Friday, December 29, 2017

Simple Crochet Beanie

Lately I've been busy crocheting my little hands off making winter hats to donate to my local parish's outreach ministry. They hand out hats, gloves, and other personal items to help keep our homeless people warm during these damp, cold winter months in the Puget Sound area.  The ministry was specifically asking for men's hats. While I've crocheted a number of hats before, they were primarily for kids, meant more for looks, and placed form over function. I wanted to use a pattern that was more focused on keeping the wearer warm. None of the patterns I had in my arsenal was going to cut it. Seeing I didn't have an appropriate pattern on hand, I conducted intensive research. Okay, it was more like a five minute Google search.

I settled on following the Beginner Ribbed Crochet Hat Pattern found on Eating Out Loud. He described the ending product as warm yet stretchy and comfortable, which is what I was looking for. I used some Red Heart Super Saver Economy Yarn, Camouflage Print (Note: affiliate link) that I had left in my yarn stash from a previous project that worked great for this project. The end result came out exactly how it was described. 

It is an easy pattern to follow and great for mindless crocheting in front of the television to de-stress after a long day. A stress reliever that can help charity. BONUS! This pattern served as the base I used to get creative and play around with some different stitch combinations. I'll post some of the results once I finish them up, take pictures, and write down what I did. In the mean while, I recommend this pattern. It is also good for those just starting out in crochet.

Happy hookin' and stitchin'!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Snowflake Ornament

(Notice: This post contains affiliate links. Click the link if you want to read my full disclosure.)

Last month, I posted about Christmas crochet projects that I was contemplating. One of the featured projects was a double snowflake ornament by Snowcatcher.  If you're interested in pinning it to give the pattern a try, click below. Isn't it stunning?

I had some extra size 10 crochet thread already on hand. I varied from the original pattern by going with my favorite size 2 steel crochet hook instead of size 8. It took me about a day to crochet the two snowflakes (the inner and outer) to assemble. After finally figuring out the pattern, I'm betting I could reduce that time. Row 3 of the pattern for the bigger and smaller snowflakes really stumped me a couple of times. Of course having an active toddler constantly distracting and causing you to lose your stitch count doesn't help.

The part that took the longest was blocking and stiffening them. Vintage Crafts and More posted different stiffening methods. I settled on the Epsom salt method listed, since I had plenty of Epsom salt on hand and they claimed it would provide a sparkly effect on the snowflakes. Cool!

The original pattern calls for diluted Elmer's glue. I didn't want to dig through my kids arts and crafts supply cabinet (it is scary!) to find glue, so I went to the Internet searching for an alternative method.

After throwing the snowflakes into the Epsom salt and water mixture, I used an old Amazon delivery box, wax paper, and some pins to block the two snowflakes. Don't plan on using those pins again for sewing. When I shared this project in a crochet Facebook page, somebody suggested using a foam base with rust resistant needles to shape the snowflakes. If you plan on making multiple snowflakes to gift or sell, I would recommend going this route. At least using the rust resistant pins, since regular sewing pins will quickly rust after a few blocking uses and ruin your project. Since this was my prototype, I settled with what was on hand before purchasing more resources for this project.

The instructions stated the solution would set quickly, so I tried to work fast pinning and shaping the snowflakes once I pulled them from the mixture. The snowflakes took a couple of hours to dry, so I stressed myself to work quickly for nothing. The Epsom salt stiffening method worked great for the smaller snowflake. The Epsom salt crystallized to provide a light sparkle effect, but you will only see it if the light hits it just right. If you want it to be shimmery and sparkly, you'll need to use glitter.

Unfortunately, the bigger snowflake needed something substantially more to make it stand up against gravity. As you can see from the photo, that the big snowflake was still a little too floppy. Dang it!

I guess I needed to find another stiffening method. The big snowflake shape was nice, so I didn't want to use the sugar method or put it back into the Epsom salt. That would cause it to lose it's shape and need to be re-blocked. I guess that left me with painting on diluted Elmer's glue...the very method I wanted to avoid doing. Sigh!

After digging through my kids arts and crafts supplies (such a chaotic mess!), I found a used glue bottle with a little bit of glue that wasn't completely dried out still left in it, plus a clean paint brush (score!). I diluted the glue with some water and painted it onto the big snowflake. After covering it with the glue solution, I left it to dry for over a day to make sure it completely dried before assembling. Since the smaller snowflake did well with the Epsom salt, I left it alone and focused only on the big one.

Assembling it together took the least amount of time, but it is the most rewarding. I used some leftover thread to string it up. For a more clean look, I would probably use fishing wire to connect the smaller snowflake to the bigger one in the future. As I previously mentioned, I just used what was on hand. I guess I was just too impatient. Despite the setbacks, I still think it turned out pretty!

Happy hookin' and stitchin'!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Plastic Bag Holder

(Note: affiiate links contained in this post. Click the link to read full disclosure.)

Earlier this week I was cleaning out my kitchen pantry, when I was viciously attacked by a large pile of plastic grocery bags. Plastic bags every where! I had to do something to corral this unruly gang, which sent me searching on Pinterest for a free crochet plastic bag holder. I wasn't going to be spending money on a cheap fix when I can spend more on supplies to make something myself :D

 I settled on this fancy crochet plastic bag holder pattern, an intermediate skill level. I didn't want any type of old bag holder, but one to help fancy up my dreary little pantry. It has been a while since I challenged my crocheting skills. I've been crocheting for years, so I can handle this!

Now that the pattern was settled, I set out to obtain the necessary supplies. I searched through my yarn stash scattered throughout various rooms in my house (No, I don't have a craft room. That'll probably be a separate sob story post). There was a nice skein of black on hand that I didn't have any projects projected for, so I thought it would be perfect!

Ah, how foolish was I?

I quickly learned why I didn't have any projects planned for that black yarn...because my aging eyes cannot see the stitches well unless the room is very well lit. I'm talking LED bulb spotlight on my crochet project bright! It is getting darker earlier and earlier each day, so hours of day light are limited. It is only three o'clock in the afternoon and it is grey, gloomy, and getting dark already. Plus my hubby hates artificial light, especially florescent or LED bright lights, so my aging eyes were not liking this color at all. Unfortunately, it was showing in the product. There were multiple mistakes and I kept losing my stitch count. Below is a picture to give you an idea, but the picture makes it look better than how it looks in person. It is all wonky. The arrows are supposed to be alternating directions, which I messed up. Ugh! Sounds like a lot of trouble for a bag holder, huh?

Rather than getting discouraged, I decided to change my plan of attack. First, ditch the black yarn to the back of the yarn stash (I mean buried deep so it doesn't see the light of day) and pick a lighter color. I couldn't continue with the way things were going. My eyes thanked me for this one. I decided on the color, aran.  

It looked close to the color of yarn used in the pattern's picture. I couldn't go wrong with that. So, how did it turn out?

Let's just say that I am very glad I did. While it is hard to tell by the picture, the sizing, design, and shape turned out 100 percent better than my other attempt. I was able to whip this up in half the time it took me to do the little bit I did in black. It is amazing how well a project turns out when you can see what you're doing.

Now that I had the main body done, I tackled the top, bottom, and cord. They whipped up in no time. Once assembled, I stuffed it to the brim with all the plastic bags it could hold. Now it is hanging from one of my pantry shelves helping me keep all those grocery bags organized. Now when I need one to line my small trash bins or clean up pet messes, I just pull one from the bottom of my fancy holder.

Would I do this project again? I'm not sure. While it turn out beautiful in the end, it just seemed like a lot of hassle for a bag holder. I had some mishaps; however, I think the overall pattern could be redesigned to achieve the same look without being as complicated. There may be some future design tinkering posts regarding this beauty.

Happy hookin' and stitchin'!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Christmas Time Crochet Time

It is hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner. Okay, it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but if you plan on doing any handmade gifts this year, now is the time to think about getting started. Otherwise, you may pull some late nighters during crunch time trying to complete the gift(s) by the big day. It is supposed to be a wonderful time of year instead of cursing a gift of love as you run out of time.

I've been perusing through Pinterest (I know! A time sucking worm hole of endless possibilities) looking for potential projects. My search criteria is the pattern has to be free and link directly to the pattern. I get sick of being linked to one site only to click a link for another site to actually get the pattern. Five clicks later you're like, "where's the bleepin' pattern?" Below are a few projects that I am pondering in an easy pin format so you can pin and save it for later.


 These precious angels are so adorable! I'm not a fan of doing amigurumi dolls, because my dolls have a tendency to turnout a little distorted (ok, they're more of a Pinterest fail). These sweet angels are seriously making me reconsider. I have a little girl that would absolutely love these. Hmmmm....


Sticking with angels. This one looks like a great thread crochet project that would look stunning on top of the Christmas tree this year.


This is a cute Nativity set that is perfect for little, destructible hands. What a great way to teach little ones about the reason for the season?


A classic crochet Christmas/Winter project is the iconic thread snowflake. This one looks stunning! I would certainly love to receive this as a gift or have it hanging on my tree.


Here's another snowflake crochet pattern, which doesn't look as complex as the previous one. Bonus: Crochet thread snowflakes look elegant while not taking a long time to complete (this mother of three could knock it out in a weekend with minimal house chores neglected).

You can checkout my Christmas and Winter Projects Pinterest Board for some inspiration. What project(s) are you looking at tackling this holiday season?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Baby Crochet Hunter Hat

It's October. The leaves are falling. Autumn is full swing. The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air. My favorite time of year. I thought I would go along with the season by working on a sweet baby pumpkin hat.

I completed the orange portion of the hat, which had a nice ribbed effect. Unfortunately, before I could even think about starting on the green stem part, my almost two year old daughter decided to claim the hat for her baby doll (pictured). I admit that it does look so adorable. Every time the hat comes off baby doll, the stinker butt is trying to shove it back on. She isn't giving it up without a fight. She is a stubborn little toddler (I'm pretty sure she gets that from her father :) ). There is just no sense in arguing with her. Besides you cannot argue with a toddler anyways.

I guess my little pumpkin hat will have to settle for being a little baby hunter hat instead. Thankfully, that fits right in with my hunter-gatherer type family.

Baby 1-3 month old.

(Notice: Affiliate links are used below)
- Crochet Hook, Size H, 5.0 mm
Yarn Red Heart Pumpkin Medium worsted yarn

ch: chain
bphdc: back post half double stitch
hdc: half double crochet
sc: single crochet
sl: slip stitch


Starting chain Ch 38
Row 1: HDC in 3 ch from hook. HDC in the next 30 CH. SC in last 5 CH. CH 1 and turn.
Row 2: SC in first 5 stitches. BPHDC in the next 29 HDC. SC in last stitch. CH 2 and turn.
Row 3: BPHDC into the next 29 BPHDC. SC in the last 5 SC. CH 1 and turn.

Keep repeating rows 2 and 3 until desired length is reached, which should be 13 inches. End with row 2.

Finishing: SL the two edges together to create a continuous piece. Before tying off, cut the yarn long enough to use a yarn needle to weave through the SC at the top to close off the top. After weaving the yarn through the SC, pull the yarn to close the opening and tie off. Weave in all ends.

Happy hookin' and a stitchin'!


Friday, September 29, 2017

Baby Blanket: Chevron Teddy

Lately I've been on a baby blanket kick. There is nothing like wrapping a little bundle of joy in a cozy, handmade blanket. This comfy blanket was my first attempt at crocheting chevrons. It turned out pretty good! I don't know why I waited so long to try this pattern. Once I figured out the pattern within the first few rows, it became very easy. I crochet this while watching television. 

The inspiration for this blanket came from a childhood memory. My grandma used to have her couches covered in large crochet, chevron afghans. When ever I stayed the night at her house I would curl up and sleep with one of those afghans that had a similar color scheme. The colors remind me of a cute, cuddly teddy bear, hence the name chevron teddy. The blanket makes a great pairing with a plush teddy, or an adorable crochet baby bear hat (future pattern project!). 


Approximately 30 inches by 42 inches. It also makes a nice adult lap blanket size.

Materials Used:

- H hook

- Red Heart Super Saver acrylic medium worsted yarn 7 oz/198 g 364 yards/333 meters in each of the colors below:
(Notice: the below contain affiliate links)

   + Yarn A: Soft White
   + Yarn B: Buff Beige
   + Yarn C: Cafe Latte


CH = Chain
SC = Single Crochet
SK = Skip
ST = Stitch


Using yarn A, start off by chaining 152 stitches

Row 1: SC in 2nd stitch from the hook, * SC in the next 14 ch, 3 SC in the next CH, SC in the next 14 ch, SK 1 ch, repeat from * across, ending with the SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 2: SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 3: Change color to yarn B. SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 4-8: Repeat Row 3.

Row 9-10:  Using yarn A. SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 11-16: Using yarn C, SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 17-18: Use yarn A and repeat row 9-10.

You'll quickly begin to notice a pattern. Use yarn A for two rows. Change to yarn B and use for 6 rows. Switch back to yarn A for two rows. Then change to yarn C and use for 6 rows. Keep this up until you reach desired length, ending with 2 rows of yarn A.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Preemie Hat

A co-worker's new baby daughter was born a little early, about two months early to be exact. I guess she couldn't wait any longer to greet the world. Plus, the best things in life come in small packages. She will be spending some time in the NICU as a precautionary measure, since her lungs are so immature. As a welcome to the world gift, I whipped up this little precious pink preemie hat. It took me a couple of hours, but I suspect I could complete a new hat in less time now that I know the pattern.                


This picture shows it next to a Nintendo 3DS for a size reference. The 3DS measures about 5 1/2 inches long to give you a better idea how big this hat is. I just cannot get over how little it is. I used the Half-Double Crochet Preemie Baby Cap from Handcrafting with Love, which is really easy to follow.



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