Cooling off with Snowflakes

A New Snowflake Crochet Pattern and Coloring Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COOL SNOWFLAKE MOTIF

Designed by Andee Graves

Special Stitches

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

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

Pattern Notes

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

Instructions

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

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

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

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

Weave in all ends.

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

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

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

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

Crocheted Snowflakes & Wreath

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

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

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

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

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

Little Snowflake Ornament – M2H Designs

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

Lacy Snowflake – M2H Designs

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

Frozen Star Snowflake – M2H Designs

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

Sparkling Ice Snowflake – M2H Designs

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

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

Little Christmas Wreath – M2H Designs

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

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

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

More Small Crocheted Gift Ideas

I was in Manchester, New Hampshire for the CGOA ChainLink Conference July 9 – 14th and have been playing catch-up since then. ChainLink was great fun, and once again I was a blur as I was running the Design Competition. I’ll share more about the conference and my goodies next month. For now let’s continue with Christmas in July.

At the beginning of the month I talked about hats for a quick gift item. What do you do if your gift recipient isn’t really into hats? How about making them a cowl or neck cozy? These are projects that can take a little bit more time than a hat, but they can have the advantage of needing no shaping and usually have an easy to memorize stitch pattern.

I have published over 13 cowl/neck cozy patterns over the years.

Springtime Cowl – M2H Designs

My Springtime Cowl design is currently only available as text instructions here on the blog. It is what I call an “afterthought moebius”, this is when you make a long strip of crochet, then twist it and sew the ends. As you will see in the instructions, you don’t have to make it into a moebius. The yarn I used in the sample is no longer available, but this is a good project for colorful light worsted weight yarns. Maybe you have 300 yards of a hand-dyed yarn you have been trying to find a project for?

“True” Moebius Cowls

I love creating Moebius designs, being that I am a geek. The moebius shape in geometry has only 1 edge and 1 side. If you are confused about how a moebius works check out my explanation in the blog post “The Twists and Turns of a Moebius”. The next 4 designs are all “true” moebius cowls, meaning they start with the twist.

Twisted V Cowl – M2H Designs

Twisted V Cowl – This fun project was designed to be quick to make using a bulky yarn. The original sample was made using a hand-dyed bulky yarn. The open work mesh of the stitches is neutral enough that this cowl makes a good gift for any gender on your list. The pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop and includes a photo illustration of the moebius single edge.

Anna Moebius Cowl – M2H Designs

Anna Moebius Cowl, this design was named after a good friend’s granddaughter. Worked in a chunky yarn this is another quick project. It can be ever quicker if you make the foundation a little shorter, then the finished cowl will be snug enough to wear as an earwarmer. Pattern is available in my Ravelry shop and includes stitch diagrams as well as text instructions.

Twisted Garden Cowl – This is one of my favorite more complex moebius designs. The stitch pattern is a 4 row repeat and you are only turning your work every other round. I really love this worked up in medium long color changing yarns, the changing colors in the stitches give the effect of flower petals scattered on a path. The pattern is available in my Ravelry shop and includes both text and stitch charts.

Infinite Grande Cowl – This cowl uses a longer foundation and simple stitch pattern to show off a luxurious bulky alpaca yarn. The cushy and snuggly yarn make a warm cowl that can be doubled at the neck for those really cold winter days. Again a neutral design that can be a great gift for any gender. The pattern includes both written and stitch chart instructions. It is available in my Ravely shop.

Tube style Cowls

Tube style cowls are worked in rounds off a beginning foundation. I like to start most of these with my “stacked-rows” foundation to create a pretty decorative edging. The finishing edge is sometimes worked to echo the start, or I do something completely different.

2 by 2 Cowl – M2H Designs

My 2 by 2 Cowl is a simple tube style cowl with a quick to memorize stitch patten. The instructions are available here on the blog. If you prefer working from stitch charts you can also purchase a charted and text version in my Ravelry Shop.

Whispering Winds Cowl – This cowl has starting and finishing edges that are very similar. It is worked in a light fingering weight yarn with a simple stitch pattern for the body. This is a project that you definitely want to get a head start on as it will take a little longer with the smaller stitches. Worked in the same yarn as my sample, the finished fabric is luxurious with lots of drape and warmth. Pattern is available in my Raverly shop and includes both text and stitch charts.

The Mountain Springtime Cowl was designed for the Yarniverse March 2019 yarn box. Even if you aren’t part of that Box subscription you can purchase the individual pattern in my Ravelry shop. This long lacy cowl is light enough to be worn in the warmer weather months, but doubled up makes a great cold weather neck covering. Though this pattern doesn’t contain a stitch chart, the clear photography and simple stitch pattern make for a quick and easy gift project that gives you a lot of fabric from 1 hank of fingering weight yarn.

The Half Shell Summer Cowl was designed for King Cole’s “Vogue” yarn, a lovely garment quality cotton yarn. It can be worked in a cold weather yarn and give you a great cowl for wearing when the temperatures drop. The pattern includes detailed stitch charts along with text instructions. You can purchase it in my Ravelry Shop.

My Rhythm of Shells Cowl is a little more advanced with a 4 row lace stitch pattern repeat. Designed in a fingering weight alpaca blend yarn from LGF Suris, this is lacy warmth at it’s best. This is a gift for that special crochet-worthy person on your list. The pattern includes a detailed stitch chart along with clear text instructions and is available in my Ravelry shop.

The Cliffhouse Cowl is one of my most advanced patterns so far. It is worked with color changes and varying stitch heights. The pattern is available in my Ravelry shop. I will be teaching a class at Longmont Yarn Shoppe – Wednesday September 25 10:30a – 1:30p on this project if you are in the area and want to join me.

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

Neck Cozy and Shaped Cowls

Modified PWT Cowl – Mamas2hands blog

I created this button up neck cozy by making a small “Playing With Triangles Shawl” in a fingering weight yarn and adding a bunch of beads. You can find out how I worked this version in my blog post: It’s Finished! There is information on how I added all the beads as well as links within the post to the pattern I used. If you prefer, you can purchase my “Vivianne Shawl” pattern which has a tutorial on adding beads and stitch charts to help with bead placement.

The Kellie Cowl design is a little more challenging with an increase point about one third of the way into the project. Pretty changing stitch patterns make for a lacy and interesting project that you’ll have fun crocheting and will be proud to give. The pattern includes detailed stitch charts and instructions on adding beads to your project. The pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop.

The Granny Fans Redux pattern is a great value. Not only does it contain instructions for making the button closure neck cozy seen above, but it also has detailed instructions for making a longer scarf, a moebius style cowl, or an infinity scarf. The pattern has detailed stitch charts for helping you with the Join-As-You-Go Fan motifs. This design really shows off yarns with medium long gradient color changes. Pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop.

Remember if you are doing a lot of crocheting to take breaks at least every 30 minutes to stretch your hands and body. It is easy to over do it when you get into crazy gift making mode, so try to pace yourself. If you don’t already use a hook with an ergonomic handle, now might be the time to gift yourself with at least one in your favorite size.

My favorite ergonomic handled hooks are still the Clover Amour hooks. I have them in all the available sizes and some extras in the sizes I use most frequently. If you can’t find them locally click on the photo above to find them on Amazon.

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.

Is it Summer Yet?

New Crochet Lace Cowl Design and a Free Coloring Page

I keep thinking our mountain summertime has really started, then the weather proves me wrong. This past week included 3 inches of hail, 45F temperatures and snowflakes in the air Sunday morning. Fortunately our mob of hummingbirds at the feeders every evening reassures me that they think it is summer. The bear has been visiting us too, so he definitely thinks it is summertime.

I haven’t been blogging as much because I have been a crazy busy woman getting ready for the CGOA conference (ChainLink) in Manchester, New Hampshire. Being on the Board of Directors means I am involved in a lot of behind the scenes planning of events. This is especially so as a couple of my chairs for committees have had to cancel coming to the conference.

With ChainLink only 2 weeks away I’m also figuring out what to pack. I always over pack on crochet projects, but I hate to not have something to work on, especially on my travel days. Getting to Manchester and back home is a pretty full day of travel from Colorado. Long lay-overs are much better when one has crochet to play with.

What is your favorite go-to project to work on when traveling? I like smaller projects like hats, cowls, slippers or mittens. They don’t require a lot of yarn, so it’s not too big a project bag. Speaking of cowls….

My latest published pattern is a lovely lacy cowl. I was given the gorgeous Suri Alpaca blend sock yarn above to design with at TNNA by the LGF Suris folks a couple years ago. Life happened (like it does) and it took me a little time to complete, but I am really happy with how it came out.

This is my Rhythm of Shells Cowl, published in my M2H Designs pattern line and available for purchase in my Ravelry shop. It is an interesting 4 row stitch pattern that is easy to memorize, but not so dull that it will put you to sleep. It starts with one of my Stacked Rows Foundations and ends with a pretty pointed border. The pattern instructions include a stitch chart. My sample took only 1 hank of the LGF Suris yarn to make and worked up light and warm.

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

I also have a new coloring page for you to enjoy. Hopefully where you live it is actually feeling like summertime. Mandalas are very relaxing to color as well as draw. You can even have fun adding your own doodles to this mandala to add to your coloring relaxation.

If you would rather color some crochet themed coloring pages remember to check out my E-coloring booklet with FaveCrafts: “4 Inspiring Crochet Coloring Pages for Adults”. You can download them for free.

My current favorite pens for drawing my coloring pages with are my Staedtler Pigment Liners. This set of 8 different line widths is perfect for carrying with me whenever I want to draw. I tend to use the 0.3 size the most, so I’ve purchased extra pens in that size to add to my drawing supplies. If you can’t find them in your local shops click on the photo above to find them on Amazon.

For coloring this page today I used both Staedler Triplus fineliner markers and Staedler Noris Club Colored pencils. I like using fineliner markers for the small details when coloring to ensure that I get the intensity of color that I want. Where the colored pencils are good for laying out larger sections of color in a softer tone.

The Noris Club pencils are great for traveling with, the white layer around the core makes the colored leads more durable. They also seem to hold up better to being sharpened. The more durable leads do draw a little lighter, so I find I want to layer my colors more than with some of my softer pencils. You can click on the photo above to look at the variety of Staedtler Noris Club pencil sets available at Amazon. My set has 36 colors, which gives me a number of options when I am coloring and drawing on the go.

I’ve shared about the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners before, but it bears repeating. These are wonderful markers for both drawing, coloring and journaling. The colors are intense and I can use them for hours without the marker drying up. They are labeled “Dry Safe: can be left uncapped for days without drying up”. I haven’t tested that personally, since I live in a very dry environment. I have had other markers dry up on me while I am working, and that has never been an issue with these.

Whether you are crocheting or coloring I hope you are having a wonderful summer. I’ll try to get another blog post up before I leave for ChainLink, but no guarantees.

The Secrets to Crocheting the X-stitch

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

There was a little delay getting this post finished because we were preparing for adding a new family member. The little sweetie in the photo above. We have been wanting to get a kitten for about 7 months and this week everything came together for Ms. Areya (R-ree-Yah) to join us. I confess, part of the delay is because I am having way too much fun getting kitten cuddles. This is our first baby kitten in 14 years, so we are all enjoying her tiny time, she is just 8 weeks old. You will probably see her photo-bombing the blog a bit over the next couple of months.

Now back to learning about crocheting the X-stitch…

The X-stitch is one of my second favorite stitches to use in my crochet designs. The fabric you can create with it is stretchy and has a pleasing texture. I often think that crocheting it is a little like dancing the two-step; 2 steps foward, 1 step back.

One thing I have noticed about this stitch (and a lot of crochet stitches) is that the written directions for working the stitch can sound very intimidating, when actually working the stitch is fairly easy.

Because there are not standardized terms for the name of all crochet stitches you can encounter a lot of different X-stitches. There are versions of the X-stitch out there that use taller stitches and more skipped stitches, so remember to check the stitch definitions in the pattern you are working to be sure that you know which version is being used.

My favorite version of this stitch is very simple. It is 2 double crochet stitches, worked into 2 stitches, with the second stitch worked over and around the first one. After reading that you are likely thinking I’m nuts to say it is simple.

In my Cliffhouse Cowl pattern I defined the X-stitch as: Skip 1 un-worked st forward, dc in next st, working around 1st dc, dc in skipped st.

Let’s break it down with an illustration.

Step 1: Skip 1 un-worked st forward (indicated by pink arrow),

Step 2: dc in next st (indicated by green arrow),

Step 3: working around first dc, dc in skipped st (indicated by pink arrow).

In this step you are crocheting around the post of the first stitch at the same time as you are working your double crochet in the top of the previously skipped stitch. The first stitch is surrounded by the second stitch.

Stacked or Staggered X-stitches

Stacked X-sts
Staggered X-sts

When you are working rows or rounds of the X-st you can stack them or stagger them. You’ll get 2 very different looks to your fabric depending on which you choose.

Cliffhouse Cowl –
Andee Graves M2H Designs

For my Cliffhouse Cowl the X-sts are stacked and worked in the round.

Spiraling Crosses Hat –
Andee Graves M2H Designs
Spiraling Crosses Gauntlets –
Andee Graves M2H Designs

In my Spiraling Crosses Hat and Spiraling Crosses Gauntlets the X-sts are staggered and worked in the round.

The stitch chart above shows both stacked and staggered X-sts worked in the round. The purple stitches are the 2nd dc of each X-st. When working staggered X-sts your join for each round will move to the right if you are right-handed, and to the left if you are left-handed (assuming you hold the hook in your left hand).

At the start of each X-st round the beginning chain 3 acts as your first dc of your first X-st. The lovely part of this is that your join in the finished project will not be as obvious as it can look with other stitch patterns.

Second X-st of Round

It can be a little tricky to see where your next X-st should be worked after working that starting X-st in your first round. The stitch that you joined to for your foundation looks like it should be your first skipped stitch (indicated with yellow arrow this is the stitch that the slip stitch join was worked into for the previous round or foundation), but it is the next stitch over (indicated with pink arrow) and the first dc will be worked in the next stitch (indicated with the green arrow).

When you get to the end of your round you will finish your last X-st and then slip stitch tightly in the third chain of your beginning chain 3. I find it really helps to place a locking stitch marker in that third chain at the beginning of the round, then when I get to the end of the round it’s very easy to see where to join to.

My favorite locking stitch markers are made by the Clover Company. They are flexible and durable and come in a couple of sizes, colors and styles. I have lots of the orange and green ones that I’ve added to my project bag over the years. If you can’t find them locally you can purchase them on Amazon, just click on the photo above and it will take you right to them.

The new stitch markers from Clover that I have been falling in love with are the “Quick Locking Stitch Markers”. They come in sets of 2 colors for each size, or you can get the variety pack that has a nifty carrying case with 3 different sizes. I really love these markers because they are super flexible and they are little sheep shapes. If you can’t find them locally just click on the photo above and it will take you right to them on Amazon.