July 31, 2014

Crochet Challenge: What's Your Favorite Crochet Hook?

Take up the challenge

I highly recommend this for anyone that crochets.  I'm not the moderator; just someone that is doing it.   One simple task per week and your skills, style and knowledge will evolve while you're having fun.  Just click the "Are you Ready?" button on the sidebar to get started.

Week 21 challenge (07-23-14):   What is your favorite crochet hook, and why?
Answer:  Definitely Susan Bates.

I have used Boye hooks, but after trying a couple of Susan Bates Silvalumes, I was hooked. (Yes, I hear you groaning from the bad pun).
Susan Bates Quicksilver Crochet Hook Set
Years ago, I bought this set of Susan Bates Quicksilver hooks, and the rest is history. (I don't know what history, but it sounded good) :D

The set has sizes B - K. They are nice and smooth.

The reason I like them is first, because it is an in-line hook.  So much easier to maintain perfect stitch size (for me, anyway).  I also prefer the pointed tip of the hook, which helps work into tight stitches, and the hook is chiseled more than the Boye so I can catch up yarn strands easier.

If you don't know the difference between in-line hooks and "throated" hooks, and the impact they can have on your stitches, check out this article: Nerdigurumi - Guide to Crochet Hooks.

Boye Knitting Needle Point Protectors
Susan Bates Crochet Hook Comfort Grips
I put Susan Bates comfort grips on the shaft of the smaller hooks, and on the non-hook end, Boye knitting needle point protectors.  They are quite comfortable to use.

Tip:  To make your hooks glide smoothly (1) polish with some wax paper, (2) run alongside your nose, or (3) run through your hair.
These tips are from old-timers and they work!

Until next time!
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It's never too late to join the 52 Week Crochet Challenge by Julie at Red Berry Crochet!
One simple task per week - your skills, style & knowledge will evolve while you're having fun! 


#crochet #hooks #quicksilver #bates

Crochet Challenge: It's Christmas in July!

Week 20 challenge (07-16-14):    It's Christmas in July! Start by planning and beginning Christmas and/or Holiday projects.
Answer:  Last year before Christmas I designed these Insanely Fast & Easy slippers, and wanted to write the pattern, for myself to make different sizes for family members, and for others in case anyone else wanted a quick gift to make.

Fast & Easy Crocheted SlippersThese are the prototype slippers I made for hubby, which he wears constantly. Well, except for now in the summer!  He's a hunter, so I made them "camo" colors by using 3 different colors yarn - brown, green and beige.  They are made with 3 strands of yarn and an N hook.  (Click on the pic for more info).

Writing the pattern is more difficult than I thought it would be!  Providing references, charts, conversion tables for others that don't know how to reduce or increase sizes proves quite a challenge. I'm getting close, though, and maybe seeing light at the end of the tunnel as far as getting it published.


Until next time!
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It's never too late to join the 52 Week Crochet Challenge by Julie at Red Berry Crochet!
One simple task per week - your skills, style & knowledge will evolve while you're having fun! 


#crochet #slippers #quick

July 9, 2014

Crochet Challenge: Crochet an item from TV or a movie

Week 19 challenge (07-09-14):   Have you ever made a crochet item that you've seen on TV or a movie? If yes, show us a picture. If no, find a pattern you'd like to make and link to it. Hint: The Ravelry forums are a great place to find topics like this!
Answer:  One of my near-obsessions for many years has been Judy Garland’s scarf that she wore in the movie Meet Me In St. Louis, when she sang "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

Crochet - Judy Garland Scarf - Meet Me In St. Louis

I've never been able to find one like it, although recent searches revealed a number of people wanting one, or a pattern for one. I finally decided to add this to my design projects when I discovered a wonderful yarn that makes it seem within my reach to produce a satisfactory result.

The yarn discovery was the result of a Google search, when I came across this article on fabulousyarn.com by Ivy from My Sweetie Bean, who had made her own interpretation of the scarf.

Artyarns Beaded Mohair & Sequins
This is the yarn she used, and I believe I got the last skein of this color on the planet.  Other yarns come close, though, so if I make more than one, or someone wants to make one from my pattern, I can recommend some.

The yarn is Artyarns Beaded Mohair & Sequins, color Snow/Silver.  A strand of silk entwines a strand of silk & mohair, and then both are generously dappled with silver glass Murano beads and sequins.  It's just gorgeous!

Since it's not really "Snow" white (it's undyed/natural), and I'll need more bulk, then I’ll hold one strand of it with one strand of Shibui Knits Cloud yarn, color Ivory, which will give it some "whitening". Shibui Knits Cloud Yarn - Ivory



I found these yarns at FabuousYarns.com

History

This “scarf” is actually an American fascinator. Fascinators through the ages in other countries were much different, more like perched hats.
The term ‘fascinator’ appears in America in the 1860s and refers to a light-weight, loosely-knitted or crocheted scarf, or small shawl worn over the head.  It is made of wool or lace.  The 1943 musical Oklahoma makes reference to this use of the term fascinator at the time. [ref. Fascinator: history of a hair accessory]
Chinese knot buttonThis particular fascinator doesn’t tie under the chin - it has a fastening device where on one side there is a ribbon with a Chinese knot button, and on the other side a loop for it.  Ivy, that I referred to earlier, shows the fastener she worked up.  It's just perfect.  I hope I can make mine as nice as hers.  (Photo shown with permission by Ivy at mysweetiebean.com).

I've taken every picture of the scarf I can find on the internet, from all different angles, and have a fair idea of how I want to proceed.  And I have the yarn.  But.... and there's always a "but", isn't there?  I've some other projects to wrap up first!

Until next time!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's never too late to join the 52 Week Crochet Challenge by Julie at Red Berry Crochet!
One simple task per week - your skills, style & knowledge will evolve by just having fun! 

July 8, 2014

Free Crochet Pattern - Coaster Cozy for Iced Drinks

Make any size coaster-cozy using any weight cotton yarn, and any size hook!

So, just what is a coaster - cozy?

Iced Drinking Glass Coaster - CozyA combination of a coaster and a cozy, of course!  A coaster for iced drinks, but also a cozy to help insulate and make the ice last longer, and of course soak up condensation. 

At first my daughter pooh-poohed at this crochet pattern for a coaster - cozy for cold icy drinks and sodas, but now she isn't seen without it!  (And now that my other daughter has seen them, she has requested a set too).

It fits the glass well, and once the glass starts to sweat, gets even better, gripping to the glass, making it quite secure when using it – it will not slip off.  

The instructions include a lot of notes and tips, and when you are through, you’ll be able to breeze through making more with your own custom pattern, or create new patterns using different stitches.

Iced Drinking Glass Coaster - Cozy StabilizerBecause I can be a bit of a klutz at times, I added a "stabilizer" at the bottom.  Two stabilizer options are provided.  

The tan stabilizer is a bit easier to work, but if you're familiar with reverse single crochet (rsc), you won't have a problem with the purple style.
Iced Drinking Glass Coaster - Cozy Stabilizer


  
The written pattern sample given uses a modified aligned cobble stitch (shown on tan colored cozy), and includes directions for an option to combine that with a modified griddle stitch (the top half of the purple one).   These stitches were chosen because they are simple, stretchy, solid enough to insulate, and lend visual interest/texture.

Iced Drinking Glass Coaster - Cozy
I made mine tall to go up over the curve of the glass, but you can make them any height you want.

These will be on my "gifts to crochet" list, to be given along with a set of glasses.

Until next time!
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#free #crochet #pattern #coaster #cozy

July 5, 2014

Free crochet pattern: CorningWare Handle Potholders

 CorningWare Glass Cookware Handle Potholders
Corning Ware Handle Potholders
(Click for pattern)

Fast and easy to crochet, these pot holders were designed to match the lid potholder (shown in picture - link to pattern below).  They would make a cute set to give as a gift!

Keep them ready right next to your microwave and stove. Made to fit classic CorningWare© cookware, they will also fit similar cookware handles 1”W x 3”L (2.5 cm x 7.6 cm), but are easy to add or decrease to make any size. A handy strap keeps them together, and can be used to hang from a hook or knob.

Fun to make - I hope you enjoy them and would love for you to send a pic!

Matching lid potholder:
Berniece’s Crocheted Glass Lid Potholder (Instructions to make all sizes).

Until next time!
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#free #crochet #pattern #potholders #corningware

July 4, 2014

Crochet Challenge: Crochet in the movies and on TV

Week 18 challenge (07-02-14):   Name a movie or TV show in which someone is crocheting, or that has a crocheted item in it.
Answer:  Vanna White from The Wheel of Fortune came to mind right away. Although I don't remember her actually crocheting on a show, she became an Ambassador for the art by discussing and promoting it.

Deborah Norville also promoted her love of crochet and knit.  Between the two of them crochet came to the forefront, and they opened up lots more yarn options with their own yarn lines for our enjoyment.

As far as spotting crocheted items on TV and in the movies, there's no shortage, there.  Who can forget the afghan on the back of the couch on Roseanne?  Character Amy Fowler on the Big Bang Theory has one on her couch, too.  They make instant-homey back drops on a set don't they?
Crochet on TV - RoseanneCrochet on TV - Big Bang Theory
Crocheted afghan on Roseanne. Crocheted afghan on The Big Bang Theory
It was easy to find crocheted items on TV and in the movies --- afghans, doilies, hats, dresses, scarves, jackets, etc.
But to find anyone actually crocheting in the media, that was a tough one!  After a bit of searching, how fun to find that Betty White crocheted in an episode of Hot in Cleveland!
Crocheting on TV - Betty White - Hot in Cleveland Crocheting on TV - Deborah Norville - Knitting Daily
Betty White crocheting, Hot in Cleveland Deborah Norville, Knitting Daily TV
Deborah Norville introduced an array of crochet stuffies on Knitting Daily TV How-To with Deborah Norville, Episode 705.

Another member of this Challenge, Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence found these cool episodes from Breaking Amish and The New Girl.

Crocheting on TV - Orange is the New BlackPaulii from Ravelry found this great find!  Orange is the New Black, Season 2, Episode 8

The Wrap-Up

This has been another interesting challenge!  It pointed out a lack of balance in regard to crochet:  It's a snap to find lots of TV shows and movies in which people are knitting.  But, even though crocheted items are found being worn and used for decor far and wide, the actual act of crocheting has been ignored.  What a shame!

Until next time!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's never too late to join the 52 Week Crochet Challenge by Julie at Red Berry Crochet!
One simple task per week - your skills, style & knowledge will evolve by just having fun! 

See more challenges

#crochet #tv-movies

July 1, 2014

Crochet Challenge: Crochet from a chart

This week's challenge (06-18-14):  Find a small crochet pattern, such as a square or motif, that has a stitch chart.  Work the project from only the chart, without following any written instructions.
Answer:  Crochet charts have fascinated me, but I've always been so wrapped up in other projects that I haven't attempted them.  Crochet Challenge to the rescue again!

There is a great tutorial at:  Crochet School Lesson 21: Reading Crochet Charts, which also had the chart pattern used.

This:                                         Was turned into this:
Image of symbols explaining how to crochet from a chart  Granny square crocheted from a chart

It made me scrunch my face a lot, but was easier than I thought it would be, which makes me want to try more.  It would open up a whole new world of patterns from other languages that I can't access otherwise.

Do you crochet from a chart, or pattern, or both?  Let me know!

Until next time!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's never too late to join the 52 Week Crochet Challenge by Julie at Red Berry Crochet!
One simple task per week - your skills, style & knowledge will evolve by just having fun! 


#crochet #chart #free #patterns