Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorite Website with Crochet Tutorials: New Stitch a Day

I've had a few students ask for video tutorials lately. While that isn't my main focus with my blog, there are many places online that offer some great video tutorials. (They even have some of the crochet stitch combinations that I've done so far.)
Feel free to check New Stitch a Day out and join their VIP membership. Each day they add to their collection of tutorials for knitting and crocheting. Joining their VIP club is a great way to keep up to date on the new stuff they add. Here's a link to the site.

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Pattern Available: Filet Chart - Deer in Forest

Recently my mother-in-law came to me with a doily she bought. She asked me if I could make something like it that she could use as a partial curtain/valance type thing. I have never actually made a doily before, but I started looking into filet crochet. I came across this pattern for a stag in the woods.

After working the pattern out, I realized that it was going to be much to small. (I was using size 10 thread that has a weight of 0 and a size 7 (1.65 mm) crochet hook.) At first I just added a mesh to the sides, but that quickly got boring.

So I decided to add to the pattern and make it wider and a little more detailed. My chart includes two deer and a total of four trees as well as some added plants. I haven't finished working it out yet, but I'll post pictures when I'm done. In the mean time, here's a copy of my chart. 

You can download the pdf of the chart here. download now  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stitches: Slip Stitch

Usually, slip stitches are used to join rounds or to add new yarn. Here's an idea of a way to work with slip stitches to create new textures.

Chain any number of chain stitches and work slip stitches into the chains. Chain one and turn. Working in the back loops only, work slip stitches across to complete row two. Continue working with routes of slip stitches in the back loops to create this pattern.

This creates a ribbed look that is similar to the look of knitted fabric. Because slip stitches have little height, this stitch is a little slow to work up, but the result is a flexible fabric.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stitch Pattern: Cross Stitch

This stitch can be complicated when using a short stitch such as the single crochet or half double crochet. I find its easier to work this stitch using double crochet or taller stitches.

To start, you'll chain a multiple of two. When working your rows, skip one stitch and work in the next. Once that stitch is made, you'll work into the stitch you skipped. The next stitch will require you to skip the one you worked into and one more. (i.e. You'll skip two stitches total. One is worked into already.) 

When working this swatch up, I found it more pleasing to add an uncrosssed double crochet stitch on the end of each row. (The chain counts as the beginning double crochet stitch.) This helps keep the ends straighter. Ending a row with a crossed stitch will result in a wavy edge. This is just a matter of personal preference though, so try it both ways.

One of the things that I liked about this stitch is that the pattern creates almost a zigzag pattern as you work your rows. It also creates an interesting texture to the fabric that would be great for creating dishcloths when used with shorter stitches. It would be textured enough to provide a little scrubbing power. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stitch Pattern: Track Stitch

The track stitch is actually fairly simple to make. The result - a look that suggests someone ran over it... it makes tracks in the work, hence the name of the pattern.

To create this pattern crochet an uneven number of rows with single crochet. Then work a row of treble crochet stitches. Repeat this pattern throughout your work and you'll see the tracks. Finish with a row of single crochet stitches though so your work holds its shape.

Why does it matter that the number of rows worked in single crochet be uneven? This ensures that the right side of the treble crochet stitches is seen on the right side of your work. Here are a couple of pictures to show you what I mean.

The back of the treble crochet stitches looks like chains. The front is flatter and the two horizontal bars can be seen.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Recycled rag rug

In my quest to find materials that are "out of the box" I came across this rag rug tutorial. I haven't actually made one, but it's definitely on my list of things to make. I have some old clothes and sheets and such that would be great for this type of project!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Pattern Available: Star Trek Science and Medical (Blue) Insignia Pillow

Sorry it's taken me so long, but I finally managed to find time to finish this pattern.

My finished Star Trek Science and Medical Insignia Pillow. 

The full set. 

It took a while to finish each pillow, but I've had a lot on my hooks lately. The color work is the only thing that really takes much time at all. You can download the pattern here: download now  

As always, please let me know if you come across any problems with the pattern and post your pictures of your projects. 

Resourceful crochet materials

I read a post on Facebook a few days ago that mentioned how small local yarn stores thought crocheters were cheap because they didn't want to pay for the expensive yarns to keep them in business for long. That got me to thinking... Am I cheap? Sure, I may loathe the idea of spending a ton of money on yarn, but it's only because I already spend a bunch each year to maintain my stash. Of course this also depends on what I'm making. A sweater that I'd intend to wear demands more than the cheaper, rough acrylic yarns. I'll spend the extra few dollars to get the softer yarns.

All this thinking eventually lead me to looking into the things that people crochet with. I've found patterns from people who crochet with plastic bags (plarn), old clothes or pop can tabs and so much more. I suppose that's one of the wonderful things about crochet. You can use just about anything that can be cut into strips. Maybe this just follows the eco-friendly mindset of so many people, but I would hardly say that crocheters are cheap - just resourceful with their craft.

I have yet to dabble into this side of crochet, but I'm tempted to do so. I've started saving plastic bags a while ago and now they just take up space. Why not put them to good use? The weirdest thing, if you want to call it weird, that I've crocheted with thus far has been wire. After getting used to working with the wire it was actually fun to see what kinds of things I could make. I'm excited to try out these new materials and possibly search for additional things. I wonder what else I have lying around my house that I could crochet with...

What is the craziest material you've crocheted with?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Last minute gifts?

Crocheting just about anything takes time. As the holidays get closer, it becomes more crucial to find things that are really quick to make. Here are a couple of ideas to try.

Lion Brand's 45 minute cowl - That's right! In only 45 minutes you can make this easy cowl! It uses a large (Q) hook, so that takes some getting used to. However, it works up so quickly that it's worth it!

2 Day Afghan - Most people know that a crocheted afghan takes days, weeks and sometimes months to complete. Here's a quick one! (Disclaimer: I haven't tried it yet, but it's on my list next.) The video works you through how to do each step and teaches you a new stitch along the way!

What other patterns have you found that are quick to make? 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Crochet's health benefits

Here's an interesting article published in the Talking Crochet Newsletter.

A group in England actually use crochet as an activity for their "Wellbeing Wednesdays." For those of us that crochet, we know that crochet is a relaxing hobby. But not many think about the fact that it keeps our hands busy, which means that we're less likely to be snacking. I know that I tend to eat less when I'm working on a project.
Furthermore, what about smoking? I assume crochet could have similar effects (i.e. helping people quit or smoke less). Since I don't smoke, I am not sure about this one, but it seems like a logical leap to me.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stitch pattern: post stitch ribs

Looking to add some texture to your crochet work? This stitch creates a fun ribbed look that's flexible and stretchy. I could easily see this pattern making some great wrist warmers or fingerless gloves or wristers. It would provide the stretchiness needed for the gloves to slide on but remain form fitting where needed.

To make this stitch pattern, you'll be working around the posts of double crochet stitches.
To start work a chain in a multiple of 5 stitches plus 10. Dc in 4th chain from the hook and in each ch across. (The 3 beginning chs count as a dc.)
Row 2: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc), fpdc around next two sts, bpdc around each of next two sts. [fpdc around next 3 sts, bpdc around next 2 sts] across. End with fpdc around next two sts and hdc in last st (the chains from previous row). Turn
Row 3: Ch 2, bpdc around next 2 sts, fpdc around next two sts, [bpdc around next 3 sts, fpdc around next 2 sts] across. End with bpdc around next 2 sts, hdc in last st (chains from previous row). Turn.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 for pattern.

When looking at your work, one side will have sets of two raised ridges, and the other will have sets of three raised ridges.
For a different effect: you can alternate each stitch. (fpdc, bpdc across. and the third row will be the opposite [i.e. bpdc, fpdc across].) This will create ridges that are closer together and alternate across your work.
What other patterns and possibilities can you think of for this stitch?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stitch Pattern: Sailboats

Here's a fun stitch combination - sailboats. This creates an interesting stitch patterns that might make for a fun blanket or shawl. This pattern creates an almost lacy texture to the yarn. Adding a border of some sort helps to maintain it's shape. I made a square for Warm Up America with this pattern in it. I added a couple of rows of single crochet stitches before and after the pattern, but I'm considering adding a border on the sides to help maintain it's shape even more.

To make this stitch:
Make a chain of a multiple of 6 plus 2. Single crochet in second chain and in each chain across.
Row 2: ch 1, sc in first stitch, [ch 6, sc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc in next ch, dc in next ch, tr in next ch, dtr in last ch (sailboat made), sk next 5 sc on last row, sc in next sc] across, turn.
Row 3: Ch 5 (counts as first dtr), *sc in next sc at tip of sailboat, ch 4**, dtr in sc between same point and next point, repeat from * across, ending last rep at **, dtr in last sc, turn.
Row 4: Ch 1, sc in first dtr, *sc in each of next 4 chs, sc in next sc** sc in next dtr, rep from * across, ending in last rep at **, sc in last st, turn.
Repeat rows 2-4 for pattern.

I can't help but wonder what this pattern would look like if the rows of sailboats were broken up by a wavy ripple to make it look like a boat on water... hmm...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Amazing Men of Craft Answer Your Craft Questions 11/13 by FaveCrafts | Blog Talk Radio

In a woman dominated field of crochet, it's comforting to know that guys really do crochet! :D  I have been trying to get my husband to crochet, but I've had no luck, thus far. Some day he will break down and learn... (I hope).

The Amazing Men of Craft Answer Your Craft Questions 11/13 by FaveCrafts | Blog Talk Radio

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stock up on yarn at Michaels

Michaels is currently having a massive sale on yarn this week. Just about every kind of yarn is on sale.

Plus, if you print out the coupons from their website ( You can get 25% your entire purchase (including sale items)! Time to stock up on yarn!! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Central Illinois Crochet Guild Chapter?

Lately, I've been thinking about the possibility of forming a central Illinois chapter for crochet through the Crochet Guild of America. I'm just wondering, for those of my readers who live near Bloomington/Normal or Peoria, IL would this interest you? In essence, we'd meet up once a month and crochet, share techniques, and discuss crochet. There might also be opportunities to invite speakers to come to chapter meetings, or attend knit and crochet shows.

Please fill out this form if you'd be interested in this opportunity.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Warm Up America! Update

This is from Craft Yarn Council and Warm Up America! It includes additional details about how you can put your crochet and knitting skills to good use! 

Michaels & Warm Up America: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

In these challenging economic times, with news of natural disasters devastating communities across the country, Michaels Stores are teaming up with the national charity Warm Up America to bring warmth to families in need. Beginning with a special in-store event on November 11th, Michaels’ Discover knit and crochet instructors will spearhead a Warm Up America campaign with special in-store demonstrations and instruction showing volunteers how to put their knitting and crochet talents to work to help others.  The drive will continue through January 2013.

Date: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Time: 1 – 3 p.m.
Locations: Michaels 200 Greenbriar Dr. Normal, IL 61761.  309-268-4007.
                     Michaels 5212 N. Big Hollow Rd. Peoria, IL 61615.   309-692-3275.

Since 1992, Warm Up America has been enlisting the aid of knitters and crocheters of all ages to stitch 7” by 9” rectangles, which are joined into colorful patchwork afghans by other volunteers. To date, more than 275,000 thousand afghans, as well as other articles of clothing, have been distributed to shelters, Red Cross chapters, hospitals and community service organizations. The blankets assembled at each Michaels store will be donated in their community.

For more information about Warm Up America, visit: and the Discover Knit and Crochet Program:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crochet Hat Sizes

Working on a crochet hat? Here's a great link with a sizing guide for any hats (or headbands) you may have on your hooks. This includes sizing from babies to adults!

While this doesn't have a certain number of stitches in a round for each size, it's hard to do that because everyone crochets with a different tension. I'm willing to bet you hate finishing a project only to find out it's too small or way too big. As you are working your hats, measure the size (circumference) after each round. This will ensure that your hat will fit properly.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Common yarn questions answered

I came across this pdf file from Craft Yarn Council the other day, and thought I'd share it.

It does a great job of addressing questions like how to read a yarn label, substitute yarns and explaining gauge and differences in crochet hooks. I'm sure it doesn't address everything, but it's still a pretty good resource for those new to working with yarn.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crochet for Charity: Warm Up America!

Put your crocheting or knitting skills to good use! Join me, Michaels stores, and countless others across the country as we help Warm Up America! and donate blankets to organizations in need in our communities.

You can help by donating one 7x9" section or an entire afghan. You can make your section as basic (all single crochet) or as advanced as you like. Visit the Warm Up America! website for patterns. Drop your donations off at Michaels stores. 

Normal, IL Store:
200 Greenbriar Dr.
Normal, IL 61761

Peoria, IL Store:
5212 N. Big Hollow Rd. 
Peoria, IL 61615

Michaels will be doing a special in store demonstration on November 11th from 1-3. Visit your local store to pick up information about Warm Up America!, pick up section patterns, and meet knitting and crochet instructors. 

Note: I'm the crochet instructor for both stores. Since I will be at the Normal, IL store on November 11th, I will be at the Peoria, IL store on November 10th for a special preview of this demo. 

Visit for more information about this charity.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Class calendar Update

Just a note: The class calendar has been updated and posted through the end of the year! There's still time to make some great gifts for the holidays!

Classes: $25 per class plus materials. Registered students get 10% off any supplies purchased for the class. Contact the stores to register.

200 Greenbriar Dr.
Normal, IL 61761

5212 N. Big Hollow Rd.
Peoria, IL 61615

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pom pom yarn

I have walked past this pom pom yarn in many stores before and have always wondered what in the world would I make with that. I finally decided to try it out, and I'm pretty glad I did.
This stuff may look intimidating but don't let it fool you. Stitches are worked between the pom poms. For me each single crochet stitch contained two pom poms: one when I pulled a loop up through a stitch and another when I yarned over to complete the stitch.
Originally, I was thinking that all the pom poms would be on one side, leaving the other a rough side of stitches. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was not the case at all. Each side if my scarf ended up being very plush. The yarn created fun ridges and my colors created an interesting striped look.
I highly recommend trying it out!

The side view of the scarf. Notice the ridges?

From this angle you can see the striped effect. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wire Crochet

Recently, I've had some requests for teaching classes about wire crochet. I haven't done much crocheting with wire yet, so I've started experimenting. Here are just a couple of the things I've made so far.

I look forward to making additional designs with wire! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Updated Calendar of Crochet Classes for Central Illinois

Hi everyone!
I've updated the calendar for crochet classes in central Illinois! Please check it out. To register contact the stores for details.
Each class is $25 plus the cost of supplies (if you need them).  As an added bonus, when you register you should get a coupon code for 10% off your class supplies! This code is good from the time you register until the end of the class.

Also, I've been working on designing classes about crocheting with wire and Red Heart's new Sashay yarn. (If you've seen it in the store, you'll know why there is a need for a class about it.) It's not so much a yarn as it is more of a mesh that produces lots of ruffles when you work with it.

Very fun stuff! Keep an eye on the class calendar for these new classes. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Super Mario Brothers Toad crochet hat

I have been thinking for a bit about Halloween, so I made this hat for my son. It's a little big, but I'm sure it will last him through winter if I don't make another. The pattern should be posted soon. I have also been planning on making Toad's blue vest to complete the outfit. :)

The pattern has been listed on my Ravelry store: download now

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Pattern Available: World of Warcraft Banner Pattern

I've finally written up the pattern for my World of Warcraft banner. It can be found as a free download in my Ravelry store. download now

I tried to explain the dowel rod assembly as best I could. To hang the dowel rods I would probably use something like these command hooks. They are inexpensive and should easily hold the banner up.

If you have any problems, please don't hesitate to ask and let me know so I can try to clarify.

Stitch Combination: Grit Stitch

Here is a stitch that is very similar to what some people know as the V stitch. Instead of using tall stitches like the V stitch, this stitch is created with two single crochet stitches in a stitch. Each group of two single crochet stitches are separated by a chain stitch.

To make this stitch begin by chaining a multiple of two stitches. Here's a chart to make this stitch.

 While this stitch might look dense, it is actually very flexible and lighter than single crochet stitches. This stitch combination could also be done with taller stitches (hdc, dc, tr or taller), but remember to modify your turning chain to accommodate the additional height.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Crochet Classes for Central Illinois

 I will soon be teaching crochet classes at two of the Michaels in my area. Peoria and Normal, IL. 

My crochet class schedule has more information on when the classes are and this link, Crochet Classes, has more information about the classes.

The classes will be held in two locations: 
200 Greenbriar Dr, Ste A
NORMAL, IL 61761-6282
(309) 268-4007


5212 N Big Hollow Rd
PEORIA, IL 61615-3404
(309) 692-3275

Each class will be two and a half hours long and cost $25. Class size is limited to 10 so register early to save your spot.

Stitch Combination: Shallow Stitch

This is one stitch that will challenge those that like to crochet by the "rules." For the most part, crochet stitches are worked under the V (as you look at it from the top) and above the horizontal bar (when seen from the side). For the Shallow Stitch stitches are worked *under* that horizontal bar of each stitch.

Here is a look at what this stitch looks like.
This stitch creates very strong horizontal lines as it gathers the three strands from the previous row together. To make this stitch, chain any number of stitches but make your chain loosely to accommodate for the stitches worked in spaces. 
The image above shows the shallow stitch swatch next to a double crochet swatch. Notice that the shallow stitch has much cleaner (in my opinion) horizontal lines. With a bulkier yarn I think this might make for a fun scarf. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stitch Combination: Seed Stitch

This stitch combination creates an interesting look with a little texture. This is similar to the open stitch combination, except that it uses single crochet stitches. I.e. It is created by alternating single crochet and chain stitches.
There is one major difference between the two combinations. In the open stitch combination, the double crochet stitches are worked into the previous row's double crochet stitches. In the seed stitch, single crochet stitches are worked in the previous row's chain stitches.

To make it, chain a multiple of two plus one.
One thing that I wasn't a fan of when trying this stitch out was that one side of the pattern creates a zig zagged edge. Perhaps a slip stitch at the end of row 2 (to attach it to row 1) in the pattern diagrm above would help solve this. 

This stitch could also be done by changing the single crochet stitch for a taller stitch, like the double or treble crochet stitches.
What are your thoughts about this stitch? Have you seen it used in any patterns you've worked on?

Stitch Combination: Open Stitch

 The open stitch pattern is similar to a mesh stitch. It results in a series of open boxes and a light density. This might make for a very pretty shawl or light scarf. To start, chain a multiple of two plus one. It's created by alternating between double crochet and chain stitches, and rows end with a double crochet.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stitch Variations: Popcorn Stitch

Popcorn stitches all use the same process to create, regardless of what kind of basic stitch you're working with. They can be created with any stitch except the single crochet, but the double crochet stitch is most commonly used.

To create a popcorn stitch: work a group of 3 or more stitches, we'll say double crochet stitches for this example, into one stitch or space. Remove the hook from the working loop you've been using and insert it into the first double crochet in the group. Pull the working loop (that you dropped before) through where you now have your hook. Your popcorn should pop to the front. Secure it into place with a chain stitch.

Tip:  When working on the wrong side, you can insert your hook from the back to get your popcorn to pop to the correct side.

This technique creates a 3D effect and can be used to create numerous designs and patterns. In my photo, I made a diamond.

Help support my yarn habit!

I Love Yarn Day is holding a photo contest. I have a photo entered. Please vote for it to support me and my pattern designing habit. 


Friday, September 28, 2012

New pattern available: Star Trek Security (Red) Crochet Pillow

I have finished the Star Trek Security Red Pillow, and I've also written up the pattern for it. Yeay! Its finished size is 16" by 16." Here it is. Enjoy! You can download the pattern for it here. download now

Materials used for this project:

If you like this pillow, don't forget to check out the Star Trek Command (Yellow) pillow. Stay tuned for the next one. 

Linking crochet stitches

When you have really tall stitches, like the treble crochet stitch, and don't want the holes between stitches, you can link stitches together.  This can be done with all stitches except single crochet stitches.

To link stitches: Insert hook into the horizontal loops of preceding stitch and draw a loop up. This is done in place of doing a yarn over before inserting hook. For a treble crochet, you would do this twice before inserting your hook into the next stitch to complete the stitch.

This swatch is of a group of linked treble crochet stitches.

This stitch helps solve the problem, if you want to call it that, of the large gaps and holes between stitches between normal treble crochet stitches. It also seems to create a double ridge on rows that looks almost like working a stitch in the back loop.
What I don't like about this method is the holes created by the unattached turning chains.  Perhaps not linking every stitch in a row would alleviate the holes on the end if the rows.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Extended Stitches: Extended double crochet

To make an extended double crochet stitch: Yarn over once, insert hook, yarn over and draw a loop through one loop. Yarn over and draw through two loops. Yarn over and again draw through two loops.

This swatch of edc looks like a swatch of double crochet, but it's actually a step taller than the double crochet, making its height fit between the double and treble crochet stitches.

(From left to right) Double crochet, extended double crochet, and treble crochet.

Extended stitches could easily make a smoother line. (i.e. If you used the pattern of: sc, dsc, dc, edc, tr  you would have a smooth curve instead of a stepped or zig zag one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Extended stitches: double single crochet

To make a double single crochet stitch: insert hook and draw a loop up (you will have two loops on your hook). Yarn over and draw through one loop. (Still two loops on hook.) Yarn over again and draw through both loops.

This stitch is abbreviated as dsc.

Extended stitches can be used to create smoother edges when transitioning between the more basic stitches.

Notice the size difference between the single crochet (red) and the double single crochet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012