Tips for Learning in an Online Knitting or Crochet Class

Knitting classes and crochet classes are almost the definition of “hands-on”. But now that we can’t be together physically, what’s it like to take a knitting or crochet class virtually?

Is it even possible to learn a new skill in these circumstances? The answer is an emphatic yes! Even in a distanced world, you can make the most of your next virtual knitting or crochet class.

This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but they won’t cost you anything extra.

You may already be familiar with video learning from YouTube or platforms like Creativebug and the (former) Bluprint/Craftsy. You may have found that those one-way classes are perfect for you, and that you don’t need live interaction with your instructor.

But if you want more, try out virtual classes with a live teacher. You’ll find more and more of these online as teachers pivot from teaching at large in-person events to virtual classrooms. Learn how with these best tips for learning in an online knitting or crochet class.

Tip #1 Use reliable internet that supports streaming

It’s no fun when your screen locks up or the little “buffering” wheel goes round and round. Make sure others in your household are not hogging shared bandwidth. Have them do something else while you are in class. 

Tip #1 reliable connection-ethernet

Can you go to a place that has a better connection? Most public libraries have public internet, and even if the library is not open, you may be able to connect from a parking lot or sitting area just outside the library.

Try to let the teacher know ahead of time if you know that your internet is unreliable and you might get kicked off at any moment. They might have to let you back into class at some point, and a heads-up on that is helpful. Find out if the class is being recorded and if it will be available afterward in case you can’t access it during class time.

You may want to leave your camera off as much as possible to help with streaming. Turn it back on when/if you need to show yourself or your work.

Tip #2 Use the largest screen available


If you have a choice of devices, you’ll want the one with the most screen real estate. 

Tip #2 - two large iMac monitors
Photo by Tranmautritam from Pexels

You’ll need to be able to see the instructor’s hands on close-up shots. You’ll want to be able to see their face, and maybe those of your fellow students. It’s also helpful to see chat comments and questions in a sidebar (on some platforms).

Don’t count on using your phone as your main screen. You won’t be able to see well enough, and some of the teaching platforms don’t have as many features available on the mobile versions.

Tip #3 Know how to use the hardware and software

Well before class starts, do a dry run with your equipment. 

Mpow headset

Download the app you’ll be using. If you already have the app, check for updates. Sometimes updates take a while, so allow time to install them.

Make sure your speaker or headphones/earbuds work with your device. Check that your microphone is working and you have allowed the app to access it. If you don’t know how to do these things, ask for help from a family member or friend. Or Google it.

Practice using the platform. Most of the platforms have a free version. Set up a time to meet with a friend so you can become familiar with the features and quirks of the program. 

At some point, you may need to show your work to your teacher. Especially if you are having trouble executing a technique, it will be important for the teacher to see your hands.

Think about how you can do this. Is there a way for you to set the camera above your hands, shooting down (at least temporarily)? Can you hold your hands up to the camera (which presents the reverse side of the work to the viewer)? Can you move the camera to your lap, so the teacher can see the work from your perspective?

Tip #4 Prepare your space

Sit in a comfortable seat, with the screen on a table or stand where you can see it easily. Remember that you’ll need your hands to crochet or knit! Keep your lap free for your work.

If it’s an interactive class, where the instructor and other students need to see you, try to set the camera angle so that it gets your full face. You don’t want them looking up your nostrils or just at your forehead!

Make sure you have adequate task lighting, with the light in front of you. Turn off lamps and close the blinds behind you to prevent harsh backlighting which throws your face into shadow.

LED ring light

Place any class supplies within reach, including notions like scissors and yarn needles. Keep some extra yarn handy, as well. You don’t want to have to step away to look for a missing notion, and you won’t have a fellow student next to you to let you borrow their scissors!

Think about the things you might want to have with you in a regular in-person class: water bottle, pencil, notebook. Have those things handy, as well.

Tip #5 Minimize distractions

Turn off the TV. Put your cell phone in another room, or turn off the ringer. Try to be in a room by yourself, or at least have the kids and pets in another room. Don’t be doing laundry or other tasks while in class.

mother with laptop and baby on her lap
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

You’ve probably paid for the class, so get your money’s worth by concentrating on the class just as you would if you were attending in person.

Tip #6 Wear pants

Disappointing advice, I know. You don’t have to wear hard pants, but do make sure you are dressed. You may be on video, and even if you think only your upper half will show it’s safer to have all your clothes on!

woman wearing jeans
Photo by Heitor Verdi from Pexels

Some people suggest that wearing “real” clothes will signal to your body that it’s time to work (or learn), so there’s that, too.

Tip #7 Stay muted

There are always unexpected background sounds in any meeting. Sirens, lawn mowers, barking dogs, shouting children, people talking in the next room, someone asking what’s for dinner. Multiply this by the number of students in the class, and it can get noisy fast! 

Muted micropohone icon

Unless you need to say something, turn your microphone to mute (there’s a setting on the platform you are using). Your teacher may mute you, as well. You can always unmute yourself when you have something to say.

Tip #8 The old rules still apply

What Old Rules? The ones you followed back in the days when you took live classes in person with teachers and other students right there in the room with you!

Make the most of your next knitting or crochet class

There are lots of things you can (still) do to make the most of your classes, whether they are online or in person. Things like check the prerequisites, do your homework, show up on time, and more. Read Twenty Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Knitting or Crochet Class.

Tip #9 Pretend you are somewhere else

Yes, I know you are at home in your comfy chair, with yarn in your hand. You have your favorite beverage nearby and you are ready to settle in to learn something new.

You didn’t have to get a baby sitter or a pet setter. You didn’t have to take a road trip or get on a plane. You didn’t have to get up early, deal with rush hour, find a place to park, locate a classroom in the bowels of a convention center. You didn’t have to pick a place to sit that was close enough to see the teacher but—God forbid!—not in the front row.

But the familiarity of home has a downside. Namely, you aren’t quite as excited to learn as you might be if you had gone to more trouble to get to class. After all, by now you may have attended a Zoom meeting or fifteen, and haven’t found them all that exciting.

Edie teaching at Stitches Event

Build up the excitement and enthusiasm you’d feel if you were traveling to a new venue. Pretend that’s what you are doing.

Pack a bag with all your class materials, throw in snacks and a water bottle, and put it by the door.

Now take a 15-minute walk in your neighborhood to clear your mind. You need the exercise before you sit before your screen for an hour or more. And if you were at a fiber event, it would probably take you a 15-minute walk to get to your classroom!

When you come back home, pick up your bag, go into the room you have decided to use as your “classroom”. Come a bit early and chat with your fellow students, do a little show-and-tell, and generally settle in before the teacher starts class.

Tip #10 Be patient

This whole experience of interactive learning online is new to most of us.

stacked stones-be patient in an online class

It’s new to your Instructors. Instructors are learning to use their classroom skills in a new environment. Lesson plans have had to change. We are learning the new technology along with our students while we navigate classroom management, invitations, privacy, screen sharing and other hosting duties at the same time.

It’s new to your fellow students. Along with you, they are learning the ins and outs of muting, camera set-ups, and all the distractions that come from life. All this, while trying to learn whatever it is that the teacher is trying to teach!

Be patient with your teacher, with your fellow students, and most of all with yourself as you adapt to this new way of learning. With practice, we’ll all become more comfortable with interactive online learning in our yarn world.

Next Steps

closeup of hands with crochet in progress from online class

As more in-person events go virtual, it’s a whole new world out there for teachers and students alike. Technology platforms and teaching/learning best practices are changing daily. I’ll try to update this post (and add new ones) as I myself practice and learn more about virtual learning.

The best way to see how live and interactive online knit and crochet classes work for you is to try it!

For more online learning opportunities, check out my Workshop Schedule.

How to Become a Crochet Designer

How to Become a Crochet Designer

You enjoy creating new designs instead of relying on other people’s patterns. Your friends want to make the items you’re designing. How do you become a crochet designer?

There’s a lot to learn, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Here are my ten best tips for becoming a crochet designer.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tip #1 Crochet, crochet, crochet

Crochet, crochet, crochet

Crochet a lot. Crochet many different types of things: hats, scarfs, afghans, pillows, amigurumi, shawls and sweaters. Crochet items where gauge matters so that you understand how important gauge is. Crochet sweaters for women, for men, and for children so that you understand ease and fit.

Pay attention to the techniques you use and try to understand the “why” behind what you are doing. You may learn that you don’t enjoy crocheting a specific type of project or with a certain type of yarn. Or you may find new favorites!

The more you crochet and the more varied your projects are, the faster you will learn the designer skills.


Tip #2 Learn from Others

Learn from Others

Study what other crochet designers have done, and see what techniques they use.

As you learn new techniques, make sure you’re learning from reputable sources. Blog posts and videos made years ago may have a lot of views. This makes them show up at the top of a list when you do a search. And they may be at the top of the list because they are useful and answer your questions.

Yet not every post or video you’ll see will be accurate. It may be that things have changed recently and new terminology has come into fashion. There may be more than one “right” way of doing something. The information given may not cover the whole story.

Take time to look at many sources for information. Learning from books, blogs, and videos will increase your knowledge. Books like Design Your Own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney can speed you on your way.

Take classes to up your skill level. Many in-person classes are on hold right now, but they are an excellent way to build your skills. Bloggers and teachers who teach at national shows such as the CGOA’s Chain Link or Stitches events are a good place to start.

You can see all my available classes here.

And of course, there are thousands of YouTube videos to choose from. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots of crochet instruction.


Tip #3 Swatch, swatch, swatch

Swatch, Swatch, Swatch

swatch of crocheted fabric

Swatching is the process of making a small sample of fabric using the yarn, hook, and stitch pattern(s) you’ll use in a project.

Most people think of swatching as a chore they have to do to match a pattern gauge. But swatching is much more than that! It’s a crucial tool for designers.

Swatching allows you to try out ideas before you commit to making an entire project. If you have a problem with the yarn or hook, or don’t like the stitch pattern, it’s better to find that out early on. Why wait until the middle of the project to find out you don’t like it?

Swatching allows you to get a feel for the fabric you are making. You can decide if that fabric behaves the way you want it to for your project. Play with combinations of hook, yarn and stitch pattern to get the exact fabric you want.

Crocheting is forgiving of experimentation, and that’s what swatching is all about. And yes, a good swatch also gives you important information about gauge.

Watch How to Measure Gauge in Single Crochet.


Tip #4 Make Friends with Stitch Dictionaries

Make Friends with Stitch Dictionaries

While we are on the topic of experimenting, grab a stitch dictionary or three and try out different stitch patterns. Add stitch patterns to your design toolbox!

Try out a variety of patterns, hooks, yarns, and projects. This kind of play (it’s called swatching!) allows your creative juices to start flowing.

Here are some great places to start with stitch dictionaries:


Tip #5 Understand the Math

Understand the Math

Designing for crochet is all about math. You are going to be using arithmetic in all your crochet designs, whether you realize it or not.

Knowing how gauge factors into everything is a start, but there is a lot more to know. You will save huge amounts of time, and lots of trial and error, if you take the time to learn the math behind the crochet.

Understanding the math ensures that your projects will turn out to be the size and proportions you intend. Don’t be scared! We are talking 4th-grade level calculations, and calculators are allowed! Learn more in my Math for Crocheters class.


Tip #6 Prepare a Professional Pattern

Prepare a Professional Pattern

Have you ever felt discouraged trying to read a crochet pattern? An incomplete or poorly written pattern can make you throw your hook in the air with frustration!

Crocheters are more likely to trust you and want to make your patterns if they are easy to read and understand. Publishers and editors love designers who can compose well-written patterns.

Save yourself time and effort by coming up with a designing system. Develop your idea, make the project, and write the pattern in one integrated, seamless workflow.

Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop graphic

In my online course Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop, you’ll start to create this type of workflow. You’ll develop a style guide so your patterns are consistently formatted. You’ll learn to write clear instructions. Improve the overall quality of your patterns for a more professional presentation.



Tip #7 Use a Tech Editor

Use a Tech Editor

A technical editor, or tech editor, checks your pattern between when you design it and when you publish it. They ensure that all of your math checks out and that you haven’t left out crucial instructions. A tech editor is a crucial step in presenting accurate, well-written patterns.

For more about tech editors, read Working with a Technical Editor.

Want to hire me as your tech editor? I’d love to help you become a better crochet designer!


Tip #8: Style Your Photos

Style Your Photos

Easy Little Baskets photograph
Easy Little Baskets

Think about how you’ll be taking photos. Don’t just take a picture of your project on the kitchen table with mess in the background. Use natural light whenever possible, and the best camera you have available. (Maybe you need to borrow a family member’s phone!)

Putting other items in the picture with the project to style it makes the photo more interesting and memorable, and encourages people to click on your pattern.

For more on this topic, read Show and Tell: Photographing Handmade Textiles.



Tip #9 Publish Online

Publish Online

Anybody can be a published designer when you publish online!

Put patterns up on your blog or on pattern sites such as Ravelry, Etsy, or AllFreeCrochet.

Many crocheters expect patterns to come as downloadable and printable PDFs, not as pamphlets from their local stores. Make sure that those who find your patterns are able to find you and any other patterns you may have. Include your email address or website on each pattern.


Tip #10 Promote Your Patterns

Promote Your Patterns on Social Media

megaphone graphic

Let your friends and family know about your pattern, and encourage them to share it. Your cousin who doesn’t crochet may have a best friend who is looking for their next pattern.

Use those beautifully-styled photos you took! Broadcast your news on all the channels you can think of: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. Consider making a promotional video for YouTube or other video platforms. Tell the world about your awesome design!

For more information on promoting your patterns, read my interview with Marie Segares, AKA Underground Crafter, and author of Design It, Promote It, Sell It.

More Resources

There’s so much to learn about becoming a crochet designer! Check out Knit & Crochet Design Resources for some helpful links.

Do you have questions about crochet design? Ask them in the comments below.

How Many Foundation Chains Do I Need?

Crocheters often wonder how many foundation chains they need to result in their desired number of stitches.

How many foundation chains do I need? with photo of a crochet chain

It can be confusing! Sometimes you chain 4 more than the number of stitches you want, but other times you chain just one more. How do you figure out how many foundation chains you need?

I could tell you how many chains you need to get the number of stitches you want on the first row. You could look back to this blog post every time you want to know the answer (see below). That would be awesome for my website traffic, but not so great for helping you learn. I’d rather have you understand how to figure out for yourself how many foundation chains you need.

I’m using American crochet terminology in this article. If you are in the UK, refer to this conversion chart.

What’s on the first row?

The first thing you must know is how many stitches you want on the first row, and what type of stitches they are.

If you are designing your own project, you’ve worked a gauge swatch and done the math to figure out how many stitches you need. If you are following a pattern, you can follow the pattern instructions, or adapt it as needed.

The first stitch of the first row is crucial, because the number of foundation chains depends on the height of the first stitch of the row.

Turning Chains

Crochet stitches are created below the level of the hook. When you start a new row or round, you have to bring the hook up to that new level before working the stitches on the next row.

photo showing turning chain for double crochet
Stitches are created below the level of the crochet hook. A turning chain is the ladder that allows the hook to reach the level of the next row.

Think of the turning chain as a ladder that carries your hook up to that next level. The taller the first stitch of the row, the more steps you need to take on your ladder to reach that height. In other words, you need more turning chains for taller stitches.

The very first turning chain is part of the foundation chain. That means you have to crochet extra chains to incorporate the turning chain.

This first turning chain is created when you insert your hook into the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (or more) chain from the hook. The skipped chains count as the turning chain.

You also need to know whether you are counting the turning chain as a stitch. In single crochet, the turning chain is usually not counted as a stitch. In half double, double, or treble crochet, the turning chain is often—but not always—counted as a stitch.

Photo showing turning chain and where first single crochet goes into a foundation chain

For more information, read Where to Put the First Stitch of a Crochet Row and How to Prevent Gaps at the Beginning of Crochet Rows.

Table showing number of turning chains for different stitches when the turning chain counts as a stitch and doesn't count as a stitch

Foundation Chains for Single Crochet

Now that you know you need one turning chain for single crochet (sc), and that turning chain is not going to count as a stitch, you can figure out how many chains you need.

Let’s say you want to end up with 10 single crochet stitches on the first row. You need one for each stitch, plus one turning chain, so you need a total of 11 chains to result in ten stitches. I think it’s easier to understand using stitch symbols.

10 sc on first row + 1 turning chain = 11 foundation chains

Crochet symbols for foundation chains and Single crochet row

Foundation Chains for Half Double Crochet

The calculation for half double crochet (hdc) will depend on whether you are using the turning chain as a stitch. When it gets a bit more complicated like this, I often sketch it out on a piece of paper to remind myself how many foundation chains I need. It makes more sense to me when I see it in a visual format like a stitch diagram.

Assume we are using a chain-2 turning chain for this half double crochet. If I want 10 hdc on the first row, and I am not counting the turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 2 chains.

10 hdc on first row + 2 turning chains = 12 foundation chains

Stitch diagram showing foundation chain when turning chain is not used as a hdc

If I want 10 hdc on the first row, and I am counting the turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 1 chain.

10 hdc on first row + 1 turning chain = 11 foundation chains

Stitch diagram showing foundation chain when turning chain is used as a hdc

Foundation Chains for Double Crochet

Double crochet is like half double crochet, in that you have to know how you are treating the turning chain, and how many chains you are using. Assume we are using a 3-chain turning chain for this double crochet.

If I want 10 dc on the first row, and I am not counting a chain-3 turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 3 chains.

10 dc on first row + 3 chains = 13 foundation chains

Stitch diagram showing foundation chain when turning chain is not used as a dc

If I want 10 dc on the first row, and I am counting a chain-3 turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 2 chains.

10 dc on first row + 2 chains = 12 foundation chains

Stitch diagram showing foundation chain when turning chain is used as a dc

Can you work out for yourself how many foundation chains you would need for treble crochet?

This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small income to me if you buy something from this page, but they don’t cost you anything extra.

Learning More

Crochet Answer Book 2nd edition by Edie Eckman cover image
The Crochet Answer Book is a classic pocket reference.

Now you understand the relationship of the foundation chain to turning chains, to the height of stitches, and to whether the turning chain is used as a stitch. And now you can figure out how many foundation chains you need in every situation!

Have more questions? Refer to The Crochet Answer Book. It has answers to questions like these, and all your crochet questions, in a handy format. It’s a compact reference that you can stick in your project bag and have ready at all times, even when you can’t get online.

You can hire me as a consultant or tech editor to help you with all your crochet needs. And I teach online and all around the country, as well!

My YouTube channel is full of video tutorials that offer the “why” as well as the “how” of crochet techniques. Subscribe to it now!


Still wishing you had table for a quick answer? Here it is:

Table showing number of crochet chains to add for different types of stitches in the first row.

Free Crochet Pattern: Easy Little Baskets

Basic crochet skills are all it takes to make these Easy Little Baskets. Looking for a good project for a new crocheter? This is it!

Using just single crochet and small amounts of yarn, you’ll be soon be turning these out by the dozen! They’ll hold your crochet hooks, pencils, paperclips, glasses, keys, or tiny treasures.

Round, Oval, and Square-to-Round shapes can be crocheted with any yarn. It’s a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn you have on hand!

This post contains affiliate links, which don’t cost you anything, but may provide a small income to me.

Instructions for the baskets are given below. You may also purchase a downloadable ad-free pdf of the pattern which includes stitch diagrams for all three baskets.

CTA Buy the Pattern

The Yarn

You can use any medium-weight yarn you have on hand, in any colors you like. Depending on the yarn you use, you’ll be able to get several baskets out of a single skein. Use a smaller hook than you normally would with your chosen yarn, as you want to create a stiff fabric.

For the baskets pictured I used Universal Yarn Yashi, a 100% raffia tape. The raffia fiber is stiffer than regular yarn, but it adds a unique look to the crochet.

Each ball of Yashi has 1.41 oz [40 g], 99 yd [90 m]. I used 1 ball each #106 Hot Green, # 104 Super Pink and #105 Bright Aqua.

Finished Dimensions

Round: 3″ [ 7.5 cm] diameter x 3½” [9 cm] high
Oval: 6″ [15 cm] long x 3¼” [8 cm] wide x 3″ [ 7.5 cm] high
Square-to-Round: 3¾” [9.5 cm] square x 4½ ” [11.5 cm] high

The finished size will vary based on the yarn and hooks you use. Size is not important in this project.

Materials

Worsted Weight Yarn: approximately 200 yds total for all 3 baskets.

US size I-9 [5.5 mm] crochet hook for raffia fiber
US size G [4.25 mm] or H-8 [5 mm] crochet hook for acrylic or wool yarn.

Stitch marker

It’s easy crochet: you’ll use single crochet, double crochet and slip stitch.. There are no seams at all; it’s entirely one piece. Crocheters just beyond the beginner level should find this bag within their ability.

Gauge

12 sc and 16 rnds = 4″ [10 cm] with 5.5 mm hook and raffia yarn
16 sc and 18 rnds = 4″ [10 cm] with 5 mm hook and medium-weight yarn

Gauge is not crucial in this project. However, you should use a hook size that results in a slightly stiff fabric so that the basket holds its shape.

Pattern Notes

  • This pattern uses American crochet terminology.
  • Color designations are made as MC (main color) and Contrasting Color (CC) or Contrasting
  • Color 1 (CC1) and Contrasting Color 2 (CC2), because it really doesn’t matter which colors you use. Use the photos as a guide if you want to copy the colorways shown.
  • Baskets are worked in unjoined rounds. Leave at least a 4″ [10 cm] tail of yarn in order to have enough yarn to weave in ends securely.

Abbreviations

CC, CC1, CC2: contrasting color, contrasting color 1, contrasting color 2
ch: chain
MC: main color
pm: place marker
rep: repeat
rnd(s): round(s)
RS: right side
sc: single crochet
sc2tog (single crochet 2 together): [insert hook into next stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop] 2 times, yarn over and pull through all 3 loops on hook
st(s): stitch(es)

Round Basket

Easy Little Crochet Basket Round, bottom view

With MC, ch 4, join with slip st to form a ring.

Rnd 1 (RS): Ch 1 (does not count as a st), 6 sc in ring—6 sc. Pm in first st to indicate beginning of rnd and move marker up as you work each rnd.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in first st, 2 sc in each st around—12 sc.

Rnd 3: Sc in first st, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] around—18 sc.

Rnd 4: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, [2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts] around—24 sc.

Rnd 5: Sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—30 sc.

Rnd 6: Sc in back loop only of each st around—30 sc.

Rnds 7-16: Sc in each st around, changing to CC on last st of Rnd 16. Cut MC.

Rnds 17-18: With CC, sc in each st around.

Slip st in next st. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Oval Basket

Easy Little Crochet Basket Oval, bottom view

Ch 9.
Rnd 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 6 ch, 3 sc in last ch; continuing across the other side of the foundation chain, sc in next 6 ch, 2 sc in last ch; do not join—18 sc.
Pm in first st to indicate beginning of rnd and move marker up as you work each rnd.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 6 sc, 2 sc in next 3 sc, sc in next 6 sc, 2 sc in last 2 sc—24 sc.

Rnd 3: Sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 6 sc, [sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] 3 times, sc in next 6 sc, [sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] 2 times—30 sc.

Rnd 4: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc, sc in next 6 sc, [2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc] 3 times, sc in next 6 sc, [2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sc] 2 times—36 sc.

Rnd 5: Sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 6 sc, [sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next st] 3 times, sc in next 6 sc, [sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc] 2 times—42 sc.

Rnd 6: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc, sc in next 6 sc, [2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc] 3 times, sc in next 6 sc, [2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 sc] 2 times—48 sc.

Rnd 7: Sc in back loop of each sc around—48 sc.

Rnds 8-16: Sc in each st around, changing to CC on last st of Rnd 16.
Cut MC.

Rnds 17-18: With CC, sc in each st around.

Slip st in next st. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Square-to-Round Basket

With MC, ch 4, join with slip st to form a ring.

Easy Little Crochet Basket Square to Round, bottom view

Rnd 1: Ch 1, 8 sc in ring; do not join—12 sc.
Pm in first st to indicate beginning of rnd and move marker up as you work each rnd.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc, [3 sc in next sc, sc in next sc] around, sc in same st as first sc—16 sc.

Rnd 3: 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 3 sc, [3 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc] around, sc in same st as first sc—24 sc.

Rnd 4: 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 5 sc, [3 sc in next sc, sc in next 5 sc] around, sc in same st as first sc—32 sc.

Rnd 5: 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 7 sc, [3 sc in next sc, sc in next 7 sc] around, sc in same st as first sc—40 sc.

Rnd 6: 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 9 sc, [3 sc in next sc, sc in next 9 sc] around, sc in same st as first sc—48 sc.

Rnd 7: Sc in back loop only of each st around—48 sc.

Rnds 8-15: Sc in each sc around.

Rnd 16: [Sc2tog, sc in next 10 sc] around—44 sc.

Rnds 17-19: Sc in each sc around.

Rnd 20: [Sc2tog, sc in next 9 sc] around—40 sc.

Rnd 21: Sc in each sc to last st; on last st, change to CC1. Cut MC.

Rnd 22: With CC1, sc in each sc around.

Rnd 23: Sc in each sc to last st; on last st, change to CC2. Cut CC1.

Rnd 24: With CC2, sc in each sc around.

Slip st in next st.

Fasten off. Weave in ends.

What’s Next?

Looking for more ways to up your crochet game? Check out Crochet: Basics & Beyond.

Crochet a Grass Mat

Crocheted Grass Circle with Loop Stitch or Fur Stitch

Tired of that messy plastic grass in your Spring decorations? Wish you had some eco-friendly faux grass that you can use season after season? Crochet your own!

This crocheted “grass” circle can be made any size, with any yarn you have on hand. Use it to line an Easter basket or as a Spring centerpiece with your favorite flowers!

The loop stitch technique is based on single crochet. Watch the video for a tutorial on How to Crochet Loop Stitch (also known as Fur Stitch). I’ll show you three different variations, so you can choose.

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About the Yarn

Use any yarn you choose, with a hook in an appropriate size for your yarn. The Grass Circle pictured used one ball of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice color 172 Kelly Green (100% acrylic, 3.5 oz [100 g], 170 yd [156 m]) .

Craft Yarn Council Icon for 4 Medium Weight Yarn

About the Construction

The mat is worked in the round from the center out in continuous, un-joined rounds. Every other round is worked using the loop stitch single crochet technique.

Instructions for the Grass Circle are given below. A print-friendly, ad-free version includes instructions and charts.

Grass Circle Mat Pattern

Size & Finished Dimensions

Can be made to any size. The sample pictured measures 14″ [35.5 cm] diameter.

Materials

Worsted weight yarn (or any size yarn desired), approximately 170 yd [156 m] to make a 14″ diameter circle

Size I-9 [5.5 mm] crochet hook, or size needed to create a nice fabric for your yarn

Stitch marker

Gauge

Rnds 1-7= 4″ [ 10 cm]

Gauge is not crucial in this pattern.

Abbreviations & Special Stitches

ch: chain
Lsc (Loop single crochet): Hold working yarn so that it is coming from back to front over left index finger (right index finger for left-handed crocheters). Hold this finger approximately 1″ [2.5 cm] from the hook. Insert hook into next stitch, then move the hook clockwise (counterclockwise for left-handed crocheters) so that it comes over the front of the working yarn; yarn over with the strand of yarn that is coming from the back of the index finger; keeping index finger in place, pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook to complete a single crochet. Remove index finger from loop.
rep: repeat
rnd(s): round(s)
sc: single crochet
st(s): stitch(es)

Pattern Notes

Do not join at end of rounds.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Ch 1 (does not count as a st), 6 sc in ring—6 sts. Place marker in first st to indicate beginning of rnd and move marker up as you work each rnd.

Rnd 2: 2 Lsc in first st, 2 Lsc in each st around—12 sts.

Rnd 3: Sc in first st, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] around—18 sts.

Rnd 4: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 2 sts, [2 Lsc in next st, Lsc in next 2 sts] around—24 sts.

Rnd 5: Sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—30 sts.

Rnd 6: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 4 sts, [2 Lsc in next st, Lsc in next 4 sts] around—36 sts.

Rnd 7: Sc in first st, sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next 5 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—42 sts

Rnd 8: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 6 sts, [2 Lsc in next st, Lsc in next 6 sts] around—48 sts.

Rnd 9: Sc in first st, sc in next 6 sts, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next 7 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—54 sts.

Continue in this manner to increase 6 stitches every round until piece is as large as desired, ending with an odd-numbered round. Weave in ends.

For more detailed instructions for Rounds 1-23, plus a stitch chart, buy the ad-free printable pattern.

What will you use your “grass” for? Share photos on my Instagram feed, using #edieeckman!

My First Scarf: A Story and Free Knitting Pattern

The beginning of the first scarf I knit

This is the story of my first knitting project. It’s a story that spans 50 years. It’s about yarn and memories and connections that come full circle. And it includes a free beginner pattern.
This striped garter-stitch scarf is a good beginner project for novices who have the patience to knit a whole scarf. Don’t want to knit so much? Make it a coaster or cowl instead.

This post contains affiliate links.

In the Beginning

When I was about six, one of my favorite books was A Gift from the Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright. In the story, The Lonely Doll —whose name is Edith—knits a scarf for her dad, Mr. Bear.  She knits diligently at every possible opportunity and (spoiler alert) the scarf ends up too long. It’s worth reading the book for all the adorable details.

A Gift from the Lonely Doll cover image

Like my doll heroine, I wanted to knit a striped scarf for my father’s Christmas present. The scarf must be red and black, the team colors of his beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs.

My First Knitting Project

My maternal grandmother lived with us and was happy to teach me to knit. We started with a skein of black Germantown worsted wool, some leftover bits of red Germantown, and a pair of straight needles. She showed me how to cast on—the German twisted cast on, no less!—and how to do the knit stitch.

I knit and knit. The stitch count changed from row to row, but that didn’t matter to me.

The subtle shaping was due to inadvertently added stitches. Surely a design element, right?

I knit and knit and knit. I learned to change colors, although not always on the correct side.

I clearly didn’t have an idea of “right side” and “wrong side”.

I knit and knit and knit. The scarf grew slowly. Yarnover holes and incomplete stitches magically disappeared overnight. It’s the only time in my life that the Knitting Fairy has corrected my knitting.

 I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit. Now it was starting to look like a scarf. I tried it on frequently to see if it was long enough.

Is it long enough yet?

I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit . Nana kept urging me to knit a few more rows, but I was on deadline and anxious to finish on time. (Sound familiar?)

Just in time for Christmas, the scarf was long enough. Because the edges were so wobbly, Nana single crocheted around the whole thing to tidy it up. We wrapped it up in anticipation of the big reveal the next day.

On Christmas morning, Daddy opened the package. He made all the appropriate noises about how beautiful the scarf was, and how hard I must have worked to make such a special gift. Apparently it was the best gift ever!

I never saw him wear it, and I eventually forgot about it.

About 25 Years Later

Visiting my parents’ house, I caught a glance of red and black rolled up in the back of a drawer. It was my first scarf! Daddy had saved it all those years!

But that photo doesn’t really do it justice. Let me help you understand the scale of this scarf.

It is 4″ wide x 22.5″ long. Despite all my efforts, and even trying it on my skinny six-year-old neck, it was way too small to be worn by an adult male! Furthermore, we lived in Georgia where scarves aren’t even needed. The scarf came home with me, to remind me how much my technique had improved.

About 25 Years Later

As I wandered the aisles of a trade show, my eye caught a familiar sight: Germantown yarn from Kelbourne Woolens.  I’m pretty sure I squeed out loud. I may have jumped up and down a little bit.

Germantown Yarn colorful skeins

About Germantown Yarn

For that first scarf, and for many projects after that, Brunswick Germantown Worsted was my go-to yarn. 

Knitters who have been around for a long while will remember this ubiquitous yarn. There weren’t nearly as many yarns available as there are now, but Germantown was a classic worsted weight standby that came in many colors.

Germantown Yarn in black and red

Read Germantown: Redesigning a History for the story of how Kelbourne Woolens revived the brand, then read A Brief History of Germantown Yarns for a fascinating look at this American yarn. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you do that.

When Kelbourne Woolens owner Courtney Kelly heard the story of my first scarf and what Germantown meant to me, she immediately suggested that I make another scarf, and provided the yarn for me to knit it.

My First Scarf Knitting Pattern

So here, fifty years after the original scarf, is the pattern for My First Scarf. This version is meant to be easy enough for new knitters to knit, and long enough and warm enough to actually be worn by an adult.  

Presented in Georgia Bulldog red and black, of course. Note that black is not the best choice for beginners; feel free to use different, lighter colors for easier visibility.

My First Scarf

The free pattern is below; you also can purchase a printer-friendly pdf.

Buy the Printed Pattern Button

Want to knit it in Germantown yarn? You’ll get 10% off the price if you use code EDIEECKMAN at checkout here.

Materials

Craft Yarn Council Icon for 4 Medium Weight Yarn

Kelbourne Woolens Germantown (100% North American wool, 220 yds/201 m, 100 g), 1 skein each #005 Black (A) and #625 Scarlet (B), or colors of your choice.

US size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles or size to obtain correct gauge

Stitch marker or safety pin

Finished Dimensions

3.75″ (9.5 cm) wide x 61″ (155 cm) long

Gauge

20 sts and 39 rows = 4” (10 cm) in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this pattern, but for best results match the gauge of the pattern. Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch.

Pattern Note

Leave a 4-5″ [10-13 cm] tail of yarn each time you change yarns so that you’ll have enough yarn to securely weave in the tails. Each time you change yarn colors, the yarn tails should be on the rightmost edge of the scarf.

Instructions

With A, long tail cast on 19 sts.

Row 1 (Wrong Side): Knit.

Turn the work and place a marker on the right side to help you keep track of the right and wrong sides.

Rows 2-15: Knit.

At this point you have a total of 8 garter ridges and you have ended by knitting a wrong side row.

Cut A.

Rows 16-27: With B, knit. End by knitting a wrong side row. You have 6 garter ridges of B.

Continue working alternate stripes of 8 garter ridges (16 rows) in A and 6 garter ridges (12 rows) in B, until you have 20 stripes in color B. End by knitting a wrong side row.

Last stripe: With A, knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows). End by knitting a wrong side row. Bind off on a right side row.

Weave in all ends. Block.