Archives for category: yarn

In my last post I mentioned that I was working on a new cowl – and Ta Da! – the Stained Glass Cowl is now done. It took a while (25 hours + dealing with ends), but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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The cowl was made out of Loops and Threads Woolike in black, red, pumpkin spice, lavender, sage, and denim blue, with an E hook. I can’t tell you how much I love this color combination. It’s just so yummy! I also like how the stitch makes a bobble-ish type texture; I’ve always been a big fan of texture stitches. The black sc stitch rows were always worked with the front side facing you. The 7-dc shell stitch rows were alternated between the front and back sides.

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I discovered another really neat textured stitch called the Nest stitch and I worked on a wrap (see below) with that stitch on the plane rides to and from my visit with my mom (had a wonderful time, BTW!). Again, this is a heavily textured, squishy stitch and I can easily see why this would be great for a baby blanket. I’m using the Ls & Ts Woolike for this project too, and it looks like it will turn into a really nice lightweight wrap/scarf.

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Alas, I must put this aside to work on the Christmas ornaments that I give to my family. They’re not crocheted this year. Actually, I’m using a craft project from Martha Stewart that she showcased on one of her shows many, many years ago. You decorate styrofoam balls with lovely fabric, embellished ribbons, and anything else you think would look good. Of course, hers were gorgeous; I can only hope mine come out half as good!

Yes, I know. I kind of fell off the map for awhile, but before I go visit my Mom for her 92nd birthday, I felt I should throw a post together – just to make sure you all don’t think I’ve retired to some remote island somewhere. So, this is what I’ve been up to during my posting absence.

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As you might recall, my nephew’s wife is due in December (a girl!) and this is what I will be gifting her with at the shower this Saturday. The Unicorn Lovey I designed myself and the pattern is now available in my shop. The booties pattern still eludes me – sorry. The sweater is a free pattern offered by Caron Simply Soft yarn here. Lilleliis’ doll pattern is sold here, but I did add the crocheted heart applique based on Pink Milk’s free pattern. The baby blanket is based on the pattern by Debra O’Leary Patterns, Arielle’s Square, available for purchase here. The edging is different than her pattern – row 1 – sc around; row 2 – *hdc, skip one sc, ch 1, hdc in next sc*, repeat * to * around; and the bobble edge is *sl st in next st, sl st in next st, 3 dc’s in next st*, repeat * to * around. A simple but cute border, even if I do say so myself. And you could weave a ribbon in the hdc row if you wanted. The squares were whip-stitched together.

IMG_1057I am still totally in love with Lilleliis’ Cuddly Baby Amigurumi doll. The one on the right is being given away and I’ll list the middle one for sale in my shop. The one on the left is the first one I made. He has button eyes and a button heart on his chest, so he wouldn’t be any good for a baby/toddler. I think I may just have to keep him for myself!

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I love doilies but really don’t have much of a use for them. I do like the idea of framing them or attaching them to hoops for decoration, though. This Wispweave pattern by Julia Hart really caught my eye, so of course I had to try my hand at it. She has much better lighting in her photos to show off the textural stitches, so go take a look at her post. Above is my version. I plan to try this in multi-colors – this could make a great base to a dream catcher. It is an intricate pattern and a little fiddly, but well worth it.

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In trying to keep with my resolution to use up my stash, I have delved into my collection of Loops and Threads Woolike yarn and began this cowl. It has been inspired by the very lovely and economical Botanica Cowl Kit being offered by Willow Yarns (anyone say “Christmas”?). I love the little “bobble-ish” texture my cowl is taking on, and I’m very happy with the colors. Plus, since Woolike is a fingering yarn, the weight of this cowl is perfect for the mild California winters.

Well, I hope this proves that even though I may be very behind in my blog posts, I certainly keep moving forward with my crochet projects. I hope everyone has a great Halloween, and I’ll see you in November. Till then, happy crocheting!

You know, they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And sometimes life just makes sure I don’t forget it.

I’ve been crocheting fairly consistently now for about 30 years and I consider myself at an intermediate level, although I’ve certainly not had much of any experience making clothing. You know, the kind that actually has to fit. So every now and then I’ll be perusing Pinterest and I’ll find a photo of an item that I fall in love with, but then I find out I’d have to pay for the pattern. Since I have a very small budget, I try to be frugal. And sometimes I’m arrogant (and silly) enough to think that I can just figure out the pattern on my own.

Such was the case of the Metro Kerchief by Yuliya Tkacheva. Even though I am a lace fan at heart, occasionally when I see a beautiful geometric pattern I fall in love. And I fell hard for this one. But since my budget is tight, I thought (after looking very carefully at the scarf) that I could figure it out on my own. HA!

First off, you have to be careful to choose a yarn that has quite a bit of body to it because a soft yarn won’t hold the design. That was my first mistake, so I had to start over with another yarn. Next, after you figure out how to do the pattern, you have to figure out the correct increases/decreases, otherwise you will end up with either a VERY long scarf, a very short scarf, or a very lopsided scarf.

I won’t bore you will all the details, but this scarf took me almost a month to finally get right (and with a lot of mathematical help from my husband, too). Looking back on this now, that’s totally insane. Of course, when I started out I had no idea it would be so difficult for me (that arrogance again!), but at least the experience has taught me a lesson. Unless an item is super-super easy, JUST BUY THE PATTERN!

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The Urban Kerchief, now available in my Bonanza Shop

I have since completed my version of this scarf, and even though it took me forever, I am very happy with how it turned out. It is currently available for sale at my Bonanza booth – only $21.99 and free shipping! (Christmas is coming faster than you know….)

In keeping with having products in my store to sell, I have just added another (and very colorful) item for sale – the Boucle Delight Cowl. I had originally made this as a scarf, but it ended up a little short, so i decided to convert it to a cowl. I know that I should have more summery items in the shop. I promise I will, but I’m still in the throws of reorganizing my bed/craft room, so when something pops up to add, I’m just going with it. In my world the months seem to fly by, so it’ll be fall before I know it!

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The biggest problem I’ve had with this cowl is the photography. I didn’t use bright or neon yarn colors to make this, but in the photos the cowl really looks much brighter than it actually is. I tried taking a pic inside the house (thinking the sun was the culprit), but that didn’t work either. The next photo is much closer to the real colors.

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In articles about taking product pics, they tell you to use natural light (or “reveal” type light bulbs) as much as possible because this will show off the true color of the item. Obviously, direct sun doesn’t always work. Since I don’t have a room to set up for product photography or the money for a pro photographer, I just have to rely on photo editing programs to try to achieve the proper effect. Easier said than done!

 

Until next time, happy crocheting!

 

 

As much as I love designing crochet items, I just have to give myself one long cold hard look in the mirror and be honest with myself. I love crocheting much more than I like having to write the patterns out. There, I said it. So I have decided to start using OP’s patterns and crochet! This doesn’t mean I won’t ever design anything anymore; it just means that I’ll have a “products” section in my store.

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First up on this new(er) venture is my version of the Rose Lace Cowl by Alyssa Titus of Undeniable Glitter (free pattern can be found here). This was perfect for me because of all the Caron Simply Soft yarn I have in my stash, and it did take a little over one skein for the cowl (one skein for the body of the cowl and the “little more” for the edging). What a perfect and economical present! The pattern is written well – I didn’t have any issues following it at all – and the cowl works up in no time. My only disagreement with her description is that I think this cowl could be very warm and just fine for winter, as well as spring and fall. IMO!

 

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I did run into one problem, though. My little picot points on the edging all swerved to one side, and I wanted them to point straight. Silly me thought that this would straighten itself out in the blocking, but it didn’t. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not blaming the designer. It’s very possible that the way I crocheted the points made them swerve – I don’t know. Anyway, I took some thread and sewed the top loop of the picots down on the opposite side of the swerve, and this straightened them out. It was a pain, though. So if I ever make this cowl again, I’m going to find  way to crochet those points straight or consider the swerved points part of the design!

Till next time, happy crocheting!

I’ve been a little sluggish with my crocheting lately (and my posts!). I needed to take some pics too, and of course “sunny” California decided to be grey and drizzly for the past few days. However – TA DA – I have a few new things to show you. One item isn’t totally new, but I’ve finally completed it and have the pattern available now in my store, which you can find here. This is the afghan I mentioned in an earlier post, and I’ve named it Aqua Dreams. The Caron Simply Soft yarn is so pretty and the sheen is really nice. I was very angry at myself for making my traditional mistake of crocheting the beginning rows loose and tightening my tension as I go along – yes, I did it again – but I was able to work it all out with the single crochet/crab stitch border, so everything is fine now. And I am very proud of myself for using up an additional 10+ skeins of my stash!

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I was so happy with the way the Caron yarn looked that I decided to make another item with it – a long cowl with a lacy edging that you can double loop for added warmth. That’s still on the blocking mat, so you’ll get to see it in my next post.  I’ve also finished my version of the Metro Kerchief by Yuliya Tkacheva. I didn’t design these two items, so they’ll be going in my store as ‘products for sale’, a new category I’ll be adding shortly. I’ve also designed a scarf/shawlette, I’m working on a summer cowl, and I’ve finished my mom’s Mother’s Day present, but I’ll have more on those later. By George, i think I’m out of my slump!

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Till next time, happy crocheting!

 

Well, I certainly hope that all of you had a wonderful Easter and didn’t go overboard on the sweets, like I did! I had plans of showing gorgeous carved eggs (that you can see here), or at the very least sharing a cute GIF (which can be seen here). Somehow those never came to fruition. I think I’ve been stuck in some kind of slow-motion gear that I can’t seem to get out of. However, I did get into the Easter spirit and decided to try out a pattern that I fell in love with some time ago. It’s the sweet “Little crochet bunny pattern” from Amigurumi Today (available for free here).

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Little crochet bunny pattern from Amigurumi Today

I do have yarn appropriate for making this, but I ran into a problem. The yarn is fuzzy and I was having great difficulty seeing the stitches. So I decided to switch to another yarn I have – sock weight without all the fuzz. Even though my version isn’t quite as cute as the original, I still think it turned out ok. Mine just looks a bit sleepy!

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Arthur took pity on my Sleepy Bunny and shared one of his heart pillows with her, originally seen here. I decided that Arthur shouldn’t have to sit on a box anymore, so I ordered a comfy retro-modern chair for him. However, I need to find a way to wire him, because Arthur has a terrible problem with falling apart. (The chair, while being very stylish, won’t give him a lot of support.) I did find a site that showed how to make an “upholstered” chair and I think Arthur would be ecstatic if I could make one of those for him – but crocheted, of course. Perhaps this will be my next project? But only after I finish the current WIPs…..

While perusing the internet, I saw the concept of using a crochet-covered can for a hook holder/organizer and I thought I’d give it a “whirl” (sorry, I couldn’t resist!). Anyway, I decided on a spiral design so that a person could put their smaller hooks near the middle and work outward as the hook sizes increase. For the can I just used a regular vegetable can, about 14.5 – 15.5 ounce size, cleaned with label removed. I used scrap sport weight yarn (although the pink had to be doubled) with an E hook. The nice thing about this design is that you could use a smaller or larger can, just make the initial spiral smaller or larger to fit the opening; the rest of the pattern would stay the same. I’ve always been in favor of flexible patterns, when possible! So without further ado, here is the pattern –

Whorled Crochet Hook Organizer  –  Skill level: Easy

Materials –

Vegetable can, cleaned and label removed

Scraps of sport-weight yarn (colors called A, B, and C)

Size E (3.5mm) crochet hook

Pattern –  Worked in the round with front side facing you at all times.

1. With A, create a magic circle, ch 1. In the circle work 1 sc, 1 hdc, and 2 dc. Do not finish off.

2. With B, attach yarn to circle and work 1 sc, 1 hdc, and 2 dc. Do not finish off. Repeat with C.

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Instructions 1 and 2. Yarns knotted on right side are just the tails.

3. Tighten magic circle. With A, work 2 dc in each stitch of color B. With B, work 2 dc in each stitch of color C. With C, work 2 dc in each stitch of color A (8 dc of each color). You will continue to work the colors over one another till the end of the crochet piece.

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Progression of spiral.

4. Continue working 2 dc in each stitch until you have a total of 14 dc of each color.

5. Work 1 dc in each of the next 15 stitches with each color.

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Spiral after Instruction 5.

6. Now begin working 1 hdc in each stitch around with each color. You won’t do any increases from this point on; this is the part of the crochet that will slip over the sides of the can – it will fit snug.

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Hdc’s fitting over side of can.

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Crochet over can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Continue working the hdc spiral until it just comes over the edge of the bottom of the can. Finish off two of the colors. Leaving a long tail with the third color, whip-stitch around each hdc and pull to tighten every few stitches. The piece should fit tautly over the can; finish off.

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Instruction 7 completed.

8. Ta-Da!

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Fini!

Just a couple more thoughts. If you want to make sure your hooks stay upright, putting some scrap yarn in the can to act as a cage style of “frog” device could work well.  Also, this pattern won’t work with hooks that have comfort grip handles (Clover, etc.) or even smaller thumb-hold type padding because 1) the spaces in the crochet aren’t large enough to accommodate the extra bulk, and 2) the hooks don’t slide in/out well because the padding hangs up on the yarn. But if you’re like me and have a bunch of the good ‘ol aluminum hooks, this is the organizer for you!

As we begin 2018, contemplating last year and full of hope and inspiration for the new year to come, I have come to a conclusion. I don’t like new year’s resolutions. If you noticed my past new year’s blogs, I don’t believe I’ve managed to keep any of them. The materials for the quilt I want to make are still hanging in the closet (so patiently) and the garland of mini Christmas balls awaits quietly in its box. Sigh.

Anyway, I’ve given up on resolutions, but I discovered a new concept – coming up with one word to focus your year around. I like this! So I have decided this year will be about ORGANIZATION. Last fall my husband put in a new floor/baseboard and painted the back bedroom for me so I could turn it into my craft room. It’s not really a studio because it still has a bedroom set and my air walker in it, but it now has great craft organizing potential. So my first priority is to really go through every yarn, ribbon, pin and whatnot I own so I don’t have to search for an hour to find them! (Somehow I don’t look at that type of searching as an “adventure” anymore; tiresome is more like it.) And, yes, this was on my to-do list from last year, but of course other things got in the way.

I also need to organize my time, my blogs, and my social sites to improve the little business I have (click here), and my intention is to try to list one pattern or product a month. I want to start using my yarn stash, and I’m currently working on an afghan from stashed yarn (see photo). It was going to be a housewarming gift for my son and his girlfriend, but then I was told they have plenty of blankets and throws, so I guess I’ll sell it in my store. I’m using Caron simply soft with an H hook and alternating front post dcs, which is really giving it a subtle but nice texture.

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Close up of afghan WIP

Recapping 2017, though, I did manage to cut out refined sugar/carbs, lower my salt intake, and lose about 7 lbs – not much, I know, but I’m afraid the Sugar Monster got me at Christmas and I regained a few. BUT, I just had my regular blood tests done and everything came back fine! I also decided to invest in an air walker, and I think this will help me while being very gentle on the joints. So this looks like a pretty good start to 2018!

Yes,  I know the title isn’t exactly that original, but I do want to wish all of you a wondrous new year full of all good things – health, fortune, beautiful yarn, and of course crochet! Arthur wishes you a happy new year also, but he enjoyed much merriment and is now in the process of sleeping it off – as I’m sure a certain portion of America is doing, too!

Since my mom reads my blog – Hi Mom! – I couldn’t post her Christmas present till now. When visiting last fall, I noticed that her lapghan had really seen better days and needed replacing. My mom has a TV room with olive-colored recliners and a neutral beige/brown couch, and since this room is where she usually uses the lapghan, I wanted to get colors that would coordinate. After returning, I found myself wandering in the yarn section of Walmart and I discovered Lion Brand’s Mandala there, and at a great price too! I chose “Chimera”, which is a beautiful blend of brown, teal, olive, yellow-olive, gold, orange, and fuschia. I used two skeins and mirror-imaged them. What I love the most about Mandala is that the colors are nicely hued – there, but not too bright – and it’s a DK weight, which is fast becoming my favorite. I do wish that it was a little softer, but I guess we can’t have everything. I wanted to make her lapghan out of a no-pill acrylic, but fell in love with the Mandala chimera colors – what can I say?

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The lapghan laid flat

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Close-up of the stitch

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An angled view

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People have asked me about this stitch and I will be making a video to post to YouTube on how to do this. I need to come up with a name (the ones I thought of had been taken) – I think I’ll call it the Diamond X Stitch. It’s reversible, a little stretchy, and a little squishy.  Oh, yes – Mom loved the lapghan and she especially liked that it was light-weight – go DK yarn!

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