Discovering Purls

I’ve been doing some digging around online to look at different methods of making a purl stitch.

First is the Continental Purl ….


Then I discovered the Russian Purl…

Finally, I spotted the Norwegian Purl…

So far, my favorite is the Russian Purl, but it orients the stitches in the opposite direction of what I’m used to. I’m definitely going to keep doing some more playing around with methods of purling. Do you have a favorite way to purl?

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Featured Pattern and Sneak Peak at a New One

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day, when I was surprised to see pictures of two of my patterns staring back at me.

The first was the Alex Adorable knit vest. It was featured in the Stitch Sprouts blog post on back to school projects. I really loved making this.  It looks like complicated color work, but through the magic of slip stitches, I only had to use one color on each row.

alex adorable childs knit vest pattern

The second surprise was sneak peak photos of my Chanukah Afghan design for Mainly Crochet. I designed it, and my contract crocheter, Ann, did a great job at stitching.

chanukah afghan

Photos courtesy of Mainly Crochet

chanukah crochet pattern

Photos courtesy of Mainly Crochet

The Chanukah Afghan is in production, so the pattern isn’t available just yet. But in the meantime, you can check out the other neat patterns at Mainly Crochet.

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Book Review and Giveaway: Crochet for Baby All Year

cbaylBook: Crochet for Baby All Year: Easy-to-Make Outfits for Every Month

Author: Tammy Hildebrand
Publisher: Stackpole Books
List Price: $21.95

Get ready for more crochet baby cuteness than you can imagine! That’s what happened when I found my reviewer’s copy of Tammy Hildebrand’s newest book-   Crochet for Baby All Year: Easy-to-Make Outfits for Every Month – in my mail box.

The book is arranged by months, and each chapter includes designs for both a boy and girl in the theme of that month. The projects are designed to work up quickly, and they are super adorable.


Photo courtesy of Stackpole Books

The patterns are written for sizes up to 12 months. You can create a special crocheted outfit for each month of baby’s first year! See all the designs in Crochet for Baby All Year on the PDF Look Book.

Photo courtesy of Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy of Stackpole Books

Ready to get stitching? Thanks to Stackpole Books you have the chance to win a copy of Crochet for Baby All Year. Leave a comment on this post before Friday, August 8th at 11:59 pm, telling me what you love about crocheting for babies. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner.

PS: I just got to see Tammy Hildebrand at the Knit & Crochet Show last week!

Tammy is awesome!

Tammy is awesome!

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Last Thursday at the Knit & Crochet Show, I took a class on tatting* with Susan Lowman. I’m really enjoying this new craft (and new use for all the crochet thread I’ve stockpiled over the years).

It took about 4 class hours for me to learn to tat and complete this butterfly.tatted butterfly

Since then I’ve played around with some motifs from the book, New Tatting: Modern Lace Motifs and Projects , and I’m working on making myself a bookmark.

more fun with tatting

I obviously need practice to get my stitches more even, but I’m having fun along the way :-)

*I spent the whole class sitting next to fellow designer Linda Dean. She and I had a blast, and she was wearing one of her designs that I tech edited.

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Drift Ice Shawl Crochet Pattern – New Photos

Any pattern is a collaborative work between designer and  yarn, but sometimes it goes a bit further. I was flattered when Stephanie of SpaceCadet Yarns asked to borrow the Drift Ice Shawl (made with her Oriana yarn) for a photo shoot. Here’s a sampling of the photos she took. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Adjusted-1161 (Medium) Adjusted-1179 (Medium) IMG_1187

Make this beauty for yourself. Click on the link to get the Drift Ice Shawl crochet pattern.

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The 3 P’s of Learning to Crochet

As I teach people to crochet for the very first time, I’ve found these 3 P’s to be incredibly important:3 ps of learning to crochet

Practice - It may be a cliche, but practice really does make perfect. When you crochet, your two hands have to work together in a way they haven’t before. You have to practice and practice to build the new muscle memories that crocheting requires.

Patience - This goes hand-in-hand with practice. You need the patience to keep practicing. Even if you don’t typically consider yourself to be a patient person, you can still do it. Patience doesn’t mean crocheting for 10 hours at a time. When you want to stop, you can stop. Patience means you pick it back up again. Patience means you hit a snag, and you still give it 5 more minutes. Patience means that, just because it’s not easy, you don’t give up.

Pride - Be proud of what you are accomplishing. I often point out to my students how their stitches are becoming more even, they’re able to maneuver the crochet hook more smoothly than before, and how they’re learning to be able to correct mistakes on their own. People tend to overlook these milestones, but they should be a source of immense pride. You’re learning! You’re getting better! Way to go!

Did you use these 3 P’s when learning to crochet? Have you taught others to crochet?

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Happy 4th of July!

life liberty and the pursuit of yarn

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Crochet Survey for Health

 Kathryn over at Crochet Concupiscence is doing a survey about the health benefits of crochet.  Here’s a little about Kathryn and her survey:
When and how did you learn to crochet?
I first learned to crochet as a child. My mom taught me, along with a diverse range of other crafts and hobbies. It didn’t stick at the time but it was always there in the back of my mind as something that I loved. I resumed the craft again in my late twenties, learning side-by-side with my mom (who had to re-learn since it had been so long) and teaching myself a lot using a children’s “learn to crochet” book.
What started your focus on crochet and health?
I began crocheting again at that time because I was going through a really dark period of depression and was trying to find hobbies that I could enjoy. Crochet really helped me get through that bad time. I began blogging a little bit about my experience of healing through crochet and I started receiving responses from many other people who had healed with crochet. That sparked my interest in learning more. In 2012 I wrote my book, Crochet Saved My Life, which includes my story and the stories of two dozen other women who crocheted to heal from a variety of mental and physical health issues.
What do you hope to be able to accomplish with this survey?
My primary goal with this new survey is to extend the research that already exists so that we can all better understand the ways that crochet heals. This survey focuses specifically on the craft of crochet (whereas most other research has looked at needlework or crafting in general). It explores the broad range of symptoms that crochet relieves and examines the extent to which it helps. I publish a number of online and print writings about healing through crochet so I’ll be able to use the results of this study to further assist people in finding ways to craft to heal. More than that, it is my hope that the study will be useful in terms of getting crochet more acceptance as a healing option in settings like hospitals, therapy groups, behavioral health homes and schools.
So what are you waiting for? Hop on over and take the survey.
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Understanding Foundation Chains

Most patterns start with instructions to chain a certain number, and then the first row starts working into that long line of chains. Those first chains are referred to as the foundation chain.

When you start to crochet into the foundation chain, you generally skip a certain number of chains. Those skipped chains may or may not count as a stitch.

Single Crochet

For single crochet, standard instructions would read: “Sc in 2nd ch from the hook and in each ch across”. That means you are skipping 1 chain (the 1st chain from the hook). This skipped chain is the equivalent of a turning chain and typically does not count as a stitch. So for a single crochet row:

A foundation chain of 6 chains results in 5 single crochet sts.

A foundation chain of 6 chains results in 5 single crochet sts.


Number of Sc sts in Row 1 = Foundation Chain – 1

For half-double crochet and double crochet stitches, the turning chain typically does count as a stitch, so things are a bit different.

Half Double Crochet

Instructions would usually read “hdc in 3rd ch from the hook and in each ch across”. The 2 skipped chains count as a turning chain AND the first st.


11 foundation chains results in 10 sts.

Number of Hdc sts in Row 1 = Foundation Chain – 1

Double Crochet

This is similar to half-double crochet. Instructions would usually read “dc in 4th ch from the hook and in each ch across”. The 3 skipped chains count as a turning chain AND the first st.


12 foundation chs results in 10 sts.

Number of Dc sts in Row 1 = Foundation Chain – 2


Notice that I say “usually” in these descriptions. While this is considered standard, there are times where it makes sense to do things in a non-standard way. Some designers, myself included, prefer to use a loose ch 1 for the turning chain on a half double crochet and not count it as a stitch. Other patterns may instruct you not to count the ch 3 on a double crochet row as a stitch. As always, I advise designers to only use the non-standard format if they have a very good reason for doing so.


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Learning Embroidery and A Rainbow of Stitches

So much of my work involves knit and crochet, that I occasionally like to give a different craft a try. At the trade show I went to last May, the nice folks at Random House gave me some books, including A Rainbow of Stitches. It’s an embroidery book and it is so beautiful to look at. All of the designs are done in a single color of thread and use basic stitches. I’m familiar with some of the stitches, like back stitch, but stem stitch was totally new to me.

About a week ago, I decided to take the plunge and give embroidery a try. I copied one of the bird patterns on to a paper book mark. I read the instructions on the basic stitches, and tried it out. I was able to finish the bird in the time it took a pot of water to boil.

I used a seed bead for the eye since the french knot kept slipping through the hole.

I used a seed bead for the eye since the french knot kept slipping through the hole.


The bookmark turned out so well that I decided to do a slightly bigger project. I snuck the iron downstairs (so my husband wouldn’t get his hopes up that I would be ironing his shirts), pressed a spare piece of linen fabric I had, and picked out a design. I had some trouble transferring the floral design, but I think it still worked out ok. (I used dressmaker’s carbon for this one, but I think I may go with a heat transfer pencil for my next project.) Even though the design was done in one color in the book, I wanted to play around with a couple of different colors- green leaves, blue flowers, and pink French knots for the flower centers.flowerembroidery

Overall I’m really enjoying this foray into embroidery. I’ve already spent a good 2 hrs looking at embroidery ideas on Pinterest. Plus, embroidery meets my main criteria for fun crafting – that I can do it while lying in bed and watching tv :-) Have you tried embroidery before? What have you made? Do you use it to embellish your knit or crochet?

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