Monday, February 9, 2015

Impressive Intarsia Crochet

I am totally impressed with this Intarsia afghan of the American Sign (AMSLANG) Alphabet.  What a labor of love!  What a time consuming project!

I found this via a rather roundabout route.  Turns out the pattern is available on Ravelry where you can download it for a very reasonable fee.  There are also the very helpful photos in the Projects section there.  Very inspiring!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Crochet + Beads

A noncrocheting friend sent a link to this cool wallhanging.  I love crochet.  I love buttons.  Everyone needs wall art, right?  This combines so many great arts.  The designer clearly took the flowers in the sheets as inspiration and repeated the colors in the wallhanging.  I can think of all kinds of ways to use this idea. There's a handy tutorial at the site and plenty of other bright, cheerful uses of crochet and beads.

Then, I found this happy wallhanging for sale at etsy.  RoseJasmine has created this and similar crochet pieces for the wall.  They are well worth her asking price - as those of us who crochet know how much time and effort goes into designing and crocheting something unique - but might be reproducible with ideas inside your own head.  I know I have some ideas!

One place I always think to use this sort of crochet whimsy is in a nursery, especially for the area above the crib.  But, we mustn't limit ourselves to baby.  RoseJasmine's piece could easily be used as a growth chart if it's hung low enough to write those vital height measurements as kid grows up.  If you're worried about your paint, use a strip of masking tape or that blue painter's tape that won't mar your walls.

If combining crochet with buttons works for you, check out the designs Kathryn has gathered at
Crochet Concupiscence.  Some of them are amazing!

If you 'bing' crochet and beads or crochet with beads, you'll find many, many wonderful designs, from wearables to home dec to things for baby.  I have a huge collection of buttons, gathered over many years.  I have also been known to purchase a dress or blouse at a thrift store just to scrounge the buttons.  I find them to be tiny artistic treasures, full of inspiration, each with its own tale to tell.

How will you combine buttons with your crochet?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chunky Crochet The Sashay(free) Way

I have discovered that I am NOT a fan of those ruffle yarns - you know, the ones that are scrunched up on the skein then you stretch them out and crochet along one edge to create a scarf or ruffle?  The scarves made with them are lovely but working with these yarns is not - for me.

So, what am I to do when I encounter a whole bin of these pretty colors of ruffle yarn for .97 each?  I hummed and hawed for a few minutes.  Then, I decided that I could just forget the ruffly use for them and treat the yarn as super chunky and work with it that way.  So, there were 4 colors available, but I went home without the blue since I can only braid, without watching a tutorial, 3 strands at a time.  The two purple-reds and one pearl silver skein.

I used a 25.00 mm wooden hook that I love but seldom have occasion to use.  I simply chained the entire length of each skein and secured the end with twist ties so I wouldn't lose the stitches.  Chaining all three skeins took me less than an hour.  Then began the hard part - braiding a long length of stretchy, wiggly, chunky yarn.

To braid them, I folded each length in half and secured the folded ends with a huge safety pin to the arm of a sofa.  That left me with 6 strands of chained yarn to work with.  I treated them as though there were only three and went to work.  The braiding process took me another hour.

Once all the braiding was done, I wound up with three different lengths of chained yarns.  So, I cut the strands to the same size and tied off the ends all together.  I used a smaller hook to weave in the loose ends and used my petite daughter as my model.  Trust me, she's very pretty.  Since this scarf is not drab, it is not to my daughter's liking, so someone else will receive it as a gift.  I do like the way it looks, but it's not much my style as it has sequins in it.  I don't wear drab, but daughter and I do share a dislike for glitz in our wardrobes.

So, you don't actually need a pattern to make this.  I've given you the instructions.  I found this yarn in a bin at Joann's but I'm sure they're on sale all over the place or you may already have some in your own stash.  If you have leftovers like I did, you can even make a second, smaller scarf as a bonus. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Favorite Doily

 This is my most favorite doily pattern ever and it's finally back online, free for everyone.  Sheila of Sheila's Schnauzies uses her crochet designs to fund her Schnauzer rescue efforts.  She dog sits for friends as well as fosters Schnauzers and other dogs til they find their forever homes.  You should check out all that Sheila offers.  She's got free patterns, patterns and finished objects for sale.  And, she's a darn nice gal I've gotten to know quite well online over the years.

This particular pattern was MIA from the internet for a long time.  Now, it's back!  My version is the one pictured here.  It's not been blocked as I prefer the softer look, feeling that it more closely resembles the 'real thing'.  You can see the official version made by Sheila at her site right here.

Sheila has a contest on her blog right now.  Really easy to enter.  She just wants suggestions for the flower around which to design her next doily.  So, get yourself over to her blog, enter the contest (we all have favorite flowers, don't we?), and take a look around to see all her goodies.

Here's the raw link to Sheila's site:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crochet Hearts Rock!

I'm SURE it makes perfect sense for most people that you'd use pretty yearn and this delicate heart design to cover soap, but my mind went immediately to - rocks!  I love river rocks.  They are so smooth, come in such a variety of colors, and can be purchased for a few cents or even found in a creek bed for free (with the proper permission, of course).

If you aren't familiar with river rocks or don't have a creek bed near you, they look like these.
The rocks in this image are polished but you can buy them unpolished (my preference).  The ones in this image come from Home Depot but you can find them at landscaping and hardware stores everywhere.

Embellished with crochet designs like the pretty hearts above, with beads and buttons, simple, inexpensive river rocks can become prized decor items, paper weights, and good luck charms.  A certain neurologist of my acquaintance is also a fan of such rocks and I gifted her with a couple I had decorated with jeweler's wire and beads for use as paper weights.

I like the idea of these sweet little hearts.  If you give one to your husband for his desk at work or his lunchbox, he will think of you at least once every day!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Scrap Cochet Worth Mentioning

Got scraps?  I believe everyone who crochets or knits has scraps and partial skeins of yarns - sometimes entire 'orphan' skeins.  This little site has some cute ideas, like the picture above, for making good use of those scraps.  I'm sure these ideas will trigger greater creativity with my readers.  Let us know what you do with your scraps, please!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tunisian Shawls For All - Crochet

Sharon Silverman has a new book out for us.  This one is Tunisian Shawls and contains eight new designs that are bound to please.  If you've never tried your hand at Tunisian crochet, a shawl is just the right size for your first project.  If you're an experienced Tunisian crocheter, you'll find some fresh designs to tempt you.

The format I have seen this book in is an Ebook.  I've never really been impressed with Ebooks before, but this one is easier to navigate and has excellent photography.  The photos of Tunisian detail will be helpful to all.  The shawl choices also range from something very simple for a beginner to more advanced projects for now or later, depending on your skill level.

I'm in love with the Autumn Embrace which Silverman shows worked up in a tweedy bulky yarn - just my style.  For the traditionalist the Expanding Vees will be just the ticket.  If you want to tackle something a bit different, check out the Cables And Hearts, a delicate looking combination of stitches.  For a real challenge (at least for me) the Fair Isle Winter Capelet will keep you inspired.

Another plus in this book is Silverman's use of readily available yarns.  There are no $40/skein yarns pictured, leading to some degree of disappointment when the crocheter chooses a more mundane yarn for the 'real' object.  Paton, LB, and RH are known to most crocheters.  Of course, should we choose a high end yarn to work up a project, we won't be disappointed!

There is also a handy glossary of Tunisian stitches, well photographed, to guide us.  This handy format and lovely collection of designs will have us all itching to grab Tunisian hook and yarn to make a special shawl for ourselves or for a gift.

Grab your copy of the book at the Leisure Arts site , at or at your local crochet book source.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Crochet For Baby's Room

My mind is on crocheting for baby as a dear friend's daughter just announced her baby expected near the end of May, 2015 will be a girl!  I can't wait to learn what color the new mom wants for her baby's room so I can get started on a special afghan for baby.

I ran across this cute design which I think would look smashing on the wall above baby's bed.  Before long, as kids grow, most of them develop quite an interest in weather.  These little clouds would be charming additions to the nursery. 

Even that storm cloud looks cheerful, don't  you think?  Get the free pattern here.

Here's the raw link to the free pattern:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Crochet My Little Pony

My Little Pony remains an enduring favorite.  As they say on Antiques Road Show, this crosses several themes of 'collectors' or, in our case, crocheters.  There are stuffed animal lovers, pony/horse lovers, and those of us who love to crochet for our special young'uns. 

If your favorite crochet recipient is a My Little Pony fan, here's your free pattern to make a very special one.

Raw link to the free pattern:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Here's A Crochet Idea I Really Like

Here's a fresh, new idea from Red Heart.  At the beginning of each month, they'll post a video and instructions to crochet (and knit) a cowl using a different (and maybe new to you) stitch.  Why do I like this idea?

I'm not the world's greatest fan of RH yarns.  I use them and they are cost effective and readily available, but some of the dyes they use in their worsted acrylic have become quite harsh on my hands.  They're usually fine after being laundered a couple of times, but right out of the skein, they are not wonderful.  But, I can follow their videos and instructions even if I use some other company's yarn.

But, my number one reason for liking this idea is that every month, it focuses on a single, smallish project that many people can use.  These smaller projects also are less expensive than investing in say, a full sized afghan, when you may begin to hate that stitch after the first half skein.  i hate that!  And, it's a trap I've fallen into many times.

With a project like a scarf or cowl, the investment of time, energy, and money is equal to the size of the project.  Quick and done before you can become totally bored with it.  That really works well for me.

Also, this will likely encourage more contributions to charity for al those cowls made in warmer climates or after you've given a cowl to everyone you've ever known.  You gotta do something with all those cowls or scarves.  So, make them to learn the new stitches and donate them to charity.  You'll learn more crochet in a disciplined way and wear it yourself or give it away - to a family member, a friend, or to charity.

I can't wait to get started on my first RH cowl.  I'm actually enamored of cowls right now because it is painfully cold on my walks and I want my mouth and nose covered from the cold.  Why not do that in style?

Here's a raw link to the RH site that explains more -and a contest there you can enter to win some yarn:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Universal Crochet Towel Hanger

You may have already seen one like this or have come up with it on your own, but this is my own invention because I've never seen it before.  I made a bunch of these as Christmas gifts this year.  I purchased a 12 pack of nice quality hand towels at Costco, matched two of each color as a gift, then crocheted a towel holder for each pair.  These were mostly for my kids who live in small, very old houses with small kitchens.  One kitchen  has no cabinet hardware.  One has brass handles that leave wet towels rubbing against oak wood cabinets.  One has tiny knobs on painted cabinet fronts.  They all suffered from the same problem - no place to hang their kitchen towels.  Mom to the Rescue!

This is one of the easiest projects you'll ever make.  You need a few yards of worsted weight yarn (or any weight yarn you want) in your preferred color and a suitable hook (I used an H hook) and a pack of inexpensive stretchy headbands from the Dollar Store.  I chose the headband bag that had browns and blacks in the package.  They come in other colors too.  I used the narrower headbands.

So, now follow this intricate pattern.  Using your hook and yarn, sc around the headband then hdc into each sc around..  Voila, you have the towel holder!  The only tricky part is how to take this circular object and make it fit over all those various things you might want to hang a towel on.  I hope my pictures will be helpful.  The description would take a thousand words, so I'll omit it.  Just practice a bit, using my photos to guide you.

If you wish, you can add another row to the simple one row covering of the headband I've made.  My only concern here is that you don't want to have the headband be stretched out from the yarn covering it alone.  Best to leave some stretch to it.  While you can use a non-stretchy circle to attain the same end, I like the way a crochet covered stretchy band will hold onto that towel.

This configuration works for all applications.  Basically, you'll wrap your circle around whatever knob/hook/bar you want to use and tuck one end inside the other:

Okay, I'm not a great photographer.  But, my dear husband makes a good hand model, don't you think?  He was very kind and patient as I tried to get this finished while the poor guy was just trying to eat his lunch!

Hope you like this.  If you run into a problem from my 'pattern' or anything else, shoot me an email.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Crochet Ninja Afghan

Is this not the coolest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle thing ever???  All the guys in my family - all now adults - are big fans.  I wonder who I would be willing to make this for?  I'd end up having to make a bunch of them, so may not even attempt the first one!  But, I think this is adorable.

The author offers notes on the design without offering an actual pattern.  If you can crochet at all, you don't need a pattern to make the plain stripes of color.  The eyes are very expressive, so that's another matter.  But her notes may help.  You can find more about the blanket here:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Infinity Braid

I've seen the braided scarf idea - but not a braided infinity scarf.  I really like the way tis one looks.  When I wear a cowl (I've got several of them), I actually prefer a chunky size so that no cold air can sneak its way to my skin.  My cowls look pretty (IMO) but they are more functional than fashionable.  This one is both!

I would like to see it crocheted with three different but related colors - maybe a variegated color with two solids braided with it.  What do you think?

You can get the pattern free here.  And since sometimes the links don't show up nicely on this platform, here's the raw link: