Posted on 1 Comment

“Be Kind. Rewind” – What you can do to improve the tension and elasticity in your yarn

Have you ever considered the tension your yarn is under once it’s been wound into a cake or ball?
One of the main reasons yarn is sold in a skein is to preserve its elasticity. So, from the second you wind it, it’s being held at a stretch.

Animal fibres in particular have a gorgeous spring to them. If you stretch them, they snap back on release. This elasticity gives a finished garment a bounce and a wearability that is a pleasure to behold.

But if these fibres are held at their limit for too long, they can lose that elasticity entirely. That’s why you should only wind your skeins when you intend to knit or crochet with them soon after. It’s also why those old balls of donated yarn tend to seem so lifeless – they’ve been held at a stretch for decades. Yikes.

Ball winders and swifts are an amazing piece of kit I believe every crafter should invest in, but there’s a pull between swift and winder, so even they can add tension to a newly-wound skein.

Image (c) Ballyhoura Fibres

See the two cakes below?

They’re actually the exact same skein.
The one on the left has been wound directly from the skein on my swift.
The one of the right is the same ball, wound from the first cake into a second, much more relaxed cake.

Look at the size difference! And imagine the tension the first one would have been under had I only wound it once.

two cakes of yarn, illustrating the tension yarn can be under after one wind (left) and two winds (right) The elasticity of the cake on the right is more relaxed.
Same exact skein of yarn, first wind (left) second wind (right)

So, tell me. Are you kind to your yarn? Do you ever rewind?

And if you haven’t done it before now, have I convinced you to start? I sure hope so! And I bet your yarn will thank you, too!

Oh! And… psst! The yarn I’ve pictured here is a beautiful skein of Ballyhoura Fibre yarn. It’s Cierra’s 4-ply sock in colourway “Pot Pourri”. Watch out for it in a pattern this autumn!
You can find the link here:

Like what you see? Check these out!

Posted on Leave a comment

Making an Invisible Crochet Decrease

If you’re a lover of the cute and cuddly world of amigurumi, and you want to improve the look of your finished crochet toys, this post is for you.
Crochet fabric is highly textured, but your eye can be drawn to any disturbances in that texture, rather than to your hard work and crochet skill. Making an invisible crochet decrease is a really good way of keeping your fabric smooth and unblemished.

Read on to see how this clever little trick is done.

Cut to the Chase, Aoibhe!
Click here for a small video demo

Start off with a piece of crochet

This is the beginning of one of my Patreon Amigurumi patterns.
To be specific, it’s my Meerkat’s bum.

I’ve gone round and round with regular increases (which are naturally pretty invisible, so we don’t need to worry so much about them showing up), and now it’s time to start decreasing towards the neck.

a piece of beige, unfinished amigurumi crochet is held in a pair of hands over a worn wooden table surface.
Meerkat bum!

The Lay of the Land

In my hand below, you can see the edge of my crochet fabric.
I’m working in UK double crochet / US single crochet stitches, as these are nice and dense and will make a good solid fabric for my amigurumi.

When you focus on my index fingers (behind the fabric), you’ll spot a stitch sitting between them. That’s my next stitch along, and it’s where I’ll begin the invisible crochet decrease.

a close up of a row of single crochet stitches, a steel hook and a pair of hands.
Locate the next stitch along

Ready to Crochet?

Press your hook through the FRONT LOOP ONLY of that highlighted stitch.
I like to stretch it out a little as this makes it easier to work the rest of the stitch without your hook getting caught later on.

A crochet hook in a piece of fabric
Hook into front loop
a crochet hook stretching out a stitch to make it looser
Biiiig stretch

Then, find the next stitch along, and work your hook into both sides of that stitch’s V.

a crochet hook being worked into a piece of single crochet fabric as an invisible decrease is made.
Hook into next stitch along

Yarn Over hook, and draw that Yarn Over back through only the stitch you just worked into.
Everything else on your hook stays where it is for now.

a yarn over on a steel crochet hook. The has been inserted into a an unfinished amigurumi toy.
Yarn Over…
Three loops on a crochet hook.
Draw Yarn Over back through both sides of the stitch’s V

Yarn Over again, and draw that Yarn Over through all the loops remaining on your hook.
Your Invisible Crochet Descrease is complete!

An invisible single crochet decrease stitch, half complete.
Yarn Over…
A completed invisible single crochet decrease stitch.
Draw Yarn Over through everything on hook

Spot the Invisible Decreases

In the image below, there are six invisible decreases.
Can you spot them?

That’s how good they are.

A close up of some amigurumi fabric, with several invisible decreases dotted throughout. As you might imagine, they are, indeed, invisible.
Spot the decreases

Invisible Crochet Decrease – A Spotter’s Guide

They’re elusive, that’s for sure.
But if you’re checking your stitches and counting as you go, it’s important that YOU can find them.

So, look at the Wrong Side of your fabric (i.e. the inside of your amigurumi), and you’ll spot the tell-tale signs of your decreases there. Use the slider below to see my decreases in situ.
(They’re the little horizontal lines the blue arrows are pointing towards)

And if you’d like to see more of my Crochet Buddies collection, you can browse them all here.
Joining my Patreon family will get you one or two of these patterns every month as a gift – depending on your chosen tier level.

I hope you like ’em!

Three completed amigurumi toys laid out on a worn wooden table top.
From left to right: a crochet cow, koala and giraffe.

The koala and giraffe are being held up by one hand each.
Cow, Koala and Giraffe say Hello!

Video Demonstration of an Invisible Crochet Decrease.

Back To Top

Like with you see? Check these out!