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  • Irina

Fun finger crochet projects

For the December Aurifil Artisan Challenge, we were supposed to look back to the start of our sewing journey and create a beginner-friendly tutorial.

I don't exactly remember when I held the thread and needle for the first time. But I perfectly remember the creative atmosphere in our home when I was growing up. My mom was sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidering whenever she had a spare moment. As a child, I often sat next to her and watched her craft. Her sewing projects were mainly utilitarian or upcycling—nothing too fancy. I totally disliked sewing lessons at school, but I always thoroughly enjoyed those precious moments we spent together with her old Singer sewing machine.

The project I designed for this challenge is not only about sewing; it is more about spending quality time with children, crafting together, inspiring them to learn, and creating treasured memories. Let's start!

You will need:

Leftover yarn (4-5 colors, depending on the yarn thickness);

Aurifil 50 wt thread in neutral color (for example, 2311 Muslin) or variegated (for example, 3817 Marrakesh);

A sewing machine that has a zig zag stitch

A few words about the yarn... This is a perfect project to use the scrap yarn you have accumulated over the years. Alternatively, yarn from a thrift store or recycling center could be a great, inexpensive option. The fiber content doesn't really matter. I only recommend avoiding fuzzy types of yarn or those with sequins, beads or pom poms. You can mix any yarn colors, even not so pretty ones. This has been proved by the kids at the afternoon Club where I work. This semester they have been so much into finger crocheting. They have been mixing colors in the most crazy color combinations but... the result was always beautifully scrappy.

I recommend joining all yarn strands in one and make a yarn ball.  If one yarn ends, you add another and knot the ends. It will save your time and nerves untangling the yarns😉

1.Finger chrocheting

There are many online tutorials on how to do finger crochet. This is the way I do it.

1. To make a loop, place the working yarn over the short end facing to the left (1). Lift the loop and place it over the working yarn (2). Grab the working yarn and pull it through the loop (3). Pull on the working yarn to adjust the loop, so it is bigger than your finger (4).

2. This is how I hold the yarn. I am right-handed, so I hold it in my left hand. I wrap the working yarn over my index finger. I hold the short end with my thumb and middle finger.

3. Hold the working yarn with your left hand as described in step 2. Insert your thumb and middle finger (right hand) through the loop and grab the working yarn (1). Pull the working yarn through the loop (2). You have made the first chain! Adjust the chain so it is not loose or too tight (3). 

4. Repeat step 3 to make the rope of the desired length. Here is a video tutorial. In the beginning, your chains might be uneven, but as you practice more you will learn how to control the yarn. Make sure the chains are not too loose, otherwise it will be hard to sew the rope. 

These are three skeins of the finger-crocheted ropes I made for this tutorial.

It is hard to estimate the length of the rope because it depends on its thickness and how tight you finger crochet. If the rope is thick, then you will need less than if you had a thin one. Don't make it too thick though for this project! Remember that we still need to fit the rope under the needle of the sewing machine. I think finger crochet is very enjoyable, relaxing and relatively quick, so you won't have a problem making long finger crocheted ropes.

2. Finger crocheted projects

Now, the fun and exciting part! Here are three easy finger crochet projects for you. They are all based on the coaster tutorial.

A coaster

1.Set the width of the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine to the widest and the length to the medium. These are my settings for Pfaff Quilt Expression 720: stitch width 6.0, stitch length 3.0. If using Aurifil 50 wt as a top, you might need to decrease the top tension. I decreased it from 4.6 to 3.8.

2. Fold the end of the crocheted rope as shown in the photo below. The working end (the one we will be attaching) is at the top; the short end is folded at approx. 3/4" (2 cm). To start, we will stitch two zigzag lines. Start at the top (working end), stitch down (1), then stitch up (2). The working end is on the right.

3. While sewing the coaster, hold the coaster with your left hand and the working end of the rope with your right hand.

Pay attention to the alignment of the center mark on the presser foot (white arrow on the photo below) to attach the finger crocheted rope properly and avoid gaps between the rows.

If there is a knot, just cover it with the working end of the rope (the one being attached) and zigzag on top. The knot will be on the back side, and it won´t be visible.

4. Keep adding the rows until the coaster measures 6 - 6 1/2" (15 -16.5cm) or smaller if desired.

5. To finish the coaster, stop with the needle-in and cut the rope with scissors at approx. 2- 2 1/2" (5-6.4cm) away from the presser foot. Secure the yarn end and finish stitching. Backstitch the end of the seam.

Your coaster is ready!

Alternately, in step 5, you can leave an approx. 3" (7.6cm) end, so you can fold it in half (inwards) to make a loop.

You can also use a varigated Aurifil thread to add some colour to your coaster. I used Aurifil 50wt, colour 3817 Marrakesh.

Those can be used as coasters, placemats, trivets, or even potholders and will make wonderful housewarming gifts. It is also a quick, last-minute gift idea.

A fabric bowl

If you simply keep adding rows to the coaster, you will end up with a fabric bowl!😊

Here you can see the fabric bowl I made back in September. Actually, all the projects featured in this tutorial had a test drive at my work, in the Afternoon Club. Kids enjoy finger crocheting, and I enjoy helping them by making their ropes into finished products!

Following the coaster tutorial above, make the bottom of the desired diameter. The one in the video was approximately 6 1/2" (16.5cm) in diameter. When you are ready to start the sides, slightly pull the rope that is being attached, and the sides will start curving naturally. Don´t pull too much, though; otherwise, your bowl might turn into a basket😊

In the video, you can also see how to join two ropes with a scrap.

Round bag

If you make two coasters, you can turn them into a round bag!

1. Following the coaster tutorial, make 2 circles, each 6 1/2" (16.5cm) in diameter. On the second circle, leave the end of the desired length for the strap. Attach the end as shown below. Check if there are any gaps between the rows; zigzag them if needed.

2.Place both circles WRONG SIDE UP. The center mark on the presser foot should be right between the circles. Start stitching at the point where the strap is attached; backstitch the beginning of the seam.

3. As you continue stitching around the circle, you will need to manipulate the circles to bring the edges together. Holding both circles with your hands, bring the circles together and join them by zigzag. Go slowly and adjust the circles, if necessary. Finish your stitching at the point when the strap is attached; backstitch the end of the seam.

Your bag is ready!

When I came up with that idea and made a bag, the enthusiasm for finger crocheting in our Afternoon Club skyrocketed! Even those who were not convinced yet started finger crocheting. I didn't count how many bags I made. I truly enjoyed seeing children's creativity, patience, and determination. Their happy dance, lit faces, and hugs when they got their bags were the best reward.

Here are just a couple of bags proudly demonstrated by their owners.

I hope you will give this fun technique a try and create something together with your children!

Happy Crafting!❤

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