Thursday, July 29, 2010

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery..

At least I hope it is, because I totally copied someone else's idea.  :)  I was on Thimbleanna's Blog and saw these Slippers she made. She used this pattern, but made some changes that added her own personal touch.  They were so beautiful that I decided I had to have a pair myself.  I like to sew, but my skills aren't anywhere near her's, and I've never tried to make such a change to a pattern. But I REALLY wanted a pair of those slippers!  I turned to my secret weapon, my mom!  She's an excellent and experienced seamstress, so I thought with her help I might be able to pull this off.  Once she saw them, she was hooked too.  So we got the pattern and supplies and with a little helpful advice from the very nice Thimbleanna herself, we were in business.  Now if it would just get cold enough to wear them.  :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yarn Snatching Crime Caught on Tape!

Gus the yarn snatcher finally caught in the act.  This is a scenerio that occurs in my house several times a day. 


Just a little peek to scope things out.....

Yep, I see a big ball of yarn in there!


Now if I can just get my paws on it


Got it!




Now to find a place to hide to play with my "catch" in peace.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two Color Border Tutorial

I've been asked several times how I make the borders by alternating colors.  This basically just follows the same instructions on my changing colors tutorial, you just do this on every stitch.

I've done this a lot when I make my scrubbie dot pattern, so I'll use that as the example for this tutorial.

Scrubbie Dot

Step 1) When you finished the prior round of the scrubbie dot, you sl st to join the rounds, then you ch 1.  This is where you'll be ready to start the border.  Insert the hook into the same st as the ch 1 and pull up loop, you now have two loops on the hook as seen in the photo #1.

Photo #1
Step 2) With the two white loops still on the hook, bring in the green yarn and hold alongside the stitches on the hook.  With the hook, yarn over, and "grab" the green yarn and pull thru the two white loops on the hook, as seen in photos #2 & #3. The white stitch has been completed and the green yarn is on the hook to begin stitching the next green stitch.
Photo #2

Photo #3

Step 3) Insert the hook into the next stitch.  Notice the white yarn laying across the hook and alongside the stitch?  Whichever color is not being currently stitched with, will be stitched over.  This allows you to "carry" the yarn along with you. (see photo #4)

Photo #4

Step 4) Now yarn over and "grab" the green yarn, and pull up a loop as shown in photos #5 & #6.

Photo #5

Photo #6

Step 5) Notice in the photo #6, the green working yarn is being held and the white yarn is laying along the stitches?  Now you'll need to switch them.  Let the green yarn lay across the stitches, and pick up the white yarn that will now be used, as shown in photo #7. Yarn over, and "grab" the white yarn and pull thru the two green loops, photo #8.
Photo #7

Photo #8
Step 6) The green stitch has been completed and the white yarn is on the hook to stitch the next white stitch.  Repeat steps 3-5 for each stitch around, until you get to the last stitch.

Step 7) The last stitch should be a green stitch.  Follow steps 3 - 5 so that you complete the green stitch and end up with a white loop on the hook.  Sl st to first white sc in round and finish off.  Having the white loop on the hook after the last stitch enables you to use the same color yarn when joining the rounds.

I hope this information is helpful and clear, but please drop me a note if you have any questions.  :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Changing Colors Tutorial & Some Helpful Tips

A lot of my patterns have a design crocheted into them, which require color changing. I've had several people ask me questions on how to do this, so I thought I'd write up a tutorial, and include some helpful tips that work well for me.

Changing Colors:
1. When it's time to change colors, work the last single crochet stitch of the old color as you normally would by inserting hook and drawing up a loop. You now have 2 loops on the hook. Do not yet work the last yarn over to complete the stitch.



2. Hold the new color alongside the hook and yarn over, picking up the new color. Draw the new color thru the last two loops of the old color.


3. The last stitch is complete in the old color, and the new color is on the hook to begin stitching.





Helpful Tips:

Tip #1. These color change instructions show how to change colors when working a single crochet, but the same instructions apply no matter which stitch you're working. You'll just use the new color to complete the final yarn over of the last stitch of the old color.

Tip #2. I've often been asked if I break off the yarn between each color change, and the answer is no. At least not if I can avoid it.

a)If I have a lot of color changes, I first consider if the wrong side of the piece will be seen. If the wrong side is going to be covered up, like a potholder or a pillow, then I will usually let the color changes "strand" across the back. By that I mean, when changing color, I drop the old color and just let it hang in the back, then pick it up later when I need it, letting the yarn strand across between the last stitched area and the new stitched area, as shown in the photo below. This is a bit sloppy looking however, and I only use if it will be covered later. Also, if you do use this method, make sure to let the yarn strands drape loosely, pulling too tight will make the piece pucker and not lay flat.


b)If I'm working on a design like the one in the picture below that has a background color with a design of a different color(s) in the center, I'll work out of both ends of the ball of the background color. One end to work the right side of the design and the other end to work the left side of the design.


c)If the backside of the piece will be seen, then I want it to be as neat as the front side. This can be accomplished by using a separate ball/strand of yarn for each color, so that none will be stranded across the other. You can use yarn bobbins to wrap the yarn around and then unwrap it as you need it. This helps keeps the yarn from getting tangled as well.

Tip #3- It's very important to always keep the working yarn of all colors to the wrong side of your work. This means that when you're working the right side of your piece, then all the working yarn is to the back (as in first photo below), but when you're working the wrong side of the piece, then all the working yarn will be to the side facing you (as in second photo below).




Tip #4 - After changing colors, always give the strand of the old color a small, gentle tug. Sometimes a small bit will stick out between the two stitches, and giving it a gentle tug smoothes it back out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gus and Grace, the Yarn Bandits

Meet Gus (black) and Grace (Gray). Gus's favorite pastime is snatching balls of yarn and taking off with them. Sometimes even the ball I'm currently using. Grace is his willing accomplice and stands guard while he's yarn hunting and runs away with him once they've made their snatch. When not yarn-stealing, they like to sit on the back porch and watch the birds.

We adopted them from our local animal shelter in March, shortly after our beloved cat Bear passed away at 18 years old. Gus is 6 1/2 months old now (and bigger than Grace), and Grace is 9 months old. They definitely keep us on our toes and very entertained.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Four Square Coaster Crochet Pattern - FREE

Click on download link below to get pattern.



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Four Square Crochet Potholder Pattern - FREE

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Candy Cane Crochet Pattern - FREE

Click on the download link below to get pattern.




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Scrubbie Dots Crochet Pattern - FREE

Click on the download link below to get pattern.


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Springtime Coasters Crochet Pattern - FREE

Click on download link below to get pattern.
And if you'd like to see a springtime coaster being made, Connie from Easy Video Crochet made a wonderful video tutorial for making these coasters.  You can see it here .  Thank you Connie!


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