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 Lessons, how to read a yarn label and how to do a slip knot by

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 by Blue Corduroy


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.  

Grab my FREE Crochet Dishcloth Pattern for Beginners!

How to Slip Knot and Read Yarn Labels by Blue Corduroy

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.  



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.


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.


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How to Paint a Feather by Ruby

I am so excited to introduce to you the first of many guests posts by Ruby, my thirteen year old daughter!  She has so many amazing talents, writing and crafting are just a couple.  She has her own Etsy Shop, "Ruby by the Sea", and her own blog (which is private until her mama thinks she old enough to go public).  Today, she teaches us how to paint a feather...

how to paint a feather

For the Annual Los Osos Craft Fair this year, I'm going to sell painted feathers.  Today I'm sharing the how-to for the those of you who can't make it to the Kid's Craft Fair!

painted feathers craft

Gather Your Supplies:

First, collect your feathers.  I simply picked up a few in the backyard from the chickens, but you could go to the beach, a lake, really anywhere with birds, or a craft store.  

Simply soak in warm soapy water to get them clean. Once they dry, you can preen your feathers to get the individual feather barbs in order, just like a bird would, except use your fingers instead of your beaks.

Decide on paint (I used acrylic), and grab a paint brush (I found that smallest brushes work best).

painting a feather

Start Painting!

With one hand, flatten out the feather onto a piece of scratch paper, and with the other hand, pick up a paint brush and start to paint!  I leaned towards stripes and dots when I was deciding on designs.  Be gentle with your brush though, it can easily separate the feather barbs if you press too hard.

painted feathers kid craft diy.jpg

A few things I learned along the way:

  • "Zip" your feather strands together before you start painting! That way your feather is smooth on both sides, and it won't look ragged and stringy once painted.
  • Paint with the grain of your feather.  Go from the feather quill, and along the barbs.
  • Put plenty of paint on your brush.  Otherwise the paint is hardly visible, and there is none left by the time you get to the tips of the feather.
painting feathers nature craft how to

I hope you decide to paint a few feathers today!


To better understand this post, you may want to check out the anatomy of a feather.