Saturday, June 16, 2012

How to Make a Tassel

Tassel on the left was made with some wool yarn I dyed myself.  Tassel on the right was made with Sugar n Cream cotton yarn.

Tassels are easy to make.  You don't need any fancy equipment, either.

You will need:
  1. A piece of cardboard or something else you can wrap your yarn around.  It should be a little longer than you want your finished tassel to be.  That way you can trim up the end without having a shorter than desired tassel.  (I used a piece of folded cardboard to make mine, as you will see in the video, but you needn't fold yours. )
  2. Scissors
  3. Crochet hook
  4. Yarn, of course

To keep things brief here, I am not going to go into great written detail.  Not that it is complicated to make a tassel, but it is much easier to see it being done than read how to do it.   Basically, all you do is wrap your yarn around the cardboard, until the tassel is as thick as you want it.  The more wraps you do, the thicker your tassel will be.  Then, cut a length of yarn, slip your crochet hook under the wraps, pull the length of yarn under them, and tie it a couple of times tightly so that the tassel doesn't come apart. These are the strands you will use to attach the tassel to your project.  Next, cut the wraps on the opposite end from where you tied them together.  The tassel can be used as is, or you can cut another length of yarn, and tie it around the tassel a short distance from the top.  You can see in the picture above where I have tied my tassels.  I like to wrap my yarn a few times around the tassel, but you can just tie and be done.  With your crochet hook, pull the tails from the yarn you used to tie around the tassel underneath itself and voila. Trim if necessary.  To attach your tassel to a hat or scarf, or whatever you like, just use the strands from the top of the tassel to tie them on.  That's it.

So, here is the video.  Happy Tasseling!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mattress Stitch

This was requested by a YouTube friend.  I personally avoid seams whenever possible.  I just don't like to seam.  When I bind off, I want to be done!  But I do love how this makes an invisible join that you really can't see at all.  Below are still photos, as well as a video of some small stockinette pieces being joined with Mattress Stitch.

My sample was done on stockinette fabric, however this could really be used with any stitch or fabric.  Do keep in mind that you should add a couple of extra stitches to the sides of your fabric so that you can seam easily, and you won't lose any width.  Seaming takes away from the width of your fabric - patterns that require seaming should have that fact accounted for, so no need to worry about adding extra stitches if you are following a pattern.  But if you are designing your own pattern, just keep in mind when calculating the size.  

OK, so here we go.

  1. Your fabric should be placed with right sides facing.  You will be working in a side to side fashion. 
  2. Use the same yarn that you knit your garment with.  To make things easy, you can either reserve a length of tail from your cast on, or bind off, for this purpose.  Or you can simply cut a length of yarn to use instead.
  3. Don't seam along the immediate edge of your fabric; instead, move over to the first line of stitches.  You could always move over two lines of stitches, but that will make the back side a bit bulkier. 
  4. Be sure that you stay straight as you seam up the fabric.
  5. For the sake of clarity, we will say we are starting with the left piece of fabric here, but you may start with whichever piece of fabric you like.  
  6. Beginning at the cast on edge of the left piece of fabric, insert your yarn or tapestry needle into the cast-on edge stitch, then do the same on the right piece of fabric.
  7. On the left piece of fabric, insert your needle under the first strand of yarn between the edge stitches and the first line of stitches.
  8. Repeat on the right piece of fabric.
  9. Continue moving left, right, left, right and so on, until you reach the top of your fabric.  Then, insert the needle into the stitch along the bind off edge on both the left and right piece of fabric.
  10. Now, gently pull on the tail of your yarn to tighten things up.  Pulling from both ends is easiest for me.  You will see that the yarn you used to sew up disappears like magic.  Don't pull too tightly or your fabric will become misshapen.  Just pull gently until the seam is neat and even.  Weave in the loose ends.
Now, if you are like me, you may be scratching your head and saying "Huh?!" after reading that.  I find visual aids much more easy to understand than the written word.  So, here are some pictures, and the video.

These are the strands that you will be picking up and running your needle and yarn under

Yarn has been inserted into the cast on edge stitches of each piece of fabric

Needle going under the first strand

I have started weaving from left to right, left to right

I have now finished weaving all the way to the top of my fabric, and the yarn has been placed into each stitch along the bind off edge as well

The yarn used to seam has been pulled tight, and I now have an invisible join!  

You can see how beautifully these pieces of stockinette fabric have been joined.  Here is a sample of seed stitch fabric I joined, which is just as nice.