Monday, September 29, 2014

Basketweave Cowl

Remember my Basketweave Scarf? Recently I was just itching to work up another project with that stitch. Just my luck, a friend introduced me to Meg White. Meg is a knitter and crocheter who also writes her own patterns. She had come into some free yarn and was sharing with the group I attend on Sundays. How generous! You'll never guess what I scored... more of that awesome Mountain Colors Twizzle yarn in a different color, Big Sky. It was perfect for a basketweave project!




It turned out deliciously squishy if I do say so myself :) I used a 5.5mm hook and not quite one whole skein of the yarn. I still have another one! What shall I make with it?

Did you want to make your own basketweave cowl? Simply follow my basketweave tutorial (linked above) until your cowl is the desired length. Then add a few rows of single crochet with some button holes. Ta da!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Focus: Susan Carlson aka Felted Button

One of the best things about yarn is that it comes in so many pretty colors. It's so delightful to softly run those colors through your fingers as you make your masterpiece. Today's featured designer, Susan Carlson, is a master of color. Her patterns capture the best face of the yarn with lovely textures. Don't take my word for it! Feast your eyes on the splendor that follows.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
I was taught to crochet by my left-handed granny. Since I'm a righty, I'm still not certain how she pulled it off with a distracted and squirmy 9 year old, but I'll admit I found the process intriguing. From there I made only one thing that I can really recall...a hideously long, squeaky black scarf for my dad. See, my granny never taught me how to fasten off, so I just kept going until the entire skein was gone. That whole "not knowing when to stop" was a problem I faced in school, too, as my teachers confirmed. Indeed, I immediately got distracted--for over 30 years--with things like running hurdles, teaching high school sciences, and learning a lot about other crafty things. But then, being inspired by a number of crochet blogs, I found the hook my granny had given me and bought A LOT of yarn. Again, not knowing quite when to stop, I made the most ginormous blanket! But I was "hooked" and have been crocheting ever since! 

Why do you crochet?
I have what I call a very "noisy" brain. I crochet because it quiets the noise. And I remember as a child feeling the NEED to create something... anything. With crocheting, not only do I get a quiet mind, but also a wonderful, colorful, original handmade item to enjoy or share. Plus, do you realize how many colors of yarn there are?

Crochet Favorites
COLOR!! Anything colorful makes my wee heart sing! I love colorful yarn and my rainbow set of Clover Amour hooks! I love soft and colorful cotton, colorful feltable wool, and colorful buttons—hence Felted Button! Why designing and writing patterns? To have someone with their own hands translate and make a tangible creation from what started out as only an idea in my head, well, it’s magical!! Plus, I never have to make the same thing twice—it’s that distraction/focus issue again. 

For me, I tend to be more focused on the art of the design than the current style or trend. That’s probably why I am drawn to blankets and rugs as they are essentially a huge canvas on which to "paint" or "draw" with colorful yarn!

A few finished objects...
Like the Painted Pixels Blanket which is made with 7 colorways of a self-striping yarn. This one was taken on as a challenge to myself to see if I could make these 7 disparate balls of yarn actually look good together.


Or the Rainbow Sprinkles Blanket which came to me as I imagined little sprinkles of color falling against a neutral background gaining more color as they fell into a colorful pile of happiness!


Or the Pointillism Posie Blanket which dawned on me while reminiscing upon my sixth grade art class where we learned about pointillism. Each of the 29 colors of motifs—busted from my stash--makes a little spot of color that adds to the image of the huge flower!



Texture and color are vital elements in my designs, but never at the expense of crocheting that is not pleasurable, as I believe the fun is in the action of hook and yarn in hand, not merely the finished product. So I strive to make my patterns friendly for various skill levels with any unusual stitches and techniques shown in detail. It has to be fun to make, right?!

What are you working on right now?
I am adoring this hooky adventure I am on and hope to continue designing, crocheting, and sharing some happy colorful creations with the world. I love meeting other like-minded crocheting fools geniuses like me and am looking forward to challenging myself with new designs and colorful creations! Now if I could only get focused on just one design at a …squirrel!

Find Felted Button colorful crochet patterns on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy. Stay in the “Button” loop with me on Facebook, Pinterest or at Felted Button.

Just stunning, Susan! Thank you so much for joining us today.  


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Little Bit Of Fun... "Crochet": A Lyrical Parody of "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha

Crochet
To be sung in the style of “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha
Parody lyrics by Sara Leighton of Illuminate Crochet


Wake up in the morning feelin’ like Doris Chan
I grab my WIP, I’m out the door, I’m makin’ an afghan
Before I leave pack my bag with alpaca silk blend
‘Cause my hooks and my skeins are like my best friends

I’m talkin’ projects in my queue queue
Don’t know which to choose choose
Gotta hook ‘em in every hue hue
Hats and scarves and doilies
Cute amigurumi
Gonna get a little bit stitchy

Crochet
Every day
Got my WIPs and chains out tonight
Hook it tight, weave some ends in alright
Crochet
Gettin’ cray with the winder and swift like
Whoa ooo oh ooo uh oh
Whoa ooo oh ooo uh oh

Crochet
Every day
Got my WIPs and chains out tonight
Hook it tight, weave some ends in alright
Crochet
Got it made, blue ribbon win at the craft
Show ooo oh ooo uh oh
Show ooo oh ooo uh oh

Ain’t got a care in the world but got plenty of yarn
If I ever run out I’ll make some tarn or some plarn
And now the dudes are lining up for some sweet handmade sweaters
Gotta get them their own hooks so they can become brocheters

I’m talkin’ bout
Granny squares at my place place
Haters up in my face face
Can they make Irish lace?
(Didn’t think so)
Pinterest boards are full full
Yarn over and pull pull
Never leave without my wool wool, gotta have my wool

Crochet
Every day
Got my WIPs and chains out tonight
Hook it tight, weave some ends in alright
Crochet
One more row, gotta hook up one more
FO ooo oh ooo uh oh
FO ooo oh ooo uh oh

Crochet
Every day
Got my WIPs and chains out tonight
Hook it tight, weave some ends in alright
Crochet
Feelin’ great, got my Christmas gifts ready to
Go ooo oh ooo uh oh
Go ooo oh ooo uh oh

Crochet, you build me up
You make me glad
Not just a fad
Yeah, you got me

With my hands full
of hook and wool
my heart is full
Yeah you got me

Crochet, you build me up
You make me glad
Not just a fad
Yeah, you got me

With my hands full
of hook and wool
my heart is full
Yeah you got me

With my hands full
of hook and wool
of hook and wool

Now the yarn swap don’t start ‘til I walk in

Crochet
Every day
Got my WIPs and chains out tonight
Hook it tight, weave some ends in alright
Crochet
What a day, finally finished my UF
O ooo oh ooo uh oh
O ooo oh ooo uh oh

Crochet
Every day
Got my WIPs and chains out tonight
Hook it tight, weave some ends in alright
Crochet
That’s my game, come on try it, you never
Know ooo oh ooo uh oh
Know ooo oh ooo uh oh





Monday, September 22, 2014

Update: The Craft Club's World Record Yarn Bomb

Remember when I sent a few items to The Craft Club for their world record yarn bomb? Here's a bit of an update! They not only met but exceeded their goal of 4,000 items with 13,388 items present. Wow! Talk about breaking a record. Here are some bright and beautiful pictures of the event, taken by and used with the permission of The Craft Club. Big round of applause for all involved!








Friday, September 19, 2014

Remix Friday: Tree of Life Stone

Crochet covers have been pretty popular lately. There are covers for jars, electronic devices, chapstick tubes, and more. But have you ever thought of crocheting a cover for... a rock? How creative! There are several really interesting patterns out there for dressing up stones and using them as classy home decor. Today's Remix takes this idea one step further. Rae made her rock overlay even more special by using wire and incorporating a tree shape. Let's have a look!

The Crocheter
"Oh what I know about myself isn't really worth telling. If you'll only let me tell you what I imagine about myself, you'll think it ever so much more interesting" - Anne of Green Gables
My name is Rae - an 'UpNorth' Girl, from Northern Wisconsin. My love for knitting and crocheting all began when as a small girl I would sit with my 'Gramma Great' and 'help' her knit socks. Gram knit many pairs of socks for her family and would even knit new feet onto the socks when the feet were beyond darning anymore. Gram also crocheted new mittens every winter for all of us. The men in the family would use their mittens as liners inside their leather choppers.
My son who is 30+ still has a small pair of knitted socks that Gram had knit for him when he was a small child. I have passed on crocheted baby blankets that Gram had made for my son to his children, my grandchildren, who never got to meet Gramma Great but her blankets got to hug them tight for her many years later. Gram was the first to introduce me to the basics of these handcrafts and here I am now many years later carrying on the tradition. Thanks Gram!

The Original Pattern
Lacy River Rocks by Margaret Oomen

The Story 
Several years ago I happened upon a blog, 'Resurrection Fern', and fell in love with the crochet covered stones of Margaret Oomen's. I was so pleased to see in 2009 that 'Crochet Today!' featured Margie and patterns for 3 stones designed by her. I immediately purchased that issue and got out a hook and some thread and dove right in. I was Hooked! My love of stones and crocheting with thread were a perfect match!
Since that time I have created many covered stone projects, including versions of Margies Merfish
I love to walk the shores of Lake Superior and find just the perfect stone!

The Remix
Why not wire? My Tree of Life Stone was my first attempt crocheting with wire. I had seen some beautiful wire crochet art while surfing the net and was very interested in giving it a try. I did a little research, found some tutorials, gathered supplies that were suggested and Voila! My Tree of Life Stone.
I used a 1.5mm hook and Artistic Wire 28 gauge in non-tarnish silver. I crocheted around the stone first and then cut shorter pieces of the same wire to begin creating the tree itself onto the front of the stone. The small piece of sea glass was given to me by a dear friend. I inserted the glass to represent green leaves among the branches.
So thanks to Margaret Oomen for sharing so generously I now have my own collection of covered stones with many given away as gifts to friends and family. So give it a try and you too will be on your way creating many variations of your own just as I have.




Crochet is...  Memories of Gram

Wow, look at all of those neat rocks! Crocheting with metal is a bit tricky, so props to Rae for doing such a lovely job. Beautiful tree! Interested in what other creative ideas Rae has to share? You can find her on Ravelry and Flickr. Thank you so much for sharing your project with us today, Rae!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nautical Baby Blanket

When I was in college I was in a sorority, Delta Gamma to be specific. Delta Gamma's symbol is the anchor, so many of my sisters got into anchors and other nautically-themed items. One of my lovely testers, Burgundy, asked me for some ideas regarding a nautical blanket pattern. As you can imagine I was totally ready to jump on board (ba dum ch). I present to you the Nautical Baby Blanket, complete with anchor!






I am really proud of this pattern for several reasons. I love the way the color waves and the texture waves interact with each other. I love that the anchor applique is a bit larger than what's currently available and is worked in one piece. Finally, I love the special technique that's used to give the border a corded look.

The Nautical Baby Blanket pattern is available on Ravelry and Craftsy. Work one up for your little sailor!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Manos Del Uruguay Franca Yarn

Today I'll be reviewing Manos Del Uruguay Franca yarn. Disclaimer: I received this complimentary yarn in exchange for a review. I am not being paid to write this review and everything shared here is my real opinion.

I'm always excited when I receive yarn in the mail. What fiber lover doesn't enjoy that first squish of a new acquisition? However, when the parcel with Franca came I wasn't prepared for the delightful poof that would pop out.


Seriously. It was the biggest, softest poof of yarn ever. And so colorful! The colorway is Granada and it reminds me of a tropical drink. Franca is 100% superwash merino. Superwash! Yarn this soft and exciting that you can actually wash? Sweet! Also, the yarn label included information about this yarn's fair trade status. Manos Del Uruguay seeks to improve the lives of Uruguayan women and their communities. The label was even signed by the artisan who dyed my hank!


Franca is a pure delight. It's everything that's fun about yarn: colorful, soft, squishy, fun to work with. It's a lot like roving without the hassle. What to make? I pondered my project as I wound the hank. By the by, I put the whole hank around my neck first like a scarf just because I could :p


That is one formidable cake of yarn! I was worried that its thickness would affect winding but I had no trouble at all.

Okay, now, what to make? I finally settled on a simple stitch since the yarn rather speaks for itself. It's colorful and bold without needing a complex stitch pattern. I wanted my item to have some movement, so I chose the tall triple crochet stitch. I used a 9mm hook since it's the biggest that I currently own, but this yarn could go for a 10mm or even a 12mm as well. Ready to see what I made? It's a snuggle-worthy neck warmer! It only took me a little over an hour and used up not quite the whole yarn cake.





Yay! So let's recap. This yarn is soft and fun to work with. It works up quickly. You can wash it. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Instant gift! It's perfect for whipping up nice holiday or birthday gifts. You get to have fun and the giftee gets a beautiful, easy-care gift. Slender scarves, hats, neck warmers, and cowls would all be good projects for this yarn. With several other temptingly pretty colorways, I may just have to get some more!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Remix Friday: Ghadah Blanket

Crocheters, really fiber lovers in general, are some thoughtful and generous folks. I have seen so many crafters go out of their way to bring something special and personal to a handmade gift. When Mana made a blanket for a special baby she didn't stop at the pattern... she took it to a new level of awesome with this creative Remix.

The Crocheter
My name is Mana (Manahil, actually), and I’m 23 year-old, from Saudi Arabia. After graduating high school back in 2007, my aunt gifted me some crochet hooks and yarn, and I didn’t know the slightest thing there is to know about crochet back then. I asked her to teach me and she showed me the basics. Then, I pretty much did the rest on my own!

The Original Pattern
Personalized Baby Afghan by Kim Guzman 

The Story
I loved the pattern from the first time I had seen it on Ravelry, and I always thought it was too special to make it for just about any baby!

In August 2011, one of my closest friends, Ghadah, passed away in a terrible car accident. It was truly a tragedy! Then two years later, her sister who’s also a friend of mine, gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl I know, and they decided to call her Ghadah after her aunt. It was the best news I heard, and right away, I knew that blanket was going to be made for her!

The Remix
I wasn’t too crazy about the heart border, so I decided to change it, but I wasn’t too sure of what else to make! I thought of afghan squares, and I had few designs in mind, but nothing really clicked, until I stumbled upon a picture of the Fantasy Blanket on Instagram, and I thought “yes, I want something like that!” also, the Mixed Stitch Stripey Blanket was another pattern I took inspiration from.







Crochet is... I can’t think of three words, I can only think of one... ART! Crochet is art, to me.

What a kind and heartfelt gesture. The blanket is beautiful! Well done, Mana. You can connect with Mana as “manakhq” on Ravelry, Instagram and Pinterest. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crochet Short Story Series: A Hook's Tale

This is the first in a series of crochet-related short stories that I plan to write just for fun. I hope you enjoy it and that it brightens your day. Thanks! <3

The kind woman wasn't quite sure when she had lost it. It -- her favorite crochet hook -- the one she had found in her mother's basket when she was 9, the blue one with the scratched handle, tried and true 5mm... was lost. She had searched the folds of the couch. Her purse offered only crumpled receipts and gum wrappers. None of her project bags harbored the missing hook.  Who can go without a 5mm hook? No one, of course. With a sad sigh of resignation, she made a plan to visit the yarn store to pick up a new one the next day.

Across town, near the deli with the perfect pastrami that the kind woman enjoyed, a blue flash caught the freckled girl's eye. Being 3 she was quite close to the ground, and the blue hook in the crack of the sidewalk was in perfect snatching range. What was this thing? A magic wand? A strange worm? She'd better take it along. "Ok, let's cross the road now," said the happy father. The freckled girl and the happy father were on their way to the park for a fun afternoon. When they arrived and she saw the colorful playground, she got so excited that she forgot all about wands and worms and let the hook fall into the grass.

The lost dog was on his way home. After busting out of the back gate this morning he had gone on a wonderful adventure throughout the neighborhood. He'd run, he'd sniffed, he'd been petted by kind strangers in the park, and he'd marked all of the most important trees... but now he missed his person and his favorite stuffed duck. On his way home the lost dog spotted the hook. What a great stick! He picked it up in his mouth and continued on. Some time later, almost home, he saw a familiar face running towards him yelling his name. His person! He dropped the crochet hook in the street so he could fill the moment with happy barks and loving licks.

At 7:48pm the hook became lodged between the grooves of a truck tire. The truck belonged to the nervous man, on his way to a second date. The date was at 8:00pm and he didn't want to be late. The first date had gone so well! His palms were sweating on the steering wheel. Luckily, he reached the strip mall parking lot at 7:55. He saw another nervous man already seated at a table by the front window of the sushi restaurant. They smiled nervous smiles at each other. At 10:00pm (they had talked until closing time) the no-longer-nervous man reluctantly said goodbye to his date. He got in his truck to go home, already planning date three in his mind. When he drove away, the hook stayed behind in the parking lot. 

The kind woman was out of coffee, but it was just as well. She needed to get a new crochet hook today and a fancy coffee from the little cafe in the strip mall would be a nice treat on the way. She drove her down the hill, around the corner, and up the road. She reached the parking lot. On her way into the cafe she stepped on something hard. It couldn't be! It was her hook, the blue one, the one with the scratched handle! She'd know that hook anywhere, even though it had a few new scratches now. The kind woman laughed at the strangeness of finding her hook here. Could she have lost it when she met her co-worker for coffee? It must be so. Excited and relieved, the kind woman ordered a latte. She sat in a comfy coffeehouse chair, pulled some yarn out of her bag, and got to work with her hook right away.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Mountain Colors Twizzle Yarn

Today I'll be reviewing Mountain Colors Twizzle yarn. Disclaimer: I received this complimentary yarn in exchange for a review. I am not being paid to write this review and everything shared here is my real opinion.

First off let me say that this yarn is just lovely. I am so happy to have been introduced to it. Twizzle is a worsted weight merino wool and silk blend that has a fun twist pattern to it. The colorway I received was Harmony Mist, a combination of blues and greens that gave the yarn an altogether turquoise look. Have a gander!



So pretty! The yarn is delightfully squishy and soft, even more so when worked up. I decided to whip up a little double crochet and shells hat with it to see it in the round.



Thanks to the great yarn this hat turned out soft, squishy, and flexible. Very nice! I really like the heathered look of the yarn. I was excited that I had enough yarn left over to work it up in rows as well. Here's an ear-warmer I hooked up in alternating back and front loop half double crochet.



I think I like the pooling a little bit better in rows than in the round, but just by a little. Pooling is what happens when the colors of a multi-colored yarn group together in the finished product. Even after both of these projects I still have a little yarn left. What do you think I should do with it?

This yarn is totally a new favorite of mine. The colorways are pretty, the yarn has a great texture, and it works up smoothly. I unhesitatingly recommend Twizzle for your next project.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Remix Friday: Laptop Bag

Another Friday, another Remix! I know, sometimes it's almost unbelievable how many creative people there are in the world who bend the rules and make totally unique projects. Today's Remix is no different. It's colorful, creative, and best of all functional. Check out how Marina took a granny square pattern in a new and different direction.

The Crocheter
My name is Marina, last year from Hamburg, Germany, now I live in a very small village near the north sea. My two kids are grown up. I'm married and we live with a little dog and a great garden with vegetables. Sometimes I get pleasure to knit or crochet and then I'll think of something.

The Original Pattern
Sunburst Flower Granny Square by Kasa Amend

The Story
Last year I was traveling a lot and my laptop needed a discreet pocket. 

The Remix 
This bag is invisible because it looks like a pillow and it is soft. It is very simple to make. Crochet 35 squares, two loops, and two buttons. 




What a pretty way to keep you laptop cozy! Thank you for sharing your creative idea with us today, Marina!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Moonbeam Necklace

I don't know if you could tell by my logo, blog, and brand name... but I love space! I think space is just fascinating with all of its planets, stars, nebulae, pulsars, black holes, dark matter, and everything else. Remember when I told you about the awesomeness that is Kreienik Reflective Yarn? I made a necklace pattern with it! It's just so luminous and starry.


I knew I had to name it something space-y. What space object is closest to home, our little grey neighbor who pulls the tides? The moon! Now you can make your very own...


It goes on right over your head. No clasps needed! The necklace has special properties. The thread looks beautiful during the day but it really glows spectacularly in the dark whenever it's hit by light. So classy, so special. It reflects light just like the moon!





Isn't that cool? I love it, and rest assured that it's ever so much prettier in real life. Do you want to make your own? The pattern is available for $2 on both Ravelry and Craftsy. Although the pattern is simple enough that a beginner could follow it confidently, it includes many detailed process pictures to help you learn how and when to add the beads for the best finished product as well as tips on working with the somewhat tricky reflective yarn. Can't wait to see your Moonbeams!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kreinik Reflective Yarn

Have you heard of Kreinik Reflective Yarn? This stuff is so cool! It's made of the same material that's found in the safety strips on exercise clothing. The moment I heard of it I knew I just had to play around with it.


Seriously, pictures do not do this stuff justice. It's so shimmery! I'm in love. Here are a few pictures of it in different lighting. It has a lovely, ethereal glow to it in low light.




So far it seems that knitters and crocheters are using the yarn as a carry along with other fibers for hats and other night-safe items. I thought of a different use for it, but you'll have to drop by for my next post to find out what I came up with. I'm so excited!

What would you use reflective yarn for?