Monday, October 31, 2016

Creations and Goodies

  Some great finds of mine got neglected after my last shopping trip! It's all the yarn's fault - It distracted me. ;) Being in a bad mood and tired, I decided not to work on anything for a few days, and do a little cleaning and organizing instead. Isn't it amazing how you find things when that happens? The tiny packages that were left in the bag from my purchase were buried under another skein of yarn.

  Well, of course finding them led to a little creativity, after all. I could have put my finds in the craft supplies, to probably be forgotten some more. After I searched for so long to find these things, there's no way I can let that happen. Why not sit down and get to work on it? Great idea. So, let's see what I've got!

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons, Joann Fabric and Crafts

  I know I could easily have found the oblong buttons I've been looking for online, but I haven't wanted to make an online purchase for just a few buttons... So after I couldn't find them at Michaels or Walmart, I was disappointed as well as out of options. But, wait! Then Dad asked if I wanted to take an out-of-town trip to Joann's. I guess you can tell by the pictures that I found what I was looking for!

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  I need oblong shaped buttons to make more shawl toggles. These flat buttons are awesome! Blue on one side and black on the other, they'll go perfectly with my black and blue love knot shawl. It didn't take me long to make the first one I shared a few weeks back, so I knew I should get to it with these instead of forgetting them again.

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  My first attempt left me laughing, because I should have remembered this problem from the first time. All set and ready to go - Except for that needle that's too big to fit through the buttonholes! I searched for the needle I used last time, but the Troll must have taken it. Hmm... What to do?

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  One of my tiny steel hooks fit through the holes, so I stopped searching for a needle. This time, I decided to separate the plies of worsted-weight yarn into two strands instead of using the full bulk of the yarn. I was going to use a different color yarn to create the next toggle, but since I still had the other half of the strand I split, I went ahead and used it.

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  But... There's no buttonholes! I had a minor freak-out moment when I realized that the tutorial I used didn't mention using button with loops like these. However, it proved to be even easier. I dropped the hook, didn't even think about a needle, and just ran the yarn through the loops with my fingers. Yay, we love simple things!

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  I think I might redo that one someday, because I'm not sure how it will work out. I thought that only looping the yarn once would give it a nice delicate look, but it looks like it might come apart. We'll just have to wait and see!

  My one other find is something I've been looking for forever! Shortly after I purchased my first rotary cutter, I learned that they make a skip-cut blade for making holes in fabric. Again, it's a small thing that I didn't want to purchase online. And once more, I searched the two local options for craft supplies, and found nothing.

crochet, edged fabric blankets, fleece, Joann Fabric and Craft

  I owe Joann Fabric and Crafts a big thank-you for being the only place I can find what I need. If only they could take over one of the countless empty storefronts in this town so I could go there more often! I guess they hooked a customer no matter how far away they are, because I signed up for emails to get sales and coupons. I find myself actually looking to see what's in the emails instead of automatically deleting them.

  Since I plan on going back, I'm already thinking of the fabric I'll get to make use of that blade. WHAT? What in the world would no-sew me be doing with fabric? Easy, it's okay... Just some no-sew fleece blankets! My blade seems to be different than the one used in this tutorial, but I'm hoping it will work. I'm looking into jumping into the craft fair circus next year, and these blankets make quick, easy sales. I'm scared... Very scared, but it's time I get into something new. Maybe I can find a partner to talk to people while I just crochet in a corner.

Happy Crocheting! 

PS - I don't hold it against any of the other stores for not having supplies... You see that everywhere in this town, from parts stores to pet shops.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween

  Hi, crazy lady here... I haven't been posting much because I'm trying to get my backup of free patterns in order. However, this persistent bout of insomnia is bringing productiveness to a screeching halt. Just typing a sentence that makes sense is difficult, and any attempt at translating my notes into true written patterns have ended with me staring blankly at what looks like gibberish. It kinda feels like that first time you open a calculus textbook.

  This, too, shall pass. In the meantime, more crochet is being done! Right, like I need to create more things and record them in more gibberish/chicken-scratch nonsense that mocks me from the page... Still, it happens. What happened this time was supposed to be for my Halloween costume, but my Halloween plans got wrecked. It really sucks to work feverishly on short notice and finish the pieces for your costume, just to have plans change and be left with no reason to dress up at all. 

  Oh, cry me a river... It's not the end of the world. I'm tired and I've let other people pull me into a bad mood, ruining my favorite holiday. But, um, didn't the title of this post have the word "happy" in it somewhere? I can still look forward to trying again next year, so I'll do my best to forget the day and share some happy crocheting. So... What do you do when you can't get display photos of your Halloween accessories in-use because you have no reason to dress up?

You put them on a pumpkin and say: Happy Halloween!

crochet, snakes, Medusa, hairbands, Halloween

  That is a small pumpkin, so those aren't giant snakes. Each is about a foot in length, with two a little longer at about 18" (45 cm). I was playing with my new creations, wondering how big they would be if that was a full-size pumpkin. It made me realize that this pattern would be easy to create in any size, and doesn't have to include the hairbands I attached to make a Medusa costume. They could just be cute/cuddly/evil/venomous little (or big) snakes.

crochet, snakes, Medusa, hairbands, Halloween

  If you're a return reader, then you probably know about my lack of sewing/embroidery skills. A similar skill level applies to stuffed projects, too. So you can see by the cutesy one with the crooked eyes that my first attempt was off. It's okay; We were going to be in the dark, and I planned to hide that one a bit with some of the others. The second go-round was better, but the eyes just weren't right and it was horribly over-stuffed. By the third try, I knew the eyes needed to be a different shape, and maybe a bit farther apart. The last two (dark green) came out perfect other than one spot with too much stuffing. Those are my "keepers" that will eventually be a free pattern.

  But let's not rush it, okay? I promise it will be a pattern by this time next year, but I have enough things backed up and Halloween is almost over. You know how far behind I am? I made some simple coffee maker doilies for my dad, on request when Hurricane Matthew was rolling through. Like a dummy, I finished them at his house and never took pictures, despite having packed my camera. He was awesome enough to send me some pics, but I haven't had a chance to share them!

  Dad saw the doily I made for my coffee maker, and asked if I could make two so his coffee and tea makers would stop scratching the counter. Yes, Dad makes tea in a coffee maker. He probably puts tons of sugar in it, too. Gasp! The things we do to tea in the south... Never mind that; there's people around here that think cheese in a can is a delicacy. Now I bet Dad will ask me what's wrong with making tea in a coffee maker, and if I'm feeling okay because I'm talking about cheese on my blog ;)

crochet, doily, jute twine, coffee

  The answers are nothing at all and yes, but I'm hungry - for Halloween candy, not for cheese in a can. Back to the doilies: Instead of using the same pattern as the doily I made for my larger coffee maker, I just made some simple granny rectangles - The same pattern I've been using for those blankets I made, too. I added a single crochet border to stiffen up the edges, and I think they only took six or seven rounds. The original piece I created for mine was interesting, but these were quick and easy to make in any size. 

  Between this project and the snakes I created, I realized how much faster I can crochet and complete something when I'm not writing a pattern for it. (Duh) And completing patterns makes me so much happier than stopping to write all the time. There are free patterns waiting to be published. For now, I'm just going to concentrate on crocheting to save what little is left of my sanity. If a pattern happens from it, then that's great! However, I'm not going to think about that spiral-rectangle blanket I started until I get some sleep. Dad needs another doily to go under the canister. I think I can handle a granny square to match.

  For those of you who celebrate Halloween, please have a safe one. Eat lots of extra candy for the girl who can't have any. Enjoy those rainbows of sugar. Really get into character and rock your costume... Unless you're a zombie. Please don't get into character too much if you're a zombie. I don't want you to eat what might be left of my brain.

Happy Crocheting!
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Just a Weekend Project

  Since the baby blanket I've been working on is a for-sale pattern, I'm taking extra good care of it... And that means when dirt-scattering, coffee-spilling Rip van Winkle is home, I pack it up for safety. Not feeling like sitting on the floor to cut more material for my other projects, I decided to work on that blanket I started - You know, the one where I thought I would get a blanket out of one skein of Bernat Blanket?

  Yes, I bought more yarn to finish it. So, it's better to work on it than let perfectly good yarn sit around, right? While I dealt with more insomnia and Rip's snoring at the kitchen table, I sort of zoned out working on the simple granny rectangle. I came back to my senses as the end of the yarn slipped through my fingers. Wait, what? Something that wasn't even big enough to be a decent baby blanket suddenly looked like a lap throw!

yarn, Bernat Baby Blanket, crochet, granny rectangle

  Against what is advised for those with insomnia, I made a cup of coffee and grabbed another ball. (If you have this kind of insomnia, you know you're not sleeping, caffeine or not. Might as well have a cup and enjoy it while crocheting.) Fuzzy yarn euphoria, extreme exhaustion, and loud heavy metal all lent a hand in that next skein quickly disappearing, too.

yarn, Bernat Baby Blanket, crochet, granny rectangle

  And now, I have a project so big that it overlaps my dinner table. I wondered... It's pretty heavy as-is, should I keep working to make it bigger? Having a few empty labels nearby, I checked the washing instructions. No way I'm hand-washing this thing! Oh, good. It's machine washable and can be dried on low heat. Sigh. Yay!

yarn, Bernat Baby Blanket, crochet, granny rectangle

  Of course, my decision was stalled a bit by the rising of the sun... The brightening light looked so pretty on the fuzzy yarn, I just couldn't resist taking some artsy photos. Don't you want to jump into that softness and cuddle?

yarn, Bernat Baby Blanket, crochet, granny rectangle

  Okay, now to get on with crochet... I started the last ball, but I never paid attention to how many rounds I got from it. All I know is that I was in a crochet trance, and yarn kept disappearing. Suddenly I realized... This is the last skein and I'm almost out! Here's how much I had left when I started the first short side:

yarn, Bernat Baby Blanket, crochet, granny rectangle

  That's with one long side made already, so it's not time to panic. That bulky yarn can fool you, so I was definitely worried - but not panicking, yet. Nearby, I kept the little scrap I had discarded after a knot. Just in case I need it... It won't finish much, but after working the next long side, it looked like I'd need it. Panic started setting in.

yarn, Bernat Baby Blanket, crochet, granny rectangle

  And it was all for nothing, because I finished the round with a tiny bit to spare! Yay again! I was already having visions of ripping back an unfinished row, and making plans to finish with a shorter stitch. It's always good to have a backup plan when the yarn starts looking short. I'm glad that I didn't need to use it this time!

yarn, Bernat Baby Blanket, crochet, granny rectangle

  So, I have another fuzzy blanket. Yup, I already have the ends woven in, too! While yarn shopping, I spent some time staring at the yarn I need to make my other fuzzy blanket bigger. I finally decided to leave it on the shelf, and just call that one a small throw. After working with a yarn that isn't as fuzzy but is just as soft, I'm banning the furry stuff from my stash. I only had one knot to deal with, and no other problems (like the Furry's shedding) with Bernat Baby Blanket. Soon I'll be putting up a free pattern for this and that other fuzz monster, because they are the same pattern made with two different yarns. But for right now, I'm going to go take a nap on the blanket I finished in a weekend.

Happy Crocheting! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Ends of the Day

  We had another one of those "he doesn't get it" moments tonight... It's been a long day of finishing the squares for that baby blanket I started, and I continued to work on them right up until dinner time. With Rip van Winkle looking a bit annoyed that it was yarn and not food on the table, I decided to tidy up my mess.

  Picking up the pile of yarn scraps left over from the tails, I said: "I guess it's time to get to the ends of the day"... And he didn't get it at all. A perfectly corny joke about yarn ends went over his head without so much as a smile. But like we've discussed before, he's just not a yarn-y person. It's not his fault.

yarn, crochet, yarn ends, baby blanket, squares

  I wondered if I should let my lame pun fade away, but then I had to turn it into a blog post. An attempt at comedy may have failed, but it's not getting me down. Tomorrow will bring the joining of squares, and hopefully a finished project. And I'm still laughing at my own joke in my head. That's all that really matters, right?

Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Clown Noses

  Well, I've officially been awake for 24 hours after only two hours of sleep, and now any concept of sleeping is intangible. Insomnia strikes again! Therefor, there is crochet. As Rip van Winkle fills in more than my half of the sleeping, I'm playing with yarn and stitches. And I'm in a silly mood! Perhaps it's because I've resolved to no longer stress over not sleeping, or maybe the lack of sleep is contributing to the rotting of my brain...

  Anyways, as I worked through a few pieces of another pattern, the parts I have made started looking like something else to me. Again, I'd like to say it's due to my vivid imagination and creative thinking process, but it's probably just sleep deprivation. I'm wishing I could make a pot of coffee, but I know it wouldn't do much good right now. What, you mean it's not good to be sleep-deprived and over-caffeinated at the same time? My hands needed a break from crocheting, so I thought I'd take my brain adventures to the blog:

Do you like my clown noses?

crochet, clowns, baby blanket,

  These clown noses got me thinking... Clowns are a sensitive subject right now! Although these face-painted creatures are supposed to bring us joy and happiness, they've been causing quite a scare lately. I was flabbergasted when I heard that some schools were banning clown costumes for Halloween - Because clowns are a "symbol of terror". Really? Like, is McDonald's going to have to issue an apology on Twitter for keeping a symbol of terror as their mascot? Will the circus go out of business for fear of mass casualties?

crochet, clowns, baby blanket,

  C'mon! What's to fear about a humanoid creature that hides its true identity while tricking us and calling it entertainment? Sure, they've been portrayed as bad characters in some movies, but so have politicians - And they're always wonderful, honest, hardworking people, right? Right?

crochet, clowns, baby blanket,

  Okay, this is where I should stop joking around and maybe do my part to alleviate some "killer clown" fears... Has nobody made the connection that they started coming out along with the release of Rob Zombie's 31? (For the love of all that is good and right: If you're truly afraid of clowns, DO NOT follow any of these links.) I think that as a Rob Zombie fan, it's almost against the rules to go spoiling the fun. It's only a theory, but it's my theory that some fans might be taking the fun a bit too far. Some of those "killer clown" sightings look an awful lot like characters from the movie.

  Or could it be an evil marketing ploy? Possible. I know I've been dying to see more of Captain Spaulding and his friends ever since they didn't do so great in The Devil's Rejects. (I love, love love anything Sid Haig is in, but I liked House of 1000 Corpses better!) These movies have blood, murder, mayhem, foul language, good music, more murder, more mayhem, and more blood... And Captain Spaulding, a murderous clown.

  With the release of 31, there's more clowns looking for blood! And I'm pretty convinced that these killer clown sightings are just fans taking advantage of those not resolved enough to enjoy the twisted insanity of a Rob Zombie film. Pretty convinced. But just in case you happen upon a strange clown standing around... DON'T ask him what he's doing, okay? They always attack when you ask them what they're doing...

crochet, clowns, baby blanket,

  Now, how many of you are so distracted by the subject of killer clowns that you didn't notice the hint in that picture? These aren't clown noses at all! I've been clowning around this whole time, and they're just the centers of motifs for a baby girl's blanket. Since I'm waiting for yarn shopping before I can continue with my other projects, I started a new one - Proving I may be the biggest clown of all. Another one? Yup. And yes, I did try to wear one of the pieces as a clown nose, but it was too big to stay on, so you don't get to enjoy any pictures.

  Oh well! Guess I wasn't cut out to be a clown after all... At least I still know how to juggle. Maybe that skill will come in handy when I'm back to working on a four-strand spiral design.

Happy Crocheting!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Spiraling out of Control

  Starting work on my coffee-themed afghan, a song began to play in my head... "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong." (Yes, I was a Sesame Street kid, and I still have nightmares about Big Bird.) Okay, why is a song from a popular children's TV show on repeat in my brain while I crochet? No, I haven't gone bonkers... I think.

  It's the colors of my coffee-themed afghan. One of these things definitely is not like the other! And I'm pretty sure you can tell which one doesn't belong. I see it. My dad saw it. Rip van Winkle doesn't see it, though! I wonder if it's one of those things like the blue/black/white/gold dress, or is he just colorblind? So, you tell me: Can you tell which one doesn't belong?

yarn, crochet, afghan, coffee, Caron One Pound, spiral

  In case there's any of you with the same color range as The Chronic Napper, I'll stop with the guessing game. Taupe. Oh, Taupe, what color are you? In the store, it was tan-brown. At home, it was grayish-brown. And then in pictures, it took on a greenish-brown hue. When I saw it at Dad's house, it was totally green. Now, green is all I can see when I look at it:

yarn, crochet, afghan, coffee, Caron One Pound, spiral

  The simple answer for me to move on with this project is: Discard the Taupe. It's not worth this guessing game. But then, doesn't it look brownish again? Maybe it only took on that green tone because of the colors surrounding it. I wasted time not making a decision took some pictures so I could ask opinions before completely condemning the Taupe.

yarn, crochet, afghan, coffee, Caron One Pound, spiral

  I thought of stretching my design idea a bit, and calling that green-y color Green Tea. Hey, you can make a latte with it! But, no. Just no. You would never put the green tea into the coffee - And it is a COFFEE-themed afghan, brain! What was I thinking? Green tea will never do. (Nothing against green tea, though.)

yarn, crochet, afghan, coffee, Caron One Pound, spiral

  Rip van Winkle still insists that the color is brown. "Leave it", he says. "It matches the other colors", he tells me. No. It might match them, but it doesn't fit into a coffee theme. No matter what I do, how many pictures I take, or how insistent he is that it is brown, I'll never see it as brown. And I'll never be happy with my coffee-themed afghan.
yarn, crochet, afghan, coffee, Caron One Pound, spiral

  So, that leaves that simple answer again: Get rid of the Taupe. My four-color spiral design spiraled out of control, but it's not a disaster. Just by eliminating the color I'm unhappy with, the pattern went back to its delicious coffee-inspired goodness. Besides, a three-color spiral means one less ball of yarn to juggle!

yarn, crochet, afghan, coffee, Caron One Pound, spiral

  But... This design wasn't meant to be a circle! It was easy to put four corners on a four-color pattern. As I sat down thinking I could wing it and turn three colors into a four-corner shape, I quickly learned I was wrong. Paper, pencil, and a little more brain power will be required here. I never wanted it to be that complicated. Am I sure I don't want to use that Taupe?

yarn, crochet, afghan, coffee, Caron One Pound, spiral

  Yes! I'm positive that I won't be adding that color back into this project. Now, I have two options: Get that brain exercising and make the pattern work, or buy a different color for the project. Hmm. Loving lattes but preferring black coffee, I think an extra swirl of Espresso is in order here... Anybody with me?

Happy Crocheting!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Finger Crochet Plarn Square

  Although this pattern could be made with a hook and yarn, I have something special for you: Let's do some recycling and get rid of those plastic bags fast with Giant Plarn (finger crochet) Squares! Combining make-your-own plastic yarn with the finger crochet method will make it hard to match the gauge for this project. But if you follow my instructions, hopefully you will be able to create a two-round square that will measure about 10" (25 cm) across.

Ahem, did you hear that? Ten inches in just two rounds - and no hook needed!

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial

  When I started experimenting with plastic yarn and finger crochet, I found it extremely difficult to keep the even tension needed to make neat stitches. The one main answer to solving this is: Practice. With my first few tries, I lost the loops off my finger. So, I won't claim that this will be easy and you're going to be crocheting "in no time", but don't give up!

  There's a picture tutorial to go along with this pattern, if all you need is a little help making the stitch. And I also have a treat for you video lovers: You can watch me crochet this "giant plarn" square from beginning to end! In the video tutorial I'll show you how to join your plarn loops, make the double crochet stitch with finger crochet, and give you tips for continuing more rounds of the pattern.

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial

Skill level:

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial

*See notes for additional materials you may need*
Plastic yarn (plarn) made in the "loop" method
-About 20 bags per square (mine take 18 bags + one extra loop)

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial

In 4" by 4" (10 cm by 10 cm)
2 rows of 6 double crochet

Or in the round, one round of 12 double crochet should measure 5" (12.5 cm) across

Chain 2 at beginning of rounds does not count as a stitch

A hook can be used to create this pattern if you're not comfortable using finger crochet. In the video, I show you the hook that would most likely match the gauge, but I didn't know the size at the time. It is a size Q - 15.75 MM.

If you have trouble finding your beginning stitch, you may want a stitch marker.

See video after written pattern for help.

(American terms)
Double crochet
Slip stitch

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 Chain 2 does not count as a stitch.
*See the video for how to start without a slipknot!

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 To make a double crochet, yarn over your finger from back to front.

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 Insert your finger in the stitch (here being the beginning loop).

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 Yarn over and pull a loop through, rotating as you would with a hook. You may find it easier to use your thumb to help bring the material through the stitch.

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 Yarn over and pull through two loops. Again, notice how the use of your thumb can help you pull through the loops.

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 Also notice that my tight tension has created a short loop here. Pull those loops up to avoid tight stitches! Each loop should be the same height as the loop before it.

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 To complete the double crochet, yarn over and pull through the last two loops.

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
 See that hooking motion? Don't just grab it with your thumb!

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial
And there you go! The double crochet stitch is made the same with finger or hook... But it takes some getting used to, if you've never tried this method. Check out the video for more tips!

Directions for square:

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial

Round 1:
Chain 2, make 12 double crochet in the beginning loop. Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet.

Round 2:
Chain 2, make 1 double crochet in the first stitch. (3 double crochet in the next stitch, 2 double crochet in the following stitch, 3 double crochet in the stitch after) 3 times. 2 double crochet in the next stitch, 3 double crochet in the following stitch. 2 double crochet in the same as the first stitch, before the beginning chain-2. Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet.

Bind off, weave in the ends.

Video tutorial:

  I'm still new to making videos, but I gain experience with each one. Things I learned while editing: I say "so" and "quickly" way too often, and I need to learn to keep my work farther from the camera. Also, I didn't realize that I was recording on the wrong setting. Sorry about the quality. I won't apologize for those other minor nit-picky details, because I'm still learning. But I did notice that I speak in an odd rhythm that confuses closed captioning, so I am really sorry if you need it. Despite its flaws, this video tutorial still shows you the project from beginning to end.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -

  I had fun both with this project and making the video. I hope to bring you more uninterrupted-by-cat, Rip-van-Winkle-snoring-free video tutorials in the future. If my plans for these squares work out, then there will be a few different projects I'll be sharing for them. But it does take some time to make the material for the squares! I need to go back to playing with yarn for a day... Just a day! This post will continue to be updated with any projects that result from the squares.

free crochet pattern, square, plarn, finger crochet, tutorial

Happy Crocheting!

Update: There's now a video available for how to create the material used in this square.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pin or Toggle?

  I've gone on one of those "trends" of mine again, if you haven't noticed... There's been a lot of shawl-creating going on around here! And for as much as I have trends of my own, I'm not really trendy or fashionable. I've gotten into the habit of spending work-at-home days in jeans and tank tops, not bothering to accessorize or add to my wardrobe. (At least I make an effort to put pants on.) So now that I have these shawls popping off my hooks, I'm a little lost about what to do with them.

  Well, I've at least discovered that a simple shawlette can and will dress up those plain tanks and jeans! But, there's definitely a right and a wrong way to go about it. First of all: How to wear it? The answer really depends on the shape and size of your shawl. The "fairy" shawl I made is light enough to tie in the front for a casual look. But what about that Love Knot monstrosity that I made? Big enough to be a throw blanket, tying that one only creates a huge, awkward knot. That is when I realized that sometimes you have to accessorize your accessories.

crochet, shawl, pin, toggle

  To the rescue: A tutorial over at Simply Collectible Crochet for how to make a shawl toggle. I immediately knew I had to make one when I saw it. Now, off to the craft store!... Only to find almost no selection of buttons. I had a choice of round, round, or round buttons; wooden or plastic. I thought "oh well, these will have to do" as I picked out the biggest of the wooden ones.

crochet, shawl, pin, toggle, buttons

  I wasn't happy with my choice, so I hit up the craft department on my next trip to Walmart. I was surprised to find more of a variety than the craft store! But still, not the oblong toggle buttons I was looking for. Just one column over from the buttons, something else caught my eye:

crochet, shawl, toggle, pin, kilt pin

  What is a kilt pin? I'm new to this device, but I would guess it must be for pinning a kilt. ;) Can I use it for a shawl? After browsing through some images, I did find quite a few varieties and styles, but I didn't find any being used as a shawl pin. I worried about the sharp point damaging my work, but I (carefully) used the kilt pin to display my Angel Cakes shawl.

free crochet pattern, Angel Cakes Shawl, Caron Cakes

  It worked, but I could see how a real shawl pin or a toggle would be so much better. The kilt pin leaves a gap unless you pin about six rows together, and doing that scrunches up the shawl. Besides, I don't need all those sparkles when I just want a casual wrap! It looks out of place with a tank and jeans. My plain wooden buttons were starting to look a little more interesting, so I finally gathered my supplies and pulled up the tutorial to make my shawl toggle.

  *Warning* This procedure requires a needle and thread (yarn, actually), but just about every person on the face of the earth will be able to handle it... Except for me. (See post "I am a Sewing Dummy" for reference.)

Can anybody spot what the problem will be here?

sewing, crochet, shawl toggle, fails

Yeah, I didn't see the issue before I started. I figured it out soon enough, though:

crochet, sewing, fails

And after switching to a smaller needle that would fit through the buttonhole, I promptly made another mistake by starting in the wrong direction:

crochet, sewing, fails

But in the end, it was pretty easy to create my toggle. Mistakes behind me, it was only a minute before I was weaving the yarn in to finish.

crochet, sewing, shawl toggle

  I'm so glad I found that tutorial! I owe a big thanks to Simply Collectible Crochet for my new shawl toggle, and newfound confidence in wearing my work. The weather is cooling off and it's a perfect time to wear my shawls, but they can be so troublesome to keep on. Although the kilt pin does work, options are limited. I think the toggle gives you so many more ways to wear your shawls.

crochet, shawl, shawl pin, kilt pin

crochet, shawl, shawl toggle

crochet, shawl, shawl toggle

  As for a "real" shawl pin: I've still failed to find one anywhere but online. Even though I can drool over some amazing handmade or vintage pins, I can't fit them into my budget. The kilt pin was two dollars and some change; the buttons to make the toggle were only $1. I used a piece of scrap for the yarn, so I'm not even considering its cost. The laugh I had over more sewing blunders was priceless.

  So, what do you think? Do you prefer a shawl pin or a toggle? Or would you rather have an easy-to-tie shawl that doesn't require an accessory? I used to think the latter, until I made a toggle. Now I think I'm going to have to start scouring craft stores for buttons to make more!

crochet, shawl pin, shawl toggle

Happy Crocheting!
PS: Yay, now I can wear my Grannies in a Love Triangle Shawl! Maybe I'll finally get around to publishing that pattern...