Posted by: mamas2hands | December 6, 2016

Trying to Organize the Beads

The past couple of months I have been working steadily away at getting my home, office and studio areas more organized. My most recent project in this endeavor was getting all my beads that I use with yarn corralled into a single container.

sorting-out-all-the-beads

This was the sorting process today on the Loveseat in my living-room. It is always astonishing to me how big a mess one ends up initially making when you start trying to organize and de-clutter. I did succeed in getting the majority of the beads into containers that make my collection more manageable, though I think I will be taking another run at it soon.

everything-into-the-box

This is the box that is the current home for the beads. It is a hanging file box similar in size to a typical “bankers” box. It’s a good size for this project since most of the beads are glass and a larger box would become extremely heavy. Inside the box are smaller boxes and other containers to keep the beads grouped.

st-chart-boot-camp-motif

I’ll be teaching this coming Saturday at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. My class: “Stitch Chart Bootcamp” where I’ll be introducing students to the ins and outs of reading crochet stitch charts and diagramed patterns. If you are in the area and want to join us you can enroll thru the shop website here.

After teaching on Saturday it will be all about the holidays for me and my family. Usually December gets pretty wild here and I don’t post on the blog as often. I’ll try to have  a new post for you at least once a week. Meanwhile I hope everyone is having a wonderful month full of holiday celebrations with family and friends.

Posted by: mamas2hands | December 2, 2016

My newest pattern at Red Heart.com

Photo courtesy of Red Heart

Photo courtesy of Red Heart

A while back the folks at Red Heart asked me to design a simple beaded necklace that beginning crocheters could manage. They asked me to crochet it in their Red Heart Metallic Crochet Thread in Size #10.

crochet-thread

I’ve always loved this metallic crochet thread, mainly because I’m part magpie. If it has sparkle I will find it. So beads and sparkly crochet thread. I’m there!

beads

Remember these beads? They were for working out this design.

We are coming up on the holiday season. Lots of parties and packages and New Year’s Eve where sparkle is the Thing! This is a great quick crochet project to add some sparkle to your wardrobe or packages. It is even a terrific quick gift project.

lc5292inset2_medium2

The folks at Red Heart did a lovely job photographing the sample I made for them. You can find the free pattern on the Red Heart website here.  The pattern even includes a photo tutorial on making the beaded chain stitch.

multiple-strands

Of course for the holiday season I like my sparkle to really be kicked up a notch. That means I need lots of strands to my necklace.

Maybe sparkly thread isn’t really your thing? Take a look at all the other wonderful colors of Size #10 thread that Red Heart has available.

variety-of-beads-close

You can also have fun with mixing up the size and shape of beads you are using.

stringing-beads

I generally go with the size 6 E beads but in this strand I added size 2 and some triangle shaped beads. Look for beads with a smooth edge around the hole. Otherwise your beads will cut your thread or abrade the metallic tape.

floss-threader

I prefer to use a dental floss threader to string my beads onto the crochet thread (or yarn). The flexibility of the “eye” of the floss threader compresses easily to pull thru the hole in your beads and the sturdiness of the “point” end works well for scooping up beads. You can find these in most drug stores in the dental floss area.

Now it’s your turn. Time to get out the beads and thread and make some sparkle you can wear all year long.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 28, 2016

Simple Double Crochet Hat

2016-tree-close-up

I hope everyone here in the USA had a great Thanksgiving Day with their friends and families. Last weekend my family and I put up our tree and decorated the house. Which means I’m now focused on what gifts I’ll be giving this year. Especially what gifts I’ll be crocheting.

My go-to projects for gift-giving are hats, they are quick and a great canvas for creating something special for my crochet-worthy family and friends. My favorite stitch for making a basic simple hat is the half double crochet. But that stitch can be a bit finicky for beginning crocheters.

simple-dc-hat-andeegraves-m2h-designs

So today I am posting an easy pattern for a basic hat worked in continuous rounds of double crochet stitch with a single round of single crochet for the brim. You will only have to make 2 half double crochet stitches in the entire project.

This hat is slightly more “meshy” than the half double crochet because double crochet stitches have a longer “post”. The mesh like fabric lets the scalp breathe a bit more, nice for those that find some crochet hats to be too warm. This is an especially good pattern for alpaca blend yarns as they tend to make extremely warm fabric.

I chose not to use the single crochet stitch for the body of this hat because it is a tighter stitch and doesn’t have enough give or stretch for a comfortable hat fabric.  The only single crochets are for the “step-up”, “step-down” and the brim finish.

For all my hats I like to start at the center of the crown, so the beginning of the pattern is like working a motif. I like my adjustable slip knot start for that (video on my YouTube channel if you need help) as it allows enough room for the first round’s stitches without leaving a gaping hole in the top of your hat.

stitch-markers

Continuous rounds are basically a spiral. This spiral is less complex than the 4 armed spiral I used in my “Whirlwind Afghan Square” and my “Whirlwind Hat”. Just like in those patterns though, I use stitch markers to help me keep track of where the increases for my rounds are happening and the end of my round.

Simple Double Crochet Hat

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level: Easy

Finished Size:

Head Circumference: Apprx 22”

Materials:

Yarn

Ella Rae “Cozy Soft Chunky” (25% Wool, 75% Acrylic) 3.52 oz/100g, 131 yds/120m: 1 ball

Hook

I-9 / 5.5mm or size needed to obtain gauge.

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers in 2 colors: at least 11 in one color and 1 in a different color

Gauge

3 rounds in flat circle = 3.5” diameter

Special Stitches/Abbreviations

Place Marker (PM)

Single Crochet Stitch (sc): insert hook in stitch, yarn-over, pull up a loop (2 loops on hook shaft), yarn over pull thru both loops on hook.

Half Double Crochet Stitch (hdc): yarn-over, insert hook in stitch, yarn-over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook shaft), yarn over pull thru all 3 loops on hook.

Double Crochet Stitch (dc): yarn-over, insert hook in stitch, yarn-over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook shaft), yarn over pull thru 2 loops on hook (2 loops remain on hook shaft), yarn over pull thru last 2 loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

All rounds are worked without turning, RS of fabric is always facing out.

Instructions

Crown

Rnd 1: Starting with an adjustable slip knot, ch 2, (sc, hdc, 10 dc) in 2nd ch from hook,

PM in each st using different color in last dc.  [1 sc, 1 hdc, 10 dc]

End of Round 2 with St Markers in place.

End of Round 2 with St Markers in place.

Rnd 2: (2 dc next st, move st marker to 2nd st made)12 times.[24 dc]

Rnd 3: (Dc next st, 2 dc in marked st, move st marker to 2nd st made)12 times. [36 dc]

Rnd 4: (Dc each un-marked st, 2 dc in marked st, move st marker to 2nd st made) 12 times. [48 dc]

Rnds 5 – 6: Repeat Round 4. Stitch count end of Round 6 [72 dc]

Starting with first st marker remove every other marker (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11).

Rnd 7: (1 dc in each un-marked st, 2 dc in marked st, move st marker to 2nd st made) 6 times. [78 dc]

Remove all but the last st marker.

Sides

Rnd 8: Dc in each st around, PM in last st of Rnd.

Rnds 9 – 16: Repeat Rnd 8.

Brim

Rnd 17: Hdc next st, sc next 77 sts.

Rnd 18: Sc next 77 sts, sl st next st, sl st back loop next st. Fasten off.

Finishing

Weave in all tails.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Day

It has been another busy week here at the Graves household. My boys are off from school for the Thanksgiving holiday, so we have been doing lots of family stuff. Including a quick shopping expedition with my oldest on Monday. He was complaining that his snow boots were too tight, so I took him to town to get new ones as well as some new regular shoes as well. No wonder his boots had felt too tight, he had grown 2 full sizes since last winter!

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, we are having a small celebration with just the 4 of us. We will have our traditional roasted turkey and all the fixings, this year my oldest son is planning on helping with the meal. He is developing a love for cooking, which I will be hoping to encourage over the next couple of years.

4-squares

I’ve been crocheting quite a bit this week too. Working on a number of Christmas presents and a couple of new designs that I will be sharing with you soon. Best of all though, I finally finished editing the footage for my “Fans & Lace Square – Part 2”. You can find the video on my YouTube Channel now.

I’m thankful for all my wonderful readers and visitors to my YouTube Channel. For those of you in the US and celebrating Thanksgiving I hope you are all having a lovely time with family and friends.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 18, 2016

“Wraps for All Seasons” Blog Tour – Stop #6

Hi everyone. My book “Wraps for All Seasons” has been on a blog tour. We will be making 6 stops for this tour. Today is our last stop. Each of the bloggers will be giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to visit them to see what they have to share with you about my book.

lorene-photo

Stop #6 is with the talented Lorene Eppolite of Cre8tion Crochet. Lorene and I met in October 2013 at the Knit & Crochet Show and have stayed in touch over the years since. Last time I saw her was in Charleston this summer at the Knit & Crochet Show again. We had a lot of fun goofing off in the evenings. Lorene has a busy website where she posts lots of patterns and reviews.

 

napa-valley-shawl-free-triangle-shawl-pattern

 

Patterns like this lovely slightly asymmetrical shawl. It is the “Napa Valley Shawl”. I really like the colors she used for her sample in the photos, but could see it made in any combination of favorite colors. Simple stitch work for the body with a lacy and intriguing border.

free-crochet-pattern-for-the-braided-and-broken-wrap

And if texture is what you love, check out the gorgeous “Braided and Broken Wrap”. Simple construction for a sophisticated look. I could see this worked up in a deep purple or silvery gray to become a staple item in my cool weather wardrobe. Hop on over to Lorene’s site to check out all her other patterns and to enter her drawing for a copy of my book.

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Thanks to all my blogging friends for doing this blog tour. And for all my readers that may have missed out winning a copy of my book. You can purchase it at the Annie’s Craft Store or on Amazon.com.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 16, 2016

Some Crochet Surgery

I’m way late with my mid-week post, but I have been having a Whirlwind of a week.  Clearly I jinxed myself naming my newest hat pattern that.

the-oops-moment

Amongst all my other tasks I’ve been tackling, I’ve been crocheting my latest Playing with Triangles Shawl and ran into a little problem. I had finished the second beaded row and cut my yarn when I discovered that one of my V-stitches in the beginning of the row only had one leg of the V.

It had taken some time to work that row because each V-stitch had a hoisted-on bead on the chain one. I really didn’t want to pull out the whole row and re-do all those beaded stitches. Plus I wasn’t sure I would have enough yarn to finish the whole row once I put in the missing double crochet stitch.

preparing-for-surgery

Instead I decided to do a little surgery on my project.

the-first-cut

It’s a bit un-nerving taking scissors to my crochet work, but I am getting more comfortable with it all the time. This row wasn’t so bad, since it was the last row I had worked. I wouldn’t have to incorporate the new stitches with a row above.

unraveled-back-to-mistake

Unraveling to where I need to work the missing double crochet.

beginning-repair

Starting repair

ready-to-add-new-yarn

Ready to add new yarn

 

pulling-up-new-yarn-loop-with-old-yarn-loop

New Yarn and Old Yarn loops on hook

pulled-thru-old-yarn-end

Pulled thru old yarn end

 

created-new-beaded-ch-st

New beaded chain-stitch made

unraveling-to-beg-of-next-v-st

Un-raveling to beginning of next V-st.

securing-top-of-st

Securing top of stitch

preparing-to-join-2-vs

Preparing to join the 2 V-stitches

After all the cutting and un-raveling I joined in some new yarn and crocheted the stitches I pulled out. It is a little hard to see what I was doing with these stitches since the new yarn and old yarn are the same color.  But this is more just to show you that no one is perfect.

all-done

Surgery is over and the patient has survived.

repair-worked-over

Once the extra tails are woven in, you won’t be able to see where the surgery even happened.

I’m reminded of something Margaret Hubert said in a class I took with her, “Admire your work often, you’ll catch your mistakes sooner.” I’ll be admiring my work a lot more before I cut my yarn from now on.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 12, 2016

Whirlwind Hat

As many of my readers already know, I love to crochet hats. They are a fun quick project and a great canvas for experimenting with stitch patterns and new yarns. I seem to also make them frequently for gifts to family and friends.

My favorite construction method is working crown down in continuous rounds. Because there isn’t a join for each round the hat will come out seamless in appearance. This also creates a nice elastic fabric, a handy attribute for a project that will need to fit comfortably on your head.

But what if you want a hat with color stripes and you aren’t using one of the handy yarns with gradual color changes?

You can create stripes of color in your hats by changing the color of yarn as you work, but that can leave you with a “jog” in the fabric when you change colors.  Another option in this style of color change is to “step down” your stitches in the first color, then “step up” with the new color. It will look less disruptive to the fabric colors, but it is a bit fiddly and not always ideal for the elasticity of your hat fabric.

What is a crocheter to do?

whirlwind-hat-andee-graves-m2h-designs

Fortunately the solution is actually quite simple. Spirals.

crown-of-hat

This method gives you not only a lovely smooth striped fabric, it also creates a visually interesting crown for your hat. You can work with anywhere from 2 to 8 “arms” in your spiral and use a different color for each arm to get the different color of stripes. Using stitch markers will make this method almost mindless as you work the hat.

yarn-management-solution

The only thing you have to contend with is how many balls of yarn you are juggling. My favorite way to keep the yarn from tangling is to have the balls snuggly secured in a container. Then I turn the container as I work each color. In the photo above I used a small clean waste bin to hold the yarn.

As you see in the photo I also have my yarn inside a large clear plastic storage bag. If needed I can toss the hat, hook and pattern into this bag and grab the whole thing to take with me to work on while I’m on the go.

Today I have a hat pattern for you that some may find a bit challenging. Fortunately my video tutorial for my Whirlwind Afghan Square: “Whirlwind How-To Part 1” uses the same technique as the first 8 rounds of the hat, and may help you understand the construction of the spiral.

Whirlwind Hat

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

21” circumference

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted wt (Sample uses Lion Brand Yarns “Vanna’s Choice” 100% Acrylic (3.5 oz/100g, 170 yd/156 m)

Color A: #105 Silver Blue (used approximately 28 yds/)

Color B: #109 Colonial Blue (used approximately 46 yds – this was my Brim color)

Color C: #099 Linen (used approximately 28 yds)

Color D: #146 Dusty Purple (used approximately 28 yds)

Hook

I / 5.5mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

8 Stitch markers

8 Stitch markers in 3 colors (1 in first color, 3 in next color, 4 in last color)

Gauge

First 5 rounds of pattern = 4” in diameter

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Adjustable Slip Knot – Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook shaft. Video on my YouTube Channel if you need help.

Hdc – Half double Crochet stitch

PM – Place stitch marker

FPhdc – Front Post half double crochet stitch

BPhdc – Back Post half double crochet stitch

BPsc – Back Post single crochet stitch

Pattern Notes:

Hat uses 4 colors, follow instructions for using stitch markers so you don’t lose your place.

Color 1 of stitch markers is used to mark last stitch of entire round as well as last stitch/increase point of that color section.

Color 2 of stitch markers is used to mark the other 3 last stitch/increase point of color sections.

Color 3 of stitch markers is used to mark the first increase point in each color section.

When working the first 9 rounds move stitch markers up to 2nd stitch worked in each increase point, For Rounds 10 – 18 you will only be using the markers for the last stitch of each color section.

Instructions

CROWN

Crown at End of Round 9

Crown at End of Round 9

Rnd 1: Starting with color A make an adjustable slip knot, ch 2, (sc, hdc) in 2nd ch from hook, pull up a long loop and remove hook, with color B *insert hook in center/first ch of round, pull up a loop on hook, ch 1, (sc, hdc) in same center/ch, pull up a long loop and remove hook,* ; Repeat from * to * with Color C and D. PM in each hdc w/end of color/round markers (placing single color marker in hdc of Color D), PM in each sc with first increase markers. [4 sc, 4 hdc]

Rnd 2: *2 hdc in next 2 sts, move st marker to 2nd st worked in each st, pull up long loop and remove hook**, insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. [16 hdc]

Rnd 3: *(Hdc in next st, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to 2nd st worked) 2 times, pull up long loop and remove hook, insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. [24 hdc]

Note: Measure gauge after finishing Round 5, if your gauge is small and you don’t want to start over work 10 rounds following the increase pattern, if your gauge is large only work 8 rounds following the increase pattern.

Rnds 4 – 9: *(1 hdc in each unmarked st, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to 2nd st worked in marked st) 2 times, pull up long loop and remove hook,** insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. Stitch count for end of Rnd 9 [72 hdc]

SIDES9th-rnd-inc-markers-removed

Remove the Color 1 stitch markers – you will not be increasing any further.

st-marker-side-of-round-9-last-st

I put one of these stitch markers in the side of the last stitch in Round 9, this makes it easier to keep track of the number of side rounds worked.

working-sides-with-color-sections

Rnd 10: * hdc in each st until work in marked st, move marker up to st worked in marked st,** insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. [72 hdc]

Rnds 11 – 20: Repeat Rnd 10.

Rnd 21: Step down to one color: Decide which of your 4 colors you want to be your brim color,

stepping-down-colors

then with each of the other 3 color segments: Hdc in each st until one st remains un-worked before the marked st, sc next st, slip st loosely in next st, pull up a long loop, remove st marker.

With brim color: Hdc in each st ending in the marked st, place stitch marker in last st;

Go back to other 3 colors: slip st snugly in next st, fasten off and pull end thru last slip st.

Stitch counts at end of Round 21 [66 hdc, 3 sc, 3 loose slip st]

BRIM

Rnd 1: Hdc in each st around, move st marker up to st worked in marked st. [72 hdc]

Rnd 2: (FPhdc next st, BPhdc next st) 36 times. [36 FPhdc, 36 BPhdc]

Rnd 3 (FPhdc next st, BPhdc next st) 35 times, FPhdc next st, BPsc next st, loose slip st next 2 sts, slip st snugly next st, fasten off and pull end thru last slip st. [35 BPhdc, 36 FPhdc, 1 BPsc, 2 loose slip st]

Finishing

Weave in tails.

Now have some fun making hats. Play around with the colors you use, make 2 arms of the spiral in 1 color and the other 2 arms in a contrasting color for a 2 color version. Mix it up with using a variegated yarn for one of the arms and pulling solid colors for the yarns you make the other 3 arms with.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 11, 2016

“Wraps for All Seasons” Blog Tour – Stop #5

Hi everyone. My book “Wraps for All Seasons” is going on a blog tour. We will be making 6 stops for this tour. Each of the bloggers will be giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to visit them to see what they have to share with you about my book.

Free-Pattern-Emily's-Super-Slouchy-Knit-Hat-By-Jessie-At-Home

Stop #5 is the absolutely amazing Jessie Rayot of Jessie-At-Home.com. I had the honor 3 years ago of being Jessie’s CGOA Mentor, though frankly, this talented and driven woman didn’t need much mentoring. She has amazing designs in Crochet and Knit. fall-sparkles-shawl-free-crochet-pattern-by-jessie-at-home

Jessie has lots of lovely patterns available on her site. Like her gorgeous “Fall Sparkles Shawl”. The shawl uses a pretty lace work pattern, simple elegant border and beads for a bit of bling. It would make a great gift for the holidays or make it for yourself to wear to a party.

holiday-poncho-free-crochet-pattern-by-jessie-at-home

Or if you are feeling the chilly weather heading into winter, the “Holiday Poncho” might be just the ticket. Snugly warm, stylish look and simple construction. What more could any crocheter ask for? Be sure to hop on over to Jessie’s site to check out these patterns and enter to win a copy of my book.

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The last stop for the “Wraps for All Seasons” blog tour will be next Friday, November 18th.

You can purchase my book at the Annie’s Craft Store or on Amazon.com.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 9, 2016

Stitch Markers – Your Best Friend

Some of my Favorite Stitch Markers

Stitch markers are handy tools to have in your crochet kit. My favorites are locking stitch markers, the ones I use the most are made by Clover and I tend to have a package of them in every project bag.

Row 3 completed

Increase points marked with Stitch Markers

I most often use them to mark stitches that will have something different happening, such as an increase or decrease. This allows me to enjoy stitching along without worrying about when I’ll need to change what I am doing with my stitches, I know that once I get closer to the next stitch marker I’ll have to pay closer attention.

First 5 rounds w Markers

I use directions for stitch marker placement in many of my patterns for purposes of clarity. Such as, “hdc in each un-marked st, 2 hdc in marked st”. An example of this is my pattern for the “Whirlwind Afghan Square” and you can see how I move my stitch markers in the video “Whirlwind How-To Part 1” on my YouTube Channel.

StitchMarkerin-Use

First stitch of Round marked with Stitch Marker.

They are also very handy for marking the first stitch of a round/row, making it easy to keep track of where to join a round or end a row.

saving-the-working-loop2

I place a locking stitch marker in the working loop of my project before placing it in my project bag. That way I don’t pull out stitches when pulling the project out to work on it.

chain-with-counting-markers

When working a long starting chain I will place stitch markers every 10 or 20 chains as I crochet to make counting them easier. Especially handy for those patterns that instruct you to “Chain 300” at the beginning of the instructions.

counting-rows-with-markers

I will also use this same method to help me keep track of rows or rounds in larger projects, placing the stitch markers in the side of a stitch every 10 or 20 rows.

oops-marked

I will even use stitch markers to mark where I need to frog back to when I spot a mistake.

Now it’s your turn, get out those stitch markers and see if they don’t become your favorite tool (after your hook) in your crochet kit.

whirlwind-hat-andee-graves-m2h-designs

And if you want to try your stitch markers in a new project check out my new pattern: Whirlwind Hat.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 8, 2016

“Wraps for All Seasons” Blog Tour – Stop #4

Hi everyone. My book “Wraps for All Seasons” is going on a blog tour. We will be making 6 stops for this tour. Each of the bloggers will be giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to visit them to see what they have to share with you about my book.

tamara-photo-2016

Stop #4 is with the amazing Tamara Kelly of Mooglyblog.com. Tamara and I met for the first time in real life at the 2014 CGOA conference in Manchester, NH. Since then we have gotten to be good friends and enjoy talking crochet and kids together. Tamara is a genius at designing simple fun projects that work up quickly, check out her blog for all kinds of patterns and crochet information.

tidal-wave-shawl-sm

I think this Tidal Wave Shawl is so fun. It is crocheted with simple stitches and shaping that even a beginning crocheter can tackle. The added drama comes from the color changes you work in the last half of the project. Think of all the beautiful color combinations you could use! I’m thinking it could even be a great “stash buster”, since who says you need to stick to 2 colors only.

happiest-blanket-ever-e1475030783225

For those of you that prefer making afghans and blankets, you’ll love the Happiest Blanket Ever. This is another fun “stash buster” project that you can play with color in. Tamara has provided sizing information in the pattern, so you can make the size that is just right for you.

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The next stop for the “Wraps for All Seasons” blog tour will be this Friday, November 11th.

You can purchase my book at the Annie’s Craft Store or on Amazon.com.

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