Always keep your crochet patterns…

For some unexplained reasons this post was deleted so I am reposting alone with my new one this morning….

My first project completed in 2019 was Dazzleaire V-Stitch Throw, even though I started it last year.  Wow!  That seems longer than a few weeks when I say it that way.  The  best part for me ? It is completely made from yarn that was in my stash.  

I have had the pattern for a really long time, just sitting in my notebook of afghan patterns waiting to catch my eye. I also had the wonderful combinations of yarn and a crochet hook that turned it into a beautiful afghan.  The first afghan, by the way, that I will put aside for the upcoming Bazaar in July. 

I know this is things you already do, but I would like to share that I always tell my students that they should keep all the patterns that they come across, even if it is not something they think they will ever do.  There are several reasons I encourage them to do this.

Note:  I am including a link here on how I organized and keep my patterns for easy access.  Because if we are honest, we will not use anything we cannot not find. (Organizing Crochet Patterns)

The first reason you should keep patterns is that our skills level are always changing.  Crocheting, as with any thing we do in life,  the more you work it -the better you become at it.  As your skill improves and your confidence rises so will your taste in patterns change.  The patterns and stitches you once thought beyond your reach will now become more attainable.

Secondly, Just because it is not your taste, does not mean it would not be the perfect item as a gift for a friend.  We all have friends whose tastes are the complete opposite of ours. 

And lastly, for inspiration.  We will all come to a day when we will want to crochet a new project, but don’t know what.  This is when looking through patterns can be just the thing to get our juices stirring and the desire going to make us run to the nearest yarn store.

I am including the afghan pattern since it was on the back of a yarn label (and the fact that I also found it as a free copy already on the internet)  in hopes that it will inspire you to also to pick up your hook and a skein of yarn and start your first project for the new year.

Would love to have you share about your first projects that you have already started.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Know the Unwritten Rules in Crocheting…

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I’ve been teaching crocheting for over twenty years, ranging in age from a very motivated seven year girl to a my oldest student who was 91.  They all eventually learn to read patterns and become familiar with the stitches, but one of the things that seems to confuse my students are the unwritten rules in crocheting.  The rules that all pattern writers just assume that you are aware.  So this is written with the intention that it can be printed out and used for reference to all the new crocheter’s out there.  

Rule 1:  Turning Chains 

Turning chains are used to bring the work to the same height as the stitches.  They are made by a chain stitch with the size depending on the stitch.  

 sl = 0 ch; sc=1 ch; hdc=2 ch; dc=3 ch; tr=4ch; dtr=5ch; ttr=6ch and so forth.  I am including a link for a more detailed post on this rule. (Tips about Turning Chains)

Rule 2: The first stitch does not always count as a stitch.

Unless the directions state otherwise, certain stitches do not count the turning chain as a stitch.  The sl, sc, and hdc the turning chain does not count when you are counting these 3 stitches.  For all other stitches, the turning chain counts at the first stitch, which means when you are crocheting the first stitch you are actually starting in the second stitch.

Rule 3:  When you are crocheting the loop that is on your hook, it  will never count as a stitch.

Rule 4:  Working a stitch does not always mean you work through both loops.  

Unless otherwise told always work both loops.  However, if it says any of the following:  

The front loop:  It is when you work the loop that is on the front of your work, or the one closest to you.

The back loop:  It is the one toward the back of your work, or the loop that is furthest from you.

The post:  is the long part of the stitch which some refer to the the stem or the post of the stitch.  You can either work a front or back crochet.

In-between stitches:   This is when you work in-between the stitches of the row below.

For those of you who have been crocheting any length of time, these are rules I am sure you have already memorized.  However, for those of you who have just started your journey I hope this helps to clarify some things for you.

I am planning on printing a copy of this to hand out to my future students and give it to them with the crocheting abbreviation handout.

Until next time keep those hooks flying.

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas- Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15

 

 

 

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I love Yarn Day

 

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Today is National I LOVE YARN day!

Today is the day to look for lots of giveaways and sales concerning yarn, all done in order to help us celebrate our love for yarn. If its possible check out the Facebook page I LOVE YARN DAY!

As for me I will be celebrating in two ways today. First, by making sure I crochet today using one of my favorite yarns in a project. I am going to crochet a doily for my mother ’s birthday.

Secondly, I would like to share the reasons I shop for yarn as compared to the same way some women shop for shoes. In my early 20’s I was experiencing stress attacks which required some medical help. Not wanting to be on medication with two small children in the house, a very wise doctor suggested I find a hobby. He claimed that people who do not how to relax are more prone to stress related aliments. To make a long story short I started crocheting, and within a few months my stress attacks were a thing of the past.

Crocheting has become so entangled (ha-ha) in my life that I am now teaching crocheting at our local college. In addition to this blog, I have also recently started a crocheting club to help others along their joinery in the wonderful world of crocheting. It still amazes me even after all these years how one little string of yarn can because something that is so beautiful. Often the useful things that I and my friends enjoy everyday in our lives.
Taken from The Craft Yarn Council web page about I Love Yarn day:

LOVE YARN DAY is a collaborative effort of the Craft Yarn Council, a non-profit made up of the leading yarn companies, accessory manufacturers, publishers and consultants in the yarn industry including: Annie’s Publishing; Boye/Simplicity Creative Group; Clover Needlecraft; Creative Partners; Creativebug; Interweave Press/FW; Leisure Arts; Lion Brand Yarn; Prime Publishing; Red Heart Yarns; Spinrite; TNNA and TMA Yarns. For more than 30 years the Council has sponsored a wide range of promotional and educational programs, including its highly acclaimed Certified Instructors Program, Discover Knit and Crochet classes and its popular and ever-growing annual I LOVE YARN DAY event.
So as you plan out your day today, please grab a skein of your favorite yarn or go and add to your stash by taking advantage of the many sales going on in the name of I Love Yarn day. Would love to hear from you the stories of why you love yarn.

Until next time keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club – Kit 65 – Christmas Mats

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I thought I would continue the Christmas theme by reviewing this year’s kit for the Holiday season. This year’s Christmas kit , and my most recent one is Christmas Mats. I really thought this was the perfect kit for me this year, seeing that my theme this year was the year of The Doilies. For those of you who did not see my earlier post, I have decided this year to crochet doilies for everyone”s birthday. So already being in the mood for doilies I started working on this kit very quickly.

The pattern is written in an intermediate level and has enough yarn to crochet two mats. As with all of Annie’s kit the patterns are written for both crocheting or knitting, I opted for the crochet.

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The kit came with about 120 yards of red, green and cream color worst weight (4) yarn. To complete the mats I only needed my size J hook and a tapestry needle.

The Christmas mats crochet quickly into a beautiful center shell stitch, one focusing on the green and the second in the red. I found these mats both enjoyable and relaxing as the pattern was very well written and I had no trouble following the designers instructions.

All of this being said I am rating this kit a 9, losing just the one point again for the yarn being in unmarked labels. Which means no matter how much I liked the yarn, I can never find it for any future projects.

The Christmas mats are not only my first holiday project of the year, they are also my first doilies I have placed in my Bazaar bin for next July. Are any of you beginning to think of the upcoming Christmas Holiday? If yes, please share your project plans – who know you might help inspire someone for what they would like to do this year.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club – Kit 55 – Christmas Ornaments

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Yes, I am still trying to catch up on some of my older reviews, at the same time keeping up with my new ones and still trying to post other subject topics. However with Christmas almost upon us I thought today would be a good time to post the review on Christmas ornaments.

For those of you that are new to my blog, back some time ago, when my daughter announced that she and her family were moving to Africa in a few months.  I decided to put every thing aside and focus on spending some quality time with her and my grandchildren. So this is the kit I actually received and crocheted a year ago, So please forgive me for the late review.

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The kit arrived in the mail containing four small skeins of yarn; one red, green, black, tan and orange all in light worsted weight yarn. a small bag of polyester fiberfill, which was to be stuffing and filling for the small projects it also came with.
In order to crochet this kit and see it through to the end I had to have a few more tools that were necessary than these kits usually required.

Size 7 crochet hook
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle
White craft glue: optional
Straight pins: optional
Cardboard: optional
Plastic wrap: optional
Ornament hangers or some way to hang them on the tree

At my daughter’s suggestion I decided to tackle crocheting animals last year. This kit was a really nice break as I soon realized that crocheting animals were not one of my strongest area’s to crochet. At the time I was totally surprised that I would have any difficulty crocheting anything, but now I am glad that God reminded me what my students are going through. When one has crocheted as long as I have sometimes it is good to be humbled .   I believe the experience will improve my teaching skills and strengthen my patience with my students, you can imagine how the kit was a huge help for me. It was nice to crochet something small and easy in-between the requested projects that are more of a struggle and tedious.

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The kit came with eight patterns: a knitting and crocheting one, each for a Stocking, Snowflake, Snowman and Santa ornament. All were marked easy level and quick to work. The patterns were all well written and easy to follow.

This kit is getting a rate of 9, losing only one point for unmarked labels. I really enjoyed working these patterns and am even considering crocheting a few more this year for a friend or two.

In closing I would like to say the Christmas Ornament kit was a very cute and for me a practical and useful kit. Rewarding also as I distributed the ornaments among my children’s families. Just a memorable little gift for Christmas. As Christmas approaches it gives me a warm feeling to know that when my children and grandchildren trim their tree in Tennessee and Africa that they will smile as they hang their homemade ornaments, and for a special moment are reminded of their grandparents who love them very much in Illinois.

Until next week, keep those hooks flying.

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Starting a Crocheting/Knitting Club

It is a fact that I have devoted much of my life and time to crocheting and attempting to inspire others in this art form whenever possible. I cannot not imagine why it took me as long, and so late a season of my life to consider having a crochet club. I am even further embarrassed to admit, but it was not even mine idea but my hubby’s. This just goes to prove what I always tell people – that I married a very intelligent man.

When I was learning to crochet I was totally on my own. Not knowing any other crocheter’s and living in the pre- internet era at the time – anything I learned had to be by trial and error. (And later relearned because I taught myself incorrectly) I was limited to library books and crochet magazines to find the information I sought. A group of women meeting to crochet in a relaxing atmosphere, who would be able to help me over my learning pains would have been such a blessing.

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So as the decision was made to make the idea a reality we begin to move forward with organizing a Crocheting/Knitting club there were two things that had to be decided;
First, the location and the name. I had always seen such clubs in libraries of neighboring towns and so I approached our local library. Within three weeks it was voted on and approved.

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The next step was to decide on a name – Fellow-Stitchers – and then to get the word out. So a flyer was designed to post around town and posted on social media repeatedly.

My goals for the club at the present is just meeting and working on our personal current projects, remember, Christmas is just around the corner. For now, I am planning on spending the first ten or fifteen minutes of our meeting in sharing resources and my experience  –  just a topic that I think might be beneficial to people who like to work with yarn.

For example:
Crochet stitch dictionaries
Patterns
Go over how to read a yarn label
How to mark rows
Change colors
Caring for your hooks
Mapping your patterns for easier use
How to figure out how much yarn you need for a pattern
Making pom poms
What to do with scrap yarn
Weaving in ends
Different ways to crochet a foundation chain
How to store yarn
How to pick out patterns on your crochet level
Go over hand and wrist excercises
Go over some crochet tools

If you can add to my list please feel free to do so.

I am also hoping that maybe some other members might like to share their wisdom or any special interest to help inspire some of the members who are newer to crocheting.

For the first few months we are all just going to work on our own projects, as I mentioned that Christmas is just around the corner. I am sure we all have projects we want to finish. But after January, once in a while I thought it might be fun to learn a new project together or maybe crochet something for charity.

When I was learning to crochet I was totally on my own. Not knowing any other crocheter’s and living in the pre- internet era at the time – anything I learned had to be by trial and error. (And later relearned because I taught myself incorrectly) I was limited to library books and crochet magazines to find the information I sought. A group of women meeting to crochet in a relaxing atmosphere, who would be able to help me over my learning pains would have been such a blessing.

As of now, I just would like to meet some other women in my area that love crocheting as much as I do. Those who know how much work is involved and appreciate the effort and love that goes into our work. Maybe to just help encourage each other or help us get past some harder spots in our projects or just help in deciphering a pattern. And always have a spot light time to share what we are working on and have completed.

Our first meeting was this week and I must say it was a really nice group of women. The two hours flew by as we were busy crocheting, getting to know each other and just visiting. I was surprised at all the connections we all had with each other already. One of the ladies was even encouraged to get out a project that has sat on the side after a brief spell away from crocheting.

I am one of those people who learn as go. So I am expecting to make a few mistakes along the way. But I am thinking this will not only be a blessing to me, but also, for those in my community who attend. This will be a new adventure for my crochet journey so any advice from people who have been there would be welcome. Or if you are like me and are interested in organizing a crochet club in your town then maybe we can learn together.

When I was learning to crochet I was totally on my own. Not knowing any other crocheter’s and living in the pre- internet era at the time – anything I learned had to be by trial and error. (And later relearned because I taught myself incorrectly) I was limited to library books and crochet magazines to find the information I sought. A group of women meeting to crochet in a relaxing atmosphere, who would be able to help me over my learning pains would have been such a blessing.

If you are trying to start a Crocheting/Knit club remember the first thing you will need is a location with available tables and chairs. A name, and a way to get the word out. Finally a willingness to help and encourage other crocheters or knitters along their journey and inspire them to new levels.
Let us know your feelings about it.

Until next week keep those hooks flying.

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