Friday, November 4, 2016

Simple Love Knot Hand Warmers

  How about a pattern in the form of a tutorial? I made some cute little hand warmers to go along with a scarf I created, but I found it difficult to actually write a pattern for them... But not because it was too hard to do! As I whipped up variations to use up scrap yarn, I realized that it's an easy-to-change design that doesn't need to follow gauge or use a specific yarn weight. All you need to do is make sure they fit, and make them as long as you want!


  The simple top-down design was inspired by slave bracelets (or you might know them as hand-flowers). Although the open palm of the "glove" doesn't offer much warmth in cold weather, these are great for keeping the chill at bay while typing or texting. And the open mesh of the Love Knot stitch gives the fabric a little stretch, so it's easy to make a few pairs of "one-size-fits-all" for quick gifts.


free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot


  The worsted weight yarn I used makes warm, bulky gloves, but a lighter weight would create a more delicate accessory. Just follow the instructions, no matter what material you're using. I'll explain in the tutorial how to adjust for size as needed, and simple ways you can customize your own pair! You'll see different examples of the variations I've made and how they fit, so you can pick and choose your own methods.


free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot



Ready? We're going straight into the tutorial without the usual form of a pattern! You pick the yarn weight and hook size. 

Don't know where to start? Try your yarn manufacturer's recommended hook size, usually listed on the label with gauge. 
(I'm using a combination of Caron One Pound, Caron United, and Red Heart Super Saver, along with hook sizes H/8- 5.50 MM & J/10- 6 MM.) 

New to the Love Knot stitch? You can learn it right here, right now. If you are experienced in the stitch, then I'm sure you'll find this project easy. But for beginners, this may be a bit of a challenge. No matter what your skill level, I encourage you to have a look over the tutorial before you begin.

Let's go!


free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Beginning Love Knot (Disregard if using alternate beginning)
Step 1: Chain 2.
Step 2: Insert hook in the farthest chain from the hook.
Step 3: Make a single crochet (American terms)



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Love Knot (Needed throughout pattern)
Step 1: Pull up a long loop to desired height. (Mine are a little over 1/2" / closer to 1.5 cm)
Step 2: Hold the long loop secure! Yarn over and pull a loop through.
Step 3: Insert hook in the bottom bar (strand to the left) of the long loop.
Step 4: Make a single crochet.



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Love Knot beginning
Step 1: Make desired number of Love Knot stitches to go around middle finger.*
Step 2: Insert hook in the farthest single crochet stitch from the hook.
Step 3: Slip stitch to close.
(*) In worsted weight yarn with a size J/10 - 6 MM, my pattern requires 3 Love Knots.



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot, long single crochet
Long single crochet/Beginning the back of the hand
First, make 2 Love Knots (first stitch counts as long single crochet; second counts as horizontal stitch of mesh). Now, to make the long single crochet to close the mesh:
Step 1: Insert hook in loop made by joining. Yarn over and pull up a long loop.
Step 2: Holding long loop secure, yarn over and pull through the loop. (2 loops on hook)
Step 3: Yarn over and pull through both loops to complete the single crochet.



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Choosing fit
Top/ "wide" beginning: Covers most of the back of the hand, joining at the base of the wrist.
Bottom/ "extra wide" beginning: Covers more of the back of the hand, and joins above the wrist. The fabric can be stretched around the thumb... If your mesh spaces are wide enough to fit a thumb in! This won't work as a thumb hole on more delicate designs, and honestly, it isn't very comfortable. I only took the photo that way to show that the "extra wide" design joins above the wrist.



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Choose your beginning
Example 1: "Delicate", two methods - Instead of beginning with Love Knot stitches for the finger hole, begin with chain stitches and join into a loop. (I made 10.)
Can be used with Love Knot beginning - Begin with only one mesh* in the beginning loop.
Example 2: "Wide" -  With either beginning loop, make 2 mesh inside loop.
Example 3: "Extra wide" - With either beginning loop, make 3 mesh inside loop.
(*) Mesh = Love Knot, long single crochet. Beginning mesh of row is made with 2 Love Knots, then one long single crochet. The first Love Knot made counts as the first long single crochet of the row. 



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Increasing
To begin a new row, make 2 Love Knots and turn.
For "delicate" beginning: Make 2 or 3 mesh inside the space of the mesh below.
For "wide" and "extra wide" beginnings (and all following rows, regardless of beginning): Make 1 mesh inside the first available mesh, and one mesh inside each following mesh. Make 1 more mesh in the same space as the last.
I made 3 mesh total to begin both the "delicate" and "wide" designs. For "extra wide" (not pictured), you will have 4 mesh in this row.



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Working rows
The pattern stays the same: Make 2 Love Knots to begin the row; turn. Make 1 mesh inside the first available mesh, and one mesh inside each following mesh. Make 1 more mesh in the same space as the last. The number of mesh will increase by one with each row. Continue working rows until the pattern can be joined around the widest part of your wrist/hand, below the thumb.



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Joining
Bring the opposite side (beginning of row) around. Slip stitch in the top of the first Love Knot in the row.



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Increase again, or not?
From here, the pattern will be worked in rounds. The beginning and end of this first round is critical for fit. If you would like the wrist to flare out some (looks great on shorter gloves), then you can make the first 2 Love Knots right now (as shown). Work the round as you did the rows before, with the last long single crochet made in the mesh before the first 2 Love Knots.
See next step for "no increase" beginning/how to begin and end all following rounds.  



free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Beginning and ending the rounds
If you want a form-fitting glove, do not increase on the first round. Slip stitch into the first available mesh space before making the first 2 Love Knots of the round (as shown here in step 2).
Step 1: Ending the round - Instead of finishing the last mesh of the round with a Love Knot and joining with a slip stitch, make a long single crochet in the first Love Knot of the round.
Step 2: That long single crochet puts you close to the middle of the mesh to start, but it can cause a jog if you begin from there. Slip stitch inside the long single crochet joining space before beginning the round.
Step 3: Make 2 Love Knots to begin; make a long single crochet in the next mesh space.
*You can also switch to a square mesh by beginning with 2 Love Knots from the join, and working all long single crochet stitches into the long single crochet below it. (See the black pair of gloves in the display photos)


Work how ever many rounds you need to reach the length of glove you want!


free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot



 Choices, choices, choices!
free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Border
I make each pair of these a little differently! Personally, I prefer them without a border. The black pair in the displays has a border of solid single crochet stitches, and the example above was finished with a (chain 3, slip stitch) border. They look lovely with a shell stitch border, but my kid took that pair already (sorry, no pics). If you choose to work a border to finish, you'll need to figure how many stitches you can work into a mesh. The endless combinations of yarn weights, hook sizes, stitch heights and border options makes it difficult for me to provide instructions. Play and have fun, or bind off with no border! (See the green pair in displays)

 

free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot
Binding off and weaving in ends
Long, lacy stitches make it difficult to weave in ends, right? Wrong! You may want to use some matching sewing thread to secure your ends, but you don't have to. On the long runs of yarn inside stitches, simply split the ply of the yarn as you would for a Russian Join, and weave your ends through the yarn itself.



I can't stop trying different variations! I love them all!

free crochet pattern, fingerless gloves, texting gloves, hand warmers, tutorial, Love Knot, Solomon's Knot

Can you believe how fast these go together with worsted weight yarn? And a short pair doesn't take much material, so this is a great scrap-busting pattern! I started whipping up a ton of them to sell, but my kid already requisitioned half the pairs I made. I know I'm not giving up the pair I made to go with my scarf. So I guess this pattern has been Mom-tested, teen-approved. ;)


Use variegated yarn for an interesting effect, add beads for some sparkle, or attach anything from appliques to buttons... Not only does the pattern have a bunch of variations you could use, there's even more endless ways you could customize them! I hope I've made the instructions clear enough for you to have fun playing with designs and creating your own.

Happy Crocheting!
  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Fartsy

  Recently I heard the term "artsy-fartsy" used... About me. Um... Is that supposed to be a compliment or an insult? I'm not saying that I was insulted, but I'm wondering if I should be. After all, the phrase has the word "fart" in it, and that makes me think maybe people that use it think crafters just "fart" around at what they do... Or the person who used the term thinks my work stinks!


  Anyway, I'll get past the toilet humor and back to overthinking everything... I'm working on a tutorial/pattern. Trying to work on it, but not getting very far with little sleep (still up at 4am), and still thinking about this phrase. I decided that even if it was meant as an insult, I'm taking it as a compliment. As I'm editing through what seems like thousands of photos, I came across the perfect examples of what "artsy-fartsy" means to me:


1. You pay attention to detail. 

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, pretty things

  Whether that is something you put into your work or just a detail you see in something, you're more likely to see what "glitters". And if it doesn't glitter, then you'll make it glitter if you want it to.

  Okay, so maybe crafters do "fart" around a bit sometimes! The only reason I had for taking that photo was because I liked the way the light was shining through the cracked glass beads, and the burgundy yarn offered some beautiful contrasts of light and shadows. It was a time waster, but looking at it made me happy. And that's all that matters!


2. You know how to improvise.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, running out of yarn, making stitch marker

  So you ran out of material? Or you didn't have what you needed to begin with? You'll find a way to make it, stretch it, fudge it, think it out, or frog it back.

  Working on a scrap-busting project, I wasn't sure how far I could work with the yarn I had left. I dropped the work from the center-pull side of this skein, and began working the second piece from the outer end of the yarn. Knowing I'd need a locking marker to keep my active stitch on the first piece from pulling out, I whipped up a stitch marker with some beads and jewelry-making supplies. 


3. You appreciate creation.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, flower pics

  You know what goes into things that have been "made". Maybe it's the blood, sweat, and tears that went into a family heirloom, or perhaps it's just how long it takes for nature to turn a seed into a bloom. You know that making things takes time. And you appreciate the time that's been put into them, whether it was made by you, something you can't really see, or someone you never knew.

  I didn't take a walk in the garden for that lovely photo; it's from an arrangement that Rip van Winkle bought. I can't help but take pictures of cut flowers when I receive them, because I know they won't last long. Maybe I'm horribly sentimental, but I always get a little sad when flowers die. I'd rather have a living plant, so I can see the creation of blooms happening again and again.


4. You will figure it out.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, making a beaded stitch marker

  You might not have made or done that before, but you'll find a way! If you can't figure out how on your own, then you'll go searching online tutorials and Pinterest boards until you find the perfect instructions or inspiration.

  I knew I wanted to make a cute dangling stitch marker, and I had the perfect beads in mind (as well as on hand). Why cute and sparkly? Because I had an idea for a traveling stitch marker that I could clip on a chain or bracelet like a charm when not in use. (I lose my paperclips and scrap yarn pieces in bags.) But... How to make it? I remembered a tutorial from EyeLoveKnots for reversible earrings, and thought the earring charm was close to the idea I had. While I was there, I searched out another tutorial for how to make dangle earrings, and combined the methods from both to create my charm-marker.


 5. You (usually) know when to stop.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, fingerless glove fail

  You had that one big, awesome idea that would be... Well, awesome. If only worked! Perhaps you'll rethink it, try again, and succeed. Or maybe you don't come to that conclusion until many failed attempts and f-words... You can accept it when you know something you tried will never work, and you know not to go that direction again. You can take a failed attempt at creation as a learning experience and just walk away.

  I tried to adapt a thumb-less pattern into a design with thumbs... And failed. The symmetrical fingerless pattern was easy to change one way to create a thumb hole. However, no matter how many times I tried to work out a thumb on the other glove, I couldn't work it into the design. It would be so much easier to break the yarn and join again to make thumbs. Why am I bothering to fight with this? Oh well, lesson learned. At least I got to see how pretty my new sparkly stitch marker looks on that bright green yarn!


  In my overthinking process, I came to the conclusion that being called "artsy-fartsy" isn't so bad. The term used to conjure up images of socialites standing around an art museum while sniffing wine, or half-naked hippies dancing with streamers. Of course, if you happen to be one of those people: 1) I'm half joking and mean no offense by calling you out; and 2) You're artsy fartsy, too! 


  It's just a phrase that means you enjoy doing something that someone else doesn't understand. Whatever that thing is, you see the beauty in it; the fun in it; a purpose in it. "Artsy-fartsy" might not be a pretty way to describe doing what you love, but there's elegance behind the process of making and doing. I won't be offended by the term. Whether you're a passionate poet, crazy crocheter, or race-fan redneck, I bet there's creation behind that one thing that you love most. We are the ones who celebrate creation and make it happen. Be proud to be artsy-fartsy.


Happy Creating!

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.

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