2 Needles instead of 1 Hook

The last month or so I’ve had a “hobby” project I have been playing with. I actually can’t recall exactly when I started this project. I had a smallish ball of bright blue yarn that I decided would be good for practicing knitting. I’m really not all that great at knitting, though I can knit a pretty decent garter stitch scarf. I cast on 15 stitches with the idea being to knit a few rows whenever I felt I had a little time and wanted a little knitting practice.

Sometimes the project got stuck in the bottom of my project bag for weeks at a time. Then I would take it out and knit a few rows. About a month ago I decided to finally finish up the blue yarn. My tension wasn’t always great, but I made fairly quick progress towards finishing it and I began to think about what I wanted to do with it next. I knew it wasn’t going to be very long, so wouldn’t really work as a skinny scarf.

Instead I decided to use some colorful variegated yarn to pick up stitches along the length of the blue piece. I had in mind the idea of creating a cuddly garter stitch wrap for wearing when the cooler weather arrives here on my mountain. It would also give me a chance to practice decreasing in knitting.

I really like the way the picked up stitches created a ridge on the side of the blue piece that reminds me of crocheted “crab stitch” or reverse single crochet

I had a lot of fun knitting this section of the wrap. The colorful changes as each row was completed kept me quite entertained. I decided to decrease on just one edge every 4th row. After a few times of missing my decrease row I added some of my locking stitch markers to help me keep track better.

Now I’m trying to decide if I want to add more to this wrap and play with another knitting technique like short rows, or maybe I will decrease every other row to make a sharper angle? Or I could just call it finished. This has been a great practice piece so far. I am actually happier with my weaving in of tails where I added a new ball of yarn. I always feel like I ruin my knitting when I weave in my tails, so it’s nice to be happy with that aspect finally.

Now I just need to work on my skills doing the purl stitch and increasing in knitting. In the meantime there are lots of crochet designs on my work table that I am hoping to share with you the next couple of months.

Learning Some New Stuff

I’m excited to announce that I will be teaching 3 crochet classes and 1 Needle-felting class via Zoom for the Longmont Yarn Shoppe this fall. I’ve been learning about teaching on Zoom and am really looking forward to this opportunity. Especially as this gives my readers that aren’t local a chance to take a class with me from the comfort of their own home. Keep in mind that I am in Colorado so the times listed below are Mountain time zone.

The 3 Crochet Classes are:

Strawberry Fields Crochet Shawlette: Class will be held in two sessions, the first will be Friday, October 2nd from 9 – 10 a.m., the second will be Friday, October 16th from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.  In the first session of class, you will learn how to work the mesh body of the shawl, then the 2nd session of class will be adding the lace border. This will include tips and tricks on how to keep track of your lace repeats, using wet blocking to really “open” the fabric of your shawlette, and tips on how to make a larger shawl if desired.You can register for this class on the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website here.

Crochet Slippers 101: Class will be held in two 1.5 hour sessions on Friday, October 23rd & 30th from 9:30 – 11 a.m. This class is project centered and uses my One Skein Joy Slippers pattern to introduce students to making crocheted slippers. In class you’ll learn the tricks for completing your slippers without tears, crocheting 2 at a time, a handy elastic crochet ribbing, and some fun tips for personalizing your slippers as well.You can register for this class on the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website here.

Crochet Slippers 102: Class will be held in two 1.5 hour sessions on Friday, November 13th & 20th from 9:30 – 11 a.m. In this class students will learn how to modify One Skeins Joy Slipper pattern to use it with any weight of yarn with an appropriate hook to make slippers that will fit every time. You can register for this class on the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website here.

Needle Felting Class

Itty Bitty Angel: Class will be held in one session on Sunday, November 15th from 10a – Noon. Come learn how to create these adorable compact angels that can be jewelry, toys or little ornaments. They are perfect for using up bits of wool yarn and loose fiber from other needle felting projects. You can register for this class on the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website here.

Happy Handy Half Double Crochet

The half double crochet stitch (UK terminology = Half Treble Crochet HTC) is one of the most versatile stitches in your crochet toolbox. Whether worked in rows or in the round the fabric you create has the solidness of single crochet stitches with the stretch of double crochet stitches. It is my preferred stitch to use for hats and slippers because of the stretch and cushioning quality of the finished fabric.

How to make the Half Double Crochet stitch

To make a half double crochet you wrap the yarn over once, then insert you hook in the indicated stitch, yarn over again,

pull up a loop thru the stitch you are working into, you now have 3 loops on your hook,

yarn over and pull thru all 3 loops on the hook.

Sometimes it can be a little difficult to get thru all 3 loops, one trick I use is to gently hold the loops between my thumb and forefinger of the yarn-holding hand. This allows me to ease thru the loops as I pull the final loop thru.

The completed half double crochet stitch from the front is pictured above. The yellow loop is the top of your stitch, the orange loop is the first yarn-over, the red loop is the second yarn-over, the loop on the hook is the final yarn-over.

The completed half double crochet from the back is pictured above. This is the way the stitches look to you when you are working turned rows. That first yarn over creates a floating “back bar” on the back of each stitch. Because of this back bar there are many different ways to work securely into the hdc to create subtle textures, and to take advantage of the shaping options in fabric worked with hdc.

When worked in the round the back of the fabric with have an almost flat smooth texture making it very comfortable to wear next to the skin. It is also great to use as the “right-side” of your fabric for a less textured appearance.

HDC Textures Swatch Patterns

  • The following patterns will help you experiment with the ways you can work into the hdc. These little swatches make handy coasters for your cold drinks while the weather is so hot here in the states.
  • For the swatches worked in rows do NOT work into the turning chain, instead let the turning chains “float” along the side of your work.
  • All swatches were worked using worsted weight yarn with a size I-9 (5.5mm) hook. Play with different yarn weights and hook sizes to see what kind of fabric you can create.
Swatch 1 Front View (RS)
Swatch 1 Back View (WS)

Swatch 1 – Standard HDC rows

Row 1: Ch 16, hdc in back bump of 3rd ch from hook, hdc in back bump of each ch to end of row. [14 hdc]

Row 2: Ch 2, turn, hdc in top of each st to end of row.

Rows 3 – 11: Repeat Row 2.

Swatch 2 Front View (RS)
Swatch 2 Back View (WS)

Swatch 2 – Alternate regular rows with back bar & front loop rows

Row 1: Ch 16, hdc in back bump of 3rd ch from hook, hdc in back bump of each ch to end of row. [14 hdc]

Working into back bar and front loop of stitches

Row 2: Ch 2, turn, hdc in back bar and front loop of each st to end of row.

Row 3: Ch 2, turn, hdc in top of each st to end of row.

Rows 4 – 11: Repeat Row 2 and 3, ending with a Row 3.

Swatch 3 Front View (RS)
Swatch 3 Back View (WS)

Swatch 3 – Alternate using top of st and back bar & front loop of st

Row 1: Ch 16, hdc in back bump of 3rd ch from hook, hdc in back bump of each ch to end of row. [14 hdc]

Row 2: Ch 2, turn,* hdc in top of next st, hdc using back bar and front loop next st*; repeat from * to * til reach end of row.

Row 3: Ch 2, turn,* hdc using back bar and front loop next st, hdc in top of next st*; repeat from * to * til reach end of row.

Rows 4 – 10: Repeat Row 2 and 3, ending with a Row 2.

Row 11: Ch 2, turn, hdc in top of each st to end of row.

Swatch 4 Front View (RS)
Swatch 4 Back View (WS)

Swatch 4 – Rows worked in front loop

Row 1: Ch 16, hdc in back bump of 3rd ch from hook, hdc in back bump of each ch to end of row. [14 hdc]

Working into Front Loop only

Row 2: Ch 2, turn, hdc in front loop of each st across row.

Rows 3 – 11: Repeat Row 2.

Swatch 5 Front View (RS)
Swatch 5 Back View (WS)

Swatch 5 – Continuous rounds with standard increase

Rnd 1: Ch 2, sc and 7 hdc in 2nd ch from hook. [1 sc, 7 hdc]

Rnd 2: 2 hdc in next 8 sts. [16 hdc]

Rnd 3: *hdc in next st, 2 hdc next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [24 hdc]

Rnd 4: *hdc in next 2 sts, 2 hdc next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [32 hdc]

Rnd 5: *hdc in next 3 sts, 2 hdc next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [40 hdc]

Rnd 6: *hdc in next 4 sts, 2 hdc next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [48 hdc]

Step down: Hdc next st, sc next st, loosely slip st next st, slip st next st. Fasten off.

Swatch 6 Front View (RS)
Swatch 6 Back View (WS)

Swatch 6 – Continuous rounds worked in back loop and back bar with standard increase

Rnd 1: Ch 2, sc and 7 hdc in 2nd ch from hook. [1 sc, 7 hdc]

Rnd 2: 2 hdc in first st, 2 hdc using back loop and back bar in next 7 sts. [16 hdc]

Rnd 3: *hdc using back loop and back bar in next st, 2 hdc using back loop and back bar next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [24 hdc]

Rnd 4: *hdc using back loop and back bar in next 2 sts, 2 hdc using back loop and back bar next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [32 hdc]

Rnd 5: *hdc using back loop and back bar in next 3 sts, 2 hdc using back loop and back bar next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [40 hdc]

Rnd 6: *hdc using back loop and back bar in next 4 sts, 2 hdc using back loop and back bar next st*; repeat from * to * 7 times. [48 hdc]

Step down: Working in back loop and back bar, hdc next st, sc next st, loosely slip st next st, slip st next st. Fasten off.

When using the same size yarn and hook for both Swatch 5 and 6 you can compare the sizes of the 2 swatches. Working into the back loop and back bar creates a smaller circle, and a slightly denser fabric.

If you are interested in trying more of my designs that use the half double crochet stitch check these out…

Spiraling Stripes Hat – M2H Designs Ravelry Shop

One Skein Joy Slippers

Image of finished slippers with pom pom decoration.

Every Christmas morning when I was a child my whole family always received hand-knitted slippers from my mom. We wore them until they were nearly tattered or we had outgrown them. In honor of that memory I designed the “One Skein Joy Slippers” in crochet. The first pair I made were a gift for my mom for Christmas 2017.

Green un-decorated slippers.

You only need one skein of Berocco Worsted Weight Ultra Wool to make a pair of slippers that fit a US Women’s size 7.5/8. They were originally published in the December 2018 issue of the online magazine “I Like Crochet”, the pattern is now available for sell in my Ravelry Shop. The PDF version of the pattern includes stitch charts and photo tutorials to help you successfully crochet up some slippers for yourself.

I will also be teaching this project as a Zoom class thru the Longmont Yarn Shoppe in late October. I’ll provide the link to class registration here as soon as it is available. The class will be taught in two 1.5 hour segments to give students time to complete work between classes and will be called “Crochet Slippers 101”. I will also be teaching a follow-up class, “Crochet Slippers 102” later in November that will expand on this pattern so you can work the slippers for various sizes of feet.

Strawberry Fields Shawlette

Well there has certainly been a lot keeping me busy the past 3 months. One of the things I have been spending a lot of time on has been writing up patterns for designs that I had created over the past year.

I finished crocheting this shawlette back in November, but never got around to blocking it until now. I used some gorgeous superwash merino that I purchased at my local yarn shop, Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The yarn is from Farmers Daughter Fibers, they create gorgeous hand dyed colors that make me drool. This yarn is called “Squish Worsted” and it truly is very squishy and snuggly.

My plan for this shawlette is for a warm layer to wrap around my neck with my burgundy winter coat. I love the dramatic border for those days that are warm enough to leave my coat open.

I used almost all of the skein of variegated yarn for the body of the shawl, then all but a quarter of the solid color for the border. The pattern is available in my Ravelry shop and includes stitch charts for both the simple mesh of the body and the lace border.

This shawlette works up fairly quickly, so if you are thinking about crafting for Christmas this would be a great gift for someone special on your gift list (or something special to spoil yourself with).

Christmas is in the Bag

Last Christmas I was frustrated by the amount of wrapping paper waste in my house after all the gifts were opened. I try to use sturdy gift bags as much as possible so they can be re-used from year to year, eventually they start to fall apart. Then I had a thought, “What if I made fabric gift bags that could be re-used and even washed.”

I visited the January fabric sale at my local JoAnns and stocked up on some great Christmas quilting cotton with this goal in mind. Once I got all the fabrics home I ran them all thru the washer and dryer at high temperatures to pre-shrink them.

Since then I have played about with a couple of design ideas for bags. Today’s pattern is super simple. It can work as a gift wrap bag, but it can also work great as a shopping or project bag (for a crochet, knitting or embroidery project). Sew it up in a fun fabric for a great stocking stuffer gift. You can even slide a gift card inside the folded bag before flipping the flap closed.

This bag is a good project to develop your sewing skills. It is made in cotton quilting fabric and all raw edges are finished to prolong the life of the bag. All seams are straight. Side and box bottom seams are “french seams”.  

The pocket construction and placement are the most challenging part of the project. I wanted to be able to store the bag in it’s own pocket. The bag folds up and then flips inside the pocket, with the flap flipping over to secure the bag as a simple package to store neatly until you need it. If you just want a drawstring bag you can skip the pocket.

For ease of construction the drawstring channel and pocket are sewn in place on the single layer of the bag body before the bag side seams are sewn. Top hem of bag opening is sewn last.

Handy as a Pocket Bag Sewing Pattern

designed by Andee Graves

Finished size:

Small bag – 11 inches  x 12 inches  

Large bag – 18 inches  x 19 inches

Measurements going forward are given for small bag and measurements for large bag are in square brackets [ ].

Materials

Quilting Cotton woven fabric: 3/4 yard [1 ¼ yard]

Ribbon or Cord for drawstring: 52” [72”]

Sewing thread

Instructions

Each bag uses 4 rectangular pieces of fabric; width measurement is the across the grain of fabric, length is with the grain of fabric (parallel to selvage).

Piece A, Body of Bag: Cut 1 – 12” [17”] wide  x 30” [40”] long or 2 – 12” [17”] wide x 15 ½” [20 ½”] long

Piece B, Drawstring Channel: Cut 2 – 9 ½” [13 ½”] wide x 2” [2”] long

Piece C, Pocket: Cut 1 – 5” [6”] wide x 15 ½” [17 ½”] long (flap on pocket uses 3” [4”] of length, if you don’t want the flap to secure the bag when folded, take that amount off length)

Drawstring Channels (B):

Fold over ¼” to wrong-side of fabric along short ends and press. Fold over ¼” to wrong-side of fabric along long edges and press.

Clip corners to reduce bulk. Fold over short ends an additional ¼”. Top stitch at short ends to secure hem.

Pin in place centered wrong-side on right-side of Piece A 2” below and running parallel with top edge of bag. Top stitch 1/8” in from edge of each long side leaving short ends open.

Tip: Easy centering of drawstring channel and pocket. Fold Piece A in half lengthwise and mark center of short edges. Fold channel pieces in half widthwise and mark center of long side, fold finished pocket in half lengthwise and mark center of short ends. Align all center marking correct distance apart and pin in place.

Pocket (C): Fold pocket piece in half lengthwise with wrong-sides together, press at fold.

Fold down another 1 ½” [2”] and press. Bring the long length from the bottom over the so the right-sides are together and wrong-sides are facing out. Press at fold.

Piece of fabric will look like a tall capital M. Folded edge is top of pocket.

Pin along sides and bottom.

Sew ¼ inch seam along all raw edges leaving a 1 ½” opening in center at bottom edge.

Clip bottom corners being careful not to cut seam.

Tip: When leaving opening leave long threads.

Then pull threads to one side of seam and tie in square knot. This will keep bottom seam from coming un-done while turning pocket right-side out.

Turn right-side out, being sure to get all corners fully turned and squared up. Fold in a ¼” seam at opening. Press flat.

Pin in place flap side down centered on right-side of Piece A, 1 ½” below bottom of drawstring channel. Top stitch 1/8” in from edge of pocket down from fold, along bottom (securing turning opening) and up other side.

Body of Bag:

Fold Piece A widthwise with wrong-sides together and all edges squarely matched. Press along fold to make a crease for later reference.

French side seams: Sew slightly less than ¼” seams from fold to top edge of each side.

Turn wrong-side out and gently pull seams so stitching is right at side edges when folded with right-sides together.

Sew slightly more than ¼” seams along each side again, seam doesn’t need to go all the way to the fold.

Press enclosed seams to one side of seam so they are opposite of each other.

Turn bag right side out. You may need to trim some stray threads if your raw edges were super frayed.

Box Bottom: Shape box bottom corners by laying second side seam stitching line along bottom crease line.

Decide how wide a box bottom you want and mark line on right-side of fabric. (In sample I choose a 4” box bottom, so my line was 3 ½” wide). These will be french seams.

Sew along the marked line. Then trim off corner within ¼” of sewn line.

Turn inside out and flatten out box bottom seams. Sew slightly more than ¼” seam to finish seam.

Finished Box Bottom seam on Right-side

Opening Hem: Turn right-side out and flatten bag to check that top edge is even, if it isn’t trim it even.

Fold over ¼” to wrong-side all around opening. Then fold over an additional ½”. Press and pin in place.

Sew top stitching to secure hem (or if you prefer blind stitch the hem). This can also be a fun place to use a decorative stitch.

Drawstrings:

Cut ribbon (or cord) length in half, thread thru channels in both directions and

knot end of each ribbon together.

Storing Bag in Pocket

Folding up the bag into its pocket is easy. Lay bag with pocket facing down. Fold down top edge of bag to cover pocket,

repeat with bottom,

then each side.

Flip pocket to outside so all folded parts of bag are inside the pocket. You can now see the flap of the pocket,

flip the flap over the open end of the pocket and your handy bag is ready to be stored for later use.

As I was working on this project I made a number of mistakes and missteps, partially due to not being used to my new sewing machine and because my time for this blog post got a little squeezed. I left in the less than perfect images though because I think the imperfections are what makes us human. So be human and have fun making some colorful bags for your Christmas or just for the fun of making a special bag.

This project is part of the Christmas in July Make Along with Underground Crafter. Come join the fun! 31 bloggers have teamed up to bring you a month full of free patterns to kick start the handmade holiday season — including crochet, knitting, sewing, and crafting projects. There’s something new to make every day in July. Each week will have a theme.

Week 1 (July 1-7): Babies, Kids, and Teens
Week 2 (July 8-14): Women
Week 3 (July 15-21): Gifts for Anyone
Week 4 (July 22-28): Home
Week 5 (July 29-31): Pets

We’ve also partnered with some of our favorite companies to get some great prizes for you. Find out more information about participating designers, the schedule, and how to enter to win the prizes on Underground Crafter. The deadline for entering the giveaway is Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

How To Join the 2020 Christmas in July Make Along

  • You can join in by crocheting, knitting, sewing, or making the projects as you have time.
  • Share your progress and post pictures of your finished projects. Tag your projects and posts #CIJMakeAlong2020 on all social media.
  • If you’d like to chat with other crafters, join the Underground Crafters Facebook group
  • By the end of the Make Along, you’ll have up to 31 awesome projects. Get ready for the handmade holiday season while having fun with us!

Visit Underground Crafter to learn more about the prizes, enter the giveaway, and to get links to each Christmas in July Make Along post as it is released.

Crochet Really Round Circles

Have you ever noticed how working a flat circle in larger sizes with regular increases you end up with a polygon shape. The stitches between the increase points make a flat edge. These can be fun shapes, but what if you want the pleasing curve of a really rounded edge for your circle?

Today I’m posting a pattern for a 10 round flat circle that comes out really round, as well as the tips and tricks to make even larger flat rounds that will be really round.

The simple formula to remember for working flat circles is:

Number of stitches in Round 1 = Number of increases in each following round.

You can learn more about the number of stitches recommended for the first round for different stitch heights in my post: Another Pi Day Celebration. For my example today I’m using the half double crochet stitch which needs 8 stitches in the first round.

There are 2 methods of crocheting in the round: Continuous Spiral or Concentric Rounds. For today’s pattern I am using the continuous spiral method. It eliminates the noticeable joins and chains to get to taller stitch heights each round. It does mean you need to keep track of the final stitch in each round. I use a stitch marker that is a different color than my increase stitch markers. If you prefer to work concentric rounds you can apply these same tips for getting a really round circle.

When working circles you want your increases to be evenly spaced each round. My favorite way to keep track of my increases is to use stitch markers. In the case of our half double crochet circle, I place a stitch marker in each stitch at the end of Round 1. I also add my end of round stitch marker in the last stitch.

For all the following rounds I work 2 stitches in the marked stitch then move the stitch marker to the second stitch made. When I work the next round of the circle I crochet 2 stitches in the newly marked stitch and move it up the same way. The photo above shows the end of Round 2 with 8 increase markers (orange) and the last stitch marked with a larger yellow stitch marker.

If I continue increasing in this same style after about 5 rounds it becomes noticeable how the increases line up like the spokes of a wheel. The stitches on the last round will begin to flatten out along the edge giving an octagonal shape instead of a circle. The more rounds worked the more this becomes exaggerated. The photo above shows a completed 10 round circle worked this way.

The trick to creating a really round circle is to break up those “spokes” of increases. The easiest way to do that is to move your increase points before starting the next round. The stitch markers are still really handy, especially as you work larger rounds.

When working circles, whether really round style or the traditional spoke style of increases, the number of stitches in each increase section of your circle will be the same as the Round number you are working. Example (photo above) in Round 4 you will have 3 unmarked stitches and 1 marked stitch for 4 stitches in each section. This holds true no matter what height and number of stitches you begin with in Round 1.

End of Rnd 4 before starting Rnd 5: green arrows indicate where to move Increase St Markers

To break up the spokes of increases you will need to move your increases to the approximate center of each of these sections. Example: after completing Round 4 there are 3 unmarked stitches between each marked stitch. You will shift your stitch markers over to the middle of the unmarked stitches.

Let’s get you started crocheting your first Really Round Circle. For this pattern I have included suggested hook size and the gauge I got, but you can play with hook size and even yarn size to get a fabric that appeals to you. I worked my circles with a worsted weight acrylic yarn, if you used 100% cotton these rounds make great hot pads for your table top.

Really Round Circle

By Andee Graves

Finished Size: 10 Rounds 7.25 inches/18.5 cm diameter (across center),

Gauge: 5 Rounds = 4 inches/10 cm.

Yarn: Worsted Weight Acrylic Yarn, approximately 42 yards/38.4 meters, .67 oz/19 grams for one circle.

Hook: US Size I/9 (5.5.mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

Notions: 8 stitch markers in one color (Increase stitch markers), 1 stitch marker in different color (End-of-Round stitch marker), yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Pattern Notes: Stitch counts for each round are shown in italicized square brackets at end. Once you are sure of you count at end of Round 2 or 3, you may find it helpful to weave in the beginning tail to get it out of your way. Always move End-of-Round stitch marker to last stitch of each round as completed.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Start with an adjustable slip knot (YouTube Video here), Ch 2, (sc, 7 hdc) in 2nd chain from hook. Pull gently on beginning tail to tighten center. With increase stitch markers place 1 in each stitch, place End-of-Round stitch marker in last stitch. [1 sc, 7 hdc]

Rnd 2: 2 hdc in each marked st, moving increase stitch markers to second st made in each stitch. [16 hdc]

End of Rnd 2, ready for Rnd 3.

Rnd 3: (Hdc in unmarked st, 2 hdc in marked st, move stitch marker to first st made) 8 times. [24 hdc]

End of Rnd 3, ready for Rnd 4.

Rnd 4: [Hdc in next st, 2 hdc in marked st, move stitch marker to second st made in marked st, hdc in next st] 8 times. [32 hdc]

Rnd 5: Move each Increase st marker back 2 sts from original marked st. [2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to second st made in marked st, hdc in next 3 sts] 8 times. [40 hdc]

Increase St Markers after being moved to start Rnd 6.

Rnd 6: Move each Increase st marker forward 2 sts from original marked st. [hdc in next 3 sts, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to second st made in marked st, hdc in next st] 8 times. [48 hdc]

Increase St Markers after being moved to start Rnd 7.

Rnd 7: Move each Increase st marker back 3 sts from original marked st. [hdc in next st, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to second st made in marked st, hdc in next 4 sts] 8 times. [56 hdc]

Increase St Markers after being moved to start Rnd 8.

Rnd 8: Move each Increase st marker forward 3 sts from original marked st. [hdc in next 5 sts, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to second st made in marked st, hdc in next st] 8 times. [64 hdc]

Increase St Markers after being moved to start Rnd 9.

Rnd 9: Move each Increase st marker back 4 sts from original marked st. [hdc in next 2 sts, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to second st made in marked st, hdc in next 5 sts] 8 times. [72 hdc]

Increase St Markers after being moved to start Rnd 10.

Rnd 10: Move each Increase st marker forward 4 sts from original marked st. [hdc in next 7 sts, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to second st made in marked st, hdc in next st] 8 times. [80 hdc]

Step Down to finish Circle: Hdc in next st, 2 hdc next st, hdc next 2 sts, sc next st, slip st next 2 sts. Fasten off and weave in ending tail.

Note: If you are wanting to crochet larger circles you may need to experiment with the length of the step-down in for your final round.

Just Wow!

I’ve been trying to write a blog post to catch you all up on what has been going on with me since my last blog post in December. But 2020 clearly has some ideas of it’s own about how this party is going to go.

Even before all the excitement with this nasty virus took off, my life was a bit fuller than usual and my energy has been pulled in a number of directions. It’s a story involving cancer, chemo, concussion and a trip to Hawaii. Read on for the rest of the story.

Cy during first days of chemo treatment at VA.
Photo courtesy of Sean Branagan

I spent most of January and the first 8 days of February in Kansas City. I was helping out my younger brother Cy who started chemotherapy treatment the first week of January.

I’ve talked about Cy here on the blog before. He is a super talented and fun guy. He made me these beautiful crochet hooks one year for my birthday. He does all sorts of amazing wood working including chain saw carving. You can check out his videos of his work on his YouTube channel: DIY with Uncle Cy. His latest video is a Woodturning a Mushroom Box

Tiny House Staircase

I was staying in his tiny house while he was staying in his old room with his housemates. The stairs in the tiny house are quite steep with an interesting space saving half step construction. Cy hadn’t put in a handrail yet and that turned out to be an issue for his clumsy sister.

On February 4th I was coming down the stairs and fell. It was basically 8 feet straight down and at the end I hit my head on the edge of this plastic 5 gallon bucket. I was pretty shook up and banged up, but fortunately I did not break any bones.

30 minutes after my fall

At first I just needed to ice all my bruises and get the pain a little under control. A few hours later one of his housemates took me to the E.R. to get my head checked. I had quite a goose egg on the left side of my forehead and the swelling was down into my left eye. Despite the ice, my left eye was swollen closed a few hours after my fall.

After talking with some astounded doctors and nurses, then having a C.T. scan the conclusion was that I had a mild to moderate concussion with no broken bones. The doctors gave me instructions on pain management and recovery from a concussion and sent me home. The doctor who read the scan told me that I was the toughest 50+ woman he had ever met.

My big concerns were how I was going to drive home to Colorado 4 days later and if I would be able to take my flight to Hawaii as planned the following Tuesday. The doctor said I should be fine to fly, especially after a week, but he didn’t recommend that I drive all the way from KC to Denver by myself.

Fortunately my sweet husband saved the day. He took a flight to Kansas City that following Saturday and we drove back to Colorado together. Truthfully he did most of the driving and I slept. The bright sunlight was pretty painful for my concussed head, so I hid under my coat most of the way.

I was feeling quite a bit better by the time I had to go to the airport for my flight on the 11th. I looked scary as heck with my colorful bruised face, but the swelling had gone down significantly. I felt a little self conscious of all the attention it drew, but I kept reminding myself how happy I was to not be hurt worse and to be alive. When people asked me about the bruise I told them I had an argument with a staircase and the staircase won.

Hawaii was a great place to recuperate. Mel’s condo is just across the street from a wonderful little rocky beach area full of tidepools. I really enjoyed exploring the tide pools and watching the waves break on the rocks.

The sound of the surf lulled me to sleep at night and for my many naps. I had some seriously dark sunglasses that I wore over my regular glasses, so the bright sun wasn’t an issue when I was outside.

It was so lovely to be somewhere warm after the freezing cold I had dealt with in KC and Colorado. I loved all the beautiful flowers like the hibiscus above and the sweet scent of the plumeria blossoms below.

I had a wonderful time watching the busy little geckos that hung out on the lanai and in the garden. Their bright colors delighted me and they were quick and curious about everything.

As Mel says, “They are cute and they eat bugs, what’s not to like?” Mel teased me that I was becoming a crazy lizard lady instead of the crazy cat lady she always thought I was.

Though there were also cats to enjoy at her condo complex. They belong to the couple that manage the complex. The cats are a non-toxic way to keep rodent and bug populations down. They also hunt the geckos, but the little lizards learn to be very quick.

My truffles from Puna Chocolate Evening

There were loads of fun things to do on the Big Island even if some of my original plans had to be scrapped due to my mishap. One of my happy discoveries was that cacao is grown in the Hawaiian islands and in particular on the Big Island. Mel and I spent my last Friday evening at the Puna Chocolate Company learning to make truffles and tasting the many chocolates they make.

I brought home a few chocolate bars to share with my family and to remind me of the wonderful time on the island.

2 whales; calf’s back and mom’s tail.

My one adventure I didn’t want to scrap was going on a Humpback Whale watching cruise. Fortunately we were able to schedule an early morning cruise a week after I got to Hawaii and it was great fun. Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale watching cruise was both educational and inspiring. We saw lots of whales during the 3 hours we were on the water.

All too soon my visit on the island was over and it was time to return to Colorado. I was almost completely recovered from the fall. My bruises were much less painful and almost all the discoloration on my face was gone.

It’s been a slow process as far as recovering from the concussion. I am still having headaches if I spend too much time looking at computer or TV screens. But the headaches are very slight compared to what they had been like during the first 3 weeks after the fall.

I am happy to be back working on crochet and other crafting designs. My original plan for late March of 2020 was to be gearing up for teaching more classes at various venues. Of course, like most all of my readers those plans have gone thru some big adjustments due to the Covid 19 pandemic. I’ll be posting on here and on my other social media when things are a bit more clear about when those classes will be available.

Currently I’m staying put on my mountain with my family. I’ll be working on getting some new crochet designs finished and some fun coloring pages drawn. Hopefully this long period of staying at home will also allow me to get some new videos completed for my YouTube channel. I love to teach and those are a great way to continue to do that, even if I can’t be with my students in person.

Take care of yourselves and each other. Together we can keep everyone safe.

Evening Stroll Beaded Earwarmer

Christmas is just 3 days away, not counting today, and you may need to make some last minute gifts. Check out the December issue of “I Like Crochet” online for some fun quick gift projects to crochet up.

You’ll see a new version of my Morning Walk Earwarmer, “Evening Stroll Beaded Earwarmer”. This beaded version gives a festive touch for wearing when you are out looking at Christmas lights. Or a great way to add some bling to your bundled up look for New Year’s Eve.

I love earwarmers. Especially when I had long hair I would wear wide to narrow ones. I would have the wide part in front and my hair pulled thru the opening with the narrow part on the back of my neck. Was really great when I was skiing for keeping my hair out of my face and ears warm at the same time.

Earwarmers are also great when a hat would be too warm as well as fitting in your coat pocket easier than a hat.

The pictured sample took approximately 52 grams of Anzula’s “It Could Be Worsted” merino/silk blend and used 68 beads. If you are really in a time crunch or a little short on yarn you can eliminate 1 repeat (2 rounds) of the rounds for a slightly narrower band.

The pattern used both the stringing method and “hoist-on” method of adding beads. If you need help with those beading techniques you can see my tutorials here in these posts: Stringing method – “Celebrating Crochet by Teaching” , and Hoist-on Method – “Making a Pendant”.

If you are looking for some really super quick gift projects, check out my blog post from this summer about snowflakes and my little wreath pin. These projects also are a great way to decorate your holiday packages.

12 Days til Christmas

Christmas has been sneaking up on me and my family really fast this year. We went to Kansas City for Thanksgiving with family and got back home late on the Saturday after.

Our new kitty, Areya, hadn’t been feeling well before we left and when we got back she was still not doing great. So the first week of December was all about taking her to the Animal Hospital for tests and some help. The great news is she has recovered and is back to normal, getting into mischief every waking moment.

I’m a little behind with my planned holiday posts here on the blog. With only 12 days left until Christmas, I wanted to share with you a new coloring page. This is a fun whimsical nighttime Christmas tree. I’ve made it available in 2 sizes.

The first is a full page 8.5 x 11.

The second is a half page greeting card.

I had a lot of fun coloring this page and wanted to share the 4 different versions I colored to give you ideas for coloring your tree page.

For this one I used colored pencils only and picked rainbow colors for the ornaments on the tree. The tree colors are piney greens with shading at the tops of each segment. Shading around the stars with a deep blue sky and blue snow lines.

For this version I used colored pencils in blues and teals for the trees, then grays and yellows for the stars. The ornaments I used shaded lavender and purples for the ovals then a mix of salmon, yellow and pink for the others. I left the sky blank with bright blue snow lines.

This one I used colored pencils and went with a bright lime green for the main tree, with kelly green shading at the the tops of each segment. The ornaments were colored the same color for each shape using hot pink, lavender and pale yellow. The background trees are a piney green. Then shading around the stars and a bright blue sky and navy blue snow lines..

For the final version I used fine line markers for some of the details and outlines with colored pencils to add shading and soft color. Stars and ornaments were simple Red, Orange & Yellow. The trees were colored a piney green. Bright blue snow lines.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

I used my Staedtler Noris Club 36 colored pencils on all of these pages. I love the density of color and how durable these pencils are. They have a white protective coating around the lead core that really helps decrease breakage and allows for sharpening to a clean point.

I use my Staedtler double hole Tub pencil sharpener to keep the points sharp. I love that it has a compartment to catch shavings and a cap across the holes so I can throw it in my crafting bag and there is no mess.

For the fine line marker work on the final version I colored, I used my Staedtler 20 Triplus fineliner markers. These are great long lasting markers that I can color with for hours and not have dry up on me.

If you want to add any of these products to your craft bag and can’t find them locally, just click on the images above to find them at Amazon.com for purchase.

Have fun coloring some Christmas trees.