Friday, March 13, 2015

How to: Make a Raised Seashell Motif

  I really wish I could have included this in the same post as the Seashell Soap Saver pattern, but there were too many pictures!  After taking photos of the soap saver in progress, I discovered that it was too confusing to see what's going on in the picture. So - I've done a neat little thing here - Instead of the pattern being worked in the round as for the soap saver, this tutorial shows it worked in rows.

  (That means, if you want to use this raised motif for another pattern, you've got it!)

  Without the extra chains behind the work, this row version is so much clearer. Now, keep in mind - It will look a bit different when you work it in the round, because you won't be turning. However, the stitches are all symmetrical, so it works either way!

If you're using this tutorial for the Soap Saver (SS), find the round you'll be working into in parenthesis ( ) . 

To those of you who are using this for your own designs, and not for the Soap Saver (SS) pattern, sorry, you'll have to put up with a few unnecessary explanations as you follow along. But here's some bonus info for you: You can work this pattern with any number of chains! Need help adjusting it? Just ask. 

Everybody, look for the asterisks (*) to compare differences.

Let's get started!

-You'll see a few abbreviations - 
Chain (ch)
Chain space (ch-sp)
Double crochet (dc)
Slip stitch (sl st)
  -SS is for Soap Saver

*First, take a look at what we have after Round One of the SS pattern. You can still see the chain-3 space of Round Two, but here, it's part of Row One. (Let's just pretend that the beginning chain counts as Round 1 of the SS.) Row Two and Three here are the chain-4 spaces of Round Three and Four in the SS pattern. An extra double crochet is added to the edges where another chain space would be in the SS pattern. 

*For everybody: I told you you can work this pattern with any number of chains; as in chain-(...). You'll still need to work this pattern over three rows of chains (meaning, start in the 4th row).

Make 1 double crochet (dc) in the last available dc before the chain space. 

For all of the following stitches: Bring the yarn in front of the work. Insert the hook from front to back under the chain space, then back to the front of the work from above the chain space. You will be grabbing the yarn from the side facing you, instead of from behind the work.

*For the SS pattern, chain (ch) 1.

*Everybody else: You may need to adjust the number of chains you make, depending on where you want the motif to sit. If you're using more chains across, you'll need to make more chains here. -or- You can also make more than one motif in a long chain!

Make 1 dc in the chain space (ch-sp) of (Round 2) the third row down.

The top of the current row will fold down a bit once you work this stitch.

Make 1 dc in the ch-sp of (Round 3) the next row up.

You may find it easier to rotate the pattern slightly, so you're working right to left (opposite for lefties), instead of from the bottom up.

Make a double crochet around both ch-sps of (Round 3 and 4) the current and next row.

Because you're working into an open row at the top, you can grab the yarn for this and the next two stitches from behind as usual.

Ch 1. Make a dc in the ch-sp of (Round 4) the last row only.

Chain 1. Make 1 dc around both ch-sps of (Round 3 and 4) the top row and the next row.

Time to work with the yarn in front again! Make 1 dc in the ch-sp of (Round 3) the middle row only.

Again, you may find it easier to rotate your work so that you're working in the proper direction, instead of downwards. However, if you turn to work in the correct direction here, your yarn will be coming from the opposite direction, and you will have to insert the hook from left to right (opposite for lefties). Be careful to not twist the stitches, or turn in the same direction as before, and work to the right (left for lefties).

Make 1 dc in the ch-sp of (Round 2) the first row only.

*For SS pattern, ch 1.

*Everybody else: Make the same number of chains as before the first lower dc.

Dc in the next dc.

*SS pattern: We're picking up here at the first dc after the fpdc in Round 6.

*Everybody else: You'll need to make 1 dc in the dc before the chain-1 (or other number of chains)

*SS pattern: Your chain-1 spaces will be forward and easier to find!

Ch 1, dc in the ch-sp.

Locate the chain-1 spaces on either side of the middle double crochet.

Sl st in the first available ch-sp, ch 1, sl st in the next ch-sp.

Dc in the next ch-sp.

Ch 1, dc in the next dc.

(Shown here with dc in the next st also. Back side of motif visible)

Chain (4) an equal number of chains over the motif in the next (round) row to continue the pattern.

(Front side of motif shown)

  It was created for the Soap Saver - What else would you use this pattern for? I've already got some ideas of my own!

Free Pattern: Scallop Seashell Soap Saver

  If you're making the Scallop Seashell Washcloths, you might enjoy this matching soap saver! This little mesh pouch uses mostly chains to stretch that last bit of yarn, but the cute little raised seashell motif makes it the perfect compliment to the washcloths. Use the remainder of your yarn from creating two washcloths to complete the set!

  With a finished length of 3 1/2" (9 cm) and a circumference of 7" (18 cm), this pouch looks a little small at first! But, slide a bar of your favorite soap inside, and watch it fit like a glove. This combination of chains, post stitches, and double crochet will stretch to fit.

  Even if you're advanced enough to say "I love front-post stitches", you may find the placement of the basic double crochet a bit strange when working the motif in Round 5. With so many step by step pictures, I had to make a separate post for it, but you can find a tutorial for help! Click here for tutorial.

Skill level:

Worsted weight (4) cotton yarn
- I used Peaches & Creme in Pastel Delight
Crochet hook size I/9 - 5.50MM
Smaller hook or needle to weave in ends
Stitch markers (optional)

In 4" by 4" (10 cm by 10 cm) -
14 dc in 7 rows

-or- 1st row of pattern = 2" (5 cm) across

Chains at beginning of rows counts as a stitch and a chain. (example: Ch 4 = chain 3 for a double crochet, + chain 1)

Need help with the stitch placement of the raised motif? Check out this post for a tutorial!

This pattern will use up all the yarn left from making two washcloths. The yarn used comes in 95 yard (86 M) balls, and I had absolutely no scraps left after making this soap saver.

*If you're using a different brand, you should be fine if it comes in a 95 yd (86 M) ball or bigger.

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

Front post double crochet (fpdc)

Begin/beginning (beg)
Space/s (sp/s)


*Hey! Here's an extra tip before you begin: Until you get to Round 5, double crochet stitches will be made into double crochet stitches, and front post stitches will be made on post stitches. Stitches will not be worked into chain spaces until Round 5. And remember to check out the Round 5 tutorial if you need help!

Round 1:
Ch 4, dc in farthest ch from hook. Ch 1, make (dc, ch 3, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc) in same st. Ch 3, join with a sl st in beg ch-3.

Round 2:
Ch 4, fpdc in the next dc. *Ch 1, dc in next dc. Ch 3,* dc in next dc. Ch 1, fpdc in next dc, repeat from * to *. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

Round 3:
Ch 4, fpdc in next fpdc. *Ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 4,* dc in next. Ch 1, fpdc in next fpdc, repeat from * to *. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

Round 4:
Repeat Round 3.

Round 5:
Ch 4, fpdc in next fpdc. Ch 1, dc in next dc. Ch 1, dc in ch-2 sp of Round 2. Dc in ch-4 sp of Round 3, dc over ch-4 sps of Rounds 3 and 4. Ch 1, dc in ch-4 sp of Round 4. Ch 1, dc over ch-4 sps of Rounds 3 and 4, dc in ch-4 of Round 3. Dc in ch-3 sp of Round 2. Ch 1, dc in next dc. Ch 1, fpdc in next fpdc, ch 1, dc in next dc. Ch 4, join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

Round 6:
Ch 4, fpdc in next fpdc  Ch 1, dc in next dc. Ch 1, dc in ch-1 sp. Sl st in ch-1 sp before middle dc of motif, ch 1, sl st in ch-1 sp. Dc in next ch-1, ch 1, dc in next dc. Ch 1, fpdc in next fpdc, ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 4. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

Round 7:
Repeat Round 3.

Round 8:
Ch 2, *sc in next dc, (ch 1, sc) twice in ch-4 sp.* 1 sc in next dc, ch 1. Repeat from * to *. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Bind off, weave in ends.

For drawstring and loop:

Do you have enough yarn left? It looks close! This is what I have:

Ch 20.

Weave tail end of chain back and forth through ch-1 sps of Round 8 (try to keep chain from twisting):

Begin by inserting tail from front to back in ch-1 sp above fpdc.

Pull the tail out through the next ch-1 sp, continue weaving back and forth to the ch-1 sp before start. The tail should exit towards the outside just as the working end does. Join with a sl st in beg ch.

Ch 30.

Join in sl st just made (stitch above the "Y").

Bind off, follow stitches to weave in ends.

  The weight of the soap will automatically close the drawstring when you pick up the pouch!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Yarn Tales Tuesday

*This post has been edited to contain links

National Crochet Month and #crochetforcharity
Let's celebrate and donate!
- Plus another rant...

  March is National Crochet Month. How will you celebrate? I'm "all over the place" in crochet right now... Whether you make something special for yourself, or create an item for a gift or charity, there's plenty of ways to celebrate the craft. If you're just beginning, try crocheting something simple to display, just to say "look what I can do"! If you're experienced, consider teaching someone with your skills.

  I already celebrated with a big gift to myself - I've wanted to join the Crochet Guild of America for a long time, so I finally did it! These are the people who invented National Crochet Month, so I figured that it would be perfect to join them in March to celebrate this "crochet holiday". I was unaware of an extra bonus until I signed up: Your membership includes quarterly issues of Crochet! magazine - I was planning on getting a subscription for my birthday, and now my CGOA membership takes care of that for me. (Cool!) I'll have to cover more about the Crochet Guild of America some other time, but until then (if you're not a member yet), you should know that it's a great way to connect with other crocheters, find help, tips, and patterns, plus plenty of other benefits!

  And for a less-selfish way to celebrate National Crochet Month, I'm picking this month to begin even more charity projects! In a previous Wednesday Wishlist post, I told you how I blew my budget on a big Caron United sale. As in a "buy more, save more" sale. I bought more for sure! Check out what showed up at my door - well, I like to be honest, it showed up outside my gate on a rainy day... Delivery drivers can't come inside my yard because of my dog, but my local UPS driver was considerate enough to take extra time stuffing this big box into a plastic bag to keep it nice and dry for me!

Yay, it's here!

  That's a lot of yarn for me - fifty skeins - yikes! Maybe I went a little overboard, but the sale really made getting this much worth it. I saved a percentage off of the regular price and got free shipping. Plus, $7.50 was donated to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation because of my purchase. That's what I like the most, because I'm not always financially able to donate to charity. But, I make my money by crocheting, and crocheting (usually) requires yarn, so I get to donate by purchasing something that I need anyways!

  And, of course, it gets better! What will I use part of that big box of yarn for? Well, have you heard of the World's Biggest Stocking project? This is such a cool idea! Caron United and the lovely folks at are trying to make - you guessed it - the world's biggest stocking, and you can be a part of the project, too! They provide you with free patterns for both knitted and crocheted blankets, which are all 36" (91 cm) square. You donate the blanket(s) you've made, then they join them all together to make the stocking! After the whole thing is complete (which will break a world record), it will be disassembled, and the individual blankets will get donated to military charities. Imagine how cool it will be to help families in need and be a part of a world record!

Beginning test square using Caron United

  Interested yet? Here's a few things I skimmed from their FAQ page that might get you "hooked": Although it would be preferable to make the blankets all in the same yarn, you don't have to use Caron United, or the patterns that are provided! That means, if you already have a stash of some other worsted weight yarn, you can still use it to contribute. They also say: "Red, white, and/or green blankets are preferable, but we're accepting blankets in any color". The most important rule is that the blankets are made with worsted weight yarn, and that they are the correct size (36"). The Stocking Tracker is only at 10%, so let's get helping, people! I'm starting mine today, and you'll be seeing some sporadic posts about my progress.


Check it out:
Beginning work on the Big Granny Square Blanket

  -Before we close, I want to tell you guys about something that really upset me, and my opinion about it. I've been trying to get people to help with the World's Biggest Blanket project. And usually, I don't broadcast my personal conversations with everyone. That's why they're called "personal". But this one...Grrrr! This one, I need to take public. Since this person decided to track me down on my personal Facebook page, and privately message me about what they feel so strongly about, I told this person they can find my response here, where everybody can hear it, because I'm not afraid to let the public know what I think. If I lose every single one of my viewers over my opinion, then good. I'd rather help people that think like me, and not like my apparent new enemy. And since they felt the need to verbally attack me for a simple request that they could have just nicely said "no" to, or better yet, just ignore it - it's only a Facebook post; since they feel so strongly about their opinion, they're welcome to come here and say what they think in public, too! But I'll clean it up and give everybody a little excerpt of the message this "wonderful" person sent me.

  I shared the link for the World's Biggest Stocking project on Facebook. A comment was made to me regarding the COFP foundation, the Stocking project, and donating to military charities in general. Because this comment was made personally, I'm going to leave this person anonymous, unless they wish to come forward. You know who you are, and consider yourself lucky, because I'm sure there's plenty of people who wouldn't issue their response as nicely as I will. Please, come forward; I dare you.

  This person said (profanity removed): "Why donate to anybody involved in the _ military? War is _ stupid. They signed up for the _ war, they knew what they were getting into, and they have to deal with the _ consequences. [They] get what they deserve. You should think of more important charities if you want to donate something, and don't ever buy that _ yarn! Use your talent for someone who really _ needs it." This person went on to also tell me that I needed to "wake up" and that my choice of charities is "ridiculous" because there are "more important" people who need help.

  Here's my response: You should have a broader spectrum of thinking. They did it for you. For me. For everybody in this country, and for people in other nations, too. They do it to fight for freedom. They do it to fight for what they believe is right. It doesn't matter if you think war is right or not. What matters is that it's their job to provide you with safety and protect your rights, and now, somewhere out there is a wife, a husband, a mother and a father, a son, a daughter, a best friend, a brother or a sister, or even a faithful pet who sits waiting and will never see that person again, because they had your rights in mind. And those left behind don't necessarily believe in war, either. But now they have to deal with the loss that it causes. And that's why I choose to help them.

  And what about the veterans of previous wars that didn't sign up for it, and were forced to fight? Did they deserve what they got? Some of those that survived went on to lead normal lives... But many of the soldiers that made it back from the Vietnam War came back so damaged from atrocities they had seen that they couldn't fit into society anymore, or came back injured and unable to work, only to be spit upon and left forgotten in the streets, instead of getting the help they deserved. Some of them are still there. That's why I choose to help them.

  So you don't agree with war? Go ahead and say just that. That's your right. But don't you dare tell a little boy that will never play ball with his dad because his daddy deserved to die. And don't tell a little girl that when she grows up, her mommy won't be at her wedding because her mom deserved to die. And don't you dare tell a parent that they will never again hear their child say "I love you" because that person deserved to die.

  Don't you dare tell me that I shouldn't make a simple blanket or buy some yarn to help comfort these families. No blanket; no amount of money is going to replace what they have lost. But it's a way to say "I understand", to say "I'm sorry for your loss", or to simply say "Thank you for your sacrifice". It doesn't say enough. It's a way to break the chain of hate that continues with the people that say things like "They deserved it".

  So, for the person that made this comment: If you don't want to make a blanket to help, then that's fine. That's your right. You don't have to. But... Don't. You. Dare. Tell. Me - that I shouldn't make one. And please take notice of how I was able to tell you all of that without the use of any profanity. But as for the two-word sentence you ended your comment with - You, too.

-  -  -  -  -

  Whew, I'm done with blowing off some steam, but I'd like for you to think about one more thing: It's not just the families of the fallen patriots that need help. Many veterans of war make it back alive, only to come home to a life that's not the same. Many have trouble finding work, and need help supporting their families. Many have mental problems that lead them in and out of hospitals or jail. Some become addicted to alcohol or drugs because they don't know how to deal with their emotional or physical pain. And many of them find it so hard to deal with what they've been through that eventually, they choose to end their own lives. Is that what they deserve? Nobody deserves that, ever. Never, ever, ever. Some of them simply need to know that somebody cares.

  Whether or not you support the military, or if you do or don't agree with war, everyone can agree that the loss of a loved one hurts. Don't ever try to stop someone from trying to provide help for others in need, no matter what the cause.

  *I haven't been keeping up with the "song of the day" on Yarn Tales Tuesday. So in honor of today's rant and continuing with my attitude: I don't care if you don't like rock/heavy meal. This one has clean language, it's a pretty mellow tune compared to my usual stuff, and this video helps to make my point. Do me a favor and check it out... If you really hate the music, you can always mute it and just watch the video - it says enough without the song:

Wow, after all that...
Happy National Crochet Month!

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