Archives

Big Craftsy Mother’s Day Sale!

Craftsy

 

Starting May 11th through May 12th, a select number of Craftsy classes are up to 50% off. Click on the link above to get the deal.

Craftsy offers:

  • A wide selection of online crafting classes from the best instructors from around the world.
  • Watch your classes from anywhere, from any device with an internet connection.
  • Take them anytime you want, as many times as you want. Your access never expires.

Find your perfect class:

You can also try one of Craftsy’s free mini classes!

I bought the Curvy Crochet: Plus Size Techniques class by Marlybird. I haven’t finished it yet but so far, Marly is fun to watch.

P.S. – Craftsy classes make the perfect last minute Mother’s Day gift!

Click on the banner below to get your 50% off select classes

Craftsy
 

 

Advertisements

Introducing The Not-A-Poncho Top Pattern

Not-A-Poncho - Back

Not-A-Poncho – Back

 

The Not-A-Poncho - Side View

The Not-A-Poncho – Side View

 

Here is my newest pattern, available on Craftsy, Etsy, and Ravelry. It looks like a poncho but it’s not! I find ponchos annoying – they are always getting in the way when I wear them and they make me look like a lollipop with fringe on two sticks. The Not-A-Poncho has sleeves and a waist with ties that you can tighten for a more fitted look or loosen for a more poncho look. And it is a great pattern for beginner crocheters, super easy and fast. It can easily be customized to make it shorter or longer, slightly less easier to make it narrower or wider. But since it is already very loose and oversized, it will work for a wide variety of shapes and sizes without making any changes.

Not-A-Poncho FAQS

Skills Needed:  You should already know how to chain, slip stitch, single crochet, double crochet and know which loop is the front and which is the back.

Materials:  Worsted Weight Yarn, approx. 600-900 yards. Hooks H and J or size needed to get close to gauge.

Purchase The Not-A-Poncho Top Pattern At These Fine Online Establishments

Craftsy

Etsy

Ravelry

 

What Is On My Hooks

I could not find a stock photo that depicts how I feel today but I am doing much better! I did The Work for a while and burned through some crazy thoughts that I mistakenly believed to be truth.  Then I bitched and moaned to my husband and he helped me discover another silly story that I was telling myself that had absolutely nothing to do with reality and that silly story let go of me.  As you can see, by the fact there is less grunting and incomplete sentences in this post, I am much less stressed today.

So, here is what I have on my crafting plate:

I am still in the pattern-testing stage for the X-Stitch Shirttail Top.  My testers have been wonderful, finding typos, confusing instructions, and math errors. Someday, I will be a rich and famous crochet designer and be able to pay my testers cash but for now it’s just a couple of free patterns.

X-Stitch Shirtail Top

The recent stressful crap in my life has curtailed my crochet design creativity so I decided to make something for me! I am currently knitting Patons Grace Drop Stitch Top. You have to sign up for free on the Patons website to view their free patterns.  I already had to rip out about 50 rows and start over again because I dropped a stitch on a row before a drop-stitch row and therefore, couldn’t just pick up the dropped stitch.  This is why I don’t knit much.

I am also almost finished crocheting the shrug for my next shrug pattern. I just need one more skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease to complete it but I haven’t been able to find the time to drive the 20 miles to the nearest Joann’s to buy it! This should be a super easy pattern so I won’t need any pattern testing.

Technique Tuesday – Crochet Foundation Stitch

What’s that you say? It’s Wednesday, not Tuesday! I know – deal with it…

I absolutely love Foundation Stitches. A Foundation Stitch or Chainless Foundation, is making a foundation or base chain and sc or dc (tc, dtc, etc) at the same time. It makes for a stable yet flexible foundation for a crochet garment or accessory and it saves a bunch of time. I have used this technique in my Angel Sleeve Cover-Up Pattern and will be incorporating it into my next, as-yet-unnamed, shrug pattern.  Doris Chan uses it in all of her patterns.

Here’s a video of Foundation Single Crochet or Single Crochet Base Chain:

Foundation Double Crochet or Double Crochet Base Chain:

.

Treble Foundation Crochet:

Half Double Foundation:

So, what do you think? It really makes starting a crochet project faster and easier once you get the hang of it.

The Road to Hell is Paved With Gauge Swatches

Am I right, knitters and crocheters!

I always swatch before crocheting or knitting a pattern. I always swatch before designing a pattern. I swatch, swatch, swatch and I come up with 3 different gauges. Especially with crochet. I crochet loosely, so I know I am going to have to use a thinner yarn or a smaller hook than what the pattern states.  Or, I will make a smaller size. I will even recalculate the math to change someone else’s pattern to reflect my gauge. And, even if I get the gauge spot on, the garment will eventually end up bigger than its suppose to.  Melissa Leapman’s, Cool Crochet book, is the worst gauge offender for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the book and the designs are beautiful. But my gauge is consistently  and significantly larger than what is recommended in the book.

The gauging demons have really come to haunt me since I have started crochet designing.  Here is what I do to cope:

  1. Crochet a big swatch – 8″ x 8″ – and calculate the number of stitches and rows by inch.
  2. Draw a graph of my design using my gauge measurements.
  3. Crochet a prototype of my design, making any changes along the way to reflect the looser tension I inevitably get.
  4. Measure, measure, measure, periodically.
  5. Measure the final prototype on the carpet, get a different gauge.
  6. Measure the final prototype on the table, get a different gauge.
  7. Do “eeny, meeny, miny, mo” randomly pick one of the above gauges.
  8. Use random gauge in my final pattern.

On my latest, two designs, I had a gauge gremlin throw a monkey wrench into the mix after the gauging demons had their way with me.

F U, Chinese Yarn!

I let my cheapness get the best of me and bought some yarn from a Chinese ebay seller. The listing stated it was a soy/bamboo blend and sport/baby weight. Not only did it take 30 days to receive but the labels were in Chinese. I thought it looked a little thinner than sport weight but I didn’t have any yarn that weight in my stash to compare. Now it is in the pattern testing stage and nobody is getting my gauge. I just recently bought some sport weight yarn so I compare, and, lo’ and behold, my Chinese yarn is thinner than sport weight. So, I am either going to change the gauge on the pattern to reflect what a real, sport weight yarn is or, go find a different yarn that matches my gauge.  I am probably going to change the gauge on the pattern since all that takes is some math. It will be harder for me to find a different yarn since there are no decent yarn stores near me.

Well, I have learned my lesson and am going to use readily available yarn to create my designs. So, I go to my “local” (20 miles away) Joann Fabric & Craft Store and buy some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted Weight for my next shrug design. For some reason one of the skeins I picked had a blank label with some unreadable writing on it, like the label had fallen off and an employee just replaced it with a blank label. That skein was the first one I used. I thought, “I don’t remember Wool Ease being this thick and fluffy! Oh well, I’m just going to keep crocheting, dum, dum, dee-dum…”. I use up the whole skein and then start using the next skein and I notice the next skein is thinner gauge! So, I look at the rest of the skeins and they are all thinner gauge then the blank labeled skein. Apparently, that first skein was Wool-Ease Chunky!

And Jesus wept…

Crochet Pattern Testers Needed!

X-Stitch Shirttail Top

UPDATE 8/5/2012:  I already have the testers I need for this pattern.  Stayed tuned for future announcements!

I really need a few experienced/inexperienced crocheters, who are decent at math, to test my X-Stitch Shirttail Top Pattern and some of my future patterns.  As a form of payment, I would like to give my pattern testers 2 of my patterns for free – currently for sale and any future patterns – testers’ choice.

I need crocheters who can:

  1. Check my math
  2. Check my written patterns for typos, grammar and consistency
  3. Crochet a different size than my prototype and model
  4. Give general constructive criticism

I am not looking for perfection! I think beginners make excellent pattern testers because we crochet veterans sometimes forget what its like to be a newby.  I figure 2 or 3 testers per pattern would give me a variety of help. I am going to put together a non-disclosure agreement that will need to be signed.

IMPORTANT!

If you are interested, please do the following:

  1. Follow my blog and read it regularly.
  2. When I post a “Pattern Tester Wanted” post, comment on it and let me know or email me at deedum36 at gmail dot com and I will get back to you.
  3. You will have to inform me of your desire to test a pattern each time I put out a request.

So, I need pattern testers for my X-Stitch Shirttail Top.  Go here for some pattern details.

I Need Some Cuteness Therapy. How About You?

Yesterday, on Crochet Concupiscence’s Tweet site,  there were links to some cute, Japanese Amigurumi sites. I especially liked this Japanese commercial. I love looking at Amigurumi and other kinds of crochet and handmade dolls, but I don’t like actually making them. The tight crocheting hurts my hands and I don’t enjoy sewing the pieces together.

Here is some cuteness to balance out the heaviness from yesterday’s blog post.  I tried to make the pictures click to the websites but it didn’t work. I will try again later:

Toadstool, yeah!

Tiny Sock Monkey

Doll from CrochetMe. Click on pic and keep scrolling down. Loads of cuteness!

Hello Kitty makes me happy! Pattern book on Etsy

Here’s some Mochimochi:

Stackable Cats

Teeny, Tiny, Candy Corn. Click and scroll down but don’t forget to look at the other stuff on the page!

Look here for more knitted cuteness: Mochimochi Land