Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crochet Class Number Two: Make a Scrunchie

Did you crochet along with us last time?

Today the girls will be getting together again, and the planned project is a hair scrunchie.   Scrunchies are endlessly variable...searching for "crocheted scrunchie" will bring up all kinds of patterns. 

The basic idea is this:  take a coated ponytail elastic, and in this case, cheaper is not better: you don't want the ends to pop apart in a week.  Make a slip knot with the yarn--any kind is fine, and scrunchies are a great place to experiment with little bits of novelty yarn.  Attach the yarn to the hair elastic, using a slip stitch; in other words, hold your slip knot against the elastic, bring the yarn over the hook, and pull that through both the elastic and the slip knot so that they hold together. It's really easier than it sounds, but if you have trouble, watch one of the videos linked below.

All attached?  The very simplest version is to single crochet around the elastic, filling it up as much as possible, just like last week's pipe cleaner ornaments. Slip stitch to end off, and work in the ends.  That's what I had the slightly younger group of girls do a couple of years ago, and some of them found it fairly challenging.  However, a much nicer scrunchie can be made by combining chain and single crochet stitches, for instance, chaining five in between each single crochet stitch.  If you're confident enough to do a second or third row, you can keep going and make an even bigger, loopier scrunchie.

Here’s a good video, except that she’s using double crochet instead of single crochet. Here’s another one I like:  (this one has a pattern of five chains, one single crochet; she also shows you how to add beads without stringing them on first). One more. (Notice that everybody has a slightly different way of getting the yarn locked on the hair elastic?)

One thing to remember from today's lesson is that chains are used in more than one way in crocheting.  When you learn to crochet, you're probably shown chains as just a base for learning to make the other stitches: you make a chain of a certain length, then you work crochet stitches into those chains (something we'll be doing in the next class).  But they're also used within the crocheted work, both to begin rows (getting the row started at a certain height by making one or more chain stitches) and to make spaces or loops.  Lacy doilies are full of chain stitches.  If you've ever seen something crocheted in a mesh pattern, or filet crochet, that's usually a combination of single crochet and chain stitches.

Another example of chains used to leave a space: when I crocheted a hat for a doll with a ponytail, I just stitched along to a certain point and then made a chain of about ten stitches, skipped over the same number of stitches in the previous row, joined the chain back to the work with a slip stitch, and then kept crocheting.  When I got back around to the chain, I worked ten stitches over the chain (just like crocheting over the hair elastic) and then just kept going from there.  That created a big "buttonhole" in the side of the hat.

Last example of chains as spacers:  last week I made a big "granny square" for a baby afghan.  The granny square has been a popular crocheting motif for years; usually you make a lot of small ones and sew them together, but I hate sewing things together so I made one big one instead.  Anyway, the pattern for a big or small granny square is the same:  you work, usually, in blocks of three double crochet stitches (double crochet is a bit taller than single crochet--you "yarn over" first, and then bring the loops off in two steps) with a chain stitch in between each group of three.  Corners are made, usually, with two groups of three double crochet stitches, and three chain stitches between those--that's what makes the square corners.  If you want to know more, check out You-tube videos on granny squares, or most basic crochet books will show you how they're made. 

Does all that sound like too much information if you're just trying to make a scrunchie?  Well, the point of this project is that you can think of the chains as loops to dress up the scrunchie, and the single crochets more just as "connectors."  Use whatever combinations you like with this project--you really can't go wrong.

And next time we'll get into the "real stuff": figuring out where the stitches go, when there isn't an elastic.


Jeanne said...

We're not crocheting along with you this term, but I am collecting your posts for later on. I just can't inspire Jemimah to crochet yet. Frustrating.

Karen G. said...

I don't have any pictures, but you can add chain-loop fringe to your list of uses for chains. I just learned about this a year or so ago, and I love it. For either scarves or afghans, instead of making fringe with raw yarn (which can very quickly look ratty), make long chain loops connected to your edge by evenly-spaced single crochet stitches. The loops can be even or uneven, and they look great. My new favorite fringe (I'm not really really a fan of fringe).

Okay, here's what I mean:

Mama Squirrel said...

Thanks, Karen!

Jeanne, Crayons has kind of gone hot and cold with it over the past couple of years--but I think crocheting with her friends has picked up her interest again.