New Pattern Alert! Harvest Corn Pillows

Harvest Corn Pillows (candy corn) crochet pattern now available!

candy corn crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsThe Harvest Corn Pillow crochet pattern is now available.  I’m really excited to FINALLY share this pattern with you.  I added the design to my “designs to do list” in February, 2016, and made the first sample in June, 2016 on our road trip out west.  But I wasn’t happy with the way the sample turned out.  The shaping wasn’t true to candy corn’s actual shape.  So the design sat. And sat. And sat until last month when I decided it was time to rework the sample and figure out how to make it look like real candy corn.  And I’m really glad I did because I LOVE these pillows!!  They add a little whimsy to fall decorating and something different from the usual items you see in every store.  The pattern includes two different sized pillows and is written for heavy worsted, aran weight yarn.  I used Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice for the samples and went with a rustic color combination.  However, if traditional candy corn is more your thing, then by all means, break out the bright orange, bright yellow and crisp white and make some pillows that look good enough to eat.  Adjusting the yarn will yield different sized pillows.  Just be sure to use a hook that yields a tight stitch.  You don’t want stuffing creeping out of your pillows.

You can find out more about the pattern here: Harvest Corn Pillows

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.

Happy Crocheting and Happy Fall!

Eyeball-Collection

Halloween pumpkins with crocheted eyes pattern by Darleen Hopkins

No MESS Jack-o-lanterns with Crochet!

This Halloween, Decorate Your Pumpkins with Crochet!

It is almost that time of year.  My favorite holiday, Halloween. I love the silliness of the holiday, the tackiness of the decorations and of course, the candy. I love seeing children using their imaginations and turning into a character for the afternoon.  I love trick-or-treating, haunted houses and spooky snacks.  And I love carving pumpkins and making jack-o-lanterns. But pumpkin carving is messy. Sometimes we don’t want to make a mess.  So here is a non-messy alternative to pumpkin carving. Crochet some eyeballs and attach them to the pumpkin!  Make a patch of scary pumpkins with some alien or demon eyes.  Or go for silly pumpkins and crochet surprised eyes or eyes with eyelashes.  Attach the eyes with double stick tape and use them year after year.  Whether you go for scary or silly, have fun and Enjoy!

The pattern for all the eyes below can be found here: The Eyeball Collection.

Ghost pumpkins with crocheted eyes. Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Ghost Pumpkins with crocheted eyes.

 

Halloween pumpkins with crocheted eyes pattern by Darleen Hopkins

#AwkwardFamilyPhoto Halloween pumpkins with crocheted eyes

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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!!

 

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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