Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Little Crochet Football Pattern

Even though I live in a city that houses two beloved football teams, the Seahawks and the Huskies, I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of football. I know, it's terrible. However, you'll be happy to know that I have plenty of friends who insist upon sharing the joys of sports with me. One of those friends recently had a birthday, and to show my appreciation for him I went out of my usual designing comfort zone. I created... a football!



It's a sweet and simple little football and I really like it. It's the perfect size to keep on your desk at work, to turn into an ornament, or perhaps even to turn into a baby rattle. In the spirit of sharing, I've decided to post the simple pattern for this ball for free below. I hope you enjoy it! I used about 60 yards of Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend (a worsted weight yarn which has tragically been discontinued) for the base of the football and white scrap yarn for the lacing and stripes. I used a US size G6 4mm crochet hook. You'll also need some fiberfill to stuff the football and a yarn needle to stitch it together and add the stripes.

Football Panel (make 3)
Row 1: Ch 2. Work 3 hdc into the first ch. (3)
Row 2: Ch 1 (does not count as a st now and throughout), turn. Work 2 hdc into the first st, work 1 hdc into the next st, work 2 hdc into the last st. (5)
Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc into each st. (5)
Row 4: Ch 1, turn. Work 2 hdc into the first st, work 1 hdc into each of the next 3 sts, work 2 hdc into the last st. (7)
Row 5: Ch 1, turn. Work 2 hdc into the first st, work 1 hdc into each of the next 5 sts, work 2 hdc into the last st. (9)
Row 6: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc into each st. (9)
Row 7: Ch 1, turn. Work 2 hdc into the first st, work 1 hdc into each of the next 7 sts, work 2 hdc into the last st. (11)
Row 8: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc into each st. (11)
Row 9: Ch 1, turn. Work 2 hdc into the first st, work 1 hdc into each of the next 9 sts, work 2 hdc into the last st. (13)
Rows 10 through 13: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc into each st. (13)
Row 14: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc dec over the first 2 sts, work 1 hdc into each of the next 9 sts, work 1 hdc dec over last two sts. (11)
Row 15: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc into each st. (11)
Row 16: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc dec over the first 2 sts, work 1 hdc into each of the next 7 sts, work 1 hdc dec over last two sts. (9)
Row 17: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc into each st. (9)
Row 18: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc dec over the first 2 sts, work 1 hdc into each of the next 5 sts, work 1 hdc dec over last two sts. (7)
Row 19: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc dec over the first 2 sts, work 1 hdc into each of the next 3 sts, work 1 hdc dec over last two sts. (5)
Row 20: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc into each st. (5)
Row 21: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc dec over the first 2 sts, work 1 hdc into next st, work 1 hdc dec over last two sts. (3)
Row 22: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 hdc dec over all three stitches. (1)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Finishing
Two of the three panels will have white stripes sewn with a satin stitch across rows 6 and 7 and also rows 16 and 17. Use a yarn needle and white scrap yarn for the stripes. Next, use the remaining brown yarn tails to sew the three panels together, stuffing the football semi-firmly before you close the final seam. Finally, use the yarn needle and white scrap yarn to sew the lacing of the football along the seam that joins the two striped panels. Weave in all ends securely.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Guest Post for dellaQ

dellaQ, purveyor of lovely knitting bags, very kindly asked if I would do a guest post for her blog. Of course, I said yes! How fun and how sweet of her to ask. It's especially apropos as I'm currently carrying around my knit-in-progress in this dellaQ bag that I reviewed.

Head on over to Della's blog to read the post.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

New Crochet Pattern: Buttercream Cowl

It's been a while since I've posted, hasn't it? My life has gotten fairly busy... a good kind of busy, I promise! However, don't think I've abandoned my crochet pursuits. In fact, I have a brand new pattern to share with you right this minute! It's the Buttercream Cowl. It's available on Ravelry and Craftsy.



The Buttercream Cowl is a squishy delight that will warm you up in the fall and winter. It’s such fun to whip up a project so quickly with big, soft yarn and a large crochet hook. Pick out a cute button to showcase on this chunky, fun accessory.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Rainy Sunday Knitters: The Best Cheerleaders a Girl Could Ask For

I am so very lucky to have such a loving and uplifting fiber group to visit each week. These ladies (some not pictured) have been so supportive of me as a friends and also through my whole book writing process. Recently, Toni and CJ worked to put together a lovely Ravelry post for our group. Thank you, RSK! You are all wonderful. And special thanks to Toni and CJ!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nature's Gifts Crochet Book Giveaway Winner

It's that time! It's time to announce the winner of a signed copy of my first book, Nature's Gifts for Baby. The winner is...


Congratulations, Jordane! I'll be contacting you to get your contact information. Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for supporting me on social media.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Help The Crochet Crowd by Providing Closed Captioning

The Crochet Crowd has many free video tutorials that are beloved by crocheters the world over. However, they need our help to make the videos accessible to all and even more valuable. Here is an opportunity to do something nice for the crochet community by helping to provide closed captioning. Read all about it on their website to learn more.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Crochet on Prisma

Many of my friends have been having fun on the Prisma app lately. I wanted to get in on it, too! I had a hunch that crochet would look pretty cool through the filters, and I was right. Check it out below, then go experiment yourself.






Friday, August 12, 2016

Giveaway: My First Book, Nature's Gifts for Baby

I am still glowing over the recent publication of my first book, Nature's Gifts for Baby. From the conception of the idea to holding the finished book in my hand, the whole process took about two years. It is fabulously rewarding to see it in print.

Today, I'd like to celebrate with you by offering up a signed copy of the book for giveaway. Hook up these seven adorable projects yourself with your very own book! I'll even write whatever you want in it :p

See below for details on entering the giveaway.


To enter the giveaway, simply complete these two steps:

1 - Share this blog post (or a picture of my book cover) on any of the following social media platforms: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

2 - Send an email to illuminatecrochet@gmail.com with the subject line "Book Giveaway" proving that you shared it. A link to your post or a screenshot of it would both work.

And guess what? This time, multiple shares count! You can send a separate entry email for each social media platform for more chances to win. This giveaway is open in all countries.

The deadline for entries is Monday, August 22nd 2016 at 11:59pm. The winner will be announced on Tuesday the 23rd. Now, get out there and share to win!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Review: Bali Sky Yarn from Mango Moon

Today I'll be reviewing Bali Sky yarn from Mango Moon. 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.


Bali Sky is a very unique yarn. It is made from recycled sarongs, so it is good for the environment. It is also made by spinners in Indonesia who financially benefit from the fair business practices of Mango Moon Yarns. Very nice! Also, how cute is it that they sent me some tea with my yarn?

The yarn is very colorful and exciting. It is also very strong, so I decided to test it by working up several small projects that benefit from strength. Sometimes it can be interesting to figure out what to do with such an exciting yarn, so here are some ideas.


First, I crocheted a coaster. It turned out tight and sturdy, just as I thought it might. A set of these would be really cool, or I could have kept going and made a neat place mat that could sit under a decorative vase or similar.


Next, I knit a simple garter stitch headband. It turned out really funky and fun! The color striping came out much more rainbow-y than when I crocheted with it. Granted, I was working in rows instead of rounds. The colorway I was playing with is called Dawn.


Then, I really wanted to test the strength of the yarn, so I crocheted a mesh drawstring bag. The resulting bag is very unique and colorful and certainly lives up to my strength expectations. A wider base could easily give you a stand-out market bag.


Finally, I had just enough yarn left to work up a little crochet bracelet. If you gave one of these to a bunch of your friends, each one would be unique and different. You could even add beads.

I was pleasantly surprised with how far the single skein went. I love where the yarn comes from, how it looks, and what you can do with it. However, the one big drawback was the twisting. The yarn tended to twist up as I crocheted with it, making it so I had to stop and untwist it periodically throughout each crochet project. When I was knitting with it, the problem was much less pronounced. I do want to acknowledge that each skein is different and that the yarn came pre-wound for me, so it is possible that the twisting was a result of something that wouldn't affect other skeins. If you are dedicated to crocheting with it despite the twisting, the resulting projects are bold and exciting. If you want to knit with it, I'd say you have little to worry about.

I am looking forward to deciding who to gift the above projects to! Thank you to Mango Moon for the chance to work with such cool yarn.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Yarn is Everywhere

In addition to just having my book printed (YAY!), I was also recently promoted at my day job. I am now a campus manager instead of a teacher, which is kind of like a principal on a small scale.

I was reviewing some ads that came in the other day, looking to see if any of the items would be useful, and I happened to find a bunch of yarn pom poms for sale. Not sure what they would be used for, but they look fun!


Have you found yarn in unexpected places?

Friday, July 29, 2016

My First Book! Nature's Gifts from Leisure Arts

For a while now, I have been mentioning a special, secret project. I am pleased to announce that my first crochet book has been published by Leisure Arts! It's already available for pre-order on Amazon, and it should be available for purchase on the Leisure Arts website, as well as in craft stores, quite soon.


The book features seven blanket and hat sets for babies. I am so thrilled and ecstatic about this book! A huge amount of gratitude goes out to Leisure Arts for making my dream of publishing this book a reality. They did an absolutely beautiful job with the photography, formatting, and overall presentation. I started this project so very long ago; It is incredibly rewarding to see the fruits of my labor! Publishing a book before age 30 was on my "bucket list," and now I can actually cross it off!

Special thanks also go out to pattern testers Burgundy, Lauren, and Kathryn. They each tested small bits and pieces as I was writing the pattern instructions for the book, and they had to keep all of their hard work completely to themselves while they were at it! A million thank yous to those ladies, as well as my other testers, for supporting me as a designer.

I hope that this is the first book of many!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Guess what?

So... guess what's in this box:


:D

Come back on Friday to find out...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Mermaid Crochet Stitch

Over time, I've had many inquiries about the stitch that I used in my Mermaid Cowl. I had been hesitant to share information about the stitch separate from the pattern because I didn't want to dilute its value. However, that's not really in the spirit of the crochet community. After all, I use stitch dictionaries to help me design patterns. Thus, I have decided to share my mermaid stitch pattern with you. Although, the extended information (specific stitch counts, step by step tutorial, etc) will remain with the pattern.

Crocodile or shell stitches are sometimes erroneously called mermaid stitch, but as far as I can tell there isn't a unique crochet stitch called mermaid stitch. Now there is! I hope you enjoy my mermaid stitch.



Start by chaining a multiple of two. 

Row 1: Starting in second ch from the hook, work 1 sc into each ch across.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 sc into first st. *Work [dc, ch 3, dc] into the following stitch, work 1 sc into next*, rep from * to end of row.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. *Work 1 sc into first st, ch 1 behind scale*, rep from * across, ending with 1 sc in final st.

Row 4: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 sc into first st. *Work 1 sc in ch 1 space, work [dc, ch 3, dc] in sc*, rep from * across ending with 1 sc in the final ch 1 space and 1 more sc in last st. 
 
Row 5: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 sc into first st. *Work 1 sc into next st, ch 1 behind scale*, rep from * across ending with 1 sc in each of the last 2 sts.

Row 6: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 sc into first st. *Work [dc, ch 3, dc] into next sc, work 1 sc into the following ch 1 space*, rep from * to end of row.

Row 7: Ch 1, turn. *Work 1 sc into first st, ch 1 behind scale*, rep from * across ending with 1 sc in final st.

Row 8: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 sc into first st. *Work 1 sc in ch 1 space, work [dc, ch 3, dc] in sc*, rep from * across ending with 1 sc in the final ch 1 space and 1 more sc in last st. 

Row 9: Ch 1, turn. Work 1 sc into first st. *Work 1 sc into next st, ch 1 behind scale*, rep from * across ending with 1 sc in each of the last 2 sts. 

Rows 10 through ?: Rep Rows 6 through 9 as many times as desired.

Fasten off and weave in ends.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Sale on Crochet Patterns

I have been having a summer that is filled with happiness and life. How about you? The first quarter of this year was very challenging in my personal life. As a result, I am trying to be more free and more mindful, enjoying the best parts of each day. I'd like to share my summer joy with you in the form of a summer sale! From now until next Tuesday (at 11:59pm Pacific Time) you will receive $1 off of any pattern in my Ravelry store if you use the code "ICaSummerSale" at checkout.


Enjoy your summer, and enjoy crochet!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Carefree Basketweave Crossbody Bag

A pattern release! Yaaaaaay! It's been far too long. I was recently promoted at my day-job, and man oh man has there been a lot to do. I'm a Campus Manager now, which is kind of like a principal. The school is fairly small, but it is still a lot of work. However, I settled in today with my laptop to get this pattern out because it was burning a hole in my files! I am thankful to my many testers for working so hard to make it a reality.

Here's the Carefree Basketweave Crossbody Bag! It is available on Ravelry and Craftsy.

Hands free can be a great thing. This bag is meant to be worn across the body, leaving your hands free for texting, creating, dancing… being you! The button keeps your essentials in place and the tight basketweave stitch eliminates the need for a lining. Make it in a funky variegated and stand out or let the texture do all of the work with a solid color. The pattern includes a photo tutorial that will guide you as you work. This bag is made with a lovely cotton-blend yarn, Kraemer Yarns Tatamy Tweed Worsted.




Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wedgwood Art Festival 2016

Summer certainly is the time of festivals and fairs. My dear friend, Becca, and I recently stopped in at the Wedgwood Art Festival, a local gathering of artists and craftspeople in north Seattle. It was so nice to mill around the booths and chat. Of course, I had my fiber goggles on full blast, constantly searching for interesting things to show you. Want to see a few highlights?


On of the most notable booths at the fair was that of Judy Taylor and her brand, Little House Rugs. This woman is seriously impressive. I was lucky enough to catch her spinning. However, she also had latch hooked rugs, crochet, knitting, and felted items in her booth. She does it all!






Sarah Bak over at Sarah Bak Pottery had some lovely work on display, not least of which was a selection of glorious ceramic buttons! It is so hard to find really unique buttons, and hers are simply lovely. I may have ended up with a delightful button that I just couldn't part with...





Finally, I was enchanted by the work of Doris Kanz for her brand, Art By Namaste. Her ethereal pieces are created by felting over silk garments to make truly unique items.



I hope your weekend was a wonderful as mine. Thanks for a great day, Becca!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Bright Tunisian Crochet Hooks

My good friend Becca recently gave me some fab Tunisian crochet hooks. Unfortunately, Tunisian crochet hurts her hands too much, so she passed her hooks on to me. She also bought me a ball of yarn that I've never worked with before. How generous. Look at the hooks, though. They are so bright and fun and bubbly. They remind me of the 80s or plastic pony beads. Plus, the strands are so long that I can make a huge piece of fabric.



I was also recently given some lovely skeins of yarn by my friend Vicki and some knitting needles by Toni. What generous friends I have!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Striped Knitting Scrap Project

I really like my dellaQ bag. It has become the permanent home of my traveling scrap project, a striped tube scarf that I am knitting. However, you could totally crochet one, too! I have a bunch of fingering weight leftovers just hanging out in the bag with the project, ready to be toted along at a moment's notice. I am simply knitting in the round until each color runs out and then adding the next. You could easily crochet in the round to use up scraps in this way, too. When I'm done I hope to have a long, squishy infinity scarf that is one-of-a-kind.



Friday, July 1, 2016

Stitch Your State Crochet and Knitting Contest

The Fourth of July is coming up this Monday. Are you doing anything to celebrate? Perhaps you are crocheting :) If you'd like to honor the United States, think about using part of your holiday to  participate in Warm Up America's Stitch Your State contest. I learned all about it on Crochet Concupiscence.


The basic idea of the contest is this: You knit or crochet a 7 by 9 inch panel that represents your favorite state. That's it! You could used beads, appliques, surface crochet, embroidery and more to dress up your swatch, it just has to include knit and/or crochet. Warm Up America will pick one swatch for each state and stitch them together, taking the finished tapestry around the country to events. How fun! The postmark deadline is September 5th, so you still have plenty of time to participate. You can even submit more than one state!

I'm not sure if I have time to participate in this, but I sure would like to. Should I stitch up California, the state I was born in? How about Idaho, which is where I grew up? Or maybe Oregon, where I went to college? Is it my current home state of Washington that needs my attention? All four? What do you think? What state will you stitch?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Urban Craft Uprising Summer 2016 and Seattle Pride 2016

WOW. So, this past weekend was super busy and very fun! I am so fortunate to live in a wonderful city with so many opportunities to get out and about.

The first event I went to was Urban Craft Uprising's 2016 summer show. I've been to UCU a few times in the past, so this year I decided to skip getting up early and waiting for a grab bag. I think I'll go stand in line again come the winter show, though. I missed having the thrill of opening that mystery bag full of goodies!

There weren't as many fiber offerings this year as there have been in the past, but they did have a bunch of new vendors and it was fun to see new types of crafts. People are endlessly creative! It's beautiful. Here are a few highlights.



By the time I got there in the afternoon the crowd had thinned out a little. It was nice and leisurely.

One of the first awesome fiber booths that I visited was Loome. What a cool tool! I'm on a limited budget right now but I couldn't help buying one for myself. I'll just share introductory pictures today because I want to spend an entire blog post sharing my upcoming Loome experiments with you.

Look at those fun pom poms and tassels!

Diana was back again with her lovely line of jewelry, MOSS. I really respect threadies; that is, crocheters who love to work with thread. Her jewelry is just lovely. You gotta love those doilies, too!



I found more fiber jewelry, including this funky knit chain scarves, over at Twyla Dill Design.


This isn't fiber art, but I can't resist sharing it with you. Fernworks had stunning artwork and jewelry for sale. It was so multidimensional, with layers inside each piece. 

More than a few items were space themed. Look at these necklaces! It's not enough that I have a space dress, space leggings, space skirt, space purse, space scarf, and space earrings... I need one of these necklaces, too!

Wonderful.

This weekend also held the annual Pride celebration here in Seattle. I attended both the Capitol Hill Pride street fair on Saturday, the same day I went to Urban Craft Uprising, and also the parade and various parties on Sunday. 

At Capitol Hill Pride this lovely, friendly woman was selling crochet festival wear. Look at her amazing rainbow shorts!


Here is a shot of the start of the parade on Sunday. I didn't take more pictures because I was too busy having fun! 

I hope your weekend was as amazing as mine was. Between all of the friends and fun I'm afraid I didn't get much crocheting done! I am almost done with a pattern and I am super excited to send it to testing...