I’m going to show you how to make a mini skein – no calculations, measuring or complicated maths. You’ll just need a swift and a set of reasonably accurate scales.
I’m taking part in the Posh Yarn Advent Swap 2019. This is a really fun swap that takes place on the Posh group on Ravelry. Each participant winds 24 x 10g of Posh 4ply/Sock yarn into balls or mini skeins, wraps them up (preferably in a festive fashion) and sends them off to the organiser. Each participant then receives a delicious parcel with 24 little packages of beautiful, hand dyed yarn which can be opened, one each day, just like an advent calendar.
I took part last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it, however, at the time, I didn’t know how to make a mini skein so hand winding 24 little balls of yarns was a real bore.
This year, I decided to get to grips with making mini skeins. As we all do, I had a quick look on you tube… it seemed so complicated to get a specific weight and yardage. In the end, I came up with this simple method for making a mini skein – no calculations involved!
How To Make A Mini Skein
- A swift. Any kind of swift will work – I have a simple Sunflower Swift (no longer made). An umbrella swift is also good.
- A set of accurate scales (I’m using my digital kitchen scales).
Before you start, you’ll need to make sure that your hank of yarn has been wound into a cake or ball. If you’ve wound it into a ball, you’ll also need a bowl to put it in, so that it doesn’t roll off the table and bounce round the room!
- Place your cake (or ball AND bowl) on your scales.
- Tare the scales, i.e. set to zero. On mine, I have to hold the “on” button down for a couple of seconds.
- Set your swift to the desired size – this will effect the length of your mini skein. I’ve set mine with a radius of about 10″/26cm.
- Secure the end of the yarn to the swift.
5. Start winding the yarn onto the swift, keeping an eye on the scales.
6. When the scales are minus the desired weight (e.g. 10g), stop, ending at the point where you secured the end of the yarn.
7. Cut the yarn, wrap the two ends around each other and then wrap one end around all the strands and fasten off.
8. Carefully remove the yarn from the swift, making sure the strands are kept together, using your index fingers.
9. Extend your arms and start to twist each end in opposite directions, being careful that the yarn doesn’t slip off your fingers!
10. Twist until it’s quite tight. I needed to twist 11 times. If it’s too loose the skein ends up looking messy and if you over-twist, you could accidentally damage the yarn by overstretching it. You might need a few goes to get this just right.
11. Draw your hands towards each other. The yarn should naturally start twisting together.
12. Transfer the loop off yarn off one finger to join the other.
13. Gently pull and massage the twist to make the “twizzle” uniform.
14. You might need to give each end a couple of extra twists if they are not as tight as the rest of the mini skein.
15. Now you’re going to tuck one end into the other.
15. That’s it! You should now have a cute little mini skein!
Need to SEE this being done?
I also have a You Tube video “How To Make A Mini Skein” :
Disclosure : I sometimes use affiliate links for my favourite yarns and other accessories!
Throughout the years I’ve taught crochet , there have been many projects where a cord is required (e.g. the mesh soap bag). There are many options for making cords and having tried various methods, I’ve found that the Crochet Lucet Cord or Four Sided Chain is my favourite option for the following reasons:
- You don’t need any special equipment – yes, you can make a lucet cord without a lucet!
- You can use the hook you’re already using for your project.
- The technique is easy to memorise.
- Once you get a rhythm going, the cord works up pretty quickly.
- It makes a firm and thick cord.
- The finished cord is flexible yet strong.
- It’s very attractive – it looks like a four sided chain.
- Yarn – thicker is better for a good effect. I’m using a DK weight yarn doubled up (Paintbox Cotton DK in Melon Sorbet).
- A crochet hook – in this example I’m using a 3.5mm hook (Clover Amour). Use a slightly smaller hook than you’d normally use for the yarn thickness otherwise the stitches in the cord can end up being too slack.
How much yarn will I need for my cord?
You’ll need about 9 x the finished length of your cord.
E.g. desired cord is 30cm /12 inches long, so I’ll need 2.7 m / 3 yards of yarn or 2 x 2.7 m / 3 yards if you’re doubling up.
- Wind off a separate ball of yarn from your main skein to make a double thickness thread – tie the ends together to keep them together to start with.
- With the tail end to the left, lay the yarn on a flat surface in an “arc” shape (fig. 1).
- Fold over the top of the arc (fig. 2) , to make 2 “loops”.
- Insert the hook into the right loop, from above, then, coming from underneath, bring the hook up through the left loop (fig. 3) .
- Pull the loops tight on the hook (fig. 4).
- Rearrange the yarn – move the working end of the yarn over the left and hold the tail end as if to make a chain (fig. 5).
- Yarn over and pull a loop through the first loop on the hook, i.e. ch1 with the left loop (fig. 5).
- Carefully remove this loop from the hook (fig. 7).
- Pinch this loop between your thumb and middle finger (or forefinger if you use your middle finger to feed the yarn) to stop it coming undone when you work the next stitch (fig. 8).
- Ch1 with the right loop (fig. 9).
- Replace the left loop on the hook (fig. 10)…
- …and ch1 with the left loop (fig. 11).
- Continue in this way, i.e. drop & hold left loop, ch1 right loop, replace left loop; ch1 left loop…until the cord measures desired length (fig. 12).
- To finish off, after a ch1 left loop, yarn over and pull the yarn through both the left and right loops (fig. 13).
- Cut the yarn, yarn over and pull through the loop on the hook and all the way out. Pull tight (fig. 14).
- Tie a tight knot in each end and trim, or as in this example, you could also add a bead at each end for a decorative effect (fig. 15).
TIP : To even out the cord, roll it between your fingers and pull it gently all along is length. This makes a big difference to the look of the cord – making it firmer and smoother.
You can also find a video of this technique on my YouTube channel:
I sometimes use affiliate links to my favourite yarns, hooks and other craft materials.
I’ve put together this tutorial showing you how to get the perfect picot stitch. When I first started crocheting, I struggled to get my picot stitches looking right… they didn’t stand up straight and they weren’t symmetrical. There are quite a few different ways to make a crochet picot stitch – you’ll be especially aware of this if you have ever made Irish Crochet. Eventually, after much trial and error, I started making them the way I’ll describe below – this method consistently gives me a satisfying, even, symmetrical and upright set of picots!
In the following crochet tutorial, I am adding the picot stitch trim to my “Mesh Soap Bag“, which is a free pattern.
3 Single Crochet & Chain 3 Picot Stitch Pattern
This is a simple stitch pattern of 3sc, ch3 picot. In the round it’s a 3 stitch repeat and worked flat it’s a 3 stitch repeat + 2.
The stitch pattern looks like this, in a chart format:
If you’re unfamiliar with crochet charts : the crosses are the single crochet stitches & the three loops and dot represent the chain 3 and slip stitch
Make 3sc and then make the picot as follows: chain 3, then hold the chain at the back of the work and into the last sc made FROM THE BACK OF THE STITCH, TO THE FRONT – slip stitch, pulling the slip stitch tight before proceeding with the pattern repeat, i.e. 3sc, ch3 picot … as many times are required!
I have also made a “Perfect Crochet Picot Stitch” video tutorial, which you can find here, on my Mezzamay YouTube channel:
- Yarn : Paintbox Yarn DK Cotton, in Melon Sorbet (417)
- Hook : Clover Amour 3.5mm
- Pattern : Mesh Soap Bag by Merrian Holland
I sometimes use affiliate links to my favourite yarns, hooks and other craft materials.
I often get asked how I weave in my ends and what is the best way to sew in ends of crocheted projects so that they don’t come undone or look messy. I’ve put together this post to show you how I’m weaving in the ends of a project. The project features solid granny motifs and the traditional granny stitch. It also deals in particular with very short ends which can be difficult to handle. It’s not a definitive guide – I’m just sharing with you how I do it.
Projects using multiple motifs are a great favourite of mine. I know other crocheters also love making motifs but are put off by all the ends that need sewing in. This is a time consuming task which is made all the more daunting when you are not really sure how to do it.
How do you make sure it’s secure?
In my experience, the key to a securely hidden end is to sew in one direction, then back on itself in the opposite direction, whilst making sure a stitch is caught or sewn over so that you’re not just undoing the stitch you’ve just made. I use a standard wool needle for knitters. It has a large eye and relatively blunt tip. Specifically, I use Pony Gold Eye Sewing Needles.
To start with, I always make the first step of securing the ends while crocheting. I.e. when I actually join the new yarn colour to the project. I do this by crocheting over the tail end for 3 or 4 stitches. Initially this doesn’t seem a very secure start. Worry not, as the final sewn step keeps everything in place. This works well with solid stitch patterns and clusters but is often not possible when you’re making a lacy or very open pattern. In these instances, you’ll need to employ other strategies.
If you’ve managed to catch the end in during crocheting, you only need to sew it back on itself again. Remember to catch in or skip over the first strand so that you’re not undoing the stitch.
How do you deal with very short ends?
When you have a short tail to sew in, start with the needle in the fabric/stitches where you want to sew and then thread the needle. I tend to use my thumb nail to push the yarn through the eye.
In most cases, sewing in one direction and then the other is enough to ensure the work doesn’t come undone. Don’t forget to skip a strand of yarn when you change direction (see second image above). However, if you’re making something for a baby, or a gift or a paid commission, you may want to add an extra step. I.e. change direction and sew back again before trimming the yarn. If you’ve got a very short tail, carefully pull the needle through, without un-threading it. Then use the eye of the needle to sew back on itself. This technique is not advisable if your needle is sharp!
How do you ensure it looks neat?
I always try to sew the ends into a congested area of stitches, such as a corner or cluster. I find this offers the most secure spot and the tail end finds it difficult to wriggle.
Sometimes, such as here, where the corners of the four motifs join, there is no congested area to conceal a tail end. Instead I make a running stitch into the post of an adjacent stitch – here it’s a double crochet, until I came to a denser area suitable for sewing into.
For both methods, I find it best to work from the back of the fabric. I check the front occasionally to make sure I haven’t left any visible stitches that might blemish my work on the right side. It is also important to ensure your sewing matches the gauge of your crochet pattern. After each sewn stitch, I gently pull the fabric to make sure my weaving in isn’t creating any pulls or puckering.
Lastly, I like to use a small pair of sewing scissors to CAREFULLY snip off the remaining tail end. Sadly, I have had disasters in the past. Once, coming to the last few threads, I managed to cut a hole in a project when I was rushing and excited to finish!
- This is a large wrap made using a modified version of the Blue Buoy Blanket pattern.
- The pattern for the three row solid granny square can be found here.
- The traditional granny stitch border an join can be found here.
- KnitPro Zing Hook – size 3.25mm.
- Yarn is sock weight/fingering yarn from Posh Yarn …25 different hand dyed shades in total!
And here’s a video.