Archive | Project ideas RSS feed for this section

You can Make an Ocean with Crochet

15 Mar

Not too long ago I came across the Sólás Caomh pattern by Jodi Euchner in an Interweave Crochet magazine. I became enthralled with crochet cabling. Most people think of knitting and the “scary” extra needle. But I had to learn how to do this wonderful new technique, but not in a baby blanket size, on a blanket that would fit a 6’1″ man – this had potential disaster written all over it. My knitting/crochet class was a little skeptical of my plan (they often are, but most times, it’s valid) but they still helped me tinker some pattern adjustments and the tricky new stitches.

The Manly Blanket

I decided to use a J hook (6 mm) and bulky weight yarn. I picked out a Clover “Soft Touch” crochet hook that’s an ergonomic design and a great price. Let me tell you, this saved me many a painful hour working with the hook. I never had to take a break or slow down because I was doing too much with my hands. It’s high enough up and has a flat neck where  you place your thumb and forefinger that makes working with it very comfortable. Mind you, this hook works best if you hold the hook like this:

Knife Holding Position

and not like this:

Underarmor position (my own misnomer)

My friend crochets the latter and had a hard time gripping the hook with the ergonomic chunky flat head. (Pictures courtesy of the Crochet World blog.)

Next, I used Ella Rae “Seasons” in color 19. It’s a bulky weight yarn that is “chainette”, which means that it’s not wrapped around itself, but is like an icord or crochet chain of yarn. I liked this style of yarn better, because I had ZERO splitting.

To make a blanket this size, I went up two yarn weights and two hook sizes larger than the pattern, then I added six stitches to the beginning and end of the pattern rows the whole duration of the blanket. This meant I casted on 135 stitches instead of 23 and added six more stitch repeats to the beginning of the row before doing the first cable set.

There are three separate cable types in this pattern and each is a little different. For help understanding how to do a Front Post or Back Post click on the links to understand how it works. Even if you know how to do these stitches, check out the videos anyway, because it’s a dude doing the videos. He has these big beefy hands and you sit there wondering, “This is a work of counter-nature.”

The part that is the hardest to understand in the pattern is FPdc or FPtr behind the stitches you worked, but it’s not a BPdc or BPtr. What this is trying to tell you (but hard to visualize), is you will be working the stitches as a FP, behind the stitches you just worked, but still in FRONT of the body of the project. Crochetme has a blog post all to help you out with this pattern.

To complete the edging I did the first two rows in the same color as the blanket and only used white for the last and final row. I liked the look of it better and called the white accent my “sea foam” to the ocean colored blanket.

Back to work on my knitted sock – don’t judge that I’m not crocheting!
-Stacy C.

Post-Christmas Handmade Gifts Review

15 Jan

Hello everyone,

I know I’ve been pretty quiet, but if you had been crazy, like me, you would have been super busy last month trying to race to the finish line for Christmas gifts. I ended up making five presents and only two of them were “small”. Let’s take a look at my creativity gallery, shall we?

For my mother I made this beautiful shawl using the Color Obsession pattern everyone was gaga over. (I do have some tips for this one in my project notes). After having the edging snap apart while blocking, I was able to come up with a fix and part of that was to add a crochet boarder with the same color as the base color.

The finished, fixed product

Another angle

For my father, I made a pair of socks using Solemate. I was really happy with this yarn because I tried one of them on to make sure the claims of the Outlast thread worked (I washed the socks, of course). My results left me satisfied and my dad said they kept his feet very warm. I used an adjusted pattern called “Treads” from the “Son of Stitch ‘N Bitch” book.

Snazzy socks

For a friend of mine, I made an extremely modified version of the “Sólás Caomh” baby blanket into a gigantic 6′x4.5′ blanket. It took a lot of yarn, but I was able to rock that thing like nobody’s business. I’m extremely proud of this thing and all of the crochet cable-ing I learned! Because of all the awesomeness I accomplished and modified with this pattern, I shall have to write up a review in the future.

The beautiful Irish sea!

For my brother, I made him two different hats. The first is one that I (mostly) made the year before – but I had to finish it to give it as a gift, so it counts! I modified the “Wise Old Owl Hat” pattern to have only one owl – you know, the strong, silent type.

Manly hoot

The other one I made for him was a hat from the pattern “Berruti“. This was the second time I made the hat and I think my eyes were getting cross because I made a lot of unnecessary mistakes on a cool, but easy pattern.

Ziggy Zag

I made notes and mods on all of these projects I’ve stored on my Ravelry notebook. I hope you take joy looking at my Christmas presents as I did giving them.

Back to my Radiance shawlette,
-Stacy C.

 

Faux Crochet Entrelac (Like Faux Fur, but BETTER!)

29 Nov

Hello readers,

Beautiful Cowl-ness

I recently had to insert a project into my Christmas knitting extravaganza to make a birthday present. I needed something quick and cute and decided to make a cute cowl. I used used one of the cable patterns from the Sólás Caomh by Jodi Euchner and modified it to be cowl-friendly. I used some Lion Brand Yarn in Homespun Ambrosia to help me stash bust – it was the perfect hue for the birthday girl.

Faux Cable Cowl Pattern
Be sure to make your tension loose and be generous with the yarn being used in each stitch. If you pull tight and uniform, you will have a lot of gaps between the cables and it won’t feel so warm.

Using Bulky Yarn (weight 5) and a J hook (6 mm)
Glossary: BPdc – Back post double crochet; ch- Chain; dc – double crochet; FPdc/tr – Front post double crochet/triple crochet;
hdc – half double crochet; sk – skipped; sts – stitches
(Trebles used in this pattern are American terminology so you would wrap the yarn twice around the hook before making a stitch)

Loosely Ch22

Row 1 (WS): DC all stitches

Row 2 (cable row): Ch3 (count as first stitch here and throughout the pattern), DC 1 in the next stitch
*Sk next 3 sts
FPtr in the next 3 sts
Working in front of sts just made FPtr in 3 sk sts*
Repeat from * 3xs
Dc 2

Row 3: Ch 2, hdc 1 stitch
BPdc in 18 sts
Hdc 2

Row 4 (cable row): Ch 3, dc 1 stitch

A stylish Nanook

FPdc in next 3 sts
*Sk next 3 sts
FPtr in next 3 sts
Working behind sts just made FPtr in 3 skipped sts*
Repeat from * 2xs
FPdc in next 3 sts
Dc 2

Row 5: Repeat row 3

Row 6 (cable row): Ch 3, dc 1 stitch
*Sk next 3 sts
FPtr in next 3 sts
Working in front of sts just made FPtr in 3 sk sts*
Repeat * 3xs
Dc 2

Row 7: Ch 2, dc 1
BPdc 18 sts
Hdc 2

Row 8 (cable row): Ch 3, dc 1

The Birthday Girl strutting her handmade chic

FPdc in next 3 sts
*Sk next 3 sts
FPtr in next 3 sts
Working behind sts just made FPtr in 3 sk sts*
Repeat * 2xs
FPdc in next 3 sts
Dc 2

Row 9: Repeat row 7

Repeat rows 2-9 however many times you want. I did mine 12 times.
Finish – slip st ends together inside out to make a seam. Light blocking needed for this yarn.

A couple of other fun ideas you can do is end with multiple dc rows to sew buttons on and make it a cowl. I didn’t put a border on it because the scarf is just supposed to look like the interwoven cables. For those of you who HAVE to have some kind of gauge, a row should be about 1.5-2″ long for the right side and about 1-1.5″ long on a wrong side.

If you use this pattern, PLEASE, let me know what you think on my Ravelry pattern page. I really want to know how you peeps are rocking this design.

Workin’ my Crochet Creativity,
-Stacy C.

All Easters Should Have Yarn

9 Apr

Hello my fellow yarn addicts. I hope everyone’s Easters (yes, it’s supposed to be plural – watch “Nacho Libre”), or Passover, was great. I had a whirlwind long weekend, four states in four days. Let me tell you, living on the East Coast with all these smaller states is something I’m still getting used to!

This is the kind of yarn I used

I had a lot of yarn woven in with all my other crazy family activities. I had to finish a birthday present for a close friend’s uncle, of course I didn’t clue in until Tuesday that I needed it for Saturday. I decided to make a man slip knot scarf in a basket weave pattern. Where’s the picture?! Well, in all my haste, I didn’t get one… I know! I know!!! You’d think I’d learn from having to back track for other projects and getting the picture retroactively. HOWEVER, it was a dark blue and not easily photographed anyway :-p

What I mean by a slip knot scarf, is that I bound off four stitches on one side of the scarf for four rows. After using the back loop cast on to get my four stitches back, I had a “hole” on one side. This way, you can just put the other end through the “hole” and slip knot the scarf to the neck. (Stop screaming for pics. I will make a lighter colored one later)

I will give you this basic pattern, feel free to have fun with it:

A Manly Slip Knot Scarf

Bulky Yarn (Weight 5)
Needles: Size 11 (8 mm)

Cast on 30
Garter stitch 3 rows
(For all rows the border is three stitches on each side)
Rows 4-8: K3, *K4, P4, repeat from * to the last three stitches, K3
Knit row 9
Rows 10-14: K3, *P4, K4, repeat from * to the last three stitches, K3
Knit row 15
Knit to desired length
Garter stitch last 3 rows
Bind off

For the key hole section: when you are about 2/3 – 3/4 done with the length you want, follow the pattern for the first 13 stitches, then BO 4 stitches.
K four rows to pattern, just skip those four BO stitches as if they were knitted
K 13 stitches to pattern, back loop cast on four stitches, continue pattern

There you have it, a quick and easy man scarf.

Back to my regularly scheduled program,
-Stacy C. Cervantes

Taking Basic Crochet Slippers a Notch Above the Rest

2 Apr

Hello readers, I was hoping to squeeze this last post in March to close out Crochet Month. Well, we’re ending it on April 1, around here! This doesn’t mean the last of crochet on this blog, not by a long shot, but I’ll stop mentioning the featured style for another 11 months! :-D

Spring into the season with these babies!

Today, is another highlight on a relatively easy crochet project, Crochet Slippers by Zoom Yummy, that I made in Red Heart’s Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe in Beach Glass and Caron Simply Soft in Chocolate. (Of course the final project is available for purchase in my Etsy store… :-D)

Let me just prefice this post by saying the original blog post is very helpful with all the pictures for the different steps; however, I’m the kind of person who see it all in one place when I’m actually in the middle of the project and understand how the rounds are supposed to look. I decided to condense it all in this post before I go on to giving any tips and modifications. Please note, I didn’t change her pattern at all, this is exactly from the original post and all credit is due Zoom Yummy for the following:

Round 1: ch 5, join with sl st

Round 2: 3 ch, 7 dc into center of ring, join sl st

Round 3: 3 ch, 1 dc into 1st st, 2 dc each stitch after, join sl

Round 4: 3 ch, 1 dc into 1st st, 2 dc into each stitch after

Round 5-13: continue crocheting in spiral, 1 dc into each dc

Round 14: TURN, 3 ch, 1 dc into second stitch frm hook, make 20 dc (1 dc into each following dc)

Round 15-21: turn, 3 ch, 1 dc into second stitch frm hook, continue 20 dc (same as 14)

Round 22: turn, 3 ch, 1 dc into first stitch frm hook, continue 21 dc (1 dc into each next dc), another 1 dc into last stitch

Round 23-25: turn, 3 ch, 1 dc into second stitch frm hook, continue 22 dc (1 dc into each next dc)

Round 26: turn, 3 ch, 1 dc into first stitch frm hook, continue 23 dc (1 dc into each next dc), another 1 dc into last stitch

Round 27-28: turn, 3 ch, 1 dc into second stitch frm hook, continue 24 dc (1 dc into each next dc)

Finish off and weave in ends

Fold end in half and see it together. Make sure it’s turned out, then face seam facing forward.

Edging: tie yarn to the edge of the slipper, this counts as the first stitch.

2 ch

Then make 1 sc into the next bigger “hole”, make 1 ch, repeat

Finally make 1 sl st to join with the 1st

Finish off and weave in ends
###

Of course these are available in my Etsy shop!

Hope this abbreviated version helps the cliff noters, like me. Now on to my assessment and modifications: You’ll note the pattern doesn’t tell you what weight yarn or hook to use – even what size this final product makes.* This was hard, because I really had to look at multiple finished projects on ravelry.com to get an idea of where to even start. I made this first pair by using a yarn weight of 4 (or worsted), size H (or 5 mm) hook and ended up with a 8/9 in women’s sizes.

Additionally, to make this size, I jumped from round 10 to 14, cut out round 25 and 28 and still ended up with this bigger size. If you want to follow the pattern to a T, I suggest you use a yarn weight of 3 or even a 2 (DK or Sport weight) and possibly a smaller hook. My stitches are in the middle of tight and loose, they might slightly lean toward a little lose when I’m tired, if that helps you better gauge my assessment.

A couple of style modifications: I noticed that after Round 4, when you start another round and ch, using more than 1 or 2 ch stitches made the round more hole-y. I like my slippers to be tight for a little more warmth and only ch 1 before each row until Round 14. For the edging, I noticed the ch, in between sc stitches made the top wider. Except for the beginning pair of ch, I only sc stitch around the top.

Real classy

Pattern clarification: there was only one part where I got hung up on the pattern and that was how to start the edging. This is

where the pictures came in very handy, I threaded the yarn through, with the tail inside the slipper. Then, I made a slip not making sure the loop wrapped around the slipper. If you look closely at the slipper, that is how the loop counts as the first stitch, by wrapping around the edge stitch.

This is a great pattern, I know I pointed out a lot of hang ups and problems, but the pattern is a base – a starting point. What makes vague patterns great is you can make the finished product your own. But if you’re like me and want to know how to start; or pattern watchers who need to follow every step, this post was to help you own the slippers you make.

Working my Fancy Foot Style,

-Stacy C.

*I have since seen an adjustment with pertinent information to the pattern size. “(Oh, one important thing! These slippers were made to fit my feet, which are size 40 – Europe / 6.5 – UK / 9 – US. To adjust the size of these slippers to your feet you may need to change the number of rounds between the round 5 and 13 and the number or rows between the row 15 – 21 of this post. AND… I used worsted weight yarn and G – 4 mm hook to make the slippers.)”

Chain, Chain, Chaaaain. Crochet Chains Made to Wear

3 Mar

March is National Crochet Month, so here at theyarnfix, we’re kicking things off right with this fundamentals piece. What better way to start of a big month of fiber crafting then at the basics? Chaining is the starting point for Crochet and then you move to SCs, HDCs, DC, and TCs (click here for your crochet stitch helper guide), which can get very confusing and hard really fast. While re-learning crochet, I went back to fundamentals and started looking at pictures with simple chaining as the basis for patterns. You can actually make a lot of chic jewelry simply by using chaining. Below are some pictures of my chain necklaces (Shameless plug, also available for purchase in my Etsy store!):

This is really something any seasoned or un-seasoned crocheter can do and actually use. If you want to try making your own fiber accessories, here are some tips:

1) Have fun. Let your imagination run wild. It might “just” be changing, but as you can see, I tried my hand at multiple looks with this simple technique.

2) You can chain multiple necklaces separately and sew the ends together; or you can SC or sl st a couple of stitches at each end to keep them whole. But you can always just wear multiple chain necklaces at once and have fun color pairing.

3) If you want a smaller, tighter necklace use 100 stitches as your base number. If you want one that falls a little lower on your breast bone use 120 stitches, and for one even lower use 140-160. To make a multiples necklace with two or more chains, increase the next necklace by five to seven stitches. This means 120 for the first one, 125 for the second, etc., that way you get a little bit of gap between them.

4) Add embellishments. Whether it’s a flower, buttons or an anchor strap, test out some looks to make your neck piece a little more snazzy.

It only takes me about one to three hours to make a necklace, depending on my design. A three-tiered number, sans embellishment takes me about an hour. Accents take a little more time, maybe 20 minutes to an hour. So, if you’ve made all the hats and scarves you could give a person, try thinking of creating one of these beauties that can be worn in any season. Now’s the time to refine technique, make it unique and create your own patterns. So, the next time you make a crack at how you can “only” make really long chains there’s actually something cute you can do with them!

If you have any questions about how I made specific necklaces shown above leave a comment and I will be glad to impart some of my design secrets.

Back to my creativity zone,
-Stacy C.

Keep Your Headband on, it’s CROCHET!

6 Feb

That’s right, folks, I finally have a crochet post for my yarn peeps! (Don’t get too noisy with your cheers, Susann Marie doesn’t know, yet – and I don’t want her to ruin the party!) This started out as a knitting blog, but I’ve always wanted to be more inclusive of all yarn crafts – the biggest being crochet (stop boo-ing, Susan Marie!!! :-p).

Flower headband

For several years I’ve wanted to make more flowers from my yarn. I’m a girl, I like flowers, why not make more in my knitting? Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, there are a LOT more flower patterns with crochet than with knitting. Who knew flowers were needle biased?!

Anyway, I wanted to start exploring more classy yarn jewelry patterns after my successful knit-braided necklace and decided I had to branch into crochet if I was going to be a yarn crafter of chic creation proportions. I found Headband with Flower by Creativeyarn and I thought, “simple and sleek.” I made this pattern with Knitpicks’ Wool of the Andes in Cranberry.

The headband is pretty simple, it’s just three chains connected at the ends. You simply single crochet at the beginning and end of chain two and three to connect them so it’s easy to tie it at the back of the head. Perfect project for the new (or relearning) crocheter. I barely knew what I was doing and was able to figure it out. For those yarn crafters who can chain until the day is long, now you know what you can make!

NOTE: For the absolute beginner, I highly recommend this video and her subsequent beginner crochet instructional videos. Watch these before you continue on with this project.

The instructions for the flower were a little difficult to understand (she’s Italian and there is something lost between translation of language and European crochet shorthand). Here’s what worked best for me when someone helped me get it:

The slip stitch is a little weird if you’ve never done it, check out this video. For those who need to know where you are on this crochet map, at this point, you have done “hole” for the flower.

Crochet Flower

Round 1, chain three, then you double chain another 15 by using the hole as your row to dc (double crochet) into. At the end of round 1, you’ve completed the inner circle and should have 16 stitches. (Congratulations, you’ve made it passed the inner circle! :-p)

Round 2, double chain in the same “space” you just slip stitched, then you double crochet 2xs in the same “space” between each dc you previously made before you move to the next one. You should end with 32 stitches. At the end of round 2, you’ve completed the second circle.

Round 3 is pretty self explanatory. At the end of round 3, you’ve completed the “links” between the second and third circles.

Round 4, you are making the petals. When you single crochet (sc) into the previous sc, you’re giving the petals their concave shape.

Well, reader, I’m feeling pretty good right now about not only finishing a super cute, functional crochet project, but also able to go back and explain what I did. This was as much for me to go back and remember as it was to help you. Hope you enjoyed it and are able to make plenty of flower heads for people to wear. More crochet entries to come!

Now, back to work on my darn, endless blanket! (A blog post for next time)

-Stacy C.

These Pop-Overs are for Wearing, NOT Eating

16 Dec Well-loved

Whilst you can’t eat these “pop-overs” I know you’ll still love them.

I made a pair of these “#53 Flip-Top Mittens” by Patti Pierce with Hobby Lobby’s “I love this yarn!” in Grey Beard last year, before I started this blog. They have served me so well, I had to do a pattern review so you too can stay extra warm this winter.

Finished Product

(For my Houston peeps, I’m sorry, but maybe you can use some really thin yarn to pretend you’re cold ;-D). I call them pop-overs because when I described them to a non-knitter that word was the best way to explain it – and it stuck.

I chose this color because I knew white and other lighter colors would get nasty fast and I would have a devil of a time knitting a darker color. It took me about three days to knit these mittens over the Christmas break. Granted, I had a lot of personal time to knit these up, but if you’re an intermediate knitter it should take you a week – two tops – if you only have a couple hours at a time to spend.

This was my first time knitting a functional knitting accessory. Instruction for the lace pattern is easy. I can’t recall having a problem with the first section. I found the thumb part a useful tutorial for my first pattern to set live stitches on a hook and continue knitting the rest. I could actually make sure these mittens fit while I was knitting them by sliding my hand in between the double-pointed needle round to get the best fit.

You can see the ribbing on the back

A note of confusion on the pattern: the ribbed pattern for the popovers. The way you knit up the pop-over part is NOT the same for each mitten as stated on the pattern. It could be if you know exactly how you’re project is supposed to look while knitting in progress; but if you are blindly following the pattern (like I was), the way you pick up the stitches and start knitting the rib does matter. I ended up knitting the rib in the back and as my picture shows, the inside brim is rolled up a little. But it works and I don’t mind (as much) anymore.

As always, I made a pattern adjustment. I decided to close the thumb because I thought it was dumb to be able to cover your fingers but leave your coldest digit uncovered. Thumbs don’t have finger friends to help keep warm!

Well-loved

Below is the change I made to the thumb:

(I had an eighth of an inch of my thumb peeking out at this point)
K2, K2Tog* (*repeat)
K1, K2tog, K2
K1, K2tog, K1
K2tog (1 stitch left over)
Slip yarn through leftover stitch to finish.

I’m so glad I wrote down and saved this part! It was almost a year ago that I made it. It pays to be so organized :-D

Bopping to the next knitting project,
-Stacy C.

Cooking up Some Knitting in the Kitchen

3 Sep

I love food – not a surprise to anyone who knows me. I love to knit – refer to the former sentence. I’m gonna make a fusion of the two and what do you get? KITCHEN KNITS! These can look like many things, dish cloths, pot holders, tea towels, coasters, etc.

You think it sounds lame. Well, you can leave and give me back my yarn goodie bag!

There’s a little bit more to these lovelies than you think. First, they are a great hands-on experience for working on stitch patterns. I’m talking about learning to cable, figuring out seed stitch and mastering button hole making. It’s also great way to experiment creating your own patterns. It’s just a square/rectangle, not much harm you can do.

Outside of it being a great beginner’s lair, it’ also great for churning out gifts. Check these out:

Also, knitting kitchen items makes great wedding gifts! Yep, I let the bride choose a pattern (based on several styles from pictures I’ve shown) and they also give me ideas for their colors. I tell them, “You can even say you had something custom made for your nuptials!” Which, really, adds to the greatness of a handmade wedding gift.

Take a look at a few I’ve given (I have others but I don’t like to show them before they’re given:

I suggest cotton because it’s porous and you can throw it in the washing machine. I like making my towels with Lily Cotton and Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Sparkle Cotton! Be careful of the colors you pick and what you wash it with – some times dyed cotton bleeds! Just like that red shirt you bought and stuck with the whites…
Another suggestion is to use bamboo needles when knitting with cotton. Something about cotton yarn and any smooth metal/plastic needle makes it feel like you’re knitting a slippery noodle. Not impossible, but not suggested for your mental health.
Gonna go cook me up some cashmere,
-Stacy C
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 253 other followers

%d bloggers like this: