Easy Crocheted Checkerboard Cowl Scarf

I was aiming for a checkerboard look with this pattern. It was pure experimentation that turned out looking better than expected, with its interesting texture. It’s as easy as crocheting 5 single crochets, then chaining 5, and alternating your 5 sc and ch-5 back and forth for the entire length of your piece, turning, and then repeating the same steps for another 4 rows (to make 5 rows). Then you simply reverse the process over the next 5 rows by starting with ch-5 followed by 5 sc and continuing across the length of your piece. Switching back and forth for 5 rows gives you the checkerboard effect.

You can make the piece larger by using multiples of five. It’s crocheted in one piece, with the ends later seamed together to form the cowl.

So, here we go:

CHECKERBOARD COWL SCARF

MATERIALS
Worsted weight yarn (14 oz / 400g / 867 yds / 792m) one ball Burgundy
6.5 mm crochet hook
Yarn needle for weaving in ends

ABBREVIATIONS: sc (single crochet); sp (space); sk (skip); rep (repeat); ch-sp (chain space)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Chain (ch) 115 + 2.

Row 1: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in each ch across. (115 sc) Turn.

THE FIRST 5 ROWS

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in each of next 4 sc, ch 5 and sk next 5 sc, *sc in next 5 sc, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across and end row with sc in each of last 5 sc. Turn.

Row 3 to Row 5: Rep Row 2.

Row 6: Ch 6 (5 + 1 extra), sk next 4 sc, *sc in first ch-sp of ch-5 (from Row 5) and in each of the next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across to last remaining ch-5, sc in each of the 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc to join. Turn.

Row 7 to Row 10: Ch 6, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5, rep from * across, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc.

Row 11: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk 5 sc, *sc in each of next 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk 5 sc, rep from * across and end row with sc in each of last 5 ch-sps. Turn.

Row 12 to Row 15: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in next 4 sc, ch 5, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5, rep from * across to last 5 sc, sc in each of last 5 sc. Turn.

Row 16: Ch 6, sk next 4 sc, *sc in first ch-sp of ch-5 (from Row 15) and in each of the next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across to last remaining ch-5, sc in each of the 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last sc to join. Turn.

Row 17 to Row 20: Ch 6, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5; rep from * across, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc.

Continue alternating pattern every 5 rows until your piece is desired length. Mine measured approx. 27″ wide x 10″ deep. Once finished, seam ends together by slip stitching on the wrong side. I also did a final row of sc around both top and bottom openings for a nice, clean finish. I never bothered blocking, but you may want to.

L’il grab-n-go crocheted envelope purses

bag_brown & cream envelope & otis

Otis loves the colours I used for this purse! 🙂

These little bags are ideal for those times when you need to run an errand and just want to grab your debit card or cash, car keys and phone, without having to lug your entire purse along.
pursesSo simple to make, you just (1) crochet a granny square, (2) fold the corners to make an “envelope” shape, and (3) stitch up the seams. To finish, you just crochet your desired length of shoulder or around-the-neck strap, and then attach a button on the front for fastening.
bag_brown & cream envelope3Depending on the tightness of your stitches, you may want to line the square, in which case you will simply cut a fabric square in a complimentary colour, the same size as the granny square, and sew it onto the wrong side before you do your folding and seaming.
bag_envelope taupe & cream2Use a small crochet hook to make a tiny purse, or increase your hook size to increase the size of your square. No matter the size, it’s a make-it-in-an-evening kind of project.
bag_navy envelope2There are countless designs online for crochet square patterns, so the endless choices mean that you can have a lot of fun making these purses in just about every colour imaginable. I just used a basic granny square to make most of the bags here.
bag_rainbow envelope2My mom and I are both major Toronto Blue Jays baseball fans, so I just had to make a Blue Jays bag using their signature colours for my mom to carry to games down at the Rogers Center. For the logo embellishment, I traced the Jays logo onto a piece of white fabric, coloured it in using Sharpie markers, and then stitched it onto the bag. I was so pleased with the results that I plan to make another one for myself. I’m sure that no matter what team you’re cheering for, you can use their team colours to make a cute bag for yourself.
bag_blue jays2If you want to use the same design that I used to crochet my Blue Jays bag, you’ll find the pattern called Half-n-Half 12” Square, by Melinda Miller at this Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/half-n-half—12-square (Thanks for sharing, Melinda!) It’s a really flexible pattern—she’s used it to make a variety of different-looking squares just by changing up the colour sequences.
bag_blue jays1

What to do with nine crocheted squares? Hmmm…

Sometimes, you just want to play around with a couple of colours to see what evolves, so you decide to crochet some squares with no real project in mind.

By the time you’re on your ninth square, you begin to feel bored. You’re not in the mood to continue making squares until you have enough for a big old afghan because summer’s almost here and afghans remind you of long winter nights and that’s the last thing you want to be reminded of right now.

You stare at your nine lovely squares. You line them up into one big square and stare at them some more. They do look pretty together. But a block of nine 5” squares makes…what? It’s either a massive washcloth for Shaquille O’Neil or a bath mat for one of the Little People.

Suddenly you get a brainstorm. You recall seeing pictures on Pinterest of the cutest lovey blankets for babies, which are about that size, that have a teddy or dolly or puppy head sewn into the middle square, that a baby can cuddle up with during her nap.baby_blanket lovey bear1

Your nine squares would make the perfect lovey blanket! All you need to make is a cute softie head for the center square.

And that’s how I came up with my Teddy Bear Lovey Blankee.

You can use any square design of choice to make this project. To make my squares, I used a 6 mm hook, and chose a variegated yarn in Neopolitan ice-cream colours (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate) for the first two rounds and a mocha yarn for the rest of the square. Here’s the pattern:sample circle in a square1

R1: Chain (ch) 3; 12 double crochet (dc) in third ch from hook. Slip stitch (sl st) to join. (12 dc)

R2: Ch 2; 2 dc in each dc around. Sl st in top of ch-2 to join. (24 dc)

sample circle in a square2R3: In same space, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc). *Ch 1; skip (sk) next 2 dc; 3 dc in next dc. Ch 1, sk next 2 dc, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next dc. Repeat from * two more times. Ch 1; sk next 2 dc, 3 dc in next dc. Ch 1; sl st to top of ch-3 to close.

R4: Sl st over to the first ch-2 space. (Ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in space. *(Ch 1; 3 dc in next ch-1 space) two times. Ch 1; (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in corner ch-2 space. Repeat from * two more times. (Ch 1; 3 dc in next ch-1 space) two times. Ch 1; sl st to top of ch-3 to close.

To attach my squares, I first laid them out then hooked them all together with markers (or you can also use safety pins). Then I chose a matching pink yarn, and I used single crochet to seam them together on the right side so the pink would act as a border around each square, as well as a border around the entire blanket.baby_blanket lovey bear2

For the softie head you can use pretty much any animal or doll pattern of your preference, following just the head instructions in the pattern. Just make sure the size of the head is compatible with the size of your blanket—you wouldn’t want to use a tiny two-inch amigurumi animal head, but if you want to make the head from an amigurumi pattern, just increase the size of your crochet hook to one that’s a few sizes bigger than the hook that the pattern calls for.

Once you’ve made your softie animal head and stuffed it as per your pattern instructions, just use a yarn needle and matching yarn to sew it to the center square of your blanket.

For my teddy head I used mocha/vanilla variegated yarn and worked single crochet in rounds (increasing and then decreasing) to make a ball that I stuffed with Poly-Fil. Then I crocheted two triangular shapes in the same yarn to make the ears, and stitched them onto the ball. Then I crocheted a couple of rounds in vanilla yarn twice to make the eyes (and sewed a brown button in the center of each eye). Then I did a few rounds of vanilla to make a big circle for the muzzle. Then I used the pink border yarn to make a small pink triangle for the nose, and when everything was sewn into place on the head, I used a bit of pink yarn to stitch a mouth onto the muzzle under the nose. As a finishing touch, I weaved a few baby_hat pink brim1strands of yarn into the top of the head to look like a bit of hair and tied a piece of pink yarn around them into a bow.

Voila! A teddy blankee that any baby (or stuffed bear) would love to cuddle with.

Of course I got so excited about the blankee, I just had to make a littlebaby_hat pink brim2 hat to go with it. I just made it up as I went along and forgot to write down what I was doing, so I’ll try to figure out what I did and then share it in a future blog post.

Easy crochet projects to whip up during your “me” time

While I was on vacation in February, I completed a couple of fast and easy bag_drawstring lavender & lilac1crochet projects perfect for working on when you don’t have a ton of time and would like to see quick results.

I had some leftover lavender and lilac worsted weight yarn from the hat I made (in an earlier post), so I did some crocheting in the round with the intention of making a little pouch for carrying change or sunglasses or car keys or whatever.

bag_drawstring lavender & lilac3I just made it up as I went along and never did write down the pattern. But if you can crochet in the round, then you won’t have any trouble figuring it out on your own. Here’s a basic description:

R1: chain 3; 5 dc in third chain from hook; slip stitch to close ring.

R2: 2 dc in each dc around; slip stitch to close.bag_drawstring lavender & lilac2

R3: alternate 2 dc and 1 dc in each stitch around; slip stitch to close.

R4+: either increase one more round if you would like it wider, or continue by repeating 1 dc in each stitch around until it’s the length you want. If you want to change colours, you can do so after about three rounds. Once the pouch was long enough to hold a pair of sunglasses, I finished off the top edge with 1 sc in each stitch around then fastened off.

Next I used sc to crochet a narrow carrying strap, about the length of a lanyard strap, then weaved it around the top of the pouch for pulling closed or loosening to open. I wore it around my neck and never once lost my sunglasses! A miracle! 🙂

I also had some very soft, pale pink baby yard that I thought would look nice worked in a delicate, lacy pattern. So I made an infinity cowl by following a pattern that I found in a back issue of Interweave Crochet. If you like the scarf_cowl pink lacepattern, you can still buy it at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/alpine-frost-scarf

The cowl turned out as expected—very soft and delicate looking. A lovely accessory to go with a spring coat/jacket.

Crocheted hat square motifs made into a sweater!

I’ve been a crochet-a-holic for a little over four years and now that I’m in the groove, I like to switch things up a bit. Last year I discovered a hat pattern on the Lion Brand site that incorporates the prettiest square motifs, so I made this hat.hat & scarf_grey beige copy

The motif was so much fun to make that I decided I wanted to do more with it. The image of a sweater popped into my mind, so I chose a larger hook and set about making a bunch of squares that I could lay out into some semblance of a basic sweater. Below, you’ll see the results as well as some step-by-step info in case you want to try making your own version.
Donna’s Hat Motif Sweater
Here’s the link to the original Squares Hat pattern at the Red Heart website, but I’ve also repeated the square pattern below for your convenience: https://www.redheart.com/files/patterns/pdf/WR1621.pdf

yarn

Materials:

✗ Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice yarn, 2 balls of 860-400 Oatmeal and 5 balls of 860-403 Barley

âś— P/10.00 mm crochet hook; yarn needle

âś— Each square measures approx. 7 inches x 7 inches

âś— Make 28 squares in total: 9 squares for sweater front, 9 for sweater back, 1 for each shoulder, 4 for each sleeve.

âś—Sweater is about a medium size fit. (To enlarge, use rows of four squares for the body instead of rows of three, and use rows of three squares for the sleeves instead of rows of two.)

SQUARE:

Using Oatmeal: Ch 8; join with a sl st to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 1, 16 sc in ring; join with a sl st in first sc.

Rnd 2: Ch 4, [dc in next sc, ch 1] 15 times; join with a sl st in 3rd ch of ch-4. Fasten off and attach Barley yarn.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in same st as joining, * 2 sc in next sp, ch 3, skip next dc, 2 sc in next sp **, sc in next dc; rep from * around, end at **; join in first sc.

Rnd 4: Ch 1, * 9 dc in next ch-3 sp, skip next 2 sc, sl st in next sc, (4 dc, ch 3, 4 dc) all in next ch-3 sp, skip next 2 sc **, sl st in next sc; rep from * around, end at **; join in first ch-1.

Rnd 5: Sl st in first 4 dc, [sl st in 5th dc of 9-dc group, ch 5, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) all in next ch-3 sp, ch 5, skip next 9 sts] 4 times, join in 5th sl st. Fasten off.

Once you have made 28 squares, follow the construction layout as shown in photos below.

(1) Working with 18 squares, use a yarn needle to fasten the squares side-by-side into rows of three (see red box). (Make sure you are working on the wrong side of the sweater during construction. Note: To fasten squares I used a plain sewing stitch and just did my best to match up and stitch the chains together.)

(2) A block of nine squares make up the front (see purple box below) and another block of nine makes up the back. So sew together each row of three, one row at a time until you’ve made a block of nine. This is your front. Repeat the same process with your other three rows of three to make another block of nine, which is your back.

(3) You will use your two shoulder squares to attach the front block to the back block (see green boxes below). Still working on the wrong side, sew a shoulder square to either side of the top row of your front block. Then fasten the other end of each shoulder square to the back block. The middle opening is your neckline.sweater sample1

(4) As you can see in the photo below, I finished the neckline with one row of single crochet in oatmeal, then because I found it to be a little bit too wide for me, I gathered it slightly by weaving a length of oatmeal yarn around the stitches and then pulling it and tying a small bow.neckline

(5) Now, it’s time to work on the sleeves. Each sleeve is comprised of a block of four squares fastened together into two rows of two. So using your batch of eight squares, stitch together two squares at a time so you end up with a stack of four rows of two.

(6) Then take two of your rows of two and fasten them together into a block of four squares. This is your first sleeve. Repeat again using your other stack of two rows to make your second sleeve.

(7) The photo below left shows where you will attach the first sleeve (again, always working on the wrong side of the project). Take one of your sleeves (see red box) and line up the center (midpoint between the two sleeve squares) with the center of the shoulder motif (see green line). Use either markers or safety pins to attach securely, then stitch the sleeve to the body. Repeat the exact process by attaching your second sleeve to the other side of your sweater body.sweater sample2

(8) The photo below right is what the sweater will look like after both sleeves have been attached. The red line indicates where you will fold the sweater to match up where the blue lines are shown. The blue lines indicate where you will sew the body and sleeves together to complete the sweater.sweater sample3

(9) The photo below shows the sleeves and sides stitched together. The red lines show the areas that were sewn together. I left an opening on either side where the green lines are. I wanted it to fit tightly to the waist and then have a “tunic” effect at the bottom, with the slits on either side. To finish the edges, I single crocheted in unblocked sweateroatmeal around the entire bottom, including up and down each slit.

(10) I also finished both sleeve edges with one round of single crochet in oatmsleeve edging2eal.sleeve edging1

 

 
(11) I used the steam setting on my iron to gently press it. Here are some photos of the finished sweater. Not great pictures—hubby wasn’t around and it’s not easy taking full-length selfies!!!sweater_brown motifs2 copysweater_brown motifs1 copysweater_brown motifs3 copy

 

 

 

 

Last but not least—my colour inspiration: my best pal, Otis!

my color inspiration otis

The bottom line is that you can make a sweater out of pretty much any motif you like. It’s just a matter of making as many of them as you need to fit a basic layout in your size and then attaching them together. Squares are the easiest but you can also use hexagons and even circles. There are no boundaries to your imagination.

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