If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.
--Cat Stevens

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Design Week Day 2: Techniques

My Elephant Hat will probably be appropriate for an advanced beginner or early intermediate level crocheter.

The pattern will require knowledge of several stitches and techniques. There are so many great resources on how to do all of these stitches already available.  I have decided to focus on just one techniques and give you some of my favorite links for the others.

Almost everything in this hat will be worked in the round. One of my favorite ways to start a round is the magic loop.  I learned about it about two years ago and I found it really difficult for a long time and often didn't use it because of that.  Somewhere along the line I all of a sudden realized how to do the magic loop and since then it has become one of my favorite ways to start a round. The magic loop is ideal for when you don't want a hole in the center of your crochet;  I find, though that it doesn't work as well for single crochet,  so if I am planning to work a round in single crochet I simply use Stacey's Sloppy Slip Knot.  If I am working in double crochet or half-double crochet as I will be for my Elephant hat I use the magic loop.
SO Now I think I will shut up and show you how to make the magic loop yourself.

How to Make a Magic Loop in Crochet
( disclaimer: I am very strongly right handed and cannot crochet left handed at all.  I apologize to those of you who might need a left handed tutorial.  Maybe I will teach my left handed husband and use him to do a lefty tutorial.)

Step one:  Wrap your yarn around your left index finger twice.  To do this hold your left hand parallel to the floor with the knuckle facing up, place the yarn between you index finger and middle finger.  Wrap the yarn towards you, over the knuckle an around the back of the finger twice.  Hold the tail between your left thumb and middle finger.

Step 2: With your right hand, Insert the hook from top to bottom, catch the second loop of yarn with you hook and pull it through the first loop.  You should now have what looks like a very loose slip knot wrapped around your left index finger and one loop on your hook.

inserting the hook and grabbing the yarn

after completing step 2
Step 3:While keeping the tail of the yarn secure between your middle finger and thumb, slide your hook under the working yarn ( the yarn that comes out of the ball).  Pull it through the loop on your hook just as you would when making a chain.

Starting the chain stitch

after the first chain is completed
 Step 4: Make as many chains as you need to reach the height of the stitches you will be using in the case I want to make one more chain to equal 2 chain to match the height of half-double crochet.  If you will are working in double make 3 chains, treble 4 etc.  These chains count as your first stitch.
My Magic loop ring after making the two chain stitches
Step 5:  At this point I put the tail and loop into my right with the hook and hold them while I set up the tension on my left hand.  I then transfer the ring and tail back the my left thumb and middle finger.

This is how I hold the yarn in my left hand.  Feel free to hold it however you are most comfortable.

With the tail and ring in my left hand
Step 6:  You can now start crocheting normally as you would in any circle.  In this case I want to do a half double crochet so I will, wrap my yarn around my hook from back to front, ( yarn over or yo) put my hook through the center of the ring, and yarn over again.   Pull the hook back out of the ring.  You will have 3 loops on the hook.  Yarn over and pull all three loops off.  Repeat this 8 more times or until you have the desired number of stitches .

3 loops on the hook

After completing my first half-double crochet

Step 7:  After you make the required number of stitches in the ring,  Garb the tail and pull in a smooth motion to tighten the circle.  You don't want to yank but you don't want to be too timid about it either you will want to pull fairly hard to make the center of your circle nice and tight.

10 half double crochet ( hdc) before pulling the ring closed.

after pulling the ring closed.
To see more of the designers participating this week visit Fresh Stitches.


  1. Thanks so much for posting the photos and links... I'm sure many crocheters will find them super-helpful!

  2. Thanks for sharing your tutorial. I had the same problem when I first learned about the magic loop - I avoided it like the plague for a year or two and then suddenly realized I could actually do it!

  3. Not sure who came up with the magic loop but I know it's been around for a while since amigurumi became really popular. I too avoided it until one day I saw a video and found that it wasn't as difficult as I made it out to be.

    Your elephant hat sounds fantastic. Can't wait to see the finished project.