Thursday, July 28, 2016

Lacey Crochet

Something I've always wanted to learn to do in crochet, which seemed impossible when I was younger (and I've wanted to do this since I was a kid) was crochet lace, or lacey patterns. Who could teach me? I knew no one who knew how to crochet really, or not more than the basics, never mind the lacey dolies and edges I knew you could hook up.
Picture is not my own work.

The picture above is an example of the type of crochet I always wanted to learn to make. It's beautiful! And so totally not anything I've made, though I hope one day in the future to make to something like this beautiful lace doily. But, the other day, while I was at the craft store, stocking up on yarn (it was on sale!) I came across a book that promised to teach me how to make lace crochet. I was all over it! I studied a pattern in the book, and it looked manageable so yes, book went into basket. Then, I gathered up the materials it said I needed, and I hope that soon, I gather up the patience and courage (more courage I think) to start my very first doily!

I bet you can barely see the head of the teeny tiny crochet hook I bought. I'm sure to be all thumbs once I start trying my hand at lace crochet, but I cannot wait to try it. The book is one I looked over in the store, and I hope it doesn't let me down. I'm providing a link in case you'd like to look over this book more carefully yourself.

Wish me luck! I hope to share my progress with lace crochet with you as I go along. Hopefully I'm a quick study

Happy Hooking,

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fashion Sparkle Cowl

During the winter, I found a really pretty, sparkly yarn and I just had to crochet it up into something, and so I made it into a cowl. It worked up really easy, and the yarn was nice to work with, even though I was a little worried about the sparkly thread running through it snagging. It did not, which was a relief. I made two of these cowls, one for me and one for my friend's birthday. I love mine. I hope she gets some use out of hers.

I found this pattern on Hopeful Honey, a wonderful blog about crochet. She gave some great tips too about hook sizes and how to work it and I had no problem following her pattern and the tips were quite helpful. Sadly I can't remember what hook size I used, but I do know the suggestions helped me out. The cowl is quite pretty, and I've worn it to work and with jeans. 

The pattern is open weave, though with the chunky yarn I chose, you can't really tell. But the sparkly thread really makes this cowl I think. Using a more basic yarn would yield a different look entirely, so play around and see what works for you. 

Happy Hooking,

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Beautiful Mandala

Some months ago, I stumbled across a blog that was posting a lot of pictures of these absolutely gorgeous mandalas. I mean, they were stunning. Expertly done and I wondered why the blogger was posting so many of these mandalas. I found out why, and it shocked and saddened me. The blogger was doing a beautiful thing in memory of one member of the crochet community, in memory of Wink. I was so upset by the story that I decided to make my own mandala to honour Wink as well. If you'd like to read the full story about the mandala project for Wink, I have it here for you.

I used the pattern I found on Wink's site, and I've looked over many of her patterns since then. She was a truly creative soul. Since it was too late for me to contribute to the project, I have this mandala with me at home and it cheers up a space of mine and reminds me that life is beautiful. I was able to contribute to the project in another way, by crocheting some mini mandalas, which I do not have pictures of sadly. This pattern forced me to learn a couple of things--the magic ring for one, and how to create a standing stitch. It's not a perfect mandala, but I sure am happy with how it looks. And I'm sure to only get better the more I crochet! I hope you try this project and perhaps can share it with someone who needs some brightness and comfort in their life. To me, this project will always be a reminder that life is beautiful. 

Happy Hooking,

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pretty Sunglasses Case

Well, I've been in the mood for crocheting up quick projects lately, and I came across a lovely pattern at Rescued Paw Designs for a glasses case. The pattern is easy and looks lovely once you hook it up. I have to say, if you follow the instructions, you cannot go wrong. Since I was making the case for sunglasses, I added in a couple extra rows before I hooked up Row 13, and it turned out beautifully. I adore my sunglasses case and I think it's so pretty!

I've made another case for a friend because I love the way the pattern works up and it turned out just as pretty. I used the recommended cotton yarn, though I used Bernat and not the Lily Sugar n'Cream mentioned in the pattern and I found it turned out nicely. I'm also thinking you could probably line the interior with some fabric if you wanted, and that would be easy and add a nice touch. This would be a great project for a beginner, so don't be afraid to try it out!

Happy Hooking,

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Half Double Crochet Lap Blanket

I've a funny story to share about the yarn I used in the lap blanket below. My friend and I got it into our heads to go to this specialty yarn shop one weekend. We couldn't go on the Saturday, though I can't remember why, so we drove out on the Sunday, and the shop was closed. Well, about a year later we thought we ought try that yarn shop again on a Saturday and so we drove out again only to find that the place was closed because the owners were at a craft show! So we got out our phones and found another yarn shop and made our way there, and that day I found the yarn I used in my lap blanket.

I looked for a pattern for a nice lap blanket, or afghan but I couldn't seem to find one that I wanted to use with this yarn. In the end, I decided to keep it simple and crocheted the blanket using the half double crochet stitch, and I edged it using the picot stitch. The colours of the blanket matched my reading room nicely, and so the lap blanket is one I use when I'm reading in my rocking chair. It turned out far prettier than I thought it would, considering I was using such a basic stitch, and I'm very happy with the result. In fact, the half double crochet is one of my favourite stitches now!

This is one my favourite blankets, and I love the feel of the soft yarn. I had enough yarn that this is a rather long lap blanket, and it was so much fun to crochet. I used a larger hook, an 8mm, so that the blanket didn't gobble up as much yarn as I was worried I might not have quite enough, and to create a chunkier effect. I think it turned out beautifully! If you've never used the half double crochet, I recommend you try it; it lends itself nicely to a lot of projects. 

Happy Hooking,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Front Post Double Crochet Headband

I have a lot of leftover yarn from previous projects. They sit in my yarn basket and I am never quite sure what to do with them. Yesterday I had just enough to try out a pattern I found for a headband, or ear warmer, which it what I will use this piece for in the colder months. I found the pattern at Rescued Paw Designs, a site that is new to me but that is great! The pattern was quick to work up and I love the look of it.

The thing I found with this pattern was that it called for a foundation chain of 40 stitches, but I needed to use 45 even though I was using the recommended 6.5mm hook. I used a worsted yarn, so maybe if you're using a chunkier yarn you'll be okay with the 40 stitches. But, just play around if not.

I had to learn how to front post double crochet, which is soo easy. And I love the look it lends to this ear warmer. I'm thinking this might very well turn into a favourite stitch for meSince I had no idea how to front double crochet, a stitch I had tried before but hadn't had much success at (I'm thinking now I was misunderstanding the written directions I was referring to at the time) so I decided to Youtube. And I found a video that made it super easy so I am sharing that with you! 

I hope you'll try this pattern, if only because it's practical and so much fun! Or just to practice the front post double crochet if it's new to you.

Happy Hooking,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Crochet Hook Organizer

So, sometime last year or thereabouts, I got tired of hunting for my crochet hooks all over the place, and I decided I needed some place to keep them. I don't quite remember how I came across the idea, but I soon realized I could crochet an organizer to keep my hooks, and that just struck me as fabulous!

I found the pattern for this organizer on Etsy, and I was more than happy to purchase it. I had to alter the pattern a little bit but it worked out perfectly. The only reason I altered the pattern at all was because I had some fatter hooks I was concerned might not fit into the snug little pockets I was crocheting, so to make them a bit wider, in one section I switched from double crochet stitches to treble crochet stitches. My hooks fit so I'm glad I did that. 

Since I had effectively made my organizer a tad longer because of those treble crochets, I decided to forgo trying to crochet the lacey cover from the pattern. Instead, I crocheted a cover consisting of the star stitch and fitted it on, and I love my crochet hook organizer. It holds all my hooks and has room for some more as well, though I have a good selection of sizes. If you'd like to make this organizer, I found the pattern very easy to follow and well worth the money. Try not to crochet too tightly to create a nice even look and I'm sure you'll be happy with the result.

Happy Hooking,

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Easy Peasy Pencil Case

So recently I was looking for a little something to make that would use up some left over yarn from a previous project. I also wanted something easy to keep my hands busy. So I was scrolling through Pinterest, and I found a cute idea--a crochet pencil case! So I found a pattern I liked, that was easy and started hooking away.

I love my bright green pencil case! I especially liked how it fastens with the string of chain stitches. It worked up quick, looks cute and easily lends itself to some sprucing up with other easy stitches, like the moss stitch. This pattern might be fun to in colour blocks as well, or even in stripes. I didn't bother playing that much with it, but the simplicity of it means you could totally make it your own with little effort.

The pencil case isn't meant to hold Post It stickies or a ton of stuff, but it would easy fit a few pencils and a pen along with an eraser. Or maybe a couple of lip glosses if you wanted to use it as a make up case. Which I would crochet in a bright pink personallyWant to hook up this cute project? I found it on a blog called Jammy's Modern Designs, and the pattern is very easy to follow. Click the link to find this great and fun project.

Happy Hooking,

Friday, July 8, 2016

How to Make a Magic Ring

Today I want to share with you something I've found very useful in crochet. That's the magic ring, which is also called the magic circle. I saw it referred to in books and and in patterns, but I didn't know what was so magical about the magic ring. The photos below illustrate why the magic ring is useful. The magic ring allows you to crochet around a circle of yarn, and then when you pull it tight, that circle closes.
Before the magic ring is pulled tight
After the magic ring is pulled tight
As you might imagine, this is useful for creating appliques or other cute pieces that require a circular shape. It took me a while to figure out how to make a magic ring. The written instructions I had didn't quite do the trick for me, so I turned to the internet. If words and photos aren't enough, one needs a video. Thank goodness for Youtube! I've provided a video for you that is very useful if you want to learn how to make a magic ring. It can't get any easier than this.

Happy Hooking,

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cute Crochet Flower Bookmark

While I love crocheting large projects like afghans, sometimes I just want to crochet something quick and easy. I had been looking for a crochet pattern for a bookmark for a while, and I finally found one that worked up quick and easy and didn't require too many colour changes. I found the pattern at Daisy Cottage Designs, though I didn't use the pattern for the flower. I ended up coming up with my own though I'm darned if I can remember how I made this little flower.

I'm going to be honest and say the best part about this pattern was that I could make a whole bunch in one evening. It works up quick and my favourite part was crocheting the leaf. It was super easy and quick and taught me a bit about shaping in crochet. I used a basic acrylic yarn in some bright happy spring colours because it was spring time when I was making these. I'm giving some away to friends, and I hope they like them. Being book lovers, they ought.

Note that the designer of the flower pattern doesn't say to use a magic ring in her pattern for the flower. I actually am not sure how she intends to start the pattern when she says simply to chain two, but I would try a magic ring if I was to try again. The rest of the pattern is really easy to follow and I don't think her flower pattern is at all difficult, I think I am simply having a hard time with the first steps.

This is a quick and easy project, perfect for anyone who loves to read, or to make as a gift. Instructions for this book mark are found here. I hope you have a lot of fun making this one!

Happy Hooking,

Monday, July 4, 2016

The V Stitch Blanket

I'm currently working on a few projects, but today I'm going to share with you a project I finished off a while back with a really cute variegated yarn. I used the V stitch to create the blanket. I got the stitch pattern from a crochet book I have, and it's really easy. I created a long throw for my sofa to use during the spring and summer months. I love crocheting afghans, so I have several at the moment, one for each season of the year.

Currently, this fun and bright V stitch is thrown over the back of my sofa and I do sometimes use it in the evenings, even in these warmer months, when I'm watching television or reading. Or sometimes even working a new crochet project. I love the colour of the yarn and it was so fun to work up because the V stitch is an easy and pretty pattern.

I also loved that I was able to match a yarn to the colours in the blanket as a boarder. For the boarder, once I was done the blanket I simply single crocheted all the way around the blanket. Two rows of single crochet all around a completed blanket create a nice boarder in my experience. I have also used a picot stitch to create a boarder, but I wanted a no fuss look, so this worked perfectly.

The V stitch is a lovely stitch and is a bit more open weave which made it the perfect choice for an afghan I planned to use during the warmer months of spring and summer. The key thing when working this up is to pay attention. I accidently "dropped" a stitch in my V stitch in two spots throughout the blanket. It was an easy error to make simply because that's how easy this stitch is to create, and luckily it was also easily fixed. I doubt anyone will notice that I didn't go back to correct the dropped stitch, and it has not affected the appearance of the blanket at all.

So, how did I create this wonderful stitch? Red Heart has some instructions for you that I hope you will find useful. I used the classic V stitch, but they offer instructions complete with photos for some variations as well. I have also used this stitch for scarves, and they have turned out beautifully as well.

I'd love to see your crochet creations or hear from you, so please drop a comment in the comment section if you are so inclined! Unit next time,

Happy Hooking,