Sending the Squares!

Stack of SquaresI finally wove in all the ends, steamed them, wrote up patterns for the two I freestyled (to be posted next week), handwrote the tags, and my husband actually took my squares to the post office to mail them!

I started the squares during the monster post-Christmas storm that held me hostage at my parent’s place in Long Island with only leftover yarn from Christmas presents and finished my last one today. They’re all going to Share A Square, a group making blankets for kids with cancer attending a special camp this summer. There’s still a few days left if you’re interested in sending some squares too. New deadline is March 10, 2011, but they’ll be accepting squares for next year starting in August.

Check one off my FO Pledge. Now only 6 more to go…

 

Squares for Share A Square

Squares for Share A Square (1 missing)

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Free Pattern: Googly Thoughts – A Super Basic First Amigurumi

Googly Thoughts

A brushed wool Googly Thought made with Stitch Nation Full o Sheep - 100% Wool

My friend that I am teaching crochet to really wants to learn how to make amigurumi. Where do I start?

A few days ago what I believe to be my first ami resurfaced. Chickie is a crocheted ball with glued on googly eyes and a glued felt beak.

That was it, she needed to start with a ball. But how could I make this a little interesting? Then it hit me. I remember owning a bunch of little fuzzy pom pom type things with googly eyes, felt sticker feet, and a ribbon with words on it like “I Love You” back when I was a kid. It would be a fun way to learn how to make the basic shape of amigurumi… a ball. I also wanted to expose her to a few different techniques, yarns, and the concept of gauge, so you have a few options with this pattern.

To introduce my friend Elyse to the world of amigurumi, I present the Free Pattern: Googly Thoughts – A Super Basic First Amigurumi.

Materials:
A little bit of worsted weight yarn. Wool for the fuzzy brushed Googly Thought. Cotton or acrylic for a “regular” one.
Felt for the feet. You can even buy the felt where one side is a sticker if you want to be truly authentic.
Satin Ribbon. I used Basic Floral Satin 5/8″ in white.
Extra Fine Sharpie
Googly Eyes (you can use safety eyes, but that would not be very 80s of you now would it)
Fabric Glue
E/3.5mm Crochet Hook
A little Polyfil stuffing
Scissors or Pinking Shears
Optional: Dog Hair Brush (if you’re using wool and want to make it fuzzy)

Abbreviations:
SC: Single Crochet
SC2tog: Single Crochet 2 stitches together

Notes:
You will be crocheting in the round and will not turn.
Repeat what is listed between the () where instructed.

For a Small Googly Thought:

Row 1:  Ch2, 6 SC in second chain from hook. [6]

Row 2: 2 SC in each SC (12)

Row 3: (1SC, 2SC in next SC) repeat 5 more times [18]

Row 4: 18 SC [18]

Row 5: (2SC, 2SC in next SC) repeat 5 more times [24]

Row 6: 24 SC [24]

Row 7: (2SC, SC2tog) repeat 5 more times [18]

Row 8: 18 SC [18]

Row 9: (1SC, SC2tog) repeat 5 more times [12]

Optional: If you are using wool and want a fuzzy ami, brush the wool hard with the dog brush. Do this before you stuff the ami or some of the stuffing will come through, get brushed into the wool, you’ll end up with white streaks… not good. (They just opened up PetSmart next to Michaels so I decided to pick up a dog brush and give this a shot. I LOVE how it came out.) If you’re looking for more info on this check out Roxycraft’s tutorial.

Stuff the ball with Polyfil stuffing.

Row 10: 6 SC2tog (6)

Finish off by slip stitching across to other side of opening and pull through to close hole and finish off. Pull the ends into the ami with your crochet hook. Shape the ami into a ball by rolling it in your hands.

Optional Antennae: Slip Stitch into the top of the ball, Ch 7, finish off and weave in end. Repeat for other side.

Feet:
Cut the felt feet into the shape of a heart.

Your Words:
Cut the end of your ribbon with your scissors or pinking shears. Leave 1″-1.5″ for your ami to sit on top of the ribbon, then start writing your message with your Sharpie. When done, cut the ribbon with your scissors or pinking shears.

Googly Thoughts Pieces

Googly Thoughts pieces before assembly

Assembly:
Using the fabric glue, glue the eyes to your ami ball. Place the ribbon between the felt feet and the ami ball and glue the three together. You’re done! You have now mastered the crocheted ball and are ready to advance onto an ami with arms and legs.

Need a really quick fun favor? Whip up a bunch of these and personalize the ribbon however you like!

I Love Yarn Googly Thought

Googly Thought with Antennae made from Caron Simply Soft - 100% Acrylic Yarn

Hooked for Life Googly Thought

Googly Thought made of Lily Sugar n Cream - 100% Cotton yarn

Googly Thoughts

Size Comparison of the three to show differences in gauge when using different yarns

3 Googly Thoughts - Top View

Top View of 3 Googly Thoughts

Free Pattern: 1 Hour + 1 Skein = 1 Spectacularly Sparkly Scarf

1 Hour 1 Skein 1 Scarf

1 Hour + 1 Skein = 1 Spectacularly Sparkly Scarf

After eyeing it several times when I was in foreign Michael’s stores (aka the far ones that I don’t usually go to), I bought a skein of Dewdrops in Diamond over the weekend thinking it would work with a scarf pattern I’d been meaning to try. I tried it and it didn’t. It is gorgeous yarn though and I was on a mission to turn it into a scarf so this is the story of 1 hour + 1 skein and how it became 1 Spectacularly Sparkly Scarf.



This scarf is so simple I don’t even know that I would call this a pattern:

Abbreviations (US terms):
SC = Single Crochet
FLO = Front Loops Only

You will need:
1 Skein Loops & Threads Dewdrops (71 yards, Super Bulky, Metalic with Sequins)
M hook (9.0mm)

Thoughts on subbing yarns for this scarf:
You can use a different yarn, but if you go with a plain, solid color with no sparkle, it will result in a very basic scarf that I would call a Super Simple Scarf. At least use different colors for each row to add some interest to make a Simply Striped Scarf. Dewdrops is not as heavy as Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, so you could probably use a thicker Bulky yarn instead of Super Bulky if you’re subbing.

How 1 Hour + 1 Skein = 1 Spectacularly Sparkly Scarf:
Row 1: Ch 2, 120 Foundation Single Crochet (as an easier alternate for row 1, you can Ch 121, starting in second chain from hook, SC 120, but I highly recommend using the Foundation Single Crochet stitch)
Row 2: Turn, Ch 1, 120 SC in FLO
Row 3+4: Repeat Row 2
Finish Off
With remaining yarn, cut 18 strands 12 inches each. This will become your fringe.
Add 3 3 strand fringes per side. Instead of weaving in your ends, you can just tie them into your fringe.

That is how 1 hour + 1 skein = 1 Spectacularly Sparkly Scarf

I’ll be tucking this scarf away and giving it as a Christmas present for Christmas 2011. The sparkle in the yarn makes this a fun gift. This scarf looks great folded in half with the end threaded through and works as an indoor or outdoor accessory. It can also be worn as a belt.

1 Hour Spectacularly Sparkly Scarf Closeup1 Hour Spectacularly Sparkly Scarf

Adding a fringe is very easy:

  • For a bulky or super bulky yarn, you usually use 3-4 strands per fringe.
  • Cut lengths of 10-14 inches (depending on how long you want your fringe and how much yarn you have left).
  • Take 3-4 strands and fold them in half. Pull the folded part through where you want to add it to the scarf.
  • Thread the loose strands through the folded part and pull it tight.
  • TA DA! You have added a fringe.
  • How many fringes you add per side depends on how much yarn you have and how wide your scarf is.
Fringe Step 1

Fringe Step 1: Fold 3-4 strands in half

Fringe Step 2

Fringe Step 2: Insert hook through scarf end and grab folded strandsFringe Step 3: Pull up through scarf end

Fringe Step 4

Fringe Step 4: Pull up a loop

Fringe Step 5

Fringe Step 5: Thread loose strands through

Fringe Step 6

Fringe Step 6: Pull tight

Fringe Step 7

Turn over for right side of fringe

An EEEEEEEEEEK my scarf isn’t long enough tip:

To add length to any scarf without adding more stitches, just add a fringe. It can add a few more inches to make your scarf just the right length instead of a little too short.

A Chainless Beginning: Thoughts on Foundation Single Crochet

It took me a while to figure it out, as in several months from when I first tried it on the Starling Handbag, but I am now a convert and a believer. The foundation crochet stitches are the way to go when starting a crochet piece. It beats a starting chain handsdown. It’s the only way to get stretch in your entire piece (super important in clothing) and helps prevent curling (after blocking).

I finally figured out what the foundation stitch actually is. It’s just the regular crochet stitch… Single Crochet, Half Double, Double, Triple… with one extra step. It’s just like you’re working upside down and adding the chain as you go.

  • For the very beginning you Chain 2 for SC, 2 or 3 for HDC, 3 for DC, 4 for TC
  • You start off like a regular stitch, yarn over if it’s anything other than single crochet and don’t yarn over for single crochet, then insert your hook through two loops (like a regular stitch) *for the first stitch, insert your hook in the first chain furthest from your hook.
  • pull up a loop (like a regular stitch)
  • then yarn over and pull through one loop (this is the ONLY change from a regular stitch)
  • then finish your stitch like you normally would: for SC and HDC  yarn over and pull through all loops on the hook, for DC, yarn over and pull through two loops on hook, then yarn over and pull through the last 2 loops on the hook, for TC, yarn over and pull through 2 loops on hook, then yarn over and pull through 2 loops, and yarn over and pull through the last 2 loops on the hook
  • You are now an expert in foundation crochet stitches.

There’s a great photo tutorial and video by futuregirl on Foundation Single Crochet that you can view on her blog. I think I watched the video 50 times while I was trying to start the Starling Handbag (which happens to be a great simple bag project and the purse I use everyday). In retrospect, starting that bag with a chain and regular single crochet stitches would have been fine.

Abbreviations for the foundation stitches:
FSC: Foundation Single Crochet
FHDC: Foudnation Half Double Crochet
FDC: Foundation Double Crochet
FTC: Foundation Triple Crochet

FO Pledge

I pledge to actually finish some projects this week since I am on vacation.

I pledge to finish the following projects this week:

  • Black Stitch Sampler Backpack – I just finished the crochet and only need to sew it up now.
  • Share a Square Squares – There’s one face that needs to be embroidered on, a few ends woven in, and they need to be steamed. Then I just need to mail them. I pledge that this will happen tomorrow.
  • Hooded Jacked AKA De La Soul Jacket – I need to weave in the ends and sew it up. I would say “just need to” weave in the ends, but there’s like a million of them.
  • Sergio’s Turtleneck – I finished the back a month and a half ago. This is a boring project in all DC, but I could probably finish in a day if I could pay attention long enough.
  • My Turtleneck – I was so psyched to start on this and couldn’t get a hold of the pattern fast enough. I had to order a hard copy snail mail -gasp, say it isn’t so- and of course by the time it arrived, my enthusiasm had dwindled. I have a whopping 6 inches of the back done. I would actually like to get through this before it’s too hot to wear it. It uses one of the yarn colors from the Hooded Jacket, so if I finish that I would wear this with it.
  • Ewing’s Thomas the Train Blanket – I have 7 more rows of light blue, then the border, and need to weave in a zillion ends. Being that officially this was his “Christmas” present, I pledge to finish it this week.
  • Grandma’s Polar Bear – Another “Christmas” present. I just need to embroider the face and sew him up. Really, he’s stalled since December, really? Ridiculous.

I figured if I published my pledge I had a better chance of holding myself accountable.

I would say I pledge to finish them before starting new ones, but that would just be a lie. Did I mention I just bought yarn for 4 new projects last week? I couldn’t help it. They’re going to come out so cool.

Hooded Jacket CAL AKA The De La Soul Jacket

It wasn’t until I started working on it that I realized I remembered this jacket from high school. I distinctly remember Damien and Jamar wearing this jacket in the high school courtyard. It’s the De La Soul jacket from the Three Feet High and Rising days… but I don’t really want to wear the De La Soul jacket, so I’m making a few changes.

I’m making the hooded jacket along with a bunch of other people as part of the Hooded Jacket Crochet-a-long on Ravelry. I’ve been having a great time with it and the crochetalong part has really pushed me to think through the project and come up with some great ideas for modification possibilities. I’ve loved seeing what others are coming with on this one. Some have been super cute.

Hooded Jacket Schematic

Hooded Jacket Size 14 Schematic - Click to Enlarge

The “vintage” pattern is available for free through the Jolly Plum blog. The first thing I realized was that the schematic was nowhere and I really needed it so I drew it up for size 14.

Having the schematic helped me out more than I thought it would as I started planning my stripes. I decided to only go with 3 colors after putting together tons of gorgeous bright color combos only to later remember I would be wearing this in public and the days of Cross Colors had come and gone. While some do have the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as their end goal, I do not. After making my Snow Day Bag, I loved the colors and yarn so much I decided to use the same ones for this project too… and it was on sale at Michaels again.

Planning out the stripes was a lot harder than I realized. I wanted wider stripes in the center and thinner ones on the sides to give the illusion of skinny. In retrospect the skinny stripes in the pattern would have been fine for the entire pattern if that was the main goal, but I do like how the graduated stripe width looks. I was right around gauge with my H hook, so after drawing out the schematic I broke it into rows based on 2.75 rows per inch. After figuring out that I wanted stripes to go from 6 rows down to 2 rows at the sides, the first stripe issue I came across was matching the shoulders. It wasn’t too hard, but it did change my original plan. After the hood was done, I realized I hadn’t matched stripes from the hood to my neckline. This I’m letting go for now. The stripe police will not come after me… I pretty sure of it. The sleeves were redone three times before I was happy with the color pattern and stripe widths on them. I ended up realizing it would look best with the center sleeve stripe matching the center side stripe.

This is where I currently am:

Striped Hoodie Almost Done

Striped Hoodie Almost Done

Striped Hoodie Flat

Striped Hoodie Flat looks like the Schematic who would have guessed

Hopefully I’ll finish this weekend. Part of the CAL is that it does feel like a race.

After seeing the challenges some others faced… yarn shortages, body shape needs… it really got me thinking about what modifications could be done with this pattern to create a great modified garment.

Vest Option:
It makes a great vest. If you have broad shoulders, just leave off the sleeves. If like me, you have more sloped shoulders, the shoulders would need to be 6-8 rows shorter, but you would still need that width in the chest, so maybe a graduated decrease instead of the squared drop to the armhole that the pattern has. I also think the armhole would need to be a little deeper for a vest.

Painted Crochet Option:
Being that the pattern is written for two strands of yarn held together throughout, I think this would make a great candidate for painted crochet to create your own ombre effect, similar to the Snow Day Bag.

Shorter Option:
The one I’m making definitely fits me more like a cardigan than a jacket. I’m thinking of doing another to hit mid hip instead of mid thigh. At gauge, knocking off 77 stitches from the starting chain should be about right.

Longer Technicolor Dreamcoat Option:
This could easily be elongated for the full technicolor dreamcoat look, just know the starting chain will probably hit mid thigh and add on another foot or two to each side, 77-114 more stitches additional to the starting chain.

Short Sleeve Option:

NittyNora's Gorgeous Cap Sleeve Hoodie

Someone ran out of yarn and did a cap sleeve with a one button closure instead of a belt and turned the pockets so the stripes were horizontal. It came out super cute.

Side Slits to Accommodate Hips:
It’s very easy to figure out where the side center is, it’s between the 4 rows of armhole shaping. A side slit is a simple way to accommodative larger hips. For the third row of the armhole shaping, along the bottom, make about 30 stitches not connected to row 2 of armhole shaping.

This is definitely my favorite CAL at the moment and has helped to keep me focused on actually finishing this project instead of abandoning it for the next shiny thing to come along. If you want to take a shot at it, come on over and join the fun. We’d love to see what you do with it.

P.S. I was completely unsuccessful when searching for a picture of anyone in De La Soul wearing this jacket so it is possible I am completely imagining it… but I swear I’m not.

What’s a CAL?

So I’m in all these CAL groups (crochet-a-longs) on Ravelry. A bunch of people crocheting the same pattern (usually free) at the same time. You all talk about the pattern, yarn choice, ask questions, show your progress, get ideas from each other… it’s a lot fun and can get you more excited about your project. In my case, it can help to get me to focus on actually finishing a project as opposed to wandering off to a new one and ending up with yet another WIP (work in progress) or UFO (unfinished object) (depending on how you look at it).

Of course I’m behind in my CALs, especially the ones where I’m expected to finish something every month. I’m not sure if the Block a Month CAL is going to get me an afghan at the end of the year. At the rate I’m going I’m still thinking about making January’s squares.

Some of the others have really got my creative juices flowing and have pushed me to try new techniques like surface crochet and beaded crochet. I’ve made some very cool things as a result.

I’m currently part of the following Crochetalongs:

Some I’m much more active in than others… really gotta get going on my squares… Some I just plan on participating in sometime in the uncommitted future.

If you crochet, probably more so if you want to start crocheting and need some friends to help you out, you should find a CAL that you’re interested in and join the fun! You may just end up with a very cool FO (finished object) that you’d never thought of making.

Did I Hear Yarnoff?

I turned her out! My BFF has been hooking every day since she came for her lesson on Saturday. She’s crocheting and she’s loving it. I made sure she left well equipped with some yarn, a set of hooks, and The Happy Hooker.

We also just found out our other friend is a …. (shhhh don’t say the word out loud)… knitter. She’s just started to learn the k word.

I think we need a Yarnoff!. Hooks vs needles. May the best scarf win!

My BFF Wants to be a Hooker Too!

My best friend from high school is headed north from Brooklyn this weekend up to her hometown of Mt. Vernon for her first crochet lesson. She’s hoping crochet will help to calm her down and add some non-work interests to her life. I think she’ll end up making some cool things too.

She keeps mentioning she tried crochet a while ago and ended up with a very long line… I’m not quite sure what that means, but I am sure I’m about to find out. I wish I had some in person help when I started with my amigurumis back in August and I’m sure she’ll do fine… and maybe even turn that long line into a scarf.

I’ll let you know if I’m successful in turning her out.

Free Pattern: Woven Bobble Fingerless Gloves

Woven Bobble Fingerless Gloves

Woven Bobble Fingerless Gloves

Final Woven Scarf of the Season

Inspiration for the Gloves

Inspiration:

So I finished the Final Woven Scarf of the Season and decided they needed matching fingerless gloves. The gloves I made work up very quickly.

These gloves were inspired by Julia Redman’s Vegan Silk scarf pattern and the bobble part of her scarf pattern is the front design on these gloves.

I used a Bulky yarn, Paton’s Shetland Chunky Tweeds (a Wool/Acrylic blend), and a K hook. These gloves used under 1 skien of yarn (under 120 yards).

Both the left and right glove use the same pattern. When slip stitching the seam, fold one one way and the second the other.

As a disclaimer, this is my first written pattern. Please let me know if you have any questions or find errors.

Woven Bobble Fingerless Gloves Pattern:

These gloves are seamless. The body of the glove is worked vertically/side to side, then slip stitched up the side, then the thumb is worked. After that, a finishing edge is worked along the top.

Notes:
Ch3 turning chain will count as a stitch, skip the first stitch (as usually happens with rows of DC, but took me forever to learn). You will be making your last stitch of the next row in this stitch/turning chain.

Ch 1 and Ch 2 turning chains will not count as a stitch, stitch in the first stitch.

Body of the Glove:

All rows for the body of the glove have 21 stitches.

Row 1: Ch 3, 20 Chainless Foundation DC (21)
          ***If you are not comfortable with the Chainless Foundation DC, here’s an easier alternative for Row 1: Ch 23, then DC in 3rd chain from hook and DC in each chain across

Row 2: Ch 3, turn, 12 DC, 4 SC, 4 HDC (21)

Row 3: Ch 3, turn, 4 DC, 3 SC, 13 DC (21)

Row 4: Ch 3, turn, 12 DC, 3 SC, 5 DC

Row 5: Ch 2, turn, 4 HDC, 4 SC, 13 DC

Row 6 – 8: Ch3, turn, 20 DC

Gloves Stitch Pattern

Woven Bobble Instructions

Row 9: Ch 1, turn, 5 SC, [between the post of the sc you just made and the post of the next stitch make bobble (*yo, insert hook, yo and pull up loop* three times, yo and pull through 6 loops, yo and pull through last 2 loops), SC] 7 times, 2 SC (21)
NOTE: This is really a 2 stitch repeat where you insert your hook between the post stitches to create the bobble.

Row 10: Ch 1, turn, 3 SC, [between the sc you just made and the bobble stitch below – in the lower right corner of the below bobble stitch, make bobble (*yo, insert hook, yo and pull up loop* three times, yo and pull through 6 loops, yo and pull through last 2 loops), SC (you will see a bobble stitch and an SC, you will only be making SCs in the SCs)] 7 times, 4 SC (21)
NOTE: You will now see the V pattern, if not, you are making the bobble in the wrong place.

Gloves Cluster Closeup

Bobble Pattern Stitch Closeup

Row 11 – 12: Ch3, turn, 20 DC

Now you will be slip stitching the front to the back, leaving a space for the thumb.

Gloves Flat View

Glove Before Side is Slip Stitched - Please note, this is just to show general shaping, pattern was adjusted after this picture was taken.

Fold the glove in half, right sides together.
Slipstitch the BLO on the side facing you to the FLO on the side farthest from you.
Slipstitch the BLO to the FLO for 11 slip stitches, then on the side facing you, slip stitch FLO for 5 stitches and skip the 5 stitches on the other side of the glove, then 3 slip stitches BLO to FLO and slip stitch in both loops on both sides for the final 2 slip stitches.

Gloves Slipstitch

Optional Thumb:

You will now slip stitch back to the thumb and work the thumb.
You are still working on the wrong side of the glove.

Turn, 1 slip stitch in all loops (for reinforcement), then 3 slip stitches in only 1 loop of the side facing you (no longer connecting the front and back, just to get back down to the thumb).

Turn right side out.

You are now in the thumb opening and will create the thumb:
Thumb Row 1: Ch3, 10 DC in FLO, slip stitch to first thumb stitch (if you need more than 11 stitches for the thumb, do some DC2Tog at the inside of the thumb so that you only have 11 stitches, but so that you also close up any gaps. You may want to make a stitch at the slip stitch or it could end up as a gap. Over 11 stitches with a bulky yarn makes a man thumb which you want to avoid.
Thumb Row 2: Ch 1, turn, 11 SC, slip stitch to first stitch
Thumb Row 3: Ch 1, turn, 11 SC, slip stitch to first stitch, Finish Off

Optional Edging: The only step left is to finish off the top edge. This is done like a granny square where you are stitching under the turning chain spaces at the ends of the rows and chaining between them.

Slip stitch to connect your yarn before the seam.
Ch 1, 2 SCs under ch-space (turning chain), CH 1, 2 SC, CH 1, 2 SC, (CH 2, 2 SC) 4 times, slip stitch to join, Finish Off.

Weave in all ends. Use the ends to tighten up the edge of the seam and straighten it out a little.

Make another one. When you have the right sides facing and slip stitch the seam, make sure it’s the opposite side of the first one you make.

Gloves Thumb Side View

Thumb Side View

Gloves Side View

Gloves Side View

 

Gloves Back View

Gloves Back View After Being Worn a Few Days

Woven Bobble Fingerless Gloves Final View

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