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.

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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.

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.

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 boys 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.

18 Patterns in 2016

I was talking with a crochet friend the other day about how many patterns I had published in 2016, and I wasn’t sure. I knew I had been doing a lot of work in 2016. So today I decided to take a tally. Turns out I had 18 patterns published, counting the 6 that were in my newest book: “Wraps for All Seasons”.

There were 5 decorative neckwear patterns:

Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace – this pattern is available here on my blog.

Springtime Cowl – this pattern is available here on my blog.

Loopy de Loop Necklace – this pattern is available here on my blog and I have a video tutorial for it on my YouTube channel.

Sweet Song Decorative Scarf – this pattern is available here on my blog.

Photo courtesy of Red Heart

Beaded Crochet Necklace – this pattern is available on the Red Heart website.

There were 3 Hat patterns:

Mountain Top Beanie – the pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop.

Simple DC Hat – the pattern is available here on my blog.

Whirlwind Hat – the pattern is available here on my blog.

There were 2 fun little projects in Thread crochet:

Simple Victorian Earrings – the pattern is available here on my blog.

Frozen Star Snowflake – the pattern is available here on my blog.

One afghan square:

Fans & Lace Afghan Square – the pattern is available here on my blog as well as tutorial videos on my YouTube Channel .

There were 7 wraps patterns:

The 6 in my book from Annie’s Publishing – “Wraps for All Seasons”, which you can purchase on Amazon or at the Annie’s website.

Playing with Triangles Shawl

Playing with Triangles Shawl – the pattern is available here on my blog as well as an informative video on my YouTube Channel.

Let’s see if I can double the number of patterns in 2017.