Posted by: mamas2hands | March 16, 2018

It’s All by Design

Last week I posted about Jan and I having a great time exploring the sites in downtown Chicago after the Chain Link conference. Today I’m writing about the 2018 Chain Link Conference in Portland, Oregon. For me this is going to be a bit of a home-coming.

The first CGOA show I went to was in Portland in September 2008. I’ve told the story before how I met some of my dearest friends at that conference, two of them being Jan and Pam. In fact I met them both in my first class there.

Who could have guessed that a little less than 10 years later I would be returning to Portland for a conference as a board member? It will be a very busy conference for me as I hope to meet as many of our membership as possible, while also attending to my board responsibilities.

One of the exciting events at each conference is the Design Competition. The chair person this year for that committee is Louise Thurman and I am the board advisor. She and I have been working to get everything in place for the competition and I’m excited to see it coming together.

If you haven’t ever entered a piece in the Design Competition then this could be your year, you just need to be a member of CGOA to enter. The deadline for entries is June 30th, so you have plenty of time to get something ready. If you’ve been one to experiment with crocheting you may already have a finished piece that can be entered. It doesn’t have to be recently crocheted, it just needs to be your original design and not publicized or published before.

This year we will have 6 categories, that will be awarded a First, Second and Third place prize:

  1. Fashion: garments (not accessories), including sweaters, tops, jackets, vests, skirts and dresses.
  2. Accessories: including wraps, scarves, cowls, socks, mittens, hats, bags, belts and jewelry.
  3. Home Décor & Afghans: items primarily for the home, including afghans, throws, and baby blankets.
  4. Tunisian: 80% of design needs to be Tunisian crochet.
  5. Artistic Expression: items more artistic in nature, including free-form or mixed media pieces, wall hangings, and wearable art.
  6. Thread Crochet: anything made in crochet thread or fine/lace weight yarn (CYC category #0/Lace); this category may overlap other categories, and includes doilies, garments, baby clothes, or accessories.

Then there will also be the $1000 Grand Prize, the Technical Merit Award, and the People’s Choice Award.

Judging will take place at the conference Wednesday and the winners will be announced Friday evening at the Awards Ceremony. All the entries will be on display Thursday evening thru Saturday afternoon at the marketplace. Folks attending the conference will be able to cast a ballot for the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced Saturday evening at the Closing Ceremonies Banquet.

You can find out more details about the Design Competition and how to enter it at the CGOA website: From the home page use the Members Only drop down menu at the top, then go to Design Competition.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 14, 2018

A Perfect Fitting Pi-Day

It is March 14th again and that means it is Pi Day! For those of you that might have forgotten your circular geometry, Pi is the number used to calculate the circumference of a circle. It’s really much more than that, but that covers the most pertinent aspect for those of us yarnie arts folks. It has decimal places going on to infinity, but is generally written 3.14, which is similar to the order we Americans write the date March 14th: 3/14.

If you have been reading my blog for some time, you already know that I’m a bit of a geek. For my new readers, Welcome, and you’ll figure it out in this blog post.

As a designer my geeky math nature provides me with helpful tools in figuring out shaping and fit for garments as well as for calculating yardage for an afghan. Most of the time in my patterns I have worked all the math for you. But a few years back I had a request from some of my fans for the formulas for making perfect fitting hats. Considering the number of different sized heads out there and the variety of yarn weights this seemed like a very good idea.

But how to make a pattern, that could cover all that? Initially I created a class to teach the formula and then I came up with my “teaching” pattern the “Perfect Fit Hat” available in my Ravelry Shop. In this pattern I demonstrate the measurements you need from the head you are trying to fit and illustrate how to make them. As well as a primer on using Pi to get the size hat you want, the pattern includes step by step photo tutorials, stitch charts and a sizing cheat sheet for those that don’t want to mess with the formulas.

To celebrate Pi Day I am offering my Perfect Fit Hat pattern for 25% off sale in my Ravelry shop. This discounted price will only be available for 24 hours ending March 15, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Savings Time). You will need to enter the Coupon Code: CelebratePiDay2018 when checking out on Ravelry.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 12, 2018

Spiraling Stripes Hat

I love spirals. You can probably tell that just by looking at my logo above. One of my happiest crochet moments was when I realized that I could crochet spirals, since then I have put them in many of my designs. My newest pattern is not only  a celebration of the beauty of spirals it is also a celebration of the functionality of spirals.

This is my Spiraling Stripes Hat. It is crocheted using 2 colors and a 2 – armed spiral. Spirals are another version of continuous rounds in crochet. This sort of construction makes a lovely elastic fabric for hats because you don’t have a seam of tight slip stitches joining each round.

The pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop. This pattern includes a step by step photo tutorial and detailed stitch chart to help you understand crocheting the spiral.

I used Round Mountain Fibers worsted weight Superwash Merino wool for this hat. These were 2 colors from their Ornithology Collection: Puffin Blue and California Quail. Their hank size is 174 yards in 100 grams, so this is a slightly heavier weight worsted.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 9, 2018

The CGOA Mega CAL continues

We are still celebrating National Crochet Month, which means a new pattern is now available for the CGOA Mega CAL.

This week’s pattern is “Almost Spring Mitts” designed by Karen McKenna. Be sure your CGOA membership is current because you won’t want to miss this out on this pattern and the others being offered the rest of this month.

Shining Day Wrap as Scarf 800 - Andee Graves M2H Designs

If you missed out on my Shining Day Wrap pattern don’t worry. It is now available for purchase thru my Ravelry Shop.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 7, 2018

Jan & Andee’s Chicago Adventure – Part 2

Since I’m now on the CGOA Board of Directors I am very involved with helping to plan the 2018 Chain Link Conference this coming July in Portland, OR. With that in mind, I thought I should get Part 2 of Jan and I’s Chicago adventure up on the blog.

When Jan and I heard that the 2017 Chain Link Conference was going to be held in Chicago we were very excited. Jan lived in Chicago for 10 years before she moved back East to be closer to her family. She says Chicago was one of her favorite places. I’ve always wanted to visit Chicago because of the Art Institute. They have an amazing collection there, especially of Impressionists (my favorites). I also am very interested in architecture and I knew that Chicago has some famous buildings.

Jan and I generally plan to travel on the Tuesday before the conference starts and then we stay an extra day if it is a place we want to explore. Being Chicago was definitely a place we wanted to explore we decided to stay 2 extra days. Honestly, a week extra is really needed to fully explore all downtown Chicago has to offer.

The first challenge we faced when planning our outings for our 2 days was how to best get from the Westin Hotel in Itasca to downtown Chicago. I was in favor of riding the El, but we still needed to get from the hotel to the nearest station. Fortunately this is where meeting Mike, the friendly cab driver, earlier in the week came in handy.

Jan had done all kinds of research for our 2 days to get the most out of the time we had to explore. Sunday we had reservations to go on an architectural boat tour on the river.

It was a great way to see a lot of the landmark buildings of downtown with a super informative guide (and without getting blisters on our feet).

It was amazing to me how much of Chicago’s impressive architecture is visible from the river.

Our second day was dedicated to the Art Institute.

Jan was a little worried that I was going to hyperventilate in the room where the Monet paintings were on display. I wasn’t really in trouble, but I was excited to see those paintings. Most of them I had only seen as photos in books.

It was wonderful to get close enough to the canvas and see how Monet had picked up various colors of paint in one brush stroke. Made my fingers itch to paint again.

It wasn’t just the Monets though, there were also many other paintings that I’ve always wanted to see. Like the beautiful “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte” by Georges Seraut. This is a massive canvas that took up most of one wall in the room with the Monets.

There was this lovely little painting by Degas, “Danseuse rose {Pink Dancer}“.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Chicago was the use of intricate metal working in the architectural details.  Jan had taken us on a specific path thru the city from the El to the Institute so I could see the beautiful Carson, Pirie,  Scott & Company store building (also known as the Sullivan Building). She was a bit horrified to realize it had been converted into a Target store. Though we were glad that the conversion was subtle, it had actually taken us sometime to realize it was a Target store and no longer the department store that Jan had known.

The Art Institute had many beautiful examples on display,

as well as some fascinating stone work.

We really could have spent a lot more time at the Art Institute, but our time was limited. I wanted to make it to the harbor to see Lake Michigan before we were heading back to our hotel.  I wasn’t able to get a really good photo of the lake, but I did get to see some ducks that were begging food off other harbor visitors.

Then we hiked back to our station to catch the El to head back to the hotel. We spent the evening discussing how we needed to do another trip to Chicago together as there were lots of other sites we never got to.

Later this summer I’ll have Jan and I’s next adventure to blog about when the 2 of us re-unite in Portland, Oregon at the 2018 Chain Link Conference. I hope you’ll be there too.




Posted by: mamas2hands | March 5, 2018

Ring Around the Posies

Springtime is in the air, today it is warmer up here on my mountain and the snow is melting. Of course it’s all a bluff as we will likely have more lots more snow before we are completely finished with winter weather. In the meanwhile it is time to celebrate my latest published pattern “Ring Around the Posies Skirt”, worked in Designing Vashti’s: Lotus Yarn, in the April issue of “I Like Crochet” online magazine.

This skirt is one of my most ambitious designs to be published so far. It’s an advanced level project written in 5 sizes and will definitely build your skills.  The most challenging aspect is the floral motif hemline, so I created placement and joining illustrations to help. These are offered as downloads in the sidebar of the pattern page.

This design includes a center back zipper. I have an article on adding a zipper to your crochet project in the same issue to help with this aspect. If you haven’t had a chance to get a subscription to “I Like Crochet” it is a great way to celebrate National Crochet Month.  Every issue is full of a variety of fun and exciting projects and your subscription allows you access to all the previous published issues as well.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 3, 2018

Needle Felting with Students

Last Saturday I taught a needle-felting class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The shop is very small, so a full needle-felting class is only 6 students. This makes for fun classes where each student gets personal attention from the teacher. I have such a great time teaching and often time my students come up with new ideas or ways of looking at the project that really add to the experience for everyone.

3 of my students were a mother with 2 young daughters (9 and 12).  I generally don’t design my classes for children under 13 years of age, but these 2 young ladies were both very dedicated yarn crafters already. When the shop called to check with me I said let’s give it a try.

Saturday morning we had one student cancel because she had the flu, so we ended up with only 5 students in the class. We all had a great time and my 2 youngest students were intrepid and diligent in the class. The 9 year-old was really determined to work on one of the more challenging techniques for creating the “fleece” of her sheep.

This technique is one I used for creating my original Sheep Toy for the SBVFAF class I taught last September at the SBVFAF in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. It requires quite a bit of patience as you make loop after loop in yarn and needle them into place.

The 12 year-old came up with a fun technique of her own for making a bumpy “fleece”. She wrapped bits of plain roving around her needle and then pushed them into place on her sheep.

My other three adult students were having fun making “curly” sheep using mohair locks for the fleece. Again there was so much creativity amongst the students about how they would incorporate the locks. One student made a soft cloud of locks that she had gently teased apart.

My young students mom had fun creating a special curl over her sheep’s forehead.

The last student was very charmed by my original “curly” sheep, so she worked on adding her locks similar to how I had used them.

We had quite a fun little flock of sheep by the end of the class. Best of all, all 5 students were feeling very inspired and wanted to do more needle felting. I’m always happy when my students are excited to continue with the craft.

I’ll be teaching more needle felting classes this Fall and hope to create some that combine needle felting with crochet.  Keep an eye out here for more news about my upcoming classes.


Posted by: mamas2hands | March 1, 2018

It’s a Shawl, It’s a Scarf, That’s a Wrap

It’s the first of March and that means it is National Crochet Month. To celebrate crochet CGOA is having a Mega Crochet Along with 4 patterns. There will be a new pattern from a different designer every week free to CGOA members.

I’m happy to announce that the first pattern for this celebration is my “Shining Day Wrap”. This wrap is worked in 2 pieces off a center foundation to create a wide lacy rectangle that can be worn as a shawl or scarf. It looks very fancy and complicated, but it is actually an easy pattern to learn.

This pattern includes stitch charts, text instructions and a photo-tutorial on working picots. There is everything you need to successfully crochet your own wrap, even if you are new to crochet. The pattern will be available for free to both CGOA members and non-members on the CGOA website: thru March 7th. You will be able to download the pattern PDF thru the CGOA store.

Starting March 8th my pattern will be available for purchase in my Ravelry shop and there will be a new pattern available to CGOA members each of the following 3 weeks.



Posted by: mamas2hands | February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day

Dainty Hearts Motifs by Andee Graves at “I Like Crochet”

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I have one more thing to share with you.  The folks at “I Like Crochet” online magazine are offering a special Valentine’s sale of their subscriptions.

You can use this link to get the offer on their website. Remember the sale is only going on until February 18th.

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 9, 2018

Pocket Full of Love (Gift Card Holder)

Valentines Day is next week and I’m always dreaming up something fun to celebrate the holiday with my family. This quick little pocket takes only a few hours to crochet up and very little sewing to finish. It’s handy for teacher gifts too.

The trickiest part is attaching the heart as a pocket on the envelope flap. I’ve included a stitch chart with additional information to help you thru this part.

Pocket Full of Love Gift Card Holder

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

3 ½” wide x 3” tall



Worsted wt: Sample uses Berroco Yarns “Ultra Wool” 100% Superwash Wool (3.5 oz/100g, 219 yd/200 m)

Color A: #3326 River (sample used approximately 31 yards/14 grams)

Color B: #3310 Alyssum (sample used approximately 11 yards/5 grams)


H / 5mm



Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers


8 stitches and 7 rows in Envelope stitch pattern = 2”

Heart 3” tall and 3.25” wide

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Joining slip st (slip st): Insert hook in indicated place, YO, pull up a loop thru place and loop on hook, continue to pull up on working loop until original loop is tight.

Picot Point st (picot): Ch 1, Insert hook in previous stitch using front loop and top side loop, YO, pull loop thru stitch and loop on hook and tighten. If you need help working this stitch I have a tutorial on this blog post, it also has some additional help on crocheting rounds 1-2 of the heart used for this project.

Pattern Notes:

Envelope is worked in the round off a chain foundation for 10 rounds, then the flap is worked off half those stitches ending with a button loop. Beginning tail is used to sew the button to the base of the envelope.

Heart pocket is crocheted onto the flap point with the 3rd round of heart stitches, the ending tail is used to sew the last couple of stitches. 12 single crochet stitches at top of heart are left unattached for pocket opening.


Gift Card Envelope

Rnd 1: Begin with Color A, leave a 10 inch long tail, Ch 15, working back bumps: sc in second ch from hook, (dc in next ch, sc in next ch) 6 times, dc in next st, Turn to work along bottom of foundation chain using remaining 2 free loops: sc in first st, (dc in next ch, sc in next ch) 6 times, dc in next st, slip st join to first sc of Rnd. [14 sc, 14 dc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, turn, sc in first dc, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 13 times, dc in last st, slip st join to first sc of Rnd.

Rnds 3 – 10: Repeat Rnd 2.

Envelope Flap

Rows 11-15: Ch 1, turn, sc in first dc, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 6 times, dc next sc. [7 sc, 7 dc]

Row 16: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 6 times. [6 sc, 6 dc]

Row 17: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (sc next dc, dc next sc) 4 times, sc next 2 sts. [6 sc, 4 dc]

Row 18: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 4 times. [4 sc, 4 dc]

Row 19: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (sc next dc, dc next sc) 2 times, sc next 2 sts. [4 sc, 2 dc]

Row 20: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 2 times. [2 sc, 2 dc]

Row 21: Ch 1, turn skip first st, sc next 2 sts. [2 sc]

Row 22: Ch 3, turn, skip 1 st, dc in last st. Button hole created. Fasten off [1 ch-3 sp, 1 dc]

Weave in ending tail, weave beginning tail to center of pocket bottom to sew on button

Heart Pocket

Rnd 1: With Color B, start with an Adjustable Slip Knot, ch 4, 12 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st in top of ch-4.

Rnd 2: Sk 2 sts, 7 Tr in next st, dc next st, 2 dc next 2 sts, 4 dc in next st, 2 dc next 2 sts, dc next st, 7 Tr next st, sl st between last dc and join of Round 1. DO NOT FASTEN OFF. Weave in center tail


Rnd 3 (attaching Heart Pocket to Envelope Flap):

ch 1, starting with first Treble of Round 2 – (sc in next st, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sc next 2 sts,

Use st marker to attach the heart WS to RS point of flap (insert marker between second and third dc of bottom 4 dc

and into unworked sc of Row 20),

working thru both heart and flap: sc in same st as previous st, sc in next 2 sts,

working thru heart only: sc again in previous st,

working thru heart and flap: sc in next 6 sts,

working thru heart only: sc again in previous st, ch 1 and slip st in top of last sc made {picot point made}, remove stitch marker, sc next st,

working thru heart and flap: sc again in previous st, sc next 5 sts,

working thru heart only: sc next st,

working thru heart and flap: sc again in previous st, sc next 2 sts,

working thru heart only: sc again in previous st, (sc next st, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sc last st, slip st to first sc of round.

Fasten off with a 10-12 inch long tail.


Using ending tail of heart, weave thru 6 sc from joining slip st, sew 2 sc to flap, weave across wrong side of heart to opposite side and sew 2 sc to flap. Look to Heart stitch chart for clarification.

Using beginning tail of envelope, sew on button at bottom of envelope for closure.

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