Thursday, July 23

Zipper Shawl to Crochet

My Zipper Shawl is a triangle shawl that is fast to hook with sport weight yarn and a size H (5 mm) crochet hook. I used 2 balls of Premier Serenity Garden (370 yds) to make this shawl plus 60 yards of cotton for the border. (430 yards of sport weight yarn)

Constructed sideways from tip to center in two pieces and seamed with an almost invisible zipper seam down the middle. Then add a border around the shawl.

Finished size: 62" wide x 19" long and 70" wide x 23" long (after blocking)

Block or not, it’s up to you.

You can make this with any weight of yarn by changing the hook size to suit the yarn. Easy to make larger or smaller. Start shawl with both ends of your yarn and work until both pieces are the same size. Seam them together and add the border in the same yarn or a coordinating or contrasting color.

The 4 page pattern includes written instructions and two crochet charts for $3.00.

Ridgeline Spiral Blanket to crochet

Ridgeline Spiral Blanket is my newest crochet design. This blanket was made with only 2 skeins of Lion Brand Ice Cream yarn with a size J (6 mm) crochet hook.  (788 yards of sport weight yarn)
The blanket is worked in a continuous spiral with no joined rounds. Working in the BLO produces a ridge that spirals around the blanket. Work in one color, multiple bands of color, or a yarn with a long color run like I used.

Although this is sized at 33” across as a baby blanket, it can be made any size you wish with any weight of yarn. You will need to choose a hook larger than usually recommended for the yarn.

The same size baby blanket made in worsted weight yarn uses only 600 yards of yarn with a size K (6.5 mm) hook.

The 4 page pattern includes written instructions, two photo tutorials and a crochet chart. The pattern sells for $3.00. You can purchase it through my pattern store on Ravelry.

Free pattern: Felted Phone Belt Case to knit

My Felted Phone Belt Case pattern has just been uploaded to Ravelry.

Knit this cell phone case to hang from your belt or strap of your purse. The case is knit flat from the top down using a provisional cast on. When the strip is long enough to be folded in half to fit over a belt with a little to spare, it is joined into a belt loop. Then cast on stitches to work the pouch flat (or in the round), three needle bind off the bottom seam and sew the side seam. Felt the case to make it thicker and durable. Thread your belt (or purse strap) through the loop at the left in the picture and you are ready to go.

I used a size 8 knitting needle with about 40 yards of 100% wool (not superwash!) and felted the case to fit my husband’s iPhone 4. It’s easy to change the size to fit whatever phone you have. The 3 page pattern has written instructions and some photos to help along the way.

The pattern is a free download in my Ravelry pattern store. 

Wednesday, June 17

Raindrops Falls - a lace poncho to crochet

Raindrop Falls is a gorgeous lace poncho that works up quickly in a DK weight yarn. Crochet it in cotton or a summery yarn for warm weather or a wool or warmer for cooler spring and fall wear.

It is constructed in the round from the neck down and finishes with a beautiful lace border.

You'll need 500 yards of DK (or light worsted) weight yarn and a size J (6 mm) crochet hook. The pictured poncho was made with 5 balls of Knit Picks Cotlin.

The neckline measures 26" around, 53" wide after increase rounds, 18" long, and 73" wide at bottom. It has not been blocked though you may do so if you like.

Make it with any weight of yarn by changing the hook size to suit the yarn and changing the number of stitches in the beginning round.

It can easily be adapted into a skirt.

The 4 page pattern has written instructions and a crochet chart. It sells for $5.00 in my Ravelry pattern store.

Tuesday, May 19

Crochet a Cogswell Spirals dishcloth or coaster

Cogswell Spirals is a simple cloth crocheted from the center out in continuous spirals (no joining rounds). Stitches are worked in loops on the wrong side of the cloth. A picot border finishes the cloth with a steam punky, gear look.

You’ll need 30 yards of worsted weight cotton yarn and a size H (5 mm) crochet hook for a 6” cloth. Also included in the pattern is a 4” coaster size.

The four page pattern includes written instructions and crochet charts. The pattern is available as a download through my Ravelry pattern store for $2.00.

Monday, May 18

Endless Hearts - a crochet project

Endless Hearts is my newest design. Actually, this one has been simmering for a year or two. I've worked on it and put it aside when the stitch pattern just wouldn't come together the way I wanted it to. I pulled it out earlier this year when it was still cold. It still didn't want to cooperate and it went into time out for a month or so before I gave it one last chance and the design came together.

Endless Hearts is a mobius cowl-type scarf that features heart motifs. My friend Chris came up with a very fitting name for it. The secret to how this scarf works is the mobius twist at the beginning.

You'll need a size I (5.5 mm) crochet hook and 280 yards of a worsted weight yarn for the longer (red) scarf. It measured 54" around x 8" tall. I steam blocked it and it grew to 64" around. Blocking is not necessary. I did it to provide better stitch definition for pictures. The red scarf was made with Red Heart Shimmer. Shimmer is a soft, slightly fuzzy, worsted weight yarn, that has a sparkle thread twisted through it.

The pattern gives directions for a shorter version too. You'll need about 165 yards of worsted weight yarn and it measures 28" x 8". 

The pattern can be worked in any weight of yarn by changing the hook size to suit the yarn and adjusting the stitches at the beginning.

The three page pattern has written instructions for both sizes and a crochet chart. It sells for $3.00 from my Ravelry pattern store.

Wednesday, April 22

What's normal anymore?

Normal? What's that? That word seems to have deserted my life for the last couple of years. My husband and I could sure stand a little boredom instead of all the excitement and chaos that keeps occurring.

Got my mom settled back in her home town last June and finally signed the papers to sell her house the end of February this year. Just about the time we thought we'd get a bit of a breather, things went south again.

On Valentines Day, my husband drove through white out conditions to pick up my FIL at the hospital where his girlfriend was a patient. My FIL's behavior had made him no longer welcome there. A drive that should have taken no more than 90 minutes round trip took 3 hours. I was very worried. Hubby told me the roads were horrendous and there were lots of slide offs. It was a white knuckle drive. Not long after he arrived home they put out a blizzard warning and told everyone to stay off the roads. We got a lot of snow that day.

Shortly after that my FIL moved back to his own home after living with his girlfriend for the past 6-7 years. He just turned 92 and is not a happy camper about being separated from her. His girlfriend is in the end stage of congestive heart failure and is now living with her daughter.

Within 2 weeks of being home my FIL was in the emergency room twice. Shortly after that came the day a visiting nurse checked on him and he greeted her with "I took a bunch of pills with alcohol to kill myself." She rushed him to the ER. He had an infection but was not successful in his suicide attempt. This landed him on suicide watch at the hospital and a visit to the local mental health center for evaluation when he was well enough to be released from the hospital. He was at the mental health facility for a week before they finished evaluating him. He said it was like being in the army again. My FIL doesn't understand why they are concerned that a 92-year-old would want to commit suicide. This is the kind of stuff that makes you want to tear you hair out when you hear it. He is supposed to be seeing a counselor. Not sure it's happened yet as the doctor keeps cancelling his appointments. He's also supposed to be on antidepressants and stop drinking. I don't think either of those have happened. You can not make a stubborn old man do something he does not want to do.

My husband, his two brothers, and we three SILs have tried our best to make him comfortable, see to his needs, and keep him out of trouble. He wants none of it. He is only interested in getting back with his girlfriend which he thinks about constantly. Like a dog with a bone, he keeps chewing trying to find the best way to achieve his end goal. I strongly suspect the suicide attempt was as much a bid for her attention and sympathy as anything else.

My FIL used to be a loving, kind, man who was very family oriented. Every holiday, family event, birthday, anniversary, etc. we celebrated together. (I also got the whole how important family lecture is from him before I married his son.) Then my MIL died. A year passed before he reconnected with a woman he knew growing up. My FIL turned his back on his sons, our families, and all of his close friends who had helped him through his wife's passing. He no longer had time for any of them. It's a very sad and frustrating situation for all of us. We do what we can for him but more times than not we are greeted with verbal abuse.

On top of this, one of hubby's close, long-time, male friends is fighting a terminal cancer diagnosis. He has been in and out of the hospital a lot and he has refused to give up. We are praying for a miracle.

And as if hubby didn't need anything else to worry about, I've been down with an upper respiratory virus for the past week. It is one nasty bug that's making the rounds in our area and it doesn't want to go away easily. (I'm hoping hubby doesn't get it. I am worried as he has been coughing and complaining of a headache that goes along with this bug.) I'm looking forward to feeling like myself again. Haven't touched a crochet hook, knitting needles, or much of anything else I've felt so bad. Hubby didn't help when he came home last night with news I didn't want to hear -- two people at work told him they had this and it took 2 to 2-1/2 weeks to get over it. Yikes!