“Wraps for All Seasons” Blog Tour – Stop #2

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.

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Stop #2 is with the lovely Kathy Lashley of ELK Studio Handcrafted Crochet Designs. Kathy is not only a talented designer she is also a left-handed crocheter and is the teacher on “Learn to Crochet for Lefties” from the Annie’s folks.

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Check out Kathy’s awesome hat pattern “Swirling Pebbles”. This hat is part of her Christmas Present CAL that she has put together to help her readers get a jump on holiday gift making. A quick project with a fun yarn that does all the color changing for you.

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If you’ve been wanting to try out a pattern for a super scarf you’ll love her pattern for “The Woodman Super Scarf”. This design has a load of texture worked in 3 different colors of Red Heart Soft Yarn. Kathy chose Black, Charcoal and White for her sample, but with the wide range of colors in the Soft Yarn line you’ve got all sorts of options.

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The next stop for the “Wraps for All Seasons” blog tour will be next Friday, November 4th.

You can purchase my book at the Annie’s Craft Store or on Amazon.com.

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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

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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.

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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”.

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This could get interesting.

“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.

elena-hunt

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

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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.

effortless-poncho

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.

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

You can purchase my book at the Annie’s Craft Store or on Amazon.com.

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.

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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.

bandaged-finger

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.

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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.

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.*

 

Changing Color, Changing the Look

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

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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.

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

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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.

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I was inspired by Tamara’s square (Mooglyblog.com) 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.

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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.

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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.

Working the Standing DC Stitch

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yarn over, pull thru all 4 remaining loops.

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Cluster stitch completed.

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