Posted by: mamas2hands | March 26, 2017

18 Patterns in 2016

I was talking with a crochet friend the other day about how many patterns I had published in 2016, and I wasn’t sure. I knew I had been doing a lot of work in 2016. So today I decided to take a tally. Turns out I had 18 patterns published, counting the 6 that were in my newest book: “Wraps for All Seasons”.

There were 5 decorative neckwear patterns:

Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace – this pattern is available here on my blog.

Springtime Cowl – this pattern is available here on my blog.

Loopy de Loop Necklace – this pattern is available here on my blog and I have a video tutorial for it on my YouTube channel.

Sweet Song Decorative Scarf – this pattern is available here on my blog.

Photo courtesy of Red Heart

Beaded Crochet Necklace – this pattern is available on the Red Heart website.

There were 3 Hat patterns:

Mountain Top Beanie – the pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop.

Simple DC Hat – the pattern is available here on my blog.

Whirlwind Hat – the pattern is available here on my blog.

There were 2 fun little projects in Thread crochet:

Simple Victorian Earrings – the pattern is available here on my blog.

Frozen Star Snowflake – the pattern is available here on my blog.

One afghan square:

Fans & Lace Afghan Square – the pattern is available here on my blog as well as tutorial videos on my YouTube Channel .

There were 7 wraps patterns:

The 6 in my book from Annie’s Publishing – “Wraps for All Seasons”, which you can purchase on Amazon or at the Annie’s website.

Playing with Triangles Shawl

Playing with Triangles Shawl – the pattern is available here on my blog as well as an informative video on my YouTube Channel.

Let’s see if I can double the number of patterns in 2017.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 25, 2017

Whispering Wind Cowl

I enjoy creating moebius style cowls but decided to challenge myself with designing a simple tube style cowl with this design. I wanted to create a crocheted cowl that would have a very graceful drape and would be a lovely accent piece to wear indoors, but could also serve nicely as a warm layer under a coat or jacket.

First order of business was chosing a yarn, I picked Berroco’s “Folio” yarn. This luxurious yarn is an Alpaca/Rayon blend that feels like cashmere, with marvelous drape and warmth. I paired the yarn with a simple mesh stitch pattern to allow the yarn to really shine.

Collette’s first modeling gig

Next I gave some serious thought to how I wanted to work the foundation and how to finish the opposite end of the tube to compliment the foundation. I usually like everything to be very precisely matched. It’s probably the math part of my brain dictating terms. I decided to give myself permission to have the finishing edge be different from the foundation.

Freedom!

Funnily enough, the 2 edges don’t look all that different. But never fear, I will be playing with this some more and there will be some very different edges in the future. I just wanted to get my toe wet this time around.  I have definitely found a new fascination. Throwing out the idea of precise matching has stirred up all sorts of creativity in my brain.

I used my stacked row foundation to start this cowl, then the rounds of mesh stitch are worked off one side to the desired length. In this pattern I have written the instructions, and worked the sample to be 31 inches around and 13 inches wide from foundation to finished edging. I’ve also included instructions on how to modify the pattern to make a wider cowl (deep enough to be pulled up as a hood), or a longer cowl that makes it more like an infinity scarf.

You can purchase the pattern in my Ravelry Shop for $4.99. The first 40 people who use the Coupon code: NCMWWC2017 will get $1 off the price.

You can use a different yarn than I chose for the sample, but I would strongly recommend a yarn with a large percentage of fine alpaca fiber or rayon. You want the yarn to be very fluid to get the fantastic drape you see in the photos.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 24, 2017

All Those Tails!!!

Whenever I talk about Free Form Crochet to other crocheters, they all bring up the dread part of yarn work: Tails!

They are correct, there are a lot of tails to contend with when doing Free Form work. I am not terribly fond of weaving in tails myself. Years of working as a designer have taught me some patience with the task.

Way back in the mists of time I remember learning to embroider and my Grandmother telling me that the back of your work should look as neat as the front. Seemed like an impossible task at the time, but it became something I strove for with all my making. Whether I am embroidering, sewing, crocheting or knitting.

I actually find crocheting to be the easiest to create a tidy back to my projects. As a rule the fabric creation has enough body to it that there are always good places to tuck away the tails. When I weave in ends I always pick one side of the project to be the “right” side and look at that side after I’ve woven in my needle to be sure it doesn’t show. I use a bright silver colored needle because it is easy to see a glint of it on the right-side if I’ve woven wrong. I also try to weave my tails in different places on the scrumble so I don’t create a stiff or thick spot.

In Free Form there is also the option of using the tails to sew pieces together. In the scrumble above I wove in all the ends, but left 2 of the longest at the edges to use later when I am joining them to others in my final project.

This photo is the same scrumble from the back after I finished weaving in my ends. This is also the same scrumble that you see from the back in the very first picture.

I was left with quite a pile of tails after I finished the weaving in for all 3 of my little scrumbles. I save these bits to use as stuffing for dimensional projects. When they are wool or mostly wool I also save them as filler for my needle-felting projects, or to use to add color to the outside of those projects.

Other ways I’ve seen Freeformers deal with tails: Tie them together using knots and cut off close to the knot (You want a good tight surgeon’s knot if that is what you chose), or bring the tails to the front of their work and use them as design elements in the finished project.

There really are a lot of choices in Free Form for dealing with tails, they don’t have to be a terror. I hope you will give Free Form a try, for me it is the pinnacle of “Zen” crochet. A bit like coloring with color pencils.

 

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 23, 2017

Coloring with Pencils, and with Yarn

I’ve made some progress on the page I was coloring in Franklin’s “I Dream of Yarn” book. For those of you that have asked, you can purchase this wonderful coloring book online or in some brick-n-mortar stores. When I Googled: “Franklin Habit, I Dream of Yarn” I found it available thru Target, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Knitpicks. You also might want to check your local yarn shop to see if they are carrying it.

I’ve also been doing a little coloring with yarn this week. I’ve been playing with some Free Form crochet.  Some of these are going to a new home with a yarnie friend, once I figure out which ones make the cut. The others will become a pillow for my big comfy papasen chair in my design office. A few of you may recognize the yarn from my post about picking colors for Free Form.

Tomorrow I’ll show you what I do about the mess of tails that is part of the Free Form creative process.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 22, 2017

Beads in the Middle

I love adding beads to my crochet projects, both large and small. They add wonderful sparkle and give the fabric a lovely fluid drape.

Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace

 

Here on the blog, I’ve shown you beads strung on your yarn (or thread) then crocheted;

 

I’ve shown you beads “hoisted on” to embellish the edging of an earring, headband or shawl;

Springtime Cowl – Small PWT Shawl

Most recently I have shown you beads “hoisted on” within the fabric of a shawl, as well as on the edging.

When deciding on bead placement into the body of your fabric, think about where your next row (or round) of stitches will connect with the beaded row. You don’t want the bead to be covered or obscured by another stitch.

You also want to consider if the bead will be visible from both sides of the fabric. I like to place my beads in the fabric so they are framed in an opening in the stitch pattern. This helps make them show up no matter which side of the fabric is worn as the “right-side”.

In my latest project, the little PWT Shawl that I’m calling Springtime Cowl, I made sure that all my beads were on an even number row. Crochet stitches bias slightly, this isn’t as noticeable when working in rows, but it makes a difference in how the bead sits on the top of the stitches.  By adding my beads to the even numbered rows I was specifying those as the “right” side of my fabric.

You can add beads to any crochet project, it’s up to you to decide which will be the “right” side of your project for showing off your beading. If you are adding beads to a pattern that didn’t include them, you will want to be sure that the beads are added to rows that correspond with the “right” side of the fabric as written in the pattern.

I hope this inspires you to try adding beads to some of your crochet projects. If you need help with the “hoist-on” method of adding beads hop on over to my blog post: “Making a Pendant” for a photo tutorial on using the “hoist-on” method.

 

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 21, 2017

Time out to Color

Today was a very busy day. Sadly there was not much crochet in it. There was yarn, the sorting of and moving of, but no yarn with hook action. Sometimes in the life of a crochet designer and busy mom, the background grunt-work has to take over a day. Even if that day is during National Crochet Month.

I took a little time to relax this evening though and play. Instead of hook and yarn I decided to play with color pencils and my lovely Franklin Habit book “I Dream of Yarn”. This was my first time actually coloring in it. I’ve sat down with it numerous times since acquiring it, just looking at all the lovely drawings has been happy making for me.

But to be honest I have been a bit afraid to put color to them because then they would be done. Or, gasp, I might “ruin” them. Yup, even I have that nasty little voice sometimes that beats me up and tells me I’ll do it “wrong”. Today I told the little voice to pack her bags and go on a long trip. With everything that has been going on for me and my family the past month I needed some soothing coloring time with my buddy Franklin.

I decided to start with this wonderful drawing of lots of people knitting and crocheting. It reminded me a bit of crochet motifs with just the shaping of it, and the wonderful support I have from other yarnie friends from all around the world.

I think this picture will end up being extremely colorful, I want to make each of the little people have different color garments and projects.

If you haven’t gotten into the whole adult coloring book scene I understand. I haven’t been doing a lot of it, I usually want to draw my own pictures to color. But there is something very relaxing about taking a half hour to color a picture that is already there. I enjoy making color choices and playing with how I will texture and shade my colors.

Of course, when the drawings are fun fantastical versions of Franklin’s dreams of yarn (that really could be mine as well, though mine would have loads more crochet hooks) it is even more fun. Afterall, yarn is our common thread.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 20, 2017

Congratulations to the Winner

I had meant to get a blog post up yesterday but I was enjoying the day with my boys. We had a nice hike in our neighborhood that included a good chuckle at our neighbors sign on their gate. We had noticed all their chickens running around in the yard first, so the sign was particularly funny to us.

Copyright Karen Whooley – Photo by Anne Podlesak

Sunday evening I pulled all the names for the entries into the drawing for an Ebook copy of Karen Whooley’s beautiful new shawl book “A Garden of Shawls”.

The winner is Judy L. She said she has just started crocheting shawls, so this book will be a great start to her shawl pattern library. Congratulations Judy!

For those of you that didn’t win, you can still order the book on Karen’s website and orders placed before the end of March (and the end of NatCroMo) are entered into a drawing for some gorgeous yarn giveaways. You can find all the links to Karen’s site and read my review of the book (if you missed it the first time round) at this blog post.

I hope you are all having a good start to your week and you’re able to get some crochet time in too.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 18, 2017

Meet Collette

This is Collette. I actually purchased her awhile back, but our weather had been so cold and snowy I couldn’t get outside to photograph her.  After the past weeks 60-70F temperatures I finally got outside and did a photo shoot with her. She is going to be my model for a number of my M2H Designs patterns, so you will be seeing her a lot.

This is just a quick post today. But I wanted to remind you that you have until 8 p.m. Mountain Time (Denver, Colorado) to enter the drawing to win an E-book version of Karen Whooley’s new shawl book, “A Garden of Shawls”. Hop on over to my review of the book and comment to get your name in the drawing, I’ll be announcing the winner on my Monday March 20th post.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 17, 2017

The Luck of the Irish

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, and my family has a little Irish heritage (we are a classic American family with a big mixture of ancestry from all over Northern Europe and the British Isles), so I thought I would come up with a fun little crochet pattern for making a lucky 4 leaf clover.

Funny enough, none of us have much in the way of green clothing, every year I think that I really should at least get the boys some green clothing. That thought has not translated to my shopping brain yet. I tend to purchase whichever shirts are on sale, since both of my boys are a bit rough on their clothes.  Instead I crocheted up lucky clovers and made them into pins the boys could wear.

For those of you that are wondering about Shamrocks versus 4 Leaf Clover. The typical Irish symbol is the 3 lobed clover and is called a shamrock. 4 lobed clovers are much rarer and are not “officially” considered a symbol of Ireland or Saint Patricks day. The shamrock with it’s 3 lobes is said to have been used by St. Patrick to demonstrate the holy trinity of Christian faith. The 4 Leaf Clover is said to symbolize luck because they are so rare.

I had a lot of fun playing with a way to create a 4 Leaf Clover that could be worked in just 2 rounds. This project is rated at the intermediate level, because I used some more advanced techniques like Clusters and working in the back bump of chains.  If you need help with working clusters I have a photo tutorial in the Special Stitches section of the pattern.

Luck of the Irish Clover

Design by Andee Graves

Skill level: Intermediate

Materials:

Yarn – Lion Brand “Vanna’s Choice”, 100% Acrylic (3.5 oz/100g, 170 yds/156m) Color #171 Fern

Hook – I/9 – 5mm hook

Pin back or safety pin to attach to back of clover.

Special Stitches

3 DC Cluster (Cl):

Photo A

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

Photo B

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

Photo C

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

Instructions:

Round 1: Start with an Adjustable slip knot, ch 3, 7 hdc in 3 ch from hook, gently pull beginning tail to close center,

slip st under 2 loops (the “V” front of the ch st) at top of beginning ch-3 to join the round.

Round 2: {Thanks to Edith for the correction.}  Ch 3, *(Cl, ch 3 and slip st) in next st,** (slip st, ch 3) in next st*;

Repeat from * to * 2 times, Repeat from * to ** once,

Stem: Ch 6, working in back bumps, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 3 ch sts, slip st in last ch, cut yarn with 4-5 inches of tail. Stem will curl, it is supposed to.

Weave ending tail toward center, use tails to sew on a pin backing.

I hope you have a very lucky Saint Patrick’s Day, and some fun wearing a 4 Leaf Clover.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 16, 2017

Goodbye Baba, We Love You.

A warm thank you to all my friends and readers that have sent my family and I well wishes and prayers. It has been a hard week, but today Baba passed peacefully from life. My husband, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law were all with him.

Baba as Best Man with Linc and his Groomsmen

I have spent a little time each day this week looking at photos from over the years and remembering what a blessing Baba was to my life and that of my sons. I thought I would share a few of them with you. The photo above was taken at Linc and I’s wedding in June 1998. Baba was Linc’s Best Man, though I was still calling him “Bob” at that time.

Baba and J playing

Baba and J laughing

Baba and all my Boys

 

Baba, me and Bean

Baba and Bean talking

Bean inspecting Baba’s Beard

Bob loved being a grandfather. I’m so happy I caught some of the funny and sweet moments of him with the boys when they were tiny. They don’t remember these moments, but they love the photos too.

Baba and Cindy dog

This was a photo of Bob with his dog, Cindy. She was a stray that went thru quite a tough time before she found Bob and my mother-in-law.

Building the Play-set

This photo was taken the same day as the one with Cindy. We were all in our backyard building a play-set for the boys. This was the day that Bob became Baba. My oldest son named him Baba that day and Bob liked it so much that from that day onward he was Baba for his grandsons.

Funny thing is, many months later, we found out that “Baba” is the word for father or grandfather in Turkey. My mother-in-law was Nana from the moment the first baby arrived, but Bob had just been “grandpa” until then. From that point onward they were Nana & Baba and the 2 of the most important people in my sons’ lives.

Thank you Baba for all the wonderful memories and all your love. We love you and will miss you.

 

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