Knitted Threads Designs - Crochet Tips and Techniques Crochet Tips and Techniques!

Making Your Crochet Project A Little Easier To Control
by Janet Rehfeldt

Knitted Threads Designs - Tips and Techniques

  • Tips for keeping skeins of yarn and thread intact
  • Using multiple strands and colors
  • Counting or tracking rows and pattern repeats

Controlling Skeins of Yarn:

  1. The new Yarn Bras available at craft stores or through mail order are wonderful for keeping that skein of yarn in place.  They are a plastic net that expands to fit your skein and then collapsed down as you use the yarn.  They run about $3.50 to $4.00 a package. Make your own yarn bras by taking a knee high stocking and placing it on the skein.  I use old ones that have runs and I've washed out well.  Making sure the pull strand is at the top of the stocking, pull the stocking up onto the skein.  These little guys work wonderfully because of the elastic band at the top ... and best of all, it doesn't cost much. Think of it as a great recycling tip.
  2. Using the taller 1 lb coffee can, that you've cleaned out, saving the plastic lid.  Cut a hole in the middle of the lid using a leather hole punch or exacto knife about 1/8" round.   [It's important to actually cut a hole in the lid, not just a slit]  Find the center strand on your pull skein.  Put the yarn into the can vertically with the pull end up.  Thread the strand through the hole in the lid and snap the lid onto the can.
  3. You can also use gallon size zip lock freezer bags to keep that yarn in check.  I like the One Zip type that have the actual zipper on the bag, but any zip lock freezer baggy will do.  Put your yarn into the baggy and pull the end out of the bag.  Zip the zipper up to the strand of yarn, but make sure the thread flows out smoothly.  There's a hint below for using one bag for multiple skeins.
  4. Make your own yarn holders with the larger plastic soda or water bottles.  Making sure you wash and dry them out really well cut them in half.  I file the edges a bit with a used emery board so that I don't cut myself on the plastic.  Then I put the yarn into the bottom of the bottle and pull the strand through the opening of the top half.  Now being careful, push the top into the bottom portion of the bottle.  You may have to squeeze it into the bottom.

Controlling Thread:

  1. For the larger balls of thread like the Knit Cro-sheen size 10 or the Lustersheen balls, I like to use a Planters Peanut, or Almond Rocha can that I've cleaned out and saved the plastic lid.  Follow the same directions given above for using coffee cans.
  2. When using small balls like the DMC cotton I like to use a canning jar with a large mouth opening.  I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the lid ring.  Punch a hole in the middle of the cardboard and push it into the lid ring.  Drop your thread into the jar, threading the end through the hold in the cardboard lid.  Place the lid onto the jar.
  3. Use zip lock freezer bags.  I like the One Zip type that have the actual zipper on the bag, but any zip lock freezer baggy will do.  Try the quart size for the larger balls of thread and pint size for smaller balls.  Put your thread into the baggy and pull the end out of the bag.  Zip the zipper up to the thread, but make sure the thread flows out smoothly.
  4. I've also taken the liter size plastic water or soda bottles and cut them in half.  I do the same thing as listed above for the larger plastic bottles to hold yarn skeins.

Using Multiple Strands:

  1. When using two or three strands together,  like working on a Q or S hook project, use a regular zip lock bag, putting the two/three skeins into the bag vertically.  Bring the inner pull strand out of the bag on each skein.  Don't zip the bag all the way across, just close the zip lock portion in-between each skein letting the strands flow through smoothly.  For six strands, use two baggies and staple them together along the sides.  You can't use the one zip style baggy on this one, it has to be a normal zip lock type.
  2. When I am using more than one container holding my yarn skeins or balls of thread, I find a paper bag or a box that fits the number of cans or baggies I am using so that they are kind of snug fit when placed into the bag or box.  Put the cans or baggies into the the bag/box and place it on the floor by your feet.  This way everything is nice and neat and I don't trip over the loose cans or bags.... I call this my containment zone.

Using Multiple Colors:

  1. When you are using multiple colors in a project try using yarn bobbins.  You can purchase these at yarn stores or craft stores along with mail order.  Wind each bobbin with enough of the color you need for each area of color change.  No bobbins?  Not a problem... cut pieces of cardboard about 2" by 4" and wind your yarn around these.  Cut a slit at one edge.  When not using the yarn, place the yarn/thread strand into the slit to keep it from unraveling.
  2. Try using the floss cards that come with embroidery floss holders.  These are small enough not to get in the way and they come with the slits already there.
  3. If using bobbins doesn't appeal to you, try using small plastic bags.  You can get them at office supply, craft or stationary stores.  These little zip lock bags come in a variety of sizes.  Wind off enough of the color you need for each color change and put into the bag.  Zip the bags all the way closed when not using the color, and unzip only slightly allowing the strand to flow freely when in use.
  4. While working with multiple colors, keep the unused colors to the back of your work. For more tips on crocheting with multiple colors, see the tips page for “Changing Colors In Crochet”

Counting Rows:

  1. Make a working copy of your pattern.  [Write PERSONAL USE COPY or your name across the top so that you can avoid a nasty conversation with someone who may think you are infringing on copyrights.]  As you finish each row make an X or check mark next to the row number.  For following a chart, enlarge the pattern on the copier and use a highlighter pen to cross off each row on the chart as your finish it.
  2. For multiple rows and repeats such as afghan patterns that have you "following rows 22 through 195 repeating rows 2 through 21", write "row just finished" or "number of rows done" at the top of your copy.  As you finish a row of the pattern repeat,  put that row # next to the "row just finished" [Row 4 ].  Update the "number of rows done" when you are in the total number you have to do [Row 78].  Keep a pencil handy with a good eraser on it and keep changing the two figures as you go along.  If you don't have easy access to a copy machine... use two post it notes.  One for the "row just finished" and one for the "number of rows done".  Place the post-its on your pattern.  This way you don't mark up your original pattern.
  3. Purchase a row counter like the ones knitters use. You can do a couple of things to keep this counter handy and attached to your work:
    • You can take a piece of yarn and thread it through the row counter.  Tie it into a loop.  Place the loop onto a safety pin and pin the counter to your work.
    • Row counters come in two sizes, so you can use the smaller size on hooks to about a G and the larger size row counter for hooks that are larger than size G.  You can purchase needle protectors that knitters use to keep the knitting on their needles from falling off.  They look like a rubber stopper and they too come in two sizes,  small and larger.  Place the row counter on the end of your hook.  Now place the rubber stopper on the end of your hook.  For steel hooks or if your row counter slips up your hook, wrap a rubber band around the hook in front of the row counter.
  4. There are also row counters out on the market that are a board with pegs.  Susan Bates has one and also Boye puts one out.  I paid about $4.99 for mine.  They allow you to place pegs in the row and the stitch repeat that you are one.  You can also use the pegged score board that card players use for Cribbage... these work really well for tracking your work.

©Janet Rehfeldt 1998    All Rights Reserved.