Happy Clappy Crochet

Celebrating Crochet with a Positive Spin

Quick Monday Smile

My 40 hr a week “pays the rent and bills” job is working for the family business, which means I’m spending several hours a day working with my dad.

Today my dad asked me “What is it you do? Do you knit or crochet?” When I said I crochet, he brought over a mail-order magazine and asked if I thought this would be a good book. He was pointing to a picture of¬†The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden. I smiled and said that I not only owned the book, but it was one of my go-to stitch dictionaries.

“Oh,” he said, then went back over to his desk.

“Why did you ask?”

“Because if you didn’t have it, I was going to get it for you.”

 

That little comment still brings happy tears to my eyes. The encouragement I receive from my parents and my sisters means so much. I hope you have someone out there who supports your love of crafting!

 

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Welcome Blog Tour Readers

If you have arrived at this webpage because you read about me on the Crochetville blog tour, I’d like to extend a very warm welcome. I hope you find this blog both informational and entertaining, and that you’ll come back in the future to check out what is going on.

First of all, I love crochet. I love the feeling of calm I can achieve with yarn sliding over my fingers and looping around my hook. I love watching a pattern grow into something beautiful. I love all of the different ways you can crochet – broomstick, tunisian, hairpin, love knot, slip stitch. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish an item. I love the feeling of hope in my heart when I crochet something for charity.

I also believe that crochet can equally co-exist in the crafting world with knitting. Neither craft is “better” than the other. Both create amazing works from incredible designs and should be appreciated for that artistry. Plus, we all like to play with yarn, so why should there be a problem ūüôā

I hope you will take a little time and look at previous posts, and that you will share your crochet journey with me in the comments section. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

Okay, now to the stuff you have been waiting for. Last week, I released my very first indie pattern on Ravelry – the What’s Behind the Ivy Cowl. In honor of being part of the Crochetville Blog Tour for the very first time, I am offering this pattern for free for a limited time. Between March 13-31, you can purchase the cowl for free on Ravelry with the coupon code “birthday” – because today is my Mom’s birthday. You may only use the code once during this time period, and after the 31st, it will go back to its regular price.

In addition, anyone who posts a (non-spam) comment on any of my blog posts from today to the 31st will be entered into a drawing to receive three (3) balls of Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash¬†in the colors of the winner’s choice. The yarn will be enough to make the cowl pattern I designed.

That’s it for today. I’m really glad you checked out my blog, and I hope you will keep coming back.

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A Little Crochet For Your Thursday

I just found out that WEBS – America’s Yarn Store is doing a Mystery Blanket CAL / KAL featuring squares with different stitches. They even have videos showing you how to do the required stitch for the square.

If you think you might be interested, click on over to http://blog.yarn.com/webs-mystery-blanket-kal-and-cal-square-one/  and check it out. More information about the CAL / KAL can be found here http://blog.yarn.com/get-in-on-the-mystery-and-fun/

Wondering what I mean by CAL / KAL? They stand for Crochet Along and Knit Along.

WEBS is one of my favorite places to purchase yarn online, so I’m very happy to spread the love when they are promoting crochet.

ETA: You may have noticed that the blog looks different. While I loved the colors, I hated that longer titles were obscured by the date. So, time for a quick little refresh. The color blue makes me happy, so the new theme is a good fit. I hope you like it!

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More Quick Crochet Holiday Gifts

On Friday, I posted six pattern links for quick crochet projects that I designed for Cascade Yarns. ¬†Today, I am sharing some of my favorite quick crochet projects that I’ve stitched over the years. ¬†This is going to be a quick post, with all of the links below connected to Ravelry project pages. ¬†Not on Ravelry? You can sign up for free at http://www.ravelry.com

Cable Wrist Warmer by Julee Reeves   http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cable-wrist-warmer

Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf by Khebhin Gibbons ¬†¬†http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/queen-annes-lace-scarf

Mrs. Murdock’s Mittens by Brenda K.B. Anderson ¬†¬†http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mrs-murdocks-mittens

South Bay Shawlette by Lion Brand Yarn   http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/south-bay-shawlette

Reversible Strands (hat) for Men by Nancy Smith   http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/reversible-strands-for-men-and-women-too

Sous Chef by Marly Bird   http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sous-chef

Valentine Romance Headband by Tina Rodriguez   http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/valentine-romance-headband

All of the above listed patterns are one to two skein projects – great if you need to do a little stash diving for a last minute gift.

 

Have a favorite quick crochet gift to share? Comment below and post a pattern link if you can. I look forward to seeing what you share.

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Quick Holiday Gifts to Crochet

It’s that holiday time of year, when last-minute gift making is in the air. Maybe you need one or two more gifts for Hanukkah celebrations, a quick teacher gift as a thank you, or extra gifts to have in reserve for that surprise gift exchange that comes out of nowhere. ¬†If any of these sound familiar, please check out the quick crochet pattern links below. Most take only one or two skeins. All were designed by me for Cascade Yarns, and all are free downloads.

©Cascade Yarns

  ©Cascade Yarns

©Cascade Yarns

©Cascade Yarns

First, let’s look at a couple of one skein hats. The Diamonds Hat¬†is on the top, and the Arches Hat¬†is on the bottom.

Diamonds is great for a beginner stitcher, using single, double and half-double crochet stitches to create an openwork pattern of diamonds for the body of the hat. You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/FW195_UltraPimaFineDiamondsHat.pdf

Arches is a little more advanced, starting with a row of foundation single crochet stitches, then using front post double crochet stitches to create a textured hat that is great for men and women alike. You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W543_SateenWorstedArchesHat.pdf

cloudgate

©Cascade Yarns

W538a

©Cascade Yarns

Looking for a cowl? Here are two that might fit the bill. Cloudgate Cowl is on the top and Three Season Cowl is on the bottom.

Cloudgate is a single skein cowl created with a textured ripple stitch. The texture is created using front post single crochet stitches. If you are looking to change things up, try two colors, alternating the second color for the front post single crochet rows to create a great striped effect. Get creative! You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W477_CloudgateCowl.pdf

The Three Season Cowl is really two patterns in one. You can make a close-fitting cowl with just one skein of yarn, or one you can loop around with two skeins. Once again, you can change things up Рuse one skein each of two different colors (think favorite team colors, or a neutral along with a bright color) and you can create a great color-blocked cowl. Want color changes without a lot of thought? Use a yarn with slow color changes, like Casablanca or Tangier from Cascade, and the cowl will pattern itself.  You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W538_SateenWorstedThreeSeasonCowl.pdf

W522a

©Cascade Yarns

W551b

©Cascade Yarns

Finally, here are a couple scarves to finish things up. The Guinevere Scarflette is on the top, and the Spirit Wave Scarf is on the bottom.

Guinevere is a double duty piece. Scrunch it up and it works great as a scarf. Need a little shawl to throw over that little black dress for the office holiday party? Gwen is your girl! The pattern is easy to customize in length, and the mesh stitch makes it a breeze to crochet, using only two skeins of yarn.  You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W522_GuinevereScarflette.pdf

If you have a sports fan on your gift list, then the¬†Spirit Wave Scarf would be perfect! Use either two or three team colors (pictured scarf uses two main team colors divided by and accent color), an easy to follow ripple stitch pattern, and in no time at all, you’ll be ready to cheer “GO TEAM GO!” You can download the pattern at ¬†http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W551_SpiritWaveScarf.pdf

So there you have it – six free patterns for six quick gifts! I’d love to hear what you think. ¬†Next week, I’ll share some quick crochet gifts from some of my favorite designers.

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Book Review – Blueprint Crochet Sweaters

I had been a fan of Robyn Chachula’s crochet designs way before I was aware of WHO she was as a designer. The first design I ever owned by Robyn was the Zen scarf pattern in my Crochet page a day calendar. She started popping up as a guest on crochet podcasts, and then I found the program “Knit and Crochet Today!” on my local PBS station and there was Robyn Chachula as the crochet expert! I was encouraged to find out more about her, which lead me to my first Robyn Chachula book purchase –¬†Blueprint Crochet. Soon after, several more books made their way to my crochet bookshelf, including¬†Simply Crochet,¬†Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia,¬† and¬†Unexpected Afghans.

In May of 2013, this beautiful book joined the others on my shelf.

Blueprint Crochet Sweaters: Techniques for Custom Construction

Published by Interweave Press, and available both online and in local bookstores and craft stores, Robyn’s book takes the crocheter through four different styles of sweater construction – Classic, Top-Down, Motif, and Unique. ¬†In each section, Robyn has 4 sweater patterns that she has designed (for a total of 16 patterns) that highlight the particular construction techniques she is teaching you within the pages of the book. ¬†For example, the first section of the book tackles Classic sweater construction, and the 4 patterns teach crocheters how armhole shaping can impact the look of your sweater, whether it be raglan, cap sleeve, or side-saddle sleeves. Several of the patterns also include asides, such as “Shaping with Symbols,” and “Increase Your Comfort Level,” where Robyn highlights how the crocheter can customize the pattern so that you are wearing the sweater, rather than the sweater wearing you.

Along with the 16 sweater patterns, there is a must-read introduction where Robyn explains the need for customizing your sweater to fit you, and she includes “Top 10 Tips for Mastering Your Crochet Design.” The patterns themselves include complete written directions, pattern schematics showing finished (blocked gauge) for all sizes, and multiple two color charts, which are excellent guides for the multiple shaping options discussed within the patterns. The Glossary section of the book includes a quick introduction to symbol crochet, a symbol key, a list of abbreviations used throughout the book, and an explanation of all the stitches used within the patterns. ¬†Also included are designer bio’s, additional stitch diagrams, and a resource list for the various yarns used for the sweaters.

So, why did I buy this book? Because I’m guilty of first sweater syndrome – I made a sweater that wore me rather than the other way around. I loved how the model sweater looked, and faithfully crocheted it exactly as the pattern said I should. Then I put it on. It wasn’t pretty. It was too snug in an area of my body that I try not to highlight, yet this sweater felt like a spotlight right to that area. I only ever wore it once, and then it was folded up and put in the back of a drawer. A couple months later, I came across Robyn’s book, and bells went off. I could use what I learned in this book to keep me from making the same mistake twice. ¬†It helped teach me the skills needed to not only help choose sweater patterns that flatter my shape, but to also customize those patterns so that the sweater fits me perfectly.

 

Now I’d like to share that opportunity to learn with you. ¬†I have a second copy of the book¬†Blueprint Crochet Sweaters: Techniques for Custom Construction by Robyn Chachula that I will be giving away to one lucky reader of this blog post. ¬†Due to crazy international shipping costs and VAT taxes, this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States (sorry international readers, but I just can’t afford the additional shipping costs right now). ¬†In order to qualify for the give away, leave a comment with your NAME, STATE, and what you hope to learn from this book. ¬†Only one comment per person, please. All comments must be submitted by 12:01 AM CST on January 1, 2015. The winner will be chosen by random number generator and will be contacted on January 3, 2015. Good luck!

 

Can’t wait to see if you win a copy of the book? ¬†Don’t fret – you can get your own copy through one of the following:

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blueprint-crochet-sweaters-robyn-chachula/1112492256?ean=9781596688285

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Blueprint-Crochet-Sweaters-Techniques-Construction/dp/1596688289/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417732264&sr=1-1&keywords=blueprint+crochet+sweaters

Interweave Press http://www.interweavestore.com/blueprint-crochet-sweaters-techniques-for-custom-construction

Also available is a video class taught by Robyn Chachula, which I also own and highly recommend. The class compliments the information in the book and is a great visual resource. You can purchase the digital download video from Interweave Press at http://www.interweavestore.com/designing-garments-that-suit-your-shape-with-robyn-chachula-video-download

I look forward to reading your comments!

 

 

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