Crochet seems like it always makes the perfect handmades for baby, doesn’t it? From baby blankets to booties, bonnets and little toys, crochet goes hand in hand with little ones.
That’s why I was so excited when I joined in another swap (this one in my local group of handicraft friends), and got a new mother as my giftee. Where to start? There are so many lovely items to crochet for baby.
I started off by finding out her little one’s name, and then came across photos of her nursery in her Facebook albums. From there, I thought a bunting for over baby Oliver’s bed would be a perfect fit.
For this pattern, I combined two patterns together and modified them slightly. For the letters, I used Moogly’s free crochet alphabet online. I added a slip stitch around the border of each letter as well, just to give a polished look to the edges. Then I made the triangles out of cream yearn, and outlined it with the same blue the letters were made with.
On a whim, I was looking around on my Pinterest pages and came across these cute granny star squares. So I thought that they would be a perfect accompaniment to the triangles in the banner. They turned out to go very well together, I think. And they were fun and so easy to make as well.
I put the bunting together and then thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to add a little something extra? And as I searched through some patterns, I came across these adorable crossover baby booties. It seemed like a perfect fit. These booties were incredibly fun to make up and it took no time at all. So now this crochet for baby is off to its new home to warm baby’s feet and hang over his bed.
I made this pattern a long time ago when I wanted something to cover up my kitchen cleaning wipes. But a few weeks ago, out of the blue, one of my friends mentioned that she saw some rainbow crochet mason jar cozies online somewhere, and could I make a couple for her? And then, overhearing the conversation, another friend thought that was a fine idea and that she might like some as well. So, I got out my cotton and looked up this old pattern again.
I had fun making these for my friends, and I loved how they turned out. So much, in fact, that I decided that maybe my kitchen needed a few of these as well. I have a decent sized collection of mason jars that I regularly use. And then I thought, wouldn’t it be an even better idea to make cozies for the jars that aren’t as lovely as mason jars. I’m talking about the pickle jars and the olive jars that all have labels that never completely come off. The ones with these white paper tears that won’t come off no matter how hard I scrub them. Or the jars with the label glue that is apparently not water soluble, counting from how many times I’ve run them through the dishwasher.
These are the jars, I decided, that need a coverup, as it were. And so as of right now, I have a queue of patiently waiting jars lined up next to my crochet basket, waiting for some new clothes to get them back to work.
The pattern is very easy and can be modified with no problems. I used a granny stitch for the quart jars and then an alternating [dc, ch1, sk1] for the pint and a half jars. For the various sized ones I have, I’ll just fudge around with the foundation chain until I get it to fit well, and then start the pattern from there. These work up quickly, and are a vary satisfying project for some instant gratification crochet.
And on another unrelated, but still rainbow note, I was cleaning out another closet and came across this great yarn that I purchased a year or so ago before I moved (unpacking is like treasure hunting sometimes!) I only have one skein in this dye lot of this Crystal Palace Sausalito yarn, so I’m trying to find the perfect project to make with it. It’s a light fingering weight wool-blend yarn, so I’m thinking of something like maybe some hand mitts? A headband? If you have any ideas, let me know in the comments. Yarn this colorful doesn’t usually last too long around here!
Well, we made it through another long hard winter here in the Rust Belt and have been rewarded with a couple of weeks of early spring! There have been more Aprils than I care to remember where we’ve had snowstorms plow right through, so the 60- and 70-degree weather has been a real blessing. I spent a good week out in my yard, tilling the soil and planning out the garden here. This will be my first summer in this new place, and I’ve discovered that 95% of my yard is shaded by a forest line that runs alongside the property. So I’ve had to rethink my gobs of tomatoes and peppers that I’ve put aside for the past couple of years. It looks like I’ll be focusing more on leafy greens and some shade herbs, but that works. As long as I’m growing something, I can be happy.
I’ve also had some rough luck with this blog the past couple of days! Sometimes, like anyone, life gets a little busy, and I get caught up in it and don’t post for a little bit. I’ve had a few people ask me to add them to a mailing list so that I can update them when I post again. So I looked around for a newsletter plugin, and wouldn’t you know I crashed my whole site down after installing it! Obviously, I was able to get it back up, but not without a slight period of panic. Fortunately, I found a good one that works, and so if you’d like to be notified when I post, just fill in the contact info right over here in the sidebar —> under “subscribe”. I’m pretty low-key when it comes to this. I’ll be sending out a weekly newsletter filling you in on anything you missed from the week, so you don’t have to worry about me clogging up your inbox, and the subscription process is really simple.
While I was poking around trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, I found a section where I had received a bunch of mail that never went through with the mail forwarding I had set up. I feel so bad! If you’re one of the people who sent me a message anywhere in the past year or so and never heard back from me, you have my apologies! I am slowly going to start working my way through that list as well
Hopefully though, things have settled down enough here that I’ll be posting much more frequently again. And I have a lot to share that I’ve been working on over the past month. But today I want to share the Block-a-Month Crochet-Along squares for April, since I (finally) finished them and they’re such lovely patterns.
I try to get my bamcal squares done early in the month, because it’s always nice to have something completed off my monthly checklist! (I have checklist after checklist, so really, it’s great to get anything done.) But this month was hectic and the month was halfway over before I got around to finishing all three of these patterns. It was worth it though, because they all turned out to be such great patterns, and I had so much fun making them.
The first, above, is the Romantique Crochet Square by Joyce Lewis. This square has so much detail! I love the bullions and their vintage effect – they’re an optional stitch, but I think they add the extra texture that really makes this square beautiful. I did a little bit of my own work here on the outer borders, making some front post leaves in the corners with tapestry crochet, and then adding a border of various colors with [hdc, ch1, sk1] around. The pattern is a free Ravelry download and my project page for this square is here.
The filler square that was voted on by the group this month is Julie Yeager’s Sun Catcher Square. I’ve always loved Julie’s patterns because they’re very easy, well written, and they always come out with great results. This square is usually a paid pattern, but until the end of the year it’s free, so if you’re interested in making this, download it now, even if you plan to make it later. The pattern is another free Ravelry download and my project page is here. I extended this square to make it a 12″x12″ square by continuing the outer border round, adding a new front dc stitch after skipping two stitches. The way it turned out reminds me a bit of those old stained glass windows in churches. It’s a beautiful pattern.
Finally, the 6″ square for the month is SmoothFox’s May Flower. Now, sometimes these 6″ squares can be a hit or miss for me. Sometimes they’re fun to make, and sometimes I find myself struggling for motivation. Part of the reason I joined the CAL in the first place was to stretch my crochet horizons and make squares that I normally wouldn’t make, and try to make them as beautiful as I can. Fortunately for me, this month’s 6″ square was a dream to make. The pattern is well written, and the square turned out beautifully. And even the centers could be used alone as an applique. The link to the free pattern is here, along with my project page for these here.
So there they are – more squares for the Block-a-Month Crochet Along. The summer months are coming along, and I tend to slack off on the CAL, for no particular reason except that I get caught up in spending all my time outdoors. But I’m going to be making a good effort this year to stick with it! And of course, if you’re interested in joining, feel free to jump right in. You can make the squares from January until now, or you can start now and ignore the rest. There really are no rules, it’s just a place to work together to make beautiful crochet squares. So I hope to see you there1
Hooray! The first part of the swap is over for me. Today I finished my twelfth and final square that I’m making for the Sprouting Hues crochet swap. Pretty soon these squares will be in the mail on their way to their new homes. And I’ll be sitting back and waiting for my squares to come. But that’s just the half of it; after I receive all the swap squares coming my way, I have more big plans for them, stay tuned!
But while I wait for that, I wanted to finish up by sharing the remaining patterns that I made. I already posted about the first half the squares here and here. And below are the final six:
This one seems to be everyone’s favorite. I wasn’t exactly sure how I’d work this when I looked up this pattern, but I had it open on my computer for a good week before I figured that if I could make them the correct size, I could fit them into a 12×12 square. I ran into a lot of difficulties, though! First, I didn’t realize that the pattern is in UK terms and not US, so I made a bunch rounds of dc instead of sc. And then after I finally finished my first one up, I realized that with the H hook I’d been using, each flower measured over the 4″ mark. It wasn’t by much, maybe just a quarter inch over, but it was enough that three in a row would go over the 12″ requirement for the swap. So I took out the petal rounds. I really didn’t want to have to do the centers over yet another time! So I keep the centers with an H hook and did the rest of the flower with a G hook. The finished measurements turned out to be right on the dot.
Then when the measurements worked out, I stitched them together in their petals at the largest points, the petal edges. It worked, the square came out well. I wondered then, if this would be an okay swap square, because I suppose technically it isn’t a square. I tried to check with the moderator, but I finally decided to message the recipient to see if she’d prefer an edging around it or not. I would have put an edging around it, but I think it would have detracted somewhat. Luckily for me, she loves the square as is and is looking forward to receiving it, so it worked out well all around.
This square is Sarah London’s “Hawaiian Flowers”, and it can be found for free here. My Ravelry project page is here. This really is a lovely pattern. I wouldn’t mind one day making an afghan of these, put together with a lightweight yarn. It would make a perfect summer throw.
The next two patterns came out of the book that I mentioned in the previous blog entry, The Big Book of Granny Squares: 365 Crochet Motifs. I ended up buying the Kindle version to finish up these two squares. It was really refreshing to make these, because their construction and composition are lines instead of circles. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful center motif, but after crocheting square after square of a center flower or circle, it’s nice to make a square that’s different! These two definitely filled those shoes. The first square below, Deck Squares, is actually written to be a bit smaller, I think. I had to restart after my squares weren’t quite coming up to size. Each of these squares are made with 13 scs arcross, put together piece by piece and then surrounded with a few border rounds. Yes, I will tell you that there were a LOT of ends to weave in with this one. I had originally wanted this to be a 4×4 square, but the idea of giving someone a square with all the woven edges didn’t sit well with me. I blocked this square twice. First, by blocking each smaller square individually, and then finally again at the end. I do like how it turned out in the end, and the borders helped it keep its shape. My Ravelry project page for this one is here.
The Big Book of Granny Squares: 365 Crochet Motifs had another square that I fell in love with because of its unique construction and layout. This is called “Tartan” and it’s made by interlocking the four colors and then putting surface crochet stitch along it. I love it! I think that in a sampler blanket, such as what we end up with during swaps, something with solid blocks, yet with detail can make a huge impact. I’m thinking that I’ll eventually end up making another of these for another sampler. Not only did this turn out to be visually appealing, but it was so refreshingly easy to make: easy rows with a change of color here and there. It worked up fast and lovely. There was a request in the group for more masculine looking squares, and I think this one does the trick. My Tartan Square Ravelry page is here.
I thought I had written about this Flight Square before, but it seems I haven’t. This is the final square I made from the book. Another one with unique construction but a visual feast in the end! The trick here was to line up the lighter and darker colors appropriately in order to give it the “stepping” effect that it has. This square also had a ton of ends to weave in, and it took longer than most of the other squares, but in the end, I think the extra effort shows. This is such a fun square. My project page for this square is here. Right now it’s the only version in the Ravelry database, but I’m hoping to see more soon! I keep thinking of all the different color combinations that this could be created with.
This next one is the last square I made for the swap. The center flower is absolutely gorgeous. I think that anyone looking for just a flower pattern would love the result of the first few rounds of this square. I got distracted a little bit along the way though (Season 3 of House of Cards; it’s keeping my attention divided!). The first round of puff hearts that I made were actually plain puff stitches and I didn’t even realize it until that round was done and over and I was starting the next round. So I frogged it back and finally got it right. Actually, once I got the hang of the puff hearts, it was incredibly easy. It was in these final rounds that I just thought that this is probably one of the most beautiful squares I’ve made. I love everything about it. I love how the lattice looks like a white wooden trellis with shades of spring peeking in. I love the hearts, I love the alternating greens, I love everything about it. Best part is that the pattern is free, too! The pattern can be found here. It took me a bit of poking around to see the whole pattern – they’re under different tabs. But it’s worth the search. My project page is here.
Finally, I saved this square for last. This square is a continuation of the pattern I’ve been working on for the past few weeks (see here), except with a few more stitches added on the top to bring it up to 12″. The tapestry stitches really give it a dynamic feel! I have the pattern in my Ravelry page listed as a “personal pattern” that is “not available”, but that will be changing soon. It’s not that exciting trying to get all the details into a pattern in a way that’s easy for everyone to read.; especially because the patterns I write to myself are incredibly basic (like: Row 3, hdc)., lol. Anyway, I will get around to finishing up the finer details and it will be released soon as a free pattern, so that others can have as much fun with it as I am.
And there we are! Twelve happy squares on their way out across the nation to eight different homes. I can’t wait to see how they’re used in everyone else’s final piece, and I can’t wait to see what’s in coming in the mail for me, too!
The crochet swap squares are coming along, slowly and steadily. As I mentioned before, I am can procrastinate when it comes to swaps (a big no-no!), and then get stuck the last week madly crocheting every free second to finish in time! So I’m trying to keep myself on a regular schedule.
I’ve made some progress so far, and I’m over halfway done with the squares. First, here’s a little background info on the crochet swap I’m in. The process begins with colors schemes selected and voted on. The winners have signups and then square sizes (usually 12”) and quantity are decided. Some swaps have themes, such as texture, or Halloween (more on that later!). After all the decisions have been made, we select squares, make them accordingly and then send them off to the other members in the group. Finally, we receive the squares and put them all together and voila! Swap complete. At the bottom of this post is more information on crochet swaps.
This swap that I’m in right now is called Sprouting Hues. The colors are, as can be expected, colors of sprouts and dirt, perfect for spring. The yarn is from the Vanna’s choice line and includes Chocolate, White, Taupe, Fern, Lime and Linen. It’s very spring like, and after this long winter, I’m definitely ready for some green in my life!
First, this is called Fluted Flower Square. One chilly day a few weeks back, a good friend of mine came into town for a weekend. She brought a couple of crochet books with her and we sat around and crocheted and caught up on life for a couple of days. I had fun going through her book, The Big Book of Granny Squares: 365 Motifs* and picked a few squares to make. I’m still working on a couple of them, but this one I finished while she was still here. The petals are a great texture, although they needed a bit of blocking so that they weren’t puffing out too much.
The next square that I finished was a random find. I was just randomly pinning on my crochet boards on Pinterest and this square popped up and instantly caught my eye. So I headed on over to the pattern page and thought I’d make it up right then and there. Serendipity, yes? The pattern, called Floral Kaleidoscope Afghan Square, is really pretty and was very easy to make. However, it turned out a lot smaller than the 12 inches I needed to be for the swap,so I added a bunch of extra rounds while trying to keep the integrity of the pattern. Here are the extra rounds that I added:
Round 8: followed the pattern as instructed, but did 3 fptrc in the six trc around each corner. Corner as 2dc, ch2, 2dc. (linen)
Round 9: continued this pattern with dc around and fptrc in the 6 fptrc below. For corner, ch1 after the last fp, 2dc, ch2, 2dc, ch 1. (taupe)
Round 10: continue as previous rounds around, with fp stitches from the round below. For corner: dc in each two corner stitches, 2dc, ch2, 2dc in corner space, dc in next 2 corner stitches. (chocolate)
Round 11: hdc in all the dc, and in the fptrc’s, I put a bptrc into each. For corner: 3sc in space, with sc in all other stitches. (linen)
Round 12: bptrc around, with 2dc, ch2, 2dc in corner space. (fern)
The third square that I’ve finished in the past couple weeks is the same filler square selected for the BAMCAL. I had so much fun making it and it turned out so well that I decided it would make a great swap square. I love how different the square looks depending on where color placement is, and the small fun stripes of green around the border make a nice frame for the center motif, which really stands out with the dark brown background against the light lines. The pattern is a free Ravelry download here, and here is my project page.
How does a crochet swap work?
I’ve also had some questions on how to join in a crochet swap, and I can only speak of one with any certainty, because it’s the only one I’ve participated in. If you’re a Ravelry member, check out Vanna’s Choice Fan Club. You will need to register to be a Ravelry member in order to join this group, but Ravelry is free. The VCFC group hosts several swaps a year. There are also some very strict and important rules to ensure commitment and avoid getting scammed. The average cost for a swap is averaged around $60 for price of yarn (with the Vanna group, it’s always Vanna yarn) and shipping costs. So if you’re interested in joining a swap, join the group and take a look around the files, you’ll get the hang of things. Of course, there are several other crochet swap groups on Google; just do your research to make sure they have a good policy in place so that everyone gets their squares.
VCFC also offers a crochet-along (CAL) option for swaps too! For example, they’re having a swap that has a Halloween theme. I know that I won’t have enough time to participate in this swap, but I still love the idea. So instead of actually swapping with others, I’m participating as a CAL-er. That means I’ll make my own squares and keep them for myself without sending any out. This way, I don’t have to abide by the timeline but I’ll still be able to share my squares with the group and participate in the discussion. This is a great option if you’ve never been in a swap but want to get a feel on how it works within the timeframe.
I still have about six more squares to do for my current swap though, so I’d best get back to work. Have a great day, and happy crocheting.