Tag Archives: crochet patterns

New Feature! “Etsy Shop of the Week!”

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Hi there!

I think it’s time to introduce a new feature to my little space on the web.  Let’s go shopping!

Here, I’ll post a shop in Etsy that I like, that looks like it has something for those of you out there that frequent my pages.  It might be a needlework shop, or crafts, or gardening…it’s all in the air at the moment!

For today, let’s look to my blog roll and start with my friends.  For today, let’s start with G-Ma Ellen!

Ellen’s a wonderful gal, who has a few great crochet patterns up in her shop..it looks like she sold everything else out for now!  Drop her a line and tell her it’s time to restock!

My favorite pattern from her is her Open Shell Cowl pattern. This lovely pattern is so easy and fast, and so customizable, I’ve flown through making something like six of them. I LOVE this cowl!  Isn’t this a beauty?

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I love the details.  Feminine without being too frou-frou, this can be a casual neck warmer, or made to dress up in.  It’s all in the yarn with this beautiful piece.

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Ellen also has a pattern for a delightful Wine Bottle Cozy/Caddy in a stunning yet casual shell lace, perfect for bringing a bottle of bubbly to a picnic, or for gifting a special friend with their favorite Merlot.

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I’ll bet this would even dress up a little girl’s cream soda bottle when she has her friends over for a party!

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So…for now, stop in and visit Ellen. She’s cool!

Thanks for looking! And, stay tuned…next week, along with the shop of the week, I think I’d like to start shining a sweet, bright light on some of the really awesome blogs I read all the time.

Heads up, Friends…you’re next!

This Is The Way We Felt a Hook, Felt a Hook, Felt a Hook!

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I’m baaaa-aaack!  Just like a poltergeist tangled in yards and yards of brightly colored yarns…I am back.

And I missed you!

It’s been a little weird here.  Not bad!  Just…quiet.  I’ve been busy, of course, stitching, dreaming, reading blogs, and endlessly wandering, collecting crochet patterns.  I even learned a new stitch or two, thanks to “Mikey’s” You Tube channel, and found a wealth of tutorial videos on Bob Wilson 123’s You Tube channel.

From Mikey, I learned this great “crinkle stitch,” for making a textured, dense fabric, perfect for sweaters, coats, rugs, blankets…anything you can think of.  He’s also got the tutorial video up for this stitch, for lefties!  Woo-Hoo!  We GO, Lefties!

From New Stitch a Day, I found the sweetest
single crochet stitch variation.  Very simple and basic, it adds a cool twist to our beloved, boxy single crochet.  Those of you who are just starting your grand journey into the vast and wonderful world of fiber and hook, will greatly benefit from any of these video tutorials, as will we veteran “hookers!”

I can not describe how much information I found in Bob Wilson 123’s YouTube  channel, or on their website, or Facebook page.  Not enough paper!

What’s that, Earl?  We’re not using paper? Oh.  Can I still change the color of the crayons I write the posts with? Yes???  Cool!

So, I have been doing my thing, stitching, spinning, dreaming…started the garden, finally!  LATE!  The weather isn’t the best this season, but compared to what’s been happening out West, I’ll take some Connecticut gloom.  It’s a banner year for weeds!

Among the infinite number of unfinished projects I always have going, I settled down to felt a few more of my older hooks, ones that didn’t have grips to make my fingers happy.

This time, you all get a little tutorial!

I started out with an assortment of aluminum and steel hooks.

Hooks to be felted 01

To keep things a little less splashy, I wrapped a piece of cardboard with plastic wrap.  And, to anchor the roving to the hook well enough to get a start, I used washable fabric glue, Aileen’s,  “OK To Wash It.”  That’s just what I had on hand.  Any washable glue will do, of course.  If all you have is Liquid Nails, go for it!  Just remember to wear gloves so the wool and glue don’t make you a new pair of unintentional fuzzy mittens.

I do not recommend the use of super glue.  You’re going to get a little glue on your fingers, and if you’re using super glue, you’re about to go through the rest of your week with a woolly crochet hook stuck to your hand.

Felted hook tools01

I put a selection of different colored roving pieces together, some dyed, some natural.  It’s way too cool to wrap your hooks in multi-colored roving, and you can even lay the wool out to make patterns!

Roving mix 01

Now that we have the tools and the fuzzy stuff, let’s get started!  This is so easy, and so much fun, you’ll soon find yourself ransacking your hooks stash to find more hooks to felt.

I grabbed a hook, and a small patch of roving, stretching the roving out to measure it against the hook.  I wanted the felted handle to cover the hook up to the finger grip, so that I would have that finger grip, and also be able to tell what size hook I had in my hand.  After the hook was measured against the roving…and believe me, this is not an exact science…I dipped the hook into the bottle of glue, covering it up to the grip, like so…

02-light glue hook to roving

I also made a hook with a “patterned” roving patch, which requires just a little more finesse, but really comes out cool.  For this, I got my loose measurement against the roving, with the pattern side UP, then when it looked good to me, I flipped the pattern side down to do the wrapping.

03-measure hook against pattern

Once the hook is dipped, just lay it down on one edge of the roving, and start rolling.

04-start rolling roving

Roll it all up and tuck in the end, close, but not too close.  Leave a little pillow on the end.

06-rolled roving ready to felt

Now, here comes the optional part of today’s program!  Any needle felters out there?  Here’s where, if you have some needles about, you get to needle felt the hook sleeve into place, making the wet felting easier.  Of course, if you really, really go to town with the needle felting, you won’t even have to wet felt.  Your cover will be softer and looser, but perfectly usable.  This hook was needle felted into place…you know the drill…poke, poke, jab, jab, all over, again and again, stick, move, stick, jab, swear, wipe up the blood…..

Yeah, there are two types of needle felters, those who have jabbed their fingers with those deadly sharp little barbed boogers, and those who will do so eventually.

I’m a veteran.

So, anyway. this is what that blue and black hook looked like, needle felted.

07-needle felted, soft ready

It’s ready to use!  It’s softer than I want it, though, so I’m going to wet felt it, with the others.

This is important!  You have to wait a day, for the glue to dry.  Otherwise, it will wash away and your hook cover will fall off, or worse, fall apart.  So, wait a day, and come back for the rest of the tutorial.

Oh, hi!  You’re back!  So, you have your hooks, with the roving glued to the handles, all wrapped up and ready to felt.  Cool!

And that brings us to…ta-daaaah!  The sink.

Wet felting the hooks is easy, easier if you did the needle step first.  If you didn’t, just take your time.  We’ll go through the process as though you had not needle felted your hook cover, first.

You’ll need hot water, and soap.  I just use the bathroom sink, and some liquid soap that I keep there.  Fill the sink with hot water, and dunk your hook.  Make sure it gets thoroughly soaked!

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Next up, grab up some soapy stuff.  You can see in the picture that I have liquid soap, but if all you have is bar soap, then go for it!  Very gently, get up a good lather, by squishing and releasing, adding a few drops of water when you feel like it.  No heavy rubbing yet!  If you are using bar soap, you might want to let the hook soak while you get a good lather happening in your hands.

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Now, remember, at this early stage, you’re working very gently, so that the wool doesn’t pitch a fit and fall off the hook.  At this stage, I bring up a good lather, and squish it between my fingers, being careful not to rub too hard.  You do have to rub a little, to get the fibers to start blending, but…not too hard.  Just use a light touch, and some gentle squishing and patting.

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The fibers will tell you when it’s time to start putting a little more pressure into your felting.  This is where I start to dig in with my fingers a little.

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Don’t forget the end of the hook!  A little squish-and-rub there would be a great idea right about now.  You’ll probably, sooner than later, have to start pushing the fiber down onto the hook a bit.  If your hook pokes out, just pull some wool back up over the end of the hook and keep rubbing.

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Now that you’ve got some rubbing, squishing and lathering done, it’s time to rinse, and check your progress.  Rinse your hook in hot water, then switch to cold, then back to hot.  This “shocks” the fibers and helps get them to shrinky-dink around the hook.  Hot water expands the fibers, then the cold water shock makes them contract. 

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Now, for more hot soapy water.  You can see in the picture that I’m involving my whole hand, squishing and rolling the fibers, putting some pressure on the wool.

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More rinsing and checking…again, hot to cold, back to hot.  You can now roll the hook between your palms, roll it between a couple of small sheets of bubble wrap, if you have it, dig in with your knuckles, if you like,  rinse hot to cold and back again a few times to shock and check progress…

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And now, as you see, I have a finished, felted grip on my hook.  It feels wonderful in the hand!  I went a step even further with my hooks, and after I wet felted them, I rolled them up in a thick towel to get the excess water out…then popped them into the dryer.  Oh, BOY, do they make a racket!  Toss something in the dryer with them, give them something to rub up against.  The added agitation is what makes them further felt in the dryer, and when they’re done, you’ll have perfectly felted hooks to enjoy!

08-finished batch

This seems like a lot of writing, but don’t feel daunted.  This is not a lot of work.  This is even something that the kids can do with you!  You’ll use warm instead of hot water, but that’s okay, as long as they get the rubbing down.  Felting has a lot to do with agitation.

If your sleeve slides off your hook, like one of mine did, just dip the hook, gently slide the (DRY) sleeve back on, and use the glue that squishes out to seal the open end of the sleeve.  That’s right,  just use a finger tip to work it right into the edge of the wool.  It will disappear, and be soft, as it’s fabric glue.  Then, just put the hook aside for a day while the glue sets, and you’re all fixed!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial…if you have questions, please feel free to leave comments, and I’ll get right to answering them, if I can.  If I can’t…I’ll Beseech The Gods of Google!

Stay tuned…next up, some VERY special crochet hooks….

I Been Hookin’!

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Wow, I has been a while!  That’s because my hook and I have been very busy.

I poked around the web for an easy ear flap hat pattern for my friend’s teenagers, and came up with this very cool, very fast pattern. 

http://hookingalong.blogspot.com/2009/09/funky-chunky-earflap-hat.html
This fiber artist used Jiffy Thick N’ Quick yarn, I used four strands of worsted weight yarns from my stash and an M hook.

While I mostly followed the pattern, I did embellish the mohawk hat a bit.  This pattern is so fast with the heavy yarn and big hook, the hats are done in no time!

 

Finding myself unable to stop, I made a third for my son, with a matching pair of boot slippers, which were adapted from this pattern:

http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/slippers1.html

I’ve made several of these slippers over time, adding the cuff variation, but using half double crochet instead of doubles, for a somewhat thicker, somewhat puffier fabric.  This time, I used three strands of worsted yarn, an K hook, and single crochet stitching.  At the heel, I stitched up the seam, and at the toe, I added a toe box, stitching off the end of the rectangle in rounds.  The first round of the toe box was added evenly around, and joined with a slip stitch.  The second round introduced decreases every third stitch (Decrease over the first two stitches, sc in the next two stitches).  The third round was crocheted evenly.    The next round decreased every other stitch (Decrease over the first two stitches, sc in the next stitch).  The following rounds decreased every stitch, until I had no more than six stitches, which I gathered and closed tightly. Each round was joined to the first stitch in the round with a slip stitch.

The resulting fabric is very thick and soft, and feels like little pillows under foot!  (Yeah…I tried them on.)

This hat uses the same pattern as the others, with a few tweaks.  I made it a full “increase round” larger, a full round longer, and added an extra half-round at the back,  between the ear flaps, to better cover the back of Chris’s neck.  If he wants to turn the hat around, that little extra piece will make a mini brim.  The resulting hat is super thick, super soft and warm, and sized to fit a larger man’s head. 

For my sister, I made a comical Santa doll from Delicious Crochet.  That’s the guy that wanted a bazillion French Knots.  Well, he’s all finished, and I even made a toy bag and a couple of little toys to put in it!  You’ll get to see that one after Christmas.  Mary knows this is coming, saw the pattern and asked for it…but she doesn’t know what the finished toy looks like.  So…we’re all waiting for the elves.

That pattern, if you want to get into making a very comical, somewhat complicated Santa toy, can be found here:

http://www.deliciouscrochet.com/products/amigurumi/santa-claus/

For my sweet landlady, who reaches her eighty-year-old hands into the oven with a dish towel, I found this great free oven mitt pattern.  I used four strands of worsted acrylic and an M hook for this pattern, and the resulting mitt…yes, I did try it before I washed everything…held up very well when I reached into my own 350-degree oven to take out a hot pan.

I grabbed that pattern here:

http://www.favecrafts.com/Kitchen-Crochet/Easy-Oven-Mitts-Crochet-Pattern#

The hot pads were just as reliable as the mitt, and they’re HUGE!  For them, I used the same four-strand color blend, to make a set.  I just did this:

I used G-Ma Ellen’s advice, and did my starting row in the back bumps of the starting chain.  It really does give you a sweet, finished edge that looks nicer when left alone, and is a lot easier to work into when necessary than working into the “unworked” loops of the starting chain.

There’s a cool video that explains that, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVmz5l3_8ts

This easy pattern uses worsted weight acrylic yarn…I used Red Heart super Saver. 

Crochet hook size, M.

Hold four strands of yarn together throughout.

Ch 12.  SC in 2nd ch from hook, and in each ch across.  Ch 1, turn.  SC in each stitch across.

I made a total of twelve rows of single crochet, to make a square, then bordered the whole thing with reverse single crochet, or “Crab Stitch.”

Here’s another instructional video…Thank The Gods of Google for You Tube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhSbycwfpdo

To finish, when I got to the last border stitch, I chained six, and joined the chain to the first border stitch with a slip stitch, to form a hanging ring. 

I wish I had gotten a better Crappy Cell Phone Pic for this set.  These colors are marvelous!

 

I know I posted the picture of G-Ma Ellen’s Open Shell Cowl before, but I’ll do it again.  I made mine smaller than Ellen’s pattern called for, as more of a close-fitting neck warmer than a cowl.  It’s soft, comfortable, and fits just right against the neck to close off drafts.  And, it’s so pretty, it goes with anything. 

Again, the picture doesn’t do the piece any justice.  You can check out G-Ma Ellen’s WordPress site, with a link to purchase this incredible, easy pattern, here:

http://gmaellenscraftycorner.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/open-shell-crochet-cowl-pdf-pattern-by-gmaellencrochetgifts/

Ellen also makes some of the most adorable crocheted and beaded jewelry, as well as finished crochet projects, perfect for gifts.  Do check out her Etsy page!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/GMaEllenCrochetGifts

Finally, I made a cool, easy hooded cardigan for my little grand-niece.  I got the pattern from Lion Brand, here:

http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/L0416C.html?noImages=

and while I did not use Homespun yarn, the pattern came out swimmingly with a minor adjustment in gauge. 

I absolutely love this stitch, this griddle pattern.  It’s simple!  You simply base chain multiples of 2, adding one chain at the end for the first stitch.  SC in the second ch from the hook, DC in the next, and so on.  You’ll end each row with a double crochet, and start each row with a single crochet.  For the following rows…as long as you’re putting a single crochet into the top of a double, or a double into the top of a single, you’re good!

And now…back to that felted free form bag!  Yaaaaay!

Yes, I finally got back to the free form bag.  It is impossible to write out a pattern for something like this.  You pick up a hook and collect a bunch of colors, textures, etc. of yarn, and you start stitching.  You add, you turn, you try new stitches.  You finish a small piece, sew it in…or add to it further.  The real challenge in free form is keeping the edges straight, which I have to do  (sort of) for a bag.  So, with my LAST skein of black pure wool, I’m bordering and leveling the front of the bag….sort of.  I intend to start forming a front-to-back border here, in the back loops so it curls toward the lack of the piece, and work the back of the purse right off the border, closing it in from the outside, rather than forming it from the inside.  It should prove to be a rewarding challenge!

I still have bunches of my dyed, hand-spun yarn, and if I really feel a necessity for more black, I can get some Rit dye, spin up some more roving, and dye the yarn.  It does not have to match exactly.  It’s free form!

Here’s what I have so far…I thought that I was finished forever with French Knots after my foray into Santa sculpting, bit I find myself wanting them in this piece.  They’re popular for a reason…they’re fun!

 

More green that my niece would have wanted, but I’m trying to keep that down, reaching more for the blue and purple shades. 

 

This is a little of the detailing, with bullion stitches, and those tiny popcorn things I use for ” Feets” dolls.  For those, I treble in a stitch, and slip stitch in the same stitch.  You can go right into the next stitch with another, or break them up a bit, using single crochet stitches between them.  These stitches are always worked from the wrong side of the fabric, so that the “puff” shows up on the right side.

The little green popping thing, lower left, is called a “dome.”  for that, I made a magic ring, chained 3, and worked six double crochet stitches into the ring.  Slip stitch to the top of the beginning chain, pull the magic ring closed, and you get a cool little dome to add on to, or pop into areas that need a little filling or texture.  Alternately, if you’re not into the magic ring thing, you can chain 4, work six double crochet stitches into the fourth chain from the hook, and slip stitch into the top of the beginning chain.  With this method, you’ll get a somewhat more pronounced center hole, but that’s easy to close up. 

 

Here we have more embellishments, with…now, I know there’s a name for that stitch, but I don’t know it, so I’m calling it my “Chauncey Stitch,” surrounding the purple circle with the green Peace sign, done in French Knots.  A couple more of those cool dome things closed up some holes between motifs, and added some fun.  Upper left, is a basic zig zag pattern in single crochet.  I find myself doing a lot of stitching into front or back loops only, to add definition and even more texture. 

This piece is still all wool, as it will be felted (or fulled, as it were) when I’m finished stitching.  When I need smooth, I reach for the purchased wool I have in my stash, and when I don’t, I use my hand-spun yarns. 

I’m having a blast with this piece, and it’s finally starting to form, to fly.

Back to the hooks!  I’ll keep you posted….

 

 

 

 

 

G-Ma Ellen’s Cowl Pattern Is Da Bomb!

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I’m finally getting to posting the picture of the cowl I finished, made from G-Ma Ellen’s Open Shell Cowl Pattern.

And, what a sweet pattern it is.  Oh, it’s fast!  I got this little number finished in a couple of days, and I work slow.  I put things down, go back to them, pick up other projects, go to the garden…you get my drift.  The pattern is easy and fast, the results just lovely!

I made mine a little short, and more snug than your usual cowl, more of a neck warmer.  It sits close against the neck without being too snug or overpowering.  Comfy!!!  And this speaks, again, to the versatility of this pattern.  You make it as long and wide as you want it, in whatever yarn you want to use.  

Look at how nicely it dresses up my favorite old flannel shirt!

Ellen, thank you.  This is an amazingly versatile, superbly written pattern that is a breeze to work.

Interested?  Pop into G-Ma Ellen’s Etsy page, right here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/GMaEllenCrochetGifts  and get your copy of this nifty pattern.  If she’s sold out (and I hope that she is!)  just hit the contact link to ask her to list another one.  

Make a neck warmer, like mine.  Make a deep cowl.  Make a sweet pair if wrist warmers.  Leave the flounce off and make a warm head band to keep your ears warm while you play in the snow, or leave the flounce on and draw that end closed to make a delightful, lace-topped winter hat!  What can you do with this pattern?  The beauty is, it’s all up to you!

New Crochet Project In Progress

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Hi!

This is a sort of new crochet project, in that the piece is finished, but I’m dragging my heels on the felting.  Well, if some of you remember my washing machine, you’ll know why I’m dragging my feet…

I have been after a yarn bowl forever.  That’s a cool bowl, very often fashioned from ceramic, clay, wood, etc, with a cool groove and/or a hole to pass the yarn you’re working with through, and the bowl keeps the yarn from scattering all over the floor when you give it a yank.  Sure, there are plenty of yarn keepers out there, but…I really, really hate plastic, wanted an artsy-fartsy piece.  

Have you priced yarn bowls?  Yeesh!  Needless to say, it isn’t happening for a while…a long while.

Recently, I came across a pattern in my Knitpicks newsletter, for a yarn bowl.  Spotted it…wanted it!  Five bucks?  Mine!  I already had some inexpensive purchased wool for felting in my stash, all I needed was the pattern.  I was so excited when Knitpicks immediately e-mailed my pattern PDF!  I opened it right up, yarn and hook in hand, and… It’s knitted.

Huh!  I closed that PDF as quickly as I opened it.  I can plain knit a scarf, but that’s about it.  I can circular knit a piece…on my King size Addi knitting mill.  But follow shaping, even rudimentary shaping?  Heck, I can’t even decipher half of the abbreviations.

Couple of days later, I went back to the pattern.  I really want that damn yarn bowl.  So now, I’m reading, and thinking…this piece is almost completely done in straight knit, or straight purl.  I works off of a square base, done in rows, then on up into rounds.  I can do this!  I can CROCHET this!

And, I did.  It took a little trial and error at first, some trips back and forth to Google for the knit jargon, but I did it, and once I got started, it was easy to convert the pattern to crochet.  I did mine with two strands held together of worsted wool and a size K hook, all in single crochet.  If you’re interested in knitting and felting yourself a nifty yarn bowl, or converting this easy pattern to crochet, I found it here:  http://www.knitpicks.com/cfpatterns/pattern_display.cfm?ID=11836220

It’s a bowl.  It’s yarn!  

It’s a bowl made of yarn, for yarn.  It’s a yarn bowl.

It’s a yarn yarn bowl.

And that’s enough.  Here it is, before felting.

 

After it’s felted I need to add buttons on either side of the opening, which I’ll get to after I get more French knots into Santa’s head, and more stitches into my niece’s bag.  I’ll keep you posted…

Let’s Start That Bag!

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It is time to finally get this party started!

I’m making a small felted bag, in free-form crochet. It should measure about six inches square after it’s felted, so I’ll need to make it about nine inches square before I attack it with boiling water and soap. You’ll want to keep a ruler handy. It will have a cool red shoulder strap, and, I’m hoping, a hand-made button to close it. If I wind up using a purchased button, I’ll make sure it’s a really cool one. I don’t know if I’ll work this in separate front and back pieces to be seamed together, or a long rectangle to be folded and seamed. I’ll wait for the piece to guide me.

I don’t know what level everyone crochets at, so I’m just taking notes, and sharing them with you all. If you’re an experienced spinner/crocheter, please bear with me…I’m sharing notes for those who need a little guidance in crocheting free-form. Can we call it a pattern? I suppose we can…loosely. Very loosely!

We’ll work the first in a series of motifs in this post, and add to it in other posts, putting it all together either on the fly, or later on, as the piece sees fit. With free-form, you trust your instincts, your eye, and the piece you’re working on. This first motif will tell me when it’s time to stop, and move on to something new.

So, grab some yarns, some hooks, and let’s GO!

I started with darkest purple. Ball winding note…I don’t have a yarn swift, so I put the big round hank around my neck and take care winding it off the hank and onto the ball I build around my thumb. 

I decided to start in a corner…lower right corner, I guess…it’s a free form piece, so that lower right corner can eventually become the middle!

I made a small half-round in single crochet stitches, using a “J” hook. I’m working with moderate to “a little loose” tension, as this piece will be felted. Too tight, or too loose, and it won’t felt evenly. 

To keep from rambling aimlessly and confusing the project, I’m leaving out how to make the individual basic stitches, but leaving you with this website on making the basic crochet stitches, if you need them. About.com has a great page for the beginning crocheter, with clear instructions on how to make the stitches. You can get that here: http://crochet.about.com/od/learntocrochet/tp/crochet-for-beginners.htm or go to You tube and search “how to crochet.” Remember, The Gods of Google are your friends!

To start: ch (chain) 2, make 3 sc (single crochet) in the 2nd chain from the hook.
Row 2: ch 1, turn, 2 sc in ea of the 3 sc. (6 sc in this row)
Row 3: ch 1, turn, sc in first sc, 2 sc in next sc, (sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc) twice. (9 sc)
That’s where I stopped. To crochet more rows: On each new row, continue to add one more sc in between each increase (an increase is: 2 sc in next sc).

Now, what to do about that flat bottom edge? I want it more finished, easier to work into, eventually. So, at the end of my last row, I chained 1, then turned the piece so that I could work evenly, in single crochet, across the bottom.

 When I got around to the end, I made my single crochet stitch (still working in the bottom) then chained one and drew it through to finish it off, clipped the yarn. Lots of color changes and lots of yarn ends to weave in later, with free form, but it’s unavoidable…and worth it.

Next, I picked a skein of the purchased stuff, in a nice dark purple, because its smooth texture will lend nicely to an outline. Until I change a hook, I’ll continue to work with the size “J” hook. I started a new row in the first stitch of the previous row. Just attach it to the row with a slip stitch, and chain 1. Then, work 2 sc in the first stitch, 1 sc in each of the next two stitches. 

Keep doing that, across to the end of the row. Chain 1 and fasten off.

Next row, I want some texture, and I’m changing colors again. I picked up my lightest purple and attached it with a slip stitch to the last stitch I made…turn the work…chain 3. In that same stitch, I made 1 single crochet. In each of the remaining stitches, I made 1 treble crochet, and a slip stitch. Because I’m working on the “wrong” side of the fabric,

the baubles I’m creating will pop up on the “right” side.

We’ll mark the right side of the piece later. This particular stitch is always worked from the “wrong” side of the fabric.”

Note: If my pictures look backwards to you….they probably are. I’m left-handed.

Now that row is done, and it’s time to add some color! I picked up my purchased red wool and attached it with a slip stitch to the last stitch I made. I want the purchased red wool because…smoother texture against the knobby texture of the hand spun stuff…more pop!

I can not believe I just said, “pop.” Ugh…how utterly trendy.

OK, so in the interest of having more…schmoozelfleugen! … I’m putting the smooth red purchased wool against the knobby hand spun light purple, attaching to the last stitch I worked, with a slip stitch. Now what? Well, for starters, I don’t like this J hook with this red wool. TOO loose. So, going down a size, “I.”

And let’s just stop right here…remember marking the right side? Have you done that yet? I haven’t. SO…I’m turning my piece so that the knobbies from the last row face me, and looping a short piece of red wool into the middle of the piece, so that the tails face me. Insert your hook through the front of the piece to the back, then back up to the front.Grab a short (just about 3-4 inches) of folded-in-half wool and pull the loop through.  Using the tails, yarn over and pull the tails through the loop.

There. It’s marked. Now I can stop obsessing about it. You can leave the markers in until the whole bag is finished, then pull them all out before you felt.

Back to my regularly scheduled ramblings…I’m attaching the smooth, purchased red yarn to the last stitch (purple knobbie) I made, with a slip stitch. Now what? I really want to continue with this half circle/fan thing pattern for a little while longer, so…

Turn the piece. Working into the back of these knobby things is a challenge. What I do is, I turn things so that the top of the row faces UP…I’m looking at the top of the row, and I can see more easily treble crochet stitches are. I’ll be working into that big loop formed by the treble, next to each slip stitch.  

I want to keep the half circle going, so I’ll work 2 sc into each of those loops, as I indicated in the picture. If you find that it’s starting to curl, drop an extra sc into the row here and there to keep it on the straight and narrow. Feel your way. 

In the next row, I wanted to continue working with this red, and wanted to add a new shape. So…at the end of the row I just worked…chain 1, then turn the piece. In the first SC from the last row, I worked a slip stitch. Then, *a half double crochet in the next stitch, a treble crochet in each of the next two stitches, a half double in the next, then a slip stitch in the next.* I got a pretty cool wave/fan/shell pattern! From there, I kept up this pattern, except for the beginning slip stitch. I found I didn’t need it, so I dropped it. Work the pattern repeat from the *, to the ending * all the way across. In one spot, the row starting curling under, a sure indication of more stitches needed, so I just dropped an extra treble in, at the top of the curve, and that straightened it out. Now, at the end of the row, lo and behold, I had one stitch left unworked. What I did was, I undid the last half double, dropped an extra treble into that stitch, and finished the pattern. If you have more than one unworked stitch left over, but not enough for a pattern repeat, use your judgment. You can always work a half pattern of half double, treble, slip stitch, or whatever it takes to make you happy with it. This row, for me, wanted to start and stop with a slip stitch. Whatever happens in between is up to you!

I now have a pretty cool little half circle, banded with colors…but I need a square bag, so it’s time to box this bottom off a bit. I’m going back to my size J hook, and picking up that delicious ice blue yarn (going to need more of that!) and attaching it to the outside bottom edge of the piece. I’m attaching the yarn to the right side of the work, but you can go the other way, if you like. Chain 1, and make a single crochet.
Working evenly along the bottom edge, work slip stitches, singles or half doubles, as needed to fill the bottom edge in and even it out.

Finish off, and cut the yarn.

Now would be a good time to stop, get a big needle, and weave in some of these ends! I’ll borrow one from Earl.

 “I have a needle! I’m a Peen-Koo-Sheen!”

Know what? I think my bottom right corner just morphed into my bottom center…for now. My ends are all woven in, my bottom edge is all evened out, and I’m calling this one, “good for now.”

I’ll put it aside, and start a new motif…and a new post ;-)…in a day or so.

Stay tuned….

How Chauncey Feets Came To Be

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I was bored. I was bored with what I was working on (free form crochet coat) and I was sick and tired of fighting with the crocheted needle holder I was working with. Oh, it was a good enough piece, in its day, but…its day was over.

I wanted to work up something fast, fun, happy, and functional. Something that would hold all those yarn tapestry needles I like to keep on hand. I thought,  “I’ll crochet a pin cushion in a bright color.”

And that’s how Chauncey came to be.

I have been crocheting since I was little. I learned at my mother’s knee at about five years old. Okay, I learned facing my mother across the kitchen table because I’m a leftie and I had to watch her from the wrong side. But hey, whatever works, right? Anyway, I’ve been crocheting for almost a half century, and I have been making toys since the get-go.

My mother had a passion for making crocheted toys. “If you have a hook and a little yarn, you’ll always have a new toy,” she used to say. We had some really cool crocheted toys. We had some seriously tough crocheted toys, built to last through whatever three ornery roughnecks, four grown Saint Bernard dogs and a countless stream of their puppies could put a toy through. Have you ever seen what happens to a crocheted panda bear when it’s been washed in a wringer washing machine? Pandy got really looooong. But he came right back in the dryer, ready to be tossed around as a football, wrestled by a dog during a game of “Gimmie That,” and cuddled into slumber when we all fell over at the end of the day.

Mom passed her passion for funny, happy, seriously tough toys on to me, and I, of course, ran with it.  I boldly went where no crochet hook went before. I was designing “weird” toys by High School, making them and giving them to friends…just little guys, sometimes with three eyes, or four ears, or whatever else I could think of between classes. I never knew that my toys were called, Amigurumi. Who knew?

Now that Amigurumi is all the crochet craze, I am in Hooker’s Heaven. A short-attention-span-friendly crochet toy fix? I am THERE!

I grabbed a ball of bright orange yarn and a hook. In just a couple of minutes, I went from thinking, “I’ll crochet a ball and stick pins in it” to, “I sense a toy waiting to be born.” I was initially thinking, just a ball with eyes. Simple, quick, the easiest of amigurumi styles. Then, of course, the ball had to have “hair.”  It just felt right.  So I worked in the hair, and set the eyes into place, getting ready to stuff my little creation.

I got his head stuffed and closed, taking notes as I went along, and when he was finally finished, I looked into his little black button eyes and said, “Welcome to the world! Aren’t you adorable!”

He looked up at me and said, “I need feets.”

I had crocheted the amigurumi equivalent of a demanding three year old, and the three year old wanted “feets.” 

“You are adorable,” I cooed.  “And, you are also what I would call, precocious.”

“Pree-Koh-shiss.”

“Yes. Precocious.”

“Sssssssssss……”

“That’s enough. Does a pin cushion really need feet?”

“Peen-koo-sheen,” he said, trying out the new word. “I need feets.  I’ll roll over.  Fall.  Splat! I need feets.”

“You’re a ball. You’re supposed to roll.”

“You said I was a pre-ko-shiss.”

“You are a precocious ball. I’m starting to lean toward bratty.”

“You said I am a peen-koo-sheen.”

“I can see that this is going to get me absolutely…nowhere.”

“So, do I get feets?”

“You get feets.”

“Yay!”

“Do you want a mouth, too?”

“I dunno.  Can we talk about it after I get feets?”

“I suppose we can. You’re cute as a button without it.”

“I don’t think I need one.”

“You don’t need a mouth?”

“Nope. I don’t think I eat, and this conversation we’re having in all in your head, so….”

“Yes, I know. I’m a weird old lady that talks to her toys. I can’t wait for you to meet Reggie.”

“Reggie? Is he a peen-koo-sheen?”

“No, Reggie is a very cool plant. I think he’ll get a kick out of you.”

“Can I have my feets first?  I feel…unfinished.”

“Yes, you can have your feet first.”

“Yay! Feetsfeetsfeetsfeetsfeets!”

“You know I sense that if I wasn’t holding on to you, you would fall over kicking and laughing.”

“I can’t kick without FEETS!”

“Okay! I’ll start the feets!”

I picked up the hook again, and thought a bit…brought the toy into Chris to ask his opinion about feets…er, feet.  Chris just looked at my new little guy, and said, “What the Hell is it?”

“It’s an amigurumi pin cushion. And it’s a brat.”

“Uh-huh. Did you give it to the parsley to get a name for it yet?”

Poor Chris. His mother’s a nut-job.

“No,” I said, laughing now. “He wants to wait until he has feets…er, feet.”

“Riiiiight.  Okay, the closest thing you have to a screaming neon green.”

“Cool, I can get close.  I have a bright lime….”

Chris was already gone, turned back into his computer and whatever work I had interrupted..or perhaps thoughts of how he could have me institutionalized.  Poor Chris.  He’s very patient with me. 

Back in my lair, I grabbed up the smaller hook, the lime green yarn, thought a bit…and assembled the feet. Once I had them on, my little buddy and I tried them out, and he was satisfied. Good thing, too, as I wasn’t really looking forward to doing them again.

“Are you happy with your new feet?” I asked.

“Yes! I like my new feets! Now what are we going to do?”

“Do you have an aversion to having needles and pins stuck in your head?”

“I dunno. I’ve never had needles and pins stuck in my head. Will it hurt?”

“I don’t doubt for a second that you’ll tell me all about it. Let’s start with the needle I used to sew on your feet.”

“K….Ow. OW.. OWOWOWOWOWWWWWW!”

“Knock it off. I haven’t touched you yet.”

“Oh.”

We finally got through inserting one needle.

“There, I said. “Did that hurt?”

“Nope. I’m a peen-koo-sheen.”

“I believe you’re going to be a grand pin cushion.”

“Can I go meet Reggie now?”

“Sure! And the garlics, too.”

“Are garlics amy-goo-roooooomies?”

“No, garlics are plants, like Reggie.”

“K.”

As soon as we went through the door to the porch, my little pin head erupted into questions.

“Wow! Where is this? Are there more peen-koo-sheens here? Are there more amy-goo-roooomies here? What’s that big bowl of green stuff? Why is the bowl humming? Can I sit in the bowl and hum?”

“Whoooaaaaaa,” drawled Raggie. “What…have you done?”

That was Chauncey’s first day. He’s still a brat, but he’s so cool, it doesn’t matter. Like I said, these toys develop their own personalities. 

Stranger things have happened…

 

 

I Found It!

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I am so excited!  I founditIfounditIfoundIT!!!!!

Wha???

OK, I’ll back up a bit…I have been searching my digital database diligently, looking for one particular crochet pattern, a stuffed St. Bernard toy.  Could not find it anywhere in my digi pattern collection.  Searched the internet, came up with nothing more than a picture of what the pattern should look like when finished…and that wasn’t even “my” pattern.

Went down to the garage…it has been said that one should altogether skip the garage when storing things, because it really is just a final stop on the way to the garbage…in most cases, I do just that.  But this time…I have boxes of crochet books, needlework books, knitting books, general craft books, in the garage (as well as in the house) and this time….I found it!

Of course, this is a vintage pattern!  I modernized (aka digitalized) it so I won’t have to drag the old paper pattern around and ruin it.  I would dearly love to claim that I ran it through a high-end scanner and came up with a perfect digital copy, but I can’t.  I stood over it with my cell phone and took a few CCCP’s (Crappy Cell Phone Pics) of it, cleaned it up as best I could in Paint Shop Pro, and…here it is, fellow Hookers!

Left turn…the term, “crochet hook” is redundant.  “Crochet” is French for “hook.”  “Crochet hook” translates to “hook hook.”  Works for me!!!!

OK, back to the path…this guy, if you follow the instructions, and the guage, will stand about 10 inches high when you’re done.  Um…not in my world.  This is a Saint Bernard!  I plan to use double or triple strands of yarn, a K or L hook, and make it…well, a Saint Bernard!  This piece is slated for my little grand niece, just over a year old.  I’m planning on making this guy big enough for her to ride!  I have to look at my yarn stash…it’s almost as obnoxious as my book stash…and see if I have enough “rust” or brown yarn.  If I don’t, I’ll have to go find some, somewhere.  I swear, if I have to shop, I’ll go get something super bulky, like Lion Brand’s Hometown USA.  Superbly thick, smooth yarn, great for everything, especially short atention spans, as it works up quickly.

Toys are my favorite crochet thing.  They develope personalities so fast!  They make people smile.  They satisfy the short attention span.

I plan to change the eyes here.  Will crochet the eyes, sew them on, rather than glue felt pieces.  It will be safer that way, and, I think, more interesting.

Okay, I’ve blabbed your ears (eyes?) off enough…here’s that pattern I promised.  Click on it, save it, use it to your heart’s content.  I have no clue of where it came from, as none of the pages are marked by the publisher.  Might have been a Woman’s Day special issue?

If you have problems downloading these pics, or trouble reading them, or want to talk about crocheting the eyes, feel free to leave a comment so we can blab.

Enjoy the pattern!

This is what your little (or huge) darling will look like…I know, it’s black and white.  Most of us know that Saint Bernards are anywhere from a red brown to a chocolate brown and white…Google images can give you some color schemes, or just follow the pattern suggestions.  I’m already thinking about going silly with it.  Pink, green, purple…it’s all possible. RUN with it.

Have some FUN today!