Category Archives: Videos

Speed Crocheting & A Little Energy Savings

I have a friend who has a friend who has a coworker who works at an energy company.

When I found this out, my first question was, “So tell me, is it better to keep my apartment cold while I’m at work, then crank it 10 degrees when I get home or should I keep it moderately warm during the day?” He told me it’s better to keep it cold, then warm it up.

jayna grassel fastest crocheter

Which means my apartment is a cool 53 degrees when I’m gone. I bump it up to 64 when I get home from work, but it’s a little frigid, brr. I keep whatever crochet project I’m working on in a basket in my living room so while my place warms up, I’ll work a few rows (and keep my hat on because again, brr).

My friends call me cheap for living in the cold, I call them fools for heating rooms when they’re not home. Since my apartment is over 100 years old, I’m always looking for ways to save a few bucks while staying warm.

When Duke Energy asked me to partner with them on an energy saving video, I was thrilled. I love saving money on my electric bill and of course, I love crocheting.

On a cold January evening, I literally packed a suitcase full of yarn (there wasn’t much room for anything else!), interspersed crochet hooks in my luggage in case TSA confiscated them (they didn’t, by the way – crochet hooks are fine to take on airplanes) and headed off to Boston.

The following morning, I found myself in Foxboro, Massachusetts working on an energy video and speed crocheting.

To prep for the shoot, I made three things:

  1. A chunky teal & green sweater (6 hours)
  2. A pair of mittens (20 mins)
  3. A draft door stopper (1 hour)

If you follow my blog, you know I like to stick to my hat-making so it was a treat to branch out and try new projects.

Making the video was SO MUCH FUN! We kept quoting the scene from Arrested Development where Lindsay and Tobias say, “…Cause then you have it,” when debating whether or not to take a particular shot. The team was incredible to work with and it was a full day for everyone. So much yarn everywhere.

Ironically, while we were making this video on how to winter-proof your home, Boston got slammed with the infamous Bombcyclone. This meant my flight the following morning was cancelled as feet of snow covered the city. I was stuck in my hotel room… with my crochet hooks… and tons of yarn… and a bottle of wine. I mean, I can think of worse ways to spend a Friday. J

I also got to do a little how-to video of working a front post double crochet. This is a stitch that works up nice and textured. It’s pretty similar to a double rochet, just worked around a stitch instead of in the top loops.

How to Make a Front Post Double Crochet

Pattern is worked across an odd number of stitches in the round. You can use any size hook and yarn, suitable for your project. I used worsted weight yarn and a size H hook.

Chain 10 + 2 (counts as first double crochet).

Rounds 1: Double crochet in each stitch across (11 double crochet). Turn work.

Rounds 2: Chain 2 (counts as first double crochet). Work front post double crochet into next stitch. Double crochet into next stitch. Repeat pattern across row, ending with a double crochet. (11 stitches). Turn work.

Rounds 3: Chain 2. Work double crochet into next stitch. Front post double crochet into next stitch. Repeat pattern across row, ending with two double crochet. (11 stitches). Turn work.

Repeat Rounds 2-3 for desired length.

I’m so thankful I got the chance to meet and work with some great people, sharing the craft I love and learning how to cut down on my heating bill.

You can check out the full write-up here (no judging!): https://illumination.duke-energy.com/articles/she-crochets-her-way-into-energy-savings

Energy efficiency tips provided by Duke Energy. Visit Energy.gov for more ways to save this winter.

 

 

Crocheting a Flower in Less Than 2 Minutes

This is a short video of me crocheting quickly – I make a flower in under 2 minutes.  Before you watch, I will warn you this is completely vain and narcissistic and silly and… odd.  But who doesn’t love hearing about the origins of little Jayna learning to crochet at the age of 8?

There are plenty of details that I left out of the story, though you’ll find them smattered throughout these blog posts.  Details like how the catalyst of JJCrochet was actually a scoliosis diagnosis that involved physical therapy, 1.5 years in a brace, and eventually spinal fusion surgery.  How my dad bought me my first website domain when I was 14.  Or how my mom came home one day with $200 of yarn, “just to get my started”.  How I give my brother and sister free crochet lessons every Christmas.

Here’s me doing a more serious crochet time trial where I come one stitch short of  being the world’s fastest crocheter. I’ve always wanted to compete in a “fastest crocheter” competition, but I can’t seem to find any details about events.  Lisa Gentry and Lily Chin, where are you hiding!?  If anyone knows of any crochet competitions or time trials going on, please let me know.  In return for sharing this info, I will give you a crochet flower.

Crochet Instructional Videos – FCH and HHDC

I thought I’d make some crochet video tutorials today, because – well, why not. Hopefully, my free crochet patterns have introduced you to two new stitches: the foundation chain (FCH) and herringbone half double crochet (HHDC).

These two stitches are the secret jewels of the crochet world.

You might think you know it all with your double crochets and slip stitches, but I urge you to at least give these two stitches a chance.  It’s rare to find a pattern that calls for a FCH, but once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll be surprised that you’ll start swapping out a normal chain in favor of a FCH. Being able to adapt crochet patterns to make them better is the sign of an advanced, innovative crocheter.  Welcome.

The FCH can replace beginning chains in a project.  It’s best used when you need a “stretchy” edge, such as the beginning row of a scarf.  The HHDC, on the other hand, is the love child  if a double crochet and half double crochet got a little cuddly one night.  I use this when stitch when I want some nice texture and tighter stitches than I’d get when working in double crochets.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, you are probably a crochet lover/nerd so congrats!  Watch these two short videos and then try your hand at the FCH and HHDC.  Here’s a great pattern that uses both of these two stitches in case you’d like to start working on something fun and quick: Crochet Cowl with Infinity Loop.  I promise you’ll love it.

Crochet Flower Pattern (Advanced: Ridged Version)

Ridged Crochet Flower Pattern

Before I dive right into the pattern, you may have noticed JJCrochet and this blog have gotten a facelift!  No more blue and black borders – the pink and cream/ tan/ gray theme is in charge of the show.  I was getting tired of the old layout and wanted a site that was better from a design perspective, now that I spend a good majority of my time (real job) online.  I never was much of a pink girl, but it’ll do.

Okay – so onto the pattern. I was crocheting a hat yesterday when I wanted to add a flower, but not a typical flower.  I’ve made designs in the past and figured it was time I chronicled the unique style of crocheting ONTO of the stitches.  Yes, you heard correctly – this flower is worked all in one piece.  The third round that gives the raised, 3-D circle in the center is made by working on the sides of the stitches of Round 1.

If it sounds confusing, don’t worry – I’ve made a video showing what to do:

The crochet video is also a good introduction of how to make this style of flower and is super easy and simple enough for someone who know a few stitches.  I’ve gotten feedback from other videos I’ve made that I crochet a bit too fast (guilty), so I tried to slow it down.  Watching it back, it still might be too quick, but I tried to crochet as slowly as I could without poking myself in the eyes.  {If you listen closely, I sigh twice in the video during my painfully slow crochet session.}

Crochet Flower Pattern

So here’s the pattern for the flower.  Either follow it the whole way through if you’re an adventurous, advanced crocheter, or stop after Round 2.  Whichever way you choose to go, you’ll still end up with a cute little flower.

Crochet Flower

Crochet Ridge Flower Pattern

Crochet Flower Pattern (with Ridged Center)

Materials

Size J crochet hook (or whatever sized project you’re working on)

Worsted weight yarn (I used my go-to favorite, Vanna’s Choice)

Instructions

Chain 3.  Join with sl st to first chain to form ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as first dc), dc into loop.  *Ch 3, 2 dc into loop*.  Repeat around until you have 10 dc and five, ch-3 loops. Join with sl st into first ch-3 loop of round.

Round 2: Ch 1 (counts as first sc).  Work 5 dc, 1 sc into ch-3 loop.  (Skip 2 dc from previous round),  Work *1 sc, 5 dc, 1 sc into ch-3 loop*.  Repeat around to make 5 patterns.  Join with sl st to first sc.

Congrats, you’ve made a flower!  If you’d like to work the ridge at the center of the flower, continue on.  If not, Fasten Off.

Crochet Ridged Flower Pattern

Center Ridge of Flower (Check out the video for extra clarity)

Slip stitch into top of first dc from Round 1.

Work 1 sc into side of each double crochet stitch from Round 1 (10 sc).  Join with sl st to first sc.  Chain 1(optional).  Fasten off.

If you need a visual for how to work the ridge, check out the video – I promise it’ll help.

So there’s the flower – did you like this pattern?  Did you try the ridge?  I’d love to hear if you did.  Post below in the comments and let me know how it went for you.

Crochet Headband Pattern – Free

Crochet Lattice Headband Pattern

I received a lovely comment today from “my biggest fan, Stephanie” and was so inspired, I pulled out the hooks and made a crochet pattern.  Not only did I make a new pattern, but I was feeling so motivated, I also created a video showing how to make the headband. Please forgive my post-workday hair.

The pattern in itself is not complicated, but it can be a bit confusing to understand.  Also, I believe I say “interwined” in the video which I am almost 100% positive is not a word in the English language.  Oh well, ha, I can’t be bothered with silly things like pronunciation while I’m crocheting!

This headband creates a really unique looking pattern without any effort.  If you can make a chain, know how to slip stitch, and can count, you can crochet this little guy.  I grabbed a skein of yarn, found my crochet hooks, and 5 minutes later this little guy was born.  Enjoy!

Crochet Headband Pattern

Materials:  Size H (5.0mm) crochet hook and a few yards of worsted weight yarn

Directions

Chain 25

Chain 5, work a slip stitch into the top of the 25th chain (first circle made)

Flip your work to make the slip stitch easier to work (optional – watch the video for clarification, I promise it’s not as complicated or advanced as it sounds!)

*Chain 5, slip stitch into previous circle.  Flip work.*

Repeat from * to * around until you have 28 circles.

Chain 25 (creates second headband tie).

Fasten off, weave in ends.

Crochet Lattice Pattern

Crochet Headband Pattern

Let me know if these instructions and video helped and if you could actually crochet the headband yourself.  Sometimes, I forget that even though things make sense to me, it doesn’t do any good unless others can understand them, too.  Let me know if you try your hand at making this headband.

Crochet headband pattern

World’s Fastest Crocheter – Jayna Grassel

Okay, so I might not *technically* be the fastest crocheter in the world, but I know I’m pretty close.  One stitch, to be exact.

The actual record holder for world’s fastest crocheter is Lisa Gentry who set the official record on June 25, 2005.  To set the Guinness World record, Lisa crocheted 28 treble crochet stitches in one minute.

If you’re a fellow crocheter, that should blow your mind. 28 stitches–treble, nonetheless–in one minute.  With the time it takes to transition between each stitch, I didn’t see how that was possible.

Then I came across this video of Lisa crocheting where she explains her precise technique.  And it’s quite sneaky.  You see, you don’t actually crochet a treble crochet into each stitch.  No, no, my friend.  You actually crochet THREE trc into each stitch.  Crazy!  (All you non-crocheters, don’t you judge us and our passions.)  If you listen to Lisa give instructions, you’ll see that she uses worsted weight yarn and a size I-9mm hook.  She starts with a foundation of 25 trc and works her timed trc as the second row.

I had to test it out.

I haven’t timed myself crocheting since I was in highschool (over 5 years ago!) when I made my father stand by the microwave timer, telling him, “Hold on, let me just try it again,” as I ripped out my stitches and would start again.  But now I know I was doing it all wrong!

So I tried again.

If you listen to the videos below, you’ll hear Lisa’s video in the background because I found it’s nice to have the guy give a little countdown and I don’t have to watch my computer screen to see what time it is. The fastest I got was 27 stitches in 1 minute.  One measly little stitch away from Lisa’s 28 stitches (and, might I add, 3 stitches better than the time trial she does in the video).

I e-mailed Lisa Gentry telling her how much I admired her work and that I would would like to challenge her to a crocheting competition, never really expecting to hear back.  She’s a crochet all star.  I got a response from her the same day and she is SUCH a sweetheart.  Here’s what she said:

Thanks Jayna,
I know there is always someone out faster! ☺ Good luck with your speed crocheting!I just want to let you know that I’m not planing to attend any speed challenges.
I hurt my wrist beginning of the year, so I had to slow down crocheting and knitting. But I would love to see you crocheting. Please let me know when you have a video on youtube or any other websiteHave a great week!Lisa

She is one of my crochet inspirations and I hope to one day be as good as her.  Lisa, if you’re reading this – You’re great!  Thank you for all the work you’ve done to put crocheting on the map and make it cool again.

I will give you two warnings (okay, make it 3):

1. These videos aren’t the greatest quality

2. I have an angry face when I crochet

3.  I also have close to five million chins when I crochet (note to self: never crochet on a date)

But I know you won’t judge me, dear reader, so I’ll share my videos with you now.  I’ll make better ones some day (perhaps when I’m at 28 stitches) and will practice smiling, but for now I hope you enjoy!  To see other JJCrochet crochet videos and tutorials, check me out on Youtube!