Eco-Craft, an up-cycled tea cozy.

I love herbal teas and I love to drink tea while at work.  It helps to keep me warm as my office building is really cold.  Add to that I’m usually cold when others are not and that my job is sedentary and you get a very cold me.  I have a space heater, an extra sweater and a throw blanket in my office.   I just recently purchased an electric tea kettle and I love it.   However, I found that I had to keep reheating the water for my second and third cups of tea.  So the crafty in me kicked in and I decided it was time to make a tea cozy.

I got up early Saturday morning and while having a cup of coffee with my husband, we heard a bang and the power went out.  Great.  No power = no water = no shower. Thankfully he was already ready for work so he left.  Without power I had nothing to do.  There was enough daylight coming in so I decided I’d start working on the tea cozy. Rummaging through a box of pre-felted wool sweaters saved for a throw rug I hope to eventually make, I found this really cute striped sweater.  cozy-sweater-1

I pinned the sweater together and cut around the arms and neck.  I forgot to take a photo of this step so I drew on the cut lines, below.   If you are making one, you would want to make sure you have everything pinned together first and make sure your cuts are as even as possible.

cozy-sweater-3.jpg

The cozy was looking like it was going to be too tall so I trimmed off the bottom ribbing.  The sweater was originally a cardigan so I opened it and traced the shape onto eco-fi felt to use as a liner.  This felt is very cool as it is made out of 100% recycled bottles!cozy-sweater-2

At this point the electric company showed up and determined the cause of our problem was a poor squirrel.  The little guy got on the transformer thingy and was electrocuted.  😦 They trimmed back the tree limbs that were too close to the pole and replaced the damaged part and our electric was back on in a jiffy.  Thanks guys!!!  FYI-save the squirrels and keep your tree limbs well trimmed near power poles.  I know I will from now on.

With the power back I was able to steam the sweater and the felt so they were nice and smooth.  I trimmed the edges of the both the sweater and the eco-fi felt so they were even then trimmed the liner so it was just a little bit smaller than the sweater.  The next step was to sew the two end pieces together and across the top.

Next I turned the sweater inside out and sewed the opening closed and across the top.  Then turned it right side out.  This step probably would have been a lot quicker if I used a sewing machine.  My sewing machine and I don’t always get along so I decided to hand sew it.

cozy-sweater-4Next, the liner was inserted into the sweater and sewn together along the bottom seam.  I decided to sew the ribbing over bottom edge of the cozy to add some stability.  Last, some random buttons where sewn where the cardigan button holes were and a little tab was added to the top.  Success! An adorable tea cozy made of recycled and re-purposed materials!  If I had thought ahead, I would have added the trim, tab and buttons before sewing together and before adding the liner.  This may have saved some time.  But I was making it up as I went along and it worked out fine.  The end result would have been the same.  It was a fun project for a lazy Saturday.  I tested it out with my stove top kettle and it works great! I can’t wait to use it at work.

cozy-sweater-5Happy crafting!!

#familyfun tic-tac-toe game board crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Octopus for a preemie donating to a local hospital

New Year, Less Stash

Octopus for a preemie donating to a local hospital

Two octopuses for preemies donating to a local hospital.

Hello and Happy 2018!

Time is marching on and the new year is here.  Time to reflect on the past year, soak in the good times, let go of the bad, and resolve to make changes for improvements in your life.  One of my goals/resolutions is to reduce current yarn stash.  I’ve been called “the anti-hoarder” before and feel weighed down by stuff.  I have been working on reducing stash for a long time.  A couple years ago I “trained” myself to only buy yarn for current projects if something appropriate wasn’t already in my stash.  It was hard at first but now I can easily walk past a yarn sale and not linger.  However, I still have a lot of yarn.  Too much yarn.  Approximately 12 paper boxes full of yarn.    For some, that may not seem like a lot but for me, it is still too much.  My goal is to work it down to 6 boxes at the most by the end of the year.  Once I get there, I will work on reducing it more.  I want to have an amount of yarn that can be easily access and store in one place.  So, how do I get there?

1. Crochet more!

A lot happened in 2017 which prevented me from crocheting near as much as I would have liked.  A number of new designs were halted or not started as planned.  I also did not get to do nearly as much charitable crochet as I would have liked.  So, the number one way to reduce stash is to use it both in new designs and charitable crocheting.  2017 brought the shutting down of a wonderful group, Halos of Hope.  I’m sad to see them close but happy for the founder as she has decided to focus on her family.  2017 also brought to my attention the Octopus for a Preemie movement.  This is a great international organization.  Check out the Official Octopus for a Preemie-United States group.  I am fortunate enough to know a woman who works in a local NICU.  She collects these octos for the babies in the unit.  A good bit of stash will be used making the octos for her.  The two in the photo above were finished last night!  I also enjoy making lapghans for the local senior center.  I made two in 2016 but was unable to make any in 2017. Some stash yarn has already been earmarked for this 2018 project.

In addition, I have some personal projects I have been wanting to make forever.  One in particular is a rug out of felted sweaters.  I have one box full of felted sweaters.  If I could FINALLY make that project, it will clear out one of the boxes!

I also joined a monthly potholder swap group on Ravelry.  I’m excited for the monthly exchanges, making the potholders and seeing what arrives in the mail.  I’ll be sure to update the blog with both what is sent and received.

And of course, design more.  I’m hoping 2018 won’t be as crazy busy and I’ll have more time to design with the yarn on hand.  When I wrote the Yarn Stash and the Anti-Hoarder post 3½ years ago, I had LESS STASH than I do now!  UGH!  I know this is due to my ordering yarn in early 2017 for planned designs that just didn’t happen.  I am determined to reduce the stash this year, not gain.

2. Donate yarn.

A good bit of the yarn that is not appropriate for planned personal projects, designs or charitable projects will be donated.  I did a pretty thorough clean out a couple years ago but it is time to revisit the stash with this goal again.  Expensive and specialty yarn may be listed for sale or given away.  Most of my yarn isn’t fancy or expensive and therefore, most that isn’t planned to be crocheted with in the very near future will be donated to the local thrift store.

I love hearing about other crocheters’ new year goals.  While writing this post, I learned about the 365 Days of Granny Squares.  Very cool.  I also love the idea of a temperature blanket.  This is on my future to-do list.  Do you have any crochet related goals for the new year?

Happy New Year and Happy Crocheting!

Darleen

Winter Sky Cowl, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

The 2017 Gift-A-Long is here!

The 2017 Gift-A-Long is here!

GAL 2017This is the fifth year for the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long and I’m super excited for it to begin. What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

Basically, 311 indie designers of knit and crochet patterns, have banded together to support each other and help everyone get their holiday to-do list done while having a lot of fun and possibly winning patterns and yarn and kits and lots of other fiber finds.

In a nutshell there are:
311 designers from 31 countries with lots and lots of donated free patterns to win as well as physical prizes.

There are over 18,000 patterns to knit or crochet that will make you eligible to win one (or more) of the fabulous prizes.  Of the over 18,000 patterns, 5,300+ of them will be on SALE for 25% off!  Yup! Big Savings so stock up on your favorites.  The sale runs from Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm US EST to Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 11:59 pm US EST.

There will be Pinterest boards and Ravelry Bundles available to peruse for all the sale patterns.  Each designer has at least 5 and up to 20 patterns on sale. Once you get your sale pattern, check out the other patterns the designer offers.  All patterns are eligible for the KAL/CAL threads and all paid for patterns (self, or third party published) are eligible for prizes.  Did I mention the prizes??? Tons and tons of prizes but you gotta’ be in it to win!

Check the Ravelry group for more information.
You can find all my GAL eligible patterns here: Crochet by Darleen Hopkins on Ravelry

Confused?  Check out the FAQs!

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New Patterns Alert! Winter Sky Cowl and Pretty in Pink Change Purse or Eyeglass Case

Hello!  The last couple of weeks have been busy finalizing patterns, running tests and taking photographs.  I’m excited to share with you my two newest patterns available for download, The Winter Sky Cowl and Pretty in Pink, Change Purse or Eyeglass Case!

Both are easy patterns-you can do it!, are quick to crochet, and make great gifts.  Click on the photos to be directed to the pattern pages for more information.

Winter-Sky-Cowl-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins-webChange purse eyeglass case crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

And as always, both are included in my Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE sale on Ravelry. No coupon needed.  Just add 3 patterns to your Ravelry cart.  Happy Crocheting!!!

Christmas stocking crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

FO-Baby Shower Gift, Twin Octopuses

Twin OctiWOW-the last couple of months have been crazy. We have had a number of unplanned distractions during August and September.  Some good, some not so good.  But we are making them work and I finally feel like I will soon be able to get back to normal.  Normal for my family is busy but not crazy busy.  We enjoy our down town and it is during the down time that I am able to crochet.  When I found out a co-worker of mine was pregnant with twin girls, I started on a baby project for her.  That was a few months ago-she wasn’t even showing at the time :).  But I’m glad I started early because I have not been able to do much crocheting for far too many weeks.  Her baby shower was scheduled for this past Friday so I had to kick it into high gear and get her gift done.  And I finished just in the nick of time, the night before the shower.  They came out pretty cute!!!

The pattern is from the Facebook group, Octopus for a Premie-US.  Earlier this year I made a few of these for the local NICU unit.  I know one of the head nurses of the unit. She told me about the octopuses and how they help the premies.  She crochets too and makes them for her unit.  I made three for her and hope to make some more. They are too cute.  While making the three for donation, I realized they would make great baby gifts as all babies would love to grab onto to the tentacles.  And did I mention how cute they are!

With this pattern, I learned a new technique of yarn under rather than yarn over.  This technique makes a tighter sc so there is less of a gap in between stitches.  Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpYj6ECBAck It is a little odd to get used to the method but it really does work.

Happy Crocheting!

Darleen

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Bright Idea crochet hat pattern by Darleen Hopkins Light bulb

Crochet, Bonza style!

Crochet puzzles?  There’s an app for that.

Do you Bonza?  I loooove Bonza.  My mother-in-law introduced my husband to the game a few months ago and he, of course, got me hooked on it.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a free game you can download on a tablet or whatever.  They call it a new type of crossword.  I don’t care for traditional crossword puzzles, but this one is fun.  There are a number of puzzle packs you can play for free and they have a daily shuffle where you get to play 2-3 games a day for free.  You have to sit through some ads but I don’t mind.  And, of course, you can purchase additional puzzle packs for points or money.

Bright Idea crochet hat pattern by Darleen Hopkins Light bulbMy husband and I enjoy playing together.   In the morning we play on his tablet and at night we play on mine.  I recently realized it is possible to make your own puzzles.  When you create a puzzle, you get a unique code to share with others.  Of course, the light bulb went off when I realized I could make crochet themed puzzles.  🙂  So, here they are.  Just enter the code in Bonza or click on the link for each game and have fun.  I hope you enjoy them!!

Link for Bonza: http://www.bonzapuzzles.com/bwp/

Game Codes

All Things Crochet: 4NH3ST http://data.bonzapuzzles.com/1/puzzle.html?code=4NH3ST

Crochet Stitches: S9876W http://data.bonzapuzzles.com/1/puzzle.html?code=S9876W

Crochet Tools: GEPRB5 http://data.bonzapuzzles.com/1/puzzle.html?code=GEPRB5

Crochet Methods: TXCQPD http://data.bonzapuzzles.com/1/puzzle.html?code=TXCQPD

Yarn Fibers: HN335F http://data.bonzapuzzles.com/1/puzzle.html?code=HN335F

Spiced Cider crochet hat and cowl pattern by Darleen Hopkins

 

Aleteo Scarf a crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! The Aleteo Scarf, crochet

 

I’m super excited to share the latest #CbyDH  pattern! The Aleteo Scarf. This crochet pattern is very easy and is a great introduction to lace crochet.  The pattern includes written instructions as well as a chart and works up really quick.  I made the sample in a couple hours.  It even includes blocking instructions and photos.

Did you know? Aleteo is Spanish for “flutter”.

While I was taking photos of the sample scarf, a baby cardinal was taking her first flight. The nest was located in the bushes next to my front porch. All spring the parents guarded the nest. When I set up my camera and white board for the photos I had no idea what was about to happen. The baby was ready to take her first flight. She flew back and forth over my head searching for a safe place to land. I could feel the flutter of her wings as she passed above me. What fun it was to witness the beauty of nature up close.

You can work this scarf in yarn weights from 1 to 3 (fingering to dk). And you can easily adjust the length and/or number of stitches.

Pattern information can be found here: The Aleteo Scarf

And, like all my patterns, the Aleteo Scarf is included in the Crochet by Darleen Hopkins Buy 2 Patterns, Get a 3rd for FREE! sale on Ravelry. No coupon needed.  Enjoy!

Shells of Love baby blanket crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins