The Annetta Square Re-visited

I’m a designer. Which means I am always fiddling with design ideas. A few weeks ago I posted a pattern for a little square motif that I created rather quickly one evening at a party.

My 2 squares today

I’ve been re-thinking that design since then. There were a few things I wasn’t completely satisfied with. I liked the openness of the round center, but the center circles in the original inspiration photo were a bit more solid and there was a hint of texture. My pattern was also making the center more hexagonal than circular.

5 Rnds of Annetta Sq

The round of stitches that I used to go from circle to square, were not squaring up as nicely as I wanted. Once the final round of single crochets were added it was fairly square but, being the recovering perfectionist I am, I knew I could make them better. Plus I had an idea in mind of a join-as-you go approach for the center circles using the squaring round. More about that later though.

This part of design work requires a lot of tearing out at times. I made 5 different attempts before I was happy with this approach. I hope you will like it too.

Hot Spot Square copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves
Hot Spot Square
copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves

 

With this design the center circle is a little bit bigger and it can be stiffer. So you may want to try a few using different sized hooks with your yarn of choice to get the amount of movement and drape you want in your fabric. I’ve noticed that the fabric with the smaller hook will be especially stiffer with 100% acrylic yarns, you may want to go up as large as a size L (8mm) hook with those yarns.

Hot Spot Square (Annetta Square #2)

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

Approximately 3.75” square

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted wt (Sample uses Lion Brand Heartland)

Yardage amounts allow for 6 inch beginning and ending tails

Center Circle (Rnds 1-4): 10 yards

Squaring Rnd (Rnd 5): 6 yards

Hook

K / 6.5mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Gauge:

First 4 rounds of pattern = 3.25” in diameter

Special Stitches:

3 double crochet cluster st (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining 3 loops on hook. (If you are having difficulty with the cluster stitches you can find a photo-tutorial on my post: Crochet & Springtime)  

Beginning 3 dc cluster st (Beg Cl): Ch 2, (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining 3 loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

Start square with an adjustable slip knot. Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in same st as join, 2 sc in next 5 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [12 sc]

Rnd 3: Beg Cl in same st as join, (ch 1, Cl in next st) 11 times, ch 1, sl st to top of Beg Cl. [12 ch-1 sp, 12 Cl]

Rnd 4: Ch 1, (3 sc in next ch-1 sp) 12 times, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Change color here to get circle in square look

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc next st,(*hdc next 2 sts, (hdc, dc) next st, (dc, ch 2, dc) next st, (dc, hdc) next st, hdc next 2 sts,* sc next 2 sts) 3 times; Repeat from * to * once, sc next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [8 sc, 24 hdc, 16 dc, 4 ch-2 spcs]

Fasten off. Weave in ends being sure to tighten beginning tail to close center of circle.

Advertisements

Art, Crochet and Healing

April is National Stress Awareness Month, so today I thought it appropriate to share a story that I’ve never told on the blog. Last week was the celebration of my youngest son’s 9th birthday. And it got me thinking about how strange my journey to motherhood was. The short version is 8 years, 7 pregnancies and 2 healthy babies.

I had my boys a bit later than is the national average for motherhood in the USA, and quite a bit later in life for the average globally. Some of that delay was planned and some of it was a surprise.

When my husband and I met I was just beginning to attend school to become a medical massage therapist. So we didn’t want to start our family until I graduated. Once I graduated though, we were ready to begin our family.

I got a job with a local massage therapy office and began to work steadily. Just shortly after Christmas that year I discovered I was pregnant, 4 days later I lost the pregnancy. I had worried about being able to get pregnant, I had never considered the option of loosing a pregnancy. I was devastated.

Unfortunately this wasn’t going to be the only time this happened. I had 3 more pregnancies over the next 2 years that didn’t work out. My husband and I went thru tests and looked at various options for fertility treatment. But after a lot of research and discussion we decided that we wouldn’t do anything other than the diagnostic tests we had already done.

Mixed in among this rollercoaster ride of trying to have a baby was my return to crochet. I crocheted a lot as I stayed up late wondering if I would ever be a mother. I crocheted afghans for friends and family for Christmas, birthdays and other holidays, plus miles of scarves for charity. The hours of simple soothing stitches helped ease some of my heartache and gave me space to just be and not have to explain my sorrow to others.

2GoddessTeardrop

When I wasn’t crocheting or working at the massage office, I was in my art studio. At that time I was working a lot with polymer clay.  I was interested in doll making and of course primitive fertility images. I hadn’t reached my “Ah Ha!” moment where I would be adding crochet to my artwork yet. I created a number of images that I made molds for and then played with the plethora of color options available in polymer clay.

Flat ornament Goddesses

In the Spring of 2002 I became an Aunt for the 3rd time. My youngest sister had a baby boy and we were excited to meet him. We went to Kansas for his christening in April and I spent as much time holding this wonderful little fellow as I could. I told my sister I would just be the auntie that spoils her nephew rotten, since it looked like being a mother wasn’t in the cards.

We were leaving late that May for a 6 week-long trip to the United Kingdom and France. Part of the trip was for my husband’s work and the rest was for us to play tourist.  I was taking an indefinite leave-of-absence from the massage office.  I had also begun the lengthy process of filling out paperwork to return to college, I was going to tackle getting my pre-med degree to become a pediatrician. If I couldn’t have kids of my own, I would help take care of other people’s children.

Finally I had the house ready for our sitter and all our pets were with their care-givers. I hopped on a plane and flew to Manchester, England to join my husband. He had been there for over a week already. When I got there I was exhausted. Long flight plus very little sleep as I prepped for the trip. 2 days later I was still exhausted and a little suspicion had begun to niggle me. 5 days into the trip I finally caved in and purchased a test kit from the local pharmacy. Sure enough, I was pregnant.

This time was different though. I was the classic ill in the morning and tenderness in my body. A phone call back to the States to speak to my doctor was a big comfort when she reassured me that the symptoms I was having were all positive signs. We still managed to enjoy our trip, but I was a little worried.

When we returned home one of the first things we did was go to the doctors office for a check-up. The nurse did an ultrasound to determine how far along I really was, since my cycle calendar was a mess with all the traveling. They told me I was past 10 weeks and that it would be very rare for me to miscarry at this point.

When we got home that day I went to my yarn stash and took out some cotton yarn that I had been saving to make a blanket for “my” baby. I felt a little superstitious but wanted to make this blanket, plus I really needed a crochet project to calm myself. I think this is the first time I consciously realized that crocheting was my way of maintaining my mental health.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made a simple oversized granny square for this blanket. I worked on it steadily for about 2 months and when my baby boy was born in January of 2003 I wrapped him up in his blanket.

I continued to crochet after his arrival, though not as frequently and sometimes I only had time for a row or 2 each evening. But I now knew that crochet was a wonderful way for me to manage stress, and I knew I was a happier person when I crocheted.

Crocheting an afghan for my mom

Life kept rolling along and after another miscarriage I had a second baby. By this time though I knew how important crafting and in particular crochet was for taking care of myself. In the picture above I was crocheting an afghan for my mom’s Christmas present, cuddling with my almost 4-year old and the baby #2 (also known as “the Bean”) was sleeping in his basket in front of me.

Even now with my busy crochet design and teaching schedule I try to always have a crochet project going that lets me just relax and unwind. For me lately that is usually hats; relaxing crochet and the joy of finishing a project pretty quickly.

The Craft Yarn Council released a video about the stress reducing effects of playing with yarn called “Stitch Away Stress” in honor of April being National Stress Awareness Month. Their video focuses a little more on knitting, but crochet is in there too. You can check it out here. Visit the webpage at the Craft Yarn Council to find even more fun facts about the stress reducing effects of crochet and knitting.

So how about you? Do you find crochet (or knitting) to be your un-winding activity? If you haven’t learnt to crochet or knit, maybe now is the time to do so. It’s a great way to be kind to yourself at the same time you can make something useful.

Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair

Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair logo

Just because I’m too excited about this to wait until the weekend to let my lovely visitors know. I’m going to be teaching this September at the Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair in Mitchell, Nebraska.

Crocheting Wristers

Flowers Flowers Flowers

Classes will be offered on Friday, September 11th all day long. I’ll be teaching my “Crocheting Wristers” and “Flowers, Flowers, Flowers” classes that day.

Dont let your Hobby Hurt

Then Saturday all the action moves to the Event Center at the Scotts Bluff County Fair Grounds, where I will be teaching my “Don’t Let your Hobby Hurt” class. This class is all about how to prevent injury (especially Repetitive Stress Injuries) while we practice our crafts.

There will be fiber bearing critters to meet, all sorts of fiber art demonstrations and vendors of the many things all us fiber loving folks enjoy. There will even be an opportunity to sign up for tours of the Brown Sheep Yarn Company (who are a sponsor of this fair). You can find out more about the Fair by visiting their website at nebraskafiberfair.com

September 12th is also International Crochet Day. What a perfect way to celebrate this day of crochet! Class registration will be opening in early June, but don’t worry, I’ll be posting when it is live. Hoping this gives some of my readers a chance to come join me for a class or two, or at least get to say “hi” in person.

A Yarn Fest Kind of Day

Welcome Sign

Well, I’m a bit behind again. Today I was at the Interweave Yarn Fest.

One of the few photos of friends at the Yarn Fest. Toni, Brenda, Me and Marcy
Toni, Brenda, Me and Marcy

Got to see lots of crochet friends, though once again did a terrible job of getting photos of everyone. The picture above, with the lovely Interweave ladies: Toni Rexroat and Marcy Smith and my good friend Brenda Bourg, was one of the few that I managed to get. I also got to see briefly Lily Chin, Darla Fanton, Marly Bird, Robyn Chachula.

Pile of Silk Yarn

Also had to adopt some beautiful yarn. Lovely silks and silk blends from RedFish Dyeworks. I’m going to be creating something luscious in this gorgeous stuff for sure. I was also enabling Brenda and she ended up buying some of the silk lace, can’t wait to see what she comes up with using it.

After the classes were out I snagged my dear friend Mary Beth Temple and we went off to dinner. Kind of blew away an entire day playing, but it was an inspiring mental health day.

Connecting with Crochet

Yesterday was quite the crochet day for me. I taught the “Learn to Crochet” class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I always have a great time teaching and love it when my students have that light bulb moment when things begin to work for them.  It’s also a great reminder of what it’s like to be at the beginning of the crochet journey.

Then I ran a few quick errands in town and headed back home. At home it was a flurry getting my boys herded up so we could head over to a friend’s house for a 50th birthday party. There were lots of kids there and our hosts have a nice trampoline that my boys headed straight for.

Meanwhile there were only a few people I knew, so I said “hi” then found a well-lit spot outside to sit with my crochet and keep an eye on my boys. After awhile I got a bit chilly so I came back inside.

One of the other women at the party asked me about a someone in Jamestown and if I knew them. Turned out we had a mutual acquaintance. We introduced ourselves and had a chuckle when it turned out her name is Annette, though pronounced the German way, the “e” at the end sounds like an “a”. We chatted about living in the mountains and wildlife visiting my home.

While we were talking I was crocheting on my project and she asked me about my crochet. She is from Germany originally and both knits and crochets, though she said she was a bit out of practice. She told me that she had started a crocheted blanket project about 2 years ago, but had gotten a bit stuck when she went back to work on it.

Her husband had to run their teen-age daughter home about then and Annette asked him to bring her project bag back with him. When he returned the 2 of us dug thru the bag. There were a number of completed squares, but they were very tightly crocheted and we talked about how they would work in a blanket.

Annette with her inspiration photo and squares

She had been inspired by a photo of a crocheted blanket in a catalog. She had the original inspiration photo in the bag. So we took a look at it together. Her squares were pretty different from the squares in the blanket so I asked her if she would be interested in trying something different.

Close up of Square

I grabbed a ball of the yarn she had and began designing a different square there on the spot. I was having a great time playing with yarn, and we talked about crochet and our families as the square took shape. She liked what I came up with and thought it would be a nicer blanket than the tight squares she had done. Since she had made so many of those I suggested she use them for a pillow that would carry the same colors as her blanket.

My 2 squares today

Today I experimented a bit more with the square pattern I had come up with last night and made these 2 versions. The difference between the 2 is in where I decided to make the color change. Instructions for the squares are below and, in honor of my new crochet friend, it is named the Annetta Square.

ANNETTA SQUARE

designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:   Intermediate

Materials:

Worsted Weight yarn

I-9/5.5mm hook

Finished Size:

Approximately 3 7/8” square

Gauge:

First 3 Rounds = 2.25”

Special Stitches:

3 double crochet cluster st (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook. If you are having trouble with this stitch check out my blog post “Crochet and Springtime” for a tutorial on it.

Beginning 3 dc cluster st (Beg Cl): Ch 2, (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (ch 1, sc in next st) 5 times, ch 1, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 ch-1 sps, 6 sc]

Rnd 3: Sl st and Beg Cl in next ch-1 sp, (ch 3, Cl in next ch-1 sp) 5 times, ch 3, sl st to top of Beg Cl. [6 ch-3 sp, 6 Cl]

Change color here to get suspended flower look

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (4 sc in next ch-3 sp, sc in next st) 5 times, 4 sc in next ch-3 sp, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [30 sc]

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc next st, (2 sc next st, sc in next 4 sts) 5 times, 2 sc next st, sc next 2 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Change color here to get circle in square look

Rnd 6: Ch 1, sc next 2 sts,(*hdc next st, (dc, tr) next st, (tr, ch 2, tr) next st, (tr, dc) next st, hdc next st,* sc next 4 sts) 3 times; Repeat from * to * once, sc next 2 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [16 sc, 8 hdc, 8 dc, 16 Tr, 4 ch-2 spcs]

Rnd 7: Ch 1, sc next 6 sts, *(sc, ch 2, sc) next ch-2 sp,** sc next 12 sts*; Repeat from * to * 2 times, then Repeat from * to ** once, sc in next 6 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [56 sc, 4 ch-2 sps]

Fasten off

I really like how these little squares came out. I hope you enjoy making some to use in your projects this spring.

The Renewal of Spring

Crocus in bloom at the school.

Well springtime in the mountains has come, though we aren’t finished with snowy days quite yet. This past week has been the usual yo-yo weather.

Down in town the high temperatures were mid 70s on Monday and low 90s on Tuesday (which actually felt more like summer than spring). Both of those days we saw high 50s to low 60s up here on the mountain.

Sugar Egg

Then Wednesday came with slightly cooler temperatures. I went to the yarn store that day and my fellow crocheter and crafty friend Margie came by. She had this fun little sugar egg for me. Isn’t it cute? Scary thing is it is edible. Eek!

By the time the boys and I had gotten ready for bed the temperatures were dropping and it started to snow lightly. I woke up Thursday morning to below freezing temperatures and spent most of my morning feeding the wood-stove to keep the house warm.

Snowy Yard

Thursday evening the snow settled in for a steady visit and Friday morning this is what my backyard looked like. Fortunately the temperatures were a little warmer and toward the evening most of the snow had melted. That is actually why I prefer spring snow storms. They don’t stick around like the snow when we have the weeks of arctic temperatures.

Saturday morning was crisp, but not too bad temperature wise. The big town Egg-Hunt was on. Being we are all mountain folk the egg hunt goes forward no matter what the weather does. So it was nice to have sunny relatively warm temperatures for it this year. A few years it has been conducted in freezing drizzle. And sometimes the poor Easter bunny had to hide the eggs in the snow. It was a bit muddy, but I’ll take mud and sunshine over freezing cold.

I drove down to Longmont after the egg-hunt to teach at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. It was pretty quiet there while I taught, usually Saturday is a hopping day at the shop. I think the nice weather, after a couple of cold snowy days, had made everyone decide to stay outdoors and enjoy it while they could.

White Blossoms

I had to grab a couple photos of these trees in bloom. Most of the trees are still just beginning to get leaf buds, so there is that hint of green like a mist around the branches, but a few of the trees are already beginning their spring show. Because of our longer wintery weather I really love to see Springtime showing up.

I hope everyone else is enjoying this time of renewal as well. And for those of you celebrating Easter today, a very joyful holiday to you.