Posted by: mamas2hands | October 25, 2016

Fans & Lace Afghan Square Video

After far too many adventures and the acquisition of new skills I am happy to announce that the first video for my “Fans & Lace Afghan Square” is up on my YouTube Channel. If you missed the post with the pattern you can find it here.

Click here to see it: Fans & Lace Square – Part 1


This video was coming out rather long, so I split it up. Part 1 shows Rounds 1-6, Part 2 will be Rounds 7-12 with a quick animation of Rounds 1-6.  There is still a bit more production work to finish up on Part 2. Part 1 has all the “tricky” bits of the pattern though.


Hope you are all having a great start to your week. In between working on videos and new designs, I’m in the trenches of helping my boys pull together costumes for Halloween. They’ve both picked characters from a video game called “Undertale”.




This could get interesting.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 21, 2016

“Wraps for All Seasons” Blog Tour – Stop #1

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.


The first stop on our blog tour is the lovely Elena Hunt of Beatrice Ryan Designs.


Elena is a talented designer and has lots of fun patterns available on her blog, like her “Amazing Grace Blissful Slouchy Hat”.  This design is part of her Amazing Grace series and you might recognize the fancy stitch pattern from the headband I crocheted awhile back.

Finished Headband on Model

That was from her “Amazing Grace Headband” pattern. You can find the whole series of Amazing Grace Patterns on her blog, just look at the top of the page for the tab to take you there.


And her “Effortless Chic Poncho”. The gorgeous striping came from the yarn Elena picked, Plymouth Encore Dynamo in Color #020. Beautiful and the yarn does the heavy lifting, so you get a relaxing time crocheting.


The next stop for the “Wraps for All Seasons” blog tour will be next Friday, October 28th.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 18, 2016

Being a Mom

This past weekend turned out very differently than I had anticipated. Instead of working on my video for the Fans & Lace Afghan Square, I ended up helping my 10 year-old son (also known as Thing 2) finish a project for school.

He had picked a rather ambitious project. His class at school has been reading mystery books and then doing a unit of study about them. As part of that they each needed to create something at home to bring in for a presentation at school this past Monday.

His at home project was to build a model of the mansion where much of the story took place in his book. He decided his model would be a sort of doll-house that would open up and show the various levels of the house.  He had 4 weeks to work on it, but he had a little trouble realizing how big a project this really was. Then this past week he realized he had a lot of work to get done.

We had already picked out a large cardboard boot box with a hinged lid to use for the “house”, so he just needed to decide what he wanted to do with the interior of the house. We have lots of cardboard and cardstock from our re-cycling bin to use, so supplies weren’t a problem.

I did all of the cutting of the heavier materials with a utility knife because he was scared of how sharp it is. Right as I was telling him that you just have to be cautious and you won’t hurt yourself I managed to slice my fore-finger on my left hand.


Thing 2’s completed project.

We kept working on the project and he emailed his teacher to see if he could have an extra day. Yesterday evening was the wild push to finish the project. I stayed up late doing the last of the hot-gluing bits and bobs in place.

We all learnt a lot on this project, I learnt I need to teach my boys to use sharp blades and the glue gun. Yes, they might end up cutting themselves or burning themselves, but that is part of learning to work with those tools. Chances are they are less likely to hurt themselves initially. I know I rarely did any injury to myself when I first worked with any of those tools.

Familiarity with the tools over time may have dulled my fear, thus the current injury. Not helped that my attention was divided between the task of cutting and talking to my son. Seems to be one of the dangers of motherhood, constant distractions.


I spent the rest of the weekend with a bandage on my finger. Total pain in the backside when I want to crochet because that is the finger I use to feed my yarn into my work. The yarn kept wanting to catch on the bandage.

I also need to re-film one segment for my video because of the upload issues last week. Somewhere in all the mess of that adventure one segment was completely corrupted. I have been hesitant to re-film with a bandaged finger though.


I hope to be back in my studio filming in another day or 2. My cut is healing up pretty quickly. I did get this photo of the quantities of yarn needed for the Fans & Lace Afghan Square. For the actual amounts used in each round my post about changing colors can help you.

I won’t be doing any more cutting with anything other than scissors the next couple of days, hopefully that means I will be able to get my video completed before this weekend.

*Update October 21, 2016 9 p.m. Not quite to the finish line with the video still, though loads closer. Looking like Monday before it is on YouTube. I’m taking most of tomorrow off from work to meet with a dear friend in Denver for brunch and some museum time. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 15, 2016

It’s “I Love Yarn Day”!

Can you believe October is at the half way mark already? I know I’m finding it a big shocking.

But there are good things about reaching October 15th, the best being that it is “I Love Yarn” day. Of course I love yarn. Some members of my family might say I love it a bit too much, especially when it starts to take over the entire living room of our house.

Pile of Yarn

One of the ways folks are celebrating this day is by teaching other’s to play with yarn. Whether it is crocheting, knitting or weaving it is great fun to play with yarn. As you all know my favorite yarn craft is Crochet.

Later today I will have a video tutorial for my Fans & Lace Afghan Square up on my YouTube channel.  I like to make my annual Afghan Square a skill building project. Learning new tips and tricks when crocheting is one of my very favorite things about playing with yarn.  Passing those tips and tricks along to others is my next favorite.

In the Fans & Lace Afghan Square I played with making stitches in un-common ways like my “loose” slip stitch and my standing double crochet. I also worked stitches between stitches and into slip stitches.  The video uses a combination of stop motion animation and live action film to demonstrate everything you need to help you master these new skills.

It’s been taking me a little longer to cut it all together than expected. Of course I am running up against that corollary of Murphy’s Law, “If you are in a hurry, your technology will go on strike.” I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my computer and my camera deciding to be super slow.

Fingers crossed I will have everything sorted before my Saturday has run out of time.

*Update Saturday, October 15, 2016 6:45p.m. Sadly the video is not going to happen today. My computer ate all the work I had done on it the past 2 days, so it will be either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week before it goes up. Thanks for your patience.*


Posted by: mamas2hands | October 13, 2016

Changing Color, Changing the Look

We are going to have some more fun with my “Fans & Lace Afghan Square” today.


When I first designed this square I picked out 3 colors that I thought looked nice together and began to crochet. But you don’t have to stick to just 3 colors. I thought I would show you some other fun things you can do with this square by using more colors or even changing when you change colors.


For this version of my square I used only 2 colors changing color where indicated in the pattern.


In this square I used the same 2 colors, but started with the silver instead of the blue. I also changed colors every round after working the first 2 rounds. Notice the fun zig-zag effect created with the V-stitch rounds.


I was inspired by Tamara’s square ( she worked from my pattern. She used 6 colors working with the changes where I wrote them except in Round 12. I loved the orange zig-zag around her square and decided to play with that in some of my squares.


I also played with using 4 colors. Not sure how happy I am with how this square came out, but I do like the autumn colors in it.


In the pattern I have you fasten off your yarn and join with a new yarn color 7 times. If you wanted, you could use 8 different colors, like I did in the square shown above. This is a great way to use up scraps of leftover yarn in your work-basket.

To help you decide if you have enough yarn I have listed the 8 sections and the yardage each needs. I broke out the yardage for the individual rounds in the last 3 sections, in case you want to use a different color in each round. These were the yardages I used with Lion Brand Yarns “Vanna’s Choice” and a size I (5.5mm) hook. I’ve rounded the yardage up from the fractions so that you should have a little wiggle room.

If your gauge is very different from mine listed in the pattern you may have to adjust accordingly.

Rounds 1 & 2:  4 yards

Round 3:  2 yards

Round 4:  12 yards

Round 5:  4 yards

Round 6:  14 yards

Rounds 7 & 8: 26 yards  (Round 7: 10 yards, Round 8: 16 yards)

Rounds 9 & 10: 34 yards   (Round 9: 14 yards, Round 10: 20 yards)

Rounds 11 & 12: 42 yards   (Round 11: 18 yards, Round 12: 24 yards)

Now it is your turn to dive in and play with color. Be sure to stop by the blog this Saturday as it will be “I Love Yarn” day and I’ll be celebrating with a fun give-away and a video tutorial for the Fans & Lace Afghan Square.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 10, 2016

Working the Standing DC Stitch


In my Fans & Lace Afghan Square I started a number of the rounds with the “Standing Double Crochet Stitch”. Some of you may not know this stitch, so I wanted to share a little photo tutorial with tips on working it.

I like the standing dc for starting a new color instead of fastening on the new yarn color with a slip stitch, then chaining 3 to be the first dc. I have used the chain 3 method in the Fans & Lace square too, but only for when I am not changing the color in the next round.


To start a standing double crochet, make a slip knot in your new yarn color and place the loop over the shaft of your hook.


Yarn over on the shaft of the hook like you would do for working any double crochet in a project. Use you thumb or forefinger to keep the yarn over from twisting away.


Insert your hook into the stitch or space where you want to make your first double crochet.


Yarn over and pull up a loop. 3 loops on the shaft of your hook.


Yarn over, pull thru 2 of the loops on your hook. 2 loops left on hook.


Yarn over, pull thru the last 2 loops on your hook. You’ve made your double crochet stitch and attached your new color of yarn in one go. Continue crocheting as normal.

When you are working rounds that end with a slip stitch join there is a little trick that I like to use for working into the standing dc.


Insert your hook into the standing dc and pull the tail to get the slip knot (yellow arrow) below your hook, complete your slip stitch.


The completed slip stitch (purple arrow) should sit in front of the knot (yellow arrow) of your standing dc.


In Round 4 of the Fans & Lace Square I started the round with a standing dc as part of a cluster stitch. You could call this a “Standing Cluster”.  In a cluster stitch the base of the double crochets being used are worked first, then the last step pulls thru all the top loops of those stitches to bind them together.


I start the cluster with my slip knot loop  and a yarn-over on the shaft of my hook, then insert the hook into the space where I will work the cluster (just like I did for the standing dc).


Yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook).


Yarn over and pull thru 2 loops on hook (2 loops on hook).


Yarn over, insert into space again (3 loops on hook).


Yarn over, pull up a loop (4 loops on hook).


Yarn over, pull thru 2 loops on hook (3 loops on hook).


Yarn over, insert into space a 3rd time (4 loops on hook).


Yarn over, pull up a loop (5 loops on hook).


Yarn over, pull thru 2 loops on hook (4 loops on hook).


Yarn over, pull thru all 4 remaining loops.


Cluster stitch completed.

If you haven’t seen the pattern for my Fans & Lace Afghan Square you can find it by clicking here.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 8, 2016

Fans & Lace Afghan Square


October 13, 2016: Hello dear readers and new visitors just a little update to this post.

Happy Birthday to Me! I’m 21 today! No, not 21 years old, my Fans & Lace Afghan Square is block #21 in the 2016 Moogly Afghan CAL.

If you hadn’t heard about the Moogly Afghan CAL it’s not too late to join the fun. You can hop on over to to get all the details and see Tamara’s interpretation of my square.

My video tutorial “Fans & Lace Square – Part 1” for this pattern will be is up on my YouTube Channel this Saturday.

Thank you so much to Veronique HoRaive for providing a French Translation of this pattern, you can find the PDF of the pattern here. fans-and-lace-afghan-square-french-1

Check out today’s blog post to find for some fun ideas on playing with color choices and the number of colors used in the square. “Changing Color, Changing the Look”.


It’s October again and the first week has gone flying by! I’ve less than a week before I celebrate my birthday, but I thought I would get an early start with my present to all my lovely readers.


This is my newest afghan square. I was playing with changing the height of stitches within the rounds. This is a skill building pattern with techniques that some may find challenging. Next week I’ll have a video on my YouTube channel that will walk you thru the pattern and the tricky bits.

I worked my sample square with just 3 colors, but you can use fewer or more than that. Next week I will also have a post showing you how changing the number of colors and when you change colors can dramatically change the appearance of your square.


Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

12” square



Worsted wt (Sample uses Lion Brand Yarns “Vanna’s Choice” 100% Acrylic (5 oz/142g, 251 yd/230 m)

Color A: #142 Rose (sample used approximately 52 yards)

Color B: #101 Pink (sample used approximately 48 yards)

Color C: #146 Dusty Purple (sample used approximately 38 yards)


I / 5.5mm


Yarn/tapestry needle for weaving in ends


First 2 rounds of pattern = 2” across square

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Standing Double Crochet (Standing dc): make slip knot in yarn and place loop snugly on shaft of hook, yo and insert hook into indicated st, yo, pull up a loop, (yo, pull thru 2 loops on hook) twice. If substituting for a chain start of a round, do not work the first 3 chains of the round instructions. *If you need some help with this stitch check out my blog post: Working the Standing DC Stitch.

3 double crochet decrease (3dc Dec): YO, insert hook in first st, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops, (YO insert hook in next st, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops) 2 times, YO pull thru all remaining loops on hook.

V-stitch (V-st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated st or sp.

10 Treble Fan (Fan): (5 Tr, ch 1, 5 Tr) in indicated st or sp.

3 double crochet Cluster (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook.

8 Treble Shell (8T Shl): (4 Tr, ch 1, 4 Tr) in indicated st or sp.

Granny Shell (Gr Shl): 3 dc worked in indicated st or sp.

Pattern Notes:

Start square with an adjustable slip knot. *If you haven’t ever used an Adjustable Slip Knot this video shows you how. Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook.

Round 2 specifies “sl st loosely”, this means work the indicated slip stitches similar to a chain stitch and do not pull the working loop to tighten them as in a joining slip stitch. You will be working into those loose slip stitches in Round 3.


Rnd 1: Starting with Color A, ch 4 (counts as center and first dc), (11 dc) in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beginning ch-4. Gently pull on beginning tail to tighten center. [12 dc]

Rnd 2: (Sl st loosely before next dc in space between stitches, Ch 3, 3dc dec worked across next 3 sts, ch 3) 4 times, sl st tightly into first sl st. Fasten off. [4 3dc dec, 8 ch-3 sps]

Rnd 3: Change to Color B. (Standing dc, ch 1, dc) in any sl st, (counts as first V-st), (*ch 2, sk ch-3 sp, {sc, ch 3 sc} in top of Dec, ch 2, sk ch-3 sp,* V-st next sl st) 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sl st to first V-st. Fasten off. [8 sc, 8 ch-2 sps, 4 ch-3 sps, 4 V-sts]

Rnd 4: Change to Color C. Begin as with Standing dc, YO, insert hook into ch-1 sp of any V-st in Rnd 3, yo, pull up a loop, YO, pull thru 2 loops on hook, (YO, insert hook in same ch-1 sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining 4 loops on hook (counts as first Cl), (*skip 4 sts, Fan in next ch-3 sp, skip 4 sts,* Cl in next ch-1 sp) 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sl st to beginning Cl. Fasten off. [4 Cl, 4 Fans]

Rnd 5: Change to Color B. Standing dc in any Cl from Rnd 4, ch 1, dc in same st (counts as first V-st),(*Ch 2, skip 2 sts, sc next st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip 2 sts, sc next st, ch 2, skip 2 sts,* V-st next st) 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sl st to first V-st of round. Fasten off. [16 sc, 4 V-sts, 12 ch-3 sps, 8 ch-2 sps]

Rnd 6: Change to Color A. Standing dc in ch-1 sp of any V-st in Rnd 5, (ch 1, dc) 2 times in same ch-1 sp, (*skip ch 2 sp, {dc, ch 2, dc} next sc, skip 1 ch-3 sp, 8Tr Shl in next ch-3 sp, skip next ch-3 sp, {dc, ch 2, dc} next sc, skip ch-2 sp,* {[dc, ch 1] 2 times, dc} in next ch-1 sp) 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sl st to first dc of round. Fasten off. [28 dc, 32 Tr, 12 ch-1 sp, 8 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 7: Change to Color C. Standing dc in first ch-1 sp in direction of work from corner ch-1 sp, dc in same ch-1 sp, skip one st, 2 dc next ch-1 sp, (*skip 2 sts, Gr Shl in next ch-2 sp, skip 2 sts, Gr Shl next st, skip 2 sts, {Gr Shl, ch 2, Gr Shl} in next ch-1 sp, sk 2 sts, Gr Shl next st, sk 2 sts, Gr Shl in next ch-2 sp, sk 2 sts,* {2 dc in next ch-1 sp} 2 times) 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sl st to first dc of round. [24 Gr Shl, 16 dc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 8: Ch 3 (counts as dc), *dc in each st along side until reach corner ch-2 sp, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in corner ch-2 sp, Repeat from * until work last corner of square, dc in each st until reach first dc of round, sl st to first dc. Fasten off. [104 dc, 4 ch-2 sp] 26 dc each side

Rnd 9: Change to Color A. (Standing dc, ch 1, dc) in 12th dc in direction of work from ch-2 corner sp, (counts as first V-st), (*skip 2 sts, V-st next st,* Repeat from * to * until 2 dc remain before corner ch-2 sp, {V-st, ch 2, V-st} in corner ch-2 sp) 4 times, Repeat from * to * until 2 sts are left before first V-st of round, sl st to first st of V-st. [40 V-st, 4 ch-2 sp] 10 V-st each side

Rnd 10: (Loosely sl st, ch 3, 2 dc) in first ch-1 sp (counts as first Gr Shl), (*Gr Shl in ch-1 sp of each V-st* until reach ch-2 sp at corner, {dc, ch 2, dc} in corner ch-2 sp) 4 times, Repeat from * to * until reach first Gr Shl of round, sl st to first st of Gr Shl. Fasten off. [40 Gr Shl, 8 dc, 4 ch-2 sp] 10 Gr Shl each side

Rnd 11: Change to Color B. (Standing dc, ch 1, dc) in middle st of any Gr Shl along a side (counts as first V-st), (*V-st in middle st of each Gr Shl *until work in last Gr Shl before corner ch-2 sp, {V-st, ch 2, V-st} in corner ch-2 sp) 4 times, Repeat from * to * until reach first V-st of round, sl st to first st of V-st. [48 V-st, 4 ch-2 sp] 12 V-st each side

Rnd 12: Repeat Rnd 10. [48 Gr Shl, 8 dc, 4 ch-2 sp] 12 Gr Shl each side


Weave in tails and block.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 5, 2016

Picking colors for Free Form Crochet

Pile of Yarn from Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair

Pile of Yarn from Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair

Remember all that yarn I brought back with me from the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair? I’m putting some of it together with other yarn from my stash to make a free form crochet scrumble.

When I made my first free form scrumble years ago I thought it would be an easy way to use up left-over odds and ends from my stash. That was when I discovered that one of the trickiest things about free form, is picking the colors of yarn to use together. I wasn’t all that happy with my first scrumbles, but I was intrigued enough to persist.



A great short cut for choosing colors is to pick out a multi-colored yarn that appeals to you, then match it with solid yarns in the colors that are in the variegated yarn. This is exactly what I did to begin this project. I used this hand-dyed yarn as my guide for picking the other colors.

If you are like me, a large percentage of your yarn stash is dominated by a couple of colors. In my case I have lots of Purples and blues. I purchased the hand-dyed hank of yarn knowing that I would have other yarns in my stash that would work with it. If you don’t already have a variegated yarn you want to use in your free-form project, look at your stash for color inspiration before purchasing one.


In the end you want a variety of shades as well as colors for your yarn choices. I looked at lighter and darker variations of the colors in my variegated yarn. Like the very deep blue in the furry yarn, that deep color and texture will add some interesting effects to the final fabric. The bright Lime will create contrasting pops.

Hopefully I’ll have some pretty Free Form scrumbles to show you in the next couple of weeks.

Posted by: mamas2hands | September 30, 2016

My New Book!


Well, I’ve been mostly quiet about this project, waiting for the book to actually be available. You can purchase it now on the Annie’s Craft Store, online here.

Pile of Swatches

I’ll be telling you a lot more about this book and my inspiration and processes creating these designs over the next couple of months. You might recall this teaser shot of swatches from last Autumn. That was the beginning of this book.

For now, I’ll just leave you with some eye-candy of the designs so beautifully photographed by the folks at Annie’s.











Posted by: mamas2hands | September 28, 2016

Modifying a Pattern


Daisies in Val’s Garden

My friend Val and I get together most Tuesday mornings to crochet and visit. This Tuesday she was determined to finish up some small projects that she had in her basket. One of those projects was a headband she was making from my “Springtime Headband” pattern.


She wanted the headband to be adjustable, so I came up with a modification to add a button band and buttons to it. We were both pleased with how the finished headband looked and Val was really happy to have one of her projects completed.

Blog Headband alone


I thought some of my readers might enjoy using this modification as well. I’m posting the changes we made. The original pattern can be found on my “Crochet and Springtime” post from March 2015. The post also includes a photo tutorial on making cluster and puff stitches.



modifications and design by Andee Graves 

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate


Headband is approximately 3.25”/8.125cm wide x 23”/55cm long.


Worsted weight yarn – approximately 35g or 82 yards

Val was using Lion Brand Yarns, Vanna’s Choice, I used Lion Brand Yarns, Wool-ease for my original project.


Size US 7 / (4.5mm)


2 – buttons 3/4 inch diameter

Stitch markers

Yarn needle


6 rows & 9 sts in hdc = 2” 


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.

V-Stitch (V-st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated st or sp.


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 button band row is added and edging is worked all the way around with the right side of fabric facing you.


For the buttoned version of this headband work Rows 1 – 65 in original pattern.



Button Band:


Row 66: Turn, DO NOT CHAIN, sc in first st, ch 2 (counts as first dc), *sk 1 st, V-st next st, sk 1 st, dc next st, Repeat from * once. [3 dc, 2 V-st]



Ch 1, with RS facing turn band to work along first long edge, *work sc spaced evenly along edge in ends of rows (3 sc in the ends of the every 2 rows), ch 2, turn to work along end of headband, sc in next 9 sts, ch 2*, turn to work along second long edge, Repeat from * to *, sl st to first sc in round.


Weave in ends. Block lightly, if desired.  Sew buttons to right side (textured side) to align with openings in V-sts.

With the colder weather we are beginning to have up here on the mountain it is time to have some extra layers of warmth handy when I’m walking the dog or taking the boys to school. I may be putting an ear warming headband in the glovebox of my car, just in case.

They are also great quick gift projects for those of you thinking about your holiday gift-giving lists.


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