Spring Crochet Squares

I say spring crochet squares, but I’m actually an entire year behind. 

Since last year was spent in a pregnant blur, I missed out on the bulk of the two blocks a month crochet-along  (2bamcal2016) on the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club on Ravelry.  I made a couple of squares before the pregnancy, but after that, so much crochet work came to a screeching halt.  So I may be a year behind, but I still plan on finishing up this blanket.  I love the colors, I’m having a lot of fun with the patterns and not putting too much pressure on myself to make them perfectly.  And it’s been nothing but fun.

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com

Since I’m going back almost a year, the squares that were selected had a spring theme – and that’s fitting, considering that the weather is warming up around here.  I’ve finally started hearing morning birds outside my window again.  And the Mr. isn’t paranoid about me being outside because of Zika because I’m no longer pregnant (never mind that there have been no cases of Zika here; he excels at worrying about us all!)  I was able to put Clara snug in a wrap and we gathered the kids and the pup and we all went for a long and much needed walk in nature today.  It felt wonderful to be outdoors with the wind in our hair and the muddy grass beneath our feet.  Our pup greeted each and every dog he met with happy leaps and the boys played up and down the trails.  It was really nice.  I’m glad that winter is ending.

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com

I digress, though.  The squares for the VCFC 2bamcal use a worsted weight (Vanna’s Choice) yarn and a larger hook (5.00/H) than I use in the monthly bamcals, where I do more intricate work.  I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself to get things “just so”, but nevertheless, I do.  However, since these are already larger by yarn weight and hook size, it takes much less time, especially when I stop at 9″, and occasionally 12″ (always multiples of 3 for me to make my jumbled afghans!).   Not all of these patterns are free either.  They may have been at the time of the posting, but they aren’t at this point.  I’m always happy to support my fellow crocheters with their pattern writing efforts though; the end results are usually totally worth it. 

For these squares, I’m using Vanna’s Choice yarn in the following colors (a dark rainbow): brick, mustard, olive green, navy, honey, and beige.

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com
Spiralling into Spring Crochet Square by Margaret MacInnis (free)

This is such a gorgeous square, isn’t it?  I mean, I can just look at this project and think: so lovely!  This pattern incorporates tapestry crochet, where you carry one yarn color underneath the other.  I use it often in my work, but this style of using the color switch in chains rather than stitches was new to me.  Fortunately, there are detailed instructions on how to do this, and it turned out wonderfully.   The pattern is by Margaret MacInnis, whose patterns I’m a big fan of to begin with.  You can find this pattern as a free Ravelry download here

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com
Promise Me Spring Crochet Square by Margaret MacInnis ($2.99)

This next square, Promise Me Spring, is also by Margaret MacInnis.  One thing about her patterns is that you’ll never get bored making them.  This one, for example, was made by making the four centerpiece motif edges separately and then connecting them all together.  Pretty unique!  But also pretty fun to make.  This pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $2.99 here

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com
Mirror, Mirror Crochet Square by Funny dieBarbarin ($1.99)

Finally, the Mirror, Mirror Crochet Square has really nothing to do with spring crochet, but it’s still flower-ish and pretty (and the other one I completed and took a photograph of in time for this post), so it’s being included anyway.  And who’s to say that we’re not all looking at ourselves in the mirror before the warmer weather comes anyway (and admiring the gifts of pregnancy? ha.)  Anyway, this is another lovely square to make that is very detailed in instructions.  I like that it doesn’t pull at all, which some other square tend to do.  Nice, straight edges.  And there’s a good variety of stitches involved. Follow the link here to find it on Ravely for $1.99.

It got chilly overnight, and it surely looks like rain, so today seems like it might be a good day to stay inside, cuddle up with my littles ones under some warm woolies and catch up on more crochet and netflix. 

~Mellie

 

 

Crochet Trends: 2017

There are some things that seem to go hand-in-hand with crochet: baby blankets, baby hats, comfortable afghans, amigurumi toys; but as crochet becomes more and more popular, there are a lot of crochet trends that I’ve noticed popping up.  Now, I’m not an expert in forecasting or anything like that, but I prowl Pinterest and Ravelry and other sites enough to notice there are a few crochet trends that are becoming more and more common.  I’ve included some links to patterns within each trend, just click on the photo caption to take you to the pattern.  Also, all the patterns are free except where otherwise noted.

Hygge

The word of the season – both in crochet, and on every other front it seems (try typing it into Pinterest), is hygge.  Hygge, pronounced “hoo-gah”, is a Nordic term that is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”  This is the kind of warm and fuzzy feeling that I associate with being safe and warm in my comfortable home, surrounded by family and the things that I love.  While hygge is more of a state of mind, as an emerging trend, it has come to encompass the its own style as well.  Far from the cries of minimalism, or cold, structural modernism, the hygge style embraces sorts of things like candles, family dinners, homemade teas and pies, softness, and warm blankets and woolies. 

Crocet Trends - Hygge - mellieblossom.com
Hygge Crochet Along 2017

Besides the fact that crochet and blankets go together like peas and carrots, there are crochet patterns that are dedicated solely to hygge.  My favorite thus far, and one that I’m most excited about, is the Hygge Crochet-Along hosted by Scheepjes. This beautiful wrap is made by cross-stitching on top of rows of single crochet.  Some of the projects in progress are just wonderful – I can’t wait to get started on mine!

Messy Bun Hats

Bun hat patterns seem to have exploded this past winter.  These hats, which have a hole at the top of the head for a ponytail or bun to stick out, are so fun.  I wear my hair up out of my face a lot of the time, and having one of these (yes, it’s in my queue) would help alleviate the big bulge where my clip is under my hat or my avoiding wearing one all together.  Anyway, there are a lot of really cute patterns for these crochet bun hats – they’re not too complicated and I think they’d make great gifts for the holidays next year (yep, I’m always planning ahead for Christmas gifts!)  Here are a few that I like:

Crochet Trends - Bun Hats
Ribbed Bun Hat by Naztazia
Crochet Trends - Bun Hats
It’s All About the Messy Bun by June Nemeth
Crochet Trends - Bun Hats
Linen Stitch Ponytail / Messy Bun Hat by Jennifer Pionk

 

Octopuses (Octopodes? Octopi?)

Owls have always been a common trend in crochet.  I’ve made an owl bookbag, there are owl baby cocoons, owl hats, and page after page of other owl patterns.  But lately, octopuses have been taking over.  Amigurumi octopuses are popular, from the realistic to the cute miniatures.  Perhaps bolstered by the news that crocheted octpuses seemed to help some babies born prematurely, “octopuses for preemies” has also become a common pattern with a lot of fun variations.  I’d love to crochet some octopuses for little babies!  I may have to call hospitals around in my area and see if they’ll accept donations. 

Here are some of my favorite octopus crochet patterns so far:

Crochet Trends - octopuses
Octopus for a Preemie pattern by Gosia / My Nomad Home
Crochet Trends - octopuses
Claud the Octopus by Kate E. Hancock £4.00 GBP
Crochet Trends - octopuses
Octopus for Preemie – Octo Project by Anastasia Popova
Crochet Trends - octopuses
Mini Amigurumi Octopus by Sarah Hearn

 

Mermaid Tail Blankets

Some months back, I started being tagged by a lot of my friends on Facebook, where they would all lead me to a Mermaid Tail Blanket, usually with a hinting question like “can you make one of these?”  Since then, many variations have popped up, and they are definitely a hot crochet trend right now.  I have yet to make one for my daughter, but the Mr has mentioned that he wouldn’t mind the shark version.  Perhaps another Christmas gift?  Here are three such patterns:

Crochet Trends - Mermaid Tail Blanket
Mermaid Tail Afghan by Nadia Fuad
Crochet Trends - Mermaid Tail Blanket
Jillybeenies Mermaid Tail Blanket by Jill Harrison $5.00
Crochet Trends - Mermaid Tail Blanket
Bulky & Quick Shark Blanket by MJ’s Off The Hook Designs $5.99

 

Mandalas

Okay, so mandalas have been making the crochet rounds for a few years now, but they are becoming more and more popular as crochet patterns.  The circular symmetry of crochet motifs is a perfect medium for mandalas, and so they’ve been showing up in blankets, squares, wall hangings and all sorts of other unique ideas.   

Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Spanish Mandala Pillow Overlay Crochet by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk $5.50
Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Rainbow Mandala Waistcoat by Sara Huntington £3.50 GBP
Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Amazing Grace Mounted Mandala by Dawn McIntyre
Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Mandala Madness by Helen Shrimpton

Have you noticed any crochet trends that I forgot?  If so, let me know in the comments! I love watching these kinds of trends emerge, and how they play out through all different parts of life, including what we crochet. 

~Mellie

Crochet Squares – March

Finally, between teething fussiness and the inability to do things that require two hands, I’ve been able to catch up with my February and March crochet squares for the 2017 Block-a-Month Crochet-Along on Ravelry. I’ve actually finished these, like the previous ones, over a period of a few weeks, but actually weaving in the ends and getting the photographs were a whole different story.  Regardless, I feel like I’m catching up on so many things that I’ve been meaning to create.  Having a baby around again is an amazing feeling, and things are so different than they were when I first became a mother ten years ago!  And I’ve been so fortunate and lucky that Clara is a great sleeper and a generally all-around happy baby.  My elder boys were much more high-needs, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this wonderful time with my little love. 

Clara just loved playing with all the yarn while I made these crochet squares.  I leave the skein next to her while I’m using it, and she delights in the colors and texture.  She’s always supervised because – well, it’s yarn – but I hope she may one day love to work with fiber the way that I do. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Marigold Mandala Crochet Square

Moving on to the actual crochet squares though.  These are the February and March squares (minus one that still hasn’t made it to the photograph phase).  I’m pretty sure I mentioned the colors before, but I still love them as much now as I did when I first assembled them, and that’s a good sign (not like last year, which saw me changing the whole scheme halfway through the year, and leaving me with a huge amount of work that still needs to be done).   The Marigold Mandala Crochet Square by Dorianna Rivelli was the filler (as voted on by Ravellers), and I can understand why – it’s simply a gorgeous square.  I love everything about this square, and there is a detailed tutorial of the free pattern that can be found on The Lavender Chair by following this link here

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Window Box Granny Crochet Square

The Window Box Granny Crochet Square pattern by Lisa Mauser was the 6″ option for February.  I made four of them in each of the colors I’m using and used the off-white as the focal point.  I usually get a little lazy with the 6″ squares, because repeating four of the same squares over and over can be kind of tedious, but I ended up really enjoying this square and ended up whipping it up in no time flat.  This is available as a free Ravelry download here. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Picture Frame Crochet Square

Picture Frame Crochet Square by Lisa Naskrent is a square that I made once before in the Sprouting Hues swap, but I enjoyed making it again. I had purchased the pattern back then, but now it’s available as one of the several published crochet squares in the Chain Reaction Afghan Project, and the entire ebook is available for free here, with the Ravelry link here.  This really is a gorgeous square, with all the leafy corners and the textured, center motif.  And I like this version even better than the other one I made. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
That One Sister Crochet Square

That One Sister Crochet Square by Melinda Miller has a touching story about its creation which you can read about on the download link page.  I’m a big fan of Melinda Miller’s patterns, because they are very lovely squares that look complicated but are simple to make, especially with her very clear instructions.  This one was so much fun, even if I ended up sewing my flowers on instead of leaving holes (you have to actually read the directions to follow them, oops!)  I had briefly looked over the pattern before taking my kids to a play place, and by the time I got home, so much of the square was already finished that I decided to just use it as it was.  My crochet time is sparse these days.  I do what I can.  The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Popcorn Puff Square

Last but not least, the Popcorn Puff Square by Ruth C. Roy was the 6″ crochet square selected for March.  Like the Window Box Granny above, I usually make four versions of the 6″ square, but by the time I had finished the center motifs of the squares, I decided that these would look really nice stitched together without any further rounds added on.  I like the way the block turned out with the four motifs, and since I used a G hook, it turned out to be a 9″ square (like my other squares have been this year).  Using a sport weight yarn (Caron Simply Soft) and the smaller hook lets me top these patterns out at a smaller size, which, as a multiple of 12 for the final blanket, works out perfectly. The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here, and can also be accessed on 365 Grannies here

I’m so excited to have actually accomplished something from start to finish that I have three projects sitting right in front of me that I want to just dive right into.  Happy crocheting to you and happy Monday!

~Mellie

Recent Crochet Pattern Purchases – March

Every month or so, I go through my cart on Ravelry and purchase a few of the crochet patterns that I’ve been wanting. I used to try to stick with free patterns, but over the years I’ve realized how much time and effort goes into writing out, testing, refining and creating a well thought out and cohesive crochet pattern.  Usually the designer has put hours and hours of work into the patterns, and just as most people appreciate being compensated for hard work and effort, the few dollars they ask in exchange for their patterns is (to me), fair, and worth it. 

I like to go through the new and “hot right now” patterns on Ravelry every so often, and as I come across patterns that I like, I add them to my cart.  Then every month or two when I have a bit of extra money, I’ll go through and purchase a few of them that I still am in love with, and then print them out.  I have many, many more patterns than hours left in my lifetime that I could actually make all of the items, but I comfort myself in knowing that if the zombie apocalypse ever happened, that I would still have plenty to crochet.  Also (and more realistically), there have been patterns that I love that have gone offline and that I’ve been unable to find again.  After experiencing that a couple of times, I do my best to buy, save, and print out those crochet patterns that I love.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of these paid patterns.  And no, I am not getting compensated in any shape or way for these – they’re all personal preference. The prices are current at the time of this post, but they may go up or down as the designer wishes in the future, and while I’ll do my best to keep things current, you may find a different price than what I have posted.  All of these are Ravelry downloads, which means you need a Ravelry account (which is free) in order to purchase them.

 

Cat Baby Cocoon Hat & Bootie Set
Cat Baby Cocoon Hat & Bootie Set by Chi Krneta

Are you a cat person?  My first pet was a beautiful, blue point Siamese that I found (yes, found!) outside my apartment door and that I took in, waiting for someone to come and claim him.  No one ever did, and he was my little buddy for years and years.  He was truly the most affectionate and loyal cat, and he turned me into a true cat person (love to you wherever you are in the clouds, little one!)  This little cat sack is just adorable, isn’t it?  I think this would make just the cutest little photo prop for Clara one day – a kitty sleep sack with a matching hat.  Even though she’s growing so quickly that she’d definitely need the next size up.  Still, it’s not an overly complicated pattern and doesn’t seem like it would take too long to make.  The pattern can be found here for $3.99.

 

Doctor Who Dalek Hanging Towel
Doctor Who Dalek Hanging Towel by Critical Stitch

Okay, I’ll be honest.  I have enough Whovians in my life that the list of those who would be thrilled to get something like this for Christmas is loooooong (mental note – make a bunch of these for the holidays!)  And if you’re not a Dr. Who fan, these are Dalek dishtowels, made to look like a certain mutant race on the show.  I just love these, and I couldn’t not buy the pattern.  And while they’re adorable and recognizable, they don’t look to be a very over-complicated pattern either!  This pattern can be purchased following this link on Ravelry for $2.99.

 

Baby Bot Britches
Baby Bot Britches by Amanda Chapman

Part of the joy of new babies is making them cute little things to wear (plus, when they’re that young, they really can’t complain about all the cutesy things all the family members put them in!).  I find these little robot pants so cute.  And if I made them from a wool yarn, they could double as soakers even.  There are so many knit patterns for these kinds of wearables, so it’s awesome to see a just as well made crochet version.  I could just picture that cute little robot face over a big baby tush.  Definitely going in the queue.  These cute pants can be purchased alone for C$ 4.50 or as a part of a 30-pattern e-book of several crochet patterns for babies and children for C$ 20.  Either option can be found on this Ravelry link.  Discount codes for buying some (but not all) the patterns are also found at that address as well.

 

Fiorella Baby
Fiorella Baby by Deanne Ramsay

More baby stuff, to be sure.  I’m in love with this cute little sundress, and it will be perfect for Miss Clara come the summertime when she’s outdoors every day and learning to walk at the same time.  I like the variety that the colors in this dress lend themselves to, and I already have color schemes going in my head of which one I’d want to make first.  Clara is indeed going to have an enviable handmade wardrobe!  This is another pattern can be purchased on its own for $6, or as part of a 5-pattern e-book for $14.  Either can be purchased here.

Valentine Wreath
Valentine Wreath by Marjolein Flick

And moving on from all the baby stuff is this absolutely gorgeous Valentine Wreath.  And while Valentine’s Day is over, I think this could very easily be modified into beautiful springtime wreath that could hang on my back door, where the Christmas Wreath still needs to be taken down (ha).  I could see several versions of this through the seasons – warm golds and oranges for a fall wreath, bluebirds and budding flowers for spring; even a red and white holiday version. The pattern is available on Ravelry for €6.50 following this link.

 

Free Spirit Knee High Slipper Socks
Free Spirit Knee High Slipper Socks by Clarissa Paige Dove

Okay, and how could I not just love these?  They’re so completely my style, and practical on top of being cute (my wooden floors get chilly through the winter).  How cute would it be to make a matching mother and baby set for Clara and me?  Oh, the possibilities are endless.  The $3.50 pattern can be found on this Ravelry link here

 

Crossbow Square Afghan Block
Crossbow Square Afghan Block by The Perfect Knot – Michelle Kovach

And finally – I crochet granny squares more than I crochet anything else, so I’m always sure to add a square or two to my cart and purchases.  Making squares really has been the best way for me to hone my crochet skills, try new stitches and play with color, so they’re worth their weight in gold to me.  The two granny square crochet patterns that I purchased this month are these two, the Crossbow Square (above) and the Leaf Stitch Granny Square (below)

Leaf Stitch Granny Square
Leaf Stitch Granny Square by Jyneffer Dill

I love the cross stitch motif in the center of the former, and how easily it glides into a standard granny.  For the latter, I really like the extended stitches that give it so much texture and uniqueness (it kind of reminds me of the Presine a Fiori Square that I made for the Pink Lemonade swap a few years back.  The Crossbow Square is a $1.00 Ravelry download, found here, and the Leaf Stitch Granny Square can be found here, for $2.50 .

As I was linking all the patterns to this blog post, I found several more patterns that I’m falling in love with, so I’m off to go spend some time browsing all the gorgeous designs until the little one wakes up, hungry and looking for mama.  Have a great Thursday, and happy crocheting!

~ Mellie