Answer User Questions Tips

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Keeping Count

Keeping count of the number of stitches in a row can be challenging, especially if the instructions are having you perform multiple stitches into one chain or one stitch from the previous row. So, if the instructions tell you to "ch 2, 2 dcs in same st, 1 dc in next 10 sts, 2 dcs in last st", then you should have a total of 14 stitches by the end of the row. Count each single stitch, but not the ch-2 at the beginning of the row (unless the instructions say otherwise), even if you performed multiple stitches in the same stitch below, and you should have the correct number by the end of the row.


Chain and Turn

At the end of a row, should you chain the needed number for the next row and then turn, or turn the piece and then chain? I prefer to turn and then chain, but again, this is a matter of preference. Some crocheters like to go ahead and do the chains for the next row before turning their piece because it allows them to see the chains more clearly when they are working their way back down the next row. I like to turn and then chain because I feel like I've completed my row and am turning to start a new row. Experiment and see which way works best for you.


What's "WPI"?

I had never heard of "wpi" either before, but I read about it today in my "Talking Crochet" free email newsletter (you can subscribe by going to It's an abbreviation for "wraps per inch." Literally, you determine wpi by wrapping yarn around a ruler for one inch, with each strand of yarn being wrapped parallel and next to each other. Be careful not to wrap the strands of yarn too close to each other or too tightly, no twisting or crossing the yarn either. Just try to wrap with a moderate tension and keep the yarn flat and smooth against the ruler.

Once you've done the wrapping, you count the number of parallel strands within one inch. Usually, there will be about 16 wpi for fingering weight yarn and about 8 wpi for bulky yarn, and somewhere in between for worsted weight yarns. This technique is one way of determining the density or weight of a yarn and is often used by handspinners to help categorize their yarns. It's also a way of determining if different yarns can be substituted for each other in a pattern. So, now we know!

Where can I find instructions for the crochet rice stitch? Is it the same as the bullion stitch? Thank you...Polly

The Rice Stitch is the same as the Bullion Stitch

Hi Polly,
Thanks for your question. Yes, the Rice Stitch is the same as the Bullion Stitch. You can see an illustration of the techniques here:
Wrap the yarn over your hook as many times as you would like. For this practice stitch, we'll use five. Wrap the yarn over your hook five times (or as many times as you would like); insert your crochet hook into the next stitch, yarn over and draw loop through stitch and remaining five stitches. Chain 1 and begin Rice Stitch again.


Right from Wrong

A reader recently asked me for a tip on how to tell the right side of your crochet fabric from the "wrong" side. Now, I don't like to use the term "wrong side" because it might be the side that you end up liking the best, but the conventional way to determine the right side is to look at the first row after the foundation chain -- that is considered the right side. You might want to slip a piece of yarn or a stitch marker on a stitch on the right side to remind yourself.


To Err is Human

So, you are on your second or third row of crocheting a blanket, and you realize that you are not following the pattern stitch as written (let's say you're putting 5 dcs in your shell rather than 6), what to do?! Basically, there are two courses of action you can take: go with it or rip it, rip it! You've created a new pattern of your own. If you like the look, then just adjust the original pattern accordingly. If you don't, however, then just face the facts, rip it out, and start over. Be glad that you didn't get further into the blanket before discovering your mistake!


Caring for Your Hooks

There are so many different kinds of materials used to create hooks, like metal, plastic, and bamboo, I'm often asked how best to care for your hooks. Any type of hook should periodically be washed with a gentle soap and water to get off the oils, creams and dirt that might have built up. Dry them off. Then, with wooden or bamboo hooks, apply a little mineral oil to condition them. Let them sit for about 20 to 30 minutes, then gently wipe off any excess oil. When not using your hooks, it's best to store them in some type of case or fabric hook roll. If you treat your hooks with a little TLC, they will take care of you for years to come.


UK v American Crochet Terms

Ever read a pattern and just feel like something isn't quite right?! Chances are you are from the UK or Australia and you're reading an American pattern, or you are in the U.S. and reading a pattern written by someone using UK crochet terms. For an American, the UK/Australian terms are one stitch ahead: our (US)(UK) slip stitch is their single crochet; our single crochet is their double crochet; our half double crochet is a half treble and so on. Though it's a little time consuming, it's best to "translate" a pattern into the terms you are most comfortable with before getting started.

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Phyllis Serbes