Posted by: mamas2hands | May 16, 2015

How Fast They Grow Up.

Puppies made from Washcloths

Puppies made from Washcloths

Today I took a lengthy drive down the mountain to attend a baby shower. This was a very special event because this is my friend Terie’s oldest daughter’s first baby. I met Terie when she was expecting her second daughter, Meghan, and her oldest daughter, Amanda, was a tiny toddler.

Amanda, Meghan and J in May 2006.

Amanda, Meghan and J in May 2006.

I’ve watched these girls grow up over the years and it seems almost impossible that they are both adults with busy lives of their own now. Amanda was married just a few years ago, so I knew that a baby would very likely be in the near future.

Of course, babies and crochet go hand and hand for me. 2015 has been such a busy year for my crochet design and teaching work that I decided I would make a couple of hats for this new baby instead of my usual blanket. Turns out that was a good decision because Amanda got lots of blankets for the new arrival and a couple of them were even crocheted.

3 generations of Mothers

The one I liked the best, was crocheted by Terie’s mom for her new great-grandbaby. A lovely oversized granny-square blanket in blues and browns. This was accompanied by a couple of books that made Amanda and Terie get teary-eyed. Turned out they were books that Amanda’s Grandma had read to her when she was tiny.

My gift was a couple of crocheted beanies, one in a cotton/acrylic blend and the other in 100% cotton. Unfortunately with all the rushing around this week, I didn’t get a photo of the finished hats. In fact I was finishing the 2nd hat during the shower, which kept me from being tearful during the festivities.

CottonTots Yarn

For the second crocheted beanie I used my standard hat pattern adjusting it to fit a baby’s head. I wanted it to be comfortable for summer-time wear as this baby is due the end of next month. I choose to use some Bernat’s CottonTots I had in my stash, 100% cotton and machine washable. Sadly this yarn is discontinued, but I still have quite a bit in my stash.

book for the baby

I also got the new baby a Sandra Boynton book “Barnyard Dance” that was my boys’ favorite when they were tiny. The photo above is of our very well loved copy. It is one of many things that are going into my box of items that will come out again someday in the distant future when I become a grandmother.

So my dear readers, what are your favorite baby gifts to make?

Posted by: mamas2hands | May 10, 2015

Life is Better with Chocolate

Chocs from Truffles in Paradise

I love chocolate. I also love my family. So I was very excited when I found out that the Colorado Chocolate Festival was happening Mother’s Day Weekend.  I contacted my dear friend Terie and told her we had to go.

My boys overheard that conversation and made it known that they wanted to come too. So we have all been very excited this week waiting for Saturday to arrive. The Festival actually started on Friday, but I figured I only really needed to spend one day at a Chocolate Festival. Especially since my treadmill conked out on me Wednesday.

We woke up yesterday morning to icky weather. Snowy and nasty up here on the mountain. Terie sent me a message asking if we were still a “go” for Chocolate. Normally I would have punked out with weather like that, but hey, we are talking about Chocolate here. We did decide to meet a little later than originally planned.

Herded the boys out the door and we were on the way. The top of the mountain wasn’t the nicest drive, but half way down the roads were just wet. We made a stop to grab an early lunch, since eating lots of chocolate samples on an empty stomach didn’t sound like a good plan.

Finally we made it to the Denver Merchandise Mart building where the Festival was being held. Saturday was clearly the day everyone had decided to be there. The parking lot was very full, and we ended up parking some distance from the entrance. All to the good though as it allowed me to get a few extra steps in. There was a small fee at the door for entry and then we purchased “sampler” tickets. These tickets allowed you to obtain samples from the various vendors.

I had purchased 24 sampler tickets and split them among my family. Himself is not quite as wild for chocolate as the boys and I. So he took 3 tickets while the boys and I each had 7. We also got 2 complimentary tickets for a dip in the Chocolate fountain that the boys laid claim to. As they were waiting in line for the fountain I went in search of Terie.

Terie and I

Terie and I

Amazingly, even with the crowd and the size of the venue, I found her fairly quickly. She finished making her purchase and we went back to say “hi” to my boys. When we got back to them the boys were finishing their chocolate dipped marshmallows (I was exceedingly grateful I had fed them “real” food first). My youngest was a bit enthusiastic with his enjoyment and had chocolate all over his face.

While searching for Terie I had found there was an activity area for the kiddos.  We headed that direction with the boys before Terie and I resumed our chocolate quest. There was a bouncy castle for the littles, plus an inflatable obstacle course and these big inflatable balls called “Hamster Balls”. Those were too tempting for the boys and they needed to try them. I got tickets for the boys and then Terie and I headed off to explore the chocolate options while the boys waited for their turn to be hamsters.

My purchases from the Festival

My purchases from the Festival

This was a very well attended event and the crowds made it nearly impossible to get much in the way of good photos, but I did get a couple. There were booths selling various other items beside chocolate as Gifts for Mother’s Day.  There were temptations at every turn, but I did manage to behave myself somewhat.

Jenny at Sheaberry

Jenny at Sheaberry

I couldn’t resist trying the testers at the Sheaberry booth. They had lovely lotion bars and lip balms.

My Sheaberry purchases

My Sheaberry purchases

In keeping with the spirit of the Festival the lipbalms were Chocolate Buttercream. They have a lovely chocolaty scent to them, but no chocolate flavor. I got a couple of them and added one of their Solid Lotion Bars in Lavender to my purchases.

Treats for the Dogs

There were even booths with goodies for the furry four-legged members of the family alongside treats for the humans. Terie and I stopped at one booth that had sold out of all her brownies for people, but she still had a few bags of canine cookies. I had to purchase a bag of them for my dogs.

There were lots of chocolate companies there, but I was excited about the discovering some Colorado Chocolate companies that I didn’t know about. Both of these are small companies with a specialist chocolatiers hand making all the delicious goodies.

The Lovely Marisa

Marisa of Truffles in Paradise from Longmont, Colorado. She had a beautiful booth presentation, and divine chocolates. I loved her gorgeous little sample sized chocolates so much that I decided to splurge on a little Mother’s Day gift for myself.

Open Box of Truffles

This little box of 4 truffles was perfect. Though I am really trying to pace myself on eating the chocolates I got from the Festival, these little hearts have been tempting me all day. If you want to acquire some of Marisa’s goodies for yourself you can visit her website at: TrufflesinParadise.com.

Kim at Toute Douceur

Kim of Toute Douceur from Conifer, Colorado. I did a terrible job taking this photo, with such a busy booth I had to take it quickly when there was no one standing in front of her company sign. Kim was quickly selling out of her delicious chocolates. I fell in love with her Chocolate Ganache truffle. “Toute Douceur” is old world French for ‘All Sweetness’ and Kim has aptly named her business.

Dark Chocolate Expresso truffles from Toute Douceur

Dark Chocolate Expresso truffles from Toute Douceur

When I went back by her booth to purchase some chocolates to take home with me she had sold out of the Ganache. Instead I purchased a couple of the Dark Chocolate Expresso truffles. These should be perfect this week when I need an afternoon pick-me-up. You can find Kim’s website at: www.toutedoucercustomsweets.com.

It was wonderful meeting these chocolatiers, and hearing a little of their adventures with chocolate. I’m inspired to learn more about Chocolate and how these delicious confections that I adore are created. Watch for a few more blog posts about chocolate the next couple of months.

Posted by: mamas2hands | May 6, 2015

The Next Best Thing to a Hug

Eleonora Shawlette

Eleonora Shawlette

Sometimes we can’t be with those we love, but we can send our love to them. My favorite way of sending a package of love is in the form of a crocheted goodie. Usually it’s a shawl. They are marvelously useful and the closest to a warm hug that I can give when I can’t actually put my arms around a loved one.

Back View sample

My Eleonora Shawlette is a quick wrap project to crochet up. The shawlette size is made using just one ball of Berroco Boboli Lace yarn, but you can make it larger by using more yarn. The simple stitch pattern is easy to catch on to and makes a snuggly drapey fabric.

Eleonora Shawl

The pattern comes with instructions and charts for both the body of the shawlette and the lovely lace border. You can find the pattern in my Ravelry shop here.

I also wanted to share some links to wonderful shawl patterns that are available free from the blogs of my crochet designer friends. These lovely designs are available as free patterns because these designers have ads on their websites to help them make ends meet. I hope you enjoy checking out what they have available.

Branching-Out-Shawlette-1

Branching-Out-Shawlette-front

Tamara Kelly’s “Branching Out Shawlette” This is a terrific shawlette pattern that is interesting for experienced crocheters, yet simple enough that intrepid beginners can tackle it. If you want something different take a look at the other wrap patterns that Tamara has on offer at “Mooglyblog.com”.

 

16586498017_ec5142b21d

Jessie Rayot’s “Juliette Shawl“. I think this design is so clever. I love that it is actually a sort of “poncho” that won’t go slipping off your shoulders and getting lost.  Jessie made her sample in a variety of lovely colors. If this particular shawl doesn’t catch your fancy, take a cruise around her blog “JessieAtHome.com” where she has lots of other lovely shawls and fun designs.

 

butterfly-fling

Kim Guzman’s “Butterfly Fling Wrap“. This beautiful wrap is an intermediate pattern and with the open stitch pattern is a perfect layer for warmer weather. I can totally see wearing this all scrunched up around my neck in the Fall and winter season as well, especially if made with an animal fiber blend like wool/silk. If this pattern isn’t quite the one for you, don’t worry, Kim has got loads of other beautiful wraps as well as garments to share with visitors to her blog, “CrochetKim.com”.

I hope everyone finds a shawl that is just right for making a “hug” for their loved ones.  It may be too late this year to make a shawl for mother’s day, but you can put it on your “To-Do list” for next year. I’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day this year with my boys at the Colorado Chocolate Festival on Saturday. I’ll have lots of photos and news about that for you this weekend.

Posted by: mamas2hands | May 2, 2015

Round and Round with Color

Hot Spot Square copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves

Hot Spot Square
copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves

Last weekend I posted my Hot Spot Square pattern and I promised you some further fun with that pattern this weekend.

First a little history lesson. Many of those that have been crocheting for a long time may already know about crochet and motifs, but some of you might not.

A lot of crochet blanket projects that use motifs originally developed as a way to use up the left-over bits and bobs of yarn from other projects or from worn out clothing that had been unraveled, somewhat like the history of crazy quilts. Little bits of yarn would be wound up into small balls and stored for later use.

Some crocheters would work up parts of motifs when a little time could be found. The odds and ends of yarn would be sorted thru and the smallest ones selected to become centers of the motifs. Then more rounds would be added to these until squares of the desired size were completed. Those squares would be sewn together to make blankets.

In the late 60s and thru the 70s the Granny Square became very popular as the building block for all sorts of items; clothing as well as home décor. Color choices would sometimes still be somewhat random for the center of the squares, but often the final rounds of the squares would be a unifying color.

Over the years, the motif was modified and now you can find lots of wonderful books of crochet motif patterns. Some of those patterns are close to the traditional granny square with 3 double crochet shells separated by chain-1 spaces. Some are very far removed from that humble beginning.

Flwr and Grphc together2

My little Hot Spot Square is a nod to the Granny Square in that it is worked in concentric rounds and you can change colors at any point to give a completely different look to the square. I’ve also added a twist by having the circle-to-square thing happening.

Flower Solo

The Floating Flower

For this look you’ll need 3 colors of yarn.

Color 1 for flower’s center: Approximately 2 yards for Rounds 1-2. (Sample shown uses Lion Brand “Heartland” yarn in color #125 Mammoth Cave)

Color 2 for your flower’s petals: Approximately 3.5 yards for Round 3. (Sample shown uses Lion Brand “Heartland” yarn in color #103 Denali)

Color 3 for Square border: Approximately  9.5 yards for Rounds 4 and 5 (I usually pick a color in the green range since I consider these rounds to be the “leaves” of my flower). (Sample shown uses Lion Brand “Heartland” yarn in color #174 Joshua Tree)

If you use the same color in all your squares for Rounds 4 & 5, the effect once joined, will be that of flowers floating on the background. You can use up all your bits and bobs of left-over yarn from other projects for the flowers, then use a single color for the background. You’ll be surprised at how lovely your project will come out despite it’s rag-tag beginning.

Graphic Solo

The Graphic Circle

For this look you’ll need 3 colors again, make sure that your 1st and 3rd color contrast strongly with the 2nd color for the boldest look.

Color 1 for the center circle: Approximately 6.5 yards for Rounds 1-3. (Sample shown uses Lion Brand “Heartland” yarn in color #103 Denali)

Color 2 for the graphic border surrounding the circle: Approximately  3.5 yards for Round 4. (Sample shown uses Lion Brand “Heartland” yarn in color #153 Black Canyon)

Color 3 for the contrasting square border: Approximately 6 yards for Round 5. (Sample shown uses Lion Brand “Heartland” yarn in color #150 Mount Rainier)

This square will also work well with a single color for the square border and that border can be used for a continuous join-as-you-go for all your “spots”.  I prefer to use a method like that for joining all my motifs, rather than sewing them together. I’ll have more about that next month.

Another option for joining your squares is to crochet them together.

The Zipper Join

This join uses a single crochet to join the squares together. You work a single crochet in one square, then in the other square that you are joining. You repeat alternating which square you work into. You can chose to skip stitches to allow the seam to lay flat, or can work in every stitch to get a raised decorative ridge. Either one of these methods are usually worked on the Right Side of your project as they tend to be a design feature.

The Slip Stitch Join

This join is usually worked on the Wrong Side of your project.  Slip stitches used for joining need to be a bit loosier than what you would use to join rounds in your motifs. You may need to go up a couple of sizes in your hook if your slip stitch tension tends to be tight.

Hold your 2 squares you are joining Right Sides facing, then bring your hook thru the edge stitches using the back loop of the first square and front loop of the second square. Work this way across the side of the squares until reaching the end. Generally you want to work one slip stitching into the corner chain spaces.

With either of the crochet joins you can create a full strip by carefully matching your squares stitches in one direction then skipping over or working around those seams when you go in the opposite direction.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 26, 2015

The Annetta Square Re-visited

I’m a designer. Which means I am always fiddling with design ideas. A few weeks ago I posted a pattern for a little square motif that I created rather quickly one evening at a party.

My 2 squares today

I’ve been re-thinking that design since then. There were a few things I wasn’t completely satisfied with. I liked the openness of the round center, but the center circles in the original inspiration photo were a bit more solid and there was a hint of texture. My pattern was also making the center more hexagonal than circular.

5 Rnds of Annetta Sq

The round of stitches that I used to go from circle to square, were not squaring up as nicely as I wanted. Once the final round of single crochets were added it was fairly square but, being the recovering perfectionist I am, I knew I could make them better. Plus I had an idea in mind of a join-as-you go approach for the center circles using the squaring round. More about that later though.

This part of design work requires a lot of tearing out at times. I made 5 different attempts before I was happy with this approach. I hope you will like it too.

Hot Spot Square copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves

Hot Spot Square
copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves

 

With this design the center circle is a little bit bigger and it can be stiffer. So you may want to try a few using different sized hooks with your yarn of choice to get the amount of movement and drape you want in your fabric. I’ve noticed that the fabric with the smaller hook will be especially stiffer with 100% acrylic yarns, you may want to go up as large as a size L (8mm) hook with those yarns.

Hot Spot Square (Annetta Square #2)

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

Approximately 3.75” square

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted wt (Sample uses Lion Brand Heartland)

Yardage amounts allow for 6 inch beginning and ending tails

Center Circle (Rnds 1-4): 10 yards

Squaring Rnd (Rnd 5): 6 yards

Hook

K / 6.5mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Gauge:

First 4 rounds of pattern = 3.25” in diameter

Special Stitches:

3 double crochet cluster st (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining 3 loops on hook. (If you are having difficulty with the cluster stitches you can find a photo-tutorial on my post: Crochet & Springtime)  

Beginning 3 dc cluster st (Beg Cl): Ch 2, (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining 4 loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

Start square with an adjustable slip knot. Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in same st as join, 2 sc in next 5 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [12 sc]

Rnd 3: Beg Cl in same st as join, (ch 1, Cl in next ch-1 sp) 11 times, ch 1, sl st to top of Beg Cl. [12 ch-1 sp, 12 Cl]

Rnd 4: Ch 1, (3 sc in next ch-1 sp) 12 times, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Change color here to get circle in square look

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc next st,(*hdc next 2 sts, (hdc, dc) next st, (dc, ch 2, dc) next st, (dc, hdc) next st, hdc next 2 sts,* sc next 2 sts) 3 times; Repeat from * to * once, sc next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [8 sc, 24 hdc, 16 dc, 4 ch-2 spcs]

Fasten off. Weave in ends being sure to tighten beginning tail to close center of circle.

Next weekend I’ll show you some fun ways to change the appearance of this square using color changes and a photo tutorial on using a continuous Join-As-You-Go to make a Hot Spot scarf.

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 25, 2015

Art, Crochet and Healing

April is National Stress Awareness Month, so today I thought it appropriate to share a story that I’ve never told on the blog. Last week was the celebration of my youngest son’s 9th birthday. And it got me thinking about how strange my journey to motherhood was. The short version is 8 years, 7 pregnancies and 2 healthy babies.

I had my boys a bit later than is the national average for motherhood in the USA, and quite a bit later in life for the average globally. Some of that delay was planned and some of it was a surprise.

When my husband and I met I was just beginning to attend school to become a medical massage therapist. So we didn’t want to start our family until I graduated. Once I graduated though, we were ready to begin our family.

I got a job with a local massage therapy office and began to work steadily. Just shortly after Christmas that year I discovered I was pregnant, 4 days later I lost the pregnancy. I had worried about being able to get pregnant, I had never considered the option of loosing a pregnancy. I was devastated.

Unfortunately this wasn’t going to be the only time this happened. I had 3 more pregnancies over the next 2 years that didn’t work out. My husband and I went thru tests and looked at various options for fertility treatment. But after a lot of research and discussion we decided that we wouldn’t do anything other than the diagnostic tests we had already done.

Mixed in among this rollercoaster ride of trying to have a baby was my return to crochet. I crocheted a lot as I stayed up late wondering if I would ever be a mother. I crocheted afghans for friends and family for Christmas, birthdays and other holidays, plus miles of scarves for charity. The hours of simple soothing stitches helped ease some of my heartache and gave me space to just be and not have to explain my sorrow to others.

2GoddessTeardrop

When I wasn’t crocheting or working at the massage office, I was in my art studio. At that time I was working a lot with polymer clay.  I was interested in doll making and of course primitive fertility images. I hadn’t reached my “Ah Ha!” moment where I would be adding crochet to my artwork yet. I created a number of images that I made molds for and then played with the plethora of color options available in polymer clay.

Flat ornament Goddesses

In the Spring of 2002 I became an Aunt for the 3rd time. My youngest sister had a baby boy and we were excited to meet him. We went to Kansas for his christening in April and I spent as much time holding this wonderful little fellow as I could. I told my sister I would just be the auntie that spoils her nephew rotten, since it looked like being a mother wasn’t in the cards.

We were leaving late that May for a 6 week-long trip to the United Kingdom and France. Part of the trip was for my husband’s work and the rest was for us to play tourist.  I was taking an indefinite leave-of-absence from the massage office.  I had also begun the lengthy process of filling out paperwork to return to college, I was going to tackle getting my pre-med degree to become a pediatrician. If I couldn’t have kids of my own, I would help take care of other people’s children.

Finally I had the house ready for our sitter and all our pets were with their care-givers. I hopped on a plane and flew to Manchester, England to join my husband. He had been there for over a week already. When I got there I was exhausted. Long flight plus very little sleep as I prepped for the trip. 2 days later I was still exhausted and a little suspicion had begun to niggle me. 5 days into the trip I finally caved in and purchased a test kit from the local pharmacy. Sure enough, I was pregnant.

This time was different though. I was the classic ill in the morning and tenderness in my body. A phone call back to the States to speak to my doctor was a big comfort when she reassured me that the symptoms I was having were all positive signs. We still managed to enjoy our trip, but I was a little worried.

When we returned home one of the first things we did was go to the doctors office for a check-up. The nurse did an ultrasound to determine how far along I really was, since my cycle calendar was a mess with all the traveling. They told me I was past 10 weeks and that it would be very rare for me to miscarry at this point.

When we got home that day I went to my yarn stash and took out some cotton yarn that I had been saving to make a blanket for “my” baby. I felt a little superstitious but wanted to make this blanket, plus I really needed a crochet project to calm myself. I think this is the first time I consciously realized that crocheting was my way of maintaining my mental health.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made a simple oversized granny square for this blanket. I worked on it steadily for about 2 months and when my baby boy was born in January of 2003 I wrapped him up in his blanket.

I continued to crochet after his arrival, though not as frequently and sometimes I only had time for a row or 2 each evening. But I now knew that crochet was a wonderful way for me to manage stress, and I knew I was a happier person when I crocheted.

Crocheting an afghan for my mom

Life kept rolling along and after another miscarriage I had a second baby. By this time though I knew how important crafting and in particular crochet was for taking care of myself. In the picture above I was crocheting an afghan for my mom’s Christmas present, cuddling with my almost 4-year old and the baby #2 (also known as “the Bean”) was sleeping in his basket in front of me.

Even now with my busy crochet design and teaching schedule I try to always have a crochet project going that lets me just relax and unwind. For me lately that is usually hats; relaxing crochet and the joy of finishing a project pretty quickly.

The Craft Yarn Council released a video about the stress reducing effects of playing with yarn called “Stitch Away Stress” in honor of April being National Stress Awareness Month. Their video focuses a little more on knitting, but crochet is in there too. You can check it out here. Visit the webpage at the Craft Yarn Council to find even more fun facts about the stress reducing effects of crochet and knitting.

So how about you? Do you find crochet (or knitting) to be your un-winding activity? If you haven’t learnt to crochet or knit, maybe now is the time to do so. It’s a great way to be kind to yourself at the same time you can make something useful.

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 22, 2015

Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair

Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair logo

Just because I’m too excited about this to wait until the weekend to let my lovely visitors know. I’m going to be teaching this September at the Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair in Mitchell, Nebraska.

Crocheting Wristers

Flowers Flowers Flowers

Classes will be offered on Friday, September 11th all day long. I’ll be teaching my “Crocheting Wristers” and “Flowers, Flowers, Flowers” classes that day.

Dont let your Hobby Hurt

Then Saturday all the action moves to the Event Center at the Scotts Bluff County Fair Grounds, where I will be teaching my “Don’t Let your Hobby Hurt” class. This class is all about how to prevent injury (especially Repetitive Stress Injuries) while we practice our crafts.

There will be fiber bearing critters to meet, all sorts of fiber art demonstrations and vendors of the many things all us fiber loving folks enjoy. There will even be an opportunity to sign up for tours of the Brown Sheep Yarn Company (who are a sponsor of this fair). You can find out more about the Fair by visiting their website at nebraskafiberfair.com

September 12th is also International Crochet Day. What a perfect way to celebrate this day of crochet! Class registration will be opening in early June, but don’t worry, I’ll be posting when it is live. Hoping this gives some of my readers a chance to come join me for a class or two, or at least get to say “hi” in person.

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 18, 2015

A Yarn Fest Kind of Day

Welcome Sign

Well, I’m a bit behind again. Today I was at the Interweave Yarn Fest.

One of the few photos of friends at the Yarn Fest. Toni, Brenda, Me and Marcy

Toni, Brenda, Me and Marcy

Got to see lots of crochet friends, though once again did a terrible job of getting photos of everyone. The picture above, with the lovely Interweave ladies: Toni Rexroat and Marcy Smith and my good friend Brenda Bourg, was one of the few that I managed to get. I also got to see briefly Lily Chin, Darla Fanton, Marly Bird, Robyn Chachula.

Pile of Silk Yarn

Also had to adopt some beautiful yarn. Lovely silks and silk blends from RedFish Dyeworks. I’m going to be creating something luscious in this gorgeous stuff for sure. I was also enabling Brenda and she ended up buying some of the silk lace, can’t wait to see what she comes up with using it.

After the classes were out I snagged my dear friend Mary Beth Temple and we went off to dinner. Kind of blew away an entire day playing, but it was an inspiring mental health day.

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 12, 2015

Connecting with Crochet

Yesterday was quite the crochet day for me. I taught the “Learn to Crochet” class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I always have a great time teaching and love it when my students have that light bulb moment when things begin to work for them.  It’s also a great reminder of what it’s like to be at the beginning of the crochet journey.

Then I ran a few quick errands in town and headed back home. At home it was a flurry getting my boys herded up so we could head over to a friend’s house for a 50th birthday party. There were lots of kids there and our hosts have a nice trampoline that my boys headed straight for.

Meanwhile there were only a few people I knew, so I said “hi” then found a well-lit spot outside to sit with my crochet and keep an eye on my boys. After awhile I got a bit chilly so I came back inside.

One of the other women at the party asked me about a someone in Jamestown and if I knew them. Turned out we had a mutual acquaintance. We introduced ourselves and had a chuckle when it turned out her name is Annette, though pronounced the German way, the “e” at the end sounds like an “a”. We chatted about living in the mountains and wildlife visiting my home.

While we were talking I was crocheting on my project and she asked me about my crochet. She is from Germany originally and both knits and crochets, though she said she was a bit out of practice. She told me that she had started a crocheted blanket project about 2 years ago, but had gotten a bit stuck when she went back to work on it.

Her husband had to run their teen-age daughter home about then and Annette asked him to bring her project bag back with him. When he returned the 2 of us dug thru the bag. There were a number of completed squares, but they were very tightly crocheted and we talked about how they would work in a blanket.

Annette with her inspiration photo and squares

She had been inspired by a photo of a crocheted blanket in a catalog. She had the original inspiration photo in the bag. So we took a look at it together. Her squares were pretty different from the squares in the blanket so I asked her if she would be interested in trying something different.

Close up of Square

I grabbed a ball of the yarn she had and began designing a different square there on the spot. I was having a great time playing with yarn, and we talked about crochet and our families as the square took shape. She liked what I came up with and thought it would be a nicer blanket than the tight squares she had done. Since she had made so many of those I suggested she use them for a pillow that would carry the same colors as her blanket.

My 2 squares today

Today I experimented a bit more with the square pattern I had come up with last night and made these 2 versions. The difference between the 2 is in where I decided to make the color change. Instructions for the squares are below and, in honor of my new crochet friend, it is named the Annetta Square.

ANNETTA SQUARE

designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:   Intermediate

Materials:

Worsted Weight yarn

I-9/5.5mm hook

Finished Size:

Approximately 3 7/8” square

Gauge:

First 3 Rounds = 2.25”

Special Stitches:

3 double crochet cluster st (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook. If you are having trouble with this stitch check out my blog post “Crochet and Springtime” for a tutorial on it.

Beginning 3 dc cluster st (Beg Cl): Ch 2, (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (ch 1, sc in next st) 5 times, ch 1, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 ch-1 sps, 6 sc]

Rnd 3: Sl st and Beg Cl in next ch-1 sp, (ch 3, Cl in next ch-1 sp) 5 times, ch 3, sl st to top of Beg Cl. [6 ch-3 sp, 6 Cl]

Change color here to get suspended flower look

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (4 sc in next ch-3 sp, sc in next st) 5 times, 4 sc in next ch-3 sp, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [30 sc]

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc next st, (2 sc next st, sc in next 4 sts) 5 times, 2 sc next st, sc next 2 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Change color here to get circle in square look

Rnd 6: Ch 1, sc next 2 sts,(*hdc next st, (dc, tr) next st, (tr, ch 2, tr) next st, (tr, dc) next st, hdc next st,* sc next 4 sts) 3 times; Repeat from * to * once, sc next 2 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [16 sc, 8 hdc, 8 dc, 16 Tr, 4 ch-2 spcs]

Rnd 7: Ch 1, sc next 6 sts, *(sc, ch 2, sc) next ch-2 sp,** sc next 12 sts*; Repeat from * to * 2 times, then Repeat from * to ** once, sc in next 6 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [56 sc, 4 ch-2 sps]

Fasten off

I really like how these little squares came out. I hope you enjoy making some to use in your projects this spring.

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 11, 2015

Just a Taste

Today was a busy one, so I am quickly posting this before the witching hour commences.

Close up of Square

I’ll give you the full scoop on what this little square is all about before the weekend is over.

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