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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baby Hat Obsession

A number of my friends are having babies!  And boys, so I've been trying to find out-of-the ordinary ways to make some boy baby gifts.  I came across these two knit baby hat patterns that I just love:  Tegan by Julie Taylor and a scalloped hat from Marie Carlander's blog (don't worry, keep scrolling down her site for the English version).  I loved them so much, I really became obsessed with knitting them.  Plus, as beautiful as a crocheted baby hat is, it just won't have the same stretchiness that a knit one does. 

Now, mind you, I can do simple knitting, but using DPNs (double point needles) and a circular needle are quite new to me.  Joelle from Wandering Wool helped me pick out the right needles from Chia Goo (affiliate link below), and I like them a lot.  I've been using Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash because it's machine washable and can be tumble dried and it's just soft and great to work with. 

But, really, whether it's crochet or knitting, it's all about repetition and practicing.  Now that I'm on my fourth hat, it's feeling quite good. 




I think the skull pattern turned out pretty good too since it was my first try at using two colors and making an image in the knitting.  The dad-to-be is the sweetest guy but has lots of tattoos, etc., so I knew I had to come up with an edgy baby hat :-).  More pix to come!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tiny Square 3

I decided not to keep you in suspense too long -- here is our third Tiny Square for NatCroMo!






With a D hook and Rowan Siena 4-Ply yarn in #684 (offwhite, Color F), #683 (orange, Color E), and #675 (yellowish green, Color C),

Round 1:  With Color F, ch 3, in third ch from hook, 2 dcs, [ch 3, 3 dcs] 3 times, ch 3, 1 dc, sl st to top of first dc

Round 2:  With Color E, attach in corner, ch 1, [3 scs in corner, 1 sc in next 3 sts] 4 times, sl st to top of first sc

Round 3:  With Color C, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, [3 scs in corner, 1 sc in next 5 sts] 3 times, 3 scs in corner, 1 sc in last 4 sts, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.

As I mentioned in my first post about the tiny squares, I've actually come up with some different color combinations and have about 100 squares, so it's about time I start putting them together!  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tiny Square 2

Hope you all are continuing to enjoy NatCroMo (I just love saying that!) and the Crochetville Designer Blog Tour.  And thank you for returning for my Tiny Square 2.


This is a fun one to make because it starts out round and ends up square.

I used Rowan Siena 4 Ply yarn in colors #679 (navy, Color D), # 675 (a yellowish-green, Color C), and #669 (blue, Color A) and a D hook

Round 1:  With Color D, ch 2, 16 dcs into second ch from hook, sl st to top of first dc
Round 2:  With Color C, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, 1 sc in next st, [(1 sc, 1dc, 1sc) in next st, 1 sc in next 3 sts] 3 times, (1 sc, 1dc, 1sc) in next st, 1 sc in last st, sl st to top of first sc
Round 3:  With Color A, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, 1 sc in next 2 sts, [3 scs in corner, 1 sc in next 5 sts] 3 times, 1 sc in last 2 sts, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.

One more tiny square to go!  There will be a sneak peek of it on my Pinterest Tiny Squares Projects board and more information about it here before the end of March (gotta keep you in suspense ;-). 



Friday, March 6, 2015

NatCroMo 2015 and Tiny Square 1

Happy National Crochet Month (NatCroMo)!  It's my pleasure and honor to be a part of Crochetville's Designer Blog Tour in celebration of this wonderful time of year. 

First things first, I want to be sure you check out Halos for Hope and try to help in any way you can.  Many Creative Gifts encourages growth as a crocheter as part of our mission, and I can't think of a better way to do that than to make a crochet hat for this amazing organization.  Halos of Hope is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to providing volunteer-crafted hats to cancer centers across the country. The founder of Halos of Hope, Pam Haschke, herself is a survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. As a result of her experiences, she has a passion for helping make sure cancer patients around the country have access to free handmade stylish hats to keep their heads warm while they undergo cancer treatment.  Please try to make at least one hat and/or make a financial donation directly to Halos on their website.  A 100% of donations received from the general public are used only for the costs of shipping hats across the country. All administrative and other costs are covered by private corporate donations.

Mail hats to:
Crochetville LLC
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749

Now for my contribution to NatCroMo 2015 -- some tiny squares :-).  The Granny Square and motifs trend seems to still be going strong, and awhile back, I came across the French crochet designer/artist Sophie Digard, who uses luxury yarns and intricate small motifs to create her masterpieces.  She's truly talented, but, upon seeing her prices, a little voice inside me said "Oh, Phyllis, you can do this too, they're just a bunch of little squares!"  Well, as proud as I am of these 1-inch squares that I've designed and hope to create something wonderful out of (I've got "only" about 100 of them so far), I now totally appreciate the price point Mlle. Digard is charging and her stamina in creating her famous scarves!  The time and effort to make enough squares for a scarf, shawl or other large project is a bit overwhelming, but it can be a wonderful take-along and long-term project ;-)

I've designed three squares, utilizing six coordinating colors in different combinations, for a total of nine motifs.  The yarn I chose, Rowan's Siena 4 Ply fingering weight 100% mercerized cotton, is truly wonderful to work with but seems to be getting hard to find (isn't that always the case when you find something you love?!).  Below is the pattern for the first square.  Please come back next week to find out about the two other squares.  I'll also be posting some possible projects using the squares, but in the mean time, I'd love to see what projects you come up with -- please "like" and post on our Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/manycreativegifts, and we've set up a special "Tiny Squares Projects" board on Pinterest as well (with some sneak peeks too!).

Here's Square 1:






With a size D crochet hook and Rowan Siena 4 Ply 100% mercerized cotton yarn in color # 669,

Round 1:  Ch 2, 8 scs in second ch from hook, sl st to top of first sc
Round 2:  Ch 5, 1 dc in same st, [ch 1, 1 dc in next st, ch 1, (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) in next st] 3 times, ch 1, 1 dc in next st, ch 1, sl st to third ch of beg ch-5.
Round 3:  Ch 1, [3 scs in ch-2 sp, (1 sc in dc, 1 sc in ch-1 sp) twice, 1 sc in dc] 3 times, 3 scs in ch-2 sp, (1 sc in dc, 1 sc in ch-1 sp) twice, 1 sc in same st as ch 1, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.

Have a wonderful March discovering or rediscovering your love of crochet!

Monday, March 2, 2015

10 Things We Love About Crochet

It's National Crochet Month (NatCroMo)!  And, as I'm preparing a special blog post for March 6th in anticipation of participating in Crochetville's Blog Tour again this year, I came across some interesting tidbits about crochet and a wonderful online application at Zanifesto to create a free infographic, so enjoy!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Mama's Bolero



For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now, you know that (years ago!) I promised my mom that I would make her a vest.  I had grand plans to design and crochet this vest using this lovely varigated yarn that she had chosen on a trip to AC Moore because she wanted something thick and washable for the winter months.  Well, you can imagine the guilt I've been feeling in not working on that project, especially after she had the stroke.  But, I have redeemed myself!  She decided not too long ago (thankfully she is doing better and better, albeit slowly) that, instead of a vest (and we'll come back to that project because I still have the yarn...), she would like a bolero of sorts -- something short with short sleeves, in a neutral color, with a pink flower. 

So, first things first, I decided to knit the bolero because I came across this simple pattern that I figured I could adapt.  Then, I found this beautiful Rowan softknit cotton yarn that was so easy to work with.  I had gotten some during the 2013 Yarn Crawl and was able to find a 10-ball pack through Deramores, not realizing I was ordering from the U.K. (the site was in dollars and free shipping so I still did well and didn't have to wait too long)!  Plus, it was so cool to get a package from across the pond :-)

I can't remember where I found the flower pattern, but it's just a simple rose crochet pattern that's done in two rows then wrapped around from center outward.

And here's the finished results!!



I'll be posting better pix later, but just so glad that the project is done and Mom likes her bolero!  And a big shout out to my friend Holly for fixing one of the raglan increases when I somehow managed to either drop or add a stitch (I really couldn't figure out what the heck I had done, but I knew it didn't look right).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Slip Knot

As I said, I am starting with the basics and building from there.  And there is nothing more basic, but more frustrating until you get the hang of it, than making a slip knot.

The slip knot represents the first loop on your hook at the beginning of a project.  The intention is to create a knot that allows the loop to slide so that it can be adjusted to be not too loose and not too tight. 

After looking around for a good video that clearly demonstrates an easy way to make the slip knot, I decided to make my own!  One of my students showed me a way to make it that is so easy and understandable.  Here's my new YouTube video demonstrating the technique:


 Hope this helps you get your crochet projects started even better and faster!