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.

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 5, 2015

The Renewal of Spring

Crocus in bloom at the school.

Well springtime in the mountains has come, though we aren’t finished with snowy days quite yet. This past week has been the usual yo-yo weather.

Down in town the high temperatures were mid 70s on Monday and low 90s on Tuesday (which actually felt more like summer than spring). Both of those days we saw high 50s to low 60s up here on the mountain.

Sugar Egg

Then Wednesday came with slightly cooler temperatures. I went to the yarn store that day and my fellow crocheter and crafty friend Margie came by. She had this fun little sugar egg for me. Isn’t it cute? Scary thing is it is edible. Eek!

By the time the boys and I had gotten ready for bed the temperatures were dropping and it started to snow lightly. I woke up Thursday morning to below freezing temperatures and spent most of my morning feeding the wood-stove to keep the house warm.

Snowy Yard

Thursday evening the snow settled in for a steady visit and Friday morning this is what my backyard looked like. Fortunately the temperatures were a little warmer and toward the evening most of the snow had melted. That is actually why I prefer spring snow storms. They don’t stick around like the snow when we have the weeks of arctic temperatures.

Saturday morning was crisp, but not too bad temperature wise. The big town Egg-Hunt was on. Being we are all mountain folk the egg hunt goes forward no matter what the weather does. So it was nice to have sunny relatively warm temperatures for it this year. A few years it has been conducted in freezing drizzle. And sometimes the poor Easter bunny had to hide the eggs in the snow. It was a bit muddy, but I’ll take mud and sunshine over freezing cold.

I drove down to Longmont after the egg-hunt to teach at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. It was pretty quiet there while I taught, usually Saturday is a hopping day at the shop. I think the nice weather, after a couple of cold snowy days, had made everyone decide to stay outdoors and enjoy it while they could.

White Blossoms

I had to grab a couple photos of these trees in bloom. Most of the trees are still just beginning to get leaf buds, so there is that hint of green like a mist around the branches, but a few of the trees are already beginning their spring show. Because of our longer wintery weather I really love to see Springtime showing up.

I hope everyone else is enjoying this time of renewal as well. And for those of you celebrating Easter today, a very joyful holiday to you.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 4, 2015

Seated for Crochet (Part One)

This post today is actually dedicated to my good friend Julia (@AberrantCrochet). Sadly, we don’t get to see each other much, but we communicate online. She recently tweeted a photo of a chair someone had decorated using crochet motifs.

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I thought this chair was really fun, and it reminded me that I really want to crochet a chair “cozy” for an old beat-up chair of mine.

chair uncovered

Originally this chair belonged to a friend from massage school. She was getting rid of it and I took it off her hands. There was something about the shape and size of it that really appealed to me. Still does for that matter.

The upholstery was in rather worn condition, but I decided to sew a polar fleece covering for it and put it in my massage office as my “client” chair. It served that purpose well for many years.

Reading Chair in Boys' room when it was new.

Chair moved into Boys’ room as Reading spot.

Then I got a small sofa for my office about 7 years ago and I moved the chair to my boys’ room for a reading chair.  Between dogs and boys the polar fleece cover has taken quite a beating. Which is what originally got me thinking that a colorful covering crocheted in 100% acrylic yarn might actually hold up better.

I’m going to use the old polar fleece cover to create a template that I will crochet pieces to fit. That way the chair can still be in use while I’m making the cover. Another option would be to crochet “scrumbles” and pin them to the chair until there are enough to join them together. But I want the boys to be able to continue to use the chair while I work on this project. My goal is to have it finished by the end of 2016.

Next step in this project will be to pick out the yarn I’m going to use. I have a lot of acrylic yarn in my stash, so it is going to be mostly about deciding what colors I am going to use.  I also need to decide what style of crochet I’m going to use.  Will it be a “Free Form” scrumbled looking piece or will it be more large swatches of more regular crochet fabric. I suspect it will be a combination of both once I really get working with hook and yarn.

I’ll keep updating here on the blog as this project evolves. This one will take some time, mainly because I’ll be fitting it in around my other crochet work.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 28, 2015

All those Sizes!

One of the challenging things about designing garments is writing all the changes to a pattern for the various sizes. This particular task has been known to reduce otherwise sane designers to raving lunatics, yours truly included (and I love math).

Sparkling Lace Shrug - Annie's Publishing

Sparkling Lace Shrug – Annie’s Publishing

My “Sparkling Lace Shrug” that I designed for Crochet! Magazine was many hours of hair pulling and tears as I worked and re-worked the calculations. I learnt my lesson though.  I took a Pattern Grading class with Kim Guzman thru Crochetville a couple of years ago and it was a great investment in my business (as well as my sanity).

ClassPhoto

553745_4684103338287_44048893_nThe class is available again and enrollment is now. If you are an aspiring designer, or a designer that wants to take the fuss out of pattern grading here is your chance. Zip on over to Crochetville and sign up for the class.

You can watch a preview of what her class covers on YouTube just click here.

Kim helps you learn the methods for making your task much easier by using Excel spreadsheets to do the math for you. As well as explaining many of the sizing pit-falls that can snare the un-wary designer.

You will be very glad you invested the time and money, I know I am.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 25, 2015

Crochet and Springtime

Crochetville_Designer_Blog_Tour_Promo

National Crochet Month is zipping by, and I am honored to be celebrating by participating again in the Crochetville NaCroMo 2015 Blog Tour. Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka are terrific supporters of the crochet community and designers.

Amy and I in Reno at the Knit & Crochet Show

Amy and I in Reno at the Knit & Crochet Show (yes, she is wearing a tiara)

I’ve met both of them in person thru the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) and have spent many fun and often inspiring hours in their company.

One of my favorite things about being a member of the CGOA is how it has put me in touch with lots of other crocheters. I’ve met many wonderful crochet friends thru my involvement in CGOA, like Amy and Donna. It’s great fun to be with your “people”, folks that understand this love of playing with yarn. If you haven’t joined CGOA you may want to consider doing so, the annual conference is great fun to attend, but there is even more. Opportunities to meet up locally with other crocheters and to meet online on the CGOA website. The website is: Crochet.org.

As the owners and creators of the Crochetville community and dedicated CGOA members themselves, Amy and Donna are always aware of the importance of supporting others thru charitable work.  This year’s blog tour charity project is making hats (or making a monetary donation) for Halos of Hope.halosofhope[1]

Halos of Hope is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization committed to providing volunteer-crafted hats to cancer centers across the country. You can make and send in hats to Crochetville in Alabama or donate money to help Halos of Hope pay for shipping hats to the centers. You can find the mailing address and read more about this project on the Crochetville blog.

Hats are one of my favorite projects to work on but with this recent spring like weather I’m looking at transitional pieces. Headband/Headwrap/Earwarmers (I’m never 100% sure what to call them) are a great choice.  I love them during the transitional seasons because they easily fit in a pocket and are a great way to keep my ears warm if the weather gets chilly. They also help keep my hair under control when the wind gets too blustery.

Blog Beauty Shot

I tend to have light weight gloves and a headband tucked into the pockets of every jacket.  Since I recently got my hair cut into a very short 1920’s style bob, headbands can also look quite stylish.  In celebration of NatCroMo I’m offering this fun textured headband pattern to my visitors. I’ve used a lot of textured stitches in this project which helps make the fabric even warmer.

This is an intermediate level pattern, but it’s a great project to expand your skills with. I’m including a tutorial on making cluster and puff stitches here for those of you feeling like tackling a new crochet skill. For those of you that already have some experience with cluster and puff stitches the “Special Stitches” section in the pattern should be sufficient to get you started.

Blog detail shot of texture sts

Cluster Stitch Tutorial

The cluster stitch for our headband has more texture to it because it is framed on either side by a shorter stitch, the half double crochet. If cluster stitches are worked with spaces and/or taller stitches on either side they are a bit flatter and more of a decorative grouping that doesn’t rise as far above the surface of the work.

The textured “bump” of a cluster stitch as used in this headband sits on the back side of your row, for a single sided project you want to work them only on alternate rows in the project.

In this headband project we are using a 3 dc cluster stitch to create our textured stitches. In a cluster stitch you make the base of the 3 dcs being used, then work the final dc step for all 3 in one go.

Image D

Photo A

To make a 3 dc cluster st, yarn over (yo) like making a dc and insert in st or sp, yo, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook), yo {Photo A},

Image E

Photo B

pull thru 2 loops on hook (2 loops remaining on hook, 1st base made), yo, insert in same st or sp, yo, pull up a loop (4 loops on hook), yo {Photo B},

Image F

Photo C

pull thru 2 loops (3 loops remaining on hook, 2nd base made), yo, insert in same st or sp, yo, pull up a loop (5 loops on hook), yo, pull thru 2 loops (4 loops remaining on hook, 3rd base made), yo {Photo C}, pull thru all 4 loops on hook.

 

Puff Stitch Tutorial

This stitch is often a challenge to get right. The primary trick is getting all of your loops to the same length. That can be particularly challenging if you crochet tightly, so remember to keep your work loose.

Puff stitches tend to sit centered in the fabric, which makes them a great stitch to use in scarves, since the texture is visible on both sides of your fabric. In the case of this headband project we are framing the puff stitches with hdc stitches. Like with our cluster stitches this “framing” helps the stitch sit on the backside of the row and creates a 3D effect on the finished project.

There are a number of ways to make a puff stitch, the version I use in this project is secured at the top similar to making a single crochet (I think of these as “locked” puff stitches). For this project you will be making 5 “wraps” for the puff part. Each time you do a “wrap” you get 2 more loops on your hook.

Image G

Photo D

Yarn over (yo) and insert your hook in the indicated st or sp, yo, pull up the 2 loops to above the top of your previous st {Photo D},(yo, insert hook in the same st or sp, yo, and pull up the 2 new loops to the same height of the previous loops) 4 times.

Image H

Photo E

You will have 11 loops on your hook*, 10 tall loops for the “puff” and the original working loop. Yo {Photo E} and pull thru the 10 tall loops,

Image I

Photo F

you will have only 2 loops on your hook, yo {Photo F}, pull thru the last 2 loops, your puff stitch is complete.

A peek into the design process: For the eagle-eyed amongst my visitors, you may have noticed in the photos for this tutorial I have only 7 loops on my hook at this point. This is because I made a change in the pattern after I shot the photos. Originally I thought I would like the 3 wraps for my puff stitches, but they weren’t dramatic enough for me in the sample. So I changed it for the final sample and pattern.

 

SPRINGTIME HEADBANDBlog Headband alone

designed by Andee Graves 

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Headband is approximately 3.25”/8.125cm wide x 22”/55cm long.

YARN

Lion Brand Wool Ease Worsted (80% Acrylic, 20% Wool; 197 yds/180m = 3 ounces/85g)

#139 Dark Rose Heather sample used 31g/aprx 72 yards = approximately 2 Headbands from 1 skein

CROCHET HOOKS

Size US 7 / (4.5mm)

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

Stitch markers

Yarn needle

GAUGE

6 rows & 9 sts in hdc = 2” 

SPECIAL STITCHES

3 DC Cluster Stitch (Cl): (Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, yo, pull thru 4 loops remaining on hook.

Puff Stitch (Puff): (Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo, pull up a loop to desired height) 5 times, 11 loops on hook, yo, pull thru 10 loops on hook, 2 loops left on hook, yo, pull thru remaining 2 loops on hook.

Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog): Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo pull up a loop, insert hook in next st, yo pull up a loop, yo pull thru all 4 loops on hook.

NOTES

The Cluster stitches and Puff stitches in this project have more texture because they are “squished” between 2 shorter stitches. The texture is created on the back of the rows. The finished project will have the textured side as the right side of the fabric.

Once the first 65 rows of the headband are crocheted, edging is worked along one edge, then ends of headband are seamed together using slip stitches to reach 2nd side, then 2nd side edging is worked.

INSTRUCTIONS

Row 1: Ch 11, turn, working in back bumps, hdc in 3rd ch from hook and each ch back to beginning. [9 hdcc]

Row 2 (RS): Ch 2 {turning ch only, does not count as st here and thru-out the pattern}, turn, hdc in each st across. PM on front of row to mark right side. [9 dc]

Rows 3- 7: Repeat Row 2. 

Row 8: Ch 2, turn, hdc next st, 2 hdc next st, hdc next 5 sts, 2 hdc next st, hdc last st. [11 hdc]

Row 9: Repeat Row 2. [11 hdc]

Row 10: Ch 2, turn, hdc next st, 2 hdc next st, hdc next 7 sts, 2 hdc next st, hdc last st. [13 hdc]

Rows 11 – 16: Repeat Row 2. [13 hdc]

Row 17: Ch 2, turn, hdc next 6 sts, Cl next st, hdc next 6 sts. [12 hdc, 1 Cl]

Row 18: Repeat Row 2.

Row 19: Ch 2, turn, hdc next 4 sts, Cl next st, hdc next 3 sts, Cl next st, hdc next 4 sts. [11 hdc, 2 Cl]

Row 20: Repeat Row 2.

Row 21: Ch 2, turn, hdc next 2 sts, Cl next st, hdc next 3 sts, Puff next st, hdc next 3 sts, Cl next st, hdc next 2 sts. [10 hdc, 2 Cl, 1 Puff]

Row 22: Repeat Row 2.

Row 23: Repeat Row 19.

Row 24: Repeat Row 2.

Row 25: Repeat Row 17.

Rows 26 – 28: Repeat Row 2.

Rows 29 – 52: Repeat Rows 17 – 28, twice.

Rows 53 – 55: Repeat Row 2.

Row 56: Ch 2, turn, hdc next st, hdc2tog next st, hdc next 7 sts, hdc2tog next st, hdc last st. [11 hdc]

Row 57: Repeat Row 2.

Row 58: Ch 2, turn, hdc next st, hdc2tog next st, hdc next 5 sts, hdc2tog next st, hdc last st. [9 hdc] 

Rows 59-65: Repeat Row 2. Do not fasten off, Secure working loop so work doesn’t come unraveled.

EDGING 

Side 1: Ch 1, with RS facing turn band to work along first edge, work sc in side of Row 1, then work 98 sc spaced evenly along edge in ends of rows (3 sc in the ends of the every 2 rows), sl st to first sc in round.

Align ends of band, RS together sl st loosely working thru both the top of sts in Row 65 and bottom of sts in Row 1 across to second edge.

Side 2: Turn work with RS facing and work along edge, ch 1, work 99 sc spaced evenly along edge in ends of rows, sl st to first sc in round. Fasten off.

FINISHING

Weave in ends. Block lightly, if desired.

Now you are ready to make a bunch of these headbands to be ready for those cooler spring days. Have a great time crocheting and keep celebrating crochet everyday.

Want to check out what the other designers participating in the blog tour are doing? Go visit this post on the Crochetville blog. You can find out how to sign up for the Daily Giveaway to win a yarn package from Red Heart Yarns at this post (winners are selected by random drawing).

If you are first time visitor to my blog, thanks for stopping by. For my regular readers Thanks for being there.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 22, 2015

Jan and Andee’s Yarn Retreat Adventure

The last weekend of Jan’s Colorado visit was the Longmont Yarn Shop Spring Renewal Retreat. This was the event that we had actually planned Jan’s whole visit around. This was my first yarn themed retreat and I was really looking forward to some relaxing with yarn and fiber loving friends.  People who understand when you say, “I have to pet this yarn.” or “The yarn was calling to me.”

Jan and I were also excited about getting some nice walks in. Jan wears a pedometer and is always good about getting me to go for walks when we get together. I got a pedometer too, in preparation for her visit, and am getting into the habit of paying attention to the number of steps I do each day. 10,000 minimum is the goal.

Friday, March 13th  we loaded up the car and were on our way by 9:30 that morning. We had decided, since the retreat was in Loveland, we would make a trip a bit further north and stop by the Lambspun yarn shop in Ft. Collins.

We ate our lunch outside on the patio and were seated beside this fountain.

We ate our lunch outside on the patio and were seated beside this fountain.

There is a wonderful little restaurant that shares the building with the yarn shop. We had our lunch there, then spent a lovely couple of hours exploring the shop and seeing if there was any yarn we needed to adopt.

Sweet little birdhouse in the gardens next to the restaurant patio.

Sweet little birdhouse in the gardens next to the restaurant patio.

Jan was actually shopping for yarn in large amounts for a couple of projects on her “to-do” list. She doesn’t have easy access to any yarn shops near her home. Partly because she works some long hours at her day job and can’t really drive at night. She was having a great time exploring the options, and we had fun searching for the perfect yarn.

The yarns I brought home

The yarns I brought home

For some reason we both kept being attracted to linen yarns. Blends and 100% linen. I got the 2 different yarns above to experiment with and Jan purchased some other yarn that was an interesting blend of linen and rayon. I was trying to be good about not purchasing yarn that I wouldn’t have time to work with this year.

Shirley, the shop owner, was working on a felting project using a blending board that really piqued my interest. I considered purchasing my own blending board but the price was a little out of the budget for this trip. I may put it on my list for Christmas this year as I think I would have a great time playing with it.

Finally we tore ourselves away and headed off to the Sunrise Ranch for our retreat.

I use the GPS on my phone thru Google Maps to navigate when traveling. There was an update not too long ago and the voice is now very robot like. Jan and I had been calling my GPS gal, Gina, last summer when we did our road-trip to Chain-Link. We decided Gina now sounds like she has become assimilated by the Borg (from Star Trek Next Generation). Fortunately, Borg Gina directed us to the ranch without any problems.

SR Sign at Entrance

The Sunrise Ranch is nestled in a beautiful valley with a lake to the south, gorgeous colorful red bluffs to the east and lots of wonderful options for hiking. We got checked in and did a little exploring and a short walk before dinner that evening.

SR First night goodies

The goodie bag and my yarn from the evening.

After dinner was the welcome meeting followed by a White Elephant yarn exchange. At the welcome meeting Gail and Jane from LYS distributed “goodie” bags with a water bottle, a bumper sticker,  a needle/hook inventory card (that has our shop dog “Kit” on it), and a little felt zipper bag.

SR Name Tags

The bags were identified with our name tags for the retreat and most everyone made yarn “necklaces” to wear their name tag on. Jan and I took photos of ours.

SR Yak Yarn

The other event for the evening was a White Elephant yarn exchange. I’d never participated in one before and it was great fun. My ribs were tender from laughing so hard. I ended up with some Yak yarn that I’d never seen before, so that will be fun to play with.

Saturday, March 14th was the first full day of the retreat and it was Pi-Day! That morning started bright and early with a yummy breakfast. Then Jan and I decided to go for a walk. My fellow teacher from the shop, Gretchen Hofer (whom I took my lace knitting class with), joined us.

SR Morning Lake

It was a beautiful morning and we all took lots of photographs. The one above was my favorite shot of the lake, it was so calm the water looked like a mirror.

My perfect Pi moment. 3.1415926

My perfect Pi moment. 3.141592653

Since it was Pi-day I was wearing my new T-shirt, Gretchen made sure we got a photo of me at 9:26 a.m. This Pi-day was extra special because the date allowed for more of the decimal places to be included. Normally for simple geometries you just use the first 2 places after the decimal: 3.14. There are of course many more decimal places to be expressed in Pi.

We all had fun on the walk, saw a pheasant take flight and even spotted a snake trail in the frost (though fortunately didn’t meet the snake). By the time we had returned to our room I had gotten my 10,000 steps in for the day already.

My show and tell projects

My show and tell projects

After lunch, everyone got together for Show and Tell. I brought my finished lace scarflette to show, as well as a cloche hat that I have been experimenting with. It was wonderful to see all the projects the other attendees brought to show and to hear the stories behind them.

SR Main Building

After dinner that evening we all gathered in the big Living Room area of the main building (called the Pavillion). Everyone had various projects they were working on, so folks had even brought their spinning wheels and looms.

Gail was working on a very interesting weaving piece that would be felted after she finished the weaving. It had big open spaces in it. It came out really neat. I may have to drag out my Cricket loom and give it a try.

Sunday, March 15th I was very excited because the morning activity was Needle felting and trying out the Zoom Looms.

SR Ndle Felt for Jan2

For the needle felting we were using the little felt bags that were in our goodie bags from the shop.  Jan wasn’t going to the morning activity so she gave me her little felt bag to play with. I decided I would make a design on it and give it back to her.

SR Ndle Felt for Jan1

It had been awhile since I had done any needle felting. I had forgotten how much I love playing with fiber this way. Gail and Jane had provided a wide assortment of yarns and roving in a variety of colors, so it was almost like painting.

I was also excited to try out the Zoom Looms. These are pin looms and I hadn’t ever worked with one before. I had seen them all over the place at TNNA a year ago and had wanted to play with one. So this was my chance. I really liked how quick it was to weave my little square. I’d been good about not getting a blending board, so I decided that I would be purchasing a Zoom Loom before the weekend was over.

My goodies purchased from the Vendor sale.

My goodies purchased from the Vendor sale.

After lunch was the Vendor sale. I purchased a Zoom Loom, some lovely handspun from our LYS spinning teacher, cute project bag and a beautiful shawl “stick”. Once Jan and I had finished our retail therapy we went for a photo walk near the Pavilion building.

SR Sculpt Pond and Labrth

We had both wanted to get a photo of the sculpture pond and when we got over there we spotted a brick labyrinth path in the lawn just past it.

SR Labrinth

We decided to walk the labyrinth and then finished our photography.  It was an unusually hot day for March, somewhere in the mid-80s, so we decided we would save our big walk for the evening once it had cooled off a little.

Valley view to the South

Valley view to the South

Valley view to the North

Valley view to the North

Jan, Gretchen and I went for our walk after dinner. We got some good photos of the valley and saw a wonderful noisy little creek while on the walk. Afterward we hung out in the Living Room visiting and playing with yarn for a little while, but we were both pretty tired so headed to our room.

Monday, March 16th was the last morning at the retreat. We got ourselves packed up and loaded the car right after breakfast. Our usual group went out for one last hike around the ranch. Then snuck in a little time crocheting and visiting with the other retreat attendees before it was time to leave.

Pretty little mosaic at entry way near pond.

Pretty little mosaic at entry way near pond.

Jan and I decided we had enjoyed having someone else plan and prepare meals, as well as doing the dishes, that we would make our re-entry to “real” life gentler by having lunch in Loveland at PF Changs. Borg Gina got us to the restaurant fine, but we had a little argument with her when it was time to drive back to Boulder.

Fortunately I knew most of the way I wanted to take and we headed home via the scenic route. When we got to Longmont we decided to go back up the mountain via the road thru Lyons, another town I haven’t been to since the flood. There were signs of the damage from the flood, but the canyon was still beautiful and Jan really enjoyed the drive.

Once we hauled all the stuff up from the car at the house, we ran a couple loads of laundry and played with our yarn and goodies from the retreat. We also started talking about what we would do for our “visit” trip next year.

Funny thing about the retreat weekend. I spent most of my crocheting time working on a very large experiment swatch. Unfortunately, after we got back home, I realized I really wasn’t happy with how it was working out. So I spent most of the evening unraveling the swatch and winding up the yarn. Such is the life of a designer.

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