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.

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

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.

Time for an Easter Basket

Easter is coming up in just a few weeks and I have a fun little pattern for you to crochet a basket for Easter goodies. This basket is small enough to be perfect for toddlers or as a special gift container.

The trickiest stitch in this project is the Back Post Single Crochet (BPsc). The single crochet isn’t a stitch you usually think of as having enough of a post to work this stitch. You are working it using the top loops of your stitch so that the newly made stitch is sitting on the back side of the stitch. Following is a photo tutorial to help you make this stitch.

Step 1 – BPsc
Step 2 – BPsc
Step 3 – BPsc
Step 4 – BPsc
  1. Insert the hook from back to front of stitch working into.
  2. Insert the hook from front to back of next stitch.
  3. Yarn over and pull up a loop thru both stitches (2 loops on hook).
  4. Yarn over and complete single crochet, Back Post single crochet made.

All rounds in this project are worked concentrically. Each round ends with a tight slip stitch to join. The next round will start with a chain stitch to get to stitch height. For best results you want to be sure that your slip stitch is very tight and that your beginning chain stitch is a little smaller than typical.

Tight Slip Stitch – Step 1
Tight Slip Stitch – Step 2

  1. Make slip stitch as usual.
  2. Without letting working yarn feed out, pull on hook to take out slack from slip stitch.

Happy Spring Basket

designed by Andee Graves / M2H Designs

Skill level:    Intermediate

Finished Size: 4.5” diameter at base, 3” tall in basket, and 6.25” with handle.

Materials:

Yarn 

Red Heart “With Love” (100% Acrylic), 7 oz/198 g; 370 yds/ 338 m, Color #1502 Iced Aqua

Red Heart “With Love – Stripes” (100% Acrylic), 5 oz/141 g; 223 yds/ 204 m, Color #1973 Candy Stripe

Hooks

I-9 / 5.5 mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers

Gauge:

Barely over 3″ at end of Rnd 4

Special Stitches or Abbreviations:

BPsc — Back Post Single Crochet

PM – Place stitch marker

Pattern Notes:

Basket is worked double-stranded with a smaller than usual hook to create a stiff fabric. It begins with a flat circle worked in joined rounds for the base, then the first round of side is worked as back post stitches to create a sharp edge to bottom of basket.

Handle is worked without cutting the yarn. A couple rows of single crochet are switched to working in joined rounds for length of handle, then a couple more rows of single crochet. Work is fastened off and then sewn to the opposite side on top edge of basket.

Instructions:

Base

Rnd 1: Working with 2 strands at same time, make an adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 7 sc in second ch from hook, slip st to first sc of round. [7 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in each st around, slip st to first sc of round. [14 sc]

Rnd 3: Ch 1, (sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) 7 times, slip st to first sc of round. [21 sc]

Rnd 4: Ch 1, (sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st) 7 times, slip st to first sc of round.  [28 sc]

Rnd 5: Ch 1, (sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st) 7 times, slip st to first sc of round. [35 sc]

Rnd 6: Ch 1, (sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st) 7 times, slip st to first sc of round. [42 sc]

Side

Rnd 1: Ch 1, BPsc in each st around, slip st to first st of round. [42 BPsc]

Rnd 2 – 8: Ch 1, sc in each st around, slip st to first st of round. [42 sc]

Handle

Row 1: Ch 1, sc in next 5 sts.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn, sc in next 5 sts.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn sc in next 5 sts, slip st to first st of row.

Rnd 4 – 25: Ch 1, sc in each st around, slip st to first sc of round.

Row 26: Ch 1, sc in each st.

Row 27: Ch 1, turn, sc in next 5 sts.

Row 28: Repeat Row 27. Fasten off with 10 inch tail

Finishing

Count over 19 sts from both sides of the start of handle along top edge of basket. Sew loose end of handle to top edge of basket with a whip stitch to the remaining stitches opposite the handle start. Weave in all loose tails.

I hope you have a wonderful time making some baskets. Pop on over to my guest post at Mooglyblog.com for the pattern for crocheting the grass shown in the basket.

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

If you were wondering about the stitch marker I was using in the post for the grass pattern it was from this set of Clover stitch markers. I really like these markers because they are light weight, come in a variety of sizes and best of all…they are shaped to look like little sheep. Click on the image above and it will take you to where you can purchase them on Amazon.

Mountain Wildflower Afghan Square

It’s almost time for the singing to start with my birthday just around the corner. I have been considering the idea that I will continue to celebrate my birthday every year but I won’t add any more years. Theoretically it sounds good. So starting this year I am 55 forever. It is a nice round number.

My tradition the past 4 years has been to publish a complimentary crochet pattern for an Afghan Square here on the blog as a birthday gift from me to my readers. This year’s square is my “Mountain Wildflower Afghan Square”. It is Block #20 in the 2018 Moogly Afghan CAL as well.

This year I had a lot of fun playing with 2D texture. I used ch, slip st, sc, hdc, dc and cluster stitches. I am having you turn for some rounds, each round instructions are marked either RS or WS to help you stay on track.

There are times when you will be working toward a chain space that have a hdc before them. I wanted to talk a bit about the hdc before you get started crocheting and share the following photos as a guide.

The top of the hdc can look a lot like it is part of a chain space. This is good to keep in mind when working Round 7 of this square. In the photo above, the 2 pink arrows are showing the 2 chains of the ch-2 corner sp, the yellow arrow is the top of the last hdc before the chain space, the aqua arrow is the skipped st.

Sometimes it helps to get your finger behind the hdc to guide your hook.

This is the completed single crochet before the ch-2 space.

I used 4 colors in this square with 9 color changes. I’ve also listed the amounts of each color of yarn needed for 1 square, so you can have fun using up some of your scrap yarn stash. You could even use 9 different colors if you want. I have listed the amount of yarn needed for the 4 colors and there are break-outs in curly brackets for the amounts in each of the 9 color changes.

I chose the lighter green color for the third and fourth rounds to give the feel of leaves around the center flower.

Mountain Wildflower Afghan Square

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:   12” (30 cm) square

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted weight yarn in 4 colors

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

Color A: #1201 Daffodil (sample used approximately 18 yards/9 grams) for Rnd 1 {2 yds/1g} & Rnd 10-11 {16 yds/8g}

Color B: #1538 Lilac (sample used approximately 16 yards/8 grams) for Rnd 2 {4 yds/2g} & Rnd 12 {12 yds/6g}

Color C: #1562 Jadeite (sample used approximately 42 yards/21 grams) for Rnd 3-4{8 yds/4g} , Rnd 8-9 {17 yds/9g} & Rnd 13 {16 yds/8g}

Color D: #1621 Evergreen (sample used approximately 36 yards/18 grams) for Rnd 5-7 {17 yds/9g} & Rnd 14 {17 yds/9g}

Hook

J / 6mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers

Gauge

First 4 rounds of pattern = 4” across square

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Right Side (RS): The side of fabric that will be considered the visible side of the fabric.

Wrong Side (WS): The side of fabric that will be considered the hidden side of the fabric.

Adjustable Slip Knot Start: Make your slip knot so the beginning tail tightens the loop on your hook. If you need further help with this technique I have a video, and a blog post that demonstrate it with more detail.

3 double crochet cluster st (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining 4 loops on hook.

Beginning 3 dc cluster st (Beg Cl): Ch 2, (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining 4 loops on hook.

Loose slip stitch (loose slip st): 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 (slip 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.

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

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.

Pattern Notes:

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

When instructions specify “sl st loosely”, this means work those slip stitches similar to a chain stitch and do not pull the working loop to tighten them as in a joining slip stitch. You will be working into those loose slip stitches.

Instructions

Rnd 1 (RS): Begin with flower center color (Color A). Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beginning ch-4 of Rnd. Fasten off. [12 dc]

Rnd 2 (RS): Change to flower petal color (Color B): With RS facing, attach new color in any dc from Rnd 1, Beg Cl in same st as join, (ch 2, Cl in next st) 11 times, ch 2, sl st to top of Beg Cl. Fasten off. [12 ch-2 sp, 12 Cl]

Rnd 3 (RS): Change to Color C. With RS facing, attach new color in any ch-2 sp, ch 1, 3 sc in same ch-2 sp, (3 sc in next ch-2 sp) 11 times, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Rnd 4 (RS): Round to Square – Continue working with RS facing, ch 1, sc next st, [*ch 2, skip next 2 sts, (hdc, dc) next st, (dc, ch 2, dc) next st, PM in ch-2 sp just made, (dc, hdc) next st, ch 2, skip next 2 sts,* sc next 2 sts] 3 times; Repeat from * to * once, sc next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off. [8 sc, 8 hdc, 16 dc, 12 ch-2 spcs]

Rnd 5 (WS): Change to Color D. With WS facing attach new color into next ch-2 sp to left of a marked corner ch-2 sp, ch 1, 2 sc in same ch-2 sp, [*sc in next 3 sts, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked corner ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next ch-2 sp, sc in next 2 sts,* 2 sc in next ch-2 sp,] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, slip st to first sc of Rnd. [56 sc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 6 (RS): Turn, ch 2, skip st where joined, *hdc in each st until reach marked corner ch-2 sp, (hdc, ch 2, hdc) in ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made,* Repeat from * to * 3 times, hdc in each st until reach start of Rnd, slip st to top of beginning ch-2. [64 hdc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 7 (WS): Ch 1, turn, sc in first hdc, *sk 1 st, (hdc, dc) in next st, ch 1, (dc, hdc) in next st, skip next st, sc next st**, (hdc, dc, ch 2, dc, hdc) in marked corner ch-2 sp, move st marker up to ch-2 sp just made, sc in next hdc,* [Repeat * to ** 2 times, Repeat * to * once] 2 times, Repeat * to ** once, skip next st, (hdc, dc) in next st, ch 1, (dc, hdc) in next st, skip next st, slip st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off. [16 sc, 32 hdc, 32 dc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 8 (RS): Change to Color C. With RS facing, attach new color to a center ch-1 sp with slip st, *skip 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next sc, skip 2 sts, slip st loosely in next ch-1 sp,* [^skip 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next sc, skip 2 sts, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked corner ch-2 sp, move st marker to ch-2 sp just made^, Repeat from * to * 3 times] 3 times, Repeat from ^ to ^ once, Repeat from * to * 2 times. [8 sc, 64 dc, 20 ch-2 sp 12 loose slip st]

Rnd 9 (WS): Turn, ch 1, *sc into ch-1 sp on Rnd 7 enclosing slip st from Rnd 8, ch 2, skip 2 sts, (sc, ch 1, sc) in next ch-2 sp, ch 2, skip 2 sts*, Repeat from * to * once, [sc in next sc, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked corner ch-2 sp, sc in next sc, ch 2, skip 2 sts, (sc, ch 1, sc) in next ch-2 sp, ch 2, skip 2 sts, Repeat from * to * 3 times] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, slip st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off. [60 sc, 16 ch-1 sp, 36 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 10 (RS): Change to Color A. With RS facing attach yarn with slip st to first ch-1 sp in from right hand corner, ch 1, sc in same ch-1 sp, [*ch 1, skip next sc and ch-2 sp, V-st in next sc, ch 1,** skip next ch-2 sp and sc, sc in next ch-1 sp*, Repeat from * to * 2 times, Repeat from * to ** once, skip next sc, V-st in marked ch-2 sp, move st marker to ch-1 of V-st just made, ch 1, skip next sc, V-st in next sc, ch 1, skip next ch-2 sp and sc,^ sc in next ch-1 sp] 4 times, In 4th repeat of [ to ] end at ^, slip st to first sc of Rnd. [16 sc, 40 ch-1 sp, 24 V-st]

Rnd 11 (WS): Turn, ch 1, [*sc in next ch-1 sp, sc in next st*, Repeat from * to * 2 times, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-1 sp, move st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc in next st, (Repeat from * to * 2 times, sc in next ch-1 sp, skip next sc,) 4 times] 4 times, slip st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off. [116 sc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 12 (RS): Change to Color B. With RS facing attach new color with a standing dc in any sc along the middle of a side, [dc each st until reach ch-2 corner, (dc, ch 2, dc) in ch-2 corner sp] 4 times, dc each st until reach beginning of Rnd, slip st to top of first dc. Fasten off. [124 dc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnds 13 (WS): Change to Color C. With WS facing attach new color with a standing dc in any sc along the middle of a side, [dc each st until reach ch-2 corner, (dc, ch 2, dc) in ch-2 corner sp] 4 times, dc each st until reach beginning of Rnd, slip st to top of first dc. Fasten off. [132 dc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 14 (RS): Change to Color D. With RS facing attach new color with a standing dc in any sc along the middle of a side, [dc each st until reach ch-2 corner, (dc, ch 2, dc) in ch-2 corner sp] 4 times, dc each st until reach beginning of Rnd, slip st to top of first dc. Fasten off. [140 dc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Finishing

Weave in tails and block.

If you don’t want to make an entire afghan using this block pattern you can hop on over to check out the 2018 Moogly Afghan CAL and find some more block patterns to try out.

2×2 Shawl

As part of my continuing celebration of National Crochet Month I am sharing a pattern for my newest shawl design the 2×2 Shawl. I wanted to create a top down shawl in a simple stitch pattern that is relaxing and meditative to crochet. It is a perfect project to work on when crocheting with friends.

The simple stitch pattern really lets the vibrant color changes of Lion Brand Yarns “Shawl in a Ball” shine. Watching how the colors will come together is half the entertainment.  I wanted a big snuggly shawl that would really provide some coverage so I used 2 balls of this yarn.

I had only 22 g/70 yds of yarn left from the second ball. My favorite thing about a top-down shawl is that you can stop wherever you want, depending on the size shawl you want and the amount of yarn you have.

2×2 Shawl

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Easy

Finished Size:

2 balls = 74” (187.96 cm) wide x 32” (81.28 cm) tall

1 ball = 54” (137.16 cm) wide x 18” (45.72 cm) tall

Materials:

Yarn

Lion Brand Yarns “Shawl in a Ball” 58% Cotton, 39% Acrylic, 3% Other fiber (5.3 oz/150 g, 481 yd/440 m)

2 Balls of Color # 201 – Restful Rainbow

Hooks

J-10 / 6 mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers

Gauge:

Approximately 14 stitches and 5.5 rows = 4” (10.16 cm)

Special Stitches or Abbreviations:

PM – Place stitch marker

Pattern Notes:

Shawl is worked top-down with 3 increase points from a stacked rows foundation. 

If you wish to make a smaller shawl work the instructions for the body of the Shawl for fewer rows being sure to stop with a repeat of Row 4, then working the edging row (Row 35) to finish.

Instructions:

Foundation Rows

Row 1: Ch 2, sc in second ch from hook.

Row 2: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in sc.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn, sc in first dc.

Rows 4 – 41: Alternate repeating Rows 2 and 3 (ending with a Row 3).

Shawl Body

Row 1: Ch 3, turn to work into sides of sc rows, (3 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in first sc row, PM in ch-2 sp just made, *ch 2, skip next dc row, 2 dc in next sc row*, Repeat from * to * 8 times, ch 2, skip next dc row (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next sc row, PM in ch-2 sp just made, Repeat from * to * 9 times, ch 2, skip next dc row, (2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in last sc row, PM in ch-2 sp just made. [23 ch-2 sps, 50 dc]

The marked ch-2 spaces will be the increase points for the rest of the body of the shawl.

Row 2: Ch 3, turn, skip 1 st, 3 dc in next st, ch 2, skip 1 st, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in marked ch-2 sp, move marker up to ch-2 sp just made, [*ch 2, skip next 2 sts, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp*, Repeat from * to * until work in marked ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 2 dc) in same marked ch-2 sp, move marker up to ch-2 sp just made] 2 times, ch 2, skip 1 st, 3 dc in next st. [27 ch-2 sps, 58 dc]

Row 3: Ch 3, turn, skip 1 st, 3 dc in next st, skip 1 st, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2, skip 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in marked ch-2 sp, move marker up to ch-2 sp just made, [*ch 2, skip next 2 sts, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp*, Repeat from * to * until work in marked ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 2 dc) in same marked ch-2 sp, move marker up to ch-2 sp just made] 2 times, ch 2, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp, skip 1 st, 3 dc in next st. [29 ch-2 sps, 66 dc]

Row 4: Ch 3, turn, skip 1 st, 3 dc in next st, ch 2, skip 3 sts, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp, [*ch 2, skip next 2 sts, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp*, Repeat from * to * until work in marked ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 2 dc) in same marked ch-2 sp, move marker up to ch-2 sp just made] 3 times, Repeat from * to * until work in last ch-2 sp of Row, ch 2, skip 3 sts, 3 dc in next st. [33 ch-2 sps, 70 dc]

Row 5: Ch 3, turn, skip 1 st, 3 dc in next st, skip 1 st, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp, [*ch 2, skip next 2 sts, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp*, Repeat from * to * until work in marked ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 2 dc) in same marked ch-2 sp, move marker up to ch-2 sp just made] 3 times, Repeat from * to * until work in last ch-2 sp of Row, skip 1 st, 3 dc in next st. [35 ch-2 sps, 78 dc]

Rows 6 – 34: Alternate repeating Row 4 and Row 5 ending with a Row 4.

Stitch count at end of Row 34 [123 ch-2 sps, 250 dc]

If using only 1 ball of “Shawl in a Ball” stop at Row 22. [87 ch-2 sps, 178 dc]

Edging

Row 35: Ch 2, skip 1 st, sc in next st, ch 2, 2 dc in next st, *skip next ch-2 sp, sc in next st, ch 2, 2 dc in next st*, Repeat from * to * until work in next to last st of Row, slip st in next st. Fasten off. [124 sc, 124 ch-2 sps, 248 dc]

Finishing

Weave in tails and block.

Pocket Full of Love (Gift Card Holder)

Valentines Day is next week and I’m always dreaming up something fun to celebrate the holiday with my family. This quick little pocket takes only a few hours to crochet up and very little sewing to finish. It’s handy for teacher gifts too.

The trickiest part is attaching the heart as a pocket on the envelope flap. I’ve included a stitch chart with additional information to help you thru this part.

Pocket Full of Love Gift Card Holder

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

3 ½” wide x 3” tall

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted wt: Sample uses Berroco Yarns “Ultra Wool” 100% Superwash Wool (3.5 oz/100g, 219 yd/200 m)

Color A: #3326 River (sample used approximately 31 yards/14 grams)

Color B: #3310 Alyssum (sample used approximately 11 yards/5 grams)

Hooks

H / 5mm

Notions

Button

Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers

Gauge

8 stitches and 7 rows in Envelope stitch pattern = 2”

Heart 3” tall and 3.25” wide

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Joining slip st (slip 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.

Picot Point st (picot): Ch 1, Insert hook in previous stitch using front loop and top side loop, YO, pull loop thru stitch and loop on hook and tighten. If you need help working this stitch I have a tutorial on this blog post, it also has some additional help on crocheting rounds 1-2 of the heart used for this project.

Pattern Notes:

Envelope is worked in the round off a chain foundation for 10 rounds, then the flap is worked off half those stitches ending with a button loop. Beginning tail is used to sew the button to the base of the envelope.

Heart pocket is crocheted onto the flap point with the 3rd round of heart stitches, the ending tail is used to sew the last couple of stitches. 12 single crochet stitches at top of heart are left unattached for pocket opening.

Instructions

Gift Card Envelope

Rnd 1: Begin with Color A, leave a 10 inch long tail, Ch 15, working in back bumps: sc in second ch from hook, (dc in next ch, sc in next ch) 6 times, dc in next st, Turn to work along bottom of foundation chain using remaining 2 free loops: sc in first st, (dc in next ch, sc in next ch) 6 times, dc in next st, slip st join to first sc of Rnd. [14 sc, 14 dc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, turn, sc in first dc, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 13 times, dc in last st, slip st join to first sc of Rnd.

Rnds 3 – 10: Repeat Rnd 2.

Envelope Flap

Rows 11-15: Ch 1, turn, sc in first dc, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 6 times, dc next sc. [7 sc, 7 dc]

Row 16: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 6 times. [6 sc, 6 dc]

Row 17: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (sc next dc, dc next sc) 4 times, sc next 2 sts. [6 sc, 4 dc]

Row 18: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 4 times. [4 sc, 4 dc]

Row 19: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (sc next dc, dc next sc) 2 times, sc next 2 sts. [4 sc, 2 dc]

Row 20: Ch 1, turn, skip first st, (dc next sc, sc next dc) 2 times. [2 sc, 2 dc]

Row 21: Ch 1, turn skip first st, sc next 2 sts. [2 sc]

Row 22: Ch 3, turn, skip 1 st, dc in last st. Button hole created. Fasten off [1 ch-3 sp, 1 dc]

Weave in ending tail, weave beginning tail to center of pocket bottom to sew on button

Heart Pocket

Rnd 1: With Color B, start with an Adjustable Slip Knot, ch 4, 12 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st in top of ch-4.

Rnd 2: Sk 2 sts, 7 Tr in next st, dc next st, 2 dc next 2 sts, 4 dc in next st, 2 dc next 2 sts, dc next st, 7 Tr next st, sl st between last dc and join of Round 1. DO NOT FASTEN OFF. Weave in center tail

Rnd 3 (attaching Heart Pocket to Envelope Flap):

ch 1, starting with first Treble of Round 2 – (sc in next st, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sc next 2 sts,

Use st marker to attach the heart WS to RS point of flap (insert marker between second and third dc of bottom 4 dc

and into unworked sc of Row 20),

working thru both heart and flap: sc in same st as previous st, sc in next 2 sts,

working thru heart only: sc again in previous st,

working thru heart and flap: sc in next 6 sts,

working thru heart only: sc again in previous st, ch 1 and slip st in top of last sc made {picot point made}, remove stitch marker, sc next st,

working thru heart and flap: sc again in previous st, sc next 5 sts,

working thru heart only: sc next st,

working thru heart and flap: sc again in previous st, sc next 2 sts,

working thru heart only: sc again in previous st, (sc next st, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sc last st, slip st to first sc of round.

Fasten off with a 10-12 inch long tail.

Finishing

Using ending tail of heart, weave thru 6 sc from joining slip st, sew 2 sc to flap, weave across wrong side of heart to opposite side and sew 2 sc to flap. Look to Heart stitch chart for clarification.

Using beginning tail of envelope, sew on button at bottom of envelope for closure.

Sparkling Ice Snowflake

Row of Sparkling Ice Snowflakes - Andee Graves M2H Designs 

It is Winter up here on my mountain again, though technically it is still Autumn on the calendar. We have had numerous snow storms and a number of days that the temperatures barely crawled above freezing. I’m looking forward to the days of winter when the air sparkles with snowflakes in the sunshine.

I’m happy for the colder weather though, as it has helped me feel more in the mood for Christmas time.

I’m listening to my Christmas music and will be digging out my Christmas movies for watching after we’ve eaten our Thanksgiving dinner. Having gotten into a Christmas mood I’ve decided to get a head start on my Christmas gifts, and especially my gift to all my lovely readers.

Yes, my friends, it is time for a snowflake design again. This year I’m giving us all a bit more time to work on the new snowflakes. That way you can send some out with your Christmas cards if you want.

Not only do I have a pattern for you, but I am also including a photo tutorial on stiffening your snowflakes. Pattern first, since you’ll need some snowflakes to work with.

Sparkling Ice Snowflake

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level: Easy

Materials:

Size 3 Cotton Crochet Thread with hook size: B (2.25mm)

Size 10 Cotton Crochet Thread with hook size: Steel 0 (1.75mm)

Notions

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Gauge

Gauge is not critical to this project.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with Adjustable Slip Knot {if you need help with this technique check out my YouTube Video}, ch 2, 12 sc in second ch from hook, slip st to first sc of Rnd. {12 sc}

Rnd 2: Ch 1, (2 sc in next st, ch 1, skip 1 st) 6 times, slip st to first sc of Rnd. {12 sc, 6 ch-1 sp}

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in next 2 sts (ch 6, skip next ch-1 sp, sc in next 2 sts) 5 times, ch 6, skip next ch-1 sp, slip st to first sc of Rnd. {12 sc, 6 ch-6 loops}

Rnd 4: Ch 1, [(sc, hdc, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc, hdc, sc) in next ch-6 loop] 6 times, slip st to first sc of Rnd. {12 sc, 12 hdc, 36 dc, 6 ch-3 sp}

Rnd 5: Slip st in next hdc, *sc in next st, ch 3, skip next st, dc in next st, ch 2, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-3 sp, ch 2, dc in next st, ch 3, skip 1 st, sc in next st,** skip 4 sts*; Repeat from * to * 4 times, Repeat from * to ** once, slip st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off {12 sc, 30 dc, 6 ch-1 sp, 12 ch-2 sp, 12 ch-3 sp}

Finishing

Weave in all ends. Block snowflake and use favorite stiffening method.

 

If this snowflake doesn’t please you, I have 3 other snowflake patterns available here on the blog:

Frozen Star – Pattern available here.

 

Lacy Snowflake – Pattern available here for free text instructions only.

Or your can purchase the pattern in my Ravelry shop, this version includes a stitch chart as well as text instructions.

 

Little Snowflake Ornament – Pattern available here.

 

Stiffening Your Snowflakes

When stiffening your snowflakes you want to consider the climate you live in. Especially the humidity of your region will effect what stiffening agent you should choose, as well as how you want to set up your drying area.

The basic supplies you will need to stiffen your crocheted snowflakes are:

Pins – Nickel-plated or rust proof pins are best, otherwise you can end up with rust marks on your finished snowflakes. My favorites to use are nickel-plated T-pins, Size 16, 1 inch long.

Waterproof (or resistant) Surface – You want to use something that will hold the pins firmly in place and can either be thrown away or washed off.  Wax or Parchment paper over cardboard is an affordable option. Afterward the paper goes in the bin and the cardboard can be recycled or re-used if not too punctured. I didn’t have wax paper in the house for this latest batch of snowflakes so I used Press-n-Seal plastic over my surface. I liked using one of my foam blocking board as it held the pins better than cardboard.

Stiffening Agent – This can be anything that is initially wet enough to be absorbed in the cotton of your stitches without obscuring them, and that dries rigid. I use a product I purchase at my local Michaels store called “Stiffy” from the Plaid company (same folks that make Mod Podge), but something like PVA school glue can work too.

Some of the PVA glues are a little too flexible when dry, so if you want a more rigid finished object you can try adding a bit of corn starch to the glue. If your glue is too thick, you can experiment with adding water to thin it. I use distilled water when doing this. I find a very thin liquid to be best for maintaining the stitch definition of my snowflakes.

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

Brush and Bowl – No matter what application method you prefer you will need both of these objects. If you are planning on using the “soak” method you will want a bowl wide enough that your snowflake will fit inside it. For your brush you will want stiff short bristles, that can help get the stiffening solution down into the stitches or help remove excess solution from the pinned snowflake.

Drying Surface – An old towel or a piece of fine metal screening. If you live in a humid climate you really want a drying surface that lets air circulate around your snowflakes, you might even want to use a fan or a blow-dryer on a low setting. I tend to use a dry towel or a

Getting Started

Obviously you first want to crochet your snowflakes, I like to have a pile to work with before I begin the stiffening process. Sometimes I will wet block my snowflakes first. The pinning process is the same as when I am stiffening my snowflakes.

If your snowflake is crocheted tightly and you wet block it with pinning you may have a stable shape without additional stiffening. Or it will hold the shape well enough to just brush on the stiffener without it being pinned. You will want to experiment.

I prefer to use the brush method of applying the stiffener as it helps me keep better stitch definition. If you want to do the soak method you will immerse your snowflake in your solution, then remove it from the solution letting excess drain off. Proceed to pin the snowflake to the desired shape. Once you have the snowflake pinned out, use paper towels to blot off excess solution. Be careful during the blotting that you don’t glue bits of paper towel to your snowflake.

In this demonstration we are trying to get a symmetrical looking snowflake. I approach the pinning like stretching a drumhead (something I learnt from my younger brother, Cy the Drum Guy).

Pinning dry 1 - Andee Graves M2H Designs

This means securing one point on the snowflake then stretching to the opposite point, continuing to work around the points of the snowflake back and forth.

Center and Pts pinned dry - Andee Graves M2H Designs

It can be helpful to also place pins in the center of the snowflake after securing the first 2 points. This is especially helpful with really open stitch work, it will keep the other 4 points from pulling it off center. I remove the center pins once I’ve got the 6 points secured.

Pinning dry 6 - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Then look at the other areas of the snowflake that you might want to open up. This is how you can really change the look of your snowflakes even when they are crocheted from the same pattern.

In the case of the Sparkling Ice Snowflake I added 2 pins to each point in the ch-2 spaces  to square up the points of the snowflake, or….

Placing the 2 additional pins in the ch-3 spaces creates a pointed look.

Painting on stiffener - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Now it is time to brush on the stiffening solution. I usually pin my snowflakes wrong side facing up and brush on the stiffening solution to set the shape. I keep brushing the solution to help it absorb and get deep into the stitches. Usually your thread will change color enough that you can see where you still need to brush on more solution.

Once the solution is dry I carefully un-pin the snowflake. Usually this isn’t stiff enough to hang, so I will turn over the snowflake and paint the other side of it with a light coating of stiffening solution. The shape of the snowflake is already set though and I don’t pin it in place again.

If you want to add some sparkle to your snowflake this is a good time to add glitter.  Sprinkle glitter over the wet surface. Tap off any excess and set aside to finish drying.

5 snowflakes 2 sizes Sparkling Ice - Andee Graves M2H Designs

I usually move the snowflake to the drying surface after painting on the second coating of stiffener to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. If you are in a humid climate you may want to un-pin and move your snowflake to the drying surface once it is mostly dry and set from the first coat, this will help it dry quicker.

Nylon Hanger - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Once your snowflakes are completely dry use ribbon or light weight nylon line to create hangers. I prefer the nylon line because it is nearly invisible. I usually use about 4-6 inches and thread it thru an opening on the edge of the snowflake and tie a knot over the 2 ends.

Have fun making snowflakes.

 

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

Dizzy Corner Afghan Square

Tomorrow is my birthday and I am keeping with my tradition of celebrating with a blog pattern for my readers. Once again I wanted to have some fun with my favorite crochet technique: Spirals. I also wanted to play with some textures in this project and incorporated clusters and cross stitches for that aspect.

The result is my “Dizzy Corner Afghan Square”.

Working spirals can be a little tricky, and this spiral is made with 2 arms in 2 colors. I’ve used my favorite method of spiral making using stitch markers to help keep track of the increases and the ends of each round.

You mark each stitch of Round 1, using a different color stitch marker for the last stitch in each color.

In the following 4 rounds you work 1 stitch in each unmarked stitch and 2 stitches in each marked stitch, moving the stitch marker up to the 2nd stitch.

End of Round 5 Spiral stitches

When you work a continuous spiral in crochet you will need a step-up and a step-down to get a perfect round. At the beginning of Round 1 the first stitch is a single crochet followed by 3 half double crochets to create the step-up.

Then Round 5 of the spiral ends with a step down. In the instructions for the pattern I have broken out the step-down instructions at the end of Round 5.

Dizzy Corner Afghan Square

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

12” square

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted wt (Sample uses Lion Brand Yarns “Vanna’s Choice” 100% Acrylic (5 oz/142g, 251 yd/230 m)

Color A: #159 Lemon (sample used approximately 22 yards/12 grams)

Color B: #112 Raspberry (sample used approximately 20 yards/11 grams)

Color C {primary color}: #171 Fern (sample used approximately 62 yards/35 grams)

Color D: # 098 Fisherman (sample used approximately 30 yards/17 grams)

Hook

J / 6mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers

Gauge

First 5 rounds of pattern = 4” across square

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

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.

Standing Single Crochet (Standing sc): make slip knot in yarn and place loop snugly on shaft of hook, insert hook into indicated st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull thru 2 loops on hook.

Loose slip stitch (loose slip st): 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 (slip 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.

Extended Double Crochet (Edc): YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru first loop on hook, (YO, pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times.

2 double crochet Cluster (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook.

Double Crochet Cross Stitch (X-st): Skip one st, dc in next st, working around previously made dc, dc in skipped st. Each X-st uses 2 sts and creates 2 sts.

Pattern Notes:

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

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

Square starts with a 2 color hdc spiral circle in one corner, then rounds to square the circle. Next 16 textured mitered rows are worked off 2 sides of that square, ending with 2 rounds of sc encasing entire afghan square.

When instructions specify “sl st loosely”, this means work those slip stitches similar to a chain stitch and do not pull the working loop to tighten them as in a joining slip stitch. You will be working into those loose slip stitches.

Instructions

Rnd 1 (RS): Begin with Color A, ch 2, (sc, 3 hdc) in second ch from hook, pull up long loop of color A and remove hook, insert hook in same ch as previous work, pull up a loop of Color B on shaft of hook, ch 1, (sc, 3 hdc) in same ch st, pull beginning tail of Color A to close center tightly. Place st markers in each st using a different color marker to indicate the last st of each color section. [1 sc, 3 hdc, in each color]

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

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

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

Rnd 5: Begin with Color A, *(hdc in next 3 sts, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker up to second st worked) 4 times*, pull up loop of Color A, switch to color B, Repeat from * to * once, [Count at this point is 20 hdc in each color]

step down: **hdc next st, sc next st, slip st loosely in back loop and back bar of next st, slip st tightly in back loop and back bar of next st**, fasten off Color B, switch back to Color A, Repeat from ** to ** once, fasten off Color A. [21 hdc, 1 sc, 2 slip st, in each color] 4”diameter.

To prepare for  working round to square, remove every other st marker leaving 4 markers equally spaced around circle.

Rnd 6: With RS facing attach Color C yarn with a standing dc in any marked st, 2 Edc in same st, *skip 2 sts, hdc next st, hdc & sc next st, sc next st, sc & hdc next st, hdc next st, skip 2 sts, (2 Edc, dc, ch 2, dc, 2 Edc) nextmarked st, move marker to ch-2 sp just made*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; skip 2 sts, hdc next st, hdc & sc next st, sc next st, sc & hdc next st, hdc next st, skip 2 sts, (2 Edc, dc) in first worked st, ch 2, slip st to first dc of Rnd. [16 Edc, 8 dc, 16 hdc, 12 sc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 7: Ch 1, *sc in next 13 sts, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp*; Repeat from * to * 3 times, slip st to first st of Rnd, fasten off Color C. [60 sc]

Row 8: With RS facing attach Color D with a standing sc in corner ch-2 sp, sc next 15 sts, (sc, ch 2, sc) in next corner ch-2 sp, sc next 15 sts, sc in next corner ch-2 sp. [34 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 9: Ch 1, turn, sc in first st, *Cl next st, sc next st*; Repeat from * to * until work in st before corner ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in ch-2 sp, sc next st, Repeat from * to * until work in last st of previous row. [16 Cl, 1 ch-2 sp, 18 sc]

Row 10: Ch 1, turn, sc in first st, sc in each st until work in last st before corner ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in corner ch-2 sp, sc in each st until work in last st of previous row. Fasten off Color D. [38 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 11: With RS facing attach Color C with standing dc, dc in each st toward corner until work in last st before ch-2 sp, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp, dc in each st away from corner until work in last st of previous row, Fasten off Color C. [42 dc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 12: With RS facing attach Color A with standing sc, Repeat Row 10. [42 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 13: Turn, sc in first st, ch 2, *X-st over next 2 sts*, Repeat from * to * 9 times, dc next st, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp, dc next st, Repeat from * to * 10 times, dc in last st of previous row. [20 X-sts, 8 dc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 14: Repeat Row 10 in Color A, Fasten off Color A. [50 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 15: With RS facing attach Color C with standing dc, Repeat Row 11, Fasten off Color C. [54 dc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 16: With RS facing attach Color B with standing sc, Repeat Row 10. [56 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 17: Ch 1, turn, (sc next st, dc next st) 14 times, (sc, ch 2, sc) in ch-2 corner space, (dc next st, sc next st) 14 times. [28 dc, 30 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 18: Ch 1, turn, Repeat Row 10, Fasten off Color B. [60 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 19: With RS facing attach Color C with standing dc, Repeat Row 11, Fasten off Color C. [64 dc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 20: With RS facing attach Color D with standing sc, Repeat Row 10. [66 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 21: Turn, sc in first st, ch 2, *X-st over next 2 sts*, Repeat from * to * 15 times, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp, Repeat from * to * 16 times, dc in last st of previous row. [32 X-sts, 6 dc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Row 22: Repeat Row 10, Fasten off Color D. [72 sc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Weave in all tails so far.

Row 23: With RS facing attach Color C with standing dc, Repeat Row 11, DO NOT fasten off Color C. [76 dc, 1 ch-2 sp]

Edging Rounds

Rnd 1: With RS facing turn work counter clockwise to work along edges of Rows, ch 1, 2 sc in side of Row 23, sc in side of Row 22, 2 sc in side of Row 21, sc in side of Row 20, 2 sc in side of Row 19, sc in side of Row 18, sc in side of Row 17, sc in side of Row 16, 2 sc in side of Row 15, sc in side of Row 14, 2 sc in side of Row 13, sc in side of Row 12, 2 sc in side of Row 11, sc in side of Row 10, sc in side of Row 9, sc in side of Row 8, sc in corner ch-2 sp of beginning square, sc in next 15 sts,

(sc, ch 2, sc) in next corner ch-2 sp,

sc in next 15 sts, sc in next corner ch-2 sp of beginning square, sc in side of Row 8, sc in side of Row 9, sc in side of Row 10, 2 sc in side of Row 11, sc in side of Row 12, 2 sc in side of Row 13, sc in side of Row 14, 2 sc in side of Row 15, sc in side of Row 16, sc in side of Row 17, sc in side of Row 18, 2 sc in side of Row 19, sc in side of Row 20, 2 sc in side of Row 21, sc in side of Row 22, 2 sc in side of Row 23,

ch 2, turn and sc in top of first st of Row 23, sc in next 37 sts,

(sc, ch 2, sc) in next corner ch-2 sp,

sc in next 38 sts, ch 2, slip st to first sc of Rnd 1. [156 sc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, *sc in each st until work in last st before ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in ch-2 sp*; Repeat from * to * 3 times, slip st to first sc of Rnd 2, fasten off. [164 sc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Finishing

Weave in tails and block.

 

 

Flatirons Shawl

The Flatirons Shawl is my latest independent published design. This was what I was working on during our Mount Rushmore/Eclipse road trip. It is made with Theodora’s Pearls “Auxanometer” hand-dyed yarn, dyed in Longmont. This is a lovely rayon yarn that has beautiful sheen and drape in the finished project. Each hank contains approximately 400 yards of fingering weight yarn.

It is constructed of 3 triangles crocheted continuously from one triangle to the next, creating an asymmetrical wrap that has only 4 tails to weave in at the finish. There are 2 different lace patterns used to create the triangles and 2 colors of yarn to add textural interest. The triangles inspired the name “Flatirons” because of the dramatic rock formations bordering the Boulder Valley.

Back view of Kerchief wrap

Between the yarn and the shape this is an extremely wearable shawl. I tried styling it a number of ways on Collette.

Pinned Ends Cowl style

For this wearing option I pinned the two tips of the shawl at the back of the neck and made a doubled circle across the shoulders to create a cowl look.

Fastened with Shawl Pin

Then there is always the useful shawl pin option. This style really shows off the drape of the fabric and gives great coverage of the shoulders.

The pattern is an advanced intermediate level, so a definite skill builder. It involves working 4 row repeating lace patterns, decreases, color work, and changing direction of stitches. The pattern contains stitch charts for the lace pattern in each triangle as well as a detailed schematic for the edging directions.

Foothills Sunrise

Chautauqua Moonlight

Boulder Canyon

St. Vrain Trail

Today is the launch of this project at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe.  As part of their 5th year anniversary celebration the shop is doing kits of the above 4 different color combinations for $62 each. The pre-order of the kits starts today, September 5th thru September 17th. If you pre-order the yarn during this time the shop will provide a complimentary copy of the pattern. The yarn will be delivered to customers the week of the 25th.

Then I’ll be hosting the CAL starter party Saturday, September 30th from 2p – 4p at the shop. We will also have a thread in the Longmont Yarn Shoppe Ravelry group. So even if you live far from Longmont, Colorado you will be able to participate in the CAL and the pre-order of the yarn. Just call the shop to order your kit at 303-678-8242.

The color kits will still be available after the 17th, but will not include the complimentary pattern.  You will be able to purchase the pattern thru my Ravelry shop at any time.

 

 

Taking Care of Yourself

My kids are back in school and that means Summer is over for me.  As I’ve shared a bit already, this Summer was a super full one for me, 2 big family trips and 2 work trips. I’m now back into the swing of design work deadlines and preparing for teaching at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair and at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe this Fall.

There is also the awareness that I need to get to work on making my gifts for the Christmas season (only a wee bit over 18 weeks to go) and the slew of birthdays coming up over the next 4 months. That means lots of crafting hours. I’m sure I’m not alone in the crafting crunch as the weather cools off for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

I have a “survival” guide that I follow to be sure that all that crafting doesn’t lead to me being in pain. Today I want to share with you my top 5 tips to surviving the crafting crunch.

  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Stay well hydrated
  3. Take regular breaks
  4. Find some stretches that work for you
  5. Set realistic goals

Get Enough Sleep

I know, who has time for sleep?  I’m as guilty as the next person of cutting into my sleep hours to get more stuff done. But sleep is a major component to preventing injury. Getting enough sleep allows your body to mend and restore itself, as well as increasing the efficiency of your brain. You are much more likely to make mistakes in a project when you are too tired. It’s better to set aside the crafting and head to bed earlier, you will be able to work with greater clarity and speed after a good night’s sleep.

How much sleep do you need? That really depends, the typical recommendation is 8 hours, but some people need a little more and some a little less. Most doctors advise 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. I know for me personally I seem to do best with 7 1/2 hours.

Stay well Hydrated

Our bodies are mostly water and we lose a lot of it each day thru respiration, elimination and perspiration. Drinking water regularly thru-out the day is one of the best things you can do for your health. Even mild dehydration can make us more prone to injury as well as causing mental fatigue. The classic recommendation is 12 – eight ounce glasses (96 ounces) of water thru-out the day. That doesn’t take into account different sizes of people and different activity levels.

My favorite formula for figuring out the minimum amount of water to drink thru out the day uses your weight. Take your weight in pounds and halve that number to get the amount of ounces of water you should be consuming each day.  Example – if you weigh 150 pounds you need to drink at least 75 ounces of water daily. If you are having a very active day, or you live in a hot climate, you may want to increase the amount of water you drink.

I say “water”, but there are many other drinks you can have that count toward your fluid intake.  Except caffeinated beverages. They actually act as a diuretic and remove water from your body thru elimination. So enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning, but remember to drink an extra glass of water to counteract the caffeine.

Take Regular Breaks

Taking a break doesn’t mean you have to stand on your head doing Yoga for 15 minutes, though that would be awesome if you want to do that. Taking a break means doing something else for a bit. I often have breaks built into my day by normal household maintenance chores.

Sometimes it is moving the laundry to the dryer, making myself some lunch, or taking the dog for a walk.  Just doing something different that gets me up and moving for a little bit at least every 30 minutes. It’s about the only way my house gets tidied, 10 minutes of cleaning chores every half hour.

The typical recommendation is to take a break every 20 minutes. If you are having some pain in your hands/neck/back from crafting that is a good strategy. More frequent breaks keep your body from seizing on a particular movement or posture as the only muscle setting. If you are drinking enough water you will be needing a “bio-break” every 2 hours or so, and that counts as well.

Find some Stretches that work for You

We all have a spot that hurts the worse after a day of intense crafting, so it is important to figure out how to stretch or strengthen your “spot”. I tend to feel it in my hands and neck when I have over done the crafting time. When I worked as a massage therapist I had a series of stretches I used to keep my hands working for me.

These are my favorite hand stretches. I do them at least 3 times during my work day and once more before I go to sleep. You can read a bit more about these hand stretches in my blog post: Keeping your Hands Happy.

Set Realistic Goals

I always seem to be hit with inspiration for the perfect massive gift about 2 weeks before the gift giving occasion. This rarely works out well and can lead to crazy nights of crocheting with only a few hours of sleep (Yup, that is how I know the importance of sleep).  I have finally learnt to be kinder to myself and have set more realistic goals for my gift making. If you want to do a large project for your gift you need to give yourself enough time to get it finished.

One of the things I have figured out after too many insane crochet deadlines is that it will usually take you about twice as long to finish a project than you think it will. Partially this is due to the fact that there is more to finishing a project than just the crochet. There is also all the weaving in of ends and blocking/washing the item and so on.

If you are looking at a couple of weeks before a gift is due to be presented, then look to smaller projects. The following are some links to patterns that make great gifts and are quick to crochet.

Snowflakes are one of my first choices for a fast gift. They are easy to ship and make great embellishments. You can work them in thread and stiffen them or attach the points to a larger ring for a beautiful addition to any holiday décor. I’ve also worked them in yarn and used them to embellish commercially made hats, scarves or gloves for a personalized gift.

I have 3 free snowflake patterns here on the blog.

Frozen Star Snowflake – This was last year’s snowflake pattern and it is a super quick one to work up with only 3 rounds to work up. This one is really ideal to work in a thicker yarn to attach to another project or a commercially made item as an embellishment.

Lacy Snowflakes – This is my favorite snowflake pattern, it is a written instruction only pattern here on the blog – if you prefer charts along with the text you can purchase a PDF version of this pattern thru my Ravelry shop for $1.99.

Little Snowflake Ornament – This was the first snowflake pattern I shared here on the blog and it is a stitch chart only pattern.

I love hats, earwarmers and cowls for wearable gifts, they don’t take a lot of time or yarn to crochet.  I make a lot of hats for my family, it has become a bit of a Christmas tradition. I have a couple of hat patterns available for free here on the blog and a couple of hat patterns for sell in my Ravelry shop.

Whirlwind Hat – This is an intermediate level text pattern available here on the blog. I’ve included photos and a link to a video to help with learning the trick to working the spiral.

Simple Double Crochet Hat – This is a super easy hat that works up quick in double crochet stitches and a single crochet finish. Work it in variegated yarn for a colorful look, or use a solid yarn for a background that can be embellished with motifs.

Mountain Top Beanie – This is an intermediate level pattern available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop. The pattern includes stitch charts for the crown, sides and ribbing. The sample for this hat was worked in Ella Rae Lace Merino Aran yarn, a wonderful luxurious yarn that is so soft and colorful. Because the hat only uses 1 ball it is a fun splurge project.

Spiraling Crosses Hat – This is an easy intermediate level pattern available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop. The pattern includes a stitch chart of the crown and sides to help you with the placement for the cross stitches. The slightly cabled texture of this stitch pattern makes a good hat for either women or men on your gift list.

Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat – This is an easy level pattern full of all the tips and tricks I teach in my hat class. It is a great pattern for those wanting to create any size hat with any size yarn. You can purchase it in my Ravelry Shop.

Lace Hat – This pattern is available on the Red Heart website. This was one of the first designs I sold when I started out as a designer. For a time the yarn for this project was discontinued, but they have brought back a new version of “Heart & Sole” yarn.

Springtime Headband – This is a pattern on my blog that is great for a quick gift, you can usually get 2 out of 1 ball of Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease in worsted weight. It is an intermediate level pattern, but I have included photo tutorials for the 2 texture stitches used in the pattern.

2 by 2 Cowl – This pattern is an easy level and speedy crochet project, it also uses only 1 ball of yarn. You can find the text pattern here on my blog and there is a link on the pattern post to a video to help you with the foundation I used.

Kellie Cowl – This pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop and is an intermediate level project. It would make a great gift for someone living in a warmer climate, or for those that don’t feel the cold all that much. The pattern has stitch charts to help you with the tricky parts and clear text instructions. It takes only 1 ball of the specified yarn and if you add the optional beads it is a fun dressy accessory to wear anytime of year.

These 3 moebius style cowls are quick and fun to crochet. The patterns are available individually in my Ravelry Shop.

Twisted Vs Cowl – A super quick project worked with bulky yarn and a big hook. The text pattern includes a photo tutorial about moebius construction.

Anna Moebius Cowl – Named after a friend’s grand-daughter this cowl is another fast one to work up in a chunky yarn. Pattern includes stitch chart and is an easy intermediate level project.

Twisted Garden Cowl – This pattern is an intermediate level project, with an interesting stitch pattern. This is still a small enough project to complete quickly, and is entertaining for more experienced or intrepid crocheters.

For those that don’t feel like working the moebius off a twisted foundation, there is always my Springtime Cowl. This pattern is available here on my blog and used 2 balls of the yarn for the sample. It is a simple stitch with the twist added when the 2 ends are sewn together.

If you have made it this far in my post I have a special gift for you. A 10% discount for any of my patterns over $3.50 price point. The code is: Crunch2017, and will only be valid until Friday, August 25th, 2017 at 11 p.m. Mountain time.

I hope this helps you all get started on the gift projects you need to complete and that you all survive the crafting crunch.

Summer is Flying By

This summer is going so fast, I’ve been traveling for both work and family stuff, so the times at home are super packed with household and work tasks.

We got back from our Lake Huron trip the evening of the 11th and I hit the ground running the next day.

It was Casual Crochet meet-up and the end of our Testing Pool CAL. Everyone that could make it was there to get their photo taken wearing their cowls. A number of these ambitious crocheters had made 2 cowls. Can you tell that the Aqua colorway was very popular?

For naming this cowl I took all the names of my testers and put them in a hat. We drew out a name and this cowl is now known as the “Kellie Cowl”. That’s Kellie at the lower left in the photo.

You can purchase the pattern for this cowl in my Ravelry shop. It comes with detailed stitch charts for the foundation, joins and increase point.

I’m headed out to Chicago for the CGOA Chain Link Conference this week, so this may be a one post week again. We will see how busy it all is there and if I will have a decent internet connection. If you are coming to the conference be sure to say hello. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of my yarnie friends and making new ones.