Firefly Crochet – the Polly Plum Files

Hooray for Firefly crochet!

Count me along the Browncoats – like so many others, I loved Firefly and was crushed when the series ended with the story only half told (and was grateful for Serenity  for later existing to correct that).  I used to sit and watch the show while crocheting away – I don’t think I’ve watched a movie or TV show over the past decade without some sort of project in my hands.  So what a fitting surprise when one of my favorite crochet designers – Polly Plum from Every Trick on the Hook – put out her eBook of Firefly crochet patterns named after the women of the series.  The collection, called “Shiny” features 4 patterns named after each of the awesome female characters – Zoë, Inara, Kaylee, and River, and Serenity (the ship), who I suppose is technically female as well. 

I had so much fun making these  I’d been waiting to find the perfect color combination before starting this series, and I ended up with a variation of a swap scheme from the VCFC group on Ravelry.  The swap, from last fall was the “Retro Doodles” colors, originally: Magenta, Lilac, Brick, Peacock, Lime, and Fisherman from the Vanna’s Choice yarn line.  I modified this somewhat, bringing in Big Twist yarn in two colors – Sprout, which replaced the Lime color – which I can’t find anywhere anyway, and is also much brighter and more saturated than Lime; and Cinnamon, the brownish color, which I purchased a whole bunch of when it was on clearance some months back.  I also replaced Fisherman with Beige, which I felt has a more retro-ish feel to it, kind of like weathered white does when it’s 50 years old. 

Anyway, after finally settling on the colors, and being so uninspired for the past few months with the current projects I’ve been working on, I pushed everything else aside and whipped up all the squares from Shiny in a matter of only a couple of days.  And I’m so in love with the results!

The Patterns:

The Shiny e-book is a Ravelry download.  At the time of this post, the cost is $9.99, which comes out to about $2 a pattern.  I would say it’s definitely worth it.  However, each pattern is also available individually for $2.49.

  • E-book download: Shiny
  • Inara only download: Inara
  • River only download: River
  • Kaylee only download: Kaylee
  • Zoë only download: Zoë
  • Serenity only download: Serenity

You need a Ravelry account (free) to download the patterns.

My Firefly Crochet Squares:

 

Firefly Crochet - mellieblossom.com
River

This was the first of the bunch that I made.  I wanted something that was challenging and absolutely gorgeous, and River did not fail to deliver.  I’m a big fan of the hdc in 3rd stitch, which was utilized heavily in this pattern.  And I think the end result is just lovely. 

Firefly Crochet - mellieblossom.com
Kaylee

I wasn’t expecting Kaylee to be as much fun as it was.  The ruffles are so satisfying.  I sometimes get a little bored with center floral motifs, because so many of them are only slight variations on the same thing over and over.  But this was definitely not one of those.  And the leafy edge ruffles were a nice touch.

Firefly Crochet - mellieblossom.com
Inara

Inara turned out to be my favorite of the bunch.  In order to place the colors in the pattern method that I had in mind, I ended up using tapestry crochet with two colors in order to get the center cross the way I wanted it.  It was a bit of extra worth, but the end result was worth it.

So, you may be wondering, where are the Zoë and Serenity Firefly crochet squares in all this?  And the answer is that Zoë is completed, but I had a lazy weekend, and honestly haven’t gotten around to photographing it.  But that’s on the list of the (many) things I hope to accomplish today and will hopefully be up tomorrow.  The Serenity square, on the other hand, is on the list of squares to make.  But because I wanted some more complicated crochet to work on, I ended up setting that one aside for later. 

I have big plans for this series of squares, though – and it includes continuing this color scheme through plenty more Polly Plum squares.  Stay tuned!

~Mellie

Bobbly Flowers Crochet Blanket (and Discontinued Yarn)

Thank you for all the messages, comments and emails over the past month!  I have a lot to go through.  I’m sorry I missed everyone who came by for the Nuts About Squares 2017 Crochet-Along, but I’m so happy to have you here!  I am working on a future photo tutorial post for the border of the Tropical Delight square, and if you are waiting on a message from me, I’m slowly working my way through them!  Thanks for your patience and support. 

~*~

Bobbly Flowers Crochet Blanket - mellieblossom.com

I have a lot of unfinished crochet projects.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of finished projects too, but for one reason or another, and with blankets especially, I take my time and work on them when I’m inspired to do so, in between other projects.

But.

The one problem with this is that over the course of a year or two (or three or four), some of the yarn colors that I started out using were discontinued.  I know that you’re supposed to purchase all the yarn color up front for dye lot continuity, but for acrylic projects that use no real dye lots like Red Heart or Vanna’s Choice, I’ve never really considered that necessary.  There’s a craft store right down the street from me, and it’s no big deal to run out for ten minutes and grab a few more skeins of the color that I’m running low on. 

Bobbly Flowers Crochet Blanket - mellieblossom.com

Big mistake, though.  Because back in 2012, I participated in an awesome swap with the VCFC gals called “Pink Lemonade”, featuring a great color scheme of pinks and yellows.  And when the swap was over, I decided to use up my leftover yarn on the gorgeous Bobbly Flower crochet blanket.  I worked on it for a while, and it got put away during a move, placed in a basket on a shelf, and took a bit of a break in my project rotations.

Fast forward to a few years later, I’ve pulled it out again and have found that not one; not two, but SIX out of the eleven colors I used in it have been discontinued!  Yikes!  Of the colors:

  • Olive Green
  • Pink
  • Kelly Green
  • Fern Green
  • Antique Rose – ?
  • Duckie – discontinued
  • Lamb – discontinued
  • Pink Poodle – discontinued
  • Pea Green – discontinued
  • Soft Pink – discontinued
  • Wild Berry – discontinued

Has Antique Rose been discontinued?  I’m only able to find regular Rose online, but I’m so out of the loop these days I don’t even know!

Bobbly Flowers Crochet Blanket - mellieblossom.com

Now fortunately, I do have an admittedly small stash of most of these colors; others just a skein or two, so I’m planning on continuing the project for now, but I’m fully aware this may end up to be more a lapghan than an actual blanket.  It’s just such a bummer to have such great colors disappear seemingly overnight.  I especially miss Soft Pink – there were so many projects I wanted to use that color in, and all of the substitute yarns I’ve tried so far have been close in color- but not quiet there. 

Bobbly Flowers Crochet Blanket - mellieblossom.com

 

So now I’m debating whether to include some new colors in this, or make do with what I have?  Or maybe I’ll hit up the eBay circuit and see what I can collect.  I’m not sure.  This pattern, with all its bobbles, certainly does use up a good deal of yarn.  And at the very least, I’ll enjoy making what I can with what I have left.

~Mellie

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