Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More scarves--does it get any better?

In case you couldn't tell, I'm in a scarf mood lately.  I love love love scarves.  There's something about having a nice soft scarf around my neck that helps me keep warm from my head to my toes.  Some days (usually Saturdays) I'll go around all day with a scarf around my neck.  I find that they are particularly helpful in the evenings when my house is just cool enough so that I'm uncomfortable, but not so cold that I feel like (spending the money by) turning up the heat.  When that's the case, sometimes all it takes is one little scarf around my neck, and I'm good to putter around until bedtime.

So, since I'm in a scarf mood today, I thought I'd post some links to some scarf patterns that I've been hankering to work up.

First of all, Marie Ann over at  
Every Day Crochet  has posted 
a stitch combination that is simple
as can be, but yields results that 
look distinguished and unique.  
My favorite kind of crocheting!  
You can find the introduction
here, and then the actual 
directions right here

I love this Mermaid Scarf--so fun!

This Mirror Lake Scarf looks like 
it might be a little complicated, but 
probably well worth the effort.

I have a whole shoebox full of beads 
leftover from past hobbies.  This bead
perfect way to use up some of those 
beads, AND bring a little extra happiness 
to some of my eighteen nieces!  
(Not to mention my own little girl.)


Then there's the Noro Catherine Wheel
Scarf.  Unique.  Delightful.  Am I up to 
the challenge of this one?  Here's 

And finally, we have this bloom scarf.  
Perhaps not quite right for November, 
but come February, I'll be pining for 
Spring, and this will be just the thing.  
(Please note that to see this pattern, 
you have to register for the Lion Brand 
yarn site.)

And there you have it, some of my favorites.  
What about you?
Do you have a scarf pattern that you particularly like or want to try?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crochet Charity Feature--Angels for Hope

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One thing that has been amazing to me as I've gotten more involved with crocheting and the on-line crocheting community is just how many opportunities there are to do good with this talent.  Between collective etsy shops to bonafide non-profit organizations, to helping out with fundraisers for worthy causes, I've found that there are more ways to help than I had ever previously imagined.

I still enjoy the one-on-one gifts of course, whether they be to people I know or people I don't, and I love to see someone's eyes light up when I've managed to give them something that they really treasure.  But, there is also a sweet satisfaction in a gift quietly given.  I imagine you know what I mean.

Anyway, because there are so many options for charitable crocheting out there, I'm going to try something new around here.  Every 2-3 months (if I stay on top of it) I'm going to research and highlight a charitable organization that utilizes crocheters to fulfill its mission.  I'm hoping that in doing that, I'll end up with a nice database of charitable options for myself, and if it helps someone else out there, then well, I definitely won't complain about that.

So, today I'd like to highlight Angles for Hope as my first crochet charity feature.

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What they do:  Angels for hope offers free crocheted angels (and butterflies and smiley faces) for anyone in need of hope.  A small card is attached to each angel, indicating to the recipient that they are not alone, that someone cares, that they are in the thoughts and prayers of another.

How it works:  Anyone can request that an angel be sent to a friend or loved one in need through their website.  Angels for Hope volunteers commit to crochet one item per week (using official AFH patterns), and send it, at their expense, to a recipient in need of hope, as assigned by AFH administrators. 

Other notes:  Angels of Hope is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, which means that any expenses incurred in being a volunteer are deductible as charitable contributions.

My thoughts:  When I first heard about this, I wasn't exactly sold on the idea.  I mean, if I'm feeling ill or unhappy, or just tired of fighting, is a little crochet embellishment really going to help me out?  But, as I've researched and found out more about it, I've become more of a believer.  In 2009, Angels for Hope sent out 81,489 items to people in need of hope and cheer.  That's a lot of people blessed by mere "crochet embellishments".

Sometimes I get caught up in the "utility" of the things I make.  I mean, donated hats or a blankets serve very practical needs, and there is definitely a need for them in places all over the world.  But, what about people who live in warm climates?  What about people who have sufficient funds in their bank accounts to purchase their own hats and blankets, but are emotionally bankrupt, in need of love, cheer, or some reminder that they are not alone in the world?  If a woman (or man) with a crochet hook and a skein of yarn can help with that need, is it any less worthy of a cause?  Personally, I don't think so.

To be an Angel for Hope volunteer, there is a definite commitment.  As you sign up, you basically agree to make and send one item, week in and week out.  I was thinking that were I to volunteer, I could possibly work really hard for 2-3 days, make 10-15 items, and send one out each week, then repeat the process 10-15 weeks later.  However, it looks like the "requesters" can specify a color of the item, and so my stockpile idea might not work.

I've got an e-mail in to Cindy Gabner, the President of the Organization, asking her that very question.  If I find out more on that, I'll be sure to post it here. 

Either way, I think the folks at Angels for Hope have found a creative way to spread a little cheer, and having a little more cheer in the world is always a good thing, right?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Scarf Update-with my first ever "published" pattern!

Well, I finished the Homespun scarf and hat. 

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I'm pleased with how they came out.  They're luxuriously soft, and although my personal color preference tends toward bright, vibrant colors; there's no denying that this beige/tan will match with nearly every coat ensemble, where a ruby red or peacock blue absolutely would not.

I still have some of this yarn left over from my mad Michael's buying spree, so I think I'm going to work up a few more scarves, but make them longer and thinner. 

I've decided to share the pattern for this scarf here, even though I don't have a whole lot of experience with writing patterns, and I'm not sure I'll do it perfectly.  The fact is, writing it up is good practice for me, and since it's absolutely free, I feel okay about the fact that it might not be written absolutely perfectly. 

So, if you're feeling brave, get out your hook and follow along!

Charlotte's Half-Cable Scarf:
Materials: 1 skein Lions Brand Homespun Yarn
Hook size:  I used an "I", but I crochet more loosely than anyone I've ever met, so you might want to try something a little smaller.
GaugeI never check the gauge.  This sometimes gets me into trouble, but I still never learn.  So no gauge here.  Sorry.

  • Row 1:  Ch 18 or so.
  • Row 2:  Dc in third chain from hook, and all the way across, you should have 16 dc in row  (The ch 2 at the beginning of this row does NOT count as one of your dc's) ch 2, (does not count as first dc), turn.)
  • Row 3:  Dc in next three stitches, [FPdc around next dc 1 row below] three times, dc in next four stitches, [FPdc around next dc 1 row below] three times, dc in last three stitches, ch 2, turn.
  • Row 4:  Dc in next three stitches, [BPdc around next FPdc 1 row below] three times, dc in next four stitches, [BPdc around next FPdc 1 row below] three times, dc in last three stitches, ch 2, turn.
  • Row 5:   Dc in next three stitches, sk 1 stitch,[FPtrc around next BPdc 1 row below] two times, FPtrc around BPdc 1 row below skipped stitch (slant stich made), dc in next four stitches, sk 1 stitch, [FPtrc around next BPdc 1 row below] two times, FPtrc around BPdc 1 row below skipped stitch dc in last three stitches, ch 2, turn.
  • Row 6:   Dc in next three stitches, sk 1 stitch,[BPdc around next FPtrc 1 row below] three times, dc in next four stitches, [BPdc around next FPtrc 1 row below] three times, dc in last three stitches, ch 2, turn.
  • Row 7:   Dc in next three stitches, [FPdc around next BPdc 1 row below] three times, dc in next four stitches, [FPdc around next BPdc 1 row below] three times, dc in last three stitches, ch 2, turn.
  • Row 8 :  Dc in next three stitches, sk 1 stitch,[BPdc around next FPdc 1 row below] three times, dc in next four stitches, [BPdc around next FPdc 1 row below] three times, dc in last three stitches, ch 2, turn.
  • Row 9:  Repeat Rows 7 & 8 until you feel like it's time for another "cable" (I usally repeat them 4-5 times each), then  repeat rows 5-8 until the scarf is the length you want it to be.
dc=double crochet
FPdc=front post double crochet
BPdc=back post double crochet
FPtrc=front post treble crochet

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Soft Scarf City

(Say that seven times fast!  I dare you!)


A few years ago, I gave several of my friends and family members crocheted scarves and hats at Christmastime. I had kind of forgotten about that, but a few days ago I was talking to my sister, and she reminded me of a set that I gave her.  I used Lions Brand Homespun yarn, which ended up being a great choice.  The yarn is soft and comforting, and because it's a bulky weight, everything works up super quickly.  Best of all, since the yarn is acrylic, the items made from it are machine washable.

So, Saturday  I was browsing around in Michael's (in high heeled boots and a skirt, with my impatient toddler girl and dragging-his-feet-and-being-obnoxious-while-trying-to-be-funny-all-at-the-same-time husband)(but that's another story), and discovered their entire stock of Homespun on sale!  I took it as a sign from the good crochet fairy, and bought a bunch.  I started on a scarf that evening, and will be making several more over the next week or so.  Some will probably go for Christmas presents, and some will be for sale in my Etsy shop.  But let's be honest for a second, shall we?  At least two of them are going to go straight to me.

It's advertising, right?  Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that my idea of winter heaven is to be able to wear a different scarf every day of the week if possible.  Absolutely not.  This is pure advertising.

It's a rough job, but someone's got to do it. 

Homespun collage courtesy of:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Slippers Update

So, remember how I was going to try my hand at slippers?

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I'm pleased with how they've turned out.  I don't have them all listed yet, but those that I have listed have been quite popular.

A few things I learned along the way:

-Upcycled yarn didn't work as well for these as the brand new stuff.  See those black slippers?  They were made from some yarn that I upcycled from a thrifted cotton sweater.  The yarn ended up being a little more difficult to work with than the regular cotton yarn that I purchased to make the rest of the slippers.

-Having a few possible buttonholes on the attachment strap is easy, and a good idea.   The pattern called for just one buttonhole (which was made by doing sc ch sc instead of sc sc sc), but after a few tries, I found that making three buttonholes was just as easy, and made the slippers more adjustable.  Kind of like how sandals and belts have a few possible holes, you know?

And finally, (and most importantly for me)

-I am capable of making two slippers that are exactly (or close enough to exactly) the same size.   Hooray!  Charlotte scales another mountain and conquers another weakness!  Yippee!!

And just for fun, here are few links to free slipper patterns on the web:

This one isn't free, but it's only $4, and it's the pattern I used for the slippers purchased here, and I think it's worth it.  The woman who wrote and sells the pattern is from New Zealand, and I she used a few terms that weren't all that familiar to me, but I was able to figure it all out without too much trouble.

This monster eyes slipper pattern looks delightful!  I can think of a few people for whom a pair of these would make a hilarious and most appreciated gift.

I'm personally not a huge fan of this particular picture, but if you made these Pilgrim slippers (on the left) in browns and tans, they might be just the thing for hanging out and watching the Thanksgiving Day football games.

This pattern for Cosy Crocheted Slippers (on the right) comes to us courtesy of Canadian Living.  And really, who would know better about needing something nice and warm on your toes than those Canadians?   

And there you have it!  The extensive slipper update.  Good luck with your slipper adventures, and if you have any luck (or any catastrophes that you want to commiserate over), please feel free to post about them here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Luscious Creamy Goodness

I absolutely adore this treasury:

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(Can you find which item I made?)

(Hint: It's not the fingerless gloves.)