Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Needle Felting

The Chicken or the Egg? That and Yoga for Wrists and Hands

Well, the outcomes of my crochet experiment indicate that the egg comes before the chicken: first, you crochet an egg, and then you add on little colorful parts to make it into a chick.

Crochet Easter Eggs and Chick 1

When it comes to crochet design – the possibilities are endless. I am a big believer in techniques and projects that do not require too much time, yarn or tools 🙂 sort of minimalistic projects…I love it when I can sit down whenever I get a few minutes and using just a hook and a tiny bit of yarn, and, perhaps, scissors, make something cute and/or colorful and/or practical 😀

So, I used my fav double crochet stitching to create a few little Easter eggs, and a chick. I could have filled them with yarn, but I used fiberfill instead.

This egg here was crocheted in joined rounds:

Crochet Easter Egg 2

This one was crocheted in a spiral:

Crochet Easter Egg 1

I’ve experimented with different stitch count combinations. I’m hoping to get a chance to put the patterns in a presentable format to share with you, a bit later.

For now, here’s a quick pattern for a spiral crochet egg:

MC, (sc, hdc, 10dc) in MC; (2dcinc, dc) x6 (crochet over the yarn tail); 18dc; stuff with fiberfill or yarn in same color, (2dcdec, 2dc) x8; add more stuffing, 2dcdec x4; dc-hdc-sc combination decrease, sl st in next st; thread yarn tail through remaining stitches and pull to close top. Weave in the end.

For MC, I used a single loop magic ring, like the one I used in my crochet pattern Snowballs and Icicles in Color; you can look up the MC technique at the beginning of this youtube video here.

You can use any yarn with a crochet hook about a size smaller than what’s recommended on the yarn label. For this project, I picked out yarn that calls for a 5mm crochet hook and used a 4mm crochet hook.

This little chick was initially an egg, which I decided to turn into an egg that hatched, a little chick that is:

Crochet Chick

Here, the chick is waiting for siblings to arrive:

Crochet Easter Eggs and Chick 2

You can make a hanging loop to turn an egg into an ornament, and then weave in the yarn end tail. Oh, and one egg in there is needle-felted.

I was also looking into crochet and knitting project packing tips for travelers, when I came across some helpful info on redheart.com: How to Pack Yarn Projects for Airplane Travel, which included a link to info on stretches for wrists and hands: Stretches for Wrists & Hands. The article, medically reviewed by an MD, among other things, talks about Yoga for Wrists and Hands – a workout any arty-crafty person can use!!!

I’ve bookmarked a couple more posts on wrist, hand, arm fitness, because, even though I’d never thought of these types of exercises as essential, after longer knitting sessions I noticed I could really use some pre-knitting warm-ups and post-knitting stretching! So, if you love handwork, you may want to include a set of stretches in your arts and crafts and fitness routine. You can google this or you can look it up here:

Stretches to Do at Work Every Day (or “at Handwork” I’d say 🙂 )

http://www.healthline.com/health/deskercise#Benefits6

Hand Exercises for Knitters & Crocheters

https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/11/hand-stretches-for-knitters-and-crocheters/

TEN HAND AND SHOULDER EXERCISES FOR KNITTERS

http://www.dummies.com/crafts/knitting/ten-hand-and-shoulder-exercises-for-knitters/

Happy Crocheting!!!

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Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns

Bauble Babble

Make some flat baubles to convert them later into soft cotton facial washcloths!

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Keep them flat and round with these little tweaks to the basic crochet circle formula 🙂

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Crochet Flat Circles – Baubles to Facial Washcloths

MC = sliding loop; sc = US single crochet; sl st = slip stitch; ch = chain; rnd = round.

For a straight seam, begin each round by inserting hook, to make the 1st stitch, in the first stitch of the previous round, i.e. same stitch you place the slip st in to join at the end of the previous round.

Option A:

Rnd 1: 6sc in MC; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (6st in Rnd)

Rnd 2: 2sc in each sc of Rnd1; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (12st)

Rnd 3: [scinc (=2sc in 1sc of previous Rnd), sc] around; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (18 st)

Rnd 4: sc; [scinc, 2sc] 5times; scinc, sc; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (24 st)

Rnd 5: [scinc, 3sc] around; sl st in 1st sc to join; make a loop; fasten off. (30 st)

Option B:

Rnd 1: 6sc in MC; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (6st in Rnd)

Rnd 2: 2sc in each sc of Rnd1; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (12st)

Rnd 3: [sc, scinc] around; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (18 st)

Rnd 4: sc; [scinc, 2sc] 5times; scinc, sc; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (24 st)

Rnd 5: [3sc, scinc] around; sl st in 1st sc to join; make a loop; fasten off. (30 st)

Option C:

Rnd 1: 6sc in MC; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (6st in Rnd)

Rnd 2: 2sc in each sc of Rnd1; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (12st)

Rnd 3: [sc, scinc] around; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (18 st)

Rnd 4: [scinc, 2sc] around; sl st in 1st sc to join; ch1. (24 st)

Rnd 5: 2sc; [scinc, 3sc] 5times; scinc, sc; sl st in 1st sc to join; make a loop; fasten off. (30 st)

Now try making these in hdc (half double crochet), using the same formulae.

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns

Stay Warm and Crochet –

a hat for your favorite crochet toyand, using a cookie cutter for shaping, needle felt a teddy bear for it 🙂

img_3797

Easy-peasy hat pattern: color A: rnd1 – MC, sc 6 in MC, join, ch1; rnd 2 – scinc in each sc (12sts), join, ch1; rnd 3 – (sc, scinc) across (18sts), join, ch1; rnd 3 – (2sc, scinc) across (24sts), join; color B: rnd 4 – ch1; sc across, join; repeat rnd 4 in desired colors a few times. fasten off, weave in ends.

Don’t forget the Christmas Tree!!!

Christmas Tree Pixel Graph Pattern - free crochet pattern ©mytrailinghobbies.wordpress.com
Diamond Crochet Christmas Tree Crochet Pattern ©mytrailinghobbies.wordpress.com
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Holiday Tree Crochet Pattern

 

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Home Decor Accents

Finger Crocheted Coaster or How I Reinvented the Wheel, in a Good Way

Have you ever tried finger crochet? If you haven’t yet, try it, it’s fun! Here’s an idea for your first project 🙂

finger-crocheted-flower-coaster

How did this little flower happen? Well, while on a day trip this past August, we (our family) made a little rest stop at my favorite arts and crafts supply store. I got some colorful yarn but no hooks as I told myself I didn’t need any more at the moment, I had enough at home *are there ever enough hooks?*. We got back on the road, went on for a while and took another break from driving.

Suddenly, I felt this urge to crochet and regret that I’d not bought any hooks. Not one. But I really felt like trying out my new yarn! In that moment, I must have activated some gene tracing back to my ancestors who, back in the olden days, possibly as olden as the stone age, must have loved crocheting and were pretty good at it, except they had a very limited to no access to quality tools, so they used their FINGERS to do all the stitching.

I’d try finger crocheting a little something, I decided. And believe it or not, I had not heard of such a technique…and had no idea it existed. But there I was, pinching away at the yarn with the tips of my index finger and thumb, yarning over, pulling through, creating a real fabric!

Next, I wanted to crochet a piece in the round; I dropped my scarf-to-be and set out to work on something to be round. It came out looking like a flower, sort of, that could be used as a coaster or a placemat, or if I kept going – a seat cover or rug! I stopped at a coaster though 🙂

finger-crochet-in-the-round-flower-coaster

I was pleased with the results and with the fact that I did some crocheting and no lack of a hook could stop me.

The following day, I tried making a couple more items. I made a bracelet and another coaster:

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Later, I did some research and found info re finger crochet, some photos, tutorials and even a publication or two. *Had I tapped into the universal crochet mind that Summer day?…* The moves I used to create stitches were somewhat different from what I found online. I really just saw my two fingers as a crochet hook, but the gist of it was in line with what the crochet world had known for a while…a few millennia? I remembered how I had seen a couple of cool videos on how to hand/finger knit a cowl, but I had never been able to get myself to try it because it required keeping all working chains on wrists – and what if you have to go do something urgently?…with finger crochet all you have is one loop that’s on your improvised crochet hook, which is easy to take off, put aside and pick up, whenever, just where you left off.

I later frogged that first attempt at a finger crochet scarf because I needed that yarn for another project, even though it did look nice, it really did 🙂 but when I get a creative idea – I do, creatively speaking, what I gotta do. But here’s a new beginning – a swatch for a simple and minimalistic future infinity scarf:

fc-swatch-2

This stitch, below, appears too lose, so I’ll go with the one above:

fc-swatch

A few notes here:

  • you really don’t need a heavy weight/ bulky or super bulky yarn for this technique. Medium weight and even fine weight works just fine. You can use more than one yarn, making it say two/three-ply, double/multi color yarn if you wish to try a bulkier material but don’t have any at hand…;
  • it’s a great technique to use around babies and toddlers and pets, especially if you are sitting next to them in a car, assuming you are not driving, since you don’t have to worry about anything poky;
  • it’s also a nice way to keep doing what you like when, for whatever reason, holding an actual crochet hook is too painful for your hand…;
  • it should be a great pastime on an international or even a domestic flight, as long as you can bring your yarn through security as carry on. I’m totally going to try it next time I get on a long flight!

One caveat – with finer yarns, you may not be able to produce too tight of stitching as your work will be limited to the circumference/girth of your index finger or the tips of your pointer and thumb placed together, depending on the method you are using.

Higher density, however, can be achieved with slip stitches and bulkier yarn!

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When finger crocheting, try not to strain your wrists too much; find a position that’s comfy for both hands and let your hands&fingers move naturally, “ergonomically”. It shouldn’t cause any discomfort.

Here’s my attempt at showing you the basics that should get you started 🙂

Cheers 🙂

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns

SuperScarf and Other Crochet Stuff

Early this year, I made myself a bulky infinity scarf, but only got to wear it once or twice as it was  way too big and warm for the weather 🙂 Now, it’s time to get it back out – yeeey! And…SuperScarf is trending this season!!! 🙂 So here is my SuperScarf 2016:

It’s a mix of merino and shetland wool with some acrylic. It weighs 1.15lbs 🙂 So it’s nice and soft and warm and a tiny bit heavyish. The pattern is very simple – chain a multiple of 2 for a desired width, plus 1 plus 4 for foundation; row 1 (starting in chain 5 from hook), and each following odd row – work crossed dc stitches (no chains in between) across, dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn. Even rows: sc across, chain 3, turn. When desired length achieved – join (sew/crochet) ends together and you have an infinity scarf!

Yesterday, I made myself a funky little Tunisian + Classic Crochet Cowl, which is very light-weight and tiny compared to the SuperScarf 🙂 Tunisian stitching makes it pretty thick and elastic, but not too stretchy, so it keeps its shape well.

In case it might be of interest to you 🙂 it includes a combination of 8 different Tunisian Crochet basic stitches, 10 rows each, a decorative join [not skipping any stitches along edges, left end – sc, ch2, (right end – sc, sc, ch2, left end – sc, sc, ch2), repeat from ( across, sc at end of join], a decorative surface stitch along the join, and a border along the top and bottom of the cowl – mini shells and linked flowers.

And here’s my Petit Cowl, an airy and lacy piece, the tiniest of the three. I am yet to finish the matching wrist warmers:

Next, I’ve made a Tapestry Crochet Coaster; it’s virtually reversible! If you weave in the ends nicely, you can use the coaster either side facing up 🙂

You can try making one too. The border with picots and ch3s in the pattern below, may not be very clear, as the awesome app I used to chart it wouldn’t let me be more precise, but it will give you a general idea of the elements used to complete it.

(c)mytrailinghobbies.wordpress.com

I’ll try making it in Tunisian Crochet next, making the “red cells” within the tree in different colors, like multicolor ornaments, for a decorated tree effect.

Lastly, here’s an idea for a Tunisian Crochet Snowflake Coaster 🙂 and a SC+CH Duo Swirl Ornament:

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Cheers!

 

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Home Decor Accents

Snowballs and Icicles in Color

Is it winter yet? Well, I know we’re not there yet, but, it’s never too early to make some colored snowballs and icicles for the season. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing…

snowball-and-icicle-crochet

I’ve crocheted a few swirly and twirly snowballs and icicles – little colorful ornaments that are safe to have around kids and pets, with adult supervision, of course 🙂

If you’d like to make yourself some of these, you are welcome to check out my written pattern for a Duo Swirl Snowball (see green&yellow and green&red below) and a Duo Swirl Icicle (see white&blue below) here: Snowballs and Icicles in Color – Crochet Patterns-1-2 🙂

With practice, you’ll see that the principle, or technique, described in the pattern will also apply when you make a trio or a quartet swirl.

Here’s a quick pattern for the ornament on the left (pink&lavender), which is not included in the pdf:

crochet-icicles-1

MC. Sc, hdc, dc, in MC; dc x 3; dcinc x 12; dcdec x 13; sc; complete in both colors (the pdf above contains a step-by-step breakdown of the dual color swirl work principle); make a loop; fasten off.

Lastly, try making some Trio and Quartet Swirls (see photos above) too with these easy-peasy patterns:

Trio: MC. Sc, hdc, dc, in MC; dcinc x 3; (dc, dcinc) x 3; (dcdec, dc) x 3; dcdec x 3; dc-hdc-sc together; complete in 3 colors; tie and braid the ends; create a loop; fasten off.

Quartet: MC. Sc, hdc, dc, in MC; dc, dcinc; dcinc x 4; dc, dcinc; dc x 8; dcdec, dc; dcdec x 7; sc; complete in 4 colors; tie and braid the ends; create a loop; fasten off. 

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(US) Crochet term abbreviations: MC – magic circle=magic ring=sliding loop (see video on how to make MC that works for this pattern); sc – single crochet (+); hdc – half double crochet (⊤); dc – double crochet (†); dcinc – 2-stitch double crochet increase (⩝); dcdec – 2-stitch double crochet decrease (⩜); dc-hdc-sc together – a 3-stitch combination decrease.

Cheers!

There’s an update, check it out 🙂

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Home Decor Accents

Seasonal Crochet Crocheting Season

I can’t tell exactly why, but I have been enjoying crocheting very much. Whenever I have a few minutes to spare, I go for yarn of the color I feel like using in a given moment 🙂 and a crochet hook and produce whatever comes to mind. My crochet ideas appear like flashes, and if I don’t pay enough attention 🙂 or don’t have access to my yarn stash, they float away and then it’s really hard to visualize the idea I all of a sudden had or recreate it in fabric. I like looking at my yarn as a palette of acrylic colors, and at times, watercolors, and seeing hooks as brushes 🙂 But, when crochet pieces come straight from imagination and immediately become fabric, it maybe hard to recreate a piece or chart/write down the pattern. I have had to “reverse-engineer” my own pieces (and I only do it to my own pieces!!! 🙂 ) a couple times, which taught me an importance of taking notes before any of my steps, or strokes 🙂 escape my memory.

Anyway, I’ve made a “sweater” the other day for my Aloe plant. It’s been chilly, so I thought this sweater-like soft and warm pop of color home decor piece would make a nice addition to my fall 2016 crochet “collection”:

crochet-sweater-for-plant

This morning, I decided to make a fall theme square motif incorporating my pumpkin motif and elements of a motif from a book by my favorite author, Linda P. Schapper. I love her collection of motifs; the monocolor work allows full freedom for crocheter’s imagination to come up with any desired colorway. By the way, the first row of flowers in my plant sweater can also be found in her book of motifs. So, the center of my square motif is a pumpkin:

crochet-pumpkin-motif

I haven’t had a chance to make a chart for the motif, but I’ve recorded the instructions in writing, which you can look up here: pumpkin-motifs-1-2. You’ll find two motifs, mostly identical, but with some variations in Rnds 1 and 4.

Here is my square motif; I really wish I had taken a photo before I decided to moisten it to block; here it is, completely wet in its pre-blocking stage, and in a desperate need of reshaping and refluffing:

pumpkin-square-motif

I see a future placemat or a toy blankie in it 🙂 I might make another one with a lighter, more ‘airy’ border to replace the now dense dcs and trs, which are pretty good in their own way and go well with the ‘dc shells’ of the center piece. Cheers!

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns

Granny Apple or Adventures in Crochet Pattern Making

Let me begin by saying: I love apples 🙂 All kinds of apples. Any size, shape, and color. I feel like each time I have an apple, I think of my Grandma and her beautiful yard and garden in which, among other plants and trees, she had several different kinds of apple trees. I think of apple tree blossoms, and the little green and sour miniature apples (yes, my friends and I tried eating those on a number of occasions, most probably because a tiny apple in that stage was too cute not to give it a try), and the fully ripe multi-color fruit, mostly sweet and juicy. My sister, on the other hand, has never been a fan of this particular fruit, sweet or sower…would never have one bite…go figure 🙂

Anyway, I was playing with different shapes, working on my granny-style crochet ‘shapes and colors’ set, when I came up with a granny apple pattern. It came out pretty cute – – and I’ve been using my apples as coasters.

crochet-granny-apples
Crochet Granny Apple (c)mytrailinghobbies.wordpress.com

If you’d like to make yourself an apple coaster similar to one of these

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you are welcome to use my pattern, which I’ve charted out HERE:

The Granny Apple can also be used as a sensory toy in your playtime with your little one(s).

I’ve experimented with the leaf and stalk shapes and sizes, yarn and thread size, color and pattern border. Try the pattern as is, then, if you wish, play with the placement of build-up chains and/or chains within rounds/rows, e.g. add a chain if you feel like having 2 chains in place of 1 in each corner, add 1 chain where there are none in between corners, or remove the single chains between every 3 DC in the initial round…to obtain your preferred shape.  As they say, there is no right or wrong in crochet; there is always a way that works best for you. Cheers!

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns

Crochet Pattern Making Study 1.

Understanding the Basic Math Behind Crochet.

 

As a novice crocheter I would wonder, well, how do they know which chain from the hook, in the foundation row, should the first stitch in row 1 be made in, and how do you know a multiple of what should the foundation chain be, and how do you decide how many chains should the turning chain contain?

 

Figuring out the basic math the crochet principles are based upon was a major breakthrough that made my crochet life so much easier 🙂

 

Why would you even care about the math when all you want to learn is how to crochet?  Because it will allow you to:

Continue reading “Crochet Pattern Making Study 1.”