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Tevia5

Why is my project turning out hard with soft yarn?

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I have tried 3 times with 3 different very soft baby yarns to crochet a baby Afghan.   No matter how soft or how heavy the yarn is, my project feels very hard.   Why is this?

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That was my thought as well.  Are you new to crochet?  When I was a newbie I crocheted quite tightly and had to teach myself to loosen up, and for as long as I've been reading posts here I'm not the only one this has happened to.  In my case, I was using a tapered hook and was making stitches in the narrower 'throat' area not over the shaft, which is the part that 'sizes' the stitches.  When I learned to shove the stitches a little farther back, it made a big difference.

Does your pattern give a gauge (for example, 20 stitches over 4")?  Are you hitting that gauge, and if not, which way 'off' are you?  Sometimes gauge can be confusing, the numbers seem backwards - the bigger the number of stitches you have per 4", the smaller your stitches are, so if you are getting (example) 25 stitches per 4" and you are supposed to get 20), you'll need to try a bigger hook.  

 

Edited by Granny Square
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They are not what I would consider very tight, but then I also don’t want to make them much looser as I am sure this would not be good either.    I have used Lions Brand Hometown and Red Heart hygge.   
i

have just picked up crocheting for the first time in 24 years!

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Is there a reason you are using bulky yarn for a baby blanket?

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Hygge is a bulky yarn, and the ball band calls out a K hook, gauge 4” x 4” (10 cm x 10 cm) =11 sc and 13 rows with a 6.5 mm (U.S. K-10 1/2) crochet hook. 

Hometown is super bulky and calls out a N hook (Crochet Gauge (4" x 4")=6.6 sc x 8 r ).  Really, I don't think this is appropriate for baby things, this gauge = each stitch is over half an inch wide.

I wouldn't go smaller than those hook recommendations for either of these yarns.  I've found that using finer yarn, in addition to being more traditional for baby items, is plenty soft and delicate if done at the right gauge.  The last baby set (outfit and blanket) I made was with Bernat Baby Sport weight yarn, an was plenty soft and snuggly.  

 

 

 

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Hi.   I used to knit, crochet and sew as a young mother.   Once I got to the USA, I had 5 young kids and had no time nor money to crochet.   I am generally a good crocheter, but mostly easy to mediate difficulty.    One of the yarns I tried was Bernat Softee Baby.  That is a lightweight yarn.   
 

Villager, can you elaborate on what you mean by what you are saying about the throat and the shaft.   Where is each one located?   Should your stitches feel loose when pulling the hook through?

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Here is a 'anatomy' of a tapered hook - scroll down a little bit. 

A little more explanation; there is a second hook shape that is called 'in-line' (not tapered), this link explains the difference. 

Tapered - if you imagine the hook tip as a 'nose', the face is narrower than the body on the face side under the nose, and also on each side of the 'head' where ears would be.  A tapered hook's head, nose and throat is smaller than the body.

In-line - the hook is narrower only under the nose, the head above the nose is the same size as the body.

The type I learned with/prefer is the tapered type; forming the stitch back on the shaft may be less of an issue on the in-line type.

As far as feeling loose when you pull the hook through...that's hard to describe.  When I was in my "beginner's super-tight stitch", it was a bit of an effort to pull the hook thru the loop; now that I've loosened up, the hook glides through easily.  If I compare my stitch gauge to most patterns I choose to make (so, compared to a variety of other people), I match their gauge most of the time, and when I don't match it I usually get their gauge by going 1 hook bigger, sometimes but rarely to a smaller hook.   So I consider my gauge to be just a little on the tight side, on average.

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Tension and hook size are definitely the first things to consider. Additionally a skein of yarn that feels soft and squishy will often not feel that soft after being crocheted even with the proper gauge.

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It would help if you posted a picture of the problem.  I've used Bernat's Baby yarn on doll projects which generally are crocheted tighter than baby blankets and  while its acrylic yarn so it has an acrylic feel to it but I've never found it to feel hard.  So, I'm trying to imagine what the project looks like that you say it feels hard.  I've always thought it felt pretty soft.

I tried making doll blankets with left over bulky yarn a few years back and while not "hard" they were way too heavy for the project and I frogged them.  That is why I questioned using bulky for the baby blankets.  If it is too heavy for a doll, I can't imagine it would be great for a baby. 

However, if you are using traditional baby yarn and still having this problem, I'm thinking it has to be something to do with how tight the stitches are, thus your tension.  Without a picture it is hard to know.  We are just guessing.

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Just wanted to point out that I mentioned the Bernat Baby Sport not because I necessarily thought it  was the best stuff for baby blankets, just that it was an example finer gauge than bulky or worsted, and still plenty soft, and I remembered it from my last baby project (great niece is 5 already, wow).  And really for baby, er, purposes machine washable acrylic is a good thing.

I just looked up my project notes, wow I used a rather big hook, an I hook (5.5mm) for the crochet blanket.  

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Even with the doll blankets I use a larger hook. I is what I've used with the baby yarn.

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You mentioned above that you came to the USA when your children were young. I just want to make sure you were crocheting in US terms and not UK terms.  That would cause a tighter stitch. I'm adding a chart to save time just in case. :)

image.png.7fdcf0ec75b16ffdd949b1537e5c9c2b.png

 

Edited by BPokorny
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Thank you all so much for your responses.   There is no doubt that my work was too tight.  It is a whole lot better now.   
 

I have another question.   What does ch 3, skip next ch-3sp, dc.....     I have never seen the ch-3sp before. 

D98E1A2E-0989-41B6-8C68-C00E352F1C57.jpeg

Edited by Tevia55
Added image

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Chain-3 space - it's describing the next 'stitch', on in this case set of stitches that happen to form a space, in front of you.  So It sounds like you are making sort of a ladder of chain-3 spaces stacked on top of each other at that point.

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Oops, no, sorry I wasn't clear.  Hang on, illustration coming.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Granny Square

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If this was your whole pattern, "2 dc, chain 2, 2 dc", over 2 rows, it would look like this.  edit--SORRY!  I apparently can't read, your pattern said "3 dc, skip ch 3 sp, chain 3, 3 dc" , but I hope you get the idea.

 

scan0004.jpg

Edited by Granny Square
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You are awesome.  Thanks for being so helpful.    What I am also confused with is it says ‘skip next ch-3 sp ‘.  What do I skip?? 

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I think we were posting at the same time there.  That is a lovely blanket, now I see what is going on.  It looks like you are going to be making a gap to weave those colored strips through.

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To be more clear, look at the peach colored vertical strip for example, at a segment between the 2 horizontal white 'lines'.  The white lines are the chains.  You will weave the peach strip under 1 chain span, over the next, under the next, and so on.  You can see there are 2 rows of white DCs between the horizontal white chain spaces , because the chain space between the ones you see are covered by the peach strip.

Edited by Granny Square

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Does the pic of my grey swatch help you see what you skip?  The 2 chains in the bottom row are skipped, because 2 chains are taking up the span above them 'in the air'.

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