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how to crochet: waistcoat stitch

Ah, the waistcoat stitch. The crochet version of the knitted stockinette stitch. A.k.a. the knit stitch. Or the “v” stitch. Or, if we wanted to get more technical, the center crochet stitch, or the split single crochet.

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? However intimidating some of these names may be, though, don’t let them fool you into thinking waistcoat stitch is complicated.

I like to think of waistcoat stitch as humble single crochet’s flamboyant twin. If you know how to work a single crochet, you know how to crochet the waistcoat stitch. That is because the latter is finished exactly the same way as the former. The striking difference in their final looks depends solely on hook placement. Before we exactly pinpoint where to insert the hook – and where the hook should exit on the back side – let’s have a look at a typical waistcoat stitch up close.

Continue reading how to crochet: waistcoat stitch

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pattern preview: wine bottle koozies

I’m putting finishing touches on two new crochet patterns, just in time for the upcoming gift giving season. These adorable wine bottle koozies work up quick, and – dare I say – they are quite unique in the world of handmade crochet gifts.

Aren’t they just perfect? Seriously. Don’t tell me you can’t think of at least 5 people who’d be over the moon if you brought them a bottle of wine in one of these beauties.

If you want to get a head start – and save up to 75% – on these, read on. The patterns are available for pre-order and I’ve listed the materials needed below!

Crochet Wine Bottle Koozies / Cozies by jakigu.com

Continue reading pattern preview: wine bottle koozies

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pattern preview: crochet picture frame

Let me introduce you to the first design in the series of crochet patterns for beginners: crochet picture frame with picots.

Use coupon code 1ZERO1A when you GET THE PATTERN HERE, at jakigu.com for an instant 25% discount. You can also get it though my Etsy shop.

Its petals with picots remind me of a daffodil. Or the rays of the still sleepy sun on a spring morning. One way or another, this bright and happy crochet frame makes my heart dance and smile.

Crochet picture frame pattern and beginner crochet guide by jakigu.com

You may ask, “Jana, what exactly do you mean when you say ‘crochet patterns for beginners?'”

Continue reading pattern preview: crochet picture frame

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learn to crochet: adjustable magic loop

Adjustable magic loop comes in handy whenever your work starts as a crocheted circle and you do not desire a visible hole in the middle. Examples of such work include coasters, placemats, hats, doilies, rugs, or basket bases. In fact, I use this technique to start all of of my baskets.

In essence, adjustable magic loop allows you to comfortably crochet any number of stitches into a sliding loop rather than into a chain stitch, which is the alternative of starting crochet circles. At the end of the round, you simply tighten the sliding loop to close the gap, creating a center with a barely there or completely invisible hole.

Magic loop, magic circle, adjustable loop, magic ring, adjustable ring, drawstring ring – this fundamental crochet technique goes by many names. Not surprisingly, there are also quite a few ways to execute it and each crocheter has their favorite.

Below you will find my favorite way of creating the adjustable magic loop. I will demonstrate the technique on a basic crochet circle consisting of 6 single crochets.

Step 1.

Cross yarn’s work end over the tail end.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 2.

Pointing it away from you, insert hook into the loop you just created.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 3.

Yarn over.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 4.

Pull yarn through.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 5A.

Crochet a chain stitch to secure the magic loop and to raise stitch height for the single crochets of Round 1: yarn over…

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 5B:

pull yarn through the loop on the hook.
Chain stitch is complete. It does not count as a stitch.

Magic loop is secured and you are ready to crochet Round 1 stitches into the adjustable magic loop.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 6A.

Work the first single crochet of Round 1:
Insert hook into the magic loop and under the tail end…

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 6B:

… yarn over…

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 6C:

… pull yarn though the magic circle loop…
You now have two loops on the hook, and the tail end should be secured between yarn work end and the second loop on the hook.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 6D:

… yarn over…

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 6E:

. …pull yarn through both loops on the hook.
First single crochet of Round 1 is complete. Place a marker into this stitch, if you wish.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 7:

Repeat steps 6A – 6E to work the remaining 5 single crochets of Round 1.

Pictured below: completed Round 1. There are 6 single crochets worked into the adjustable loop, the first stitch is clearly marked with a stitch marker, and the end tail is secured under all 6 stitches.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 8:

Tighten the adjustable magic loop:
Remove the hook from the last stitch. Hold the post of last single crochet of Round 1 firmly between your right thumb and index finger. Pull on the end tail with fingers of your left hand until magic loop space completely disappears.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

Step 9:

Round 1 is complete. Magic loop has been tightened so that there is no visible hole in the center of work.

You may join the round at this point, or continue working in continuous spirals depending on your pattern.

Magic loop crochet tutorial by jakigu.com

What’s your favorite way to start crocheting a circle? Let me know in the comments below.

Magic Loop Crochet Tutorial by jakigu.com

Stay in touch and up-to-date on my patterns and tutorials by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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pattern preview: crochet basket with chevron detail

Now available on jakigu.com and in my Etsy shop: PDF crochet pattern for this adorable basket with grey chevron detail. As a reader of my blog, you are welcome to use coupon code PATDESIAT309 for a 50% discount on this newest addition to my pattern collection (only valid on jakigu.com).

Sturdy crochet basket with a grey chevron, designed by jakigu.com

What can you expect?

Continue reading pattern preview: crochet basket with chevron detail

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crocheting with jute: tips and tricks

If you follow my blog, you know how much I love crocheting with jute. Jute and cotton are my two most favorite fibers to work with. And if Pinterest is any indication, I am not the only one who likes the look of a basket made in a combination of these materials.

Jute is a natural fiber, derived from the jute plant. To learn about the jute plant itself, and where and how it’s grown, have a look at this Encyclopaedia Britannica entry. For additional information about jute, its environmental impact  and its various practical applications, I recommend this short article from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Among jute’s most commonly recognized forms, when processed, are burlap cloth and sacks, and packaging twine. And it is this twine that I love to use when crocheting my baskets. Why? Continue reading crocheting with jute: tips and tricks

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pattern preview: crochet handbag

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already noticed a crochet handbag or two on my timeline. They are colorful, quick and easy to make, an oh-so-versatile. A perfect handmade gift idea!

The pattern for this lovely crochet clutch with bias flap is available in my jakigu.com store as well as in my Etsy shop. Leave a comment if you’d like me to send you a 50% off coupon code.

The sky’s the limit to the number of uses for these handy accessories. Pencil case? Perfect size. Cosmetics bag? Absolutely! An actual handbag for a night out? Oh, you bet! Book cover, journal cover, e-reader cover? Check, check, check.

Continue reading pattern preview: crochet handbag

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things to make and do in 2018

My mind is filled with countless crochet ideas, and my fingers are busy hooking the yarn as fast as they can; yet I seem to be barely making a dent in my ever-growing project to-do list.

Once again I find myself wishing a day had 48 hours. At least.

Though I have been designing crochet patterns for a while, realizing how much work goes into turning a simple crochet idea into a high-quality crochet pattern can still pretty much paralyze me at times. Coming up with the design – even if it takes 10 versions – is the easiest part. It’s the post-production that seems to demand way more of my time than I ever calculate for it. Taking photos, editing them, writing captions; reading and proofreading; pattern testing; social media and marketing – none of which has to do with crocheting.

Of course, I could take the easy way out and throw some brief instructions in crochet shorthand onto two pages of a Microsoft Word document and call it a pattern, but that’s not me. I don’t take shortcuts. And producing a 25, 54, or an 87-page pattern takes time. A lot of time.

So, while I take, edit, and caption a thousand pictures, what are some of the crochet ideas and projects you can be looking forward to?

Continue reading things to make and do in 2018

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pattern preview: stacking crochet baskets with handles

Let me introduce you to the newest crochet pattern available here at jakigu.com and in my Etsy shop. This is the second pattern in the Coiled Crochet Series. As I wrote before, coiled crochet is my absolutely favorite technique to make crocheted baskets. If you don’t know the first thing about coiled crochet, then this pattern would be a great place to start. You’ll learn the basics – all the while making a set of pretty awesome baskets.

Crochet baskets with handles - a DIY crochet project for beginners

Sturdy crochet baskets with handles - a nesting set

When I shared some work-in-progress pictures based on this pattern on a popular Facebook crochet group a couple of months ago, the interest was overwhelming. My fellow crocheters appreciated the same attributes of these crochet baskets as I did. They are colorful, quick and easy to make, practical, durable, sturdy – and they have handles!

Continue reading pattern preview: stacking crochet baskets with handles

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work in progress: journal cover (or clutch)

Hoping pictures are worth many words, here is a photo update on my newest project: a crochet journal cover.

crochet journal cover

In the process of making it, it became clear that it could easily be transformed into a clutch, or a book cover – with no adjustments to the pattern necessary.

Personally, I am inclined to turn it into a clutch – and then store both my journal and my pens in it. A clutch journal cover of sorts.

But making it into a standard book or notebook cover would be so simple by adding felt (or other non-fraying fabric) pockets on the inside to hold the book covers in place.

In either case, I am so pleased with the way it looks so far.

What do you think? What would you make it into? And… would you be interested in a pattern? Let me know!