More Crochet Along Squares

I’ve been slowly moving along on catching up on some of the crochet along squares from years past.  These are a lot easier for me to work on than bigger projects with a toddler underfoot, and half the time I’m working on them as a car passenger while the family’s been running errands, or when I’m waiting to pick the kids up from one activity or another.  A crochet along square is easy to pack up and bring along, and even fifteen minutes here and there eventually add up.  Sometimes I really need to be able to start and finish a project and be able to see it from beginning to end, especially in these mothering years where everything else tends to be an endless cycle of repetition. 

My 2015 blanket is the last large project that I finished, and turned out to be so successful and is used in our home every day, so I figured the 2016 and 2017 deserve a chance to be finished up too! Hopefully in time for the holidays this year, because I have two families that would love them and that I would love to share my creations with.  So, with some slow and steady progress, here are a few more squares from the 2016 Block-a-Month Crochet Along group from Ravelry that I’m adding to the pile of finished creations!  And if you’re following along with my progress, here is my gallery for the squares I have finished for this particular blanket on Ravelry.  Hopefully one that will be growing incrementally!

For all of these squares, I used Caron Simply Soft yarn and a G (4mm) hook.  The colors I used black, off white, light country peach, and red.  Because I use a smaller hook and sport weight yarn when most of the patterns call for worsted weight and an H or I hook, I make my squares 9″ instead of 12″ and often have room for a bit more of a border. 

Blue Jeanne Crochet Along Square

Blue Jeanne Crochet Square - Crochet Along Square -
Blue Jeanne Crochet Square

The original version of this square was designed with blue yarn, hence the name, but I think the red and peach turned out pretty well too.  I love the way the center motif of this crochet along square turned out – very unique but not overly difficult to make.  Blocking squares that have a million back post stitches are always difficult, so I hope I captured the essence of how pretty this square turned out to be!

Block-a-Month Crochet-Along Square: 2016 November Filler square

Free Ravelry Download: Blue Jeanne Crochet Square

Designer: Hooked on Sunshine

Price (at time of post): Free


Rebirth Crochet Along Square

Rebirth Crochet Square - Crochet Along Square -
Rebirth Crochet Square

This is the most recent of the 2016 squares that I completed, and I love it.  It’s been on my list to make since it first came out, with its strong zigzags and clean lines.  This one was made to be a little fancy by using tapestry crochet to carry the puff color through the dark background.  I also added a little bit of embroidery as flower puff “stems”, which I think turned out kind of fun.  I fall in love with this square again every time I look at it.

Block-a-Month Crochet-Along Square: 2016 December Filler square

Ravelry Download: Rebirth Crochet Square

Designer: Magdalene Lee

Price (at time of post): Free


Queen of the Meadow Crochet Along Square

Queen of the Meadow Crochet Square - Crochet Along Square -
Queen of the Meadow Crochet Square

This crochet along square is so unique.  It was the main square for August of 2016, and captures the essence of summer breezes, as was intended.  I did make a few changes, mostly in the “breezy” aspect of the white surrounding smaller stitches.  The original called for it to actually look like they were flying off in the breeze.  However, my picky sense of symmetry forced me to follow the alternative layout of the simple repetition instead.  Still, I love how it turned out. 

Block-a-Month Crochet-Along Square: 2016 August Main square

Free Ravelry Download: Queen of the Meadow Crochet Square

Designer: Lettice Rose

Price (at time of post): Free

Sometimes after I’ve been working on a crochet along square for a while, I get so caught up in making the details as perfect as I can that I forget to take a step back and look at them as a whole.  I’ll want to start an entire square over if I decide after the fact that a round should have been made in a different color, for example.  Being able to put them away for a while and go back to them helps me appreciate the work I’ve done.  Just posting these here makes me inspired enough to want to work on more squares today!  I’m so glad to share them, and each step closer to the final project being finished is progress made!


Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases – May 2018

Nine months pregnant, it won’t be too much longer now.  I’m so behind on everything.  I pulled this post up to share the crochet pattern purchases that I bought and the title was still under “April 2018”, even though May is half over already!  And May is such a crazy month here, with a million birthdays, graduation parties, school recitals, and so on.  I’m going to be so happy when everything is over and calm and I’m cuddling with my new little one.  I’m so excited, and I’m so ready to be done with this pregnancy.  It honestly wasn’t even an overly difficult one, until right about 8 months hit me like a ton of bricks.  Nonetheless, I’m still so excited and counting down the days!

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - Seaside Cottage Cocoon -
Seaside Cottage Cocoon / Snuggle Sack and Hat by Betty Fay Wallace

That’s why adorable little baby sacks like this are all over my crochet pattern purchases from the past month.  They grow so quickly, and I’m still finishing up another cocoon that I started, but this one is so lacy and beautiful that I hope to be able to find time to make this one too.  Plus just looking at the baby in this photo is making me emotional with anticipation!

Pattern: Seaside Cottage Cocoon / Snuggle Sack and Hat

Designer: Betty Fay Wallace

Link: Ravelry Download for Seaside Cottage Cocoon / Snuggle Sack and Hat

Price (as of date of posting): $6.50

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - Fiesta Owl Pants -
Fiesta Owl Pants and Ruffled Bloomers by Ira Rott

These are just adorable, aren’t they?  I can picture Clara rocking a couple of versions of these cute little owl pants.  She’s growing so insanely fast as it is, I may just make one pattern size up and let her hopefully fit into it by the end of the summer.  I love the attention to detail that these have

Pattern: Fiesta Owl Pants and Ruffled Bloomers

Designer: Ira Rott

Link: Ravelry Download for Fiesta Owl Pants and Ruffled Bloomers

Price (as of date of posting): $8.50

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - The Pondoland Square -
The Pondoland Square by Jen Tyler

I have a bunch of pillows whose cases are old, worn out, and ready to be replaced, so when I see a great square that works so perfectly as a pillowcase, I am all over them.  This one is so beautiful, too.  I have a preference for organic patterns over geometric to begin with, and that shows everywhere through my home decorating.  So a square like this, with its petals and popcorn puffs and smooth curves is going to be a perfect addition to my seating areas!  I can see this pattern in the colors of my home, all in different placements…. ohhh, just thinking about it makes me want to get started right away!

Pattern: The Pondoland Square

Designer: Jen Tyler

Link: Ravelry Download for The Pondoland Square

Price (as of date of posting): $2.00

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - The Riebeek-Kasteel Weekend Block -
The Riebeek-Kasteel Weekend Block by Jen Tyler

Omg, the texture!  If I didn’t love working with color so much, I think I would honestly consider making this as a single color crochet blanket.  Or maybe something with an analogous color scheme, shades of grey with a splash of one bright color or something to emphasize the floral and leafy aspects.  My mind is already creating a ton of possibilities.  And the sizing seems to be perfect for a new baby, too.  I don’t want to wish for more weeks being pregnant in order to fit more crochet projects in, but on the same token, I sure wish I could speed-crochet so that something like this could be done in the next few weeks!

Pattern: The Riebeek-Kasteel Weekend Block

Designer: Jen Tyler

Link: Ravelry Download for The Riebeek-Kasteel Weekend Block

Price (as of date of posting): $2.00

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - The De Rust Square -
The De Rust Square by Jen Tyler

There are some crochet square patterns that I look at and try to figure out how to bring out the best features and there are some that are just overwhelmingly beautiful and seemingly one can’t go wrong with however they place color or stitches.  This one is definitely one of the latter.  I’m definitely adding this to one of my sampler blankets, and I even have a particular one in mind.  The $2 price tag is definitely a fair price for what really looks to be an amazingly gorgeous square, and I’m excited to have it in my queue.

Pattern: The De Rust Square

Designer: Jen Tyler

Link: Ravelry Download for The De Rust Square

Price (as of date of posting): $2.00

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - Sampler Blanket -
Sampler Blanket by Alessandra Hayden

Isn’t this gorgeous?  The last thing I need right now is yet another blanket to start and get halfway done with, but who cares what I need? haha.  This blanket looks like it uses a lot of really interesting tapestry patterns, and I just love its uniqueness and variety.  Even the edges that are not woven in give it a lot of its own character.  I really like it, and the color combination possibilities here are just endless and make me want to go stare down my yarn shelf until I find the perfect combinations. 

Pattern: Sampler Blanket

Designer: Alessandra Hayden

Link: Ravelry Download for Sampler Blanket 

Price (as of date of posting): $6.00

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases -Mother Nursing her Newborn and Mother-to-be EVE by Veronica McRae -
Mother-to-be EVE and Mother Nursing her Newborn by Veronica McRae

I love Willowtree figures!  I got my first as a mother’s day gift years ago when my eldest was born, and I’ve steadily built up a tiny collection of the ones I love.  They never fail to evoke an emotional response from me – the emphasis on the love of parents and children and families together.  So when I saw these crochet versions I immediately decided that they would be fun to make, especially considering that this is my life right now, and will be for the next months!

Pattern: Mother-to-be EVE and Mother Nursing her Newborn (these are two separate patterns and purchases)

Designer: Veronica McRae

Link: Ravelry Download for Mother-to-be EVE

Ravelry Download for Mother Nursing her Newborn

Price (as of date of posting): Each pattern AU$7.25 AUD ($5.76 USD as of today)


Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - Princess Charlotte Bonnet -
Princess Charlotte Bonnet by Karin Fernandes (knitted)


Princess Charlotte Bonnet
Princess Charlotte Bonnet

Okay, this is not crochet, and I’m not a very good knitter.  BUT.  We just had another royal baby born and now there’s a wedding coming up.  I’m not British at all, but this all the babies and hullabaloo going on the other side of the pond has brought me back to this sweet little bonnet that Princess Charlotte was introduced wearing.  I’ve heard that in the photo the bonnet is on with the wrong side up, but regardless, it’s so very pretty and classic that I thought I’d try my hand at it anyway.  And did you know that little Louis was also wearing a similar one for his debut photos as well?   I highly doubt I’ll be anywhere near done by the time my little princess is born, but practice makes perfect, and I may as well start somewhere!

Pattern: Princess Charlotte Bonnet

Designer: Karin Fernandes

Link: Ravelry Download for Princess Charlotte Bonnet

Price (as of date of posting): $2.99


Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases - Forest Chains -
Forest Chains by Jessica Phillips

Finally, I picked up this pattern for Forest Chains.  I have a feeling that I made this square, or one that is really similar anyway for my BAWL blaket some years back, but after some (half-hearted) searching through some of my old files, I figured I would just buy the pattern again and have it on hand for any future projects.  Let that be a lesson learned, be sure to save your patterns in an easy location to find them in, unless you have automatic saving done for you, like in the case of Ravelry downloads.  I do love the simplicity of this square though, and a couple of bucks makes it an absolutely worthy pattern. 

Pattern: Forest Chains

Designer: Jessica Phillips

Link: Ravelry Download for Forest Chains

Price (as of date of posting): $2.99


So those were the pattern purchases I made in April, even though it’s May.  And depending on this baby, I may even treat myself to a few more, even though I know any possibilities of me actually getting a chance to make them are not very high (unless I’m blessed with a very good sleeper!  But I’m not holding my breath on that! lol).  Regardless of when I get to them, though, it makes me happy to know that all these beautiful options and patterns exist and that keeps the creativity and inspiration alive in my mind.

As with any of my other crochet pattern purchase posts, these really are all just my own personal preferences for patterns.  I am not getting compensated in any way, nor have I even been in contact with any of the designers or anything of the sort.  I do enjoy supporting individual designers, though, and believe that when they go out of their way to write a pattern that we all benefit from, they deserve to be compensated through buying that pattern.  So if you feel the same, go and support these great crochet contributors and enjoy creating some beautiful crochet items!


In Progress: Crochet Owl Blanket

Crochet owl blanket -

There’s an owl that lives in the woods outside my home.  He comes and goes at various points throughout the year, but he always returns, and sometimes he has scared the living daylights out of me.  There have been plenty of nights, when the kids are asleep and I’m sitting in the dark that I’ll hear some little creature screech and hear loud wing flapping and then for the next minute or so, it sounds like some terrible fight is taking place.  But there’s never any evidence in the morning, even though when i go out looking, I half expect to find mangled, horrific remains from the sounds of the struggle.  But it is likely just this little owl who does his nocturnal hunting and then returns to his nest to hoot through the night. 

This crochet owl blanket has shown up in my Pinterest feed so many times, and I’ve favorited it, saved it, marked it.  But with the advent of this new little one on the way (and coming soon, I might add!), I was inspired enough to start a new blanket for her (yes, it’s a her!).  I love the rainbow colors of the original blanket – I think it was made with KnitPicks’ Chroma?  But the color scheme was a bit too close to my Little Hearts Scrapghan (the eternal work in progress), so I decided when selecting my colors for this project to do something a little less bright. So naturally for a crochet owl blanket – I decided to go through all my woodland colors and find a nice blend of earthy yarns.

Crochet owl blanket -

I ended up going with Vanna’s Choice colors, with a couple of outliers and lot of discontinued colors.  Mustard, taupe, kelly green, fern green, olive green, terra cotta, beige, and honey are all from the current VCFC line.  The dark brown is the discontinued espresso color, and of course, my favorite discontinued color of all, pea green, makes its appearance as well.  The light brown is a mystery yarn that is the same weight as the VCFC line, but I honestly don’t know where it came from, only that I found it in my stash and it went well with the color scheme. 

The link to the crochet owl blanket pattern can be found here in the etsy shop TheHatandI.  It’s called “Owl Obsession” and is (currently) $5.99.  If you’re a novice crocheter, the pattern is filled with photos and details on how to make the blanket, so it’s a decent project.  I made some modifications myself just out of personal preference, such as skipping the back loop only through the octogons, and modifying the way the ears were made just to make things a little more in the shape I want it.  Of course that left me with a bunch of ears that need to be tacked down, so that’s one of the things I’ll be working on as I finish this up  But overall, I’m quite pleased with the results. 

Crochet owl blanket -

Anyway, this etsy shop is amazing, and no, I’m not getting paid to say this, lol!  It’s hardly just the crochet owl blanket – I love the selection of patterns, the colors, and the creativity involved in them – like, cute little turtles next to the ocean?  What’s not to love?  These are some others patterns from the same shop that I have in one queue or another that I do hope to make one day – check out the patterns for sale if you like:

Clockwise from top left: Cat Lover Blanket, Crayon Box Blanket, Follow Your Heart Crochet Blanket, Twist Top Beanie, and Turtle Bay Blanket

The Hat and I Etsy shop
The Hat and I Etsy shop

And as for my own owl blanket, I have a little bit of work left.  I have to finish up the half octagons for the side and get a border on there – I’m not certain which border I might use yet, but I have some ideas. But it will definitely be ready in time to wrap my little bundle up in some love!

~Mellie ★

planning the garden

planning the garden -

My family jokes that I’m always planning the garden.  And they’re right.  That’s me, above, a few years ago in my first community garden plot.  It wasn’t my first time gardening, though.  I grew up with a prolific gardener – my grandfather.  Every spring he would start planning the garden in late winter.  He had the greenest thumb, and it seemed to us that whatever he planted just grew brilliantly.  We had fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and carrots – straight from the garden – almost every day at dinnertime.  He had heritage raspberry bushes that took over an entire length of our yard.  I can never eat grocery store raspberries without comparing them to the juiciest, sweet raspberries that my sister and I used to eat like candy off of the bushes.  Marigolds, peach trees, rose bushes – he was a master gardener. 

After he passed away, I tried to take over the garden plot that he left behind, but it wasn’t long before the land was sold, and I had moved far enough away that visiting was only a weekly trip, if that.  And as times passes, weeds took over the garden, including the insidious and horrific bindweed, which ended up choking the raspberry bushes to death.  In the end, the garden died, it was eventually turned into a lawn, and the family that lives there now probably has no idea of the goodness that grew under their very feet for so many years.

planning the garden -

However, I inherited that love of earth, and the green thumb that goes along with it.  When I started my first garden, I pored over gardening books, learning everything I could about how different classes of vegetables grow; what flourishes when and in what kind of soil; and what I didn’t learn from the books, I learned from trial and error.  The community garden plot was a dream come true for me, until it was turned into a dog park, and I was left without a garden for yet another year. 

I never gave up, though.  Even after we moved into a little apartment, I was determined to make the best use of the small grassy area outside my patio doors.  I learned about raised beds, and the next year we had installed four little beds for me to work in.  This is when my boys were quite young, so I would enlist their help in carrying water from the kitchen sink through the living room and out the back door, since there were no hoses.  They loved it, though, and it was fun to watch them learn to eat their food straight off the plants.  And the carpet definitely got a watering, too!

planning the garden -

But time passed still, and I moved out of that apartment, and the beds were torn down before the next tenant moved in.  I spent a couple of years with a few potted plants here and there, but nothing truly exciting or elaborate.  Still, it never stopped me from dreaming every spring about planning the garden for the year to come.  I have lists of seeds and diagrams of what my ideal garden would look like one day, complete with a kitchen herb garden, aromatic flowers bounding a garden trail, and the most flavorful heritage seeds I could choose. 

The yard I have now is perfect for little children to run around and play in, but is almost completely shaded by a thick wall of trees.  And I can’t complain about that, really, because it’s so beautiful and peaceful to look out my window at trees, trees, trees.  But the lack of sunshine leaves me very little space to plant any summer crops.  Last year I resorted to miniature versions of tomatoes and cucumbers that could grow in pots, which I strategically placed after charting out which areas around the home got the most sunshine.  I had a lot of luck.  My plants grew and were prolific for the miniature versions that they were.

planning the garden -

So this year, I’m putting the Mr to work, with plans to build a handful of raised beds for me to plant in again.  I’m still charting the sun on the few clear days that we have, in order to see where to best place them to get the most sunlight, and I know at least a couple of them will be more for partial sun crops, rather than the full-on cucumbers and tomatoes I would grow and eat all year round if I could.  Kale, chard and lettuce greens are bursting with flavor when picked fresh, and they do well in partial sun.  I have plans, I tell you.  Big plans!  Plans that will be quickly covered in weeds when this new baby comes and I spend more time sleeping and nursing than I could out weeding the garden, but still.  Every garden is a good garden; if not crop-wise, then by the learning that comes with it.

I can’t let a growing season go by without putting in at least a small order of seeds though.  I have a plethora of seeds leftover from last year, many of them picked up on sale for a few pennies at the end of the season.  Between what I have and the fact that my new little one will take up a good deal of time, I can’t really justify a huge order, but I do have a couple of special seeds selected for fun.  For example, these atomic grape tomatoes from are so beautiful.  Even though I’ve grown and love heirloom seeds, every year I am tempted by the amazing hybrids that gardeners more talented than I create, and I like to have a good mixture of both. 

planning the garden - atomic grape tomatoes
atomic grape tomatoes /

So while the sky is gray and the forecast is calling for yet another round of snow, I’m sitting inside, making yet another list of what to plant, and when; and getting my little growing lights out, and counting back the days from when the last frost will (hopefully) be, so that by the time the earth is ready, I’ll have some healthy little seedlings ready to go.  And with a little luck and cooperation from the weather, my children will be out picking the beans and cherry tomatoes off the plants again this summer. 

planning the garden -

Happy gardening dreams!