FO – Strawberry Potholder

I looooove novelty potholders. They are a fun way to add some whimsy to your kitchen and they make great gifts. Everyone has to eat and therefore everyone has to cook sometime. Even if it is only heating stuff up in the microwave.

strawberry potholder crochetI recently finished this adorable potholder that looks like a strawberry. When I found out a co-worker was planning on retiring I knew I wanted to make her something special. She and her husband had recently purchased a travel trailer and have plans to tour the US. I knew I wanted to make her something for the trailer and when I found out her only request for her going away party was a strawberry pie, I knew it had to be something with strawberries. I searched Ravelry and found this adorable Strawberry Potholder pattern by Doni Speigle .

strawberry potholder crochet WIPSticking with my goal to work from stash, the strawberry ended up pink rather than red.  I used Peaches & Creme Iced Strawberry (pink) and Rosemary (green).  The pattern worked up quick and was really easy.  I love how the leaves are worked into the potholder.  This requires some color changes and is the trickiest part of the pattern.  I decided to carry the strands on the wrong side. You could work over the unused yarn if you prefer. Either method will work but you do have to have experience with color changes in order to work the pattern.  I ended up using a key chain ring for the hanging ring.  I love how the stem curls.  Too cute!

Friday was Martha’s last day at work.   I wish her much happiness as she enjoys the slower pace of life as a retiree.

Potholder Crochet Patterns by Darleen Hopkins

Hot pad crochet pattern. Christmas candy, gingerbread man and snowman

Crochet-1 (1000x1000)

New Pattern Alert! Tiffany Scarf, crochet

New Pattern Alert! Tiffany Scarf, crochet

I’m super excited to share the latest #CbyDH  pattern! The Tiffany Scarf.  Create a beautiful lace scarf with this easy crochet pattern.  If you use the suggested yarn, you can make the scarf as it is written with just one ball!  Written for fingering weight yarn but instructions are provided to adjust the length for any gauge and any weight from lace to DK.  The scarf is stitched the lengthwise.  A chart is included with the full written instructions.  The entire scarf can be completed in just a few hours.

So, why is it called the Tiffany Scarf?  I don’t know!  I just thought it fit. 🙂

Pattern information can be found here: The Tiffany Scarf

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

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

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Christmas Bib Set Crochet Pattens by Darleen Hopkins

Christmas in September?? and Holiday Bibs: Santa, Snowman, Elf and Gingerbread Baby

Celebrate Christmas in September with New Holiday Bib Patterns

I live in a cute, small town. We have a well preserved town square with lots of specialty shops surrounding an old courthouse. It seems like every month there is a festival or a parade or some other hometown event. It is not unusual to see someone sitting on a bench in town playing a banjo, guitar or harmonica. And since we are located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, we have a great combination of southern and mountain small town charm. Something straight out of a Hallmark movie, literally.

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photo by Gayle!

This past week, Hallmark has been filming a Christmas special in our town. A beautiful white building with a gorgeous front porch, located across from where I work, has been covered in fake snow all week. Last week I saw some of the crew carving snow drifts out of blocks of white foam. And every day when I drive home via the square I get this feeling that something isn’t quite right. Then I hits me, oh right, the Christmas decorations in September and the signs that say, “to set” and “base camp” on every corner. And now they have decorated for nighttime scenes too!  This is the second time Hallmark has filmed here.  It is fun to see the filming process and we are happy to host them.

Christmas in September is a little odd, unless you are a crafter.  As crafters we have to get started early on all our holiday gifts and decorations.

Christmas Bib Set Crochet Pattens by Darleen HopkinsFor all you holiday crocheters, I am please to announce my latest patterns, a set of holiday bibs for baby.  A Christmas Elf, a Gingerbread Baby, a Button-Nose Snowman (my favorite) and of course, Santa.  Each is available for individual purchase or as collection with a discount in Crochet Christmas, The Bib Collection.  If you have a heavy drooler (like one of my boys was) make yours in cotton or cotton blend yarn for maximum absorbancy.  Or stitch in acrylic yarn for easy care.  Either way, baby will be super festive for all you holiday events.

christmas-santa-baby-bib-crochet-pattern-by-darleen-hopkins #CbyDH

christmas-snowman-baby-bib-crochet-pattern-by-darleen-hopkins #CbyDH

christmas-gingerbread-baby-bib-crochet-pattern-by-darleen-hopkins #CbyDH

christmas-elf-baby-bib-crochet-pattern-by-darleen-hopkins #CbyDH

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What a month-lots of miles and lots of new patterns

Road Trip and New Patterns – June, 2016

Last month was busy, very busy; both in crochet and personally.   My family and I took a 13 day road trip.  My husband’s goal is to have my boys see the US.  So far, we have been to 46 states!  Last month we drove from Georgia to as far west as Las Vegas.    The trip consisted of sites of such extremes, from the massive natural beauty of The Grand Canyon, to the engineering marvel of the Hoover Dam, to the paleontological with preserved prehistoric dinosaur footprints, to the astronomical with the Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ.  (I can’t read, “Winslow, AZ” without singing “The Eagles, Take it Easy” in my head!)  The trip was amazing and exhausting.  We drove 5,291 miles.  My husband drove the entire time and because the driver is in charge of the radio, we listen to RUSH, the entire time.  That’s OK, the boys and I are fans too.

slot canyons escalante UTThe trip was exhausting.  It. Was. Exhausting.  We got up early to avoid the heat and pushed ourselves with many hikes.  We hiked The Narrows at Zion national park, hiked for hours at Bryce Canyon national park, hiked at 6am to avoid the 110 degree weather at Arches national park.  Even that early it was hot.  And we spent a few hours in the heat exploring the slot canyons in Escalante, UT.  This was probably my favorite hike of the entire trip.  It’s hard to compete with Zion and Bryce.  But my husband and I had been to Zion and Bryce 17 years earlier so the slot canyons were a new experience for us.  And the boys loved it too.  And every muscle in my body hurt after.  Even muscles I didn’t know I had hurt.

Because this trip was exhausting, extremely enjoyable, but exhausting-did I mention that?-I didn’t crochet too much.  I had big plans.  I brought yarn to make a number of hats for donation.  I brought yarn to work on a new design for a fall decoration and I brought yarn to finish up a sample for another design that was 99% ready to go.  I did finish up the sample and was excited to publish Arnie and Annie, Baby Alien Loveys when we returned home.  The rest of the yarn just went on a very long road trip and returned back home unused.

In addition to Arnie and Annie, Baby Alien Loveys, last month I was able to self-publish The Littlest Ladybug, Bib and Rattle set, #familyfun, Tic-Tac-Toe travel game and Blue Rivers Hat.

PHEW!  I need to spend July resting.

AlienLoveysWebsiteBanner

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Crocheted shorts pattern – OMG I found one!

A while back I posted about men in crocheted pants.  That post has become quite a hit-obviously, who wouldn’t want to see men in crocheted pants!  I get a lot of emails asking where to get the patterns.  And I have always had to respond “Sorry, I don’t know.”  Until now.

crocheted shorts by eco-create

Pattern and photo by Kirstie Adamson with EcoCreate. Photo used with permission.

These amazing crocheted shorts can now be made with the awesome pattern by Kirstie Adamson.   I haven’t tried the pattern…yet.  I’m envisioning a pair of capris in blues and greens.  I have the perfect yarn.  I just need to find the time, and the guts, to go for it.   If you decide to make a pair of these shorts, please let me know.  I’d love to see them!!!  The link for the pattern is here: Crochet Shorts Pattern by Kirstie Adamson.  While you are there, check out the website and blog for some great upcycling ideas and tips.

crochet patterns for men

crocheted scarf pattern, del mar, by Darleen Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! del mar Scarf, crochet

I’m super excited to share the latest #CbyDH  pattern! The del mar Scarf. The crochet pattern is pretty easy.  There is one tricky part where one motif ends and another begins (all worked in one piece, seamlessly!) but the scarf is charted so if you get a little confused, you can always refer to the chart.  After you make a couple motifs you won’t even need the pattern, it is that easy!

Did you know? del mar is Spanish for “from the sea” or “of the sea”.

Pattern information can be found here: The del mar Scarf

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

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! The Modern Tote

New #CbyDH Pattern Alert! The Modern Tote is now available!

crochet pattern for a bog. The Modern Tote by Darleen HopkinsAn easy and versatile tote bag for you to make. Use yours as a gym bag, a project bag, a take my lunch and other necessities to work bag, a book bag, a beach bag, a large purse, or make yours in thinner yarn for a smaller purse. Whatever purpose it is made for, it will look fantastic. Pattern is written for heavy worsted/aran weight but it can be made in any weight yarn. Your bag will vary in size if you use different yarn.

Find out more about the pattern here: The Modern Tote

Modern Tote Bag crocheted by Jean, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Jean!

And check out these awesome totes made by some awesome pattern testers!  Interested in testing patterns?  Read this post, How to be a Crochet Pattern Tester.

Modern Tote Bag crocheted by Amanda, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Amanda!

Modern Tote bag crocheted by Sharon, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Sharon!

Modern Tote bag crocheted by Erika, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Ericka!

Modern Tote bag crocheted by Gina, Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Gina!

Modern Tote bag crochet pattern in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice. Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

I was so inspired by the testers that I made a second tote for myself! Crocheted in Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice.

Crochet Pattrn for Kitty Cat Throw Blanket

The story behind the Baby Kitty, Patchwork Throw Blanket Crochet Pattern

The Baby Kitty Blanket

BabyKitty Halloween

Josh, dressed as a kitty for Halloween. He’s showing me his tail with his right hand and you can see Baby in his left.

Some people are dog people, some are cat people.  I’m a cat person.  I’ve had a cat for most of my life so it wasn’t much of a surprise that my youngest son, Josh, loved kitties too.  When he was about three years old, my mother bought him a beanie type stuffed kitty.   The kitty was named “Baby” and Josh carried her around everywhere.  At night I had to wrap Baby in a blue cotton blanket.  She had to be wrapped really tight, rolled up in the middle with just her head popping out.   Baby went on many adventures and very quickly became one of many stuffed kitties that had to be in bed at night with Josh.  But Baby was always his favorite and always the one to be wrapped up extra special.   Like all sweet little boys, Josh has grown and is turning into an amazing young man (14 just last month!) and the kitties have been replaced with things like an iPad and XBox.

Baby Kitty throw blanket crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsA few years ago I was working on a new method for a blanket design, Made with Love, Patchwork Heart Baby Blanket.   When I was drawing it out, Josh watched me.  After a few minutes he said I should make a kitty blanket.  He said I should make it like the heart blanket, but a kitty.  It took me a while but I did design that kitty blanket.  Josh helped me a lot.  He worked with me on the preliminary drawings.  He helped me pick the right colors for both the kitty, blacks and grays of course, just like Baby, and the background, blue of course! And he helped me arrange the squares to avoid the placement of identical colors next to each other.  The child is a puzzle whiz and his help was greatly appreciated!  The naming of the pattern was easy, Baby Kitty.

This blanket has so many memories stitched into it.  Not only the precious memories of Josh’s suggestion and help, but I made most of the squares while on a family road trip.  It was a wonderful family adventure of which the blanket serves as a souvenir.  This blanket will be treasured forever, as will Baby, with her matted fur and scratched up eyes.  She is a sweet reminder of the past and of the sweet little boy who loved her.

In celebration of National Crochet Month and Crochetville’s Blog Tour, I’m giving away 5 copies of this pattern.  Find out more on how you can win a digital copy on my Facebook Page.

PatchworkKitty-001

 

New Pattern Alert-Peek-a-Boo Lion Baby Blanket

March-In Like a Lion

I remember, in either 1st or 2nd grade, an elementary teacher of mine having a huge calendar in her room.  Each month had a saying but the only one I really remember was March-In like a lion, out like a lamb.  I remember thinking it was really weird-how could a lion turn into a lamb??? and what does that have to do with March???  For whatever reason this saying stuck with me for many, many (many…) years.  So when it came time to publish my latest design, I thought the perfect day would March 1!  I’m pleased to announce that March 2016 is indeed, coming in like a lion.  A Peek-a-Boo Lion to be exact.

The Peek-a-Boo Lion Baby Blanket is now available!  Enjoy!!  and enjoy the rest of March!

And of course, is included in my Buy 2 Patterns, get a 3rd for FREE offer! No coupon needed and offered on my Ravelry site.  Shown below in Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn.

Lion Baby Blanket crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins. Peek-a-Boo Lion #CbyDH

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How to be a crochet pattern tester

Help Wanted, Crochet Pattern Testers

WilmaeleeTuxedo

Spiffy Tuxedo bib tested by Donna. Donna has tested a number of my patterns. She’s very sweet and an awesome tester! She’s fast, thorough and does great stitch work.

Have you ever thought about what crochet designers do to finalize their patterns before self-publication?  Besides editing, it is important to have patterns test “knit”.  (FYI-Test knit is a saying often used for both testing a crochet pattern and a knit pattern.)

Why?  What’s so great about pattern testing?

For pattern users:

#1 Pattern testing ensures the instructions can be followed by an individual other than the designer.  When I’m shopping for a pattern, I often look at either reviews of the pattern (Etsy) or on Ravelry, if there are projects linked to the pattern.  I know many people don’t bother with reviews or project/pattern linking.  A fantastic pattern that has been crocheted 1,000 times may not have a single review or a single pattern linked to it.  BUT when it does, I’m able to confirm that at least some crocheters were able to make sense of the pattern and able to recreate what the designer intended.

#2 Pattern testing can offer other interpretations of a design for others to enjoy. For example, when I had my Jester hat tested, one tester made her hat super Halloweenie with hanging spiders and other creepy crawlies.

For designers:

See #1 and #2 above AND pattern testers often see things that editing may have missed.  Things like what yarns will or won’t work with a design.  They may come up with questions that weren’t thought of and need to be addressed or have tips/suggestions on how to improve a pattern.

For testers:

#1 Pattern testing is an important and much appreciated aspect of designing.  By pattern testing you are helping to make crochet patterns better-This benefits the entire crochet community.

#2 Opportunity to get patterns for FREE and before they are released to the general public!

Currently, I run all my pattern testing through Ravelry in the Testing Pool group.  This is a very laid back group with limited rules.  However, I do have requirements that I ask of all my testers.  Each test will have test specifics requirements provided but in general I ask the following:

  1. Work the pattern as written.  This is the number one requirement as the object of the pattern test is to ensure the pattern is doable as it is written.  Minor substitutions may be allowed, for example, foundation single crochet my be substituted for a long starting chain and row 1 of single crochet.  Just please confirm any adjustments prior.
  2. Make gauge.  If gauge isn’t important, I’ll state it but if it is important, then please take the time to match the stated gauge.  Gauge is important for proper fit.
  3. Keep in touch.  Either post in the test thread or email me and let me know you are still working on it. Usually no news is good news but I like to hear you are still working on the project.
  4. Keep details out of the test thread.  Minor typos can be posted in the thread but if you have a question on an entire line, please send me an email or private message.
  5. Respect copyright.  The draft pattern is still protected by copyright.  I’ve never had an issue of testers sharing my patterns, thank you!!
  6. Start right away and finish on time.  If you need a couple days to order/pick up yarn, that’s fine but please let me know.  In the meantime while waiting for your yarn, peruse the pattern and see if any adjustments or errors jump out at you.

Please don’t volunteer if you can’t make the deadline.  My number one testing pet-peeve is testers who don’t finish, ever.  Obviously, life happens.  Let me know if you have an issue and I’ll work with you.  In the past I had a tester get hit with Hurricane Sandy and a tester who ran over a bear in an ATV resulting in a hurt arm.  Usually it’s normal stuff like an unexpected illness that can cause a delay and that is fine.  The excuse of “I was working on another project” isn’t fine so please, if you commit to the test, finish it.  If real life gets in the way and you need an extension, please finish it ASAP. Testers who do not finish are not asked to test again.

So what makes a great tester?

Experience? NOPE!  I’ve had great testers that were beginning level crocheters and first time testers.  If my pattern is geared to that level, then yes! I’d love some beginner crochet testers.  Occasionally I’ll ask for intermediate to advanced crocheters only, but not always.

Attention to detail? YES! I always ask my testers to check for typos.  Did I type year instead of yarn?  Does it makes sense? Was a comma overlooked? Were numbers transposed?

Exactly the same yarn? NOPE!  Usually I want equivalent yarn i.e. yarn that is the same weight and density so that the final result is similar to my sample.  Same weight yarns can behave differently as some are squishy and some are fuller.  I try to state what will or will not be acceptable substitutes.  Ask if you aren’t sure.  Sometimes I want to see the design worked in different weights.  I had a lace-weight shawl tested in worsted and it came out great!

Check stitch counts? YES! Please and thank you.

Able to read a crochet pattern? YES!  Again, all levels are welcome but you must have knowledge of how a crochet pattern is written.

Ability to communicate? YES! I welcome all comments and suggestions.  I have often incorporated my testers suggestions (with acknowledgement of course).  Usually a pattern is written a certain way for a reason but if you think it could be constructed in another, easier way, let me know.

Active on Ravelry? YES!  I will look at your completed projects prior to selection so if you haven’t jumped on the Ravelry bandwagon yet, now is the time.  (Seriously, what are you waiting for?  Ravelry is an amazing crochet source that is FREE to use!)

Photos? YES! A Ravelry project page with photos linked to the pattern will be required.  I prefer clear, in focus, natural light photos and often feature project photos (with permission) on my Facebook page.

And don’t forget…Finish on time!  Thank you!

I find my testers to be invaluable.  Running a pattern test is both fun and educational for me and one of my favorite aspects of designing.  After all, my greatest joy in designing is being able to see others duplicate and use my designs/ideas in their everyday life.

If you are interested in joining my Ravelry earburn list for future tests, please send me PM via Ravelry.  When a new test is posted in the Testing Pool, I will earburn all those who have asked to be notified.  Be sure to read all the stated testing requirements.  An earburn is not a guarantee of testing.  I will review all volunteers’ Ravelry projects prior to selection.  If you are selected to test, your email will be necessary so I may send the pattern to you!  Thank you!!

PatchworkKitty-001