Monday, June 27, 2016

Crochet Hack: Weaving in Yarn Ends

One of the most important tasks in crochet is weaving in the ends of joined yarn. Whether you're working striped colorwork or just joining a new ball of yarn, chances are, at some point, you'll have to learn to do this. Now, sewing in ends with a yarn or tapestry needle isn't that difficult. If you have a colorblocked scarf with just one join, weaving in ends will take you just a minute or so. Or, if you're working narrow stripes, it would be easy enough to carry the unused yarn for a row or two.

But if you're working a hexagon motif afghan, consisting of 50 motifs or partial motifs, weaving in your starting end can take hours. (Specifically, four hours, after I thought I was completely DONE with that ginormous coral monstrosity that my mama really did love for Christmas two years ago. Love you, mom!) Anyway, after that Nightmare Before Christmas, I decided that there HAD to be a better way. I was NOT going to do that again!

After several (again, four) hours of Pinterest research, I discovered that  most tutorials about weaving in ends recommend securing the yarn both forward and back to ensure it stays put. However, the only crochet hacks involve working over your ends in one direction- and that still requires leaving a short tail and sewing it back.

Folks, I don't have time for that nonsense! By the time I actually sit down and finish a project, I've made myself into a giant mom-target for baby jump jumps. At best, I have one minute to snip ends before the critters descend upon me and forcibly snuggle me, ready or not.  (I've lost more stitch markers that way...)

SO, friends, here is the busy mom's yarn hack for securely weaving in ends.

For demonstration, I've carried the yarn tail up a few rows of stitches.  You could just as easily work this in your foundation row or in the first round of a circular pattern.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

We start by crocheting over one thickness of the tail for two or three stitches. This gives you a little bit of cushion so the end doesn't hang off the side of the work.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

Next, loop the end of the tail back, and begin working over two thicknesses of yarn. Pull these stitches just a smidge tighter if gauge is important to your work- it doesn't make a huge impact on the height of the row, but it does make a small difference.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

Work over both ends until a small loop remains. Sneak your hook into the next stitch and right through that loop.

Finally, work into only one end of the loop for the last two or three stitches. This will anchor the midpoint of the tail, just as if you'd meticulously sewn back and forth with your yarn needle. Nobody will be the wiser.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

Cut that yucky end out of your life! You don't need him any more!

So that gives you the idea. You could just as easily apply this to any situation you need to weave in your ends. I always use this technique in the beginning of my hats and scarves, but you could apply it wherever you like: color changes, attaching a new ball, your own amusement, you name it!

So what're you going to do with all your extra time? I'll be anxiously looking at Ravelry for new patterns, and scanning my inbox waiting for the next installment of #melodysmakingsmcal! The project is coming along nicely, although I STILL haven't figured out what it is!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mystery Crochet Along

I have been putting off some of my biggest crochet projects lately because my mother in law came into town! We had a ton of fun adventuring with the kids, but now it's time to get myself back in gear! I have some exciting updates for you all coming in the next week- or whenever I can coax my husband into playing photographer for me!

Luckily, I signed up for a really fun mystery create-a-long group through Melody's Makings. Today the third segment was released, and I'm sneaking in a blog post before I continue.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

This was the perfect opportunity to try out some luxury 100% cotton yarn I've had my eye on for some time. I chose Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima, 100% cotton. I have been using as many natural fibers as possible lately, and cotton is much lighter and more breathable in the summer, but I had no idea what a difference a great yarn could make! This Pima Cotton is so luxurious that I am dying to work more on the project!

Here is my progress so far!

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

My kids are sure to wake up and ask to go to the pool soon, so enjoy the pictures while I try to sneak in a few more rows!

If you're interested, join the fun! Registration is still open until the 20th of June, at Melody's Makings. Any guesses as to what this might be? A market tote? Shawl? I just can't figure it out!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: The Bella Lena Dress Pattern

After I decided to design a beach caftan for myself, I realized that I didnt have much experience making crochet garments from scratch. I knew I could fudge my way through it, but I thought I'd feel better if I had just a little more practice first. Then one of my friends from a local crochet moms group posted the link to a new pattern for sale on Ravelry from the Lovely Crow-  a dress! Here is the link to the pattern for sale online:

This dress pattern is gorgeous! Airy white lace, beautiful texture in the bodice, ribbon for trim, and a matching headband. Besides, it was on SALE! Sometimes, you can't pass up a good deal like that, so I splurged.

I'm so glad I tried this pattern! Elizabeth Alan (the Lovely Crow) has one of the most well-written patterns I've seen. There are pictures all throughout to help you make sense of any tricky bits, and she offers full support on her web with video clips as well! Even more exciting, she allows her customers to offer items made from her patterns for sale, which gave me just the extra incentive I needed to open up my Etsy shop.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

Look at how sweet she is! I love the way her carefree spirit shines through in this dress.  Even my rough and tumble girl looks beautiful, because she's so comfy. It's perfect for an impromptu beach day or cavorting in the backyard, but versatile enough for a dressy occasion worn with a slip.

Nessa is wearing about a 2T right now, but the pattern is sized through a girl's size 12. In the smallest size, it works up quickly! It only took me two days to finish the entire project, from start to finish. (That's in mommy time! I only spent about 4 hours crocheting total.)

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

If you are looking to crochet a  girl's dress, I highly recommend this pattern- the yarn practically flowed off my hook. Even the lacy skirt felt natural with the simple but interesting two row repeat pattern.

For those of you who don't crochet, I am available to take custom orders for this beautiful dress through my Etsy shop, Salty Pearl Crochet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Finished Whale Gift Set

At only 5 days post baby shower, I have finally finished my friend's gift! Here he is! Isn't he cute?

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

Hopefully I get the chance to run it over to her before she sees it, but I was too excited about this cuteness to wait any longer before posting!

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

The blanket fits pretty snugly inside the bag, but I think my kids would prefer to use it as a toy carrier instead of a pillow like the pattern suggests. I used a simple magnetic snap closure on the top, so chubby baby fingers will be able to open and shut it.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

I love the texture of this blanket as well! The structure is fairly simple once you understand the pattern, but working into the back loop adds a delicious ripple texture. I did underestimate how much yarn this would take, and ended up with just a smidge of contrast in the finished border. Oops!

If you know someone with a nautical or whale themed nursery, this was created from a free pattern by Justyna Kacprzak. Here is the pin that inspired this project:

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


I'm not sure exactly why, but I always have way, WAY too many projects on the hook at any given time. I've told you about the caftan, but I'm also working on a scarf, a baby blanket/pillow gift set, a scrap-ghan, and a towel ring for my kitchen. (Do your kitchen towels run away too? I swear my kids make a game of who can throw it on the ground the most times during the day.)

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

This blanket is my current top priority. Confession time: the shower was last Friday. Oops! Sorry girly!

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. But somehow, that just doesn't keep me from browsing Pinterest or starting another project before I've finished the first one.

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

But look at the time stamp on this, and you'll see that this is a photo of me, starting a new crochet project on May 4, a mere 8 days before said shower. And then sharing it on social media the day before, when I should have been working on the blanket!

However, I've recently come by a little bit of extra crochet time!

A photo posted by Katie Clary (@saltypearlcrochet) on

Okay, so maybe its not the best plan, but hey, as a mother of two crazy kids, I'll take whatever excuse I can to be able to sit. Plus, there's a lot of dead time waiting in doctor's offices, why not bring a project to work on! I think I'm about two more appointments away from finally finishing this one.

Do you procraftinate like I do? Or would you be willing to share the secret to finally working your way through your crochet to-do list? If I figure out a way that doesn't involve fracturing a bone, I'll be sure to share it here.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What's in a Name?

Lately, I've been absolutely obsessed with the beach. I just can't get enough sand or sun, and side I am blessed to live in a coastal climate, I can visit the ocean as often as my kids will let me load them up in my car. We build castles, splash in the surf, hunt sea shells and shark tooth fossils, and cause all sorts of ruckus!

Swimming, however, is an entirely different story! As a mom of two younglings, I don't quite fit the bikini bill anymore. With summer approaching faster than my winter fluff can melt away, I decided that a beachy crochet caftan dress was just the thing I needed to feel like a sea goddess once more.

Pinterest source

I hit up Pinterest immediately, and found tons of inspiration photos, but slim pickings for a pattern that fit my needs. So after pining over this Pin for a day or two I decided to take matters into my own hands and design my own! I'm enjoying the process so much that I decided to start a shop on Etsy to sell my crochet goods and patterns.

Setting up shop should be a breeze, but choosing the perfect name took longer than I expected. I wanted the name to capture the thrill of finding treasures along the tide line while soaking up the sun with family and friends- and I wanted to hide a little piece of myself in there, as well. I took a few days to mull it over with a friend who knows me better than almost anyone, and she suggested using my daughter Nessa's middle name, Pearl.  I thought it was fitting since Nessa is the recipient of most of my yarn binges! I paired it with my maiden name, Salter, and there it was! Salty Pearl Crochet.

Here's Nessa posing for pictures in the sun hat I made her last month. She took it off a few seconds later. (I'm working on making some bonnet straps to tie it down! Moms, I know you can relate.)

So far, I'm halfway through crocheting the dress. I'm loving it already, and can't wait to share photos of the finished product! I'll be putting the finishing touches on the caftan pattern in the next two weeks or so, if all goes well.

Until then, make a point to go enjoy the outdoors! Life always seems sweeter when you take time to find something beautiful.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pleased to Meet You!

Hello, and thanks for stopping by! My name is Katie Clary, the face behind Salty Pearl Crochet.

My journey with crochet began in 2010, through a craft group I started with some dear friends in Okinawa, Japan. On my second turn to host, I visited a ¥100 shop and couldn't resist the colorful yarn and shiny hooks. Plus, as a thrifty military spouse, ¥200 ($2) a head seemed too good to be true!

Here they are, in all their glory! Acrylic yarn that was so splitty I almost quit, and 2mm and 7mm hooks. (That's not even an American hook size! I had so much to learn.) I'm still amazed that an impulse buy like that has turned into a full blown fiber addiction and a lifelong hobby.

Six years and two kidlets later, I'm finally ready to take the plunge into blogging and pattern design. I have learned so much from reading my favorite crochet blogs and I hope to pay it forward with tips and tutorials to help you improve your crocheting and inspire you to take the next step in your journey.

All the best,