This is not so much a crochet guide at the moment but a bit of a gallery of some of the things that I have crocheted.

A big pile o' yarn!

I began crocheting a few months ago, inspired by my brother Jay. He had begun to crochet various beanies. I was moving to Europe in a month and I figured I would need a scarf. That was my first item, after a thin practice scarf I used to learn how to crochet consistently. The scarf was not difficult to make, just tedious and it took a long time. It is very warm though. I also made a beanie before I left, it took much less time.

After I got to Europe, I spent a lot of time bumming around whilst I was waiting for my work permit to be issued. I was bored and decided to get into crochet again. It was then I decided to try my hand at a hacky sack. I had long been fond of them since hacking in my youth; the thought of a homemade one appealed to me.

hacky sacks

basic procedure

I'm not going to delve into the basics of crochet here. There are plenty of good videos which will teach you how to crochet on expert village. I am going to assume that you have at least a basic knowledge of how to crochet and crochet terminology (which I will undoubtedly use incorrectly here).

Crocheting a hacky sack is essentially the same task as crocheting a beanie, except in forward and reverse. One starts with a chain of 5 or so stitches, connects the end of the chain to the beginning with a slip stitch, then crochets 6 or single stitches through the middle of the circle formed by the chain. Once this has been done one proceeds to spiral outward to form a bit of a pancake. To do this keep adding extra stitches as you spiral, I suggest one double stitch for every single one for the first couple of revolutions and slowly reduce the amount of double stitches each revolution after that. Eventually you will be using all single stitches and should be about halfway there. Then it's a simple process of doing the exact reverse of what you did for the first half, remembering to put some filling in at some point.

I will put the stitch pattern with each sack...

the first attempts

green stripes

three green spirals

The one on the left was my very first attempt. I had obtained some yarn gratis from a source, it was not of a variety of bright colours but acceptable for practice. It is important to note that the yarn required for a hacky sack mush be cotton and it does not stretch.

The right one was my second, quite similar to the first except this time I used all three colours that I had at my disposal. I also used a different technique for changing colours. On the first sack one can see a hard line where I changed. This is due to the spiral nature of the crochet. On the second one I actually crocheted all three colours at once so they spiral around each other with no abrupt colour change. More aesthetically pleasing but also problematic because of complexity and lack of ability to thicken the stripes (I could be wrong here).

You'll notice that both sacks are quite flat (perhaps a little difficult to see from the photos), this is a recurring theme in my early attempts. I had not figured out a good pattern for slowly curving the sack down. When you begin you get a flat circle and as you go you must add stitches to expand the circle as you spiral around. If you add too many you will get rippling around the edges of the circle (as can be seen in the left hand one), too few and the circle's edge will start to pull downwards. The downwards pulling is of course desired in a hacky but ti is difficult to determine the nature and severity of the curve whilst you are creating it. Thus my first attempts, wherein I got to a decent sized pancake and went "oh shit, I'd better start curving this down or it'll be huge!" and began doing single stitches all the way round without easing into it. This results in a flat top with a sharp downward curve, most strikingly demonstrated in the blue and yellow cylinder shown below.

 

some more colour

blue and yellow cylinder

My third attempt. I had obtained some more (and more colourful) yarn by this point. This is the most grossly demonstrative of what I call the "cylinder problem", described above. Essentially I crocheted out the flat top and then immediately began doing single stitches resulting in the sharp curve and resulting tube-like shape. I also begin experimenting with different patterns on this one.

an attempt at rounding

mini red and pink

Here I was trying to get a more rounded shape. I was actually trying to go off a pattern I found online but I think it was for woolen yarn, not cotton which would explain the diminutive nature of it. This one didn't really work very well...

a more uniform pattern

flat yellow and red wheel

On this one I was again trying out different pattern techniques. I was trying to keep the pattern more or less uniform as opposed to the chaos evident on the blue and yellow cylinder above. Still refining the curve so as not to be too abrupt, still a work in progress as one can see. This on is perhaps the flattest of all my sacks. It begins to curve nicely but it would've turned out quite huge if I followed the lines. I thought it might pull into a tighter ball shape if I began to spiral back in, it just got flat instead. I didn't do enough single stitch spirals to tallen it out.

larger and with more anarchy

big anarchy

Getting much closer with this one. It is well formed with a nice curve and shape to it. Perhaps slightly too sharp at the end of the curve. The problem here was that I decided on a pattern before I started and I stuck with it. It turned out to be nice but waaay too big. Still, it's nice to throw around. I went with a much simple colour scheme as I was trying to get the curve right with this one and I didn't want to mess around changing yarn. I used two different ones so I could easily tell where halfway was.

This was also the first sack I recorded the pattern for. I figured it would help me analyse what went right/wrong and fix it in subsequent sacks. I will attache the pattern to all sacks which have it. It's not a standard notation, just one I made up so bollocks to you.

there: 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 _ 10 _ _ _ _ 10 _ _
back: 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 _ 10 _ _ _ _ 10 _ _

smaller and more lemony

blau punkt lemon

My attempt to translate the big anarchy pattern to a smaller but still anarchous pattern. It mostly worked but somehow the ends kind of nippled out and it looks like a lemon. The quest goes on.

there: 3 3 5 7 9 11 _ _ 11 _ _
back: 3 3 5 7 9 11 _ _ 11 _ _

two is better than one?

double ended

WTF was I thinking here? Who am I kidding? It's awesome!

Here I began with a tube with a circumference of 20 stitches. I was getting a little tired of just making balls and so I changed it up for a bit. After the tube got to be quite long I again got bored and decided to see if I could expand the tube out to become a bulb. Apparently I could. I decided to add another bulb on the other end too, make it symmetric and awesome. You can see a slight ridge around the end of the tube on the right hand side. This is because I had to pick up crocheting the other way from where I started thus creating the discrepancy. I think it turned out quite well. I like the symmetry in the colours. The bulbs on the end are actually quite nice and round too, where they aren't being pulled by the shaft. I think I am going to use the pattern I used for the bulbs to make some more sacks. One minor problem was that I couldn't stuff it as full as I would have liked due to logistical issues, resulting a somewhat limp shaft. Oh well...

first head (left)

there: 4 5 4 8 _ 10 10 _ _ _ _
back: 3 4 5 _ 4 _ 10 10 _

second head (right)

there: _ 4 5 4 8 _ 10 10 _ _ _
back: 3 4 5 _ 4 _ 10 10 _

An attempt at beheading

black and yellow

I was quite happy with the shape and roundality of the two baubles on the end of the previous tube. I decided that I would talke that patternt and try to make a stand-alone ball out of it. It didn't quite work out like I desired. It was bigger than I thought it would be and a little a-symmetrical. The black side is flatter and fatter than the yellow. Still, it was a good size. I have learned that it is not so easy to scale a ball, unexpected things happen and you can't easily multiply or translate the amount of stiches in the ball.

other crochet items

scarf

flattened out

folded

This is the aforementioned scarf. It too quite a long time to make although it is simple to do. I used proper wool for all but one of the stripes. The first black stripe on one end is acrylic as I hadn't quite decided what the scarf was all about at that time.

beanie

beanie power

I made this beanie just after I made my scarf. It is my first ever attempt at making a beanie. I thought it turned out pretty nice. The beginning of the spiral is not what I would do now but we live and learn. It's rather warm and is o course made out of proper wool.