Monday, November 28, 2016

The Ugly Granny Bag

  I loved my idea of making a reusable grocery bag out of my Giant Plarn Granny Squares, even though I knew it would have its downfalls. The first problem was the huge gaps between the stitches, but I only planned to use the bag for large items anyways. The second problem is the weight of the bag itself... With over 100 grocery bags used to make this one project, it came out pretty dense. However, after weighing the finished piece, I discovered it only weighs a pound.

  That's one pound of plastic saved from a landfill! And by using this bag when I go shopping, it will reduce the amount of disposable bags coming home with me. But... That leads us to the third problem with my bag: I think I may be a little embarrassed to use it! I saw the first two potential problems before I started to create it and luckily, it didn't turn out as bad as I thought. This bag is totally usable, but nothing prepared me for how ugly my granny bag would be!

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

  I do think this idea would work to make a cute bag with yarn and a finer gauge, but this super-thick plarn has created a monstrosity. Since the idea itself still has potential, I'm still going to share with you how I made it. You can see in one of my Lost Crochet Files how plarn actually can make a pretty cute granny bag... Just not this way. I think this bag is hideous, but it will still serve its purpose. I'm not really too ashamed to use it. I'm just self-conscious enough to never make one like this again.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

  To briefly explain the idea of this project: You need a total of five granny squares - One for the bottom and one for each of the four sides. Of course, this is the part where you could be creative as you want... Make a scrap-tastic classic granny, create a different version of a granny for each panel, or even mix and match smaller grannies to create the larger squares. Colors, fiber, and size are all up to you! So is the option to recreate my hideous plarn version, but I'll be highlighting the things I wished I had done differently to make it look nicer.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

The setup:
I started by attaching my sides to my bottom piece with one seam in the round. Below you can see an example of how to put the squares together before I worked the seam. They should have all been right-side-down, but I made a few mistakes before I got that right. 😩

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

The bottom seam:
My plan was to work an extra-strong seam of single crochet stitches - And I did. In hindsight, I wish I had done this differently. Perhaps sew the squares together? This bulky material created a horribly thick, ugly seam. But in the experimental stage, I thought this wouldn't matter with the seam being on the inside.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

It didn't look so bad before I seamed the sides together. The seam rolled towards the bottom of the bag, and I thought it would provide strength for heavy items inside, plus help the bag keep its shape.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

The side seam:
Knowing that bulky seam would stick out in the way of putting items in the bag, I decided to work the side seams in a slip stitch. Those still turned out to be quite bulky, which is why I think sewing might be the better option for this project.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

As I mentioned in another post, I also made one of those seams in a different direction than the others. It was the first seam I made, but before weaving in the ends, I worked the next one another way. I continued on to finish the other two seams, forgot to rip out and fix the first one, and weaved in the ends before I remembered. I didn't feel like picking out the ends, so I left it as-is. That one seam causes a nasty twist in the bag, making the whole thing look like a mess. I think the same project made correctly would have a much nicer shape.

The handles:
I had worked handles in-the-round for another bag, and I wanted to do the same for this one... But I found it too difficult to work a small cylinder with bulky material and finger crochet. I gave up and made flat handles. I joined in the corner space of the square, worked a stitch in the middle of the join, and one more stitch in the corner of the next square for a three-stitch wide handle.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

I worked a total of twelve rows in single crochet. To join to the other side I turned, worked one single crochet in the corner space of the square, and worked the next two stitches through both thicknesses of the handle and the stitches of the bag.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

  Although I can bash the appearance of my ugly granny bag, it's turning out to be pretty useful. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, it held four 40 oz. cans of yams - That's ten pounds! The wide handles made it possible to carry the weight comfortably, when usually it would strain my hands. That was a load that would require double (or maybe triple) bagging with disposable grocery bags!

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

  The thick, cushion-y material would be great for keeping bananas and other produce safe from bruising. And if I use a few more squares, I could make a rectangular bag that would let me carry two gallon jugs at one time. (You know, I think if I made the seams better, this one would stretch to fit.) Maybe I shouldn't be so disappointed in my idea because of the first attempt! It was made while I was extremely stressed, and I was concentrating more on keeping busy than making it right. Yes, this one bag is hideous. But because I know where I went wrong, perhaps a second attempt could have more potential.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

  I think I'll try making the material a bit thinner, and maybe I'll use a hook this time - Maybe not. I'd love to see some other crocheters give the project a try using their own ideas - Material, color, shape, etc. I know that plarn can make a nice bag because of others I have made. (One created along with yarn might even be called pretty!) This eyesore might be useful, but the project needs improvement.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

  As for the other two bags in that photo: You can find the pattern for the messenger bag here; that one obviously follows a different design... But the other bag is the one I mentioned with the handles worked in-the-round, using the same method as this ugly granny bag. The only difference is that I used thinner material and the classic granny square pattern (plus a hook instead of finger crochet).

  Perhaps I should stop comparing my ugly granny bag to nicer projects. It is useful. It is sturdy. And it is a finished project! Rip van Winkle even said "cool!" when he saw it done... That doesn't happen very often! He also says the bag isn't ugly. I reserve my right to stick to my own opinion about that. We've since agreed to meet in the middle and give it the ambiguous description of "unique".

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

Happy Crocheting!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Little Things

  For all the stress I've been through lately, it's about time I found something that really, truly made me happy. Well, I found two of them! And then there's this other little thing that just helps make me happier... In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm giving thanks for the things that helped to brighten my mood.

  Let's start with that one little thing: I finished that giant plarn granny bag that I was working on. There's usually a big "yay" for finished projects, but this one only gets a *sigh*. It's done. And it's ugly as can be. But it's finished and usable, so it still creates a feeling of accomplishment.

plarn, crochet, bag, granny square

  'Nuff said about that ugly thing for now. Moving on to thing thing number one (that actually makes me happy): The HDML 1321 is Out of Jeopardy! Since taking interest in the salvage of the historic ship, I've been waiting for this great news. My friend Stella over at Purfylle has created an entire website where you can follow the dramatic rescue of the ship. Trust me: If you're in to action-drama stories, there's no need to purchase the next fiction! Just follow the true story of this ship, and you'll get a little history lesson while you're at it.

  And now: Drum roll please... It's that one thing that made me so happy that I jumped up and down while clapping my hands in excitement... It caused such a reaction from me that Rip van Winkle thought I'd lost my mind (of course, that's because he's clueless as to why this is so awesome)... It's possibly the best way to store your electrical extension cords! *Screech* WHAT? Just check this out and tell me if you can pick up on what this guy is doing:

  This video happened to roll across my tablet when I had let YouTube auto-play for a little too long. (You know that place, where you stop and wonder how you got there?) When I began jumping, clapping, and yes, even giggling, Rip asked me if I was okay. I pointed to the video. "Look! Look what he's doing!"

Of course, Rip responded with "rolling up an extension cord".

Me: No. No, no, no, he's not rolling it!

Him: "Okay...?" (And looking like he's trying to remember the number for 911 in case he needs it.)

Me: OMG, he's totally crocheting! He's crocheting a freaking extension cord to keep it from getting tangled! Do you think he knows that he's crocheting? Do you think other people know he's crocheting? Hold on, let me check the comments...


OMG somebody else totally knows that he's crocheting! Wait, he just used the term "chain". He totally knows he's crocheting!

Rip's response: "Okay, well, I'm gonna go to bed."

  As usual, it makes me happy and that's all that matters, right? DirtFarmerJay made my day with that video! I'm thankful for the smile, and I can't wait to see if I can crochet that mess of a 100-ft cord that Rip has tangled in a toolbox.

  Now... You didn't think I could go through a post about being thankful without hearing a big thank-you for yourself, did you? Of course, I'm always thankful for my readers! For those celebrating the holiday, I hope you have a happy, wonderful, safe Thanksgiving. I'd stick with the whole "don't eat too much turkey" theme, but we all know that's a lie. Everybody saves room for pie! 😋

  To all my readers: Thank you for coming back for more of my rambling about crochet and non-crochet related subjects. You're all awesome!

  One last thing I'm thankful for... Yams! That yummy, gooey, syrupy concoction that isn't really yams, but actually sweet potatoes. I hated them so much when I was a kid. Somewhere along the line, I learned to like more than just the sticky marshmallow that topped the dish. I discovered that they're pretty good with half the sugar the recipe calls for... That's great, considering there's a whole bag of marshmallows on top.

yams, candied yams, Thanksgiving

What? Just because I learned to like the sweet potato doesn't mean I'm going without my marshmallows. Mom always said "if you have to ask how many calories are in a serving, don't eat them."

Happy Crocheting!
And Happy Thanksgiving!
PS- Okay, I can't lie to you. There isn't really a whole bag of marshmallows on top. Some of them mysteriously got left out... Possibly stolen? Maybe borrowed... Okay, fine. The marshmallows insisted that I eat them. It was all their fault. But the entire bag isn't on top of the yams. Does that make this the low-calorie version?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Have Anxiety, Must Crochet

  That's it! Call the Funny Farm, I'm ready for them to come get me. (I'm only being sarcastic, please don't call them again.😉) There has been two separate events over the past two weeks that have left me paralyzed with anxiety and unable to sleep more than ever. I am so very thankful that in times like these, I have the gift of crochet to keep me from completely losing my mind.

  When I found myself so shaken that I couldn't hold a hook in my hand, I turned to my plarn granny squares using finger crochet. It's a big, chunky project that's easy to hang on to with trembling fingers. When I realized that I would never get anything done if I kept popping up from the table with every noise, I forced myself into my recliner - Not to relax, but so I could see out the window while I worked.

crochet, plarn, granny square, finger crochet, anxiety

  It took over an hour for my hands to find their strength again. In my nervous state, I kept making silly mistakes that set me back again and again. But ripping and stitching made me focus on something other than my fear, and I finally made some progress in the last square needed to create the bag I have planned.

crochet, plarn, granny square, finger crochet, anxiety

  You might think I'm overreacting, but I'm not kidding when I say I'm glad to have my scissors at hand to make more material. No chop or rotary cutter today - Just a good old-fashioned craft tool that doubles as a weapon. (Kinda makes me want to go back to practicing my knitting so I can have a couple of pointy sticks, too...) Both situations left me genuinely in fear for my life, and I don't think you can blame me for wanting to arm myself.

crochet, plarn, granny square, finger crochet, anxiety

  If you're asking "what's going on?", then you're thankfully not one of the people that have been sending me threats. After showing some military support for Veterans and Remembrance Day, my social media accounts started blowing up with personal messages from unknown profiles - Ones that were conveniently deleted shortly after. Some were religious rants, others called me American scum, but more than one was threatening my life. It was only empty (?) threats made in virtual reality, so again, you might think I'm overreacting... But please excuse me while this gets a bit graphic: I had a man tell me he was going to stab me in the vagina so I could be raped and gutted at the same time.

  How did crocheting get me here? Are they serious that I deserve that for making some flowers and a dagger? The craziness, the cruelty, the senselessness of hearing these things over a crochet project... It has made me lose nearly all my faith in humanity. And it also did exactly what I think they were hoping for - It made me fearful. They might have scared me good for a short time, but I don't and won't back down. When you make me fearful, I'll just grab my crochet to still my shaking hands. So you see, there's a ray of sunshine in this whole cloud of darkness:
crochet, plarn, granny square, finger crochet, anxiety

  And just beyond that ray of sunshine is a loaded rifle, because that makes me feel even better. So just in case they're not kidding, I'm not either. The crochet is just to still my fingers so they're steady on a trigger. After the threats in virtual reality, I faced an even scarier situation... Long story short, Rip van Winkle sold his truck - From our house, because since he works with the buyer, he trusted the guy. A week later, the guy says he wants his money back, "or else". Knowing Rip was still at work, the guy left and showed up here to harass me and wouldn't leave, even after I called the police.

  When a man waits for a woman half his size to get far away from the house before confronting her (knowing she's alone), and refuses to leave the property even while she's on the phone with the cops, you know you're not dealing with a stable person... Right? So this is a buyer- and seller-beware situation: Don't buy a truck for $800 thinking it won't need some work (especially after you're told that it needs work), and don't sell things from your house, even if you think you know the person. People. Are. Crazy.

crochet, plarn, granny square, finger crochet, anxiety

  Through all the stress, I managed to put that bag together. I added some of squares backwards and had to rip back a few times. In the end, I made one of my seams in the wrong direction so the bag twists a bit. Since it's just an experimental pattern, I'm not worried about fixing it. The point wasn't to make a perfect project; the point was to occupy myself with something so I could focus through fear. I still have to make handles for it, but I ran out of material. Darn, I guess I'll have to keep those scissors close by for a little longer...

  But I'm still not kidding. The crazy truck buyer - I now have a trespass warrant against him, and he won't be back if he's smart... If. However, he proved to me how insane people can get over something they believe is right. Although they're most likely hollow attempts to scare me out of amusement, I'm not taking those social media messages lightly. I'll be taking up my hook (or finger) to crochet away my anxiety, and spending some time making my property a little more secure.

Happy Crocheting! 
PS - To my friends who may be missing me on social media, you can guess that this is why. I'll only be sharing my posts from in-browser so I don't have to fully log in, which leaves me missing everything shared by others. I'm not gone from it forever - I just can't take any more threats right now.

Monday, November 14, 2016

For Knitting Only?

  There are some keywords that really matter when you're picking a yarn... If it is listed as a craft yarn, you probably don't want to make a garment with it. If it is called a novelty yarn, it will most likely be something with crazy texture that can be hard to work with. Natural and animal fibers can make beautiful garments, but some can be scratchy, and they usually require special care.

  These are all things that can make an online purchase a scary situation! Not being able to feel a yarn before I buy it often leads me to make the "safe" choice of picking a synthetic, inexpensive acrylic. If it ends up being the scratchiest yarn in the world, then you can always make a bag or some doilies with it, right? I have something that's been sitting in my stash for about a year now, being saved for a special project because it turned out to be a really nice yarn. I finally made a decision to use it, and dug it out to get started. That was when I ran into a slight problem... There's no recommended hook size on the label!

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply

  Although there are yarns that are labeled as knitting yarn, it doesn't stop you from crocheting with them. Even though this Plymouth Dreambaby 4-Ply wasn't listed as a knitting yarn, it doesn't include crochet gauge on the label. Yup, sometimes they do that to us. So, what do I do?

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply

  There are two simple options. One: Search online! I usually go right to the manufacturer's website to find yarn information. However, it didn't help me this time - There's no crochet gauge listed on their site, either! My second thought was to search for patterns using this yarn and check the gauge for them, but that only led me to a distraction. Searching "Dreambaby 4-Ply" gave me tons of results for "Dreambaby DK", which made me go do a side-check to see if this yarn was discontinued. The answer seems to be "no", although the colors available are very limited. And now I was lost looking at the pretty colors available in the other yarn.

  I get easily distracted that way, and the best thing for me to do is walk away from glowing rectangles. I went back to my yarn, which provided option two: Figure it out by the knitting gauge provided! The label tells me that the recommended needles would be a size 3.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply

  All I have to do is use this chart from the Craft Yarn Council to find the corresponding size hook. Size 3 knitting needles are 3.25 MM, which would be a size D-3 crochet hook. See how complicated these American sizes can be? I think it would be easier for hooks and needles to just be labeled by their measurements.

  However, that's a debate for another time. It was easy to find the corresponding hook size, but I had to do a little extra guesswork before I started my project. This yarn is a nylon blend, nice and soft with a good bit of stretch. Because my tension is always a little too tight, I know my work will pucker if I use the recommended hook (or needle) size. Working with a stretchy yarn makes this problem even worse. Since I want a nice lacy fabric that will get the most out of my yarn, I automatically went up two hook sizes before I began.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply

  And of course, I'm still obsessed with making everything in the Love Knot stitch at the moment, so there's the additional problem of trying to find the perfect length for the loops. I'm glad I went up with the hook size, because the closing single crochet stitches of the Love Knots are pretty tight as-is.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply

  I still don't know what the deal is with yarns that claim to be "for knitting", or why some don't have a crochet gauge available. But I do know that with a little research, it doesn't stop you from using them for crochet. It only took me a few minutes to convert that needle size so I could get to work on my next project. A quick search and the forethought to increase the size for my tension saved me from ripping out a lot of guesswork.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply

  The Craft Yarn Council also has this chart which can tell you the recommended hook size based on your yarn weight. That's great, but none of it will stop me from the perpetual problem of starting more projects! The hard part of beginning the pattern is done and over with, so this one is getting put aside as a "weekend" WIP. Like I really need another one.

Happy Crocheting! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Poppies for Remembrance

  There's something I see in my generation and younger: The importance of history and remembrance has been forgotten. When Stella of Purfylle asked me about crocheting poppies for Australia's Z-Special Unit and the crew of the HMAS HDML 1321, I asked "why poppies?", but I was soon thrown back into memories. A silk flower with a tag on it, remembered from childhood. Something, perhaps, not American? Oh, but it is. This flower has been and still is used as a memorial symbol in America, Canada, Australia, and more. However, it seems to have gone out of style around here... To be as forgotten as the history no one is interested in saving.

  For Veterans Day in America, and Remembrance Day everywhere else... In honor of the HDML 1321's crew and the Z-Special Unit, in remembrance of every fallen soldier, and with respect to a special veteran who has passed - my good friend Don, who taught me the importance of preserving history: Because without recognition of history, we would never have appreciation for the present.

Poppies, for Remembrance.

This pattern creates a flower with a diameter of 3" (7.5 cm) in worsted weight yarn. A lighter weight yarn could be used for a smaller poppy.

Skill level:
crochet, international pattern symbols, easy

Worsted weight (4) acrylic yarn (or any other yarn)
-I used scraps of Caron One Pound in Black and Caron United in Cherry
Hook size H/8 - 5.50 MM
Yarn needle

Not important. One round of 12 single crochet measures 1" (2.5 cm) across.

Yarn weight and hook size could be changed for a smaller flower.

Chains at beginning of rounds do not count as a stitch unless noted.

A standing single crochet is used once. In case you're not familiar with this method, it is noted in the pattern where you can replace this stitch. (Or, follow the example to learn!)

Pattern is worked in two pieces and attached using the tails to save yarn and time. If you do not leave sufficient ends for sewing, you can use a separate piece of yarn to sew the pieces together.

Step by step examples can be found in sections of the written pattern. The numbers in bold parenthesis (1-3) are to mark the corresponding photo, and are not a stitch count or part of the pattern.

Stitches (American terms)
Single crochet
Half-double crochet
Double crochet
Triple crochet

Standing single crochet - Yarn over the hook from back to front, keeping the tail of the yarn to the front of the hook. Insert the hook in the designated stitch, holding the tail securely against your work. Yarn over, pull up a loop (2 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through both loops.
*In the example below, you see the yarn tail below the hook in step 2. Your tail should be above the hook during this step, not as pictured. (It really requires two hands; without holding the yarn secure during this step, it will just pop off the hook.) You can see in steps 4 and 5 how the tail should be trapped inside the stitch.


Bottom piece -

Round 1:
With red (Cherry), chain 3. Make 12 double crochet in the farthest chain from the hook. Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet made.
(12 double crochet in round)

Round 2:
Chain 2 (counts as stitch!), half-double crochet in the first available stitch (1).
*(2 double crochet, 2 triple crochet) in the next stitch (2). (2 triple crochet, 2 double crochet) in the following stitch (3).

2 half-double crochet in the next stitch, slip stitch in each of the following 2 stitches (1).* Make 2 half-double crochet in the next stitch. Repeat from * to * to complete the round (2). Join with a slip stitch to the beginning chain-2 (3).

Bind off, only weave ends to outer edge of Round 1.

Top piece -

Round 1:
With black, chain 2. Make 12 single crochet in the farthest chain from the hook. Join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet made.
(12 single crochet)

Bind off and weave in all ends.

Round 2:
*Before you begin, check out the method below for adding extra detail to the center. 
With red, join with a standing single crochet in any stitch of Round 1.
(-Or, slip stitch and chain 1. The chain-1 will then count as the beginning single crochet.)
Make a half-double crochet in the same stitch.

*(2 double crochet, 2 triple crochet) in the next stitch (1). (2 triple crochet, 2 double crochet) in the following stitch (2). (Half-double crochet, single crochet) in the next stitch (3).

Chain 1, skip 2,* (single crochet, half double crochet) (1). Repeat from * to * to complete the round (2). Join with a slip stitch to the standing single crochet (or chain-1). Bind off, weave ends (3).

A quick tip for adding detail:
After making more and more of these, I discovered an out-of-the-ordinary trick that saves time. If you would like to add a little extra detail to the center and work over the tail without having to weave it in, check this out:

 After working over the tail for a few stitches, I dropped my working yarn and put the tail on a yarn needle. Beginning from the back, I brought the yarn through the stitches of round 1. I made a few flowers with the details running vertically over the stitches, but decided I liked the horizontal stitches more.

 Stitch back to the beginning stitches of round 2, and run the yarn through the bottoms of the stitches made. Continue working over the tail for the rest of round 2, and you'll have one less tail to weave in!

Line up centers of top and bottom pieces, with petals perpendicular to each other. Use tails of the bottom piece to sew through the top piece, over the bottom of the stitches of round 2. Sew over chain-1 space of round 2 (top piece) and pull tight. Weave remaining tails through pattern to secure.

 Sew over chain-1 spaces to give the petal extra depth.

Weave in remaining ends on the back side.

Why these poppies are important to me:
  I met my friend Don when I was about 20, and heard his stories almost every day after becoming his neighbor. From tales of how he set the outhouse on fire as a kid to running away at 16 to join the army, I learned his whole life history and so much more. While others rolled their eyes at the ramblings of an old man, I listened to the love he had for his fellow soldiers, his respect for his country, and his appreciation for the chance to learn about other cultures.

  Don spent some years in Japan during World War II, never seeing battle but losing many friends. He never asked for thank-you's for his service, but he did ask for respect to fallen soldiers and for their stories to be retold - so much more than what's found in textbooks. He wanted the people and their sacrifices to be remembered, so we would never forget what they lost so we could live the lives we live today.

free crochet pattern, poppy flower, Remembrance Poppies, #LestWeForget

  Also known to be a bit of a prankster, Don would have loved some of the antics mixed into the history of the Z-Special Unit. I crocheted eight poppies - Seven for each of the crew of the HMDL 1321 who lost their lives during Operation Copper, and one extra to represent every other fallen soldier. Crocheting a flower isn't much in return for a life, but it is a step towards commemorating the sacrifice that was made. Saving the HDML 1321 so it can be appreciated by future generations is an even bigger step.

 Find the free crochet pattern for the Z-Special Unit's dagger here.


Please share and use #saveHDML1321 to help!

Happy Crocheting!

A Dagger for Courage

  In Macbeth, the dagger represents deceit, treachery and greed. A dagger is often used in tattoo art to convey a broken heart or a lost loved one. From ancient Buddhism to modern Wicca, the dagger is for rituals and other ceremonial purposes. This small, easy-to-conceal blade has been used throughout history to symbolize many things, but for the military, it is a symbol of honor. Representing stealth, intelligence, precision and more, the dagger can be found on many military insignia.

  One emblem was brought to my attention by Stella of Purfylle, and I've become obsessed with learning about this piece of Australian (and world) history. Z-Special Unit was a joint Allied special forces unit that carried out 81 missions in the South West Pacific during World War II. Their last - Operation Copper - was carried out by a crew of eight commandos... And only one survived. 

  Sapper Mick Dennis fought through Japanese patrols, swam over three kilometers under pursuit, and after nine days finally met up with Australian troops to pass on information that was critical to the war. It's a story of bravery that makes you wonder: Where's the movie? Well, I can't make the movie it deserves, but I can crochet. So for Sapper Mick Dennis and the heroic Z-Special Commandos: A Dagger, for Courage. 

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

This is no small applique! I couldn't make a tiny piece to commemorate the courageous acts of the Z-Special Unit. This dagger measures 12" (30 cm) from hilt to tip of blade. Easy instructions are given to make a narrower hilt.

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

Skill level:
International crochet pattern symbol, easy

Worsted weight (4) yarn
-I used some leftover Caron One pound, only in Black. The hilt and blade are made separately, so you can easily make them in two colors. A few yards are needed for both pieces.
Crochet hook size H/8 - 5.50 MM
(Size H in honor of the HDML 1321!)
Yarn needle

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

Not important
-Measuring across the hilt, I have 6 single crochet in 2" (5 cm).

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

The foundation single crochet stitch can be replaced with a beginning chain and single crochet stitches, and working into the bottom loops of the beginning chain instead of foundation stitches. This will cause the pattern to have a bit of texture across the hilt. 

Chain-1 at beginning of row counts as a single crochet unless stated.

Single numbers in bold parenthesis (1-4) correspond with photos for help. They are not a stitch count or any part of the pattern.

Stitches (American terms):
Single crochet
Slip stitch

Single crochet 2 together - Insert hook, yarn over, pull up loop (2 loops on hook). Insert hook in next stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through all 3 loops.


Make 20 foundation single crochet (or chain 20, and work single crochet across).

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321
 *Some daggers don't have a wide hilt! For a narrower hilt, you could make fewer stitches here.

First side, to top of hilt:
Chain 1 (does not count as a stitch), turn. Make 2 single crochet in the first available stitch (1). Make 1 single crochet in each of the next 10 stitches (2). Working in rows: Chain 1, turn, make 1 single crochet in each of the next 2 single crochet (3). I made a total of 9 rows; you may want to make more or less. End on an odd number, so the last row ends on the side of the hilt that has not yet been worked. For last row of hilt: Chain 1, turn, make 2 single crochet in the first available stitch. (Single crochet, chain 2, single crochet) in the next stitch, and make 2 single crochet in the last (4).

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

The rest of the hilt:
(Worked in the round) Slip stitch in each side-post space back to first row of single crochet (1). Make 1 single crochet in each remaining stitch of the foundation row (2). (2 single crochet, chain 2, 2 single crochet) in the last stitch (3). Working around: Make 1 single crochet in the bottom of each foundation stitch (4).

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

In the last/first stitch (where you began with 2 single crochet), make 2 single crochet. Chain 2, and join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet. Bind off and weave in the ends.

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321


Find the placement of the blade by the stitches that line up with the hilt. Beginning one stitch to the right of the hilt, join yarn with a slip stitch. Chain 1. 

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

Work single crochet stitches to width of blade (I made 5).
free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

(Chain 1, turn, work 1 single crochet in each stitch) for each row until you want the blade to reduce (1). (I worked 6 rows) Chain 1, turn, single crochet 2 together. Continue working even for the same number of rows, and reduce again (2). And repeat (3) until there are only two stitches left in a row. Work for the same number of rows. To finish, chain 2, turn, and slip stitch in the last stitch (4). Bind off and weave in ends.

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

*Some twisting at the tip of the blade was a problem for me until I dampened and blocked the piece. If you will be sewing it to something, this won't be needed.

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321

  I have to say that the lack of a movie about Operation Copper doesn't bother me; I don't watch them anyways. However, there is a book that I can't wait to read. Although I really wanted to be old-fashioned (nerdy) and hold a paper copy of Guns of Muschu, I decided to make the less-expensive purchase of an e-book so I could put my money to better use... The patrol boat that was used in Operation Copper has been sailing the seas all these years, but now she needs our help! After efforts to restore the HDML 1321 to her original condition, the ship sank at her moorings on October 19, 2016.

  I first learned of the HDML's plight through the Purfylle blog. Through a roller coaster ride of uncertainty, Stella has kept me updated on the situation. At first it looked like harbor authorities weren't aware of who the "MV Rushcutter" really was, and the historical HDML 1321 was destined to be scrapped. But now, there is hope! As I write this post, efforts are being made to raise the vessel from the harbor floor. Plans are in place to restore her to wartime condition and make her museum-worthy, but the ship's owners now face bankruptcy. It is a saddening tale as it is, but reading about Ms. Geddes' loss of hope is heartbreaking. 

  Seven men lost their lives on that mission. The chance to preserve their memory is fading away, but it hasn't disappeared yet. I know many of you, like me, don't have much to spare. But all it takes is the cost of your next 400-calorie pumpkin spice latte; that skein of yarn you don't really need because you already have a giant stash; that extra $10 that could have went into your new-boot fund... Please, just one time, instead of spending that cash on something that will disappear soon in the future, put it towards part of saving the past.  

free crochet pattern, applique, dagger, HDML 1321


Happy Crocheting!