Saturday, February 28, 2015

Free Pattern: Scallop Seashell Washcloths


  Use these washcloths to brighten your decor and inspire thoughts of a warm summer day on the beach. A few ridges of raised post stitches worked in super-soft cotton make the perfect combination of soft and scrubby. They're also durable enough to use for dishcloths, but may be too pretty to use in the kitchen! The large spaces at the top of the pattern make the perfect space to hang them by, or use a little extra yarn to attach a hanging chain. One 2 oz (56.7 g) ball will make two washcloths, with enough yarn leftover to make the matching Scallop Seashell Soap Saver.



  You can use your own choice of color to match your decor. I used this color because it reminds me of the pastel yellow, pink, and aqua decor that is often seen around the coast in my home state. Since moving inland, these are a nice reminder of days picking up calico scallop shells with the sand between my toes.






  Get ready for some post stitch practice with this pattern - Alternating front and back post double crochet stitches create texture on only one side of the project.








Skill level:









Materials:
Worsted weight (4) cotton yarn
-Peaches and Creme Pastel Delight used
Crochet hook size I/9 - 5.50MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook or yarn needle to weave in ends





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







Notes:
Chain at beginning of rows counts as stitch.

Each post stitch counts as a double crochet in the stitch count at the end of the row.

Tutorials are now available! Click here to start with Part One







Stitches and abbreviations:

Front post double crochet (fpdc)
Back post double crochet (bpdc)
Single crochet three together (sc3tog)

Begin/beginning (beg)
Skip (sk)
Space (sp)



Directions:


For main body, begin with a magic circle.


Row 1:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 5 dc in ring. (6 dc)


Row 2:
Chain 3, turn. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st) 3 times. Fpdc, 1 dc in last st. (9 dc)


Row 3:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. (Bpdc, 1 dc) 4 times. 1 dc in the same st. (11 dc)


Row 4:
Ch 3, turn. 1 dc in the next st. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st, 1 dc in the next st) 3 times. Fpdc, 2 dc in the last st. (14 dc)


Row 5:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in the next st. (Bpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 2 dc) 4 times. 1 dc in the same st. (16 dc)


Row 6:
Ch 3, turn, (1 dc in each of the next 2 dc. Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st) 3 times. Fpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc. (19 dc)


Row 7:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 2 dc. (Bpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc) 4 times. 1 dc in the same st. (21 dc)


Row 8:
Ch 3, turn. 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st, 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc) 3 times. Fpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 4 dc. (24 dc)


Row 9:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc. (Bpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 4 dc) 4 times, 1 dc in the last st. (26 dc)


Row 10:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. Sc3tog. (Hdc, fpdc, hdc, 1 dc in each of the next 2 dc) 3 times. Hdc, fpdc, hdc, sc3tog, 1 sc in the last st.


Bind off, weave in the ends before working border.





For border:


With the right side facing, join with a sl st in the side post-space of Row 2.
(With the last row worked at the top, this space will be on the left if you're right-handed, and on the right for lefties.)


Round 1:
Click here for tutorial
Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc, ch-2), 1 dc in the same sp. 2 dc in the next sp. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st) 3 times. Fpdc. 2 dc in the next side post-sp, (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) in the next. Ch 2, sc3tog beg in the same sp, ch 1. 2 hdc in the same as last. (Ch 2, 2 dc in the next post-sp) 5 times. Ch 2, 2 dc in the next st. *Ch 2, fpdc in next fpdc, ch 2, sk 1, 2 dc. Ch 2, fpdc in the next available fpdc. Ch 2*, sk 1, (2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr) in the following dc. Repeat from * to *. Skip 2, 2 dc in the last sc. (Ch 2, 2 dc in the next post-sp) 5 times. Ch 2, 2 hdc in next, ch 1, sc3tog beg in same as last. Ch 2, join with a sl st to beg ch-3.


Round 2: Edit - There was a missing ( )! Sorry! It's now fixed.
Ch 1, sc in ch-2 corner sp. Ch 3, 2 sc in the same sp. 1 sc in each of the next 13 dc. (2 sc, ch 3, 2 sc) in ch-2 corner sp. Sc3tog beg in dc, ending in sc3tog of previous round.  1 sc in ch-1 sp. (2 sc in the next post-sp) 5 times. (2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in corner ch-2 sp. (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc) in each of the next 9 ch-2 sps, again in the corner ch-2 sp. (2 sc in the next post-sp) 5 times. 1 sc in ch-1 sp, sc3tog beg in the same, endng in the ch-2 sp. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.


Bind off, weave in ends.






  *Sorry to all of those who had trouble with those sc3tog stitches! Hopefully you can find the help you need in the new tutorials. Part one will walk you through beginning the body of the pattern, all the way through part six to finish it - Or find links in each tutorial to skip to the section you need. 

Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist







Here are my picks of the week:

Cascade Baby Alpaca Lace Paints:

Image from alpacadirect.com

  This 100% Alpaca yarn has made it to the top of my list, and I don't even know what I want to make with it, yet! You get 437 yards in a 50 gram skein. For the price, you get a decent amount of yardage; it's not terribly expensive like many alpaca yarns can be. It looks so soft, it would be versatile to design with, and this color is dreamy! It make me think of being under the sea and in the sky at the same time...I have a bad habit of falling in love with yarn just because of the color!




And while we're at it -
Anything from Alpaca Direct:


  The link will take you to my favorite page - The one sorted by discount! I would love to tell you to take the time to also check out everything else, but it might take forever; this website has so much to offer that you could get lost looking at yarn and yarn-related products for days! I got distracted there for two hours (!) and still never made it though the Cascade yarn alone. Bookmark it for later and set a timer while viewing, or your friends and family may find you days later, hypnotized and still drooling over all the yummy yarn!




Yarn Ball Winder:

Image from joann.com

  I want this. I need this! I think I'm going to buy it! I realized that I need a little help after a weekend (as in: A whole weekend) of reorganizing the yarn stash...Loose skein after loose skein made up my mind for me. I will buy this! 

  I'm nervous about the purchase, though. I've really wanted an electric yarn ball winder, but I'm good at settling for "good enough". With the help of a coupon (like the one I noticed at joann.com), I can get this hand-operated model, and still have a little budget left over! That makes me feel better, because I did read a few negative reviews about this product. However, I read so many more positive reviews, many of them claiming to have owned this product for decades with no problem!

  But, that was decades ago. I hate to bring it up, but let's be honest: How often nowadays do you think "They just don't make things like they used to"? Let's hope the new models live up to the old standards!

  Also, something I noticed in the comments section when you follow the link for the winder - The negative reviews mostly claimed that the yarn would tangle inside the machine. A few experienced users commented back with tips and suggestions for how to fix/avoid the problem, which should give me a head start when I get mine! 

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how well it works...And, you know, give it a review! 


Happy Crocheting!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Free Pattern: 22° Sun Halo Earrings






  Have you ever looked up in the sky to see a 22° halo around the Sun? They are the rings of light that form when the light from the Sun refracts through the ice crystals in a cloud. How cool is that? Although these halos can also be seen around the moon, this pattern was designed to specifically reflect the warmth of the Sun. With temperatures colder than cold just about everywhere, who wants to be reminded of that frozen rock?


  No disrespect meant to the moon, of course...It will get its own pattern, too. I'm just tired of being cold! I live in Florida; Why is there ice outside? Not frost - ICE! A big sheet of it, all over my car!


  I know, those of you who are up to your butts in snow and facing single digit and below temps are telling me to get over it...But I consider myself lucky to live where it doesn't snow; I appreciate living where temperatures stay above freezing, and I have no idea how you guys survive! "Ice on the car" is to me as "a blizzard" is to you. I can't drive anywhere because I don't own an ice scraper. I don't own an ice scraper because I live where there IS NO ICE!


  So, I'm doing what comes naturally: Avoid it. Don't go anywhere. Crochet a Sun halo. Imagine that it's a warm summer day. Heat waves dance in the distance. You're sitting on the beach, the hot sand sifting between your toes. As you stretch out along a big, fluffy beach towel, feeling the heat of the sand radiating through your body, you turn your face to the sky. Thin, wispy clouds brush the horizon, swept along by the balmy summer breeze. Your eyes follow a flock of seagulls towards the Sun, and you notice a glimmering ring surrounding the fiery ball.





  Even though these mini versions of the Sun don't emit any warmth, they'll be a hot accessory for your spring and summer wardrobe! With a finished diameter of 1" (2.5 cm), they're big enough to make a statement, but won't weigh your ears down at under a gram a piece.




Skill level:






Materials:
Size 10 cotton crochet thread
-I used Aunt Lydia's in Golden Yellow
Steel crochet hook size 8/1.50 MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Stitch markers (optional)
Smaller hook to weave in ends
Jewelry findings
-1 jump ring and 1 fish hook for each earring
Fabric starch/stiffener or craft glue




Gauge:
Pattern worked to Round 2 will measure 5/8" (1.5 cm).




Notes:
When working over rounds, pull up the first loop of the stitch to the top of the previous row. Do not work tightly around the stitch.

Beginners and those who have trouble seeing thread stitches may wish to use stitch markers. Mark the beginning of rounds and the seventh stitch of round 2.

Chain-1 at beginning of rounds counts as one single crochet.

Pictures will help you after Round 2.




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

Beginning (beg)
Skip (sk)
Space (sp)




Directions:

Leave a beginning tail (at least 6"/15 cm) long enough to work over twice.

Round 1:
Begin with a slip knot on the hook, chain 8, join into a ring with a sl st in farthest ch from hook. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc). Working over tail thread: Make 11 sc in ring. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (12 sc)

Round 2:
Ch 1, turn. Make 13 sc in ring, over the stitches of Round 1 and the tail. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (14 sc)

Round 3:
Ch 10 (counts as 1 sc, ch-9), turn.



Sk 6, make 1 sc in 7th st.
The following picture shows the chain flattened out:



When you work the pattern, it should look like this because of the short chain:




Ch 9, join with a sl st to beg ch-1.



Flip the chain to the back of the work:



Round 4:
Ch 1, turn. 12 sc in the first available ch-9 sp. 1 sc in next sc.



12 sc in next ch-9 sp. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.



Bind off with enough tail to travel the outer circle, plus a little more to secure the end.



Work the tail thread completely around the outer circle under the stitches. Follow the stitches to securely weave in ends.





This three-dimensional motif will need to be blocked and hardened to keep its shape. I tried to hang the first batch I made, but the weight of the stiffener pulled them out of shape. If you use spray starch, you may be able to skip the next steps. Personally, I have an issue with spray starch not hardening, staying sticky, and/or just making a big mess. I think I use too much. And it smells funny. For jewelry motifs, I prefer plain ol' craft glue (2 parts) mixed with water (1 part). But like I said, that adds weight. Here's how I finally got it to work:

Use four square-sided objects to block the motifs between. I'm using some boxes of screws I had on hand; you can use anything as long as it has four square sides and some weight to it. If using an empty box, place something inside to give it weight. Whatever your objects may be, let's refer to them as "blocks" from here on:

Insert a rag or some paper towels between two of the blocks. Leave enough material overlapping the tops of the blocks to cover the edges of the motifs.



Once you've treated the motifs with hardener, insert the smaller center rings of the motifs in the crack between the blocks. Straighten the outer circles.



If your material is long enough, you can fold it over for the next steps. Mine smashed my motifs down when I covered them, so I got a second piece. A cloth rag would fold easier (but mine leave ugly lint on my awesome crochet!). Place the material against the side of the center circle; place the block against it next.



Make sure you're not squishing your tops, and place the fourth block against the other side.



I gave the motifs 5 minutes to dry this way, and removed them before the paper towels got glued to them. They held their shape from there. Due to my issues with fabric starch, sorry, but you're on your own if you use it. The stuff only turns into a disaster for me, so I'm the one who needs directions, there!




Once dry, add your jump rings and fish hooks.



Experiment with the placement to customize your own! The front pair you see in the previous picture has each jump ring inserted under the vertical loops on the center single crochet, so the flat side of the outer ring faces out. The pair in the back have their jump rings inserted in the back loop of the center single crochet, so the flat side of the center motif peaks out from behind the outer ring. You could add yours anywhere to the side of the outer circle so the center sits horizontally or diagonally. Or attach to the center circle, so the outer ring sits horizontally.

Use different thread colors or add beads to put your own "spin" on the Sun!

Happy Crocheting!

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