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Crochet Tips & Pattern Help

Our Pattern Help Department is here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding Maggie’s Crochet brand patterns. Whether you think there’s an error in the pattern, or you’re just plain stuck, we’re here to help! You can reach pattern help via e-mail or phone (1-336-992-0054) during office hours.  

Our office hours are Monday 7:30am - 5:30pm, Wednesday & Thursday 7:30am - 5:30pm EST. We are closed all major U.S. Holidays.

Below are tips for various projects, but here is a quick table of contents to help you navigate through this page:
General Crochet Tips
Abbreviations
Hook Sizes
Curly Hair Application
Tassels
Zap Your Scraps
How to Change Colors
Skill Levels


General Crochet Tips

 

 

Using an iron on crocheted pieces is not a good idea. It will permanently flatten and damage the stitches. Wash and pin piece out to desired shape or pin out to desired shape and spray with spray starch.

When I first started making granny square afghans it didn't take long before they started falling apart because I had not sewn my ends in well. When working with yarn, leave a long end (about 6") on starting chain and on cut ends. Use a large yarn needle to sew ends in.

For those of you who hold the end of your hook in the palm of your hand - wrap a rubber band several times around the end of your hook for a better grip. This works especially well with the smaller steel hooks.

Use T-pins for starching. Rust-proof pins are very hard to find. Even if you find rust proof pins the finish eventually wears off and they will rust. T-pins cost a little more initially but they will keep rust marks from ruining your projects.

Over the years I have tried just about every fabric stiffener. I have found Aleene's Fabric Stiffener to be the absolute best.

Keep a bag with your crochet projects by the door. When you have to run an errand, grab the bag so you'll have something to do if your left waiting. This is especially great for runs to the dentist or doctors office.

Cats love to play with crochet nylon.

Use left over scraps of yarn for stuffing crocheted toys. This really helps when you can see the stuffing through the stitches. If the yarn scrap stuffing matches the stitches you are not likely to see it.
 

We always love to hear from you, so if you have any unique tips or ideas, please share! Even if they are not unique, please share! I believe most ideas sometimes start out as unique! Please e-mail any tips you would like to share. 

I love to crochet when travelling but metal crochet hooks are not allowed on aircraft. So I went online several years ago & found a supplier of bamboo hooks. I now take my crochet all over the world! Helps prevent boredom & is also a great conversation piece.
- Josie

When beginning an afghan, make the chain and row one with a hook one size larger than the size needed for gauge. This prevents the afghan from getting wider as it goes along - Paula

I use plastic ice cream buckets as work baskets at home, since I usually have several projects going at the same time. When not working on one project, the lid goes on, keeping everything clean and together. - Carol

To keep white linens or crochet thread white, store them in a piece of blue fabric. - Carol

Short M&M plastic tubes make great containers for storing supplies. Use the short ones for yarn needles and the yarn threader. Use the large ones to hold both steel and aluminum crochet hooks. - Carol

I put a black and white picture of the Flower Bouquet Doily into a page protector, and labeled the colors going around. I refer to that picture for the proper joining of flowers. When I have completed a flower, I erase the label. I actually use a sharpie marker, and to clear it when I am done, I use a Q-Tip moistened with rubbing alcohol. It works! - Marie

Since it's so hard to find flower supplies, I bought rose "bushes" at the dollar store. I pop off the rose head, push out the little plastic pin in the center of the rose, pull it out and remove the calyx. I then push the plastic pin down in the center of my crocheted rose, put the calyx on the bottom, and push everything together until it clicks. Then I put it back on the stem of the rose bush. - Sandy

 Abbreviations

The Craft Yarn Council of America have set up a series of guidelines to bring uniformity to yarn, needle and hook labeling and to patterns, whether they appear in books, magazines, leaflets or on yarn labels. Their goal is to make it easier for you to select the right materials for a project and complete it successfully.

 

 

“Standards” are guidelines for industry manufacturers, publishers and designers to assist them in preparing consumer-friendly products. With the cooperation of manufacturers, publishers and designers, these changes will be implemented over a period of time as products and packaging are redesigned and new books and leaflets are published.

 

 

It is the Craft Yarn Council of America's objective to design global standards and guidelines that will be used by companies worldwide. To this end, they have reached out to individuals, manufacturers and trade associations in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, as well as in Australia and New Zealand to ask for their input. 

 

Abbreviation Description Abbreviation    Description
[ ]
work instructions within brackets as many times as directed
g gram
( )
work instructions within parentheses as many times as directed
hdc half double crochet
* repeat the instructions following the single asterisk as directed
inc increase, increases, or increasing
** repeat instructions between asterisks as many times as directed or repeat from a given set of instructions
lp(s) loop(s)
" inch(es) m meter(s)
alt alternate MC main color
beg begin/beginning mm millimeter(s)
bet between oz ounce(s)
BL back loop(s)
p picot
bo bobble
pat(s) or patt
patter(s)
BP back post
pc popcorn
BPdc back post double crochet
pm place marker
BPsc back post single crochet
prev previous
BPtr back post treble crochet
rem remain or remaining
CA color A
rep repeat(s)
CB color B
rnd(s) round(s)
CC contrasting color
RS right side
ch
chain stitch
sc single crochet
ch- refers to chain or space previously made: e.g., ch-1 space
sc2tog single crochet 2 stitches together
ch-sp chain space
sk skip
CL cluster Sl st
slip stitch
cm centimeter(s) sp(s) space(s)
cont continue st(s) stitch(es)
dc double crochet
tch or t-ch
turning chain
dc2tog double crochet 2 stitches together
tbl through back loop
dec decrease, decreases, or decreasing
tog together
dtr double treble
tr treble crochet
FL front loop(s)
WS wrong side
foli follow, follows, or following
yd(s) yard(s)
FP front post
yo yarn over
FPdc front post double crochet
yoh yarn over hook
FPsc front post single crochet


FPtr front post treble crochet


 

 Hook Sizes

The Craft Yarn Council’s hook manufacturers have agreed to make metric (millimeter/mm) sizing more prominent on packaging. U.S. sizes - numbers and/or letters, will also appear on packaging.

 

More prominent labeling of metric sizing, which is an actual measurement, should help eliminate consumer questions about the differences among the letter and number sizing of some hooks. With the cooperation of manufacturers, publishers and designers these changes will be implemented as packaging is reprinted and new patterns are published. 

“Standards” are guidelines for industry manufacturers, publishers and designers to assist them in preparing consumer-friendly products. With the cooperation of manufacturers, publishers and designers, these changes will be implemented over a period of time as products and packaging are redesigned and new books and leaflets are published.

 

It is the Craft Yarn Council of America's objective to design global standards and guidelines that will be used by companies worldwide. To this end, they have reached out to individuals, manufacturers and trade associations in the United KingdomGermanyItalyFrance, as well as in Australia and New Zealand to ask for their input.

Crochet Hook Sizes: 

 

Millimeter Range U.S. Size Range
2.25 mm
B-1

2.75 mm

C-2

3.25 mm

D-3

3.5 mm

E-4

3.75 mm

F-5

4 mm

G-6

4.5 mm

7

5 mm

H-8

5.5 mm

I-9

6 mm

J-10

6.5 mm

K-10-½

8 mm

L-11

9 mm

M/N-13

10 mm

N/P-15

15 mm

P/Q

16 mm

Q

19 mm

S
 

 

Steel Crochet Hook Sizes:

Note: Some variances occur depending on manufacturer

 

Millimeter Range
U.S. Size Range
2.7 mm
00
2.55 mm 0
2.35 mm
1
2.3 mm
2
2.2 mm
3
1.75 mm
4
1.7 mm
5
1.6 mm
6
1.5 mm
7
1.4 mm
8
1.25 mm
9
1.15 mm
10
1.0 mm
11/12
.9 mm
13/14

 

Curly Hair Application

FOR LONG CURLY HAIR: Pull out 3-4 hair strands (it is not necessary to find loose ends) and cut into double the desired hair length. Hold middle of strands between thumb and forefinger. Apply a small drop of glue to dolls head. For best results, attach strands closely together in neat evenly spaced horizontal rows beginning at the base of the dolls head and working up. Press strands into glue and hold firmly until glue hardens. Keep loose ends away from hot glue. After gluing, gently untangle curls and trim hair to desired length. For 12" Broom Dolls .5 ounces of hair should be enough. Note: You may want to use a low temp glue to avoid burning your fingers.

Tassels

To make tassels I use the Susan Bates Trim Tool™. Having made hundreds of tassels in my career I've come up with a different way to use the Trim Tool™ to make tassels quicker. Here are the steps I use....

1. Materials you will need: Susan Bates Trim Tool™, Yarn Needle and yarn.

2. Use a double strand of yarn throughout to speed things up.

3. Set Slide into Length Selector with arrow pointing under desired finished length of tassel. Hold end of yarn below on length Selector Guide and below Slide.

4. Wrap yarn until you reach the desired fullness.

 

5. Trim ends at bottom.

 

6. Cut a separate piece of double stranded yarn 16" long. Thread strand on yarn needle and run it through top Scissor guide A at top. Leave a 6" end. This end will be used to attach to tassel.

7. Tie a knot at top of tassel

 

8. Bring long end down and wrap it several times around all stands in space between A and C on trim Trim Tool™.

 

9. Insert needle from top to bottom behind wrapping twice to secure.

 

10. Cut ends at B on Trim Tool™.

 

11. Slide scissors into Scissor Guide B and cut.

 

12. Remove completed tassel from slide.

Zap Your Scraps

 If you have any ideas you would like to share please email: patternhelp@maggiescrochet.com. If you are like many crocheters, you have accumulated plenty of yarn from all the projects you have completed. Here are several ideas for using up some of your yarn scraps:

 

  • Be creative using several colors of yarn in a pattern calling for one or two main colors.
  • Embellish your clothing, afghans and projects with flowers, appliqués and lace edgings made from scraps.
  • Create a warm afghan blanket for someone in need. That's what Warm Up America! is all about - keeping people warm. Crochet or knit one 7" by 9" rectangle (or more). Join your section to 48 others to complete a full-size afghan or send it to: Craft Yarn Council of America,
    2500 Lowell Rd., Gastonia, NC 28054
    . The afghan resembles a patchwork quilt of many textures and colors. Of course, you can crochet more than one section or complete an entire afghan in any pattern or color yarn you wish. The counsel distributes the completed blankets to social service agencies.
  • Craft Yarn Counsel website:http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/index.html Up
  • Crochet small projects such as: slippers, fridgies, mittens, hats, toys, pot holders, hot pads, purses, flowers, doll clothes, coasters, ornaments or decorative pillows.
  • Crochet a scrap afghan. Years ago many crocheters made granny square afghans alternating every round with a different scrap color and bordering each square with black or other neutral color to pull the scheme together. Granny squares are popular again in fashion, accessories and home décor.

 


FREE CROCHET PATTERN TO ZAP YOUR SCRAPS
: Scrap Rose Pin

Skill: Easy

Materials: About 10-15 yards of any yarn for the Rose and 3 yards of green for the Leaves. Pin Back, Yarn Needle, Sewing Needle and Sewing Thread.

Crochet Hook: Size I for worsted weight yarn or smaller size hooks for smaller size yarns.

 

Rose

Rnd 1 (right side): Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook; join with sl st to first sc. (6 sc)

Rnd 2: Ch 1, (sc, 3 dc, sl st) in same sc as joining and in each sc around. (6 petals)

Rnd 3: Working behind petals, (ch 3, sl st in space between next 2 petals) 6 times. (6 ch-3 sps)

Rnd 4: (Sc, 5 dc, sc, sl st) in each sp around. Finish off and weave in ends.

 

Leaves

With Green, ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next ch, hdc in next 2 ch, 6 hdc in last ch, around other side working in unused lps of starting ch, hdc in next lps, sc in next lp, sl st in last lp. Finish off.

Finishing

Sew or glue leaves to wrong side of Rose. Using Sewing Needle and Thread, sew pin back to wrong side of Rose.

Maggie Suggests: Sew or glue pearls or beads to center of Rose. Embellish sweaters, hats, gloves, etc. with Roses.

How to Change Colors

 Once you get the hang of changing colors you will have so much fun making pictures with crochet. We get more questions on this subject than any other technique. These pages were put together to help you better understand this wonderful technique.

 You may carry your unused colors along the back of your work or you may choose to work over your unused colors. Sometimes carried ends show through to the right side of your work. Using tighter stitches can help correct this. We carry all of our colors in our samples. We do this so nothing shows through on the right side for photography and because our model makers prefer to do it that way. I have heard of sewing a backing on the wrong side to cover up ends.

Whenever you have a pattern that calls for cross stitching you can change the colors while crocheting verses cross stitching afterwards.


Directions for changing colors as stated in our patterns:

Work last stitch before color change to last step (2 loops on hook), drop unused color to wrong side; with new color, YO and pull through 2 lps on hook. You may work over unused color or carry it across the back of work.

For example below I have made a blue heart inside a cream colored square. I recommend you try this little project for practice. I have used a very large yarn and hook in the photos for you to see better.


Here are the directions that go with the pictures below:
Off White = MC (main color) Blue = CC (contrasting color)

 

 

Row 1 (right side): Ch 12, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across. (11 sc)
Row 2 (wrong side): Ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across.
Row 3: Ch 1, sc in next 5 sc, drop MC
(see picture #1) and change to CC (see picture #2-3)
with CC sc in next sc (see picture #4), drop CC, change to MC (see picture #5-7), with MC sc in next 5 sc (see picture #8).
Row 4: Ch 1 turn, sc in next 4 sc, drop MC
(see picture #9)and change to CC (see picture #10-11); with CC sc in next 3 sc (see picture #12), drop CC and change to a second ball of MC (see picture #13); with MC sc in last 4 sc (see picture #14).
Row 5: Ch 1, turn, sc in next 3 sc, drop MC and change to CC
(see picture #15); with CC sc in next 5 sc, drop CC and change MC; with MC sc in last 4 sc .
Rows 6-8: Ch 1, turn, sc in next 2 sc, drop MC and change to CC; with CC sc in next 7 sc, drop CC and change MC; with MC sc in last 2 sc.
Row 9: Ch 1, turn, sc in next 2 sc, drop MC and change to CC; with CC sc in next 3 sc, drop CC and change MC
(see picture #16-17); with MC sc in next sc, drop MC, change to CC (see picture #18); with CC sc in next 3 sc, drop CC and change MC; with MC sc in last 2 sc.
Row 10: Ch 1, turn, sc in next 2 sc, drop MC and change to CC; with CC sc in next 2 sc, drop CC and change MC
(see picture #19-20); with MC sc in next 3 sc, drop MC, change to CC (see picture #21); with CC sc in next 2 sc , drop CC and change MC; with MC sc in last 2 sc.
Row 11: Ch 1, turn, finish off unused colors on wrong side of work, sc in each sc across.
Row 12: Ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across.

 

 

Picture #1 - Right Side
Row 3

First 2 rows complete and start of Row 3. Sc in first 4 sc, yarn over and draw up a lp in next sc.

 

 

 

 

 







Picture #2 - Right Side
Row 3

Changing from main color (MC) to contrasting color (CC) on 5th sc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture #3 - Right Side
Row 3

5th sc completed and color change complete - you are ready to work 6th sc with new CC color.

 

 

 

 

 









Picture #4 - Right Side
Row 3

 

Changing from contrasting color (CC) back to main color (MC) to on 6th sc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture #5 - Right Side
Row 3

Shows back of work. Drop contrasting color (CC), pick up main color (MC).

 

 

 






 

 

 

Picture #6 - Right Side
Row 3

Yarn over hook with MC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture #7 - Right Side
Row 3

Draw MC through 2 lps on hook to complete last sc and change to MC.

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Picture #8 - Right Side
Row 3

With MC sc in remaining sc of row.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture #9 - Wrong Side
Row 4

Drop MC to wrong side

 

 

 






 

 

 

Picture #10 - Wrong Side
Row 4

Draw new color through 2 lps on hook

 

 

 

 



 

 

Picture #11 - Wrong Side
Row 4

Last sc and color change complete

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

Picture #12 - Wrong Side
Row 4

With CC sc in next 3 sc.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Picture #13 - Wrong Side
Row 4

Add a second ball of MC and draw through 2 lps on hook.

Adding the second ball keeps you from having to carry the MC across the width of the heart.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture #14 - Wrong Side
Row 4

This is what the wrong side of piece looks like after Row 4 is complete. The far left and right strands are the 2 balls of MC. Strand #2 is CC. 2 short strands are ends of starting chains.

Note: You may wish to sew the ends of starting chain in right away to reduce the number of loose ends.

 

 

 

 






Picture #15 - Right Side
Right side view - Row 5

 

Work last stitch before color change to last step (2 lps on hook) drop unused color to wrong side; YO with new color.


 

 



 

 

 

Picture #16 - Right Side
Right side view - Row 9

Drop CC and change MC;

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

Picture #17 - Right Side
Wrong side view of Row 9

MC is carried over on the back.

Another alternative would have been to carry the MC under the 3 CC sc. When you work over the unused strands it keeps the wrong side looking neater but sometimes shows through to the right side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture #18 - Right Side
Right side view - Row 9

Drop MC and change CC;

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Picture #19 - Wrong Side
Wrong side view - Row 10

Drop CC and change MC;

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Picture #20 - Wrong Side
Wrong side view - Row 10

Drop CC and change MC;
Color change complete.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Picture #21 - Wrong Side
Wrong side view - Row 10

Drop MC and change CC;

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Picture #22 - Wrong Side
Wrong side view - Row 10

This picture shows working a single crochet stitch over the unused color.

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Picture #23 - Wrong Side
Wrong side view - Row 10

This picture shows the strand that was carried and the strand that was worked over.

 

 

 

 



 

 

Picture #24 - Right Side
Right side view - Row 11

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Picture #25 - Wrong Side
Wrong side view - Row 12

Contrasting yarn and extra main color strands have been cut.