Should Pay Attention to Crochet Gauges

 

A few weeks ago I saw a pin for this really adorable crochet child’s hoodie. I was positive that my daughter would look super cute in it. Plus, it would double as a fall and spring jacket.

I quickly made my way to my local craft store to purchase some yarn.

Needless, to say I was really excited. This was going to be my first time making an actual crochet garment.

I’ve made scarves, headbands, and shawls before, but none of them had to be an exact fit.

If you haven’t read any of my other crochet posts you would know that I am notorious for just jumping right in and not following directions to the “T”.

Which is fine, when the fit doesn’t matter.

So I did what I usually do.

I jumped right in and started working through the pattern.

After putting in about two days worth of work, I made it to the part where it was time to assemble the shoulders and arm holes.

I quickly stitched everything together. I was so excited to try it on my daughter even though it wasn’t completely finished.

I got one arm in… and with a bit of a struggle the other arm went in.

Sadly, it was way to small for her. It looked like it was about to burst at the seams if she moved any more.

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I was so disappointed. All that time wasted creating something that wasn’t going to fit her.

Where had I gone wrong? I looked back at the pattern.

I had followed the instructions as they had been written (for a change).

 That couldn’t have been the issue…then at the top of the page I saw the recommended  crochet gauge, for the hoodie. next to the words,” make sure you CHECK YOUR GAUGE! 

What is a Crochet Gauge?

If you don’t know what a crochet gauge is, you’re not alone. I had to do a little bit of research before I understood what it was.

A crochet gauge tells you the number of stitches and the number of rows you should have in a 4×4 in square using a specific sized hook and yarn.

This square is known as a gauge swatch.

For some crochet patterns like dishcloths or scrubbies, where size doesn’t really matter, gauge is not important.

However, if you are going to create a hat or some other kind of garment then trying to replicate the gauge used is extremely important.

How To Make A Gauge Swatch

Every one crochets differently and if you want your garment to turn out right (and not wrong like mine did) then you need to check your gauge by making a gauge swatch.

You should make your swatch using the same stitches,yarn weight, and crochet hook used in the crochet pattern.

You can create a 4×4 in square swatch or you can make your swatch a little larger.

The recommended gauge for the hoodie I was working on was 11 hdc (half double crochets) and 10 rows in a 4x 4 in square.

Obviously, since I had followed the pattern and it turned out too small my gauge must have been wrong. I just didn’t know how wrong.

In typical fashion, I created my own gauge swatch, but instead of creating a 4” square I just crocheted 11 hdc and 10 rows.

I tend to crochet tightly especially, when using the smaller hook sizes. After 11 dc my width was only about 2.5” and my row height was only a little over 2.5”. Based on my swatch I was way off the mark.

Final Thoughts

After learning the hard way. I’ve realized that when it comes to making clothing in crochet that gauge is very important.

If you don’t follow the recommended gauge your item can end up being too small or too large.

I’m just glad that I didn’t complete the whole thing only to find out that it didn’t fit.

Until I’ve figured out how to fix my gauge I will have to put this project on hold, but when I’ve figured it out I’ll share my finished product with you guys.

Have you ever crocheted something and it turned out too small or too large? How did you fix it? Thanks for reading! 

Don’t forget to like and share this post.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Uncategorized

Those Along the Walk

It has been a while since I have written a blog post. The past two weeks seem like they have been impossibly long and full of every kind of excuse and distraction to prevent me from writing.

First, the kids were off for a week because of Hurricane Florence, which we didn’t get hit by. So the house we full of little people. Then the week after that I had to focus on getting my sermon prepared for Sunday, which is always a stressful process for me.

I am grateful that the kids are finally back in school and we are able to get back on a normal schedule.

At some point during all of this chaos, I started going to the track in the morning with my daughter to walk/jog. I try to complete a mile every day. However, I’m not going to lie. I despise walking. I ran track in high school and college.

So I tend to do a lot more jogging. I know we are all so busy going about our day and we don’t have time to stop and really look at anything. But have you ever stopped to look at the people around you when you are out? Or the people that are around you where you work?

It’s not often that most of us really observe our surroundings, but one day I began to really look at the people on the track around me.

There were young men, old men, young ladies, and older ladies. Sometimes there were mothers with their babies and kids in tow like me. Most of the time people either had on their headphones and walked alone, but there were a few that walked together and chatted with each other.

As I began to take notice of the people around me. I noticed something, their attire. Every morning when I go for our walk I put on a pair of tights, a t-shirt, and a pair of running shoes. Standard work out attire for me.

However, I’ve seen people walking dressed like me. I’ve seen a woman walk her laps in a dress. Men walking in nice polos. Young men dressed in sweatshirts. Older women wearing large hats. Some people had on sweatpants, jogging pants or jeans.

At first, this puzzled and irritated me, but then I began to think about life. And how we are all on the same path, but on individual journeys. Even though we were all walking in the same place at the same time our journey’s were not the same. Maybe for my journey, I need tights, a t-shirt, and running shoes. Maybe for someone else, their journey requires them to be in a dress and sneakers.

During our journey, we may walk along with friends and for other parts, we will walk alone. Sometimes we will walk and sometimes we will run. And sometimes were like the baby in the stroller or carrier being pushed/carried along by God until we can run on our own.

What observations have you made about the people around you? Have they ever lead to some deeper insight into life? I’d love to hear them.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, diy

A Unique Gift Idea: The Crocheted Fish In A Jar

A few weeks ago one of my former coworkers texted me an unusual request…she asked me to crochet her a fish in a jar. My first thought was, “Why in the world would someone want a crocheted fish in a jar?” and “Is this really a thing?” Then she sent me a link to an Etsy shop that sold these little beauties.

Since we’re friends I decided to give it a try and crocheted her a fish in a jar.

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The supplies I used for this project were:

  • Cotton yarn (any color)
  • Thread yarn (for the plant)
  • Darning Needle
  • Crochet hook (3.5 mm)
  • Old Pickle Jar (I like to upcycle when I can)
  • Pebbles
  • Goo Gone (to remove stickers on the jar)
  • Elmers Glue (Modge Podge)
  • Glue Gun
  • Toy Stuffing
  • Acrylic Paint (to paint the top of the pickle jar)
  • Invisible thread
  • Scissors

To create the fish I used the pattern created by Lexie Loves Stitching. The written pattern is written using UK terminology. I actually watched her youtube video, which was easier to follow.

In the video, she also uses UK terminology, but she also provides you with the US terminology as well.

I used the pattern from Eden Reborn to create the plant.  The pattern for the fish is very simple to follow on this site as well.

My friend teaches an oceanography class so I wanted to make a more exotic looking fish for her, which is why I used the pattern on Lexie Loves to Stitch.

You can also go to cool creatives and check out the other free amigurumi fish patterns.

Fish1

Anyone who knows me knows that I hardly ever follow all the steps in the provided pattern. My fish was a lot bigger than he should have been because I used a larger crochet hook.

Once I finished making the fish everything else was pretty simple to put together. I would recommend gluing the rocks into the jar before you start working on the fish. This will give the glue time to dry.

Once I put it all together it looked pretty neat.

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I connected the fish to the top with tape and then used glue from the glue gun to hold it in place.

Once I had finished I delivered it to its intended recipient. Now, he has a special place in her classroom. I would definitely consider this a unique gift to give to friends and family.

 

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

 

 

Posted in Family, Lifestyle

10 Essential Foods I Keep Stocked in My Pantry

woman carrying basket of fruits and vegetables
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

As hurricane Florance makes it’s way to the East Coast I started taking notice of the various food items that I keep stocked in my pantry. While many of these foods are not essential to us surviving the coming storm. They are foods that are a regular part of my families diet. Thus making them essential for us.

Without further ado here are the 10 essential foods that I keep stocked in my pantry:

1.Cereal

I have 4 small children living in my house, so cereal is a no-brainer for us. It’s something simple that the kids can make on their own for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It can be eaten with or without milk.

The best time to stock up on cereal is when they are having a good sale on your favorite brands or buying the store brand. Recently, at my local Krogers, they had a deal for 4 boxes of general mills cereal for $8 plus a free gallon of milk.

If you use grocery rebate apps like ibotta or checkout 51 you can even get money back on your purchases. You can also join rewards clubs, like kelloges.com, to get coupons for your favorite items.

2.Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another family favorite that’s cheap and inexpensive. Unlike cereal, oatmeal tends to leave me feeling fuller longer throughout the day. It’s also a great source of fiber. Oatmeal can also be used to make cookies, dog treats, and facial masks.

3.Pancake Mix

Pancake mix is another one of those versatile breakfast items that we tend to overlook. However, pancake mix can be used to make pancakes (duh…) and waffles. But did you also know that you can use pancake mix to make cookies, cakes, and scones. Check out this post on the 9 Things To Make With Pancake Mix.

4. Bread

I think bread is the most eaten food item in our house. My husband uses 3 slices of bread to make his PB & Jelly sandwiches! 3 slices!!!! I guess it would be more precisely called a PB, jelly & cheese sandwich (bread, PB, a slice of cheese, bread, jelly, bread). It sounds gross to me, but he loves it.

We buy our bread from Aldi’s for .75 cents. You can also purchase bread at the dollar store. Just make sure you check the expiration dates before you purchase them. I usually buy about 6 loaves at a time. I just freeze the rest until we need them.

Like everything else on my list bread can be used for other things besides making sandwiches check out these 10 uses for bread.

5.PB & Jelly

Peanut butter can actually be really expensive, we usually buy ours in bulk from Sams or BJs. Jelly, however, is a lot cheaper. If we didn’t have these items my husband would go out and buy food for lunch. Which if you haven’t read my series on The Smart Way to Transition to One Income, eating out can really add up.  So for us, the PB is a frugal expense.

6.Ramen

Ramen…if you’ve ever lived in a dorm you should be very familiar with Ramen. Ramen is the college students best friend. What else can you go to Walmart and buy for .20? Yea, your blood pressure might be a little high after eating it, but when you’re paycheck is still a few days away ramen will get you through.

Ramen noodle can also be used to make other kinds of soup. Throw in some carrots, broccoli, and chicken into a pot of chicken flavored ramen and you’ve got chicken soup! Or you could try these other 17 ways to use Ramen noodles.

7. Noodles (Lasagna,spaghetti, penne,etc)

I always try to keep spaghetti and lasagna noodles stocked in my pantry. You can make a variety of pasta dishes besides spaghetti and lasagna. I make a baked penne and cheese dish that my husband loves. It’s a lot like lasagna, but with a twist.

8. Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti sauce is another favorite item I like to keep in my pantry. I can usually get jars or cans of spaghetti sauce for as little as .88 when they are on sale. Besides using spaghetti sauce to make pasta you can also try to use them in these 10 dishes.

9. Rice

Rice is another one of the staple foods that can be used in times of plenty and times of want. It’s very filling and a little goes a long way. We pretty much eat plain rice with almost every meal. Every now and then we’ll jazz it up and make chicken fried rice, jambalaya, or beans and rice. Need a few more ideas on ways to cook rice check out this link.

10. Beans

Right now we have several different cans of beans in our pantry. The cheapest way to buy beans is to buy them dried and then cook them yourself. However, I have never had much success making beans that way. They always end up hard.

Beans are another versatile food can be used in any number of recipes. Beans are also an excellent substitute for meat. I’ve used beans in spaghetti as a substitute for ground beef. I’ve also used beans and rice to make burritos.

They’re also great for soups and my all time favorite cold weather food chili!

Well, that’s it. Those are the top 9 items that you can find in my pantry on any given day. What foods did you keep stocked in your pantry?

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro