Friday, January 31, 2014

Double Free Pattern: One Round Hearts

  Valentine's day might be on the way, but these cuties can be used year-round. What could you do with mini hearts? Originally, they were designed to be part of my new applique series. However, once I finished them, my imagination was left with a few other ideas.
  These would be adorable added to a bag or clothing, used as confetti, or to accent a wrapped gift. Plus, I made a few more than I needed, so I'll be experimenting with making jewelry from the leftovers.


  A small pattern like this is a great way to use up those scraps! They're only one round a piece, so make some in any color your *heart* desires.
  Speaking of scraps, during this project I made an attempt to use up the remainder of some thread I had lying around. I didn't foresee any issues with that...

  I ran into a slight problem while designing this pattern. Do you notice the difference in the size of the pink hearts? No, they weren't made from a different pattern. I have mystery thread! About a year ago I picked up this pink thread on clearance. The label stated size 10 crochet thread, exactly the same as the burgundy pictured here with the pink:



  You can clearly see that the pink thread is thicker and produces a larger swatch. Within my thread stash are multiple colors of the same brand; also a few other brands. None of my other size 10 thread is the same size as this stuff. This appears to be size 3 crochet thread. So, in the pattern, I give the gauge for both sizes of thread; whatever size the mystery pink may be. Either way, the pattern still works for both sizes, so use size 3 if you have it.

Skill Level:
Easy

Materials:
Size 10 crochet thread

Steel crochet hook, size 4(UK)?*
  *I'm using my mystery hook along with my mystery thread. "Made in England" is printed on my hook, so I can only assume this is a US size 7. I've yet to solve this problem, and I apologize for using it to design a pattern again. It belonged to my great-grandmother, and its my favorite hook to use.

Needle to weave in ends

Gauge for Mini Heart:
Entire piece measures 3/4" (2 cm);
Pink heart measures 1" (2.5 cm)

Gauge for Tiny Heart:
Entire piece measures 1/2" (1.2 cm);
Pink heart measures 3/4" (2 cm)

Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)

Directions for Mini Heart:


To begin: Ch 4, join with a sl st to beg ch.

Ch 2, 3 dc in same st. (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next ch. (3 dc, ch 2, sl st) in following ch. Skip last ch. Bind off, weave in ends.

Directions for Tiny Heart:


To begin: Ch 4, join with a sl st to beg ch.

Ch 1, 3 sc in same st. (2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in next ch. (3 sc, ch 1, sl st) in following ch. Skip last ch. Bind off, weave in ends.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Free Pattern: Cotton Candy Butterfly

  I couldn't resist picking up the rainbow pastel thread which makes this applique. At the time, I had no idea what I would use it for. I finally received my inspiration from my kid, but, that's a story for another day...

  This beautiful butterfly is made in two pieces, then a border is added while joining. The pattern seems a bit strange, but is fairly easy to follow. The shape of the wing is created with a ripple stitch.

  My favorite thing to concentrate on while designing a pattern is versatility. The wings of this applique can be re-positioned a bit to change the look of the butterfly, or to cover more or less material. Plus, this is only Part One of a series of designs which can be mixed and matched together in your own combinations. Any of the pieces can be made in a color of your choice.


  The finished piece measures 3 3/4" (9.5 cm) tall
5 1/2" (14 cm) at widest part of wing, with wings spaced apart;
                                             


4 1/4" (10.8 cm) at widest part of wing, with wings against body.



Skill Level:
Intermediate

Materials:
Steel crochet hook size 4
Size 10 crochet thread (I used DMC Traditions, color 5109)
Needle to weave in ends

Gauge:
1" x 1" (2.5 cm x 2.5 cm) = 10 dc, 4 rows

Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)
Double crochet 2 together (dc2tog) - Yarn over, insert hook into designated stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops. Yarn over, insert hook into next st, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 2 loops. Yarn over, pull through all 3 loops on hook.

Directions:
Make 2.
With hook size needed to obtain gauge, ch 50, join with a sl st in beg ch.

Row 1:
Working into ch-sps: Ch 2 (counts as 1 sc, ch-1), (2 dc) in next 2 sts. 1 dc in each of next 2 sts. (Dc2tog) twice, ch 1, 1 sc, ch 1. (Dc2tog) twice, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, (2 dc) twice, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 sc, ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn.

Row 2:
Ch 1, sk ch-1, 1 dc, (2 dc) in next 2 sts. 1 dc in each of next 2 sts. (Dc2tog) twice, ch 1, sk 1, 1 sc, ch 1, sk 1. (Dc2tog) twice, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, (2 dc) twice. 1 dc, ch 1, sk ch-1, 1 sc. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn.

Rows 3 - 5:
Repeat Row 2. Bind off, weave in ends.



Joining:
  Match together the 30 remaining sts of each beg ch, with tips of wings pointing away from you. Skip first chain of each piece, join together with a sl st through front loops only of both sts. Working through front loops only of both chains: (Ch 1, sl st) in next 14 sts. Working into both loops of only the chain nearest to you: (Sl st, ch 1) in the next 7 sts, sl st into the last ch. Ch 1, 1 sc in turning ch of row 1. Ch 1, 1 sc in turning ch of row 2. Ch 2, 1 sc in turning ch of row 3. Ch 1, 1 dc in turning ch of row 4. Ch 2, 1 dc in beg ch of row 5. Ch 3, 1 dc in ch-1 sp. Working around: Ch 4, 1 dc in first dc. Ch 3, 1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc. Ch 2, 1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc. 1 sc in each of next 11 sts. Ch 2, (1 dc, ch 2) in next 4. (1 sc, ch 1) twice, sk ch-1 sp, 1 sc in each of next 5 turning chs. 1 sc in each of next 3 chs. Working across to second piece: 1 sc in each of next 3 chs. 1 sc in each of next 5 tuning chs. Ch 1, sk 1, 1 sc. Ch 1, 1 sc. (Ch 2, 1 dc) in next 4. Ch 2, 1 sc in each of next 12 sts. Ch 1, 1 sc, (ch 2, 1 dc) in next 2. Ch 3, 1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc. Ch 1, 1 sc, ch 1. 1 sc in turning ch of row 3. Ch 1, 1 sc in turning ch of row 2. Ch 1, 1 sc in turning ch of row 1. Ch 1, {sl st, sk 1} 7 times, sl st in last ch. Bind off, weave in ends.

Pin into place. Attach with needle and thread to whatever you wish.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Free Pattern: Men's Fingerless Mitts

  My special guy goes between indoors and outside a lot at his job. Living in Florida, that's not usually a problem, but it's literally freezing right now. He doesn't have gloves or mittens, he needs something to keep his hands warm, and...his birthday is this weekend. So, I came up with these mitts just in time.


  A small cluster stitch in the main body makes a fantastically warm fabric, while using double crochet stitches for the wrist and fingers allows for stretch and range of motion. Crocheting over one row of stitches creates a neat cuff on the wrist. Beginners, use stitch markers, but don't be intimidated! Step by step instructions are provided for the stitches.

  I used Caron One Pound yarn, but I have to apologize, while putting these together I didn't pay attention to how many yards were used. What I can tell you is that a single One Pound skein would make at least three or four pairs of these mitts.

  Mitts are 8 inches (20 cm) from fingers to wrists; 5 inches (12.5 cm) in diameter. The total outer circumference is about 10 1/2 inches (26.5 cm). Thumb opening is 2 1/2" (6 cm) by 1" (2.5 cm). The pattern allows for a little over 1/2 inch (1 cm) of stretch.


Skill Level:
Easy

Materials:
Caron One Pound yarn (check out the One Pound review)
Crochet hooks size G/6-4.25mm and H/8-5.00mm or sizs needed to obtain gauge
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
Stitch markers, if needed

Gauge:
2" x 2" (5 cm x 5 cm) =  7 sts and 7 rows
1 dc = 1/2" (1 cm) tall


Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)
Single crochet cluster (sc-cl) - Insert hook into designated stitch, yarn over, pull up one loop, pull through one loop. Insert hook in same st, yarn over, pull up one loop. Yarn over,pull through all 3 loops on hook.
Double crochet 2 together (dc2tog) - Yarn over, insert hook into designated stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops. Yarn over, insert hook into next stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops, yarn over, pull through 3 remaining loops.
Double crochet 4 together (dc4tog) - Yarn over, insert hook into designated stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops. *Yarn over, insert hook into next st, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops* Repeat from * to * 2 more times, yarn over, pull through remaining 5 loops.

Directions:

To begin, ch 30 with hook size H/8-5.00mm. Join with a sl st to beg ch. Change to hook size G/6-4.25mm.

Round 1:
With hook size G/6-4.25mm, ch 1 (counts as 1 sc). *Sc-cl in next st, 1 sc in following st.* Repeat from * to * 13 more times. Sc-cl in last st. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (30 sc)

Rounds 2 - 5:
Repeat round 1.

Round 6:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), *sc-cl in next st, 1 sc in following st.* Repeat from * to * 13 more times. Do not join. (29 sc)

Round 7:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. *Sc-cl in next st, 1 sc in following st.* Repeat from * to * 13 more times. (29 sc)

Rounds 8 - 15:
Repeat Round 7.

Round 16:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. *Sc-cl, 1 sc in next st.* Repeat from * to * 13 more times. Ch 1, join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (30)

Rounds 17 - 21:
Repeat Round 1. Change to hook size H/8-5.00mm.

Round 22:
With hook size H/8-5.00mm, Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same st. *Dc4tog in back loops, 2 dc in next st.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Dc4tog. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (18 dc)

Round 23:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each of next 17 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (18 dc)

Round 24:
Sl st below current st into Round 22, ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each st of Round 22. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. Bind off, weave in ends.

Change to hook size G/6-4.25mm.
Round 25:
Working into the bottom loops of the beg ch, join with a sl st in any st. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each of next 29 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (30 dc)

Round 26:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each of next 7 sts, dc2tog. *1 dc in each of next 8 sts, dc2tog.* Repeat from * to * . Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. Bind off, weave in ends.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Yarn Review:

  For the beginning of a new year, I wanted to start something new on the Crochet is the Way blog. Wouldn't it be convenient to have a detailed description of the yarn required in a project? Sure, you can go feel a yarn in a store, but how does it work up? Does it twist or unravel? How is it after washing?

  So, the plan was to finish a project, then review the yarn. This week's project was never finished, due to the yarn being used. Isn't that just the way life goes sometimes? So for lack of a project, here's the review:

  I really do love Caron One Pound yarn for the way it feels. Not only is it one of the softest acrylic yarns I have ever used, the price is also unbeatable. I love the large skein which reduces having to weave in yarn ends in large projects.

  Tip: I often hear other crocheters complain that Caron yarns split while working, and this is definitely true. If you crochet tightly, it will split easily when you try to insert your hook into a stitch. If your tension is very slack, the working yarn splits when you yarn over or pull up a loop.
  Obviously, finding a happy medium in your tension seems to be the best way to counteract both of these situations. However, while working with One Pound, I found it best to pinch the yarn slightly between my middle and forefinger. This allowed me to find the sections where the yarn wasn't spun as tightly, before it got to my hook. Feeling a spot, I would just give it a little twist with my thumb against my forefinger, and problem solved. A little foresight  makes working with this yarn so much easier.


  And now, on to my gripe with Caron. This is what I couldn't foresee: Halfway through a skein, out comes a horribly tangled mass. I've untied about six yards of it so far, and I have about twice as much to go.

  This is the third skein of One Pound with which I have had the same problem. This brand surely isn't the only culprit, though. I've had the same thing happen with Red Heart yarns, and also a skein of what I think was Bernat. Could it be me? Could it be The Troll?

  Whatever the problem, I still enjoy this yarn, mainly for the end result. One Pound creates a smooth fabric which is soft to the touch, machine washable and dryable, and durable. As soon as I get this mess undone, you can all enjoy a beautiful new  free pattern using it.