I’d like to take a moment and wish everyone Happy Holidays and thank them for visiting my little site. When I wrote down my first pattern and put it out into cyber-space I really didn’t ever expect anyone to care or be interested in it. Despite that, I continued to put a few patterns on here. I figured even if no one else liked them, I did and by releasing them to the world it was kind of like leaving my mark.
Over the past five or six years that my site has been up and my patterns posted, I feel rather humbled by the response I’ve had to it. Every year I have hundreds of thousands of visitors and people from all over the world email me about the patterns. Even when my life was so hectic I didn’t have time to pick up a hook, much less make anything, I still had visitors, people appreciating my work and patterns. And while my little hundred thousand visitors a year is nothing compared to big name designers or sites, I appreciate you, my visitor. So thank you for visiting and thank you for your support.
I also have to say a quick thank you to my photographers. If you see a picture on my site that is credited to someone, it was staged and taken by one of my boys. Thank you guys for helping out.
Happy Holidays and have a Joyful Year
I have an addiction and I know it. I’m addicted to patterns (as well as yarn, hooks, books, quilting, and other things). The pattern thing actually puzzles me a bit though. While I like acquiring patterns, I’m actually horrible at following them. I’ll get to the middle or end of a pattern and decide I don’t like how it’s written or how it looks coming off my hook and I’ll change it. Don’t get me wrong, my finished product almost always looks like the picture, but for some reason I have problems following someone else’s directions (my mother would tell you I’ve been that way since I was a child). Because of this I’m always really nervous to release one of my patterns out into the world.
So, I’ve never written a pattern whose ultimate destination was for magazine or book publication. Most of the time I write patterns for my future reference since I have a notoriously bad memory. I keep a note pad next to my hook caddy, a pen in with my hooks and I jot down notes as I work. If I’m lucky I’ll remember to even include a description of what I’m making. More often than not I end up with a note pad full of row numbers with stitch counts.
Converting my notes into a pattern that others can actually follow taxes the side of my brain I don’t normally use. This may be a result of translating my notes while I type.
Once my pattern is all typed up, I print it off and work the pattern at least three times before deciding if it ready to be posted. Testing my patterns also gives me an opportunity to decide if I need photos of a technique or a certain set of stitches.
In the end I kind of figure if I can follow the pattern from beginning to end then others will be able to as well.
Google strikes again. While looking for something totally different, I ran across this Scroll Bar Scarf pattern by Matt Gilbert. Okay, so Google didn’t really send me there. It was a link I probably clicked on from site that I clicked on from a site that I clicked on from Google. You know one of those “Oooh, this looks cool. Let’s click here, and here, and here, and here.”
In this case I found the Scroll Bar Scarf and it even has an adjustable scroll button. With my husband being the total computer geek that he is, I just knew I had to make one. Since Matt encouraged me to create my own scarf, I grabbed some yarn and a hook and went to it. He doesn’t provide the pattern on his site, but he does have some great pictures of the finished product. Plus he provides a link to Miyuki Andvik’s site and she does provide a pattern. So after glancing at the pattern and looking at the pictures I was ready to jump in.
After finishing it, I’ve decided there are some things I really like about it and a few things I would do differently. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn for mine (I know, not very exciting but I have lots of it stashed away). Since I didn’t use a heavier weight yarn, I didn’t want to use the treble/triple crochet stitch. Mine is done in half-double crochet. I used the tapestry crochet technique to add the arrow buttons at the top and bottom, with those rows done in a single crochet. My scroll button is the same width as the widest side of the arrow buttons and I like that. I used half-double crochet on it as well with the first and last rows being a single crochet (I knew I would have to sew buttons on to it and prefer to do that on a single crochet row). So all those things I actually like about it. I would however, change my stitch count. Mine is done with 25 half-double crochets across. I think the maximum I would do with this yarn is 17 (an odd number puts the point of the arrow in the center).
My husband does like the scarf and I suppose that’s all that really matters. He actually likes that it’s thicker since it covers farther up his neck. The bonus with the adjustable scroll bar button is you can even use it to tuck the tail of your scarf through like a key hole scarf.
I keep a small laundry basket filled with my scrap yarn. I finish a project, wind my leftovers into a cake or ball and toss them into the basket. It’s great when I just need a bit of yard to do this or that or when one of my boys just has to do some “yarning.”
One of my more recent scrap basket projects was pot holders. One of my sixth graders is in F.A.C.S. this term (for those who don’t have kids in school, F.A.C.S. is the new name for home ec. class) and his teacher had sent home a request for pot holders for the class. I thought it was the perfect excuse to procrastinate on housework and do some crocheting. While happily crocheting and watching one of my favorite anime, my other sixth grader brings me a small ball of yarn and wants me to make him something. What he wants he doesn’t know, just something.
So with a challenge set before me, I found the Playing Card Case pattern from Suzie’s Stuff. I can’t say I actually used the pattern because really all I did was look at the picture.
The first one was the camo one and since I only had a bit of yarn to work with, it looks a bit different. Of course once the first one was done everyone just had to have one. The laundry is piled up, the dishes are not done and dinner was burned, but at least now everyone is ready to play cards. If only they could agree on the game.
My youngest son has a thing for turtles and the color orange. I understand the turtles, but I’ve never quite figured out the orange thing. Despite his odd taste in colors, I do check every so often for new turtle patterns. In my latest search I ran across the Painted Turtle Afghan.
I know it’s not an actual turtle, but he liked it anyhow. My theory is they included that one orange motif and joined it all in orange and that’s what really did it for him. So now he thinks I should make him one of these afghans. This particular pattern was published in a magazine and has to be order from the back issues. So while I wait on my copy, I thought I might give the motif a try without the pattern. Of course I had to start with the one orange motif.
Photo by Spencer
I think it looks pretty close. I even more excited to see how close to the pattern I got with my attempt.
My boys are fond of little crocheted toys they can stick in their pockets and take with them. I always thought they would outgrow it, but as my oldest two are now 12 and still wanting every little animal and creature they can find I guess I’ll be making them for awhile longer.
The newest fad for them are Fuzzles from PlanetJune. Though she calls them Fuzzballs, my boys insist they are Fuzzles.
Photo by Spencer
The great thing about these, is they use up some of that Fun Fur that is still hiding in my stash. My oldest two even decided Fuzzles make great guard dogs for their school lockers. They put magnets on the bottom of their feet and off to school they took them.
I’m the type of person who is easily distracted (which probably explains my huge pile of unfinished projects), and there is nothing more distracting than the internet. While I love my Google, sometimes I find it tends to lead me astray. For example one afternoon I was searching for a very this specific little bag to make and use as gift bags. It was a bag I had made before and probably had a copy of in one of my pattern books but I was sure it would be easier to ask Google than to look through my books.
While I found the bag I was looking for, Google also provided me with lots of distractions as well. I found this cute little gnome by Lion Brand Yarns. Knowing someone who loves garden gnomes gave me the perfect excuse to make it.
After really looking at the pattern, I decided it wasn’t quite what I wanted to make. While it was stuffed, Lion Brand’s pattern still made a “flat” gnome and I wanted mine to look like the ones you see in the garden. So I came up with my own little Pocket Garden Gnomes.
Photo by Kalin
Once the first one was done, all three of my boys had to have one too. All of which gave me an excuse to write up and test the pattern. Look for it on my Patterns Page.
I’ve made this Lion Brand Yarn Hexagon Afghan multiple times using different yarns. I really like the way the motif works up.
It’s a simple repetitive Granny-type motif that doesn’t take a lot of thought. I liked the motif so much, I decided to just keep going and make it bigger. Since I live in a house full of boys, I chose some extra yarn in blue colors I had laying around in my stash. I like the way it came out. It kind of reminds me of those ripple afghans my grandma always had in her living room, just not with as many browns and oranges.
My grandmother’s church does a huge amount of mission work. They collect money and buy animals for Heifer International and P.E.T.s for the P.E.T. Project. They collect just about anything you may want to get rid of to send to those in need and they put together school, baby, cleaning, layette kits and more. In the past I’ve made baby hats to go into some of the kits since they are small, quick and for some reason I have lots of baby yarn.
However, the hats didn’t seem to eat up the baby yarn like I wanted it to so this week I tried making sweaters for the kits. I needed something that was quick and easy. I didn’t want anything that I had to do a lot of counting or piecing and sewing. I settled on this Hexagon Baby Sweater Pattern. I think they turned out really cute.
My problem now is I don’t really want to give them away, but I don’t have anyone small enough to wear them and my cat refuses to even try them on. So into the kits they will go and someone who needs them will get a chance to love them.
My husband is a huge computer and techno-geek. While the normally means our kids get to enjoy the latest in gadgets and I have my own live-in tech support, sometimes it also means I get odd crochet requests. The most recent such request was for a pillow.
While making a pillow doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, he couldn’t just have an ordinary pillow. My husband had been working with the Puppy Linux operating system and decided he had to have a pillow that looked like this:
It had to be round, not graphed, and look just like the picture. I love that he has so much faith in my skills to create.
So after some thought and a few frogging sessions, this is what I came up with for him.
Even though there are a few things I would still do differently with it, he loves it. And I guess that’s all that matters.