Simply Crochet Magazine

Cali Chic BabyI’m pleased to share the wonderful magazine “Simply Crochet” featured Cali Chic Baby and myself in their Hooked section of issue #81. Simply Crochet is a UK publication and I was honored to have been given a small space to tell my story and my mission to share attractive, lacy blanket patterns that help knitters and crocheters succeed in finishing. Borders don’t have to be scary!

I have many lovely UK customers and supporters and it was a real treat to work with the kind folks producing Simply Crochet magazine. Thank you! ♥ 

what is gauge

Gauge is something you see on yarn skeins and in most patterns for both crochet and knitting. It is a measurement… essentially how many stitches will fit within a horizontal inch (or 2 or 4 inches) using the specified yarn weight and hook / needle size. Also, gauge typically specifies the number of rows that will fit within a vertical inch as well, but I find that if you get the horizontal stitches per inch right, the rows tend to themselves (this applies to baby blankets like those on Cali Chic Baby and projects with little shaping… for clothing row gauge matters.)

Why do I have to care about gauge? Very simply, if you don’t check gauge, you will be knitting and crocheting blind hoping the project turns out the correct size, without knowing if you are close or way off until you are done, or nearly done. If you don’t enjoy starting over or being disappointed with your results compared to the pattern design, then ignore gauge at your peril.

So what three things (mainly) affect gauge? The yarn weight, the crochet hook or knitting needle size and the “tension” you crochet or knit with. Some knit/crochet loosely and some more tightly. In either case, try to at least be consistent… compensations exist for either loose or tight to achieve gauge. If you are too loose and your gauge has too few stitches per inch, go down a hook / needle size or two until you achieve the target gauge. If you are too tight (most common) and your gauge has too many stitches per inch, go up a hook/needle size or two until you achieve gauge.

To check your gauge, follow the suggestion of the pattern for making a sample swatch (for example Stockinette stitch for knitting or sc block for crochet) and measuring. Then adjust your hook / needle as described above if necessary. In “extreme” tension cases only, you may need to try altering your tension style or even change yarn weights (if an option).

Which gauge should I follow – yarn or pattern? Short answer, the pattern! The gauge on the yarn label is only a suggestion as is the hook / needle size recommendation. The pattern designer will provide the gauge (and hook / needle size) that best suits the pattern they have created using these same parameters. To get the same results as the pattern promises, always follow the pattern gauge.

Before you learn how to crochet easy picot stitches you might first ask, “what are picot stitches?” Picots are cute, little round-shaped crochet stitches that add a decorative touch to any edging. Picots are a way to add a finishing touch all around a baby blanket, for example, without having to crochet a complex border. There is certainly more than one way to go about crocheting a picot stitch but I will offer what I believe to be the easiest way to create them.

Below are the simple instructions of how I prefer to make the picot stitch.

How to make a Picot stitch
Ch 3, insert at arrow, hook yarn and pull through. Follow the photo arrow movements.
crochet easy picot stitches

Another fun stitch that’s easy to do but creates a nice “X” pattern in your work is the crossed double crochet stitch (crossed dc). Below I show a crossed dc stitch with chain between the dc heads as this is an option to less gap in the “X” pattern. The crossed dc stitch will add visual interest and variety to your baby blanket, hat, scarf or any other crochet project needing a little visual pop.

Once you learn this stitch you will be looking for chances to incorporate it! Follow the tutorial steps in the photos to create the easy crossed dc stitch separated by a single chain.

crossed double crochet stitch

There certainly is a lot confusion online and in print regarding a Puff stitch vs Bobble stitch, and for good reason.  They are “mechanically” performed the same way and often erroneously defined exactly the same. Plus each designer has the freedom to describe how they choose to use the term within their patterns.  However, there are in fact some guidelines to type of stitch employed for each to look like a puff or bobble, as well some common convention in identifying a puff vs bobble stitch.

Let’s compare their similarities and differences

* A Puff Stitch (puff) is distinguished as stitches joined at a single base (location / stitch) and also joined at the top of the stitches.  The stitch employed is almost exclusively the Half Double Crochet (hdc) stitch to give it the slightly “puffy” look.

* A Bobble Stitch (bo) is distinguished as stitches joined at a single base (location / stitch) and also joined at the top of the stitches [the same as the Puff stitch] but employing only the long stitches, such as Double Crochet (dc) and Triple Crochet (tr).

Therefore, with Cali Chic Baby patterns, I denote a puff stitch as 2 hdc stitches or more and a bobble stitch as 2 or more dc or tr stitches. For both, 3 to 6 stitches are most common.  I include a 2 stitch bobble in my Honey Bunny Pattern #82, even though 2 dc don’t create a significant “bobble,” because it still adds interest to the design.


I show both the 2 and 3 stitch tutorials, as they appear in the pattern, below for comparison:

How to make a 2-dc Bobble stitch
Follow the steps below by making 2 “half finished” dc, resulting in 2 + 1 loops on hook.
Yarn over and pull through all 3 loops.

2-dc bobble

How to make a 3-dc Bobble stitch
Make 3 “half finished” dc, resulting in 3 + 1 loops on hook. YO, pull through all 4 loops.

3-dc bobble

Now let’s look a more developed 5-dc bobble tutorial taken from my Sugar Baby Pattern #12.  The bobble stitch is a great way to add eye popping “dots” or bumps to your crochet work.

How to make a 5-dc Bobble stitch
Follow the steps below by making 5 “half finished” dc, resulting in 5 +1 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull through all 6 loops.

puff st vs bobble st tutorial

Bonus Information:  Popcorn & Cluster Stitch

The following two stitches often get lumped in to the puff stitch vs bobble stitch confusion so I include them here:

* A Popcorn Stitch (pc) is distinguished as stitches joined at a single base (location / stitch) and also joined at the top of the stitches (again like the puff and bobble) — however this stitch is completed by joining together the top of the first stitch with the top of the last stitch.  The stitches employed are the long stitches, such as dc and tr.

* A Cluster Stitch (CL) is defined as all stitches having a different base (spanning multiple stitches) but are all joined at the top of the stitches. This is also known as a “decreasing stitch” and can employ any stitch (sc, hdc, dc, tr, etc.).

For more on this topic, and a definitive source for all things crochet, visit the American Crochet Association.

Here I offer a short tutorial on changing yarn colors, using the Cali Chic Baby Teddy Bear pattern #58. The example shown applies to any pattern using a double crochet stitch where a new yarn color is being introduced.

Step 1
When row finishes with 2 dc, on second dc you will complete “HALF” the stitch and stop, saving the last yarn over for introducing the NEW white yarn.
changing yarn colors

Step 2
Don’t just drop your brown yarn! Take the brown yarn color and wrap over the crochet hook and hold.
changing yarn colors with dc stitch

Step 3
While holding brown yarn string as shown, bring in NEW white yarn color and pull through entire stitches on crochet hook, completing the row.
changing yarn colors tutorial

Step 4
Then, start your chain 3 for next row, and turn. Note by holding the brown yarn previously it is nicely secured close to the body for use again later with less “gap.”
how to change yarn colors without cutting

US vs UK Knitting Terms
Common US vs UK Knitting Terms & Abbreviations Chart (USA vs UK / AU)*:

Term & Abbreviation
Term & Abbreviation
(UK / AU)
knit 2 together
knit 2 together
purl 2 together
purl 2 together
cable stitch: 3 front
c+ (2,3,4, etc.) +f
cable stitch: 3 back
c+ (2,3,4, etc.) +b
slip, knit, pass sl’d st over
slip, knit, pass sl’d st over
slip 1 st knitwise
slip 1 st knitwise
slip 1 st purlwise
slip 1 st purlwise
knit front & back of st
purl front & back of st
right side
right side
wrong side
wrong side
yarn over
yarn over needle
bind off
cast off

*Reference only based on an aggregate of crochet terms and comparison sources.

US vs UK Crochet Terms
Common US vs UK Crochet Terms & Abbreviations Chart (USA vs UK / AU)*:

Term & Abbreviation
Term & Abbreviation
(UK / AU)
slip stitch
sl st
slip stitch
sl st
single crochet
double crochet
half double crochet
half treble crochet
double crochet
treble crochet
triple crochet
double treble crochet
double triple crochet
triple treble crochet
single crochet 2 together
double crochet 2 together
double crochet 2 together
treble crochet 2 together
half double crochet 2 together
half treble crochet 2 together
back post single crochet
BP+ (sc, dc, hdc, tr, etc.)
back post double crochet
BP+ (dc, hdc, tr, etc.)
front post single crochet
FP+ (sc, dc, hdc, tr, etc.)
front post double crochet
FP+ (dc, hdc, tr, etc.)
single crochet back loop only
(sc, dc, hdc, tr, etc.) + BLO
double crochet back loop only
(dc, hdc, tr, etc.) + BL
single crochet front loop only
(sc, dc, hdc, tr, etc.) + FLO
double crochet front loop only
(dc, hdc, tr, etc.) + FLO
half double crochet third loop only
half treble crochet third loop only
crossed double crochet
space (ch space)
sp (ch sp)
yarn over
yarn over hook

*Reference only based on an aggregate of crochet terms and comparison sources.

yarn weight conversion guide
Yarn Weight Conversion Guide Chart of Comparisons*:

Yarn Weight Standard
 0 : LaceLace1 ply2 ply20-40
 1 : Super FineFingering2 ply3 ply14-22
 2 : FineSport4 ply5 ply12-18
 3 : LightLight WorstedDK8 ply11-14
 4 : MediumWorstedAran10 ply9-11
 5 : BulkyBulkyChunky12 ply6-8
 6 : Super BulkySuper BulkySuper Chunky14 ply5-6
 7 : JumboJumbo16 ply0-4

*Reference only based on an aggregate of yarn weight conversion sources comparing yarn weights used in the United States versus yarn weights used in the UK and Australia.

knitting needle size guide
Knitting Needle Size Guide Chart of Metric vs US / UK / Canada Knitting Needle Sizes*:

Millimeter Size (mm)
Knitting Needle Size (US)
Knitting Needle Size (UK/CA)
2.0 mm014
2.25 mm113
2.75 mm212
3.0 mm11
3.25 mm310
3.5 mm4
3.75 mm59
4.0 mm68
4.5 mm77
5.0 mm86
5.5 mm95
6.0 mm104
6.5 mm10.53
7.0 mm2
7.5 mm1
8.0 mm110
9.0 mm1300
10.0 mm15000
12.0 mm17
15.0 mm19
19.0 mm35
25.0 mm50

*Trust the millimeter (mm) size as the letter / number can vary by manufacturer.