International Crochet Day, Sept 12

September 12th is International Crochet Day

I’m old enough to remember what it was like before the internet; when letters were mailed and phones were attached to walls with wires.  Back then, the world seemed larger.   It was rare to know someone from another country. In elementary school I remember signing up for a Pen Pal.  My teacher used a service to match us up with a child from another country.  A child of the same age and similar interests who was able to write in English.  I remember getting my assigned Pen Pal and writing to her on special airmail paper.  This paper was so thin, it was translucent.  And I remember using special airmail envelopes to mail the letters.  Thin paper meant less weight and less cost to mail.  I remember receiving letters with such interesting stamps.  But the letters took weeks to arrive and unfortunately, I lost interest.

Fast forward 40 years and it is possible to have an online conversation with someone from across the world.  No more waiting for letters with interesting stamps.  You can interact via email or social media with anyone, instantaneously, as long as they have an internet connection.  Current technology is amazing and constantly evolving.  Not only has this opened so many opportunities for us to communicate, it has exposed us to a plethora of information to learn about other countries and cultures.  Opportunities we may not have had otherwise.

The internet has had an impact for crafters as well.  For those who crochet, we are no longer limited to designs printed in publications that arrive only a few times a year or books our local library may carry.   We have an entire world of crochet resources at our fingertips.  Ravelry is a huge resource for those who crochet.  You can search designers by their country, you can search for projects with key words and you can search designs with certain attributes, one of which is “Regional/Ethnic Styles”.

September 12 is International Crochet Day.   Using the internet, you can take the day to learn a new method of crochet that has a history with a culture that is different from yours.  Maybe try beautiful Irish lace crochet, or perhaps try some amigurimi, traditional Japanese crochet.  Or you can find a new crochet designer, one that is either from another country or whose designs are heavily influenced by a culture different from yours.  Check out patterns that are inspired by the Norwegian selburose design or work up some motifs that use the vibrant colors often found in traditional Mexican design.  Do a key word search for a country and see what you find.  Then, take the search a step further and learn the history behind the projects. For example, a key word search of “Jamaica” on Ravelry yields 5 pages of projects.  As you can guess, there are a lot of Rasta hats in that search.  With a quick internet search I learned that Rasta hats represent more than just Bob Marley’s headgear.  They have a rich history and represent members of a religion.  I didn’t know this before.  My interest in crochet has led me to learn more about another culture.

Another idea to celebrate International Crochet Day on September 12 is to learn how to read crochet charts.  Charts are universal to any language.  If you can read a chart, then you can work a charted design by any international designer regardless of the language.  Just be sure to find out if the symbols are written in US terms or UK terms.  Not sure of the difference between US crochet terms and UK crochet terms?  Research it! It’s international!

So, how do I plan to spend the day?  Not sure but one of my favorite Mexican inspired designs are crocheted sugar skulls.  Sugar skulls are used in the Mexican celebration, the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) and are used to celebrate, not mourn, those who have passed.  Perhaps I will spend International Crochet Day making a sugar skull or two.

How will you celebrate?

Spiced Cider-autumn capture the beauty

Stash Bust Update, Second Quarter, 2018

Busting out some stash at a snail’s pace.

Just when I think things can’t get any busier, they do.  April, May and June 2018 have been nuts and I’m sure it is not going to slow down any in the very near future. That’s OK, because it is the nuttiness, the “life that happens”, that makes our time on this big blue marble an adventure.  Most of the past quarter’s busyness was good.  My oldest graduated high school and is preparing for his freshman year of college, my parents came for visit and were able to attend his graduation, my youngest is now driving,  we’ve had prom, college visits, awards night and all the other end-of-school year activities.  In addition, both mine and my husband’s jobs continue to grow and demand more of our time, my in-laws are moving out of their home where they have lived the past 30+ years and have needed some assistance and, just to make things interesting, I’ve decided that about 80% of the interior of our house needs to be painted.  Sprinkle in a two week vacation to the Pacific Coast, a trip we have been planning for at least two years, and you have a very busy second quarter.

My crocheting has taken a back seat to all of the items on the to-do list.  However, I was able to get a few projects completed and bust out some stash.  And I purchased ZERO yarn this past quarter (yay me!).

I mentioned above that my parents came for a visit.  They live in Florida but decided to rent an apartment this summer in upstate New York where my brother and sister live.  Since they will be “snowbirds”, I made the following potholder, Red Bird in the Snow Potholder by Doni Speigle, for them.  The pattern is adorable.  You can read my notes and suggestions on my Ravelry project page.
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Next, I finished up the UNsquared Granny, Tea for ME! mug cozy.  Love this.  It keeps my tea nice and hot.  Perfect for work.
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I also finished It’s Just a Granny throw blanket/baby blanket/lapghan.  This project was started in January.  I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do with it.
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The next project was for charity.  I plan to write a post about it soon so I won’t go into much detail right now.  This is Chief and he was made for the Mother Bear Project.
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Another potholder and a couple dishcloths for The Snowbirds.  Flower Dishcloth by Lily / Sugar’n Cream.
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And last, another adorable potholder design by Doni Speigle called Dinnertime!.  This was for the May potholder exchange.  Once I have the time, I can think of a number of cat people, myself included, who would love one of these.
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It is already July and my crochet time for the last three weeks has been zip, zero, zilch.  I’m hopeful I will have a couple projects to share with you for third quarter 2018.  But if I’m too busy with life’s adventures to crochet much, that’s good too.

Happy Crocheting!
Darleen

Psst! Start now on your holiday crocheting!

Hot Pads Snowman Gingerbread Man Peppermint Facebook

New Pattern Alert! Mug Cozy, Tea for ME!

Tea-for-Me-individual-Mug-Cozy-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins-WEBI am happy to share with you the latest in my UNsquared Granny series, the Tea for ME! Mug Cozy. This adorable cozy is based on the traditional Granny Square motif with a twist-it isn’t square! Not even close. It is time to UNsquare those Grannies!! The fully written pattern is rated EASY with minimal shaping to create the domed cozy. Illustrative charts are also included.  The cozy is perfectly sized for an individual mug of tea, coffee or cocoa. It works up quick and would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift! Instructions and photo tutorial included for the super easy liner-minimal hand sewing required.
Find out more here: UNsquared Granny, Tea for ME! Mug Cozy

This pattern is included in my Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE sale! No coupon needed, Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your purchase.

Shells of Love baby blanket crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

 

Stash bust update, First Quarter, 2018

Busting out some stash

March Pot Luck2018 began with a post announcing my goal to reduce my yarn stash.  3 months have passed and I’ve made some progress.  A good bit of progress.  I gave away a full box of felted sweaters to someone on Ravelry.  I sold 16 hanks on eBay.  I gave away 2 skeins in my pot-holder swap group and donated almost 2 full boxes of yarn and misc. craft supplies to a local thrift store.  In addition, I completed 3 potholders, 2 scarves, 3 hats, 5 dryer balls and 1 votive cover.  My only yarn purchases were 2 teeny tiny skeins of cotton yarn as I needed them for one of the hats.  So, with all that, you would think I would only have about 8 boxes of yarn remaining, right? Nope. I have 10 boxes and at least 1 box worth of loose yarn that is not boxed up.  UGH. Apparently I significantly underestimated the amount of yarn I had scattered about the house and in project bags and such.  So, I DID clear out about 4 boxes worth, I just refilled those empty boxes with yarn that wasn’t boxed up. Oh well.  It is still progress and I’m happy to be reducing my stash.  I addition to the completed projects shown below, I have a few WIPS.  Hopefully they will be completed by June 1 and I can share photos in my next update.  Jan Pot Luck

Click on the photos for more information about each project. Patterns used are linked below.

UNsquared granny scarfFeb Pot LuckBentley #1

Bentley #2Bently#3yarnballs4Zinnia votive

 

Happy Crocheting all!!

 

Pretty-in-Pink

New Pattern Alert! Zinnia Votive

Now Available, Zinnia Votive.  A lace sleeve for a standard canning jar.

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Dress up a standard canning jar and turn it into a beautiful gift.  The Zinnia Votive is a pattern for a standard canning jar sleeve. Place a tea light inside the jar and see the beauty of crochet lace like never before. A gorgeous way to light up your late summer nights. The pattern includes fully written instructions as well as an illustrative chart.

The pattern is written to fit a standard, round 8 oz Ball canning jar. However, it is easily adaptable to fit many different jar sizes.  Upcycle your glass jars into illuminated lace.

Pattern information can be found here: Zinnia Votive

So many uses!

Gifts for all occasions including, teacher gifts, get well and thinking of you gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, and housewarming gifts.

Use as wedding favors.  Crochet in the colors of your wedding and place one at each table. Use battery powered tea lights (get long lasting ones!) for breathtaking lighting on your special day.

Slip one on each jar of jam you give as a gift.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the sweet treat is enjoyed.

Gift with fresh cut flowers inside.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the flowers have faded.

Make a variety of them in different sizes (the pattern is easily adaptable!). Arrange on a picnic table and enjoy a romantic dinner for two.

The sleeves work up quick and use very little yarn/thread. They make great craft fair and fundraiser projects.  A thrifty and eco-friendly craft.

Spiffy

Eco-Craft, Yarn Balls aka. Dryer Balls

How to make dryer balls for zero dollars!

I’ve been intrigued by dryer balls for awhile now.  Every once in awhile I’ll see a post about them and think to myself-I wonder if they work? I have no interest in purchasing plastic or rubber ones or using tennis balls in my dryer.  I can’t help but wonder if those types of dryer balls release toxins of some sort when exposed to heat.  My interest is to improve my laundry, naturally.  I would like to use less dryer sheets, not replace sheets with potentially more or different chemicals.  So I finally decided to give dryer balls a try when I came across some wool yarn and felted wool scraps in my stash.  I’m on a quest to reduce my stash. I thought this would be a good way to use up some of it and finally find out if 100% wool dryer balls actually work.  The yarn and felted sweater scraps are leftover from previous projects.  Therefore, my cost is $0.

Step 1: Gather up 100% wool scraps and 100% wool yarn.

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Felted wool scraps from various projects, felted wool “yarn” cut from a damaged wool sweater, and some random 100% yarn wool.

Step 2: Smush the scraps into a ball and then wrap with yarn.  Add more scraps and wrap with more yarn.  Repeat until the ball is the size you want.

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Step 3: Secure yarn.

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Step 4: Repeat until you have as many as you want or you run out of scraps.  I didn’t time myself but I think it took me about an hour to make all of these.

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Step 5: Felt them.  I placed them in a lingerie bag and washed them with my regular laundry for a couple of  loads.  Once they were felted enough where I didn’t think they would unravel, I took them out of the lingerie bag and washed them with the regular laundry for a couple more loads.  Last, I trimmed the few ends that came undone.

So DO THEY WORK?

I’ve heard claims that they save energy, reduce static, reduce dryer time, reduce wrinkles and make clothes softer.   If they did all of these, I would be ecstatic.  If they did one or two, I’d be happy.  I’ve been using them for over a month now and I’m pretty happy.  My clothes seem to be dry when the cycle is complete.  Before dryer balls, I often had to add time to the dryer because the clothes were still damp.  More time in the dryer will result in more static.  And, while I still have to use dryer sheets, I’m using one per load rather than two.  Yup, I’ve had to use two for awhile now.  My boys wear a lot of athletic, moisture wicking type clothing made out of synthetic materials.  These items tend to pick up static when in the dryer.  However, less time in the dryer = less static.  So, overall, I’m happy with the results.

I have a few more scraps so I may make one or two more.   If you have the materials, give it a try and let me know what you think.

PatchworkKitty-001

 

UNsquared-Granny-Super-Scarf-granny-square-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins #CbyDH

New Pattern Alert: The UNsquared Granny Super Scarf

Sometimes grannies can be so…square.

UNsquared-Granny-Super-Scarf-granny-square-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins #CbyDH

It is time to UN-square the granny!  The UNsquared Granny Super Scarf is a new twist on the classic motif.  Designed for heavy worsted/aran weight yarn, this easy pattern works up fast.  The result is a beautiful scarf which makes a great gift.   Pattern includes a partial chart to help illustrate the stitch placement. And the pattern is easily adaptable for different yarn weights and/or sizes.

Gift idea! New high school graduate heading off to college in the fall?  Crochet one in his or her college colors.

Don’t forget, all Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns available on Ravelry are Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE! No coupon needed.  Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your total.  How cool is that??

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