Spirals & Lace Afghan Square

Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers. I’m so thankful to all of you coming to visit my blog.

I’m sharing this latest free pattern with you. I’m having fun with spirals again this time around. To keep things even more interesting I’ve added some Join-as-You-Go edgings for making the spiral grid that is the centerpiece for this square.

For those that prefer to have a PDF with stitch charts for each element and no ads, you can purchase the pattern for less than $4 thru my Ravelry Shop by clicking here.

Spirals and Lace Afghan Square

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

12” square

Materials:

Yarn  Worsted wt (Sample uses Red Heart “With Love” 100% Acrylic (7 oz/198 g, 370 yd/338 m)

  • Color A: #1704 Bubble Gum
  • Color B: #1308 Tan
  • Color C: #1538 Lilac
  • Color D: #1969 Wintergreen
  • Color E: #1101 Eggshell

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

Hook J / 6 mm

Notions 8 locking st markers (2 in one color, 6 in another color), Yarn/tapestry needle for weaving in ends

My favorite locking stitch markers are from the Clover company, like the ones above. If you can’t find them locally click on the photo above to find them on Amazon.

This handy 6 inch ruler is great for checking your gauge, especially with the center finding measure on one side it’s perfect for measuring center out motifs, whether squares or rounds. If you can’t find one locally click on the photograph above to find it on Amazon.

Gauge 1 Spiral Square = 3 inches square

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Loose slip stitch (sl st loosely): Insert hook in indicated place, YO, pull up a loop thru place and loop on hook keeping loose like making a chain st.

Joining slip st (sl st): Insert hook in indicated place, YO, pull up a loop thru place and loop on hook, continue to pull up on working loop until original loop is tight.

Standing Double Crochet (Standing dc): make slip knot in yarn and place loop snugly on shaft of hook, yo and insert hook into indicated st, yo, pull up a loop, (yo, pull thru 2 loops on hook) twice. If substituting for a chain start of a round, do not work the first 3 chains of the round instructions.

V-stitch (V-st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated st or sp.

Join-As-You-Go (JAY-Go)

Pattern Notes:

Overall square starts with 9 2-armed spiral rounds, then spirals are joined together in a grid with Join-as-you-Go round to square edging creating a 9.5 inch square. Bordering Rounds are worked along outside edge of this grid to finish.

Start each spiral with an adjustable slip knot. Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook. If you need help with this technique check out my video tutorial on my YouTube channel.

Stitch counts at the end of each round are shown in italicized brackets.

Instructions

Spirals – Make 9

In Sample: 4 corner spirals used Colors A & B, 4 side spirals used Colors A & C, and center spiral used Colors C & B.

Note: Round 3 of Spirals specifies “sl st loosely”, this means work the indicated slip stitches similar to a chain stitch and do not pull the working loop to tighten it as in a joining slip stitch. You will be working into those loose slip stitches in the edging rounds.

Rnd 1 (RS): Begin with first Color and adjustable slip knot, ch 2, (2 sc, 2 hdc) in second ch from hook, pull up long loop of first Color and remove hook, insert hook in same ch as previous work, pull up a loop of second Color on shaft of hook, ch 1, working over beginning tail (2 sc, 2 hdc) in same ch st, pull beginning tail of first Color to close center tightly. [2 sc, 2 hdc, in each color {8 sts total}]

Place st markers in each st using a different color marker to indicate the last st of each color section.

Rnd 2: Begin with first Color, *(2 hdc in marked st, move st marker up to second st worked) 4 times*, pull up loop of first Color, switch to second Color, Repeat from * to *. [8 hdc, in each color {16 sts total}]

Rnd 3: Begin with first Color, *(hdc in next st, 2 hdc in marked st, remove st marker) 4 times*, pull up loop of first Color, switch to second Color, Repeat from * to *, [12 hdc in each color],

Switch back to first Color, **hdc in next st, sc in next st, sl st loosely in next st, sl st in back loop of next st, fasten off and pull tail thru final sl st and snug**, switch to second Color, Repeat from ** to ** once. [10 hdc, 1 sc, 1 loose slip st, in each color of open sts]

Joining Spirals

Note: When working the sl st joins into the ch-sps of previous edgings it works better to lay the work on a flat surface and bring the working loop for the loose sl st over the top of the ch-sp and pull the working yarn thru from behind. This will give you a flat and tidy join.

Corner Spiral Squares Edging

Rnd 1:

Insert hook in any open stitch along edge of spiral round, pull up a loop of Color D, ch 1, working over beginning tail sc in same st as join, (*ch 1, skip next st, hdc & dc in next st, ch 2, dc & hdc in next st, ch 1, skip next st,* sc in next 2 sts) 3 times,  Repeat from * to * once, sc in next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd, fasten off and pull tail thru final st. [8 sc, 8 ch-1 sp, 4 ch-2 sp, 8 hdc, 8 dc]

Center Spiral Square JAY-Go Edging

Rnd 1: Insert hook in any open stitch along edge of spiral round, pull up a loop of Color D, ch 1, working over beginning tail sc in same st as join, (*ch 1, skip next st, hdc & dc in next st, ch 1, sl st tightly to adjacent ch-2 sp of a Corner Spiral edging, ch 1, return to center spiral, dc & hdc in next st, ch 1, skip next st,* sc in next 2 sts) 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sc in next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd, fasten off and pull tail thru final st. [8 sc, 8 ch-1 sp, 4 ch-2 JAY-Go corner sp, 8 hdc, 8 dc]

Side Spiral Squares #1-3 JAY-Go Edging

Rnd 1: Insert hook in any open stitch along edge of spiral round that will be outside edge of square, pull up a loop of Color D, ch 1, working over beginning tail sc in same st as join, ch 1, skip next st, hdc & dc in next st, *ch 1, sl st tightly to adjacent ch-2 sp of a Corner Spiral edging, ch 1, return to side spiral, dc & hdc in next st,*

sl st loosely in nearest ch-1 sp of adjacent spiral edging, return to side spiral, skip next st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st loosely in nearest ch-1 sp of adjacent spiral edging, return to side spiral, skip next st, hdc & dc in next st,

(ch 1, sl st tightly to adjacent corner join, ch 1, return to side spiral, dc & hdc in next st, sl st loosely in nearest ch-1 sp of adjacent spiral edging, return to side spiral, skip next st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st loosely in nearest ch-1 sp of adjacent spiral edging, return to side spiral, skip next st, hdc & dc in next st) 2 times,

Repeat from * to * once, ch 1, skip next st, sc in next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd, fasten off and pull tail thru final st. [8 sc, 2 ch-1 sp, 6 sl st JAY-Go sp, 4 ch-2 JAY-Go corner sp, 8 hdc, 8 dc]

Side Spiral Square #4 JAY-Go Edging

Work same as Side Spiral Squares #1-3 JAY-Go Edging but do NOT fasten off at end. [8 sc, 2 ch-1 sp, 6 sl st JAY-Go sp, 4 ch-2 JAY-Go corner sp, 8 hdc, 8 dc]

Border

Rnd 1: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc in next 13 sts, [*(sc, ch 2, sc) in corner ch-2 sp, PM in ch-2 sp just made,* sc in next 28 sts] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sc in next 14 sts, sl st to first sc of rnd. Fasten off. [120 sc, 4 ch-2 corner sps]

Rnd 2: Attach Color E with Standing dc in 14th st from any left ch-2 corner sp, *skip 2 sts, V-st in next st*, Repeat from * to * 3 times, skip next st, [(dc, ch 2, dc) in marked ch-2 sp, move st marker up to ch-2 just made, skip 1 st, V-st in next st, Repeat from * to * 9 times, skip 1 st] 3 times, [(dc, ch 2, dc) in marked ch-2 sp, move st marker up to ch-2 just made, skip 1 st, V-st in next st, Repeat from * to * 4 times, skip 2 sts, dc in same st as standing dc, ch 1, sl st to first dc {counts as final V-st of round}. Fasten off. [40 V-sts, 8 dc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 3: Attach Color C with a Standing dc in any ch-1 sp of any V-st, [V-st in each ch-1 sp until reach marked ch-2 sp, (V-st, ch 2, V-st) in ch-2 sp, move marker up to ch-2 sp just made] 4 times, V-st in each ch-1 sp until reach beginning, dc in first ch-1 sp, ch 1, sl st to first dc of rnd {makes last V-st of Rnd}. Fasten off. [48 V-sts, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 4: Insert hook in any dc along a side, pull up a loop of Color E, ch 1, working over beginning tail sc in same st as join, [sc in each st and ch-1 sp until reach marked ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, remove st marker] 4 times, sc in each st and ch-1 sp until reach end of Rnd, sl st to first sc. [152 sc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Finishing

Block gently, weave in loose ends.

This square is block #24 of the 2019 Moogly Afghan CAL. You can find Tamara’s version of my square and links to the other 23 squares by clicking here: MooglyBlog.

The Paulette Poncho

The weather has cooled off significantly up here on my mountain. We have already had a couple of super snowy days and the snow is hanging around with the temperatures barely getting above freezing.

Last week was all about making costumes for my kiddos at the last minute. I didn’t get photos the day of, I was doing finishing touches 2 minutes before they ran out the door to their party. We took these this past Saturday after a bit of repair work. My oldest was The Grim Reaper, all I had to make was the black cloak. Everything else was created by J, including the creative white patterns on mask, scythe and tabbard.

My youngest was Spectre Knight from a video game. We did a lot of searching of images to decide on the appearance and what we could realistically get done in the short time we had. The cloak with it’s skull embellished cowl came out the best, the armour was a bit sad. He was happy with it.

Casual Crochet Group modeling their Paulette Ponchos

The last 3 summers I have created a design for my Casual Crochet Group at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. We call this our Testing Pool project. the crocheters that want to, join in work the pattern and give me feedback on changes or mistakes they find.

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

This year our project was a simple top down poncho worked in rounds using a cotton blend yarn with long color changes: Katia’s “Funny Rainbow Star”. Some of the crocheters picked the version of the yarn that doesn’t have sparkles. I, of course, went for the sparkly yarn.

This project is a great one for travel crochet and TV crochet. It’s a simple stitch pattern that is perfect for showcasing yarns with long color changes or even busier variegated colors. I use stitch markers to make it easy to keep track of when to increase and where to join at the end of each round.

For the lighter weight yarns I found myself preferring to use my Clover Quick Locking Stitch Markers. If you can’t find them in your local shops you can purchase them on Amazon by clicking on the image above.

Cotton blend yarns are great for making a summer weight garment, but if you are looking for more warmth, switch to a warmer fiber like wool or alpaca. It could be lovely in a fluffy yarn like a silk/mohair too.

The pattern has both written and charted instructions, as well as information on how to add more rounds to the poncho length. The original pattern was written for using a fingering or sock weight yarn. If you want to make it with a worsted weight or thicker yarn you will need to check if you want the neckline foundation to be shorter. The pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry shop as the “Paulette Poncho”.

Cakewalk Beanie – Free Crochet Pattern

This past weekend was my birthday and this year I am doing something a little different. Instead of a blanket square as my birthday pattern I am sharing this fun pattern for a women’s beanie.

I designed this hat almost 10 years ago when I had just one cake of Noro Kureyon yarn leftover from another project. With only 109 yards in the 50 gram cake I knew I needed an openwork stitch that would give me enough fabric to reach my ears. But I wanted the crown of the hat to have some solid stitch work to help with warmth.

The finished hat has been one of my favorites to stuff in a coat pocket. It’s a light layer of warmth when the weather is chilly and also works as a great cover for “bad-hair” days. I’ve been wearing it again as our mornings up here on the mountain have been chilly for the past month.

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

Premier “Everyday Soft Worsted”

I decided it was time to write up the pattern and share it with my readers. In the process of writing the pattern I worked 2 new samples in different worsted weight yarns. Premier “Every Day Soft Worsted” and Berroco “Ultra Wool”. Because these yarns come in 100 gram skeins I also added some more rounds for better coverage of the ears. I used approximately 118 yards for each sample.

Berroco “Ultra Wool”

A PDF version of pattern without ads and with a Stitch chart is also available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop for $2.99.

Cakewalk Beanie

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill Level:  Easy

Stitches used – Chain (ch), Single Crochet (sc), Slip Stitch (sl st), Double Crochet (dc), Half Double Crochet (hdc)

Materials:

  • Yarn –  Worsted Weight – Category 4
    • Premier “Everyday Soft Worsted” (3.5 oz/100 g; 165 yds/165 m); color# 200-08 Parfait
    • Berroco “Ultra Wool” (3.5 oz/100 g; 219 yds/200 m); color #33123 Iris
  • Hook – size J (6 mm)
  • Notions – yarn/tapestry needle, stitch markers

Gauge:  First 7 Rnds in pattern = 4” diameter

Special Stitches/Abbreviations:

  • V-st (V stitch)– (dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated stitch or space.
  • PM – Place Stitch Marker

Pattern Notes:

Hat is worked Crown down and started with an adjustable slip knot. If you prefer to use a magic circle work only 1 chain at start of instructions and use your circle as the “2nd ch from hook”.

Each round is joined with a tight slip stitch to make the join as invisible as possible. At start of single crochet rounds make the chain stitch a little smaller than usual to keep joins less noticeable. PM in first stitch of single crochet rounds to make it easier to find at end of round.

Instructions

Crown

Rnd 1: Starting with Adjustable Slip Knot, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. Gently tighten center of circle. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in each st around, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [12 sc]

Rnd 3: Ch 1, (sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) 6 times, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [18 sc]

Rnd 4: Ch 4, dc in same st as join {counts as first V-st of Rnd}, (skip 1 st, V-st in next st) 8 times, sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch-4. [9 V-st]

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (2 sc in next ch-1 sp, sc next 2 sts) 8 times, 2 sc in next ch-1 sp, sc in next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Rnd 6: Ch 1, (sc in next 5 sts, 2 sc in next st) 6 times, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [42 sc]

Rnd 7: Ch 1, (sc in next 6 sts, 2 sc in next st) 6 times, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [48 sc]

Rnd 8: Ch 4, dc in same st as join {counts as first V-st} (sk 1 st, V-st next st) 23 times, sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch-4. [24 V-sts]

Sides

Rnd 9: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (sc in next ch-1 sp, sc in next 2 sts) 22 times, sc in next ch-1 sp, sc in next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [72 sc]

Rnd 10: Ch 4, dc in same st as join {counts as first V-st}, (sk 2 sts, V-st in next st) 22 times, sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch-4. [24 V-sts]

Rnds 11 – 24: Alternate repeating Rnd 9 and Rnd 10, ending with a Rnd 10. {For a smaller beanie like my original Kureyon sample end at Round 20, then work Rnd 25 (Edging).}

Rnd 25 (Edging): Ch 1, turn, (2 sc, hdc, 2 sc) in each ch-1 sp around, sl st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off [96 sc, 24 hdc]

Finishing – Weave in ends and block gently.

Cooling off with Snowflakes

A New Snowflake Crochet Pattern and Coloring Page

For those of you living in the Northern hemisphere like myself, you may be feeling the August heat. The other day it was 103F in Boulder when I took my youngest to the check-in day at his middle school. We were very happy to escape back up the mountain where it was significantly cooler.

With the summer heat, this is a great time to be thinking about the cooler temperatures of winter time. Especially snowflakes. What better way to contemplate snowflakes than to crochet or color some?

In my last post I promised you a new snowflake pattern and coloring page. The written instructions are below, and for those of you that prefer stitch charts you will find the chart in my latest coloring page.

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

In the image above I used every blue color pencil I had to create a cool themed page full of snow. When you are coloring a page like this, where all the spaces to color are fairly small or thin, it is handy to use a really sharp pencil.

My favorite sharpener to keep with my color pencils is this duo one made by the Bostitch company. It is easy to control so I don’t over-sharpen my pencils and the duo hole option allows you to sharpen jumbo pencils as well as regular pencils. If you can’t find this sharpener locally click on the photo above and it will take you to where you can purchase it at Amazon.com.

This snowflake pattern creates a fairly solid snowflake. If you work the 4th round join-as-you-go, you can create a fun fabric of snowflakes. I’ve shared my method for this joining after the pattern below. My sample above was worked in Aunt Lydia Metallic #10 Cotton Crochet Thread with a 1.75mm hook.

If snowflakes aren’t your favorite thing, this pattern will also work well for making floral motifs to join together. I worked these floral motifs using worsted weight yarn in a variety of colors from my stash with a size I / 5.5 mm hook. I changed colors after Rnd 1 and 2, then completed the motif with my green color for Rnds 3 and 4. This is a great way to use up bits and pieces of yarn you have left over from other projects.

For this pattern I am not telling you what size thread or yarn to use, nor what size hook. I have instead shared what size hook and the thread or yarn I used. I strongly recommend that you make a couple of snowflake motifs with different hook sizes to find the result you like best with the yarn or thread you have selected.

The 3 snowflake motifs above were each crocheted with DMC Cebelia Crochet Cotton using a different size hook.

The motif on the left was made with a size 4/1.25 mm hook. This made for a fairly tight fabric, which would work well for attaching with glue or sewn as an embellishment on a card or gift box, it wouldn’t be good for stiffening with an PVA solution like “Stiffy” because the solution would tend to fill in the small spaces between the thread and stitch definition might be lost.

The motif in the center was made with a size 2/1.50 mm hook. The fabric is a little softer, but still has a lot of definition to it. It would work really well to sew to a stiff fabric base like a felted hat or bag. Could also work well as a sewn or glued embellishment for a card or gift box. If a PVA solution was brushed on it could be stiffened to hang as a stand-alone ornament. Slightly more space between the threads means the solution can penetrate further and not obscure the overall stitch definition.

The motif on the right was made with a size 0/1.75 mm hook. This fabric is very soft. This motif would work great to be sewn onto a loose knit or woven fabric like a shirt, stocking hat, or mittens. It is also ideal for blocking and stiffening to hang as a stand-alone ornament. The loose fabric will allow the PVA solution to be absorbed well into the fabric, there should be minimal loss of stitch definition.

COOL SNOWFLAKE MOTIF

Designed by Andee Graves

Special Stitches

(Beg CL) Beginning Cluster Stitch: Ch 2, [Yarn over (YO), insert hook in st, YO, pull up a loop, YO, pull thru 2 loops on hook] 2 times, YO, pull thru 3 remaining loops on hook.

(CL) 3 DC Cluster Stitch: [Yarn over (YO), insert hook in st, YO, pull up a loop, YO, pull thru 2 loops on hook] 3 times, YO, pull thru 4 remaining loops on hook.

Pattern Notes

This snowflake begins with an Adjustable slip knot. If you need help with this technique check out my YouTube video.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with an adjustable slip knot, ch 4, {counts as first dc and center}, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, tighten center, slip st to top of beginning ch. [12 dc]

Rnd 2: Work a Beg CL in same st as join, [ch 3, CL in next st, ch 2, CL in next st] 5 times, ch 3, CL in next st, ch 2, slip st to top of Beg CL. [12 CL, 6 ch-3 sp, 6 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 3: Ch 1, [(3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp, skip next CL, sc in next ch-2 sp]6 times, slip st to first dc of rnd. [36 dc, 6 sc, 6 ch-1 sp]

Rnd 4: Ch 1, [sc in next 3 sts, (sc, ch 2, sc) in next ch-1 sp, sc in next 3 sts, skip next sc] 6 times, slip st to first sc of rnd. Fasten off [48 sc, 6 ch-2 sp]

Weave in all ends.

Join-as-you-Go method for making a fabric of Motifs

When working Rnd 4, at each point where you want to join your new motif to a finished motif, instead of chaining 2: ch 1, slip st in ch-2 sp of motif you are joining to, then ch 1 and continue working Rnd 4 on your current motif as needed to finish. The Chart above illustrates this joining method.

When you are joining where 2 motifs are already joined it can be a little tricky. You can try inserting your hook into the slip stitch that is already there, or slip stitch snugly around the join point. Just be consistent in how you do those joins and it will work out fine.

If you need help on how to to stiffen your snowflakes for ornaments, check out my blog post: Sparkling Ice Snowflake.

Crocheted Snowflakes & Wreath

July is over and I’m still looking at my Christmas project list. The past 3 years I have been horrible about sending out cards, this year I hope to get a jump start with some fun drawing and crocheting projects.

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

I have shared before that one of my very favorite gifts to make are crocheted snowflakes. Whether stiffened with a glue or worked around an ornament, they make wonderful gifts. They are also perfect to to embellish your holiday cards. You can even make them in worsted weight yarn instead of the traditional thread and use them to embellish a hat or scarf.

I have snowflake patterns available here on the blog and in my Ravelry Shop. Some are just 2 or 3 rounds, where others are bigger.

4 of my snowflake patterns are available here on the blog.

Little Snowflake Ornament – M2H Designs

Little Snowflake Ornament – This snowflake pattern is a diagram only with 5 rounds, since 3 of the rounds are mostly single crochet it comes out fairly small and when worked in size 20 crochet thread can make great earrings.

Lacy Snowflake – M2H Designs

Lacy Snowflake – This pattern is available for free here on the blog as a text pattern only, it is also available for a small fee in my Ravelry shop and includes a stitch chart as well as the text instructions. This snowflake has 8 rounds and is a much more elaborate design.

Frozen Star Snowflake – M2H Designs

Frozen Star Snowflake – A super quick snowflake pattern available for free here on the blog as a text pattern only. This little snowflake has only 3 rounds to work. Worked in a size 20 thread it is perfect for earrings.

Sparkling Ice Snowflake – M2H Designs

Sparkling Ice Snowflake – This design is available for free as a text only pattern here on the blog and includes a detailed photo tutorial on my method for stiffening the snowflakes.

My favorite stiffening solution to use with my snowflakes is “Stiffy” from the Plaid company (same folks that make Mod Podge). If you can’t find it locally you can click on the photo above to find it on Amazon.com.

Little Christmas Wreath – M2H Designs

Little Christmas Wreath – If Snowflakes don’t appeal to you this little wreath pattern might be perfect for your card embellishments. I like to make these into pins to wear on a jacket or sweater during the holiday season. They make great teacher gifts. You can attach them to a card with the pin and they will be both card embellishment and a gift.

If I make my wreath with worsted or light-worsted weight yarn I like to use a 1 inch wide pin back, with holes that give me the option to sew it on using my tails. If you can’t find them at your local craft store click on the photo above to find them on Amazon.com.

For my next blog post I’ll be sharing a new snowflake pattern and coloring page.

Start the Big Gifts Now

More ideas and pattern links for crafting your Christmas in July.

If this is the year you plan to make something larger for a special gift then it is time to get crocheting. Larger crocheted goodies like afghans or shawls are a wonderful way to share a permanent hug with a friend or family member, no matter how far away they live.

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

Is there someone on your gift list that needs an afghan? A great way to make a larger afghan, without a lot of bulk in your lap, is to work 12 inch squares, then join them together. I tend to work my throw size afghans 4 squares wide and 5 squares tall, then I crochet a wide simple (or fancy) border.

I have a number of patterns available here on the blog for 12 inch afghan squares. They are becoming a bit of an October tradition with me in celebration of my birthday.

Fans and Lace Afghan Square – This design is one of my favorite blocks, I had a lot of fun playing with working the rounds in different colors. The center is all about playing with different size fan and shell stitches. I have videos for this square and a follow up post showing how using different numbers and orders of color can really change the look.

Whirlwind Afghan Square – You might recognize the name of this square from my last post where I shared the link to my Whirlwind Hat. I first created this design, then realized I wanted to make a hat using a similar technique to the center of my square. I have 2 videos on my YouTube channel to help you make this square.

Dizzy Corner Afghan Square – More fun with spirals, this time it’s a featured corner with fun textures worked in mitered rows.

Mountain Wildflower Afghan Square – 2018’s square really showcases texture and varying stitch heights. If you’ve downloaded “4 Inspiring Crochet Coloring Pages for Adults” at FaveCrafts, you may recognize the center of this square. In my coloring book there is a stitch chart for a square that uses the same first 4 rounds.

If Afghans aren’t your thing, how about crocheting a lovely shawl for your loved ones?

Barb’s Shawl

Barb’s Shawl – This was last summer’s Testing Pool pattern for my local crochet group that meets at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The pattern includes detailed stitch charts and a tutorial on blocking your shawl. Lots of texture in the stitches makes it a fun and challenging project to crochet. Worked in yarn with the long color changes or solid colors, you will love the resulting fabric.

Shining Day Wrap

Shining Day Wrap – This wrap was part of the CGOA Mega CAL during National Crochet Month in 2018. It is crocheted from the center out, and is a simple lace repeat to memorize. This is a great project for when you want something simple, but not boring to work on. The lacy stitch also makes this a great transition piece for wearing from season to season. Warm weather it is a shoulder wrap, when it gets colder bunch it up around your neck for a warm scarf.

2 x 2 Shawl – This pattern is available for free on my blog. It is a simple top down shawl that starts with my stacked rows foundation and has 3 increase points that give you a lovely L-shaped shawl when finished. This helps the shawl stay put when wearing. Because of the top down construction you can stop when you are happy with the size, or when you are running out of yarn.

I made my sample shawl in Lion Brand’s “Shawl in a Ball” (now called “Shawl in a Cake”) in the color Restful Rainbow. I used almost all of 2 balls. I am thinking my next one may be worked in the Half Moon color, love all the pinks, purples and blues in it. If you can’t find the Lion Brand “Shawl in a Cake” in your local stores it is available thru Amazon. Just click on the photo above to see the variety of colors.

Playing with Triangles Shawl
Vivianne Shawl

Playing With Triangles Shawl or Vivianne Shawl – These shawls are constructed using the same stitch pattern. The Playing With Triangles version is available free here on the blog with a recipe style pattern, the Vivianne Shawl has a stitch chart and photo tutorials on adding beads to the shawl. You can work either shawl in any yarn you like, top down construction means you can stop when you like the size or run out of yarn.

I hope you are having a good time planning your gift making for the 2019 holiday season. I know I am inspiring myself. Though, honestly I may be biting off more than I can reasonably make this year.

Thinking about Christmas Crafting

Can you believe it is July already? Seems like once again the year has been moving way too fast. My oldest is preparing for a school trip to Switzerland at the same time I am preparing for my trip at the CGOA Chain Link Conference.

We took a break from travel prep to celebrate the 4th of July by attending the fireworks show in Estes Park. The weather was looking a bit iffy a couple hours before the show started, but cleared up in plenty of time. Last year we attended the show in Estes Park and it was very chilly, so this year we brought lots of blankets and our fleece jackets.

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With July here it is time to make good on the promise I made myself last Christmas. I promised to do better about planning for my crocheted and other handmade gifts for 2019. With that in mind, I am going to take you all along with me as I work on some Christmas in July projects.

Most of my readers are currently in the midst of some of the hottest weeks of summer. That means we need crochet projects that don’t take up a lot of room on our laps to make us too warm. Some of us are traveling too, so small and portable is extra handy.

My go-to project when I want something small and quick to crochet are hats. They can be super easy or involved with complex stitch patterns. I really love to make plain solid color hats that can be the base for fun embellishment. They are also a very popular gift in my household, I skipped doing them one year and there was a loud protest.

Simple Double Crochet Hat

I have a free hat pattern here on the blog for a simple top-down double crochet hat. This hat is great for using a colorful yarn, or one of the gradient color changing yarns. This hat is an easy skill level, so even if you are just starting out crocheting you can complete it.

Whirlwind Hat

If you prefer a more challenging hat my Whirlwind Hat is another free pattern here on the blog. This is a perfect hat for using up smaller balls of yarn in your stash. It takes only 28 yards of worsted weight yarn for 3 of the colors and 46 yards for the color that will go into your brim.

Spiraling Stripes Hat

If you want to work a hat that uses only a 2-arm spiral you might like my Spiraling Stripes Hat, the pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry shop. The pattern includes a detailed stitch chart of the crown and a step by step photo tutorial.

The fun thing about a 2-arm spiral is that the spiral is more distinct. I used a combination of colorful and semi-solid tonal hand-dyed yarn to really bring out the spiral in the project I made for this pattern. You could even work this hat as a gift for a sports fan and use the team colors.

Spiraling Crosses Hat

My Spiraling Crosses Hat makes use of textured stitches. It is a project using the staggered X-st in the round, the stitches create subtle spiraling ridges around the hat. The taller stitches also allow you to crochet it up quickly, ideal for a last minute gift. The pattern includes a stitch chart to help you understand how to work the increases.

Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat

If you are looking for a pattern that will help you understand how to adjust a crown-down hat to get the right size for your giftee, then my Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat pattern is worth the investment. It is like having a crochet class with me at a fraction of the cost. The best thing about this pattern is you can use any weight yarn to get a hat that is just the size you want. The tips for sizing a hat can also be applied to other crown-down hat patterns you might want to adjust.

Mountain Top Beanie

My very favorite hat design is my Mountain Top Beanie. It is a little more challenging to crochet, but the resulting fabric is well worth it. I include a stitch chart in the pattern that will help you with increases and when to turn the rounds. The pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop.

You want to make sure you have some good stitch markers handy when working on hats. They can help you keep track of your increases and the end of your rounds.

Most of my favorite stitch markers are made by the Clover Company. They make all of their products with a durable plastic that doesn’t break easily and has just enough “give” to be flexible. The newest stitch markers they have out “Quick Locking Stitch Markers”, come in a set that has 3 different sizes, 6 different colors and a nifty storage container. If you can’t find them in your local shops, click on the photo above and it will take you to them on Amazon.

If you prefer a stitch marker that doesn’t lock, I have found these Split Ring markers to work well. The little point at the opening makes them easy to slide onto your stitches. I don’t recommend using this style of marker if you are going to be pulling your project in and out of a bag. They will work their way out of your stitches. But if you are sitting and working in the same spot, and your project will only be disturbed when you pick it up, then they can be a great choice. Especially if you are a speedy crocheter.