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