Monday, January 26, 2015

Anastasia Wedding Blanket Pattern

I do love gifting blankets!  I haven't found a person yet that didn't love a crocheted blanket.  I put much thought into gifting yarny goodness.  It must be the right color(s) and style for that person or persons.  That is key if you want to make them happy.  You don't want to go to all the trouble, time and money just to have them put in a Goodwill (charity chop) pile.  

I crocheted this blanket as a wedding gift in their wedding colors, which were grey and yellow.  

I was very lucky as the wedding invitation had the colors on it.  Even if you are not sure of the EXACT colors but have a general idea, you can make it work.  There are many shades of yellow....egg yolk yellow, sun yellow, pale yellow, banana yellow and so on.  The same goes for grey....silver grey, dark grey, light grey, almost black grey.  

I just picked 3 colors in each color, if you know what I mean.  Three shades of yellow and 3 shades of grey.  That's all you need to do.  It makes it so much more personal.  

I have crocheted this blanket in school colors, nursery room colors, teen bedroom colors and sport team colors for boys and men.  I have gifted it in 3-6 shades of someones favorite color and they come out gorgeous every time!  

I have the pattern for sale in my

Have a great week,

Yarn tip:
If you aren't sure what color or colors a person likes, think neutrals like 3-6 shades in creams, browns, greys or blacks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fun Findings at Michael's

I was at Michael's this morning looking for yarn, of course, for an order.  For my friends overseas, Michael's is a craft store here in the USA.  They are gearing up for spring and I noticed some very lovely Cath Kidston/Greengate inspired goodies!  Gorgeous pencils for $2.00.  Eight are in a package which come to $.25 each.  I just adore them in all their feminine glory!

Lovely gift tags, as well for $2.00.  Twelve in a package for $.16 each.  I plan on using these in my "goodie bags" that are included with any purchase, excluding pdf patterns, in my Etsy shop.  In these little bags I place a coupon for a future order, one of my business cards and a little something else. 

These clothespins are a future gift for one of my out of town girlfriends who loves the color pink.  When I stay with her I like to give her something in her signature color and she will love these.  I think I'll crochet a little cotton bag to keep them in as I'm sure she will use them outside to hang her laundry.

These paper straws are cute too and perfect for a party.  Again, $2.00 for 36 straws.

They also have a bunch of bins with Betsy Johnson goodies.  For those of you who don't know, she is a fashion designer using bright colors.  These cel phone cases were $5.00 each.  I didn't look, but they might be for an iphone6.

  This luggage tag and plastic zippered pouch were $5 each too.  They have both of those is different colorways.  I'm just showing you one style here.

The 4 clothespins are great for keeping snack bags closed and are $5.00 and so is....

the zippered pouch.

This travel cup comes in different colors for $5.00 each.  Cute.  If you are gifting some yarn to a friend, put the balls in here with some knitting needles in place of the straw.

Lastly, these journals with an elastic band and built in bookmark are fun.  I don't remember the price, but it would be $5.00 or a little more.

I hope you  like my fun findings!  
Happy Hump Day,

Gift buying tip:
When I see something that someone would like, I buy it!  Especially if it only costs a couple dollars.  I know I will be needing a gift for that person whether it's a birthday, Christmas, get well, hostess gift or just because!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hand Crafted Crochet Hooks

Hope this find you cozy and warm!  It's FREEZING here in the midwest!  So cold that I'm hesitant to leave the house.  Not even the cutest coat and stylish boots can tempt me to brave 7 degrees with a wind chill of -20.  The silver lining is, the sun is out and it's perfect weather for crocheting or knitting blankets.  Bright yarn, a cup of tea and a movie on the television suits me just fine.  

Look at these fun hooks from Lisa Clarke of PolkaDotCottage,  Lisa hand makes these using polymer clay and I just love them!  I treated myself to a Christmas present and I so enjoy hooking with these beauties.  You can request a flat thumb spot or completely round.  All mine are flat.  The size is embedded on the end.  I really like the "granny square" one on the far right.  Her prices are great considering how much time it takes to make them.

They are $18.00 each, but, if you purchase 3, as I did, you get $2.00 off of each hook.  Below are some photos from her shop.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend,

Yarn tip:
To avoid a ruffled border on a crocheted blanket, go down one or two hooks sizes.

Here is the information from the PolkaDotCottage site:

Metal hooks with comfortable and decorative polymer handles

[Jump to: custom ordering | ready-to-ship hooks | my crochet patterns!]
These crochet hooks are metal, available in several brands and sizes, and the handles are made by me from durable polymer clay, in one of my signature millefiori designs.
The color and finish on the handles is inherent in the clay. No paints or sealers are used, so there is no possibility of chipping. Each handle is baked right on to its hook and cannot slip off. After baking, the handles are wet-sanded through several grits of sandpaper, and then buffed to a nice shine. They are exceedingly smooth, and pleasant to hold.
Do you experience pain in your hands when you crochet? I am told that these special handles are quite comfortable to hold, and help to stave off joint pain.
Handles may be made completely round, or with a depressed grip for your thumb. And, so you never have to wonder if you have the right size hook, the letter size is embedded in the end of the handle.
Do you have special preferences when it comes to your crochet hook handles? I will be happy to work with you to create a tool tailored to your needs, that will be both as comfortable and as beautiful as possible.
Price: $18 per hook
  • Buy 3 or more, get $2 off each hook. Use voucher code: 3HOOKS
  • Buy 6 or more, get $3 off each hook. Use voucher code: 6HOOKS
A note regarding manufactured hook color: I have no control over the colors of the aluminum hooks, or the quality of their factory paint jobs. Sometimes there are spots where the underlying silver shows through. This is especially true of the Susan Bates hooks. It's just the way they came in the package!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Basket Weave Cowl Pattern

I designed this Basket Weave Cowl ages ago!  I'm talkin' years!  Super easy using fat yarn and large needles, but I never got around to writing the pattern.  I get asked about it every time I wear it.  Many are fellow knitters/crocheters and a few non yarny types.  I managed to eek out the pattern just as the year is about to end.  

Perfect for all body types.  One size fits all.  If you are petite, like my daughter (above), or tall and "fluffy" like me, you can knit and wear this.  

Knit in the round, it's just a simple knit and purl pattern.  If you have not tried knitting in the round, this pattern is great place to start.  Light colored yarn allows the basket weave pattern to shine!  Cinch it up to keep your neck warm or.....

bring it down over your shoulders.  This way would look stunning over your coat or jacket!  

You need:
 needles in size US 13 32" circs
2 skeins of super bulky weight (6) yarn
one stitch marker
tapestry needle

You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop


Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Yarn tip:
Having trouble seeing the stitches when using black yarn?  Lay a white pillowcase or dishtowel across your lap.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Crochet Interview That Is Really a Love Story

As the new year approaches, we reflect on the last 12 months.  

I became an official senior citizen in May turning 55.  Yikes, where did the time go!  

My wonderful husband and I have had great joy in watching our daughter graduate from college.

(here she is with her boyfriend, Andy)

Joyous weddings, new babies, travel and the dearest of friends.  I am still blessed to have my parents living and two brothers, with families, not too far away.    

I did an interview for Crochet Concupiscence a little while back.  She has shared many stories on how "crochet saved my life".  I thought I would post the interview for you today.  It's really a love story.  A story of loss and making it through.  A bit lengthy, so I thank you in advance for getting to the end!

What is your basic story of how crochet has healed you or improved your quality of life? 
When I was a young woman in my mid 20’s, I married a wonderful man named Cory. A big, handsome, strapping guy of 6’ 3” and 205 pounds, blonde, almost white, hair and a reddish beard. We had a Big Fat Greek/ Scottish wedding complete with bagpipes, Greek dancing, Ouzo (a Greek liquor) and 500 guests. It was a lovely day. He made me feel safe and loved. We had a house, great friends, good jobs and dreams of children and a life together. We were very happy.  

Nine months after we were married, on Thanksgiving, Cory
was diagnosed with Leukemia. Our happy world came to a crashing halt. Right in to a hospital the very next day to start treatment. We were very optimistic. Months of chemo, radiation and two bone marrow transplants means more days in a hospital than out. The loss of his job meant I was the breadwinner. Every day, I would get up, go to work, go home, change my clothes, go to the hospital until 10 or 11 at night, then go back home.  Wake up the next day and start it all again. 

Back in those days, you filled out your own claim forms for the hospital and doctors which was very time consuming and frustrating. When the insurance money arrived, you paid the bills. I was exhausted, scared and heartbroken. When Cory was at home, he was, of course, depressed, nauseous, bored, angry, lonely and scared. He also was hooked up to an IV, at home, and it was my job to administer medication and fluids. What on earth was I going to do to keep my sanity? How was I going to help him?  I have been a crafter all my life, so that was the answer. 

I would crochet during the hours at the hospital. Hooking away at baby blankets for friends babies. Hand towels for all seasons. Scarves for the cold days in Nebraska. Reading a pattern kept my mind diverted, for a time, on something else. Mindless, rhythmic, easy stitches during the long hours at the hospital. The yarn running through my fingers, the colors, all coming together in fabric. It was relieving some of the horror, some of the tension, some of the anxiety, for a while. 

Hooking away at blankets, thinking of a new life coming into the world when it was very likely I would be losing the love of my life. Which I did, two years, almost to the day, later. We were 29 years old.  

                  Here's Cory

All those items I worked on were just too heart wrenching to keep. I couldn’t look at them without weeping. The scarves and towels were gifted to the many people who supported us through our long journey.  On a side note, I remarried 3 years later to my current husband of 23 years, Brian. We have a lovely 22 year old daughter, Zoe, my BEST creation!

When did you learn to crochet? 
I was in my early 20‘s. 

I already new how to knit, having been taught by my mother. I picked up a beginner crochet book at a craft store, bought some worsted weight yarn and got started!

Have you ever taught anyone else to crochet? 
I don’t consider myself a very good teacher, but I have taught a couple friends how to make simple dishcloths.

Where are you most likely to crochet? Do you watch TV or listen to music while you work? 
I mostly like to crochet in front of the television, except during Downton Abby!  We take many a car/airplane trip, so, that is another favorite time to crochet.

Are you alone when you crochet? 
As I make a living crocheting and knitting, I do most of it at home, in “my chair”, surrounded by pattern books, fabric and yarn. 

Have you ever crocheted in a crafting group? Do you consider yourself part of a craft community (online or offline)? 
I do consider myself part of a crafting community as I have 6 online pattern stores and make many custom blankets and scarves. 

How do other people support your craft (or not!) and how does that impact the healing benefits? 
I have paid for my daughters college tuition with the support of crocheters and these online patternstores. The joy of designing and crocheting continues to heal. I am in my mid fifties now with minor health issues that keep me off my feet.

What is the number one most healing / beneficial aspect of crochet for you? How exactly is it helping? 
The process of
choosing great yarn colors is half the fun! Crocheting it all up and seeing it come together is wonderful and the final moment of seeing this creation around someones neck, on a little body, noggin or in a stroller is the BEST!

Who do you typically crochet for? 
Crocheting for babies is my favorite! Small projects that often get handed down to siblings. Family heirlooms that get passed down the generations is very gratifying. 

Do you find it more healing to crochet for yourself or others (and why)? 
I don’t mind crocheting for myself, but gift giving, now that’s healing!

Have you seen crochet heal / help anyone else in your life?
I have read many a blog or story of how this craft has
helped others and it always makes me smile.

Do you do any other crafts besides crochet? If so, which
ones and do they offer the same benefits? 
As I have been a crafter all my life, having learned from my mother, I have done it all! Knitting, cross stitch, pottery, painting, glass bead making, sewing, etc. They all offer benefits and can heal the soul.

Finish the sentence: “The number one reason that I crochet is ....” 
if I don’t, I feel like I will explode!

Thank you for getting to the end!  

I'm sure many of you have had some kind of struggle in your life.  Some big, some small.  One must go on.  There is light at the end of the tunnel and I find that creating art will get you there.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Pile of Projects

I've got a slew of projects surrounding "my chair"!  New patterns, Christmas prezzies and photo shoots still to do.  I'm working on a new pattern.....Boyfriend Beanie and Arm Warmers set,

...a scarf pattern using one skein of yarn in 3 or 4 different weights.  One skein of Artyarns (above),

One skein of Mizzrahi chunky weight,

and one skein of Red Heart Boutique.  Same pattern, different weight yarn and only one skein for each scarf.  Perfect for the costly, yet oh so yummy, Artyarn skeins in your stash.

I'm also working on a boyfriend blanket.  Not MY boyfriend!!!  My daughter is seeing a great guy from Michigan.  He is a big Detroit Lions fan, so he is getting an afghan in team colors!  I've GOT to get that finished by this weekend.

I've finished another Sockhead Hat using one skein of Fiesta Baby Boom in Cedar Crest.  You might have to check back after the holidays to get that yarn.  I see they are sold out of many lines.  Here's the link to my Ravelry project page for the pattern link.  Not the greatest pic.  The yarn colors are very rich, as are all the Baby Boom colors are.

I've also been working on Blanket Scarves.  I know you have seen them all over Pinterest.  


I adore them.  So chic and ever so cozy.  Get yourself some flannel fabric.  I found some on sale at Joann's Fabric for $4.99 a yard.  Look in the flannel section AND the shirting section.  You need anywhere from 1 1/2 yards to 2 1/2 yards.  As the saying goes....go big or go home!  If you're fluffy like me, try 2 to 2/12 yards.  My petite daughter likes the 1 1/2 yard size.  All you do is pick out the edges, 

one or two strings at a time.  That's it!

I used a pointy size 1 knitting needle to help them along.  I'm sorry I don't have photos on a live model.....working on that too!  

I hope to see you next week with new patterns!

Yarn tip:
When you are working on something in the round that starts with one or two inches of ribbing,  I like to do the rib section back and forth as you do on straight needles.  After that section is complete, I join and then start knitting in the round.  When the project is complete, I just seam up the rib section with the cast on tail.  Doing it this way is so much easier to join without fear of twisting your cast on edge.
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