It's not crochet but...
Creating God's Eyes can still be a fun yarn-related project, especially for kids. It's a rainy day and my son says, "I'm bored." I say, "How about I teach you to crochet?!?!" He says, "Ummm, NO!" So I thought of this craft instead. He's four and picked it up really quick. For kids, it gets them used to mastering a methodical and repetitive skill, as well as getting the feel for how yarn behaves. For you, it uses up scraps, may inspire some new color combinations you hadn't before considered, and hey it's fun. If you find yourself wanting to get more elaborate, check out this guy: Jay Mohler.
Wow, this was great. I was able to visit Webs Yarn Store in Northampton, MA, while my husband and I were on our way to Boston for a Tori Amos concert. I shopped for two overwhelming hours while my poor husband wandered the town. They have a beautifully organized main store area and also a warehouse that is open to customers, with clearance and closeout items. After browsing for awhile, I decided to limit my purchases to wool. I ended up buying some Cascade 220, Filatura di Crosa 501 in a gorgeous lavender shade, and some Jo Sharp DK. I spent a little over $100, and thought I got a good value - the 501 and Jo Sharp were on closeout. The picture above is me with my loot.Although a very nice employee allowed me to take many photos inside, below is the only one that didn't come out blurry. It is a large loom that was on display among the weaving fibers. It was a wonderful treat for me to visit this store. If you're in the area, I highly recommend. But better to go in with a plan!
Fish Blanket: Finished!
Well, I have finally finished my son's Fish Afghan, which he picked out from Donna Kooler's Crocheted Afghans. Yarn is Red Heart Kids, and the fishes' eyes are black buttons sewn on during finishing. Both of us are very excited to have this project finished. I made it significantly smaller by leaving off two rows of blocks on the top and two rows on one side, but I think it is sufficiently sized for him. It was fun to make but for some reason I got sick of it very quickly, and kept putting off finishing it. I think it was that blue color - after a while it just got to me!
More on the Hemp Change Pouch
Here is my best description at how I made the Hemp Change Pouch for the exchange with the Rochester, NY Crochet Group. Reminder: I no longer have the pouch, since it was an exchange gift, so I went by the photo I took of it to help recreate the "pattern." If you would like more information on crocheting with beads, you could try the About site which has an article on crocheting with beads, or Beadcrochet-dot-com who has animated tutorials. I tried to give a brief description of a bead sc stitch here.Hemp Change Pouch
Hemp Yarn, Size F Hook
Various beads as desired (I used about 18 seed beads and one larger bead for the closure) Finished size was about 3" wide x 3.25" high.
Special stitch: Bead sc (Bead single crochet): Insert hook into stitch. YO and pull up loop. Slide bead up to work. Keeping bead snug up next to your work, YO and pull through both loops on hook.
First, you must string the seed beads onto your yarn. I did it in a random order. (Set larger bead aside for later).
Rnd 1: Ch 15. Sc in 2nd ch from hk and in next 12 chs. 3 sc in next ch. Do not turn. Continuing around the other side of the base ch, sc in the next 12 chs in the unworked loops of the stitches. 2 sc in next ch. Sl st to first sc to join. (30 sc).
Rnd 2: Ch 1. Sc in each sc around. Mark beginning of round; do not join at end of round.
Continue sc around without joining and stop at the end of the round when you decide you would like to do a round of beads. I did about 7 rounds before my Bead Round.
At this point, you will need to turn your work so the bead will face the outside (public side) of your work. So:
Bead Rnd: Turn. Ch 1. *Sc in next sc. Bead sc in next sc. Repeat from * around. Join with a sl st in first sc.
Next Rnd: Turn. Ch 1. Sc in each sc and bead sc around. Mark beginning of round; do not join at end of round.
Remaining rnds: Continue sc around without joining until it’s the size you want. I did about 11 more rounds. Do not fasten off.
Row 1: Sc in each sc across one side only of pouch. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 1. Sc in each sc across. Turn.
Row 3 & 4: Ch 1. Sc dec over first two sc. Sc in each sc across up to last two sc. Sc dec over last 2 sc. Turn.
Now, count how many stitches are in your row, and mark the one that is in the middle. If you have an even # of stitches, pick the one that looks the most like it is in the middle! Row 5 will create your buttonhole.
Row 5: Ch 1. Sc dec over first two sc. Sc in each sc up to marked sc. Ch 1, sk marked sc. Sc in each sc up to last two sc. Sc dec over last two sc. Turn.
Row 6: Ch 1. Sc dec over first two sc. Sc in each sc across up to last two sc. Sc dec over last 2 sc. Fasten off and weave in ends.Have fun!
More on the Pixie Blanket
Here is the general idea of how I made the Pixie blanket, since it is not from a published pattern to which I could direct you. I basically made 16 squares, sewed them together 4 x 4, and used the scalloped border from another pattern. The squares are your basic dc squares used far and wide - nothing I "designed" myself, but here is how I did it:
Using size I hook, make 16 squares:
Ch 5. Join with sl st to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 2 (counts as first dc here and throughout). In ring, 2 dc, (ch 3, 3 dc) 3 times, ch 3, join to 2nd ch of beginning ch 2.
Rnd 2: Ch 2. Dc in each dc. (2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) in ch 3 space for corners. Cont in this manner around. Sl st to 2nd ch of beginning ch 2 to join.
Repeat round 2 until desired size. The square will increase by 16 stitches (four per side) on each round. I did about 8 rounds for the Pixie Blanket squares. When finishing off, leave a long tail to sew squares together.
Join squares together by laying right side up, side by side, and whip stitching through back loops, matching up stitches. This is kind of hard to do with Pixie, since it can be hard to see your stitches, but I just made sure they were fairly evenly lined up and didn’t pucker, etc. I then did 1 rnd of sc around the outside of the blanket, and then a second rnd using the scalloped border from the “Petal Pretty” pattern in Candy Blankies by Candi Jensen.In addition, there is a pattern in Candy Blankies called Tinkled Pink, that uses three colors of Lion Brand Polar Spun, which I feel is certainly substitutable with Pixie. This pattern is actually the blanket showcased on the front cover of the book.
UFO --> FO
What a wonderful feeling, to finish up lingering projects. Yesterday, I buckled down and turned THREE, yes 3, UFOs into FOs. Two were gift blankets for a new baby and her toddler cousin. The third was a change pouch for the Rochester Crochet Group's August exchange. What a feeling of liberation! However, I still have more to accomplish. For example, my poor 4-year-old son has been waiting for the past three months for me to finish his "Fish Blanket," the pattern from Donna Kooler's Crocheted Afghans. He said to me the other day, "Mommy, how many more years is this going to take you?" Mind you, I started it only three months ago. His project kept getting usurped by people needing baby gifts, and my own boredom with the pattern, since it is large. But I am almost done, and vowed to finish it in the next few weeks before my trip to Boston.
Here is what I DID accomplish, though:
This is Baby Carley's blanket, made with Caron Simply Soft. The pattern is from Candy Blankies by Candi Jensen.
This is little Natie's blanket, made with Patons Pixie (which is now discontinued). I made some basic dc squares and used the same scalloped border from the previous blanket. Very very soft!
And here is my change pouch for the exchange at tonight's Rochester Crochet Group meeting. I used hemp yarn and single crochet, with some seed beads I had left over. The "button" for closure is a larger glass bead. No pattern or plan - just made it up as I went along. The hemp lends itself well to this type of item, and gets softer the more it is handled.
Well, tonight is my first time meeting with the Rochester Crochet Group. I don't think it's a very large group (yet!) but I am excited to meet everyone.
I recently purchased Cool Crochet by Melissa Leapman. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. Her patterns are very well written and easily understood. I especially appreciate the way she gives a summary of the pattern stitch along with its stitch multiple at the beginning of each pattern. The book contains mostly nice, contemporary sweater patterns along with a few accessories. I don't know how many pieces I would actually make from this book, however. Also, she does not recommend substituting yarn. Overall, I am very happy with it.
The other book I recently bought is Fun & Funky Crochet by Sophie Britten. This one I would give 3 out of 5 stars. Although it was fun to read, again not many of the patterns would I make (fingerless gloves, leg warmers, bikini, frilly mini skirt). But the author has a cute style and it does have some good ideas in it. The patterns are not as fully well-explained as Melissa's book and again, generally no yarn substitutions.
This is new...
I thought I'd share some of my experiences as I go along with the creation of my new website for my crochet business, Très Crochet. I've read things from so many of you who seem to share this strange craziness for yarn, and patterns, and projects, and so on, and thought "That sounds like me" when I thought I was just weird! I hope to make some sort of interesting contribution to this on-line community.
Over the next few days I will be reformatting this blog to the best of my HTML ability. Meanwhile, on the topic of crochet - I recently purchased two new books, Cool Crochet by Melissa Leapman and Fun & Funky Crochet by Sophie Britten. I also just received the Sept. 05 issue of Crochet! Magazine which has some cute things in it. I'll be browsing through the two books this evening and will post my thoughts on them soon.In August, I will be traveling to Boston for a weekend vacation with husband, and on the way, I am insisting that we stop at Webs Yarn Store in Northampton. Wow - 5,000 sq. feet of yarn plus a huge warehouse! I am already saving $$ to spend. If anyone has been there and has tips on keeping your visit to one hour, please share!