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Archive for Tutorials

How to Fold a Triangular Shawl

how to fold a triangular shawl by planetjune

If you’ve been bitten by the shawl-crocheting bug, it can be easy to build up quite a collection! As part of the Accessories CAL (in the PlanetJune Ravelry group), I thought now would be a good time to discuss how you store your shawls. I used to hang mine in my closet, but I quickly ran out of hanging space, and now I prefer to keep them all neatly folded in a plastic storage box.

Triangular shawls, in particular, can be a bit tricky to fold for storage, so here’s my method to turn any size and style of triangular shawl into a tidy rectangle.

Step 1: Hold your shawl with the point facing down:

how to fold a triangular shawl by planetjune

Step 2: Bring the top left corner across to the top right corner:

how to fold a triangular shawl by planetjune

Step 3: Bring the bottom point up to the top left corner:

how to fold a triangular shawl by planetjune

Step 4: Bring the top right point across to the top left corner:

how to fold a triangular shawl by planetjune

And that’s it: a perfect rectangle. If your shawl is large, you may want to fold it in half again before you store it (but I think you can figure out how to do that without a photo…)

So now you can go from this:

Cozy Mesh and Palm Leaves shawl crochet patterns by planetjune

to this tidy little stack of crocheted loveliness!

Cozy Mesh and Palm Leaves shawl crochet patterns by planetjune

And – in case you’d like to make a few more shawls so you can practice your folding technique – you can find all my shawl patterns here 😉

Comments (2)

Tip: Feeding Yarn Through Buttonholes or Beads

Whether you’ve made a sweater, a phone cosy, or jewellery, sometimes you want to add a button to your yarn project and run into a problem… For a perfect match, it’s nice to use the project’s yarn to attach the button – whether that’s to minimise ends to weave in, or just give a polished look. But, while it’s fairly easy to find a button with holes big enough to fit the yarn through, it’s very rare to find a button that has a hole large enough for both the yarn (doubled) and the eye of a yarn needle!

crochet braid bracelet pattern by planetjune

Below, I’ve shown an example (from a Crochet Braid Bracelet, pictured above). The hole on this shank-backed button is just large enough for my yarn to fit through, but the yarn is too floppy to push through the hole. When I try, it either bunches up and refuses to go through, or separates into plies.

feeding yarn through buttonholes

The simplest trick is to wet the end of the yarn to keep the plies together while you thread the end through the buttonhole – the same technique as licking your sewing thread before you thread a hand-sewing needle. But sometimes that just isn’t enough, and with a long buttonhole like this one and/or a close fit, the yarn is still too floppy to make it right through the buttonhole.

There’s just no way to get that yarn through that buttonhole… Or is there?

feeding yarn through buttonholes

Yes there is! Here’s the magic, you need to stiffen the end of the yarn before you thread it through the button, so it’ll act like its own needle and pass easily through any buttonhole that’s large enough to fit a single strand of the yarn.

The easiest way to do that is with basic white craft glue, and here’s how to do it:

  1. Squeeze a small drop of white glue onto the end of the yarn.
  2. Using your thumb and fingertips, press and roll the end of the yarn to distribute the glue through the fibres of the yarn. For threading normal buttons, you only need to dampen about 1/2″ (1 or 2 cm) of the yarn with glue.
  3. Twist the wet plies together by rolling between your fingertips in the direction of the twist of the yarn, to hold the plies neatly together.
  4. Press the tip of the yarn gently between your fingertips to form a nice rounded point (see above photo).
  5. Leave the glued yarn to dry for a few minutes (while you wash/rub the glue off your fingers) – although, if you’re impatient, it doesn’t need to be perfectly dry to work!
  6. Thread your yarn through your buttons as desired.
  7. Snip off the hardened end of the yarn with scissors.

Easy! It works the same way as the plastic-coated ends of your shoelaces: compressing the yarn into a tight, stiff point that can pass easily through the hole. This method also works on embroidery floss, crochet cotton, or any other type of thread you want to pass through a small hole.

Bonus tip: You can also use this technique for stringing beads onto yarn or thread where the bead hole is too small to fit a doubled strand of the yarn – perfect for bead crochet, or even stringing children’s necklaces!

I hope you find this helpful next time you’re trying to feed yarn through a buttonhole (or bead) – it’s a handy little trick. :)

Comments (11)

Crochet Terminology

This is the final post in my three-part series aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. For the rest of the series, see Yarn for Amigurumi and Crochet Hook Styles.

Non-Standardised Terminology

The names of the crochet stitches are, unfortunately, not standardised throughout the English-speaking world. Most crochet patterns you’ll find through online sources are written in US terminology (which is why I call this ‘standard’ terminology) – but if you buy/use a pattern written or published in UK/Aus, that may not be the case.

Conversely, if you learnt crochet from a British or Australian source, or some other countries with a historical British influence, you probably know the UK terminology. Your ‘double crochet’, for example, refers to a different stitch (US single crochet) than a US double crochet (which is equivalent to your ‘treble crochet’) – confusing, huh?

Note: If you’re not sure which terminology you use, look at my single crochet tutorial: right-handed or left-handed. If you know this stitch as a ‘double crochet’, you’re using UK terminology!

US/UK Conversion Table

Here are the most common stitches with their equivalent US and UK names:

US Stitch Name UK Stitch Name
chain chain
double crochet treble crochet
half double crochet half treble crochet
slip stitch slip stitch
single crochet double crochet
triple (or treble) crochet double treble crochet

The basic rule is that the UK stitches are always named one step higher than their US counterparts.

Converting Amigurumi Patterns

Amigurumi patterns aren’t too difficult to decipher, as they are (almost) always worked in (almost) all single crochet stitches (i.e. ‘double crochet’ stitches in UK terminology), so it’s very easy to convert these patterns between US/UK. Using the above table, you’ll see that chain and slip stitch are unchanged, so it’s just the single/double crochets you may need to change to convert to your preferred terminology.

Note: All PlanetJune patterns – amigurumi and accessories – are written in standard (US) terminology, but, to prevent confusion, my patterns always also include a conversion table at the start for all stitches used, so you can look up the pattern abbreviations and see which stitch should be used, whichever terminology you’re used to.

Terminology Tips

  • There is no stitch known as ‘single crochet’ anywhere in UK terminology, so, if you see any pattern that uses ‘sc’ stitches, you know it’s a standard/US pattern. UK/Aus: work a dc in place of every sc, and convert all other stitches.
  • If you see an amigurumi pattern worked in ‘dc’ stitches, but the stitches look like those of a regular amigurumi, it’s almost certainly a UK pattern and you should work a US single crochet everywhere the pattern calls for a double crochet. UK/Aus: work the pattern as written.
  • If in doubt when you use an indie pattern that doesn’t have a terminology table to clarify the stitches, check with the pattern designer.
  • A pattern in a book or magazine will almost always use the terminology of the publication’s country of origin, but you can check the description of the stitches used (usually at the start or end of the book/magazine) to make sure.

It’s very unfortunate that when you find a crochet pattern that calls for, for example, a ‘double crochet’ stitch, that may mean one of two different stitches depending on where the pattern was published (or which terminology the designer/publisher decides to use), but I hope this post will help to clear up the confusion!

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Crochet Hook Styles

This is the second of three information posts aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. See also last week’s Yarn for Amigurumi, and the final post: Crochet Terminology.

the differences between in-line and tapered crochet hooks

Crochet hooks come in two main styles: in-line, and tapered. Within North America, these are often known as Bates and Boye styles, respectively, for the most common brands of each style. Outside North America, the tapered hook shape is used almost exclusively, and you may not be able to find any in-line hooks locally.

I think this is unfortunate, as I find the in-line hook shape preferable for forming uniform-sized stitches, and for not snagging the tip of the hook on my previous stitches as I draw up each loop:

  • The head of an in-line hook has the same size, shape, and alignment as the shank (where your working stitch sits on the hook), so you can draw the hook back through each stitch in one straight line.
  • If you’re not careful when using a tapered hook, you can easily make too-small stitches by forming them over the narrow tapered neck (between the throat and the fixed-width shank).

I should be clear though: although I have a strong preference to use in my own crocheting, there is no ‘best’ style of hook; just as you may hold your hook differently to me, you may also prefer a different style of hook. I can’t guarantee that my preference will work for you, but if you plan to crochet a lot, I do recommend you try more than one hook style, if you have the option, so you can find a brand you find comfortable and easy to use.

Buying In-Line Hooks

Susan Bates hooks (also sometimes sold as Red Heart brand) are the most well-known in-line hook, and my preferred brand, both for making amigurumi and for crocheting accessories and larger items. If you live outside North America and are importing yarn from abroad or buying from an online shop that stocks them (see my Yarn for Amigurumi post for a selection of online yarn shops that ship worldwide), I recommend you add one Susan Bates aluminium (US: aluminum) hook in your most-used hook size to your order, so you can see if you like it. If you do, you can invest in a selection of all your favourite sizes (or even a complete set) in your next order.

Note: I find the bamboo-handed Susan Bates hooks are especially comfortable, if you can find them. This isn’t a sponsored post (I don’t do that sort of thing!) – just my real opinion. :)

If you can’t find a Bates hook, or just don’t like metal hooks, there are other brands that also make in-line hooks, so I suggest you look around your local (and online) shops to see what you can find. You can use my graphic above as a handy reference to compare with the hook you’re thinking of buying, so you can tell what you’re looking for.

UPDATE: I’ve done some sleuthing and there’s a shop on that sells US craft products – including all the Susan Bates hooks! They do ship from the US, but the postage is free, so if you’re in the UK, you may want to check out SuperMart on – that link will show you all the aluminium Susan Bates hooks, so you can find your favourite sizes, both bamboo-handled and the slightly cheaper all-metal hooks. :)

Which hook style do you favour: in-line or tapered? (I’d be especially interested to hear why you love tapered hooks, if you do!) Please leave your opinions and brand recommendations below!

Comments (19)

Yarn for Amigurumi

This is the first of three information posts aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. For the rest of the series, see Crochet Hook Styles and Crochet Terminology.

Most amigurumi patterns are worked in worsted weight yarn. This is confusing for non-Americans because 1) it’s not called ‘worsted weight’ outside North America, and 2) this weight isn’t very popular on other continents, so it can be very difficult to find a nice ww yarn to crochet with! If you do find worsted weight yarn outside North America, it’ll be called aran weight or 10-ply yarn.

Note: The ’10-ply’ name does not refer to the number of strands (aka plies) that make up the yarn – worsted weight yarn typically has 4 ‘plies’, but it’s a very different thickness from a 4-ply yarn, as you’ll see in the list below!

International Yarn Weight Names

  • #0 Lace: lace weight, approximately 1-ply to 3-ply
  • #1 Super Fine: fingering weight, 4-ply
  • #2 Fine: sport weight, baby weight, 5-ply
  • #3 Light: DK, light worsted weight, 8-ply
  • #4 Medium: worsted weight, aran weight, 10-ply
  • #5 Bulky: bulky weight, chunky, 12-ply

The situation is slightly more complicated than this: as you can see from my worsted weight yarn comparison investigation, all yarns labelled ‘worsted weight’ (or any other weight) are not necessarily all the same thickness, so your yarn may not crochet up exactly the same as the sample, even if you do find an aran/10-ply yarn.

Substitutions for Worsted Weight Yarn

  • Some DK yarns are barely finer than the yarns at the fine end of my comparison post, so DK yarn may be a good choice, although, depending on your yarn and how tightly you crochet, you may find you need a smaller hook to make the best amigurumi; I typically use a 2.75/3.25mm (US C/D) hook for amigurumi made with DK yarns.
  • You can also substitute for worsted weight yarn by using multiple strands of finer yarns to approximate a worsted weight, for example you could try two strands of sport weight (5-ply) held together.

Importing Worsted Weight Yarn

If you’d like to use a genuine worsted weight yarn, there are US-based online shops who ship worldwide, and some non-US online shops are starting to stock US brands (see a few examples below), so you may well be able to pick up some of my favourite yarns for amigurumi, or other worsted weight acrylics online.

Note: Do bear in mind that if you order from abroad, you may get landed with an additional fee for your package to clear customs. Check the customs rules for your country to avoid an expensive surprise!

worsted weight acrylic yarns

A Few Online Stockists:

Note: I have no affiliation with any of these stockists, but I have either used them personally or had them recommended by my customers who have used them successfully.

Using a Different Weight of Yarn

Of course, for amigurumi, there’s no requirement to use a worsted weight yarn – a different weight of yarn will just give you a different-sized finished amigurumi! Provided you use a hook in a suitable size to match the yarn you use, you can create perfect amigurumi with any weight of yarn you like and can find locally – see my Sizing Up (and Down) article for details and examples.

Note: Although outside the scope of this article, I should point out that if you’re making something from a pattern where the finished size matters (for example, a garment), substituting a different weight of yarn is unlikely to be successful. Unless you’re comfortable calculating the difference in your gauge and adapting the pattern to match (or calculating which size in the pattern would give you the correct finished size in your gauge), you should use the International Yarn Weight Names list and/or my substitution suggestions above to find a yarn that closely matches the yarn suggested in the pattern.

I hope this article has given you some helpful information and resources, especially if you live outside North America. If you know of any more good online international sources of worsted weight yarn, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

Comments (9)

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    June Gilbank

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