Posted by: mamas2hands | November 21, 2015

Cuddly Crochet Kits

This last week has been another busy one. On top of all the other crochet work related stuff, I had a realization that Christmas is sneaking up on me far too quickly. Eek!

On Wednesday I was at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe all day. It was our monthly Casual Crochet Wednesday and I was working that afternoon as the shop’s crochet help.

C2C Scarf 1

Everyone at the Casual Crochet was working on their Corner to Corner project. I had finished my scarf and took the above photo before leaving it as a shop sample.

My friend Margie was there and she had some fun things to show me. In particular she had a crochet kit that she had picked up at Costco. The one she showed me was Disney’s “Frozen”, but she said they had Star Wars and the Peanuts too.

Frozen and Peanuts

The next day was my planned Costco trip and amazingly enough I remembered to look for the kits at my Costco. They had all 3, so I bought all 3. Not just because I was being indulgent (okay, maybe that was a little of it), but because I thought crocheting up some of the fun little figures could be good Christmas presents for my boys and a few other family members.

Star Wars Kit Open

I was so excited about the Star Wars kit that I opened it before taking a photo of it in pristine condition. As you can see the kit comes with instruction book, yarns, 2 sets of safety eyes, crochet hook, sewing/darning needle and fiber stuffing. The needle and hook are somewhat poor quality, but the little book is well worth the $12 price I paid. There are patterns for 12 Star Wars characters. The yarn included is enough to make a Storm Trooper and a Yoda.

Yoda in book

Bits for Yoda project

I decided I wanted to make a Yoda first.  Always loved this little green guy, though I think this cute little fella is going to live with my husband in his office.

Yoda hanks wound into balls

First I had to wind the little hanks into balls that I could crochet from. Was excited to get started.

Yoda head w Eyes

I changed the order of working some of the pieces for Yoda. I made his ears first so that I could sew them in place while the head was un-stuffed.

The instructions so far have been very clear and easy to follow the book is full of photo tutorials as well. So this is a great gift for crocheters on your list that want a project to get excited about. I would purchase a nicer crochet hook and darning needle to include though, especially if they don’t have a collection of their own hooks already.

Yoda w feet

I’m making pretty good progress on him so far. Just need to make his arms and little jacket. I’ll add another photo once he is finished. I won’t be giving away my kits as gifts, instead I will be making a lot of the characters as gifts. So part of my Christmas list is sorted.

Hope everyone is having a Wonderful pre-Thanksgiving Day weekend and that you are staying warm as well.


Posted by: mamas2hands | November 17, 2015

Thoughts on Paris and Peace

I was hoping to do a more substantial post today but, as many of you may also be, I’ve been distracted by thoughts of the violence in Paris last Friday.

I know there have been many reactions to this tragedy. Including comments about how this is just the latest in attacks against civilian targets. That much worse tragedies have occurred in Beriut, Syria and other regions of the world but have not raised the outcry that the Paris attacks have.

For me personally the Paris incident has been more painful because I see Paris as a city of peace. A place of wonderful Art, Food and History. I would not hesitate to get on a plane and visit Paris.

I can not say the same for many of the other regions of the world that have been experiencing this same sort of violence. And tragically the violence in those areas has become so commonplace that it is no longer considered “news”.

I don’t think it is right that this is the situation. The loss of any life is tragic, and these horrendous acts perpetrated by fanatics are horrific in the damage they do to all citizens of our globe.

Peace on Earth sm

So today’s post is about peace. I know how hopeless it all seems at times to wish for a world in peace, especially when the world is being torn to pieces. But we have to start with ourselves.

Reject the narrative that Muslims are all terrorists. Yes, these particular terrorists call themselves Muslims. But just like the Klu Klux Klan isn’t representative of all Christians, these terrorists are not representative of all Muslims.

Embrace the differences. I challenge you to find someone in your community that walks  a different spiritual path or comes from a different country and get to know them. Really get to know them. Chances are they live with many of the same day-to-day concerns that you do.

Look inside yourself and root out your assumptions about who people are based on the label they have been given, or the color of their skin. We all have these assumptions that are a part of our cultural up-bringing, but that doesn’t mean those assumptions are correct.

My mother has always said that “When you assume, you make an Ass out of U and me.” It’s a little rough, but a good thing to remember.

These are going to be my challenges too. I have friends in many walks of life and I hope to be open to learning and understanding with them as my teachers.

Peace to all of you.

May you have love and light in your life.

May comfort and kindness be yours and your gift to others.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 13, 2015

Crochet Surgery or Not

One of the things I have celebrated on my blog are the number of good friends I’ve made over the years of being online. Most of these friends are fellow crochet enthusiasts. One of my online friends is “Maven”, we met thru a group on Ravelry back in 2008 and have continued to stay in touch thru Ravelry, Facebook and Twitter over the intervening years.

We have even met in real life. It was a couple years ago, when I took my trip to NJ and NYC to visit Jan. It was far too short  a visit, but really fun to finally have a face to go with the name.

Maven likes to collect yarn when she travels and she purchased some yarn in Tallinin, Estonia on her trip there in May 2012. In May 2014  she decided to crochet a shawl with it while traveling in London and Paris.  She picked the “Festival Shawl” pattern designed by Lyn Robinson. This is a pretty point-up triangle shawl.

Unfortunately it was not coming out the way she wanted, but it turned out the yarn was really difficult to frog. It is a rather toothy wool that likes to grab onto itself. She decided to put it in time-out for awhile in June 2014.

Maven had posted photos of her project and we had talked about how to fix it. I had suggested doing some surgery on the original UFO, then finishing the shawl with how-ever much yarn she had left.  Or she could try using hair conditioner on the project and seeing if she could gently un-ravel the project that way.

She wasn’t sure she was up to either of those fixes and jokingly suggested that she should send it to me to mess with. Of course, I thought that was a great idea, Blog Post!

1 - Box of Goodies and WIP

This joke kept getting tossed back and forth between us, finally she decided to take me up on the offer for real. Tuesday of this week I got the box in the mail. There was the expected project, but Maven also included some interesting chocolate goodies. She knows what a chocolate fiend I am. I am not planning on sharing any of these.

Triangle Shawl

Initial look at the project made me think that crochet surgery could work quite well. But I wanted to get a really good look at the project in the light of day before making my final assessment.

2 - Looking at options 1

I could see changing the direction of wear and loping off the original bottom point might work. That would mean the shawl would be more of a crescent shape than a triangle. But would Maven like it, and want to wear it?

3 - Materials for Surgery

4 - Looking at route for Safety line

I even went so far as to begin the set-up for crochet surgery. In this case I used some size 3 crochet cotton thread and a blunt yarn needle.

5 - Running safety line thru sts

I carefully wove the thread into the base of each stitch of my chosen row. The idea being once I had secured that row I could then cut the yarn on the previous row and un-ravel it or otherwise remove it.

If you decide to do surgery on your crochet this is the basic approach. If I had continued along this line with this project I would have left a lengthy tail at both ends of my secured row when removing the previous row.

Then I would have used some of the yarn in the remaining ball of yarn to crochet a chain that captured the base of each of my secured stitches and created bridges between them where needed. After that it is just a matter of treating that chain like a normal crochet foundation and crocheting any additional stitches off of it for the neckline of the shawl.

6 - Safety line in place

Once I had the thread in place though I kept looking at the project and was concerned that the finished object would not work for Maven. I wanted her to be happy with whatever I came up with and it really didn’t look like this would fit the bill.

7 - Partial Row

What about frogging it?  The last row on the project was un-finished, so I looked at it to see how difficult it would be to un-ravel. It came apart easier than I had expected. I realized that frogging the project and returning the yarn to Maven was a real possibility.

I hadn’t even tried the conditioner or de-tangling spray yet. So I began to very carefully pull the stitches apart and wind up the yarn as I went.

8 - Broken Yarn and crochet hook

Yarn wrap for broken ends

Early on there was a break in the yarn, so I folded the ends together and used a long slip knot to secure them. That way when Maven goes to work with the yarn again the color gradients won’t be interrupted.

One of the tricks when un-raveling a fussy yarn like this: take it slowly, one stitch at a time. I occasionally used a small crochet hook to hold the top of a stitch open as I gently persuaded the yarn to release. Other times I pinched the base of that top loop between my thumb nail and fore finger.

9 - Almost done Frogging

Whenever I ran into a spot that wouldn’t come free I would gently tease the fibers loose. Yes, this takes a bit more time. So only work on frogging a project like this in bits and pieces so that you don’t get impatient.

Now, some of you may be wondering why I could frog this and Maven can’t. I think 2 factors were in play here. Lack of humidity and very cold temperatures. I live on a cold dry mountain, Maven lives at sea-level on the East Coast. It was really cold the day the package arrived, 27F in fact.

If you are trying to un-ravel a project and are having difficulties with the fiber grabbing onto itself, try popping it in your freezer for a bit. A de-humidifier can be helpful too.

10 - Final Ball of Yarn

Now I have turned this project into a big ball of yarn. It’s ready to go back to Maven for her to crochet it into something new.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 10, 2015

Dreaming of Sleep

“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course

Chief nourisher in life’s feast”

              “MacBeth”, Act 2, Scene 2

William Shakespeare


Do you get enough sleep?  Do any of us? Did you know that sleep deprivation is one of the top health issues in the United States?

Babies need around 17 hours of sleep daily

Babies need around 17 hours of sleep daily

Our bodies need at least 7-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep everyday.  Yet most of us, even when we get the hours, it is fairly interrupted.  For the parents of young children reading this it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you’ve forgotten what uninterrupted sleep even looks like.

Sometimes we choose to be sleep deprived…thinking we have no other option. I know that happens to me at times.  I live in a fairly small house and have 2 noisy boys.  Peace and quiet is a rare commodity and most often to be found once all my men are in the land of Nod.

There are times when the issue is one of not being able to sleep.  Insomnia.  Not that much fun to experience, even though it is a common theme for comedy.   Many times I’ve gone to bed unable to actually fall asleep, despite being incredibly tired before laying down.

At a certain point the sleep cycle becomes so deformed from our sleep deprivation that getting regular sleep becomes even more challenging.  The results of this can be profound on your health.  A well-rested body is more resilient against illness and injury, so the opposite is also true.  A tired body is more at risk from illness and injury, further complicated by a tired brain that may not make the best decisions about safety.  Being tired is quite often the culprit for clumsiness.

So how do you break this cycle once you are in it?

Sleep Hygiene is the term many medical doctors and psychologists use when referring to changing your sleep habits.  Now, when I first heard this term I thought of dental hygiene. It’s a bit different though.

Basically it’s a fancy way of saying, “Winding down”.  Sleep hygiene is about what you do the hour or 2 before heading to bed.  Most sleep experts recommend that if your favorite “wind down” is watching the telly you watch a comedy or light drama.  Serious documentaries, the News, and Scary Movies are no-no’s on the winding down list.  The endorphins produced in the body when you laugh help ease you into a state of comfortable and sustainable sleep.

Visit the National Sleep Foundation to find out more about Healthy Sleep Tips and how much sleep your body likely needs depending on your age.

A healthy toddler will sleep just about anywhere.

A healthy toddler will sleep just about anywhere.

Now I’m off to get some sleep. See you Friday for a fun post about crochet “surgery”.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 8, 2015

Working the Whirlwind – Part 2

Rnds 1-12 in 2nd colors

Just a quick note that Part 2 of the video on how to work my Whirlwind Afghan Square.

You can find it here on my YouTube Channel.


Posted by: mamas2hands | November 7, 2015

Working the Whirlwind (Video)

It has been a very interesting week. Today’s post was originally planned for Tuesday, then Friday, and finally I am getting it all together for an early Saturday morning post.

Whirlwind Square - M2H Designs

This one isn’t a lot of reading. Just wanted to direct you to my new video on crocheting the first 12 rounds of my Whirlwind Afghan Square. I ended up needing to make it into 2 videos. You can find Part 1 on my YouTube Channel here:

Whirlwind How-To Part 1

I hope to have Part 2 up in the next couple of days. I have found out it takes a lot more time to edit a video than I had originally anticipated. Really love making these videos though, and I hope you find them helpful. As always I appreciate your feedback, but please remember to be constructive and kind.

Thank you to all of my readers that have been asking for this video and patiently waiting for it. I’ll try not to make you wait as long for Part 2.

For those that haven’t seen it already you can find the written pattern and photo tutorial for the “Whirlwind Afghan Square” on my post: Spirals and Squares.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 3, 2015

The Best Plans


This past weekend was pretty full with all the Halloween fun.

I did quite a bit of work on setting up and filming for the video of my Whirlwind Afghan Square, unfortunately I ran into some technical difficulties when up-loading the video files to my computer. So there is a significant delay in getting this video ready for my YouTube Channel.

I really hope to have it available to everyone by this coming weekend.

Thanks for your patience.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

It’s looking to be another cold Halloween up here on the mountain. We’ve had frost and snow the last couple of mornings, but nothing too dreadful yet.


I didn’t bother with purchasing a pumpkin to carve this year as they always freeze and become a gross soggy mess on our front deck before we really get to enjoy them. I did get a photo of the big pile of pumpkins in front of our favorite grocery store though.

Supplies for Crafting

Thursday evening was my exciting Halloween Costume crafting evening. Seems we do this every year. There is always a last minute item needed for a costume and it’s the evening before the Halloween celebration at school.

Beginning Goggle Project

My oldest is planning on being a Steam-Punk Tech Pirate. Fairly simple costume involving Goggles and fingerless gloves with black and white theme in the rest of his attire. The goggles we had ordered off Amazon for him, but they were a bit un-comfortable and he wanted me to add some padding to the edges.

Goggles re-assembled

Goggles ready to wear

I found myself very grateful for adhesive backed crafting foam. After a bit of experimenting I had cobbled together a pretty decent solution. He picked the white color to go along with his black and white theme in the rest of the costume.

The next project was a bit more challenging, mainly because it was time consuming. My youngest had decided to be Ironman from the Marvel comics. We had found a pretty awesome costume at Costco earlier this Fall, but it was only a bodysuit with the armor created with padding and printing on the fabric and a plastic mask.

Apparently you need “repulsor gauntlets” to be Ironman. So it was up to me to create some. I thought this was going to be an easy project to tackle. Get red stretchy gloves, create a white circle on the palm all good.

Except, I couldn’t find red stretchy gloves that fit my little guy. There were stretchy gloves in Black, Grey and Navy…but no red. I found red stretchy gloves but they were too long in the fingers and pretty baggy in the palm. They were not going to meet the requirements.

Next I tried ordering some online, they were only available as a package of 12. Feeling a bit desperate I decided to order them knowing that in my family we could put 12 pairs of gloves to good use. Unfortunately when the gloves arrived on this past Wednesday there were not any red ones in the package. Pretty much every other color, but not red. To further discourage us, the gloves were all too big.

Pair of Grey Gloves

Now we were starting to get a little worried. Fortunately being a crafty mom I knew this could be fixed. I asked my son how he would feel about me painting the gray gloves with red paint to make them look like Ironman’s gauntlets. After looking at the costume for a little while he agreed to that plan.

Beginning to Paint Gloves

Which brings us to Thursday night, a handful of fabric paints and a pair of grey stretchy gloves. At about 7:15 p.m. I began painting the gloves. While I had been working on the goggles for my other son, the youngest had traced the gloves onto some light cardstock. I cut out the hand shapes and inserted them into the gloves.

Back of gloves red progressing

The black marks you see on the gloves were to help me know where my son’s knuckles were so that I could leave some blank fabric for ease of movement. The fabric paint tends to stiffen the fabric, which would be a bit of a problem for wearing.

Finished Gauntlets

I was getting pretty tired, but I finally finished painting at 11 p.m. The gauntlets came out pretty good, best of all my son was very happy with them. Which made the short night’s sleep worth it.

Halloween Boys

I’ll add Here’s a picture of the boys once they are all costumed up in preparation for Trick or Treating.

I hope you and your family have a fun and safe Halloween.


Posted by: mamas2hands | October 27, 2015

Playing with Corner to Corner

Last Wednesday was the “Causal Crochet” meet-up at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The 3rd Wednesday of every month crocheters can get together from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to crochet and learn new crochet tips and tricks.

C2C projects M2H Designs

At last week’s meeting we started our CAL. We are making a corner to corner scarf to practice the corner-to-corner (C2C) technique.  If you have never tried making corner-to-corner project this is a good starting project that works up fairly quickly. All the crochet skills you need are Chain, Slip Stitch, and Double Crochet.

Corner to corner projects are about the direction the stitches are worked. Projects begin with a single square, following rows of squares are worked on the diagonal with increases until the desired width is reached. Then rows of squares are worked along the diagonal with an increase at one end and decrease at the opposite end until the desired length is reached. Once the desired length is obtained, decreases are worked to square off the final corner.

The C2C Basics Scarf uses 3 different squares made with a ch-3 and 3 dc. Increase, Regular and Decrease Squares.

The first square of the C2C project is basically an Increase square.

Beginning Chain 6

Beginning Chain 6

You start by chaining 6, you will want to keep all your chain stitches relaxed as you will be working back into the actual chains.

First Square completed

First Square completed

The first square is counted as your Row 1 for this pattern.

Beginning Row 2

Beginning Row 2, Ch 6 work in 4th, 5th, & 6th chain stitches from hook.

To begin Row 2 you start with an Increase Square again.

Finished 1st block of Row 2, flip up Row 1 block

Finished 1st square of Row 2, flip up Row 1 square

Once you have made that square, you flip up the first square to work in it’s begining chain 3. Marked in the photo above with yellow dots.

Row 2, Regular Square completed.

Row 2, Regular Square completed.

The second square for Row 2 is a Regular Square. This involves working a slip stitch, ch 3, dc all in the first chain stitch (first yellow dot on the right), then working a dc in each of the next 2 chains of that same square.

I prefer to crochet all my C2C squares by working into the chains. You can also work the Regular and Decrease squares by working into the space below the Ch-3, but this does give you a very different look to the overall fabric and the edges.

Once you have worked the number of increase rows you want for the size of your project, you will need to start decreasing along one side to keep your rows the same length (working “even”). Sometimes you will create your increase by working on top of the last square in the row and your decrease by not working on top of the last square in the row.

10 - Dec Sq part 1

When you need an actual Decrease square will be when your last square in the previous row ends next to the completed fabric. You will use a ch-3 to get your hook back to the right spot. The solitary yellow dot in the photo above is where you work the connecting slip stitch at the end of the previous row.

Sl st & Ch 3 in first ch of next ch-3.

Sl st & Ch 3 in first ch of next ch-3.

Your ch-3 will be connected to the first chain of the next ch-3 (marked with 3 yellow dots) with a slip stitch followed by a chain 3.

12 - Dec Sq part 3

You then work the same as you would for a Regular Square. Continue working regular squares in the chain-3s marked with yellow dots.

Your next “even” row will begin like Row 2, with an Increase square, but will end with a square worked into the ch-3 of the next to last square of the previous row.

Beginning Decreases for 2nd Corner

Beginning Decreases for 2nd Corner

Once you’ve crocheted the “even” rows to the length you want your project you need to make your second corner by decreasing at both ends of  each row. The red square in the above photo is where the last square is worked for that row.

14- Corner Dec R2

Next to last row of corner decrease.

15 - Corner Dec Final Sq

Final square for corner decrease, the last sl st is worked into the chain indicated with a blue dot in the above photo.

Now you are ready to make your own C2C project. Be sure to read thru the pattern thoroughly before starting, and refer to the tutorial above if you get stuck.

C2C Basics Scarf

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Easy

Finished Size:

Approximately 6”wide x 48” long



Ella Rae Seasons (76% Acrylic, 14% Wool, 10% Polymide; 3.52 oz/100g, 219 yds/200m) 1 ball


J-10 / 6mm


Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers


5 squares = 4 inches

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Increase Square: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs

Decrease Square: Ch 3, (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3.

Regular Square: (Sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3.

Pattern Notes:

When working into chain stitches go under 2 strands of yarn.

Your beginning tail will help you identify the bottom right hand (or left hand) corner of your scarf when you begin working even rows. It is also helpful to mark the bottom (first) end of your scarf with a stitch marker.



Row 1/First Square: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs. [1 ch-3, 3 dc]

Row 2: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, flip work up to (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of 1st square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3. [2 ch-3, 6 dc {2 squares}]

Row 3: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, flip work up to* (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * once. [3 ch-3, 9 dc {3 squares}]

Row 4: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, flip work up to* (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 sp of last square in previous row. [4 ch-3, 12 dc {4 squares}]

Rows 5-7: Repeat Row 4. Count at end of Row 7  [7 ch-3 sp, 21 dc {7 squares}]


Row 8: Ch 3, flip work up, *(sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of first square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 of last square in previous row.

Row 9: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, turn work to* (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 of next to last square in previous row, sl st in top of ch-3 of last square in previous row. [7 ch-3 sp, 21 dc {7 squares}]

Rows 10 – 60: Alternate repeating Row 8 and Row 9.


Row 61: Ch 3, turn, (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of first square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 of next to last square in previous row, sl st in top of ch-3 of last square in previous row. [7 ch-3 sp, 18 dc {6 squares}]

Rows 62 – 66: Repeat Row 61.


Fasten off, Weave in tails and block if desired.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 20, 2015

A new look and more

I had a birthday last week, it wasn’t a surprise since it shows up like clock-work on the same day every year. Though I am of the opinion that the years have gotten significantly shorter between birthdays lately.

This past year has been marked with events that have really woken me up and made me very aware that it’s time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. On that note I decided to do something that I have thought about for over 2 years.

Andee 102015 web

The Friday before my birthday I had my hair stylist put big chunks of bright pink and purple all over the top of my head. I really love it. It’s a freedom I thought I would never allow myself. I’ve spent so much of my adult life pretending to be well-behaved and really somewhat boring. I have been chipping away at that image for the past 5 years, and those of you that are close friends know my true outrageous nature.

C2C projects M2H Designs

I am also challenging myself with learning new things in crochet.  Amazingly enough in all my years crocheting I had never crocheted a corner-to-corner project, though I had seen lots of them. This past July I decided it was time to learn this technique and now I’m sharing that excitement with fellow crocheters. Tomorrow (October 21st) during the “Causal Crochet” get together at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe we are going to be starting a Crochet-Along (CAL). I’m going to be demonstrating working a Corner-To-Corner scarf.

There are lots of other big things that I am working away on the next couple of months, so keep dropping by here at the blog to learn what I’m up to.





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