Just Around the Corner

This past week I looked at the calendar and said, “Eek!”  I had just realized that I had less than a week before September was here.  That means that I have a bunch of birthdays coming up in the next 6 weeks and after that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities with all my loved ones.

Most of all this means those gifts that I had planned to get crocheted for “next year” are coming up quite quickly. I know I am very likely not alone in this quandary. So today I wanted to share a round-up of links to patterns from some of my blogging designer friends. Some of these patterns are free (just requiring a visit to their blog) and others are available for sale thru their Ravelry shops.

All of these pattern suggestions are for projects that are fairly portable, so you can get a few stitches in whenever you have a spare minute.

Scarves

I wear a lot of scarves and with the cold weather season coming along I like making them as gifts. There is such a wide variety of scarf patterns out there, from the super simple to the superbly sophisticated.

Artfully Simple Angled Scarf

For those living in warmer climates, or that tend to run on the warmer side the Artfully Simple Angled Scarf designed by Tamara Kelly of Mooglyblog.com is great. This is a wonderful project to use some luxury yarn to create a statement piece for the fashionista on your gift list. This free pattern also has video tutorials and a stitch diagram to get you crocheting along without a hitch.

Sands_of_Time_Scarf_medium2

This scarf pattern from Elena Hunt at Beatrice Ryan Designs looks like a lot of fun to make, and I love the name: Sands of Time Scarf. It is a lovely scarf to showcase those long color change yarns that are so fun to work with. With dressy tassels and beads on the ends it’s a scarf that can be worn for warmth and fashion.

 

Infinity Scarves

These projects are always interesting to me. They are usually relatively narrow so like a scarf, but because they are a long loop they are generally worn like a cowl. I decided for today’s purposes they get their own category.

 

Rolling In the Deep Scarf

Rolling in the Deep Infinity Scarf from Lorene at Cre8tion Crochet is a scarf and it’s a big loop, so it can be worn a number of ways. Contrasting colors worked with ripples make this scarf a relaxing project to work and an exciting one to wear. This pattern is available for sale thru her Ravelry shop for $4.95.

 

melting-snow-infinity-scarfedit_medium

Melting Snow Infinity Scarf from Tamara Kelly is a pretty and simple infinity scarf that you “just keep crocheting until you run out of yarn, then sew the ends together”. No muss, no fuss and another gift project is finished up. Available thru her Ravelry shop for $2.

 

Cowls

For me a cowl is a scarf with some hutzpah. Cowls can be wide or narrow, long or short. Just really depends on the tastes of your giftee, or how much time you have to commit to crocheting up the project.

 

Christmas_Present_CAL_2015_Project__1_Using_Worsted_Weight_Yarn_by_ELK_Studio

Kathy Lashley of Elk Studio knows all about the rush to get gifts ready for the Christmas holidays, so she has a couple of CALs going this fall that you can join at any time. I love this textured take on a cowl.  This is the first pattern in her Christmas Present Crochet-a-longs series and it is a lovely quick project for the crocheter that likes to work with texture using post stitches.

 

Chloe_V_Puff_Stitch_Cowl_Free_Pattern_brought_to_you_by_Cre8tion_Crochet_medium

The Chloe V Puff Stitch Cowl from Lorene at Cre8tion Crochet is another fun project for those wanting a gift with texture and pizazz. The puffy stitches are great for a cushy fabric that your friends and family will love to snuggle into when the winds are blowing cold. You can find this free pattern on her Cre8tion Crochet blog.

 

Coraline_in_San_Francisco_-_Free_crochet_pattern_by_Celina_Lane__Simply_Collectible_9_medium2

Check out the free pattern for the Coraline in San Francisco Cowl designed by Celina Lane of Simply Collectible. This is a large cowl in a mesh stitch that has lots of options in how it can be worn. A great wearable gift project that is easy to crochet

 

Hats

You all know I love hats. They are one of those marvelous crochet projects that don’t take a lot of time to complete (quick gratification), yet are generally challenging enough to keep most of us happily stitching along. Hats also seem to be one of the favorite gifts that my family and friends get from me. At least I see them wearing them regularly.

 

Desert_Hope_Slouch_Beanie_Free crochet pattern by Celina Lane_

First off I have to share another free pattern from Celina Lane of Simply Collectible, the Desert Hope Slouch Beanie. This is such a fun take on a V-st hat that I am totally making it for my oldest son. Worked in a masculine color it will be ideal for the boy who loves to wear crocheted hats all year long.

 

Effortless-Chic-Crochet-Beanie

Check out this lovely hat pattern from Elena Hunt at Beatrice Ryan Designs: Effortless Chic Crochet Beanie. I love the button detail and the vertical striping. Worked in a yarn with long color changes it is going to have a distinctive look, or use a solid color yarn and let the texture be the focal point.

 

Christmas-Present-Crochet-Along-Worsted-Weight-Project-2-by-ELK-Studio

Project #2 in Kathy Lashley’s Christmas Crochet-a-long is a hat worked in the same textured stitches as the cowl. Perfect to make as a set or just make the hat alone if you are pressed for time.

 

Max-ear-flap-hat-crochet-pattern-samples

I am really intrigued by this great earflap hat pattern from Jessie Rayot of Jessie-At-Home: Max Hat. Jessie has created a clever hat that incorporates the earflaps into the last rows of the hat.  The striping with changing stitch heights makes a lovely detail over the flaps. She has shown numerous ways to modify the hat to make it perfect for your giftee and it’s sure to be a hit. You can purchase the pattern thru her Ravelry shop for $4.

 

Some Super Duper Quick Projects

Time has run out and you need something that you can stitch up in just a few hours. Take a look at these little projects for those last-minute gifts.

Chain-Wrap-Bracelet-Cover-Square_medium2

This Chain Wrap bracelet from Jessie Rayot of Jessie-At-Home is a wonderful way to show off a pretty button. Or make up a little kit for your giftee to make their own. Instead of a crocheted gift you can give the gift of learning to crochet. It’s a free pattern on Jessie’s blog and she even has videos on how to make it from start to finish.

 

Now it’s time for the fun part, picking out the yarn and getting your project bags ready to go. I’ll have about 5 different project bags traveling with me in the car so I can get in a few stitches whenever I am waiting to drop off and pick up the boys from school. Hope you all enjoy planning out your projects and getting in some quality crochet time.

Advertisements

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers

Summer Flowers

Yes, I like flowers. One might even say I Love flowers.  Up here on the mountain the growing season for having flowers outdoors is very short. This summer I didn’t even attempt to grow any since we were still having freezing temperatures well into the middle of June.

What to do though, when you can’t grow flowers? Well, crochet them of course.

A couple of years ago I created a class on crocheting flowers for my local yarn store: Longmont Yarn Shop.  The class is really about taking all different shapes of flower motifs and working them in a variety of yarns: chunky to fingering weights. Then you can stack them, add buttons or beads and have all sorts of fun.

Flower Projects

They make wonderful embellishments for commercial items like hats, gloves, scarves or bags. Or even better add them to dress up your crochet projects. You can even turn all those flowers into fabric, or add a pin back to make a brooch.

In just a few short weeks I’ll be teaching my “Flowers, Flowers, Flowers” class at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair. The fair is September 11 and 12 in Mitchell, Nebraska.

In this class I teach working in the round, Puff and Cluster stitches, invisible joins, reading simple stitch diagrams, tips and tricks for working with novelty yarns, and two methods of adding beads to yarn, as well as a chain mesh join for turning your flowers into fabric.

Elegant Garden Mitt 2 4web

I’ll also be teaching my “Crocheting Wristers” and “Don’t Let Your Hobby Hurt” classes. If you are in the area come on up and join the fun. The Scotts Bluff National Monument is right there and the landscape is beautiful. You can find out more information and enroll for classes at the website: NebraskaFiberFair.com.

Just a Smidgen Left

This past Wednesday I was at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I facilitate our 2 hour “Causal Crochet” get together on the third Wednesday of each month at 10:30 a.m. In the afternoon I work at the shop as their “crochet help” person. I answer questions for our crochet customers helping them if they are stuck with a project or needing to find the right yarn for a new project. When there aren’t customers for me to help I crochet up swatches in the yarns so folks can see how they look in crochet as well as knit.

Ball of Gusto yarn and starting chain

This time Jane and Gail asked me to swatch in Berroco’s new yarn “Gusto”. This is a colorful Thick and Thin yarn constructed from 45% wool, 45% Acrylic and 10% Vicose. My initial chain to begin a swatch really charmed me. A chain alone could make a fun “crafty” necklace and would be really pretty with some beads added using the “hoist-on” method.

First Swatch and 3 buttons

I had decided to use the “seed stitch” (sometimes called “Linen stitch”) with this yarn since it would allow the changes of weight in the yarn to breathe. As I began to work my swatch I wondered how much fabric I could create from the one ball and spoke to Gail and Jane about what a cute neck cozy it would make. I pulled out some buttons from the shelf that I thought would look nice with the yarn.

As I got closer to the end of the ball of yarn I realized I was going to run out of yarn before I had enough length to the fabric. So I tried decreasing along one edge to taper the end and squeeze out a bit more length. It was still too short. After a consultation with Gail and Jane, I decided I needed to pull it all out and start over again.

Gusto yarn - loose bits

With this yarn you want to pull-out the stitches a bit carefully or you will damage the yarn. In a few spots I had to tease the stitch loose. If the thick part of the yarn gets frazzled like above, just wrap the loose bits gently around the yarn and continue crocheting. The stitches will secure the “fluff”.

Finished fabric and new button

The next 2 hours were a few fits and starts, but finally I had settled on a width that worked. Jane and I decided that we liked a more asymmetrical look to the cozy so we picked out a single button that could be a feature on the finished project.

Smidgen Cowl flat view

I’m really happy with how this cozy finally came out. It is a quick project to crochet up (when you aren’t designing it). For less than $20 and 2 hours of your time you can whip up one of these neck warmers for someone special on your gifting list. The yarn comes in a wide range of colors, so you are sure to find one that is perfect for your giftee.

The Smidgen left over

Since I only had a “smidgen” of yarn left after I had woven in the tails I named this design the “Smidgen Cozy”.  The pattern instructions follow, I hope you enjoy making this cozy.

Smidgen Cowl - M2H Designs

SMIDGEN COZY

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill Level: Easy

Finished Size: 21″ (52.5cm) long x 7″ (17.5cm) wide

Materials

Yarn: Berroco “Gusto” (45% Wool/45% Acrylic/10% Vicose; 70 yds) 1 skein in color #1935 Jasper

Crochet Hook: US N (10 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge.

Additional Materials:

Button ¾” diameter or size to fit thru ch-1 sp,

Yard of lighter weight smooth yarn to sew button on with,

Yarn needles (big one for weaving in ends, small one for sewing on button),

Stitch markers

Gauge: 4 stitches and 9 rows = 4″ (10 cm)

Pattern Notes

Because this is a thick-n-thin yarn it is a good idea to count your stitches each row to be sure you haven’t missed or added one.

Sample used up almost every smidgen of the ball of yarn, be sure to leave only 6” of tail at the beginning.

Row 1 is worked into the back bump (or bar) of the foundation chain to create a finished look to the starting edge.

Instructions

Row 1: Ch 17, sc in 2nd ch from hook, (ch 1, sk 1 ch, sc next ch) 7 times, sc last ch. [7 ch-1 sp, 9 sc]

Row 2: Ch 1, turn, sc first st, (ch 1, sk 1 st, sc next ch-1 sp) 7 times, sc last st.

Rows 3 – 37: Repeat Row 2. Place stitch marker at beginning of Row 37 leave in place until completed crocheting, marked side is decrease edge for next 9 rows.

Row 38: Ch 1, turn, sc first st, (ch 1, sk 1 st, sc next ch-1 sp) 7 times. [7 ch-1 sp, 8 sc]

Row 39: Ch 1, turn, sk first st, sc next ch-1 sp, (ch 1, sk next st, sc next ch-1 sp) 6 times, sc last st. [6 ch-1 sp, 8 sc]

Row 40: Ch 1, turn, sc first st, (ch 1, sk 1 st, sc next ch-1 sp) 6 times. [6 ch-1 sp, 7 sc]

Row 41: Ch 1, turn, sk first st, sc next ch-1 sp, (ch 1, sk next st, sc next ch-1 sp) 5 times, sc last st. [5 ch-1 sp, 7 sc]

Row 42: Ch 1, turn sc first st, (ch 1, sk 1 st, sc next ch-1 sp) 5 times. [5 ch-1 sp, 6 sc]

Row 43: Ch 1, turn, sk first st, sc next ch-1 sp, (ch 1, sk next st, sc next ch-1 sp) 4 times, sc last st. [4 ch-1 sp, 6 sc]

Row 44: Ch 1, turn sc first st, (ch 1, sk 1 st, sc next ch-1 sp) 4 times. [4 ch-1 sp, 5 sc]

Row 45: Ch 1, turn, sk first st, sc next ch-1 sp, (ch 1, sk next st, sc next ch-1 sp) 3 times, sc last st. [3 ch-1 sp, 5 sc]

Row 46: Ch 1, turn sc first st, (ch 1, sk 1 st, sc next ch-1 sp) 3 times. [3 ch-1 sp, 4 sc]

Finishing

Weave in tails securely. Use lighter weight yarn to sew button on Row 3 an inch in from the longest edge. Use a ch-1 sp on Row 43 or 42 as your button-hole.

Everything Moves

I’ve been inspired by and attempted a lot of things in my life. Sometimes people look at me oddly for all the things I’ve done. Of course, many of them I’ve only gotten a taste of.

2 Little warm glass pieces I made in my class.
2 Little warm glass pieces I made in my class.

For example, the “warm glass” class I took one Saturday nearly 10 years ago.  I really liked it, but I found out 2 days later I was pregnant with my 2nd child. It did give me a great appreciation for the work of glass artists though, and I always visit the glass making shops in Estes Park whenever I get a chance.

Once, what seems a life-time ago (in my early twenties), I was inspired to go to college because I wanted to become an animator. Life happened and I didn’t finish that course of study, though I really enjoyed those years in college and was introduced to amazing literature and art.

My love for artistic and interesting animation didn’t wane. In fact, I had a pretty extensive collection of animated films and shorts on VHS long before I had children in my household. Finally, nearly 30 years after that dream of being an animator was left in the dust, I’m brushing off that fantasy and making another try at it.

One of the lovely things about today’s technology is that animation for the hobbyist is far more readily and affordably available. With just my digital camera, laptop and some video editing software I will be able to create my own stop-motion animation.

My set-up in the Design office for filming my first Stop-Motion animation.
My set-up in the Design office for filming my first Stop-Motion animation.

Even better, my first attempt is going to be using crochet and yarn as my “objects”. Nothing I love better these days than combining my “art” and “crochet”.

I’ve been researching on-line what the recommendation is for the number of frames per second. The more frames you use the smoother the motion will appear. I’m a little impatient and have decided to go with 15 frames per second, I also like the “artsy” look of the slightly jerky motion from fewer frames. Will see what I think of it after I create this first short little film.

Even at 15 frames per second (15 FPS) I’m still going to be taking a lot of photographs for a 20 second sequence. That’s 300 photos. Then I have to import those all into my video editor and turn it into a film. This might take a while. I’ll let you know once it is done.

Meanwhile if you want to see a marvelous example of Stop-Motion animation in a feature-length movie, go check out “Shaun the Sheep the Movie”.

Great Minds

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while have heard me mention my good friend and mentor, Karen Ratto Whooley. Karen was my official CGOA mentor when I signed up to be an Associate Professional member of CGOA. Even though I officially graduated to Professional status some time back, we are still good friends and remain in regular contact.

Karen and I

I got to see Karen again, albeit briefly at the Knit & Crochet Show in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. We even managed to get a photo of the 2 of us.  We chuckled afterward because we were each wearing the other’s “colors” in this photo. Karen in her hot pink blouse and me with a blue-green scarf.

Ebb & Flow Scarf worn Jabot style
Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs

That scarf was actually part of our hilarity. Not because of the color but because it is one of my designs from my summer collection: “Ebb & Flow Scarf”.

The week before I left for the show I got Karen’s newsletter in my email and it was about her design, “Undulating Shells Shawl”.  I just about choked because I had used the same stitch pattern for my scarf. A definite case of great minds having the same idea or in this case, very similar ideas.

One of the wonderful things about being a designer is seeing all the different ways my fellow designers and I can interpret stitch patterns to create wearable and decorative objects in crochet. I thought it would be fun for you, my readers to get a glimpse into some of those differences.

Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs
Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs

I created this scarf from some lovely fingering weight yarn hand-dyed by the talented Riin of “Happy Fuzzy Yarns” (don’t you love the name). This is blend of merino and tencel making for super soft fabric with a gorgeous drape.

I created my scarf by working off a center foundation, with half the scarf growing from the “top” of the foundation coming to an end that is an exaggeration of the shell pattern in the length of the scarf. The second side of the scarf is a repeat of the first side worked off the “bottom” of the center foundation. The side edging is worked with each row of shells creating a simple scalloped appearance along the long sides of the scarf.

Undulating Shells Shawl / KRW Knitwear Studio
Undulating Shells Shawl / KRW Knitwear Studio

I took a closer look at Karen’s shawl on Ravelry. I determined that though the body of the fabric was made with the same stitch pattern, we had both taken very different approaches to how we designed our projects.

KRWs ending edging of shawlKaren’s shawl is worked in laceweight bamboo yarn off a foundation in one direction, ending with a row of stitches that match the foundation row then a lovely stacked shell ending edge. That same edging is also worked off the base of the foundation row. Her side edging is the simple line of the undulating shells.Back of KRWs Shawl

 

 

 

You can purchase both of these patterns on Ravelry:

Undulating Shells Shawl / KRW Knitwear Studio  $7.50

Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs   $4.99

 

I Love Paris

 

Tour de Effiel

Paris, France is one of my favorite cities. I dreamt of visiting it for many years before I finally got to see it for real. When I went there for the very first time it was April.

Garden in Paris

The gardens were just beginning to show color, but the weather was occasionally rainy and gray. The colors of the gardens would be muted by the subdued light yet it was magical and wonderful for me.

Place de Concorde

It’s been years since I last visited, that is a very young me at the fountain in the Place de Concorde. This scarf design was inspired by the gardens of Paris and reminds of my happy visit there.

Paris Garden Scarf2 - M2H Designs

Paris Garden Scarf.  My sample is worked using one ball of Classic Elite’s lovely Alpaca Sox. This is a 60% Alpaca/20% Wool/ 20% Nylon yarn that works up as a light fingering weight. The Nylon will help this scarf hold up to a lot of wear. I designed this to be crocheted with a larger than usual hook size to show off the soft halo of the yarn.

Paris Garden Scarf3 - M2H Designs

This pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop for $3.99. Click here to buy it now.

Paris Garden Scarf - M2H Designs

My original proto-type was made working with 2 strands of yarn at the same time. I used 1 ball of Classic Elite’s Silky Alpaca Lace (70% Alpaca/30% Silk) and 2 balls of Pirouette (67% Mohair/25% Bamboo/8% Nylon). Unfortunately the Pirouette yarn was discontinued. But I’m still very happy to wear my original scarf.

This is a great take-along project for more experienced crocheters, the stitches aren’t complicated, but they are interesting enough to keep you entertained.  I found the second scarf took me only about 8 hours to work up.

If you are looking for a lovely lacy and warm scarf for a gift this one would be a good match. All 5 of my patterns released the past month were designed with gift-giving in mind. This is a great time of year to get started on those holiday gifts.