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16 September 2015

Spice of Life CAL - Beginners Special


So the Spice of Life Crochet Along is warming up nicely, all ready for the first part of the pattern to come out next week.

The Facebook Group is approaching 2 thousand members (!) and the pictures of potential blankets in the form of yarn balls are appearing on Instagram.  It's all rather amazing and a bit mind blowing!

What's really surprised me is the amount of new crocheters we have joining us for the crochet along.
When the lovely Black Sheep Wools and I talked about this idea, we both hoped to create a blanket would appeal to beginners that already know the ropes and are looking to move on to a more intermediate level.

I think we've done that, but what I wasn't quite so prepared for was the amount of people that are totally (or almost totally) new to crochet that want to join in too.

I think it's great that so many of you are inspired to get stuck in after seeing this blanket, I really am thrilled and a little bit touched actually.

♥ ♥ ♥

So, what that means is that both myself and Black Sheep Wools are working really hard to try and make this pattern accessible to everyone, even those of you that are only just starting out.

I know you have a lot of questions and we've doing our best to answer everything and get our beginners up to speed!  There's now a lot of extra information on the Spice of Life Facebook page to help guide you along the way.   I'm also doing my best to keep those of you following on the Ravelry Spice of Life thread updated too.



The Beginners Guide to the Spice of Life CAL

To help those of you that are just starting out prepare for the launch of the pattern on the 22nd September, here's some useful information to get you on the right track:


Following the Pattern

Although I wrote this pattern with the beginner in mind, I did assume that you would know:

• How to work back and forth in rows •
• How to make double (US- sc) and treble (US - dc) stitches •
• How to change colours and weave in ends •

So if you haven't done those things before, or aren't confident with them then please do use this time to practise now so that you feel comfortable with them when the actual blanket making comes around.
Here's some helpful tutorials for you from my Crochet Corner site:

Tutorial Links

BASIC STITCHES:
Double Crochet (Single - USA)
Treble Crochet (Double - USA)

WORKING IN ROWS:

WORKING WITH COLOURS:


For those of you that are from the USA, you need to know that this pattern is written in UK terms.
I've included the US terms in the pattern to help you translate but it's a good idea to get familiar with the differences now.  The tutorials listed above are written in UK (but I include US info in brackets)!

: :



Tension, Gauge and Swatches

If you are new to crochet you probably won't have heard much about this yet but it can be quite important.   As crafters, we all crochet in a different way and this can affect the final size of the finished object and, more importantly for this project - how much yarn you use!

(If you are using the Rico packs, this is especially important as you don't want to run out of yarn, and we don't want you to either.)


Making a Swatch

The Gauge for the pattern is 15 sts by 10 rows in treble crochet = 10cm (4”) square

That means, when working in treble crochet stitches (dc - US) a square of 15 stitches long by 10 rows high should measure 10 x 10cm (or 4 x 4”)

So you’ll want to make a square that is 15 stitches long and work 10 rows, then measure it and see what you get.

To get a square that is 15 stitches long, you’ll need a starting chain of 17.
(The first stitch is made into the 4th chain from the hook, the 3 skipped chains count as the first stitch.)


Adjusting the Swatch

If your square is smaller than the measurements given your crochet is coming out tighter and you need to go up a hook size.

If your square is bigger, then your crochet is coming out looser and you need to get a smaller hook.


Swatch Video

Black Sheep Wools have also made a short video about this, so you can see why this matters and also you also get to see the two lovely blankets together!

Spice of Life Gauge Swatch Video


Perfect Practise

As an added plus, it just so happens that making a swatch will be the perfect way to practise all the skills you need to be ready to make this blanket, like working back and forth in rows, especially if you change colours like I did above!


S x




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