February 28, 2017 at 5:06 pm (Crochet & Crafting)
Tags: 6" squares, crochet fun!, Crochet Pattern Central, crochet tutorial, crocheted purse, diy craft, Fabricland, granny squares, how to, Impeccable, purse handles, red heart, square templates, what to do with crocheted squares
PLEASE NOTE: Since this post has run, I’ve had a lot of requests for the exact pattern I used to make this purse. It’s called Lavender Square and you can find it at the Hooks and Yarns blog, at this link: https://www.allfreecrochetafghanpatterns.com/Granny-Square-Patterns/Lovely-Lavender-Square. I’ve added the types of yarn I used in the instructions below. I did the first 4 rounds of the square in variegated and the remaining rounds, plus the border in the solid color.
This 18″ wide x 10″ deep purse is roomy enough to carry everything but the kitchen sink.
Use any crochet square pattern you like (there are zillions to choose from on the Web), use your favorite yarn colors, and put them together using my template samples shown below, which require 10 squares.
For the purse shown, I used a 6 mm crochet hook and my squares were approx. six inches. I used a variegated color for the first few rounds of the square (Impeccable Earth) and a dark taupe (Red Heart Super Saver Café Latte) for the last couple of rounds. You can make your purse larger or smaller, depending on the size of square you choose to use.
How to make your purse:
Choose the square pattern and yarn that you’d like to use. (I used the Lavender Square from Hooks and Yarns at http://hooksandyarns.blogspot.ca/2013/02/simply-pretty.html. For the variegated yarn, I used Impeccable Loops & Threads in Earth, and for the solid color, I used Red Heart Super Saver in Cafe Latte. (This link at Crochet Pattern Central offers tons of 6″ crocheted square patterns to choose from! https://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/directory/6in_squares.php )
Make 10 squares.
(1) Using your edging color (mine was the taupe), seam your squares together in three separate pieces (with one extra single square, set aside) as shown below, attaching them (right sides together) using single crochet. The x’s in the picture here show where the squares have been seamed. So you should end up with one row of two squares, one row of three squares, one row of four squares, and one single square.
(2) Next, you need to seam your rows together exactly as shown below, with the row of two attached to the row of three, the row of three attached to the row of four, and the single square attached to the right side of the row of four. The x’s shown represent where you’ve seamed, using single crochet again.
(3) Once your squares are all seamed to form one piece, you can line your purse with fabric if you want. As you’ll see in the photo below, my impatience makes me sloppy with sewing my lining, so you might want to slow down and use tidier stitches! Anyway, I just cut a piece of fabric in the same shape as my one piece of seamed squares and hand-sewed it with needle and thread to the wrong side, making sure that the last row of crochet around the entire piece is uncovered so you’ll be able to seam the edges together when you fold it.
(4) Once the lining has been sewed in place, fold exactly where the dotted lines are shown below, placing right sides together and lining up edges, then seam edges together with single crochet. The longest dotted line is the bottom of the purse and the two shorter dotted lines are the sides of the purse. To make things neat, I crocheted a border around the mouth of the purse using two rows of single crochet.
(5) Next, using the taupe yarn, I crocheted 4 simple rectangles for the handle rings, 3″ wide (6 dc + turning wide) x 5.5″ long, and I used a yarn needle to sew one to the wrong side of each of the four points where the handles will be attached.
(6) The rings are actually wood curtain rings that I picked up at Fabricland (removing the little hook screwed into each one). Wrap the loose end of each of your rectangle tabs around each wood ring, and sew it securely again to the wrong side with your yarn needle.
(7) For the two straps, I used the taupe yarn, crocheting each one approx. 1.5″ wide x 32″ long (6 dc + turning across). Then I wrapped the very ends over the rings and used my yarn needle to stitch them on securely (sewing on wrong sides). As shown below, one strap is positioned on one side of the purse, the other strap on the other side.
(8) Next, I made a fastening tab with a buttonhole space for closing the purse. I crocheted it 3″ wide x 5.5″ long (10 dc + turning wide) minus edging. Once finished, I used my yarn needle to stitch it to the center of the back side of the purse, then I used my variegated yarn to single-crochet a border around the edges.
(9) Last, I sewed a wooden button to the middle front of the purse, about an inch down from the edge.
I’m fairly new at making up my own patterns, and still getting used to writing tutorials, so I’m sorry if I’m unclear at any point. I get so enthusiastic when I start a project, I just dive into it, and then I find myself thinking halfway through that I really should have been making step-by-step notes. Hopefully, I’ll get better at this as time goes on!
Ok. It’s February, right? Or did I fall asleep and miss a couple of months?
I just went outside for my daily walk, and it’s so warm, I had to peel off my coat and walk in t-shirt sleeves. And I was still working up a sweat! Today is supposed to break historic weather records. Winter has sure changed since the days of yore…
Hot damn! I’d like to give that groundhog a great big bear hug!
I just received news that my pattern from yesterday’s post will be featured at one of my favourite crochet sites, ALLFREECROCHET.COM. You can see it here: https://www.allfreecrochet.com/Scarves/Hoodie-Scarf-Pattern
February 13, 2017 at 9:20 pm (Crochet & Crafting)
Tags: Bernat Roving yarn, easy crochet, free crochet patterns, hoodie scarf, how to, infinity scarf, Phentex worsted weight yarn, Red Heart Light & Lofty yarn
A hoodie scarf is easy enough for a beginner to work on, as it’s basically just a long, wide scarf folded in half and seamed down from the fold on one side to create a hood. It’s both a hat and scarf in one handy piece.
Since a hoodie scarf is simply a big rectangle, you can experiment by using any of your favorite stitch designs, as long as you make your initial chain wide enough to create a proper hood. It’s a really fun project to work on—you can mix colors and patterns, combine different types of chunky yarn, and it doesn’t take long to complete!
As a basic guideline, my hoodie scarves are approximately 50″ long x 10.5″ wide.
For the Two-Textured Rose pattern, each 25″ side is crocheted in a different stitch design.
The scarf was crocheted in one piece and then folded in half, with the fold made where the two different stitch designs meet each other.
Two-Textured Rose Hoodie Scarf
- One ball of Phentex Worsted yarn, Light Old Rose (14 oz/400g/ 867 yds/792m)
- 5 mm crochet hook
- Six ¾” rose-colored buttons
- Sewing needle and pink thread for sewing on buttons
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across.
Row 2: ch 2, skip 1st st, *(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st,
rep from* across, sc in last st, turn.
Repeat Row 2 until piece is approx. 25 inches long. Don’t fasten off.
Second side (Texture 2):
Continue crocheting, but working in a different pattern.
Row 2: Ch 3, sk 1 st, *3 dc in next st, sk 1 st, 1 dc in next st, sk 1 st,
rep from* across to last 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, sk next st, dc in last st, turn.
Repeat Row 2 until this second half is the same length as the first half, or approx. 25 inches long.
Finish final edge with a row of sc in each stitch/space across. Fasten off and weave in yarn end.
Lay scarf out flat with right side facing you, and then fold scarf in half, placing right sides together (where Texture 1 ends and Texture 2 begins) so that you’re now working with the wrong sides.
To seam back of hood: At left side, starting from fold, measure 10.5″ down; place a marker through both scarf edges. Using crochet hook and same color yarn, use slip stitch to seam sides together from fold to marker. Fasten off and weave in yarn end.
To make front hood edging: Turn hood/scarf inside out to the right side, which is where you’ll be working now. The edges opposite to the hood seam will be the front edges of the hood. On the left side of the front hood edge, place a marker 10.5″ down from the fold (same distance down where your hood seam ends), then measure the same distance down on the right side and place a marker there.
In the marked space on the left side, connect your yarn with a slip stitch; dc in the next space and in each space around until you reach the marked space on the right side. Slip stitch into that marked space, and then fasten off and weave in yarn end. Because there are different stitch patterns on either side of the hood, just try to dc as uniformly as you can in the spaces you have to work with.
You can also do a shell edging instead of the plain dc—simply start with your slip stitch, then *dc in the next space, skip a space, 3 dc in the next space, skip a space, and repeat from * around, ending with a dc and then a slip stitch in the last marked space.
Front buttons: (working on the right side) Placing a marker about 3.5″ down from the front edging on the right side of the scarf, I sewed six ¾” buttons, evenly spaced apart, from the marked space to the bottom of the scarf. The texturing of the left side scarf edge allowed for natural “buttonholes” that fit neatly over the buttons so that the scarf can be securely buttoned from under your chin to down over your chest, and will lie nice and flat under a buttoned-up coat.
This was actually just an experiment in using two completely different types of yarn together (both chunky) and it turned out with wonderful results! You can try using the same pattern with two types of any chunky yarn.
This is how I did it:
6.5 mm crochet hook
Finished width: 10.5″ / Finished length: approx. 62″
Use any stitch pattern you like to achieve the above dimensions.
I used the Roving yarn until the ball ran out (with just enough left for sewing the hood seam), which created a piece that approx. measured 40″, then I continued with the Red Heart Light & Lofty and continued in the same stitch pattern until that ball ran out (with just enough left to seam together the scarf ends to make it into an infinity), which gave me another 22″.
#1. Chain until you have a 10.5″ width + 2 extra chains.
#2. Turn, sc in second chain and in each across. Turn.
#3. Ch 3, skip 2 spaces, *single v-stitch (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in next space, sk 2 spaces, double v-stitch (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next space, skip 2 spaces, repeat from * across and end row with: single v-stitch, skip 2 spaces, dc in last space, turn.
You’re going to make sure that the hood is made from the longer (40″/Roving) portion of the scarf. To do this, fold your scarf (right sides together) so that the row where you fastened the second type of yarn is 10″ below the fold. Using the leftover piece of Roving yarn, seam both edges of one side together to form the hood.
Then, using the piece of leftover Red Heart yarn, seam together the two scarf ends so that it becomes an infinity.
I was in seventh grade and new nothing about love. But I did know that he made my heart flutter every time I looked at him.
His name was Paul Warner. It was obvious that he was a popular boy, since all the other boys (and girls) gravitated toward him at recess like a pack of wolves to the alpha.
Boys like him never noticed girls like me—girls who wore their shyness like a cloak of invisibility. If he had ever glanced my way, I know I would have blushed ten shades of red and found the toes of my shoes to be suddenly engrossing.
I daydreamed often about Paul Warner throughout that school year; sweet vignettes that materialized in my mind whenever I should have been focusing on a math problem or listening to the teacher’s commentary on the Hundred Years’ war…
What if Paul Warner bumped into me at recess…and smiled at me…
What if Paul Warner turned around in class…and asked to borrow my pencil…
What if Paul Warner took the empty seat beside me on the school bus…and…
Perhaps this first crush was simply an omen of my future—a sign that a different Paul was predestined to enter my life someday, the Paul that I would fall in love with and marry happily ever after.
Alas, Paul Warner was never in the cards for me.
Seventh grade reached its denouement, my family and I eventually moved away, and life rolled on. It wasn’t long before I was head over heels in love with my very first celebrity crush (that’s a story for another day). Paul Warner became as distant a memory to me as Scholz’s star is to Earth.
Although Paul Warner knows nothing of my existence, nor will he ever, I do hope that life’s been good to him. After all, there will always be a special place reserved in my heart for my very first childhood crush.
Now tell me—who was your very first childhood crush?
This pretty crocheted throw with soft, fluffy border is wonderful to throw around your shoulders while relaxing on the couch. It would also make a lovely baby blanket gift. This is an easy pattern that allows beginners to practice working with v-stitches, as well as combining a chunky yarn with worsted weight.
VANILLA VEE THROW
- Lion Brand’s Pound of Love yarn in Antique White (A);
one ball of Loops & Threads Country Loom yarn in Warm Cream (B)
- 9 mm hook
V-stitch (v-st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in same space
How to HDC (half double crochet): http://www.redheart.com/learn/articles/how-half-double-crochet
How to DC (double crochet): http://www.redheart.com/learn/articles/how-double-crochet
How to attach a different colour of yarn: http://www.redheart.com/learn/articles/how-join-new-yarn-crochet
Starting with yarn (A), ch 101.
Row 1: dc in 5th ch from hook, ch 1, dc again in same ch (beginning v-st made); *sk next 2 ch; (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch; repeat from * across to last 2 ch; sk next ch; dc in last ch. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc); (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 space of each v-st across; dc in top of turning chain.
Row 3-58: Repeat Row 2. Fasten off.
Row 59: Attach yarn (B); create a border around entire piece with 1 hdc in each sp around and 3 hdc in each of the four corners. Fasten off.
Row 60: Attach yarn (A), dc in each hdc around, with 3 dc in each of the four corners; turn.
Row 61-63: Repeat Row 60. Fasten off.
Row 64-67: Attach yarn (B), hdc in each dc around, with 3 hdc in each of the four corners; turn.
Row 68: To finish off, sc in each hdc around. Fasten off and weave in ends.
(To make this throw larger, just add more rows to each (A) and (B) section.)
Beginners can check out the Red Heart site for everything you want to know about How To Crochet: http://www.redheart.com/learn-to-crochet
January 24, 2017 at 3:32 pm (slice of life)
Tags: best TV show, celebrities, Donna Paulsen, entertainment, Gabriel Macht, Gina Torres, Harvey Specter, hooked on Suits, Jessica Pearson, L.A. Law, legal drama, Louis Litt, Meghan Markle, Mike Ross, Netflix, Patrick J. Adams, Prince Harry, Rachel Zane, review, Rick Hoffman, Sarah Rafferty, Suits, Toronto, TV shows, USA Network
My full-blown addiction began with a bit of curiosity about Meghan Markle. You know—the lucky girl who, out of the millions of girls in this world, just happened to be the one to capture Prince Harry’s heart. She’s not old-money blueblood or even an English rose, but an American actress with a role in a TV series called Suits—a TV series that just happens to be filmed in my corner of the world…Toronto.
As a person who tries to avoid wasting precious time in front of a television (there’s no room in my life for any of that trite reality crap that the networks can’t seem to be able to think beyond), I rarely watch anything but documentaries, stand-up comics, and movies on Netflix.
A few weeks ago while browsing around the public library, I noticed a copy of the Season Five DVD of Suits. I picked it up, read the description on the back, and thought that maybe if we had nothing better to do on Friday night, I’d talk Paul into checking out the first episode of Season One on Netflix. Again, I was more drawn to having a look at this girl who had bagged Prince Harry than I was to watching a show that I expected would put me into snooze mode.
Wrong! Snooze we did not. After only a few weeks, we just finished Season Five. Suits is crack! We are hooked! We barely swallowed our dinner before racing to the TV to gobble another episode for dessert.
The main character, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is not only the coolest guy on the planet (commitment issues? who cares!), he is also the eye candy of all eye candy. His sidekick, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) is the smartest guy on earth and eye candy #2. Then there’s Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) whose facial expressions and slimy antics add all the laughs. The ladies are great too: head honcho Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), secretary extraordinaire Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty), and last but not least, paralegal darling Rachel Zane played by Meghan Markle.
The writing on this show is great. The acting is superb. The dialogue is so clever and quick, we are captivated from the moment we tune in until the credits roll. What surprises me most is that this show hasn’t had tons more press.
The only hokey thing about the show is that the law offices are supposedly based in New York City (thus all of the aerial shots of NYC featured at the start of many episodes), yet viewers familiar with Toronto will easily be able to identify a variety of landmarks in the outdoor shots. Obviously, they shoot the show in Toronto because it’s cheaper, but the network that produces it is American, therefore the NYC storyline. But, hey, I can overlook that, since it’s one of the most entertaining series on TV today, in my books.
As for Meghan Markle…if she’s really as sweet as her character Rachel, then it’s absolutely no surprise that Prince Harry has fallen in love with her.
So—now we’ve finished Season Five. Season Six isn’t yet on Netflix, but I imagine we’ll be able to stream it somehow to our TV. It was recently in the news that USA Network renewed Suits for a seventh season, to begin shooting this spring.
Check out these promo video clips:
Season 1 Promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOi7_d3GOFI
Season 2 Promo: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2909512217
Season 3 Promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcHx4UCqQa8
Season 4 Promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCaYiGQzigo
I was reading an article the other day about creativity and the personality traits of creative people, and it brought on one of those “Aha!” moments—it described me to a tee, as well as all the other writers I know. I think it would be rare to find a writer who isn’t a creative type—think of all the entertaining stories in this world we’ve read or the articles that have inspired us or taught us something we hadn’t already realized.
- Creative people are intuitive. We have powerful instincts and are attentive to them, even when logic tries to tell us we’re wrong. Our intuitive nature is necessary to the type of work we do, because it helps us seek out and acknowledge our own truths rather than accepting what we’re told to believe. We feel a driving need to share the truths we discover by writing about them.
- Creative people have a directed purpose—a destiny that must be followed. We eat, sleep and breathe our passions. Without them, we would feel unfulfilled. We have a vision and, by George, we cannot rest easy until the entire world knows about it. And then… we have another vision. And another. Our only release is death. Maybe?
- Creative people are unconventional and won’t hesitate to open our minds to the most irrational of thoughts. We have a hard time conforming to “you should” and “you’re supposed to.” It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult, it’s that we’re bombarded with ideas that make us question why things have to be the way they are. We have a need to walk the path that deviates—“just to see what happens.” When we hear a different beat, it piques our curiosity.
- Creative people can see the big picture from many different angles. We visualize what isn’t yet there and we see infinite possibilities. We imagine a lot. And explore. And play with. We’re known to frequently stumble upon unique uses for ordinary things because we’re never content with the first draft of anything. Our imagination is as borderless as our universe. We love, love, love to dream.
- Creative people have a great sense of humor. We like to seek out the fun in everything we do. We never did leave the “play” part of our childhoods behind. Because we look at things from so many different angles, it’s easy for us to see all of the humor in life. Many of us think our own jokes are uproariously funny, and have no idea why the rest of the room isn’t laughing too. (Ha!)
- Creative people are not motivated by financial rewards. Of course, if our passions generate money—bonus! But even if they don’t, our mission is still GO. We are rewarded emotionally and spiritually when we do what we love, and there is no price tag on that.
- Creative people are hyper-sensitive to feelings and emotions. We feel very deeply; we allow our feelings to guide us and we have a need to translate those feelings into words or art or what have you. When we’re happy, we’re HAPPY! When we’re sad, we’re SAD. When fresh ideas nuke our brains, we erupt into fits of manic glee and then we’re off—immersed in yet another thrilling new project.
- Creative people are not threatened by anything that’s “different.” Original concepts delight us. Unique intrigues us. We are extra-motivated when we see any of our fellow creatives cracking through the barriers. Different is the secret password that opens doors to all things possible.
- Creative people are independent. We don’t like to be told what to do. We do our best work when we have freedom to express our ideas in all their crazy glory. Try hemming us in and we’ll fold faster than a bad hand of cards. You want proof of this? Just observe the creative student whose teacher insists that they NOT color outside of the lines!
- Creative people love to learn. Learning something new—whether it’s a hobby or an informative topic in a magazine—stimulates our idea fountain and gives us something different to chew on. We source fresh ideas while we learn—and we pursue new opportunities to learn like vampires on the prowl for blood banks.
Creative people bring something extra special to the table of life. A beautiful painting, a thought-provoking story, a delightful stage production, a captivating song, a mesmerizing choreography, a remarkable invention… creativity brings a feel-good glow to daily living. When doors to creativity open, we step into a beautiful otherworld that has no borders, a place where we can be free to discover all the possibilities.
January 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm (creative writing, Crochet & Crafting)
Tags: crocheted hoodie scarf, easy pattern, free crochet pattern, getting healthy, hate exercise, how to like exercise, humor, living longer, looking hot, mindfulness, over 50, winter crochet
As is evidenced in my New Year’s Resolutions post, I’ve been fighting to stick to an exercise routine for the better part of my life, while the Demons of Sedentary cackle in my face as they pat down a fluffy couch in front of the TV for me to lounge on.
At 58, I’m SO done with this tug of war.
It was a tug of war because exercise was always about the goal of looking hot. Exercise to be skinny. Exercise to banish cellulite. Exercise to sculpt long, lean legs. Exercise to show off bikini abs instead of having to hide your gut in a suit that looks like a body bag from the county coroner’s office.
Joining the age 55-60 club changed my life on so many levels. When they say, “you’re not getting older, you’re getting better,” what they should be saying is, “you are getting older, but that’s a gift because you’re also getting smarter.” Suddenly, I don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not I look hot. What I desperately care about is doing my best to remain on this earth for many, many more years while enjoying the best of health, being able to fend off the aches and pains that so many in my age group and older have to deal with on a daily basis, being here to watch my future grandchildren grow up and being able to roll up my sleeves and play with them without pulling something.
The kind of exercise I need to do to be hot, involves a pricey gym membership, using machines that I don’t really enjoy using, working with an instructor who’s going to force me to do stuff I hate doing, joining classes where everyone moves like professional dancers while I stumble over my feet like an idiot. Never liked it. Don’t like it now. Will never like it. Ever.
BUT. I’ve discovered the kind of exercise that rewards me with the health benefits I need to extend my life, sleep well, raise my serotonin levels, strengthen my lungs and heart, burn some calories, grease my joints and muscles, and give me an overall feeling of well-being.
Since last fall, every single day, no matter what the weather is like, I dress appropriately, hook on my Sony Walkman that’s loaded with 800 of my favorite tunes, and I walk briskly for 45 minutes or so. I try to keep pace with the beat of the music, which gives my heart and lungs an excellent workout, and gets the blood flowing. The nicest bonus is that it’s not just about the exercise. I’ve also discovered the joys of being “in the moment.” While I walk, I’m also absorbing nature’s gifts—flower gardens and trees, blue skies and sunshine, rain pattering against my hood. I’ve never appreciated the seasons more since I’ve started walking with all of them.
I’ve also never felt better. Once I’d gotten into the habit of going every day without fail, I’ve actually begun to crave this feel-good midday break, and look forward to hearing the tunes that are up next on my Walkman.
The key here is that taking a brisk walk while listening to music is the one activity that I really enjoy. I’m not pushing myself to do a daily workout that I really don’t feel like doing. I’m doing something that makes me feel good on several different levels and that I look forward to doing. Am I going to look like Heidi Klum a year from now? I’ve never looked like Heidi Klum and I never will. But I’d say that I look pretty damn good enough for my age, and that’s good enough for me.
If I can live a good, healthy life in the years ahead by choosing to participate in an activity that I enjoy, and that helps make me a happier person—well that’s what I’d call hot.
My daily exercise walk has made me realize that I actually prefer walking in the winter months, a time of year that I used to despise. And why is that? Because of the awesome hoodie scarf that I crocheted to keep me as warm as a mug of hot cocoa with melted marshmallows.
It’s easy enough for a beginner to make, and if you use a soft, bulky yarn, it will keep you warm in any weather. Here’s the pattern:
Approx. 8″ x 80″
3 balls of soft, chunky yarn; 6.5 mm crochet hook
Scarf: Chain 22
Row 1: (dc, ch 2, dc) in 4th ch from hook, *sk next 2 chs, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in next ch, repeat from * across, turn.
Row 2: Sl st in next ch-2 sp, ch 3 (counts as first dc), (dc, ch 2, sc) in same sp, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in each ch-2 sp across, turn.
Row 3-120: Repeat Row 2. Fasten off at end.
Hood Assembly: Fold scarf in half with wrong sides together. To make the hood, starting at top of fold and on one side only, use yarn needle and yarn to sew through both thicknesses for about 10 inches. This creates the back of your hood.
Hood Front Edging: Place a marker in 15th row down on each side of hood front.
Row 1: With right side facing, join yarn in end of marked space on right side, ch 3 (counts as first dc), (dc, ch 2, sc) in same sp, *sk next row, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in next row, repeat from* around to other marked space. End in last marked space with (2 dc, ch 2, sc).
Fasten off and weave in ends.
Optional: Add fringe to scarf ends if desired. Here’s a link to an easy fringe tutorial at wikihow: http://www.wikihow.com/Add-Fringe-to-a-Crochet-or-Knit-Project