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top 16 all-time favorite patterns!

Hey everyone! It’s been a loooooong time, because I honestly haven’t been crafting very much this year. Even so, I wanted to share my top 16 all-time favorite knitting and crocheting patterns (there’s a healthy mix here, gathered from years and years of crafting; and no I did not include all of my own self-published patterns ūüėČ). I hope you enjoy, and let me know if any of these are your favorites too down in the comments, or if you have other favorites I didn’t mention! And in no particular order, here we go!

1. Neat Ripple (crochet)

Many people think this pattern from Attic24 is a classic, and I agree. I’ve made 2!

2. Color Kaleidoscope Blanket (crochet)

I’ve only made one so far, but this quick and fun textured pattern is really easy and would be great for all kinds of variegated yarn! It’s also pretty cozy!

3. Chunky Circle Scarf (crochet)

I love this thing so much I’ve made 7 and am not planning to stop anytime soon. Quick to work up, they make great cozy squishy gifts!

4. African Flower Potholders (crochet) (square, round)

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

While these are technically separate patterns, the idea is the same. I like to put a simple backing on all of my potholders for both looks and function. I’ve made around 15, as they also make good gifts.

5. Giftie Slouchie Beanie (knit)

These are quick to make and are what I traditionally give to people in my family when they are in the hospital (except my Dad, who got one for Christmas one year and was totally not in the hospital). I think I’ve made 4.

6. Thai Crochet Cowl (crochet)

Thai Crochet Cowl from Not Your Average Crochet

Ok so this is one of my originals, but I love it because it’s a good stash buster and it produces a supremely plush and toasty fabric!

7. Ribbed Waffle Hat (knit)

Ribbed Waffle Hat

I love this because it’s quick, cozy, and will fit even the largest of heads (but I also go up a needle size from what’s recommended, as I tend to knit tightly). I’ve made 9.

8. Recuerdos de Infancia (crochet)

recuerdos de infancia crochet shawl

I made one in lace (pictured) and one in fingering weight, and I love both.

9. The Olympia Cowl (knit)

the olympia cowl

Another one of my own design, I love this thing and am currently making more.

10. No-Purl Ribbed Scarf (knit)

This photo is of one I have in the works now, not my completed one, and I will actually seam this one to make an infinity scarf. I love the cozy squishy texture this stitch pattern makes!

11. Springtime Satin Balls (crochet)

I made 4 of these ornaments for Christmas gifts. The pattern is not available online, only in a booklet called “Springtime Satin Balls” that I found on eBay, but I’d say it’s worth finding; the author made other booklets with similar ornament patterns as well, if you can’t find that one.

12. Arlequin Shawl (knit)

I’m on my second one of these asymmetrical beauties now. Love it.

13. Sunburst Flower Granny Square (crochet)

Probably my favorite granny square. Makes a fun but beautiful puffy square. I plan on making more of these.

14. Aspen Blanket (knit)

I affectionately named mine “the blanket everyone wants” because these super chunky cable knit throws were (are?) so popular. It was really fun (and warm) to make and I’d totally make another one!

15. Black Cat Slouch Hat (crochet)

not your average crochet pussyhat project

While I did make a black one for Halloween one year, I’ve made 8 pink ones for the Pussyhat Project (a feminist movement). In fact I’m making more now for the Women’s March in DC at the beginning of 2019, and if you want to make some to send my way to distribute, I would be very grateful!

16. Quick and Simple Granny Shawl (crochet)

not your average crochet granny shawl

This is another of my patterns; well, I wrote out the details, but it’s just a granny triangle. In this yarn it worked up cozy and gorgeous! I’ll be making more.

Well that’s it folks, what do you think? Are some of these on your favorites list, or did I miss your fave? Let me know! As always, thanks for stopping by!

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“Design Your Own Crochet Projects” book review and giveaway!

Hello everyone!  I have something really cool to share with you today, I hope you like it!

Design Your Own Crochet Projects

about the book:

This is a new book that came out in October of this year, and it’s unlike any crochet book I’ve seen before because it takes the guesswork out of designing your own items without limiting you to any specific yarn weight, stitch pattern, or item size. ¬†When they say “Magic Formulas for Creating Custom Scarves, Cowls, Hats, Socks, Mittens, and Gloves,” they ain’t kiddin’!

In the introduction of the book, the author Sara Delaney (click here for her Ravelry page) reviews guidelines for choosing yarns for your projects, and even though I know a good bit about different fibers simply due to how long I’ve been crocheting and knitting I still find this section useful as a reminder of not only how different fibers act (protein vs. cellulose vs. manmade, etc.) but also how the yarn construction (roving vs. plied vs. constructed) and weight effect your projects. ¬†The introduction also emphasizes the importance of the gauge swatch — I know, I know, I don’t like making gauge swatches either, but it does take the guesswork out of things and saves you time in the end. ¬†Sara goes on to explain how to create a swatch properly and what to look for in your swatch.

An entire chapter is devoted to each type of item the book discusses (scarves, cowls, hats — both bottom-up and top-down, fingerless mitts, mittens, gloves, and socks — both cuff-down and toe-up). ¬†Each chapter has standard measurements for the item and useful instructions on how to measure a person properly for the item. ¬†The super cool part of each chapter, though, are the pages you are allowed to photocopy and fill in yourself to keep all of your measurements and information organized. ¬†First, there’s the basic data that includes all the measurements you’ll need to plug in to the formulas:

Then, using those measurements, the book tells you exactly how to calculate the yardage you’ll need:

The book then provides a pattern formula as well as an extended pattern formula for when you are making a pattern with specific stitch multiple requirements (they really thought of everything):

And last but not least there’s a pattern template. ¬†I like this because it has everything you may need to replicate the pattern again later if you want to, instead of having to borrow the gift you gave to someone and squint at it for hours to try and figure out how you made it the first time. ¬†It keeps everything on one handy page:

Sara also included some pre-made patterns in the book, and she goes so far as to show the worksheets above filled out for the patterns so you can see how it all comes together.  These are great examples of how good patterns are made!

This isn’t all there is to the book, though. ¬†There’s a stitch dictionary at the end with gorgeous stitch patterns to get your creativity flowing, and there’s also AN ONLINE CALCULATOR. ¬†You know, in case you don’t want to write everything out or aren’t too confident in your own math skills (like me). ¬†I love this feature. ¬†While the calculator includes all of the formulas you’ll need to make an awesome pattern, obviously it doesn’t cover everything there is to learn in the book so I’d still recommend having the book itself, but I really like that the calculator largely reduces the possibility of human error.

my thoughts:

Obviously, I like this book and the online calculator. ¬†I’m already using it to help me plan out pattern ideas and it’s taking a lot of the frustration out. ¬†It’s worth noting that it uses US terms. ¬†Another really cool thing about this book: the formulas work for making knitting patterns, too!¬† I don’t know if Sara intended the book to be used for knitting in addition to crochet or not, but it’s equally helpful. ¬†Like for realsies, this book has everything you need and I’m so glad I have it. ¬†Click here for the book’s Ravelry page.

giveaway:

And now for the giveaway part! ¬†This particular giveaway is open only to US residents (but many of the other giveaways I hold are open worldwide). ¬†A lucky winner will receive their own free copy of Sara Delaney’s “Design Your Own Crochet Projects” and all you have to do is comment below with your name and the State you live in (one entry per person please)! ¬†I’d also be grateful if you subscribed to this blog. ¬†Winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator on Monday, November 13th. ¬†If chosen you will receive an email from me requesting your mailing address; make sure you check your inboxes because after 24 hours I will draw again if I receive no response! ¬†Winner will be announced as soon as one has been confirmed! ¬†Good luck everyone!

Please note that while Storey Publishing did provide me with my own copy of this book as well as the giveaway copy, the thoughts and opinions shared are genuine and entirely my own.

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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progress: chevron blanket

It’s been hard to do much crafting lately. ¬†I’ve been really busy with other important life stuff. ¬†Some progress has been made on the king size chevron blanket though:

IMG_1494

I know it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

IMG_1497

Don’t know why I’m in such a crafting slump. ¬†I just don’t feel like doing anything. ¬†I’ll think ‘oh, it would be nice to work on that blanket or that shawl,’ but then I just… don’t.

Bleh.  Do you get in really long phases like this too?

giveaway winner & life without crafting

The winner has been notified & confirmed! ¬†Congratulations to Meredith, the winner of my “Every Which Way Crochet Borders” giveaway! ¬†I hope you love the book and get tons of use out of it!

If you’re disappointed that you didn’t win this go-round, subscribe to the blog so you can get notified of future giveaways! ¬†I’ll also always announce my giveaways on my social media.

This is another bland post without photos because I have done absolutely NOTHING in the past month even closely related to crafting. ¬†My fractured hand feels much better and while I can now go without wearing a brace (during the day, at least), I’ve been wary of trying to craft because I don’t want to strain anything from repetitive motion before stuff is really healed. ¬†I should be grateful that I can finally open medicine bottles and write legibly, etc. but it is SO HARD not to be knitting or crocheting.

Strangely after 2 weeks of doing nothing I had no problem with going back to my Wing Chun class (during which the hand was broken); I just have to wear some secure hand wraps for a while and not use my right hand (which isn’t hard because there’s so much more to this style of kung fu than punching). ¬†My classmates are aware and I trust them not to accidentally do any damage.

Surely I’ll be back to crafting soon — staying away is hard — but I think part of why I haven’t tried anything yet is because I know it’ll be really hard to take it easy and take breaks and stuff! ¬†For now though, thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

“Every Which Way Crochet Borders” book review, bonus pattern, & giveaway!

everywhichwaycrochet

Hello everyone! ¬†I was lucky enough to be chosen by Storey Publishing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to participate in a blog tour and review a copy of Edie Eckman’s new book (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). ¬†It’s called “Every Which Way Crochet Borders” and there will be a free border pattern and book giveaway below, so keep reading to learn about this really cool book! ¬†Although the book was provided and the giveaway sponsored by Storey Publishing the opinions below are all my own. ¬†Also, follow the rest of the blog tour for more chances to win the book by clicking here:

crochet-blog-tour-button-vf

review

OK so, there’s really a lot packed into this 218 page book, and it’s not just the 139 cool crochet borders. ¬†Let’s dive in to some of the details!

One thing I often find lacking in patterns of crochet borders is that you’re left to figure out how to turn corners on your own, which can be incredibly frustrating and can frankly just turn me off to using the pattern at all. ¬†Thankfully Edie Eckman has included great detail in her patterns,

each engineered to flow smoothly around the 90-degree corners that you’ll find on blankets, sweaters, washcloths, and other items.

Each beautiful pattern includes both written and charted instructions as well as any necessary additional information on stitches or other notes, and each pattern is tagged with categories for easy searching (categories include: reversible, wide, medium, narrow, undulating, straight, motifs, open/lacy, layered, fringy, and textured).

Before even getting to the patterns, however, there’s a very helpful section of the book called “Design Concepts” which really put this book a notch above other border books and patterns for me. ¬†It gives a very helpful structured approach to choosing borders for your project based on some crochet principles, such as “Form Follows Function,” weighing borders that compliment vs. contrast with your item, recognizing the potential for the huge differences colors can make, understanding scale, and how to choose the right type of yarn for your projects. ¬†Edie even includes advice and details on how to add borders to other types of fabric, which I found very useful. ¬†And while her border patterns are written out with specific detail, Edie encourages customizing the borders in her book (such as widening borders or combining them), and she tells you how to do it with math that is really very straightforward and takes a lot of guesswork and frustration out of making the perfect border for your pattern. ¬†It is so nice not to have to figure this out yourself! ¬†If you’ve ever had to do this on your own you know that the struggle is real. ¬†Wrapping up the “Design Concepts” section are some helpful tips on troubleshooting, starting and ending rounds smoothly, and even how to fudge stitch counts if necessary!

Man, I wish I’d had this when designing the As-We-Go Stripey Blanket! ¬†The border would have been even cuter! ¬†ūüôā

The borders themselves are cute and varied — there’s something sure to please everyone and go with just about any project. ¬†Experiment and have fun making your own personalized crochet borders!

free border pattern just for you!

As I mentioned before, check out the other blogs on the blog tour to find not only more ways to win a copy of the book but also more free bonus patterns from the book itself!  For my readers I choose to share border #99 straight from the book itself so you can see how each pattern page is laid out!

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99

The Stitches & Notes section is very helpful for those who haven’t tried the Solomon’s Knot stitch before.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Notes

As mentioned above, each pattern is tagged with specific categories.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Tags

The photo and written pattern are clear and concise.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Written Pattern

And the charted pattern is easy to read, with repeated sections highlighted.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Chart

Excerpted from Every Which Way Crochet Borders © 2017 by Edith L. Eckman. Photography by John Polak. Chart by Karen Manthey.  Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

giveaway

And now for the giveaway part! ¬†This particular giveaway is open only to US residents (but any of the other giveaways I hold are open worldwide). ¬†A lucky winner will receive their own free copy of Edie Eckman’s “Every Which Way Crochet Borders,” and all you have to do is comment below with your name and the State you live in (one entry per person please)! ¬†Winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator on Saturday, Feb. 25. ¬†If chosen you will receive an email from me requesting your mailing address; make sure you check your inboxes because after 24 hours I will draw again if I receive no response! ¬†Winner will be announced as soon as one has been confirmed! ¬†Good luck everyone!

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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