Modern Crochet: Essential Skills for Getting Started | Toni Lipsey | Skillshare

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Modern Crochet: Essential Skills for Getting Started

teacher avatar Toni Lipsey, Modern Crochet Design for the Adventurous Beginner

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Choosing Your Yarn


    • 4.

      Understanding Color Theory


    • 5.

      Gathering Your Tools


    • 6.

      Crocheting Basics


    • 7.

      Starting Your Project


    • 8.

      Adding Rows


    • 9.

      Adding Borders


    • 10.

      Finishing Your Work


    • 11.

      Introducing Color: Color Blocks


    • 12.

      Introducing Color: Stripes


    • 13.

      Blocking Basics and Aftercare


    • 14.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Create eye-catching art with just a crochet hook and yarn!

For Toni Lipsey, the designer, instructor, and author behind TL Yarn Crafts, every step of the crochet process brings joy. Toni started crocheting in 2013 to ground herself during a tumultuous time, and since then, has made it her full-time mission to share the beauty, simplicity, and therapeutic benefits of working a crochet hook and yarn.

Join Toni to dive into the soulful craft of crochet, with an easy-to-follow workflow you can use to DIY any garment, accessory, or houseware you can imagine. Plus, create a beautiful and useful set of crochet coasters to use or gift!

Hands-on lessons cover everything you need to get started:

  • Assembling a simple crochet kit
  • Choosing the right yarn and color palette 
  • Working a single and double crochet stitch
  • Introducing color changes and finishing your work

Along the way, Toni shares her favorite tips, tricks, and learnings from life as a professional crochet artist, revealing why the art of crochet is bigger than any single project.

Whether you’re looking for a healing hobby, a creative escape, or a new thread art to complement your love of knitting, Toni’s warm teaching style will help you feel welcome in the world of crochet. By the end, you’ll have a set of colorful coasters, plus a new appreciation for what you can create with your own two hands!


This class is designed especially for beginners, though crocheters of any level will enjoy the class project. To follow along, you’ll need a crochet hook, scissors, and your yarn of choice. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Toni Lipsey

Modern Crochet Design for the Adventurous Beginner


Toni Lipsey, the designer, instructor, and author behind TL Yarn Crafts, strives to inspire other's creativity through online tutorials and modern, approachable crochet patterns. Toni learned to crochet from her mother as a teenager and has been exploring the possibilities of yarn ever since. She was bitten by the entrepreneur bug in 2013 and transitioned to running TL Yarn Crafts full-time in 2017. At present, Toni spends her time nurturing her community of over 300K makers across platforms by offering approachable crochet patterns and handmade business wisdom. 

Toni’s current design obsessions are delicate shawls and stylish home decor. When she’s not crocheting, you can find her cuddled with her 2 kittens and husband in her Ohio home, binge-watching the latest... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: My crochet philosophy is, "If you can see it, you can make it." I believe that if you're able to put in the time and effort and the focus, you can ultimately create anything that you see. I'm Toni Lipsey, the crochet designer behind TL Yarn Crafts. TL Yarn Crafts started in 2013 as a finished product business and quickly morphed into a design business so that I could share my ideas with my larger crochet community. I also have branched into teaching both online and in-person and I just wrote my first book, the Tunisian crochet handbook. Today we're creating a set of four modern coasters. You can create this beautiful, usable thing to either keep for yourself or to give as gifts. We're going to talk through the foundations of crochets, so really understanding yarn and fiber, getting to know our tools, basic stitches like single crochet, double crochet, adding a border to our project, and those finishing steps that will make your coasters polished. This class is for anyone with an interest in crocheting. Whether you are trying crochet for the very first time or picking up a hook after a long hiatus. This is a great place to re-introduce yourself to yarn and hooks. I hope that by the end of this class, you walk away with the confidence and the excitement to work your next crochet project and take that in whatever direction your heart desires. Now, let's get started. 2. Getting Started: There's a buzz and an excitement about learning something for the very first time. It can be a little bit nerve-wracking. Those first few stitches are really tricky, but it comes with practice and trying and doing things new and going on paths that you didn't expect to go down. With practice comes progress and continuing to practice throughout your crochet career is only going to take you to new heights that you might not have ever considered. The coasters that we're making today are deceptively simple. While we'll have just this basic square of crochet, we're going to infuse a lot of ideas and techniques into it. We're going to dive into basic stitching. We're going to talk about color and direction, where we place our hook. We'll play around with tension and knowing that if I crochet too tightly, this might happen, or too loosely this might happen. Not only will you get that foundation of crochet, but you'll get an understanding of why things are working up the way they are and how you can maybe tweak that in your next set of coasters or your next crochet project. I don't want you to just have a set of coasters when you're done. I want you to have the confidence and the know-how to go into any project after our class is done. This class is focused on the basics of crochet, the techniques, the tools, the ideas. But ultimately this is part of this bigger therapeutic approach to craft. Grab yourself something warm to drink, make sure you're in comfortable clothes in a place that you can just completely immerse yourself into this class. Try your best to enjoy it. Crochet is ultimately supposed to be a fun activity. While it's a little tricky to learn a new skill and you might have to practice things like tension and loosening up your shoulders a little bit. Eventually, you will get to this place where it feels very rhythmic and crochet is as comfortable place that you can relax into. Your crochet practice is going to extend far beyond this class and so will my support. Make sure you upload your projects to our project gallery. I can't wait to see them, comment on them and encourage you. This entire community wants you to succeed and we can't wait to see what you create. This class is going to take you through the journey of crochet from start to finish. We're going to pick up first with understanding yarn. We'll also dive into color theory and picking palettes for your projects. We'll talk a bit about the tools that you need, not only for this project but future projects as well. Then we'll get our hands into the yarn, we'll start actually crocheting and make our first coaster. From there, we can use our creativity to play around with color and striping and color blocking. Then we're going to go into the important part for me, which is finishing. That is weaving in our ends, blocking our projects, and making our coasters picture perfect. We're going to wrap up with some ideas for how to use these coasters as gifts. But ultimately, I hope that you'll keep a set just for yourself. Throughout the course of this class, we're going to practice making a solid coaster and also introducing color like I did with the striped coaster. Now you might be a little intimidated, but I promise you that working stitch by stitch with you, you'll be able to not only make the solid coasters but also introduce color just like I did with this coaster. I hope that you'll then graduate to playing around with color and stitches and textures in a way that makes you excited about your projects. It might seem a little intimidating now, but I promise it's a lot simpler than it looks. One of the great things about crochet is that you don't need many supplies to get started, especially for a project like this. We're going to be using cotton yarn in a few different colors. Cotton is perfect for this project because it's absorbent, it comes in a lot of great colors, and it's pretty economical when you get it from your craft store. In addition to the yarn, we're going to need a four millimeter crochet hook, a pair of scissors, and a tapestry needle. I'll talk through some other supplies that you'll need if you're going to continue your crochet practice. But for this project, this is it. One of the things that gets me really excited about crochet is the yarn. There is so much to learn and we're going to do it together. I'll see you in the next lesson. [MUSIC] 3. Choosing Your Yarn: Most of your projects are going to start with Choosing Yarn. Walking into a craft store can be so overwhelming and you have lots of great choices. But it does help to be thoughtful at this step and not let yourself get carried away. Things like fiber content, a yarn weight, play a huge role in executing your projects. The last thing I want to happen is you to go home with yarn that you're never going to use. Now we're going to talk a bit about choosing the right yarns for your projects. First off, let's start with where to even get your yarn from. You have a few different options. The first option is going to be your local big box store. Big box stores are a great place to start building your stash, because you can typically find discounts and they have yarns that are available year round and are constantly replenished. If you find a yarn that you fall in love with, you can get it today, tomorrow, even next year. Another place to pick up great yarns is your local yarn store. These are typically independently owned stand alone stores, that focus mainly on yarn and supplies for knitters and crocheters. These are great places to go if you have questions, because their staff is knowledgeable not only about the craft, but also about their product. They can make recommendations for colors or yarns to try and even new tools that have come in. I will let you know though that all of that expertise comes with a higher price tag. Get ready to spend some coins in your local yarn store. Now if you're more of a homebody maker, you're in luck because there are literally hundreds of places to purchase yarn and supplies online. They're independent dyers that sell only their yarns in their web shops and there are also wholesalers that will push yarns from lots of different companies, all from one place. You might have to do a little bit of digging to find the best dyers or the best websites for that yarn. Often when you find a goldmine, you can pick up a very rare find. Once you decide where you're going to get your yarn, you have to narrow down your options to get the yarn that's the best fit for your project. That's going to involve being able to read your yarn label and understand the yarn that you're purchasing. Thankfully, the yarn industry has some standards, so there are certain things you can expect to find on every yarn label you come across. Here I have a ball of yarn that I bought from my big-box store. I'm going to walk you through some of the things you can expect to find on a yarn label. The first thing you'll notice about this label is the name of the yarn. It's Hue and me. It's going to be the biggest font typically on the label. In addition to that, we have logos for the two companies that work together to create this yarn. This yarn was created in collaboration between the designer Two of Wands and the company Lion Brand Yarns. We have logos for both. One nice thing about this yarn is they have a description of the yarn right here on the label. This one says chunky wool blend. Chunky refers to the thickness of the yarn itself and wool blend refers to the fiber content. If we roll the label around, we've got some measurements of the yarn, both in imperial and metric measurements. We can see exactly how much yarn were getting and what the weight of it is. This is especially helpful if you're working on a project that requires multiple balls of yarn. You can use the yarn age or the meters on here to know that you have enough yarn to complete your project. Moving on, we have this symbol here. This symbol was created by the craft yarn council to help designate the thickness or the weight of yarn. Weight of yarn is determined on a scale from 0-7, where zero is the thinness yarn, considered lace weight, and seven is the thickest yarn considered extra bulky. The easiest way to remember yarn weights is just to know that the higher the number, the thicker the yarn. Here we have a level 5 bulky weight yarn, and you can see that this is quite thick. Next, we have recommendations for the tools that you can use for this yarn if you're into knitting, it recommends a 6.5 millimeter set of needles. For crochet it recommends a 6.5 millimeter hook. The operative word here is recommended though. The company recommends a hook size, but you might adjust that size either higher or lower depending on the fabric that you create while crocheting. Don't be afraid to wander off of the recommended hook size to make sure your project has the drape and the shaping that you're looking for. As we continue around, we have information about the fiber content. This specific yarn is 80 percent acrylic and 20 percent wool. Acrylic is a man-made fiber and wool is an animal fiber. Those fibers together create a unique blend that has its own characteristics. How this yarn drapes, how it's cared for. Understanding those different fiber contents and what they work together will help you know, if this yarn is specifically a good choice for the project that you're trying to create. Next step, we've got the care instructions. Thankfully, this one has symbols as well as written out instructions, machine washable and dryable is a huge selling point, especially for yarn it that has some animal fiber. This is a great choice for a wide array of projects. Last but not least, we have the article number, the color, and the lot number. Article number is created internally by the company to help designate this yarn on their internal documentation. The color number and name are to help people like us find the right colors and match up balls of yarn when we're trying to make larger projects. Then lastly we have the lot number. Yarn is dyed in batches and there can be subtle differences between the colors or the shades of yarn between batches. When you're making projects that use multiple balls of yarn, try your best to find ones that have the same lot number. That way you have consistent color throughout your entire project. Thankfully, this label has a lot of information. You can make a very informed decision about whether this ball of yarn is a good fit for your project. As you get deeper into crochet and you're spinning a lot more time with yarn, you'll note that some labels aren't quite this descriptive. But regardless of what yarn you pick up, you will have the information that you need to decide what yarns are a good fit for your project. Now let's talk a little bit about yarn fiber. When I say the word fiber, I'm referring to the type of material that a yarn is made of. Now fiber falls into three main categories, animal fiber, plant fiber, and synthetic fibers. Here I have a few examples of each. First we have animal fibers and some fibers that you'll find in that category are going to be wool and gora or cashmere. These yarns are coveted and often fall into that luxury category of yarns because they're a little bit more precious and they do take a little bit more care. But another thing to note about animal fibers is that they hold warmth and they're also very elastic with a lot of stitch memory, that means that these fibers can be stretched and pulled and will often shrink back to their normal shape. They're a great choice for anything that needs to be used often or is going to be a bit more hard wearing. Next we have plant fibers. Those can be things like silk or cotton. These fibers features cellulose which carries water throughout the plant. When you're using it in yarn, what you'll find is that, cellulose pulls water off of your skin, so plant-based fibers have great wicking properties, which makes him a great choice for any summer wearables or accessories. The biggest downside about plant-based fibers is that they don't have that stitch memory. Larger projects like blankets or sweaters may stretch over time and never bounce back to their original shape. Taking care to launder these kinds of projects well, is going to make sure they last for a very long time. The last group will look at is man-made fibers. This will include fibers like acrylic or polyester. These man-made fibers can have many different textures, colors, thicknesses. You have the largest range of yarns within those man-made fibers. Also these yarns are easy care. Most are machine washable and dryable. They are a great choice for things like baby blankets or sweaters used by someone who spends a lot of time outdoors. One thing to note when you're taking care of these fibers is that they can often perform like plastics. When you put them in the dryer, don't heat them up too high or the fibers within the yarn may fuse together and change the look of your project. Acrylic yarns are a great place to start in your maker journey. But considering the environmental impact of yarns like this, I would strongly recommend branching out into animal fibers or plant-based fibers when you feel confident enough to do it. I chose to go with cotton for our project today for many different reasons. We can take advantage of cottons wicking abilities for our coaster. It's great for hot or cold drinks. We also have an amazing selection of colors in the yarns that we chose today. We can create a fabric that makes sense for our coaster just by going down on our hook size, cotton is great to work with and super easy on the hands. Even a tighter fabric is not going to create fatigue within your wrists and hands. I have several different examples of how cotton can work up in these coasters. Each of these cottons is a little bit different and we'll talk about how the properties of these yarns impact the coaster that you make. The first option I have here is Pima cotton. Pima cotton is more on the lustrous side of cottons. It has a long staple length, which means that the individual cotton fibers are longer and it creates this beautifully soft texture. This yarn is going to be especially great at absorbing any condensation from your drinks and you also get amazing drape from this yarn. Just look how beautifully it folds over. I also made an example with mercerized cotton. Mercerized cotton means that it has this nice lesser and shine on it. This coaster is going to stand up great to washing because it's a lot harder wearing than Pima cotton. It's going to look great and hold its color after multiple laundering sessions. Lastly, I have an example here in a cotton and acrylic blend. The cotton lens, it's wicking abilities and holds its color. The acrylic makes this a very strong fiber. This is going to be great as well in the washing machine. It's going to hold its color over time and it's also incredibly soft. It really brings together all of the best qualities of these other 100 percent cotton yarns with everything that you can love about an acrylic as well. I know I just threw a lot of information at you, but I will say that a true understanding of fiber comes with practice over dozens of projects while you're learning to crochet. Don't be afraid to try a yarn that you've never used before on a project that you're a bit more comfortable with. Even that practice is going to give you a better understanding of what yarns are going to be a good fit for your future projects. Now that you've got a good understanding of yarn and fiber, we're going to move into our next lesson, which is color theory, where we'll build the perfect palette for our coastal project. 4. Understanding Color Theory: The world of crochet and yarn are open to everybody, and that means that every single color you could imagine is available to you in a yarn form. Color can really make or break your project. So having a clear vision for what you're trying to create and how those colors will come together will make it much easier to start new projects. To start with, I want to give you a brief overview of color theory. What I have here is a color wheel represented by these different little yarn cakes. A color wheel is basically a visual representation of how different colors coordinate together. When you're looking at a color wheel, you can create several different groups, one of which is going to be your complimentary colors. These are colors that are directly across from each other within that color wheel. For example, we have red and green opposite each other, which makes them an obvious choice for the holidays. But you can also pull together blue and orange for your favorite sports team. Outside of complimentary, we also have triadic, which are colors that are equidistant from each other in the color wheel and we're pulling three colors. Let's say we were to pull red, we'll skip three colors and pull yellow and skip three more and pull blue. This is your common primary color triad : red, blue, and yellow; these colors will always go pretty well together and you can play around with the warmth of these colors, the saturation of these colors, or the tints of these colors to create different but equally good-looking color groups. If you don't want to put too many colors together, you could also go with a monochromatic color scheme. Let's say we were going to take green, for example. You could use several different shades of green or different saturations of green in the same project to create something that goes well together. Be careful with monochrome though because it might be difficult for your eye to know where to land. Make sure you have different enough shades of that same color so you still have some visual interest in your project. Another group that you can create is analogous, which are choosing colors that are right next to each other. Let's say we wanted to pull this purple, this blue, and the following blue. These three work very well together because they're right next to each other on the color wheel. It's a very easy way to create a group that's in harmony, but still with different enough colors. When you're considering color, you might also want to look at the saturation within that color. For example, if I pick up this ball of red yarn, this is a 100 percent saturated all of red, it is all red. If I slowly start taking out degrees of red, that color is going to get lighter and lighter, and eventually you're going to end up with gray, that's the complete absence of red. Saturation can still mean bold, bright colors, but maybe you prefer something that's on the lighter side, like a heathered color or something that introduces another neutral. Play around with the saturation of your colors to get the feel and the emotion that you're looking for in your projects. In addition to the color itself, you might be interested in leaning a little bit warmer or a little bit cooler. Any color can be warm or cool, it's really the degree of how much yellow, or warm you add to that color, or how much blue or cool you add to it. For example, I have blue here, but if I lean a little bit more yellow, I'm going to get a color like this. It's still blue, but it's leaning more to the warm side. I'm personally a big fan of warm colors, I think they bring out all the happiness within my skin tone and within my personality. But cool colors have a place too. They invoke that feeling of cool, crisp mornings, or that really relaxed happiness throughout the day. Play around with the warmth or the coolness that you include in your colors. Make sure across your palette that all of your colors lean to that warmth or coolness, otherwise, it's going to really stand out and not in a good way. Now, for color wheel is a little too complicated and you want to keep it really easy. There are great ways to find color palettes created by amazing people around the Internet and also in your own community. I love to go on websites like Pinterest or YouTube. When you're thinking about search terms, consider the feeling that you want to evoke, or maybe it's a season, or maybe it's just a certain color that you want to be central to your color palette. For example, you might pick modern Christmas color palette, or you might choose a cheery Valentine color palette. In that search box, get as specific as you can so you can create the palette that you're really looking for. I also like to go to periodicals and different fashion influences to find really great colors. Pantone has their color of the year every year and it pulls in that really great color that's now and that's popping, and it's really easy to find those current and modern colors within yarn. When it comes to my personal choices for color, I do have certain colors that I just lean towards very often. I love pinks, and I love reds, and I love mutual colors because they invoke happiness, cheerfulness, they make me feel calm and make me feel encouraged. Find that color that really works for you that every time you put it into a project, it invokes that positive and encouraging feeling. If you love oranges, consider a burnt orange, or a bright citrusy orange, and see how that works with other palettes and other colors within that color wheel to expand your horizons. Now, I'd love to give you a few tips about choosing yarns when you go to your local craft store. My first recommendation is to have a plan when you go there. If you already know what project you're planning to work on, how many colors you're planning to use, maybe make a note in your phone or on a piece of paper so that when you go to the yarn store, you're not overwhelmed by the selection. You can also really spread out inside of a yarn store. Most craft stores and yarn stores have some kind of table or a counter. So if you find yarns that you're really in love with, you can take them to that space, spread out, and create different palettes until you land on one that really works for you. My last recommendation is to save your receipts. It may turn out that when you get home and you try a certain yarn, it's really just not working for you, the colors didn't come together how you planned or maybe the placement of those colors is not a good fit. Save your receipts so you can take back extra yarns that didn't work and bring home the ones that will. While there are so many options within the yarn community, and that's something that I really gravitate to, I understand that making those kinds of decisions for your project is not everybody's favorite thing. I would recommend when you're picking your project to look at what the original designer used and any recommendations that they made for making changes to the color scheme in your project. You can also go to your local yarn store or craft store and get inspiration from the color bundles that they put together. Quite often, yarn stores will put together recommendations or kits for a certain type of project. You can take all of the guesswork out of it just by going to one of those places and finding the inspiration that they've already compiled. The world is your oyster when it comes to color, find your happy place and choose the colors that make you feel great about the projects you're creating. Now, let's move into our next lesson where we will dive deeper into our tools. 5. Gathering Your Tools: It's easy to jump into crochet because you only need a few tools and those tools can be very inexpensive. But when you walk into a craft store, you might get overwhelmed by the sheer variety of tools that are available. I'm going to give you my recommendations of the tools you should keep on hand and some of the different varieties that you might find. The first thing that you want to have in your stash is a crochet hook. Crochet hooks have a handle, a shank, and a hook head, but that's about where the similarities end. Let's talk about a few different features of crochet hooks. The first thing you'll notice about crochet hooks are the size, and there's a few different size designations that you should look out for. First are the US sizes that can be represented by a letter or a number. Here on these hooks, I have an F hook and H hook and a seven. Those each designate a different size and they go up in size as you get higher in the alphabet. You'll also find that each size has a corresponding millimeter, so this F hook is also a 3.75 millimeter hook, and that speaks to the diameter of the actual hook. I prefer to speak about hooks in millimeters because that's universal between the US and also European countries where crochet hook supplies are made. There's no right or wrong way to hold a crochet hook, but I'd love to show you two of the main ways that you're going to see crocheters working on their projects. The first way to hold your hook is called the knife hold, and that's when the handle of the hook is resting in your palm and your fingers are up close to the head of the hook. This is the way that I like to hold my hook because it gives me a lot of control over the direction of my hook. The other way to hold your hook is what's called a pencil hold, and that's when the handle of the hook floats above your hand, so you can push your hook downward into your stitches. Like I mentioned, there's no right or wrong way, so I was just recommending trying both ways and see what works best for you. In this class, you'll find that I'm using the knife hold. This allows me to put all of my fingers on my hook and it gives me the most control. But again, if you find that this hold doesn't fit well with you or you want to take some of your fingers off the hook or even switch to trying the pencil hold, play around with those different holds and see what's a good fit. You'll also find different variations on the hook head styles. When you're looking for crochet hooks in the craft store, you're going to find three main styles. The first one is inline, where you'll find that the hook head is in line with the handle of the hook. It looks like there's just a little notch that's taken out that gives it a hook itself. You'll have a very deep throat here where the yarn can go into the hook and give you that really good control. You also have what's called a tapered hook, so this is where the throat of the crochet hook is a little bit more tapered and rounded, also, the hook head itself protrudes out a little further than the handle. I personally prefer the inline hooks, but it really just comes down to what's a good fit for you. You'll notice that you have better control and can get the yarn where you need it to go once you choose the right hook head style. Try both, these hooks are fairly inexpensive at your craft store, so you could get one of each to see what's a good fit. Now to split the difference between inline and tapered, you also have what's called a hybrid hook head. This is pretty universally usable by anybody, but these hook heads styles are typically a little bit more expensive. Try and get a feel for whether you're an inline or a tapered person, and then it try a hybrid hook head when you're ready to really invest in your tools. Last but not least, let's talk crochet hook materials. Just like yarn, crochet hooks can be made from different fibers. The easiest material to find in your craft store is going to be metal. You have the option between a shinier metal, which gives you a lot of slip in your yarns and makes it a good choice for something like acrylic, which is very grippy on the hook. Then you also have more matte finishes on metal hooks and that makes them a good choice for something like animal fibers. Your next option are plastic hooks. The great thing about plastic hooks is that they're very easy to find, you can get an entire pack with multiple sizes very inexpensively. The tricky part about plastic hooks though, is that they have a lot of drag. So I would absolutely recommend avoiding using plastic hooks with acrylic yarn. You can actually develop a lot of pain in your hands, in your elbows from that plastic on plastic vibration. The last option in what I think is most universally usable for most crochet is going to be a wood hook. Wood hooks are inexpensive, they're very high-quality and they're very easy to find. You can get wood hooks that are just plain and have no adornments like this one or you can get ones that are hand turned and beautifully crafted if you want to step things up in your crochet. Wood hooks are my personal choice no matter if you're a beginner or more advanced in crochet. In addition to your hooks, there are a few other supplies that you should keep on hand and you'll likely use in all of your crochet projects. One of those supplies is going to be locking stitch markers. These little guys are the real MVPs of crochet because they help to hold stitches, if you're trying to keep even edges, they're really great for counting chains, if you're doing a large project, like a blanket, and they're also wonderful for helping you decide what is the right side or the wrong side of your fabric. If you're just learning crochet, locking stitch markers are going to be your best friend. I'll show you a very special way that we'll use them to create beautiful edges in our crochet project. You'll also want to have a tape measure handy. I like to use a flexible tape measure because it allows you to do things like measure your body if you're making a garment, and also measure your project, especially if it has curved edges. A tapestry needle is going to be necessary for all of your crochet projects. Tapestry needles are used to weave in the ends for the beginning and the end of your project. I personally prefer a metal tapestry needle over plastic or wood because these glide through your stitches very easily and make weaving and ends super easy. Last but not least, you'll need a pair of scissors for your project. Now if you have scissors laying around the house, those will work perfectly fine. But here in the crochet world, we really love using embroidery scissors. They come in lots of different colors and styles and they allow you to express your creativity while also having a useful tool in your project bag. Just as a reminder, here's what we need for our crochet project. A four millimeter crochet hook, a pair of scissors, a tapestry needle, and just a couple locking stitch markers. I'm sure you can't believe it, but I promise you that is all we need. Grab your favorite cotton yarn, these few supplies, and meet me in the next lesson, so we can start stitching. 6. Crocheting Basics : I hope you're excited to get some yarn on your hook because I know I am. I have all of my supplies here, my scissors, tapestry needle, two locking stitch markers, and my four millimeter crochet hook. I also have the yarns that I used for this particular set of coasters. I prefer the warmer side of color palettes, so I went with this beautiful brick red and this nice yellow, and I grounded it in this neutral, which is an off white. You can see that my plane coasters just feature those brighter colors and I use that neutral color for some stripes. We're going to start our project by working on the solid color coaster and then we'll play around with colors. For our coasters, we'll work with two of the basic crochet stitches, the single crochet and the double crochet. Before we start our coaster pattern, I want to dive a little bit deeper into the mechanics of these two stitches. First, I have a tiny swatch of our single crochet here. What you'll notice is that the single crochet is quite a small stitch. We have two loops here at the top of the stitch and this little V is the body of the stitch. What I have here is the front of my stitches and just below it is a row that I'm seeing the back of my stitches. Here's how you work a single crochet stitch. I'm going to start the row with a chain one. I'll bring the yarn from back to front around the hook and pull through the loop. I'll now turn my work and I'm going to insert a single crochet in this first stitch here. Insert your hook under both loops of that stitch, I'm going to now yarn over, bringing the hook from back to front around the hook. Pull up the loop, which means bring the yarn through the stitch and I have two loops on my hook now. I'll now bring the yarn around the hook again from back to front and I'm going to pull through those two loops and that completes my single crochet stitch. You can see that V on the front of the stitch and the two loops on the top of the stitch. Let's do that again. In my next stitch right here, I'm going to insert my hook, yarn over the hook from back to front and pull that loop through the stitch. Two loops on my hook, I can now yarn over from back to front around the hook and pull through those final two loops. Our single crochet starts by inserting your hook into the stitch, yarn over from back to front around the hook and using your hook head, I'm going to scoop that yarn through the stitch and pull that loop up and out of the work. What you'll notice is, when I lift my hook, I'm trying to make sure that this loop I just lifted meets the height of the loop that was already on my hook. I'll now yarn over from back to front around my hook and pull through both of those loops. We're going to practice this stitch, plenty for our coaster, but there's just the basics of how to do this single crochet. Now let's explore the double crochet. This top row here I'm looking at the front of double crochet stitches, you'll see that the post or the body of the stitch is quite tall compared to a single crochet. We do still have those two loops here at the top and that's what will work under to add our stitches. As you're creating stitches, you're basically creating rows on top of each other, so your fabric builds one row on top of the next. I'm going to insert my hook into this loop in chain one to start my row and turn my work. Our first stitch goes under the top two loops of this first stitch and for our double crochet, we're going to start by yarning over our hook first. We're going to bring the yarn from back to front around the hook and then insert our hook into that stitch going just under these top two loops. Just like before, we're going to yarn over from back to front around our hook and use our hook head to scoop that yarn through the stitch. We've now pulled up a loop and for our double crochet, at this stage we have three loops on our hook. This point we'll yarn over our hook from back to front and we're going to bring our hook through just these first two loops. I'm going to use my finger to hold this third loop back, pull through those first two loops and lift your hook up and out. I now have two loops remaining on the hook. I'm going to yarn over the hook, so bring the yarn from back to front around the hook and pull through those last two loops. That completes our double crochet stitch. The double crochet is a much taller stitch, but it also can create airiness in your fabric. It's a great fit for projects that you need to be a little bit more flexible or looser engaged. 7. Starting Your Project: Now that we have a better understanding of our basic stitches, the single crochet and the double crochet, we can get into our actual crochet. We're going to start with a slipknot. The first thing we need to do is get the yarn from the inside of the ball. I'm going to reach my fingers inside of the yarn and I was able to get the tail pretty easily. Next, we'll need to create our slipknot. The slipknot is the first loop that goes on your hook before you can start stitching. To make a slipknot, we're going to hold the end of our yarn between our two fingers. Open your palm, lay the yarn over your palm and wrap it two times over your first finger. Bringing that first loop over the second, second loop over the first, and we're going to hold both tails of our yarn and pull until we close the knot. Drop the loop off your finger, place it on your hook, and tug on the length of yarn that's coming from the ball until the knot meets your hook. At this point, we can make our chains. I'm going to hold my yarn in a way that feels comfortable for me. I wrap the yarn just once around my finger, that helps me maintain my tension, which is how tightly or loosely I'm allowing the yarn to feed from the ball. I'm going to make my chains by yarning over my hook, bringing the yarn from back to front around the hook. I'll then pull that loop through the loop that was already on my hook to create my first chain. Again, we're going to bring the yarn from back to front around the hook, pull through the loop that was already on the hook to create the chain. Yarn over, and pull through, yarn over and pull through. When we're counting our chains, keep in mind that the loop on your hook does not count as a chain. The easiest way to identify your individual chains is to look for the little V's that are created from each stitch. Based on those V's, we can see 1, 2, 3, 4 chains. We need to get to 21 chains for the base of our coaster. Again, we'll yarn over from back to front around the hook and pull through the loop. Yarn over, and pull through, yarn over and pull through. It's going to be especially important to keep an eye on your tension as you create your chains because you don't want your attention to be too loose or too tight. If your attention is too tight, you'll find that your chains will collapse and it'll be very difficult to work into them. Also, tight tension means a lot of pain in your hands and wrists. If your chains are too loose, you'll find that there are different sizes, some are way bigger or way smaller than others. That'll create a sloppy edge at the bottom of your work. Don't be afraid to pull out your chains and continue to practice until you get even tension like this and can work into your stitches and build your swatch. I'll do two more, there's 20 and 21. Now to begin our actual stitching, we need to find the second chain from our hook. Again, the loop on our hook does not count as a stitch, so we're going to find the first chain, and here's the second. Now, each of our chains has two loops here on the front, a top loop, and a bottom loop. We're going to work just in the top loops of our chains. Now that we've got the second chain from our hook, we need to place a single crochet into that chain. For a single crochet, I'm going to insert my hook into just the top loop of that chain, yarn over from back to front, and scoop through that stitch to pull up a loop. For my single crochet, I have two loops on my hook at this point, and I'll yarn over and pull through both of those loops to complete my single crochet stitch. Now in my next chain, which is right here, I need to place a double crochet. Remember that the double crochet starts with a yarn over, so I'm bringing the yarn from back to front around the hook and then inserting into that chain. At this point I'll yarn over my hook, bringing the yarn from back to front around the hook, and I'll pull through that stitch to pull up a loop. For my double crochet, this stage has three loops on the hook, I'll then yarn over the hook, pull through just the first two loops, so I'm going to hold this third one back, and then I can yarn over and pull through these final two loops. For the stitch pattern of our coaster, we're going to alternate single crochet and double crochet stitches. I'll place a single crochet in the next chain and a double crochet in the chain after that, and we'll repeat that all the way down our row of chains. It helps to go slow at this step just to make sure you're maintaining that stitch pattern of a single followed by a double crochet. That's how we'll create that beautiful closed texture and that visual interest in our coasters. For our last chain, we have a double crochet, we'll have a double crochet at the end of every single one of our rows. Let's take a look at what we have so far. When we're looking here at the front of our stitches, we can see the difference between a single crochet and a double crochet. Our single crochet is here and you'll notice that it has a little V here on the front of the body of the stitch and two loops there at the top of the stitch. Right next to it is a double crochet. Whereas before we could see the full height of a double crochet, here it looks a little bit more squished. That's because there's a single crochet on either side of it, so it brings down the height of that stitch a little bit. That helps us a lot in this project because that volume of the double crochet fills in a lot of the gaps and creates that beautiful texture that we're going for. We're going to alternate these two stitches for each row of our project to make that beautiful textured look. [MUSIC] 8. Adding Rows: Now, we can move on to the next row of our work. I'm going to insert my hook back into my loop and tighten down until I've met my work again. To start my next row, I'm going to do a chain one, which is a yarn over so bringing the yarn from the back to the front around the hook and pull through this loop that was already on the hook. Now, I'm going to turn my work because to build our fabric, we're going to create row on row up our work. Each of our stitches has these two loops at the top. By working under both of those loops, I'm able to create a row on top of the row that I already created. By adding rows, I'm going to continually build my fabric up and up and up until I get to a square, which is what I'm ultimately going for. To start this next row, I'm going to begin with a single crochet. I need to find where to place my first stitch. If I go at the base of the chain I just made, right here I can see a V at the top of this first stitch of my row. I'm going to place a single crochet under both loops of that stitch. I'm going right under the top two loops of that stitch. I'll now yarn over my hook and pull up a loop, two loops on my hook, and I can yarn over my hook and pull through those last two loops to complete the single crochet. At this point, I'm going to take a little break and show you a trick that I like to use to maintain even edges on my work. I place my first single crochet and I'm actually going to drop my hook and grab a locking stitch marker. At this point, I'm going to insert my locking stitch marker under the top two loops of this stitch I just created. I'll then lock my marker and I'll leave that there to remind me where the last stitch of the following row is meant to go. That way I'll maintain my stitch count and I'll also keep nice even edges along this right-hand side of my work. At this point, I can insert my hook back into the working loop and continue in my stitch pattern. I started with a single crochet, I'm going to double crochet into the next stage. Now, unlike before, where we were working into chains, now we're working into the tops of stitches. I'm looking for both loops, this front loop and this back loop of the stitch, and I'm inserting my hook under both of those loops to create my stitches. We're going to set up for our double crochet by bringing the yarn from the back to the front around the hook. I'm going to find my next stitch where if I just gently pull my work apart, I can see that hole right here and that's where I'm going to place my next stitch. It gets me under both loops of that stitch so I know I'm going in the right place. I'm going to insert my hook into that stitch, yarn over from back to front, and scoop that loop through the stitch. For the double crochet, I've got three loops on my hook now. I'll yarn over, pull through two, yarn over, and pull through the final two. It's single crochet into the next stitch and double crochet into the following stitch. We're continuing to build our rows by placing one stitch in the next stitch on the row below. I've got a double crochet into the next stitch. Just like before, we're repeating that down our line of stitches. I've got just two stitches left here and I can tell because if we look at the top, we have two little v's left in our row. We've got two stitches left to work. We've got a single crochet in the following stitch. Your rows will always end with a double crochet, which I'll place right here. What I'm looking at here is the front of the stitches on the row I just completed and the back of the stitches of the row below. We're continually turning our rows so we're going to get the visual interests of the front and the back of our stitches. It's a little easier to see here how our double crochet stitches are getting squished down a little bit, creating that texture. It's pushing the stitch actually towards the front of the work. Now, we can start our next row. I'm going to begin with a chain one and I'll turn my work. You can turn your work either way. It's just natural for me to push towards the back, but you're welcome to rotate towards the front of you to turn your work as well. Whatever feels more comfortable for you. I'm going to turn my work and place a single crochet in my first stitch, which is right here. You can also look at the top of your work to find that little v to work underneath. A single crochet in this first stitch. If you're using stitch markers to mark your stitches, I'd recommend putting one here. Again, I'm going to find the top two loops of that stitch I just completed and insert my locking stitch marker under both of those loops. Now, I can jump right back into my stitch pattern. I completed the single crochet, and now I'm going to place a double crochet in the next stitch. By alternating these stitches, we get this beautiful textured stitch pattern, which is not only gorgeous, but it's also very practical for the project that we're making. A coaster is all about protecting your surfaces. This stitch pattern is going to absorb heat from any warm drinks and also manage the condensation from any cold drinks. If you ever get a little lost in this stitch pattern and you're not sure which stitch is meant to come next, here's a little trick that I like to use. This next stitch I'm looking at is the back of a single crochet stitch. I know that because I just have a little v right here and this stitch is quite short. The stitch after that is a double crochet. I can tell that because that stitch is much taller. We're going to place double crochets into our single crochets and singles into our doubles. I just completed a single crochet and now in this next stitch, I'm placing a double crochet. The following stitch is a double crochet, and that one gets a single crochet. I'm placing a double crochet in the singles and a single crochet in the double. I'm now at the end of my row. I know that because I have that marked stitch, it's a nice little training wheels, a little cheat sheet for yourself so you know exactly where that last stitch is meant to go. I like to do this because sometimes for beginners is difficult to know where that last stitch goes. There's a lot going on at the end of your rows so I'm going to take the guesswork out of it by using a locking stitch marker. If you find that your rows are starting to bow out, that means that you're somehow adding stitches to your rows. If you're losing stitches or you're running low on your stitch count or your work starts to shape inward, that means that you're missing that last stitch. This takes all that guesswork out of it just by putting a locking stitch marker here. I know I'm meant to put a double crochet in this final stage. I'll begin with a yarn over, insert into the same place that that locking stitch marker is. I'm going to yarn over my hook and pull up that loop. Three loops on my hook. I can now yarn over, pull through the first two loops. Yarn over, pull through the final two loops. To start my next row, I'm going to chain one and turn and place a single crochet in that first stitch. This is a good place to drop your hook, grab the marker from this end of your work, and move it up to the stitch you just completed. I'm going to continue working on my coaster, building row after row. My ultimate goal is to get to a square. Keep working on yours as well and when you get close to your square, meet me back here and we'll finish up the body of our coaster. 9. Adding Borders: Now that we've achieved our square of fabric, we could technically stop here. This is a perfectly usable coaster. But I decided to add a border to this project to just give it some uniformity. As you can see, the edges and the bottom all look a little bit different. Adding a border gives you that uniform, clean, and polished look. We won't even need to break our yarn, we're actually going to continue where we stopped in the last lesson. I'll begin by dropping my stitch markers. I'll no longer need those. I'll insert my hook back into my loop and I'll begin with a chain one. But instead of turning my work, I'm actually just going to rotate to begin working along this edge. Let's talk through what we see here. Here at the end of this first row is a double crochet. I can see that because I see this tall post of a double crochet stitch. The row below it though is a single crochet stitch and the row below that is a double crochet. For each of our double crochet rows here, we're going to place two stitches around this edge. For our single crochet, we'll place one stitch around that stitch. Here's how we'll do it. I'm now looking at a double crochet stitch here, and you'll notice I have a space here, I've got a little strip of yarn, and I have a space here. I'm going to place a double crochet in each of those spaces. I'm going to insert my hook down into this first space, yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through two to complete a single crochet. Now, I can go into the next space around that same double crochet stitch and place another single crochet. Just like that. Now, this next stitch is a single crochet, you can tell because it's a lot shorter, and we're going to go around that stitch just one time and place a single crochet. Going down to the next row, again, I have a double crochet stitch, I can see the entire post of that stitch, I see that first space here, I see that little strip of yarn, and the next space here. I'm going to single crochet in each of those spaces. Here's the first space and the next space of that stitch. That's going to be the repeat down this line. Placing a single crochet around my single crochet stitches and placing two single crochets around each double crochet stitch. So one in this first space and one in this next space. You'll notice I'm working around the post of the stitch and what that does is give me this nice clean row of stitches. I'm not splitting the stitch. If I was to do that, it will make this border a little bit more sloppy so make sure you're getting into the space around that stitch as opposed to splitting any of the yarn strands that make up that stitch. Just a couple more stitches here. I have a single around the single crochet and two single crochets around this double crochet. Now, I'm at the corner of my work, I have that starting tail. I'm just going to tuck that behind my work for now. Now that I've reached my corner, I want to chain one and I'm going to rotate to now work along the bottom edge of my work. Now when we started our coaster, we worked just in the top loop of our chains. What that leaves is two loops here at the base of each of our stitches. That's what we're going to work around for the bottom row of our border. This tail here is the base of our first stitch. I'm going to go right into this space above the tail and place my first single crochet stitch. Next, you can see that there's a little space here, which is the base of the next stitch. I'm going to go right into that space and place a single crochet. Our next stitches here, I'm going to go under both of those loops right into the base of that stitch and place a single crochet. Following that is a space here, I'm going into that space to place a single crochet and then under both loops of that next chain, to place my next single crochet. That's what we'll do along the line here on the bottom edge of our coaster. Just like before, placing one stitch for each stitch across the space. We'll end up with the same number of single crochets along the base of our coaster as the number of stitches we had in the rows for the body of our coaster. Just go slowly and make sure you're consistently placing your hook in the same place. Just like our previous edge here, we have this beautiful ropy border of single crochet stitches. We've got one more here in the corner. Now, we've finished our bottom edge and we're ready to work along our next edge. Remember to start with a chain one, bringing in the yarn around the back and over the front of the hook, and pull through for a chain. Here, we're going to do something similar to what we did on the opposite side but you'll notice that the stitches just look a little bit different here. This is because we're looking at the opposite side of the stitches now that we're on the other side of our coaster. But we have the same mechanics going on here. We have a double crochet stitch here, right between my thumbs, we can see the post of this stitch, and right above it, we have a single crochet. You're working a little bit more by feel then by eye here. But we're essentially doing the same thing, working around the post of the single crochet with one stitch and then we have two holes here for our double crochet, one here, then we have our strand of yarn and one here. We're going to place one single crochet and a second around the post of that stitch. Single crochet around the next stitch. Two single crochet around the post of the next double crochet. There's one and two. It's going to be important to keep even tension as you're working your border just so you have that uniformity that we're really going for. If you find yourself tensing up or your hands are getting sore, that might mean that your tension is a little too tight, and if you find that your single crochet stitches are different sizes or maybe the top loops are looking a little wonky, that means that your tension is a little too loose. Again, don't be afraid to pull out your stitches and rework them as you're continuing to practice your tension. The last stitch on this edge is a single crochet. I'm going into that stitch. That completes the border on this right side of our work. The last line of border we need to do is across the top of our row. It also happens to be the easiest row to do. Because again, you can just identify those v's at the top of your stitches and we're going to work one single crochet for each stitch along the top of our border. I'm just going under both loops of that v in completing a single crochet stitch. Again, you'll be working one single crochet for each stitch here along the top. It's nice that this is the easiest part because it really is the home stretch of the coaster and these are our last few stitches. I know that I'm out of stitches when I have the same number of single crochets as the number of stitches I had in my body rows, which was 20. Now, we see that we've met the first single crochet of our round. The last step here is to join the round together, so we have that nice clean finish. I'm going to insert my hook under the top two loops of that first single crochet of our border and we're going to do what's called a slip-stitch. Instead of doing a full single crochet, we're instead going to yarn over and pull up a loop. We have two loops on our hook and we're actually just going to pull this first loop through the one that was on our hook already. Just pull straight through like that for a slip-stitch. I'll show you that again. This is the final single crochet I completed and this is the first single crochet of my border round. Insert your hook under both loops of that first single crochet, yarn over, and scoop through the stitch to pull up a loop. Then pull that loop through the loop that was already on the hook for your slip-stitch. At this point, we can fasten off the yarn, which simply means that we'll leave a nice long tail so we can weave in our end later. Grab your scissors and snip the yarn. Then just pull that loop up and out of your work until that tail pops out. Just like that. 10. Finishing Your Work: At this point, we've completed all of our stitching, but we're not quite done working on our coaster. As you can see, we've got these little yarn ends hanging out here, and we need to manage those by weaving in our ends. That's where our tapestry needle comes into play. The first thing I'm going to do is flip my work over because this is the front of our coaster. We want to keep this pristine and pretty. We're going to weave our ends into the back of our work. Grab one of our yarn ends and thread it onto our tapestry needle. If you ever have difficulty getting your yarn into your needle, here's a quick little trick I like to use, fold a yarn over the eye of the needle and pinch the yarn just at the base of the fold, slip the needle out, and then shimmy that folded yarn into the eye of the needle. That makes it way easier to thread the needle, especially if you have any fraying on the edge of your yarn. Now at this point, we want to weave our ends under several loops of our stitches. The easiest way to do that, I believe, is to work into the back loops of the single crochets that we put on the edge of our work. I'm going to take the tip of my needle, and find some of these loops on the back of the stitches. I'm being very careful not to split the yarn because I want this end to basically become invisible. I'm working under several loops on the back of those single crochet stitches, being very careful not to split the yarn. When it's time for you to weave in your ends, it's especially important not to split the yarn. Here is what I mean by that. When you're working, you're tapestry needle underneath the loops of your stitches, you may inadvertently come up between the actual strands of yarn that make up one strand of yarn. For example, this yarn has multiple plies, which are the individual strands of yarn that are twisted together to make one solid piece of yarn. If you come up between the plies of that yarn, you're just going to end up with a sloppiness here on the back of your work. I think it's especially important to honor all of the hard work that you've put into your coaster. Being a little bit more focused, and a little bit more intentional in this step, make sure you have that clean and polished look that you're going for. I've worked under several stitches here. I'm going to now pull my needle through, carrying the tail with it. As you'll see here, this was my tail and I want to tighten this up so I have a nice sharp corner just like that. Now, I could stop here, but I personally like my ends to be very secure, so I'm going to now weave my end under that same stitch in the opposite direction. I'm going to skip this first loop here and jump under the next loop, and the loops of several of the next stitches to continue weaving in that ends. What this does is just add that level of security so you know that that end is not going to work its way out. Again, I'm going to pull my needle through, and this time I'm going to lift it all the way up and I'm going to let the yarn drop from the needle. I'll now grab my scissor and get in close to my work, but being careful not to cut any of my loops, I'm just going to fasten off that extra little end. Just like that, that end is now disappeared. That end is weaved in and we'll want to do the same for the remaining end over here. If I'm being completely honest with you, nobody really likes weaving in their ends. It's a little bit tedious and especially if you have lots of color changes, it can take a long time, so you might be tempted to just snip the yarn right at the base of that hanging tail. The issue with that is that that little piece of yarn can slowly work its way out of your work and you'll start to lose your stitches. Just imagine having put in all this work into your coaster and slowly losing stitches because you wouldn't do the due diligence of weaving in your ends. I promise you a little bit of extra time and attention at this step goes a long way to making sure you work less. So now we've finished one of our coasters and you could very easily make an entire set with solid colors. This set of coasters includes two solid color coasters, but I also played around with color and did some striping on these ones. You can very easily create a set of coasters with beautiful personality and a lot of gorgeous stitching with just solid colors. But if you're feeling a little bit more confident and you're ready to play around with some color blocking and some striping, meet me in the next lesson. [MUSIC] 11. Introducing Color: Color Blocks: If you've made it this far in the class you should be so proud of yourself. You are well on your way to making a beautiful set of coasters. But if you want to take things to the next level, color is the way to do it. I have a couple of different examples of how I've used color in our coaster project. This first example is using color blocking. That's where you have large blocks of color and it's very minimal. It's got that modern feel to it and it's a way to just have a subtle color change that makes a big impact. You could also go with just traditional stripes. Here I have stripes that are worked every two rows in our pattern. This coaster is made with 14 rows. We've got two rows of color going all the way up. Then I finished the border in that main cream color. Let's explore both of these color changes and some stitches. Here I have a swatch that I've already started working up. This coaster is going to take 14 rows and I've worked seven rows already in this pretty teal color. For my color block, I'm going to switch in the next row to my off-white color,l so I have like an half and half coaster here. I'm going to work this row until I have just one stitch left. My next stitch here is a single crochet and I'm following that with a double, single in the next stitch, and my last stitch is a double crochet. It's in the midst of that stitch that we're going to change color. I'll do it a few times, just watch me this first time. We're going to yarn over our hook and insert our hook into the stitch, yarn over and pull up the loop just like normal. We've got three loops on our hook for our double crochet, yarn over, and we're going to pull through those first two loops. This is where we're going to stop and grab our next color. I'm using this off-white color here. I'm going to leave a nice long tail because I will need to weave in this end later and I'm just going to lay that yarn over my hook using my first finger just to make sure that it stays where I put it. I'm going to now pull my off-white yarn through these last two loops of teal. At this point, my last double crochet is all in teal but I've set myself up to work my next stitch in off white, so I can chain one and turn my work and begin my stitch pattern in my off-white color, giving me that clean color change that you can expect with color blocking. Let's do that again together. I'm just going to rip out these last few stitches I'm in and also pull out the progress I made on that double crochet. I'm going to insert my hook back into my loop and I'm going to work my double crochet just until that last step. We start with a yarn over, going to insert into the stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through two loops. We'll stop here, drop our teal color, and grab our off-white. Make sure you leave a tail here so we can weave it in later. We're going to place that yarn over our hook and pull through those last two loops of our double crochet. At this point we can jump right back into our pattern working with our off-white color. Beginning with the chain one, turn our work and start with a single crochet and follow with a double crochet. Now, if you're working your color block and that's the color change as you've decided to go for with your coaster, we actually no longer need our teal color anymore. Here's what I like to do with it. First I'm going to take the tail of my off-white color and I'm going to knot it with my teal color. That's just another layer of security so I'll know that these yarns are not going to work their way out of my project. I'm just going to do a double knot. Little overhand knot here with the teal and the off-white together and that'll rest right here at the base of my work. Then I'm going to leave a long tail of my teal color and I'll fasten off. Just cut that yarn with my scissors because I no longer need it. From here I can just continue with the last several rows in my off-white color. I'll achieve something that looks like my samples here, with teal at the bottom and off white at the top. At this point I can just continue my coaster like normal and I'll add the border in this off-white color because it'll already be attached to my project. Now I'm reaching the end of the last row on this coaster and it'll be time to add the border. Since we did a color change we do have some tails that we need to deal with but we actually don't need to worry about weaving those tails in before we do our border, we can work right around them. I'm going to start with my chain 1, rotate my work. Just like before, I'm going to work two single crochet around this first double crochet here. Here's one and two and a single crochet around the next stitch, two single crochet around the next double crochet, and a single crochet around the next single crochet. We'll do that all the way down the line to the corner. Now, when I make it to my teal color I'm going to do the exact same thing. I won't change my pattern at all. But what you'll notice is that the contrast between the teal and the off-white really pops and stands out. That's one of the reasons I love doing color blocking and other color placements in my projects. It gives your eye something to do as it's looking over the piece. Now I've reached the corner, I'm going to chain 1 and rotate to work along the bottom edge, placing one single crochet in the base of each stitch here along my bottom edge. Just like before I want the same number of stitches along this bottom edge as the number of stitches I had in the rows for my body of the coaster. The single crochet in each stitch until we make it to the corner. Here's our last stitch for this edge. We'll now chain 1 and rotate our work to work up the next edge. Placing two single crochet in each double crochet stitch and a single crochet in the single crochet stitch. You can see that we're coming towards our color change here. I'm just going to be careful to move those tails out of the way because I don't want them to get caught under my hook and worked into the strand of yarn that I'm working with. I have a single crochet that needs to go here and now I'm just going to move these tails over to the right side of my work so I can continue up the side here working my border. Our last and easiest side, our very top edge, starting with the chain 1, we'll place a single crochet in each stitch across. Just like the bottom edge we're going to have the same number of stitches as the number of rows we had in the body of our coaster. One and the last stitch, just like before we're going to chain 1, find the first single crochet of the round, insert your hook under both loops of that last stitch, make sure you catch them both, yarn over and pull up the loop, and then pull through the loop on your hook to complete your slip stitch. At this point we've finished our border and we can fasten off. The biggest difference about color changes is that we're going to need to make sure that when we weave in our ends we weave the end into a like color. The entire point that we're trying to achieve with weaving in our ends is hiding those tails so they don't distract from the rest of the work. I'm going to take my tapestry needle and first thread my off-white color. I have the choice to thread that color either into these border stitches or into the back of stitches in the body of my work. I'm going to go into these border stitches being careful not to split the yarn. I'm just going to work under several stitches until I think this tail is going to be secure and pull it straight through. Cut your yarn close to your work but be careful not to cut your stitches. I also have a tail of teal here. Now, for my teal yarn, I want to be careful to weave it into the teal stitches of my coaster. If I weave it under the off-white stitches either on my border or here in my work, it's going to be a lot more obvious. Instead I'm going to find the loops of my teal colored stitches and work under those. Fine, just a few loops of these next few stitches. This doesn't have to be precise. You don't have to follow a particular trail. You just want to make sure you're catching the entire loops and not splitting your yarn. Again, I'm just going to push my needle through, pull it out the other end, massage my work a little bit to make sure that tail is laying flat and fasten off close to my work. Now that we've explored color blocking, let's move on to stripes. 12. Introducing Color: Stripes: When it comes to stripes, the great thing about a project like this is that you can change color every couple of rows without having to break your yarn, and that avoids having to weave in extra ends later. I'm going to show you a technique called carrying the yarn up the side of the work that allows us to achieve this striped pattern. What I have here is a sample that I started for my stripes. I change color from off-white to teal here using the same method that we use in our color block section. But since we're doing stripes, I'm not going to detach the off-white color from my project. Instead, I'm going to carry it up the side of my work as I continue to change color. Here's how I do that. I've got two stitches left of my teal color. I'm going to do my single crochet and I'm going to work my double crochet just up until the last step. I've yarned over, insert into the stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop. Yarn over pull through the first two loops. I'm going to drop my teal color now. My off-white is attached to my project from where I stopped two rows down. I'm going to bring that off-white yarn underneath my teal yarn and yarn over my hook. Now when you bring your yarn up, it's going to be very important not to pull that off-white color too tight. Because if you do, you're going to have puckering on the side of your work. Instead, let the yarn naturally fall over the hook and then just gently pull that off-color through the teal color. You're now set up to do your next row in off-white. You can chain one, turn your work, and begin your stitching. What you'll also notice is that we're working with off white, but our teal color is still attached to our project. When we complete two rows of off-white, on that very last double crochet, we can then lift up our teal color yarn over the hook and complete the stitch to do two rows of teal. Alternating every two rows is going to give you this striped pattern and in my coaster, I had 14 rows so my last row was completed in off white and I was able to jump right into the border. Now when you do this method where you're carrying yarn at the side of the work, you have what are called floats. If I look here at the side of my work, I have this float of off-white where that yarn is not attached to the work just here over these teal rows. When I go to do my border, it's going to be important for me to insert my hook into the side of the stitch and catch the float, which means I'll let that float lay on the side of my stitches. When I add my single crochet stitches here, it's going to cover up that float and it's like it never even happened. I'll show you what it looks like on the back of this coaster. My flutes would have been going up this side of my work and you can see that my border catches them evenly, so you can't even see him. Adding a border when working stripes is especially important for this project. To continue your coaster, you'll just keep working your rows in the stitching that we've established, carrying your yarn up the side of the work. I worked to 14 rows, but again, just repeat until you have a square, then you can jump into your border. Just start with the chain one, worked on the left side, across the bottom edge, up the right side, and across the top chain one and join with a slip stitch. At that point, you can fasten off any yarns that remain in your work and weave in your ends, making sure you're weaving into light colors. Off-white is going to be weaved into off-white, and teal is going to be weaved into teal. Once your coaster is all done, you can meet me in the next lesson, which is all about blocking bases. [MUSIC] 13. Blocking Basics and Aftercare: Now is a great time to just take a pause and get really proud about all that you've accomplished. We've gone through understanding yarn and tools to doing our very first stitches, to making a whole project. At this point, your coaster is done. You can go out and celebrate, shout from the mountain tops that you are now a crotchetier. But I'm going to take you to the next level. We're going pro status because we want to actually finish our projects with blocking. There's a lot of controversy around blocking in the crochet industry. There are crotchetier that I've been working for decades and have never blocked projects. But this is something that's near and dear to my heart because all that you've accomplished right now, just gets taken to that next level by doing this final step. Blocking is a process of applying water and time to your project, sometimes also with heat, to even out the stitches and get those nice clean edges that you're looking for. If we look at some of the coaster examples that I have here. These bottom two are the ones that we've worked through so far in our class. You'll notice that they are complete, but these edges aren't quite straight, and also our border is curling up on itself. These two examples here at the top have been blocked and you'll notice that we have a nice clean square, the border stitches are relaxed, and the whole thing feels just like a nice, clean fabric. It's a subtle difference, but it's noticeable probably to you, but definitely to other crochetiers. If you want to go from this to this, I'm going to show you the basics of blocking. We'll need just a few additional supplies for blocking. One of those is going to be interlocking foam mats. These are setup like little foam puzzle pieces that you can attach together depending on the size of your project. We'll also need rust proof t-pins. These are small metal pins that will help us attach our project to the blocking boards so we can achieve those crisp lines. Last, you're going to need a way to apply steam to your project. Today I'm using a handheld steamer. I just found this on Amazon and it's linked down in the resources. This steamer comes with a reservoir that you can remove from the steamer to fill up. Then you'll press the power button to turn it on. You know it's ready to emit steam when this light is solid. Let's start by attaching our coasters to our blocking board. I like to put the coasters on face down. So then, if I happen to touch the project with the steamer, it won't flatten the pretty stitches on the front side of my work. I'm going to use these grid lines to help line up my project and achieve that good square that I'm looking for. I'm going to take one of my rust proof t-pins and I'm going to start in the corner of my work. Align the corner of your work with the corner of your grid lines and then we're going to take our pin right between the stitches where our chain 1 is, and press into the foam. These are thick foam mats so you have plenty of space to get that pin in there. I'm going to continue to follow the straight line through my grid, and I'm going to pin my next corner. Again, grab your pin and work in just between those stitches, press down into the foam. We'll do that for all four corners. Now you'll notice that I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 blocks across on this edge. I want to achieve the same thing for all of the other corners. I'll count over 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 squares, grab my t-pin and insert in-between the stitches and into the corner of those grid lines. I'm slowly massaging and pulling my work so I can get that square that I'm looking for. We have just one more pin to place right in this corner. Again, in a place where the grid lines meet. Those four corners are all set. But I'm noticing that we've got a little bit of bowing here at the top of our work. Thankfully, we have plenty of pins, so we can take a few more and make sure that this edge lines up with the rest of our edges of our work. I'm going to just gently massage our work until we get the line that I'm looking for. I can place a few more pins along this edge. I'm placing my pins between the stitches, trying my best again not to split the yarn. If you split the yarn here in the blocking process, that yarn will push down into the foam and you'll have little bits of your work that will stick up on the front side. Again, this is a great place to be diligent and make sure that you're getting the lines and the look that you're going for. I'm going to inspect the other sides. Everywhere else is looking pretty good. I'm okay to finish up my pins. Now I can proceed with steaming. If you happen to be pinning your project and you find that it's bowing out as opposed to caving in, all you'll need to do is stretch your corners to meet the height of where your project is bulging out. You're welcome to use any kind of yarn you want for this project. But it's going to change the size of your coasters. The yarn that I use gave me a five inch coaster. It's really easy for me to use the grid lines to line up my projects. Let's say, for example, though, that I wanted to give it a little bit extra height. I could very easily massage my work up and insert a pin in this corner so you can see that I've gone a little bit beyond where these grid lines meet. That's going to give me a bit more height through the body of my coaster. It can also help me get a straighter line along the top. This is more of an art than a science. Play around with placing your pins, remove them and replace them as you need to. I'm pretty comfortable with that size. I'll leave that pin there and I'll start placing my other pins. You'll notice that I'm massaging from the center of my work to give me a little bit more give, and it'll just soften up all of the stitching here in the center of my coaster as well. Again, just placing my pins between my stitches, to make sure I get a nice clean edge up here. Now we can move on to steaming. The steamer that I have has a trigger here. I can press that trigger and I can actually slide this part of the trigger down to give me continuous steam. I'm going to press that trigger and slide down. The steam is coming out now. This plate is quite hot, keep it away from your fingers. But I'm going to allow the steam to come in contact with my work, but not the actual metal plate. I'm about half an inch up off the top of my coaster. I'm paying close attention to my borders because that's the part that I really need to relax down into my work. I'm just applying light steam to the entire project, focusing on the borders and anywhere that there are pins. Once your project feels damp, you can stop. I usually go a little bit further because I really like to control the edges and how straight things turn out all my work. The more steam you apply, the more power you have over those stitches staying set where you put them. Now, I'll take my finger off that trigger there. I can set my steamer aside and turn it off. At this point, my coaster is quite damp, so you want to leave that until it dries completely. Think about it like drying clothes on a clothes line. If you take the cloths down early, you could get a smell, maybe some wrinkling. Let them dry completely and you'll get exactly what you're going for. That's what you get here with blocking as well. Allow your project to dry completely. That might be a few hours, but to be on the safe side, I'd recommend overnight. I was able to let my projects sit for awhile. I can now take the pins out and see what the results are. Just gently remove the pins. Since we were diligent in making sure the pins went between the stitches, we don't have to worry about any extra bits of yarn sticking out on the front side of our work. Just like that, we've achieved some beautiful results. We have straight lines along each side of our coaster. You'll also notice that the fabric of the coaster is lighter with a lot more drape. It still has that close stitching, so it's going to do what a coaster needs to do. But the yarn itself is much softer than when it first came out of the ball and it just looks and feels amazing. I know that blocking is an extra step and sometimes it can add extra time to your project being done. But I definitely feel like it's a step you should not skip. Honor all of that hard work and that technique that you put into this project by making it look picture perfect. As you continue crocheting, you're going to block lots of different types of projects. Small things like coasters, but everything else from baby blankets to sweaters, put in that time and effort, and it will be rewarded. 14. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations, friend. You are now a crocheter, and you can add that to your long lists of talents. Now, of course, you've finished your first set of coasters, and you might want to keep that one for yourself. But here are some ideas of how to wrap up your next set of coasters if you're going to give them as gifts. I went to my local craft store and picked up some twine and some ribbon. I also got a few teabags to put with this set of coasters for a nice, well-rounded gift. Now that you've finished your first project, I'm sure you are itching for your next one. I've curated some of my favorite beginner level projects and put them in a document down in the Projects and Resources tab. In that document, you'll find different projects like home decor and little accessories, also bigger projects like sweaters and throw blankets. But don't get intimidated by those bigger projects. As you've seen, it's just yarn and you can stitch whatever you can imagine. Now comes the fun part. Upload your projects to the project gallery, so I and all of our friends in the maker community can cheer you on. We really can't wait to see what you create. It has been a pure pleasure teaching you how to crochet today, keep on stitching and I'm sure I will see you very soon.