Posted by: mamas2hands | March 3, 2018

Needle Felting with Students

Last Saturday I taught a needle-felting class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The shop is very small, so a full needle-felting class is only 6 students. This makes for fun classes where each student gets personal attention from the teacher. I have such a great time teaching and often time my students come up with new ideas or ways of looking at the project that really add to the experience for everyone.

3 of my students were a mother with 2 young daughters (9 and 12).  I generally don’t design my classes for children under 13 years of age, but these 2 young ladies were both very dedicated yarn crafters already. When the shop called to check with me I said let’s give it a try.

Saturday morning we had one student cancel because she had the flu, so we ended up with only 5 students in the class. We all had a great time and my 2 youngest students were intrepid and diligent in the class. The 9 year-old was really determined to work on one of the more challenging techniques for creating the “fleece” of her sheep.

This technique is one I used for creating my original Sheep Toy for the SBVFAF class I taught last September at the SBVFAF in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. It requires quite a bit of patience as you make loop after loop in yarn and needle them into place.

The 12 year-old came up with a fun technique of her own for making a bumpy “fleece”. She wrapped bits of plain roving around her needle and then pushed them into place on her sheep.

My other three adult students were having fun making “curly” sheep using mohair locks for the fleece. Again there was so much creativity amongst the students about how they would incorporate the locks. One student made a soft cloud of locks that she had gently teased apart.

My young students mom had fun creating a special curl over her sheep’s forehead.

The last student was very charmed by my original “curly” sheep, so she worked on adding her locks similar to how I had used them.

We had quite a fun little flock of sheep by the end of the class. Best of all, all 5 students were feeling very inspired and wanted to do more needle felting. I’m always happy when my students are excited to continue with the craft.

I’ll be teaching more needle felting classes this Fall and hope to create some that combine needle felting with crochet.  Keep an eye out here for more news about my upcoming classes.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 1, 2018

It’s a Shawl, It’s a Scarf, That’s a Wrap

It’s the first of March and that means it is National Crochet Month. To celebrate crochet CGOA is having a Mega Crochet Along with 4 patterns. There will be a new pattern from a different designer every week free to CGOA members.

I’m happy to announce that the first pattern for this celebration is my “Shining Day Wrap”. This wrap is worked in 2 pieces off a center foundation to create a wide lacy rectangle that can be worn as a shawl or scarf. It looks very fancy and complicated, but it is actually an easy pattern to learn.

This pattern includes stitch charts, text instructions and a photo-tutorial on working picots. There is everything you need to successfully crochet your own wrap, even if you are new to crochet. The pattern will be available for free to both CGOA members and non-members on the CGOA website: crochet.org thru March 7th. You will be able to download the pattern PDF thru the CGOA store.

Starting March 8th my pattern will be available for purchase in my Ravelry shop and there will be a new pattern available to CGOA members each of the following 3 weeks.

 

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day

Dainty Hearts Motifs by Andee Graves at “I Like Crochet”

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I have one more thing to share with you.  The folks at “I Like Crochet” online magazine are offering a special Valentine’s sale of their subscriptions.

You can use this link to get the offer on their website. Remember the sale is only going on until February 18th.

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 9, 2018

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 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.

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 8, 2018

The Challenges of Being a Designer

Yesterday I was planning to get a new blog post up, in fact a post with an awesome new free pattern. Unfortunately the best laid plans can go awry and they did.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day I wanted to give all my lovely readers an early gift that you could use to give as a gift. Whew that was a convoluted sentence.

So I sat down with yarn and hook to make this lovely gift card holder. I thought I had taken very good notes on how to crochet it. Instead I’ve been running into issues recreating my sample when following the pattern I wrote from those notes. I’m resolving these issues, but it is taking more time than I had originally allotted.

If all my lovely readers can send some good thoughts my way that might help. Hopefully I will have this fun little pattern ready for you all by Friday morning. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 16, 2018

Moving Right Along

It’s been over a week since my last post, 2018 has picked up it’s heels and is moving fast already.  On the 10th I had my first CGOA Board meeting and I came out of that realizing that I have a lot to learn about and a lot to do in the next few months.

I also have a number of design projects with deadlines coming up soon. Funny how deadlines in 2018 seemed so far away back in early December, but now they are breathing down my neck.  I’m looking forward to sharing these designs with all of you soon.

In the meantime you can find my latest pattern the Morning Walk Earwarmer in the February Issue of “I Like Crochet”. This is a fun quick-to-crochet project that uses different stitch heights to create a narrow to wide shaping. Earwarmers are especially handy headgear for folks with long hair. They can serve double duty as a hairband as well as keeping the chill off your ears.

I wanted to create an earwarmer that had a little extra thickness over the ears as well as some flexibility in fit. The widest part of the design is a textured stitch with a little bit of open work, then it narrows into ribbing that fits snugly over the ears. Both the top and bottom opening have textured stitch work to create a soft face flattering edge.

I’ve also been doing some clearing of the clutter in my yarn and fiber stashes. I had purchased this fun Noro product last summer. It isn’t really yarn but a very narrow piece of fiber without any twist. That means it tends to break easily and I’ve been using bits of it when doing needle felting projects.

I decided the other day that it would be good to felt in the washing machine because of the lack of twist. I spent about 6 hours carefully crocheting the remainder of the original roll into a rectangular piece of fabric. I used half-double crochet stitches worked in rows.

This was a good brainless crochet project when I was watching shows and movies with my boys during the evenings and weekend. I like having something to crochet that is the same stitch over and over where I can keep my hands busy without a great deal of focus. It was also entertaining to see how the colors were going to come together, something I always love about working with long color changes.

My current plan is that the felted fabric will become a bag of some sort, but it will depend on how much shrinkage I get and what happens with the colors when I finish the felting. It could possibly become the background for a needle-felted painting.

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 4, 2018

Happy 2018!

Happy New Year all my dear readers.  We had a quiet family celebration, though my boys were excited to stay up until midnight. We tried to persuade them to watch the ball drop in Times Square Live on TV at 10p.m. Mountain Time, but they wanted to wait until midnight. I guess when you are 11 and nearly 15 staying up that late is a big deal. My youngest tends to wake up early no matter how late he goes to bed, so he was a bit tired on New Years Day.

I spent most of my New Year’s Eve Day crocheting. I was working on some design ideas for publication proposals. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a few of them in 2018 magazines. I’ve been crocheting some gifts for birthdays this week. 2018 is definitely beginning with lots of yarn fun.

On New Year’s Eve I went back to read my 2017 resolutions and reflect how well I had done with them over the year.

My 2017 resolutions were:

  1. Learn to do Calligraphy.
  2. Open my Etsy Shop.
  3. Clear out a lot of the clutter.
  4. Make more videos for my YouTube Channel.

Resolution 1 – Learning to do Calligraphy is still in the works, though I have gotten a lot more confident with it and other hand lettering. I’ve found that I am more comfortable with the flexibility of free-form hand lettering. Calligraphy has a lot of rules and I find I don’t have as much patience with that. I’ve learnt some of the basics and have been applying them to my free-form hand lettering attempts. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I’m creating the art work with words and images that I had envisioned, but I am moving in the right direction.

Resolution 2 – Open my Etsy Shop did happen, but I’ve since closed it. There were some security issues with their payment options that I wasn’t comfortable with. So I decided that wasn’t the right platform for me. I may eventually find another market place for my non-pattern items, but for now that has slipped down my priority list.

Resolution 3 – Clearing out a lot of the clutter. I have been steadily working away on this one, though some days I feel like I’ve made very little progress. There have been a few time-consuming set backs like the big Whooping Cough illness my entire family came down with in August that continued into October.

Resolution 4 – Make more videos for my YouTube Channel. Unfortunately another resolution that I didn’t do so well with. Technically I did make more videos for my YouTube Channel, only 1 was published though. 2017 was my technical difficulties year. I seem to have a knack for running into problems with both my camera and my editing software. I may primarily be dealing with a learning curve.

I don’t know that I am going to be setting resolutions so much this year. I’ll still have my “list” because it is the way my brain works, but I’m focusing my New Year’s energy more on abstracts this year. I’ve been thinking on this over the past week and I am going to realize this abstraction with single words.

I’ve picked 5 words for my 2018:

Gratitude

      Kindness

           Persistence

                  Compassion

                         Curiosity

2018 is starting off with some big excitement and brings the first word to the forefront. Today the winners of the CGOA Board seats were announced and I am one of them. I’m so grateful that the members of CGOA had confidence in me to serve on the board. I’m looking forward to learning more about what my role on the board will be. There will be some shuffling in my schedule to make sure I can fulfill my duties as well as keep up with my work, but it is a challenge I welcome.

This is the last weekend of the boys’ winter break from school, so I’ll be getting in a little more family time before we are once again doing the school schedule.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | December 26, 2017

The Best of 2017

Time is running out on 2017 and it’s time to celebrate the best of the past year for many publications. I recently heard from the folks at “I Like Crochet” that my Cobbled Path Wrap was chosen as one of the “Spectacular Shawls” of 2017.

That design is one of my favorites. I came up with the idea for it about 5 years ago. I wanted to create the look of little motifs without having to weave hundreds of tails in. You can get this pattern with a subscription to the “I Like Crochet” website.

You can see my design and the other “Best of 2017” winners at their website by clicking here.

Wishing all my dear readers a fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebration and a very Happy New Year in 2018.

Posted by: mamas2hands | December 3, 2017

All that Glitters

When I crochet with thread I tend to favor Size 10 cotton thread, but being that I have a bit of magpie in my genetic make-up I have always been drawn to Red Heart’s Metallic cotton thread.

Long ago I thought it would be the perfect thread for making snowflakes. But once I had added stiffener to it the glittery effect was rather dimmed. So I’ve been searching for a way to make a snowflake that could fully show off the sparkle of this thread.

Finished Ornament - Andee Graves M2H Designs

This was my little experiment this weekend.

First snowflake and orna - Andee Graves M2H Designs

When I was designing my snowflake pattern for this year I created a snowflake that was cupping a bit and realized that it might fit nicely around one of the flattened round style of clear plastic ornaments that I had. It actually looked like it would stretch around it nicely.

2 snowflakes - Andee Graves M2H Designs

I decided to work on making a second snowflake to place on the opposite side so the 2 connected together would act as a sort of cover for the ornament. Since my original snowflake was made with the silver thread I picked the gold thread for the second snowflake.

4 points joined 2 snowflakes - Andee Graves M2H Designs

I crocheted the snowflake up to the last round, then connected the last round at 4 points.

Cover fitted over ornament - Andee Graves M2H Designs

I then slid it over the ornament and completed the round connecting the last 2 points. Crocheting the last little bit while the snowflakes were on the ornament was a bit challenging but I was happy with how it came out.

If you want to try making some snowflake ornaments like this check at your local hobby supply shop for round semi-flattened ornaments. The one I used is 4″ in diameter, but they also come in smaller sizes. You’ll want to use a snowflake pattern that is somewhat star shaped without a lot of fancy things happening with the edges.

Weave in the beginning tails of both snowflakes and the ending tail of your first snowflake before connecting them together and placing them as a cover on the ornament. That way you only have one tail to weave in after fitting the snowflakes around your ornament.

Connection points 2 snowflakes - Andee Graves M2H Designs

I had to shorten the chain lengths at the points of my second snowflake to get a better fit around my ornament. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the look, but it wasn’t too bad for a first try.

I’m going to be very busy the next couple of weeks preparing for Christmas with my family, so I’m not sure if I will have a chance to blog again until after the start of the New Year.  In case I’m not back on here before then, I want to wish all my wonderful readers a lovely holiday season and a fabulous start to 2018.

Posted by: mamas2hands | November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving with Family

Today is Thanksgiving day here in the US. For my family it is a day to get together with family and friends for a big meal and be thankful for what we have.

In keeping with this year’s tradition of school holidays, the boys are both sick with pink-eye and colds. It’s looking like himself and I are fighting off the cold part as well. I’m at least grateful for not having to juggle the boys missing school days along with everything else.

Another thing I am thankful for is the training I have had in medical science. I treated the boys with Lavender essential oil and raw honey until himself could take the boys to the doctor. Both boys have reported that their eyes are no longer itching. The doctor only gave my youngest eye drops because he was the only one with swelling and discharge.

Fortunately today I’m feeling a lot better and my youngest seems to be turning the corner. My younger brother and his girlfriend came up for dinner, but stayed in a hotel in town to avoid too much time with the germs. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the 2 of them for the past month.

New Christmas Tree 2

Tomorrow we will be decorating our new Christmas Tree. This year I decided it was time for a skinnier tree. We have always had an artificial tree because of himself’s allergies. We have a very full house between the kids’ stuff and my yarn, so I’ve been campaigning for a smaller tree. I was especially attracted to the “pencil” trees that I had seen, and to the “pre-lit” trees.

My least favorite part of decorating the tree is fighting with putting on the lights. I’m so excited to finally have a “pre-lit” tree! We will also be decorating a big swath of greenery over our largest living room window too. That way we can put out some of the ornaments the animals like to attack.

For many folks Thanksgiving marks the beginning of Christmas shopping with Black Friday sales at all the big retailers. I hope some of you will be looking at shopping also on Small Business Saturday to support small businesses that make up the back bone of the US economy.

Flatirons Shawl - 1d sm - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Flatirons Shawl

Kellie Cowl - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Kellie Cowl

WWC Stacked drape view - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Whispering Winds Cowl

vivianne-shawl-andee-graves-m2h-designs-a2

Vivianne Shawl

Speaking of Small Business Saturday, I’ll be offering 10% off any 2 patterns in my Ravelry Shop to all my wonderful readers. Just put 2 of my patterns in your cart then use the coupon code SBS2017Thanks to get the discount. This coupon code will only be good on Saturday, November 25, 2017 from 1 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Mtn Time. 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all my dear readers for your support of my very small business.

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