Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Konjac Sponge and its benefits

I totally love the Konjac sponge and have been using it for a few years now, so I decided to do some research and get to the bottom of why this particular porous root is so awesome for skincare. I found this awesome article:

Konjac sponges have been taking the world by storm, the skincare world that is. These increasingly popular, but definitely rather strange looking sponges, aren’t the type of sponge you’d imagine, but they are actually made out of a porous root vegetable.

The sponge itself is the Japanese konyaku root, which explains why it has been all the rage in Japan for quite some time now. It’s not only rather tasty and nutritious, it’s great for your skin.

While it may not rotate, oscillate, or vibrate, it does promise more radiant, beautiful skin, simply by washing your face. It can be paired with your favorite cleanser, and acts as a gentle exfoliator to help buff dry and dead skin away, revealing a softer, smoother and more radiant complexion. You might think of it as a kind of loofah, only it works a whole lot better than that. Plus, there’s no need to worry about chemicals or other potentially harmful toxins, as it’s 100% natural too.

The konjac sponge is also rich in vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, and E, as well as proteins, lipids, fatty acids and minerals like copper, zinc, iron and magnesium. As it’s a naturally alkaline plant with a neutral pH, that means that it can help balance the skin, and it won’t damage the epidermis either.

So why exactly do you need a konjac sponge? There are quite a few reasons that you really don’t want to live without it, including these:

1. The konjac sponge is also rich in vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, and E, as well as proteins, lipids, fatty acids and minerals like copper, zinc, iron and magnesium. As it’s a naturally alkaline plant with a neutral pH, that means that it can help balance the skin, and it won’t damage the epidermis either.

2. Anyone with acne or clogged pores can benefit from the konjac sponge, because its fibers help to unclog pores that are plugged up in a way that a washcloth or your hands simply cannot. As it’s an antibacterial, it helps to kill acne-causing bacteria as well as deep clean the skin’s pores to eliminate dirt, blackheads, and oil. When the pores become clogged with dead skin cells and other impurities, oils from the skin tend to get trapped beneath the surface, causing pimples and blackheads.

3. As a konjac sponge works as an exfoliator, as mentioned, using it will make your skin more radiant. Using anything on the skin that exfoliates is known to give the complexion a more “glowing” look, and the more often you use it, the more pronounced those effects will be. Regular use will likely result in skin that’s as smooth and silky as a baby’s bottom!

4. The konjac sponge can help your makeup stay on longer and look better too. That’s because it helps to remove flaky skin that can interfere with application and as it also helps to moisturize the skin, the face is more responsive to other skincare products that are used as well, creating the ideal canvas for your cosmetic art.When you’re ready to remove your makeup, the konjac sponge is great for that too, as it’s able to remove even the most stubborn traces of makeup. Used with soap (or a homemade cleanser) and water, it will remove more makeup than washing with your hands alone. You can even run one around your eyes so that your mascara comes off easier and faster.

5. The konjac sponge is great for those with sun-damaged skin as it helps to gently slough off the dull, dry flakes that typically come along with it. If you frequently wear an SPF sunscreen, daily or almost every day, using the sponge can help to remove stubborn, water-resistant sunscreen that usually won’t come off with soap or other traditional cleansers.

6. The konjac sponge is not only ideal for adults with sensitive skin because it won’t damage skin cells, but it’s perfect for baby’s sensitive skin too. The sponges are soft, palm-sized and are the ultimate product for baby’s bath time. Use it to massage the skin gently, working in circular motions.

So there you have it, a great detailed article on the konjac sponge and here’s how to actually use it:

  1. When you first get the konjac sponge, it’s going to be dry and hard, like a traditional sponge. Simply wet it under warm water, getting it completely saturated, until it’s soft all the way through.
  2. Once it’s totally soft, rinse and soak it again, using warm water, until it’s completely expanded. It may take as long as 20 minutes. Soaking it with warm (or hot) water helps to make its texture softer.
  3. To cleanse with it, gently massage your face with the sponge, beginning at the center, and extending outwards, moving in an upward direction. You can use it on its own, with soap, or with a cleanser. Avoid harsh scrubbing, particularly on acne areas, or places where you tend to break out, and around the eye area.
  4. After you’re finished using it, rinse the sponge with clean water, and using clean hands, press it gently between your palms to help drain the water out. Avoiding twisting it or pressing it too hard, because it could result in a damaged sponge. After rinsing well, allow the sponge to air dry.

Repost: Natural living ideas

Irish Moss for Hair, Skin and Body

This posting is from 9/14/2014. Please scroll down for updated information. TY!

INCI: Chondrus Crispus or Carrageen – Irish Moss belongs to the red algae family of seaweed. What’s awesome about it is that its a natural thickener and emollient.

It is thought to help repair skin, is a demulcent and is thought to have antiviral/antibacterial properties. Its also full of minerals (like Sulfur, Manganese, Iron, Bromine, Selenium, Zinc, etc) and mucilage. Its also high in iodine.

Whipped Irish moss can get so thick, it can replace gelatin (hydrolyzed collagen) in your regular recipes. It can also be used to create a hair gel.

Internally, Irish moss is used to help the upper respiratory system, to help clear out mucous, for bronchitis, sore throat, and other issues.

TIP from mountainroseherbs.com: Don’t ingest (internally) Irish Moss on a daily basis for more than 2 weeks at a time. Its full of iodine which could cause a potential imbalance in thyroid function. There does not appear to be a limit on how often you can use it externally.

Irish Moss is best processed by soaking it in water. After washing/rinsing it, sit it in distilled or purified water overnight in the fridge.

The water (tea), can be used as an ingredient in some of your homemade concoctions. Make sure you add some type of essential or fragrance oil because it will smell like seaweed.

After soaking, whatever amount you used will at least double in size. Take the actual herb (the actual seaweed) and put it in a blender to get it as smooth as possible. Let that gel sit (I put mine in the fridge) and it will get super super super thick like gelatin.

That final Irish Moss gel can be used as one of the base ingredients for almost anything you want to make.

Add oils and fragrance to make a gel. Add it as part of your water phase when making a conditioner. Add it to your already existing homemade honey hair gel to thicken it up.

And yes, you can use it on your skin as well. According to reports, it helps to retain moisture and helps support healthy skin. It aids in calming rashes, eczema and psoriasis. Add it to your homemade lotions, or store bought lotions to give it a kick.

HOW TO TELL GOOD SEA MOSS FROM NOT SO GOOD:

 

There are a few things you should know when looking to purchase real sea moss. Some producers of sea moss grow sea moss in salt pools which changes its composition drastically.

Producers of sea moss also grow it in sea moss farms in the ocean. This doesn’t change its composition as drastically, but it still is not grown under totally normal conditions.

Natural sea moss is thinner and has less salt than the processed pool sea moss. You can see difference in size and color in the picture above.

It is better to buy wildcrafted sea moss, it is naturally grown and harvested in an eco-friendly way. Wildcrafting sea moss means harvested directly from its natural habitat, therefore it bypasses human intervention.

Ideally, harvesters only take parts of the sea moss plant, so the plant can regrow and support its ecosystem.

Wildcrafted sea moss is a better option than “organic” sea moss. You can grow organic sea moss in salt pools, so organic doesn’t necessarily make it better.

In comparison to pool made sea moss, wildcrafted sea moss retains its natural color and will be thinner and less salty than pool made sea moss.

Pool Grown Processed Sea Moss

Dr. Sebi spoke about how growing sea moss in brine pools. He said it changes the composition of the sea moss and negatively affects it nutrient content.

Producers take sea moss from the ocean and grow it in pool farms. The farms try to replicate the properties of the ocean by supplying constant back and forth motion of the ocean, but they can’t totally replicate all of he ocean’s properties.

Sea moss develops in a specific way through its interaction with all the properties of the ocean it grows in.

The environment includes the nutrients the sea moss absorbs from the rocks it grows on, air, sunshine, the amount of salt and other nutrients in the water, the movement of the water, and other natural factors.

Producers grown sea moss successfully in pools filled with very salty moving water, but the environment doesn’t totally replicate its natural environment.

This results in the sea moss growing very quickly. It also grows to nearly three times the thickness of naturally grown or wildcrafted sea moss.

Pool grown salt also contains much more salt on it, and is less nutrient dense.

The nutrient makeup of the pool grown sea moss doesn’t turn out to be the same as wildcrafted sea moss, and it develops with much more mucilage than the wildcrafted sea moss.

Sea Moss Grown In Ocean Farms

Sea moss producers also grow sea moss in sea farms to make harvesting easier. Though the sea moss grows in the ocean it doesn’t grow in exactly the same way as wildcrafted sea moss does because it grows from ropes instead of rocks.

The sea farmed sea moss does grow to more closely resemble the wildcrafted sea moss, but in composition it isn’t the same.

Wildcrafted sea moss offers nutrients in the ratio nature intended, and therefore has more chemical affinity within the body.

Comparison Between Wild Crafted Sea Moss And Pool Grown Sea Moss

Many people break down the sea moss by boiling it to make it a gel. This breaks down the cell walls and allows more of the nutrients to become bioavailable, or digestible by the body.

I use a high speed blender to blend the sea moss which achieves the same thing. This comparison uses 56 grams of dry wildcrafted and pool made sea moss, which is then soaked and blended.

The pool grown sea moss is much denser and takes up less volume than the wildcrafted sea moss. The pool grown sea moss contains much more salt from being grown in brine water, and it is much lighter.

It is lighter because of the way it is grown, and because the popular practice of drying sea moss in the sun to remove its color is often applied.

Some people use a 1 to 1 ratio, which results is in thick gelatin like substance when refrigerated. It is used as a thickening agent.

I add sea moss to my vegetable juices and fruit smoothies, but I also like to drink it by itself and need to use more water to keep it as a gel water instead of a gelatin substance.

Sea Moss – Irish Moss Benefits

Sea moss is a nutrient dense seaweed and excellent source of minerals. It contains bromine, calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.

The mucilage properties of sea moss is excellent in strengthening connective tissues and supporting joint health. Its mucilage properties also help to sooth the mucous membrane throughout the body, and supports skin health.

Sources:

1. http://www.naturallifeenergy.com/buying-real-sea-moss-irish-moss-knowing-the-difference/
2. The Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Algae-Derived Lipid Extracts on Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-Stimulated Human THP-1 Macrophages.
3. Neuroprotective effects of the cultivated Chondrus crispus
4. Chlorophyta and Rhodophyta macroalgae: a source of health promoting phytochemicals.

Advocacy Group Believes Trump Administration Is Hiding Connection to Private Prisons, Sues for Access

WASHINGTON (AP) — An advocacy group is suing the Justice Department for not turning over records sought under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The group says the records could shed light on the Trump administration’s dealings with private prison companies in forming new policies on incarceration.

The Democracy Forward Foundation, partly funded by Democratic party donors, wants to know whether the administration’s plans on prison reform may be influenced by donations and lobbying by private prison firms. Since March 2017, Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, has led White House efforts to develop criminal justice policy, including changes to the prison system

President Barack Obama’s administration had lessened the government’s reliance on private prisons, but a February 2017 memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned of a growing prison population.

Source: Atlanta Black Star

All About Avocado

Avocado is a very recent discovery in skin treatment and remedies, and so far it has had outstanding results. Avocado oil is made from the pulp of the avocado fruit. It is rich and heavy but penetrates the skin for a nutritive and therapeutic experience. Avocado oil contains more than 20% essential unsaturated fatty acids as well as vitamins A, C, D and E, proteins, beta-carotene, lecithin, fatty acids and the “youth mineral” potassium. Avocado oil is high in unsaponifiables (sterolins), which are famous for being beneficial in reducing age spots, healing scars and moisturizing the upper layers of the skin. Unsaponifiables are a group of compounds called plant sterolins. Sterolins soften the skin, having an amazing moisturizing effect on the upper layer of the skin and reducing scars. The sterolins in avocado oil have been found to diminish age spots. Oils with the highest unsaponifiables are shea butter, avocado oil, sesame oil, soybean and olive oil.

In a 1991 study at the Department of Food Engineering and Biotechnology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology found that skin treatment with avocado oil significantly increases water soluble collagen content in the dermis, which effects the aging of the skin. Avocado is used in many folk medicines as an aphrodisiac. Avocado oil is an emollient and very stable. According to many dermatologists avocado does help make the skin feel softer and smoother, reduce roughness, cracking and irritation. Avocado also removes the fine wrinkles of aging and help protect the skin from ultraviolet rays.

How to make an “Avocado Face Mask”

Things You’ll Need:
1/2 medium ripe avocado, 1 tbsp. all natural honey, 1 tbsp. all natural yogurt, 1 cucumber
Mash the avocado with a fork until creamy. Avocados naturally contain a deep penetrating vegetable oil that is perfect for dry skin. Maybe the most important element of avocado is that it is a good source of potassium, which is known as the youth mineral, so whether you are eating avocados or making a face mask, they can help your skin maintain its healthy and beautiful glow.
Add 1 tbsp. of all natural honey to the avocado mash. Honey has a germ killing ability and helps to reduce swelling and inflammation making your skin tight and reduces wrinkles.
Add 1 tbsp natural yogurt. Yogurt is a natural and gentle cleanser and is used in many skin care products. Yogurt also helps to tighten the skin.
Wash your face gently with warm water and pat dry. Apply a thin layer of the avocado face mask to your face and neck and allow to set for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water a few times to remove all residue.
Added Benefit: Place 2 slices of cucumbers over your eyes. Cucumber acts as a natural astringent and is a perfect addition to the avocado mask. It also hydrates the eyes and helps to reduce circles underneath the eyes.

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9 Clever Ways To Naturally Clear Arteries

Improving your cardiovascular health by clearing plaque build up from arteries is a sure-fire way to decrease your risk of serious heart disease or stroke. While there are surgeries and medications available that might do the trick, most of them come with some form of side-effect which can make you feel sick or weak for years of your life. For those who would rather use natural alternatives to improve their heart health, here are some tips to point you in the right direction.

1. Avoid Processed Fats

The idea that fat substitutes and heat-treated, chemically-processed oils are somehow better for you than good old-fashioned natural butter is a myth. The trans fats contained in purported “heart-healthy” foods like margarine, canola, soybean, and corn oils are actually worse than saturated fats. Not only do they increase LDL cholesterol, they also cause your other organs to malfunction, producing mutated hormones, build-up of toxins, inflammation, weight-gain, and even cancer.

2. Healthy Fats to Unclog Arteries

Probably the most well-known of all healthy fats are the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Of these, cod liver oil is considered the best due to its high concentration of vitamin D3. Other vitamin-rich oils include avocado, olive, almond, flaxseed, and palm oils.

Coconut oil is the “super-food” of healthy fats and is rapidly gaining popularity for its long list of health benefits. Though it is a saturated fat, coconut oil is comprised mainly of lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride which naturally helps to lubricate arteries when eaten daily. If you’re still leery about the idea that “butter is actually good for you,” you should give coconut oil a try instead.

3. Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins B6, B12, and C have been linked to cardiovascular health. Adequate quantities of these nutrients keep arterial walls flexible and help to prevent damage that can lead to plaque and blood clots. Vitamin B6 is easily obtained from many of the meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables we consume. Good sources of B12 also include many meats, as well as dairy products, eggs, and some fortified vegetable sources like bran and tofu. Get your daily dose of vitamin C from any of these delicious fruits and vegetables.

4. Get More Sleep

If you aren’t getting the recommended 8 hours of rest every night, chances are pretty good that you have high blood-pressure, are over-weight, or both. This is because your brain and body perform most of their maintenance while you’re unconscious at night. If you want to reduce plaque build-up and damage to your arteries, getting more sleep is a big step in the right direction.

5. Unwind With Meditation

Take half an hour at the end of your day to relax and meditate. This will help you to reduce stress which can naturally lower your blood pressure and help you to get a good night’s sleep. Lower blood pressure relieves stress on arterial walls and allows your blood to flow more easily. Better circulation facilitates better oxygen- and nutrient-supply to your brain and muscles. Your body will be able to heal existing damage more easily and you’ll be less likely to develop problems in the future if you can keep your stress-levels low.

6. Gradually Stop Smoking

By far the most difficult advice on this list, kicking a smoking habit will benefit every part of your body. The chemicals in tobacco smoke cause damage to blood cells and arteries. Constant bombardment of the stimulant, nicotine also causes rapid fluctuations in blood-pressure which puts stress on the arterial walls. While it is certainly easier said than done, finding a way to kick the smoking habit will help to heal and clear your arteries.

7. Exercise for Your Heart

Weight loss is good for your all-around health, but it is also a great way to prevent and clear clogged arteries. Make an honest effort to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, even if it’s just to jog a couple of blocks or power-walk around the office building on your lunch break. Some other examples of workouts which you can easily sneak into a busy schedule include running in place for five minutes, indulging in a random bout of jumping jacks behind your desk, doing a few sets of chair squats, or getting up and dancing to a favorite song. Swimming is another great way to exercise, especially if you have sore joints that prevent high-impact activities like running. Also, check out these 10 Exercises to do at Your Desk.

8. Minimize Alcohol Consumption

If you drink more than one or two servings of alcohol per day, you may be hindering your bodies ability to heal itself and keep arteries clear of dangerous obstructions. Try to minimize your intake of beer and liquor. Instead, enjoy a glass of red wine which contains heart-healthy antioxidants that may help to protect against damage to arterial walls, reduce LDL cholesterol, and prevent the formation of blood clots.

9. Foods that Unclog Arteries

Whole grains and other foods containing soluble fiber have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and improve heart health. Also, dark leafy greens contain antioxidants which can help your body to repair and prevent damage to arterial walls caused by oxidation in the blood stream. 

An Enslaved Man Took Over a Confederate Ship and Led Dozens to Freedom

Robert Smalls (April 5, 1939 – Feb. 23, 1915)

  1. His mother had him sent to the fields to work and see enslaved Africans at the whipping post so Smalls, who was the favored enslaved child, would understand the institution’s horrors.
  2. The result was Smalls became defiant and he frequently wound up in the Beaufort, S.C. jail.
  3. Smalls had been planning to escape to freedom and assembled a crew to help him do it. He spent years during his time in the Confederate Navy learning signals and mine locations.
  4. During the Civil War, the enslaved man commandeered an armed Confederate ship when the white masters went away for drinks.
  5. He delivered a dozen enslaved people and their families to freedom, steering the ship from Confederate waters to the Union side.
  6. He reportedly waved cheerfully to the soldiers at Fort Sumter and was prepared to open fire on any suspicious ship, giving them the signal he saw the captain use before.
  7. Smalls was lauded as a hero in the north and lobbied the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to begin enlisting Black soldiers. By the time Abraham Lincoln acted, Smalls is reported to have personally recruited 5,000 soldiers.
  8. After the war, Smalls joined the South Carolina state assembly and Senate and served five nonconsecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  9. “My race needs no special defense for the past history of them and this country,” said Smalls, who died of malaria and diabetes in the house behind which he was born a slave. “It proves them to be equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life.”
  10. Smalls has several monuments and markers in his memory, including a Pittsburg fort named Fort Robert Smalls that was built by free Blacks during the Civil War and a statue in Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

SOURCE: Atlanta Black Star- http://atlantablackstar.com/2018/02/16/robert-smalls-enslaved-man-took-confederate-ship-led-dozens-freedom/

Honey & It’s Amazing properties!

HONEY: Honey is a humectant (which means that it helps to retain moisture) and an emollient (meaning that it softens and smoothes), which “naturally” makes it a great conditioner and moisturizer. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, so using it in your hair care routine can leave your tresses looking shinier, feeling softer, and in an overall more healthy condition. Honey also softens as well as lightens your tresses, giving it a shiny appearance. EGGS: Hair treatments that involve the usage of egg yolks have been around for decades and are designed to help in hair strengthening. Apart from increasing the strength of the hair, such treatments also help with hair silkiness and softness. Egg Yolks are also great for their conditioning and moisturizing properties. TEA TREE: If you’re plagued by a dry, itchy scalp, tree oil may be your remedy of choice. I use it religiously. When it comes to common scalp problems like hair loss, dry skin, dandruff and head lice, tea tree oil may be an effective natural alternative to harsh chemicals. In shampoo form, it may be effective in reducing dandruff, unclogging hair follicles and clearing up bacterial and fungal infections. 

NOTE: It’s been known to cause allergic reactions ranging from mild irritation to severe redness, itching and blistering. Tea tree oil may also worsen skin conditions like eczema
Keep in mind that you should only use tea tree oil topically — it’s not meant to be swallowed and may be toxic if ingested.

Things to add to your honey:

Mayonnaise: The fats and oils from the mayonnaise enter the follicles of your hair more readily if the mayonnaise is warm, do let set out for about 1/2 hour before applying to hair. When your hair is heated the follicles open, allowing the conditioner to enter the strands, so warm hair by shampooing, or sit under warm dryer before applying. For extremely dry and damaged hair, you can leave the mayonnaise on over night. A mayonnaise treatment will restore moisture and vitality to your strands, leaving your hair very moisturized and supple. This helps to avoid protein overload. In addition add Yogurt: Coconut Water: Avocado: which will help in even deeper moisturization to your hair strands. 
Happy Hair!

Crocheting A Slouchy Hat

My first slouch hat for 2017 for my grand baby who is going away for college in a week. She got a pair of Ugg’s in this pretty purple, but can’t find anything to go with it, so here’s an easy tutorial for you to crochet along with me. It’s quick but pretty and next we’ll do the cowl or to go along. If you can single crochet and crochet in the round, you’ve already got this tutorial pretty much nailed. If not, there’s a million tutorials from YouTube that you can grab a quick tutorial on single crochet stitching in the round and jump right back over here to make this hat once you’re comfortable with me. That’s all there is to it, really simple and soon you’ll have a super comfy stretchy slough hat, and the super duper bonus: It can be finished in a day, is very adjustable and only take 1 skein of yarn, so let’s get started. I’ll include a lot of pictures to help you, but I’m sure you won’t be needing to much help with this ridiculous easy hat. See you at the end.

First off I’ve found that using a hook larger than the instructions on the packaging will give you more of a slouchy look, especially with a single crochet stitch, so

Let’s start: Here’s what you’ll need:

Crochet Needles size H & L

Tapestry needle to weave in ends

Scissors

We’ll also be marking the beginning of each round. The hat is worked in continuous rounds, do not join at the end of each round.

Mark the beginning of each round. When the pattern states to make “2 sc in each stitch”, this means that you will place 2 single crochet stitches into the one stitch. This is called an increase. If you want the base of the hat to fit differently, for example to be smaller or larger, you can use either a smaller or larger hook than the Size H when it comes to that point in the pattern. The Size H will create a hat that is one size fits most. The Size L hat gives you a slightly larger and more slouchy hat.

Starting with the H hook

Ch 2

Round 1- 6 sc into second ch from hook (pull tail to tighten)

Round 2- 2 sc in each stitch around (12 stitches)

Round 3 *1 sc in next stitch, 2 sc in next stitch. Repeat from * around. (18 stitches)

Round 4 *1 sc in next two stitches, 2 sc in next stitch. Repeat from * around. (24 stitches)

Round 5 *1 sc in next three stitches, 2 sc in next stitch. Repeat from * around. (30 stitches)Round 6 *1 sc in next 4 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch. Repeat from * around. (36 stitches)Round 7 *1 sc in next 5 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch. Repeat from * around. (42 stitches)Round 8 *1 sc in next 6 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch. Repeat from * around. (48 stitches)Round 9 * 1 sc in next 7 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch. Repeat from * around. (54 stitches)Round 10 Sc in each stitch aroundRepeat round 10, working in continuous rounds (you don’t need to join or chain at the end of rounds) until hat measures approximately 10″ inches from top of hat, to bottom of hat when laying flat.Once your hat measures approximately 10″ inches from top to bottom, change hooks and begin using your Size H 5.0 mm hook.With your size H hook, repeat round 10, working in continuous rounds for approximately 1.5″ inches. Once you’ve made 1.5″ inches of rounds with your size H hook, skip one stitch and tie off. By skipping a stitch, rather than tying off in the next stitch, you will avoid making a small step or bump. Weave in ends.