Blue Corduroy Crochet Lessons :: Chain Stitch

Welcome to your second crochet lesson - the Chain Stitch!

Did you learn how to do a slip knot? If you missed it, or forgot how, or need a reminder on how to pick the right size yarn and hook, take a look at the first Blue Corduroy Crochet Lesson on Slip Knots and Yarn Lables.

crochet chain stitch tutorial

Crochet is a very addictive and relaxing skill once you get the hang of it.  When my daughter Ginger first learned this chain stitch she was about six years old and she sat and crocheted a chain stitch that reached clear to the back yard! She wasn't worried about how fast she was working or what she was making, she was simply enjoying the yarn and the hook in her hands.

The chain stitch is a foundational stitch for most crochet projects and is also used in many crochet stitches.  What you're learning here is proper tension of the yarn, using your fingers as guides, and how to twist the hook to guide the yarn.

Have fun getting to know your yarn and hook, and I can't wait to show you the next step!

Don't forget, you can also subscribe to my Blue Corduroy Youtube channel to watch these lessons and/or follow me on Instagram @emily_bluecorduroy for other tips and adventures.

 

Blue Corduroy Crochet Lessons :: Slip Knot and Yarn labels

Who wants to learn how to crochet, raise your hand!

I'm so excited to present a series of crochet tutorials starting with the basics and working our way up to more advanced techniques so that you can crochet everything you've always dreamed of!  Dishcloths, scarves, baby blankets, bonnets, granny squares....what are you excited to make? 

crochet hooks and yarn

We're going to start at the very beginning with a slip knot. Ruby and Ginger will be helping me make these videos.  I set up a Blue Corduroy channel on YouTube, and if you subscribe, you will have easy access to step by step crochet lessons.

How to Make a Slip Knot

Getting to know your supplies is a must when learning a new skill. Yarn and crochet hooks come in all different sizes.  A thicker yarn will produce a bulkier finished project and will need a larger hook than a more delicate project with thinner yarn.  But how are you supposed to know which yarn goes with which hook?

I'm a big fan of asking the sales clerk for help, they almost always have all the answers you need.  But if you're left to your own devices, the yarn label has an easy to read chart to tell you exactly which hook and/or knitting needles to use.   

how to read a yarn label

HOW TO READ A YARN LABEL

Yarn Thickness

When you flip the label over to the back, you'll see on the left side the yarn thickness, on this particular label in the photo below you'll see that the yarn is a SUPER BULKY #6.  When picking out projects to make, it is very handy to know what size yarn will produce the desired look. 

Recommended Knitting Needle Size

Moving to the right of the yarn size you'll see a square box with knitting needles crossed on the inside.  This image tells you to use a knitting needles size US 13, or 9 mm.  If you were to knit a square swatch of 9 stitches long and 12 stitches high, with the appropriate knitting needles, it should measure 4" x 4" (or 10cm x 10cm)

Recommended Crochet Hook Size

Moving to the right of the knitting needle box, you'll see a crochet hook icon.  This particular yarn label suggests a crochet hook size US M/13 or 9 mm.  Notice how the crochet hook and knitting needles sizes correspond? Very handy!

Laundry Instructions

At the far right of the yarn label are the laundry instructions.  This is something you definitely want to pay attention to if you plan on laundering your finished product. Thankfully, it also tells you in words underneath the drawings on most labels, because I can often forget what each symbol means. This particular yarn wants to be hand washed, lay flat to dry. No iron, no bleach.

A Special Note about Tension

Some people will naturally crochet or knit with a very tight stitch, and others will make their stitches looser.  It's funny to notice in yourself, if your feeling stressed out about something, your stitches can become tighter and tighter, without you even trying!  

Each pattern usually comes with a "gauge" and this is a simple way of working up a small portion of the pattern to check on what size your stitches are compared to the pattern makers.  If you tend to work tight or you've chosen a slightly thinner yarn than the pattern suggests, you may need to experiment with a larger needle/hook or different size yarn.  

Interest Led Learning in Homeschool

I was recently asked how I find the balance between "interest led" education vs. "requirement focused" as a homeschool mom.  I know that every home educator will answer this question differently, that is the beauty of the personalized approach to educating at home.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that we spend a lot of our time outside on adventures, or at home you'll see the girls being super crafty and creative making up their own "interest led" projects.  From Ruby running her own business to Ginger making paper dolls, I feel like this is where the real learning happens.  Not in finishing workbooks or following the same topics the local public schools are teaching.

"The world is the true classroom.  The most rewarding and important type of learning is through experience, seeing something with our own eyes." -Jack Hanna

swallowtail butterfly

How do we find the time to spend so much time outdoors in nature, when there's other necessary school work to be done?  I feel like being out in nature IS necessary schoolwork!  But if you mean, learning to read and write, etc. vs. playing outside,  I find a way to make "playing outside"  a learning experience.  If, for example, we discovered a cute little caterpillar in the backyard, the girls (at whatever level they are in) can retell the story of the metamorphosis in their journals (language arts).  We can also research his name and learn his characteristics (science).  We can read books about butterflies (literature).

homeschool nature study

"All children respond to an abundance of free time with ideas, plans, imagination, playing.  They solve problems, think, grow. Children respond to life by living.  They need this time to grow.  Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" -Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

We do still have a structured morning of math, history, science and language arts.  But I definitely don't feel the pressure that my girls need to be in a certain grade level in math, for example, or need to finish their book by the end of the year.  What I'm more concerned about is if they are understanding the concepts being taught, and if they have a good attitude when things get tough.  I believe this will serve them far better than being able to tell people they finished Algebra by ninth grade.

reading on the couch

Once an atmosphere of education takes root in your lifestyle, I really believe that fundamentals are getting taught, but more so wrapped up in a package custom fit for each child.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finding the delicate balance between interest led learning, and educational fundamentals can take time and patience, with plenty of mistakes.  But as long as we continue to try to find the right combination for each child, I feel they can only prosper.

How to add Paper Dolls to your Homeschool

Making paper dolls is such a rich way for the kids to really get to know any character they are learning or reading about.  It really forces the child to pay attention to specifics such as hair color, facial features, dress style, and habits.  It also makes them feel very acquainted to the character after "making" them all afternoon.  The familiarity they feel becomes a lasting knowledge of the person.  All the more reason to surround your child with books full of characters worth getting to know. 

“What kind of books? "Sories that make for wonder. Stories that make for laughter. Stories that stir one within with an understanding of the true natures of courage, of love, of beauty. Stories that make one tingle with high adventure, with daring, with grim determination, with the capacity of seeing danger through to the end. Stories that bring our minds to kneel in reverence; stories that show the tenderness of true mercy, the strength of loyalty, the unmawkish respect for what is good.”
― Gladys M. Hunt, Honey for a Child's Heart

When we were still a part of a homeschool co-op, Ginger learned how to make paper dolls.  It was a craft that went along with a book they read in first grade, "The Prince and the Pauper" by Mark Twain.  She kept those paper dolls in a little brown paper bag fixed into her notebook and fondly visited those paper dolls often.  Every now and then she adds to her collection of characters, usually from history readings or favorite story personalities.  

makingpaperdolls

 

How to Paper Doll Like a Pro: 

1) Find a template you like.  (I've included one at the bottom of this post) Print it out on thick paper and cut out.

2) Decide what character (fictional, historical, or totally made up) and gather supplies to inspire your vision.

3) Draw on a face.

4) Yarn makes great hair. Ginger has had lots of fun designing new yarn hair styles.

5) For clothes you can draw directly on the paper doll, you can cut out clothes to stick onto your paper doll, using paper, tissue, fabric, etc.  Also here is where the sky is the limit as far as accessories and embellishments.  Just grab all your craft supplies and go crazy!

It's been so fun to watch Ginger's paper doll making skills grow the more she makes them, and I always remind her to write her name, the date, and the name of her character on the back of her paper doll so that when we look back through them, we're reminded of these times.

homeschoolpaperdolls
kidcraftspaperdolls
homeschoolkidcrafts

The Doll ginger is making today was inspired by our history reading about the first settlers of North America from England and how they met Pocahontas and her family.  Pocahontas by the D'Aulaire's is a beautiful book for inpsiration.

She also put to good use some of the feathers we painted a while back.  Here's the How to Paint Feather's blog post I did to see how we made the painted feathers.

paperdolltemplate

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