Sunny Days Baby Mobile crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Time for Spring, April 2015

Springtime Crochet

Spring was late to north Georgia this year but when it finally did arrive, it brought the beautiful and bright colors of the springtime flowers.  First the sunny yellow daffodils, then the bright purple pink of the redbud trees and the sweet purple of vinca.  Currently the white and pink dogwoods are in bloom and azaleas in many shades of pink to red and white are starting to show their colors too. Of course the new green leaves are popping out and to the dismay of many, the light green of pine pollen covers just about everything in sight.  It is because of the pine pollen that I am always happy to see April showers.  Springtime is beautiful and colorful and often wet.

I finally had a chance to peruse the latest issue of ILikeCrochet.com, April 2015.  And just like the colors Mother Nature brings us in the spring, this issue is full of gorgeous and bright patterns and projects to bring a little springtime to everyone, even if nature is a little late.  From the bright Flower Power Throw on the cover to one of my favorites, the Retro Flower Cushion (adorable!). Blooms abound on hats, bags and in the lace of shawls, wraps and tops.  There are some wonderful gift ideas for new baby and Mother’s day.

Sunny Days Baby Mobile crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

photo courtesy of ILikeCrochet.com

And because we are always thankful for April showers that not only bring May flowers but clear the pine pollen from the air and the cars, the Sunny Days baby mobile would make a great gift to any expectant parent.  I just had to give a shout out to my design. 🙂

I’ve already started a Darling Baby Hat in extra large as one of the hats for my 2015 Stash Bust Challenge.  What will your first project be?

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Early April Update

Bears and Hats and Hats and Bears

Cubed Hat, Relaxed Beanie crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins with adjusted stripingchemo crochet beanie for halos of hope - Cubed Hat, Relaxed Beanie crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins with adjusted stripingThe Cubed Hat with alternate striping.—–>

This past week my boys been on spring break so we decided to take a quick road trip to Tennessee and Alabama.  The road trip was fun and we saw some great sites.  Raccoon Mountain, Cathedral Caverns, Russell Cave National Monument and Little River Canyon National Preserve.   Whenever we road trip my husband does most of the driving.  This gives me lots of crochet time.  This is good because  as mentioned in my last post, Pat, with 12 months = 24 hats challenged me to hat-off.  We are competing to see who can make more hats for Halos of Hope this month.  In addition to hats, I’m making bears for Team Lewis.  Lots to crochet in April!

Relaxed Beanie Cubed Hat Crochet, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins Cubed Hat Relax Beanie Halos of Hope, crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsI decided to make a Cubed Hat as my first hat for this challenge as my husband wears his Cubed Super Slouchy a lot and I thought it would be nice to make one for donation.  Halos of Hope always seems to need hats for men.  My intent was to make a Cubed Hat, Super Slouchy but apparently I picked up the pattern for the Cubed Hat, Relaxed Beanie!  Whoops!  About 80% into the hat I realized I was making a beanie.  Oh well. The good thing about this error was I had enough green yarn to make a second beanie.   I used the same pattern but adjusted the striping.  My husband really liked the color combination so it looks like I’ll be making him one as well.

teddy-bears-team-lewis crocheted bear for Team LewisThe bears are a lot of fun to make.  Team Lewis is a sweet organization, please check it out.

It’s been a busy month so far!  The two hats and three bears weigh 12.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 6

Total bears made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 3

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 1 pound, 4.5 ounces!

 

Crochet Photography 101

Crochet without a hook and yarn.

Kitty on crocheted blanket, Shells of Love pattern by Darleen Hopkins

My kitty with Shells of Love baby blanket.

It’s mid-March.  Wow! Have you heard time goes by faster the older you get? It is so true.  It is hard to believe 2015 is almost 1/4 over.  Not only is this year flying by but I’ve hardly had any crocheting time in 2015.  I’ve been busy, really busy, just not with crochet.  The beginning of the year is always hectic.  Because I do all the bookkeeping and tax filing for my husband’s business, the first couple of months of the year are full of year-end processing and payroll, corporate and personal tax filing.  On top of this more than average work-at-home paperwork, my real job had significant deadlines last month and just to make it all a little more crazy, Mother Nature threw in an ice storm (no power for far too long), and some snow to the mix.  Add two active boys and a husband and it’s been hectic.  Last, and because I believe I’m superwoman, I decided to take a photography class.  All my free time has been dedicated to this class and I’m loving it.

I purchased my first DSLR camera last fall.  It was time to step up from the point and shoot as I just wasn’t getting the photos I wanted for my crochet patterns.  Yup, that’s right.  I bought a camera for my crochet.  Sounds like another “you know you are addicted to crochet when…” but it is true.

The Nikon D3200 is great.  It’s an entry-level DSLR and so far I’ve been really pleased.  Up until this photography class, camera operations were a mystery to me.  I stuck to the pre-programmed settings as aperture, f-stop, ISO and shutter speeds were recognizable words but were so confusing to me.   But why have a camera that can do all sorts of tricks and not use them?  So I enrolled in a beginner photography class and when it completed last week, enrolled in the intermediate class.  I’m hoping to continue on to the advanced class.  If not next month, maybe this summer.

Because I purchased the camera to take photos of my crochet, I decided to have all my class photos crochet related.  THIS is how I’m working on my crochet.   Not with a hook and yarn but with a camera.  In the beginning this wasn’t too bad.  The assignments were basic; use your shutter speed to show motion or adjust the aperture to vary your depth of field.  But the homework is getting a little harder and a little more abstract in the intermediate class.  It might be a little easier for me if I took photos of flowers or scenic landscapes.  Having to work crochet into each photo is starting to prove a bit of a challenge.  However, this is a challenge I welcome.  Although I don’t have any current hats or other designs to share with you, I’d like to share some of my favorite photos from the beginner class.

Shells of Love Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Shells of Love Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern modeled by my kitten 🙂

Piranha Monster Fish Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Black Piranha Monster Fish Hat modeled by my oldest 🙂

Charmed Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Charmed Shawl Crochet Pattern

Cubed Slouch Hat Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Cubed Hat modeled by my husband 🙂

Picture Perfect Crochet Baby Banket Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Picture Perfect Crochet Baby Blanket Pattern

Glacier Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Glacier Crochet Hat Pattern modeled by my youngest 🙂

I’m taking the class at the local university through the continuing education program.  The instructor is great and it is a great group of students-even a couple of crocheters in the bunch!  I’ve learned a lot but have so much more to learn.  If you have any interest in photography or have a DSLR camera but haven’t made it beyond full green auto, check out a class.  You will be glad you did.  I know I am.

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Enough Snow Already

 Seriously? More snowy yuckiness?

Crochet Flapper Hat by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/waiting-for-spring-flapper-hat-with-roseI had just stepped out of the shower when I received the call that my boys’ school had a two-hour delay, what?  Thor (is that the name of the latest winter storm?) was only supposed to bring us some nighttime lows.  Shortly after that call, I received a text that my job, the local university, had a one hour delay.  Universities aren’t so quick to close or delay, so I figured that warranted a look outside and sure enough, there was snow on the ground.  It was only a dusting and I can’t really complain as I know other southern areas got a lot of snow and northern areas will receive even more, but still, enough is enough!

Spring will be here in TWO WEEKS! so in celebration of warmer days ahead, I’m offering my Waiting for Spring, Flapper Hat at 50% off for the next week.  Use coupon code EnoughSnow2015 at checkout, Ravelry purchases only, expires 3/15/2015 midnight EST.  This is an awesome hat for young ladies in sizes to fit American Girl doll/preemie to small teen/preteen (approx. 12.25-20.5″ head circumference).  Crochet yours in aran/heavy worsted cotton for warmer days ahead or acrylic or wool for the colder days that continue to linger.

Why delay school with only a dusting?  Georgia isn’t equipped to handle snow or ice.  Our best winter mess removal tool is the sun.  See this post for more info on the lack of snow preparedness in Georgia.

Whispers, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/whispers-shawl-shawlette-or-scarf

Cubed Hat Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Snow in Georgia and Warm Crocheted Hats

Bentley and Glacier Crochet Hat Paterns

Bentley and Glacier, Crocheted Hats for Young Men

Old Man Winter is Back in Georgia

This winter has been unreal.  The northeastern US has really been hit with insane amounts of snow.  Up until about 2 weeks ago, I thought the southeast was going to escape the wrath of the multiple winter storms.  Nope, no way.  Mother Nature wasn’t going to let The South get off easy.  We were hit with an ice storm on 2/16 and as a result, we went without power for 4 very long days.  Temperatures sunk to single digits during the time we had no heat and no water.  (This is something I learned the hard way.  When you have well water, once the power goes out, so does all water!) Although we had a generator to keep the freezer going, a few lights, an occasional TV show and the microwave to heat up hot chocolate, we were still pretty cold.  There’s just so much space heaters can do.  But we survived and we were lucky to have no damage to our water pipes.
Bentley Crochet Hat Pattern
Then more snow came on 2/23 and once again on 2/25.  Thankfully, we didn’t lose our power with the arrival of the last storm.  This last batch of snow brought us about 3 inches.  I used to live in upstate New York and up there 3 inches is nothing.  But here in Georgia we don’t have snow plows and only a couple salt trucks for the entire county.  Three inches of snow cripples all transportation.  In fact, my boys have only been to school one day in the last two weeks and I’m sure they will have another snow day tomorrow.  Temperatures are reaching into the 40s today and the sun is shining brightly.  Lots of the snowy mess is melting but what remains will freeze again tonight.  But before the sun melted it all away, my boys, my husband and myself got out and enjoyed this rarely seen winter wonderland.  And to keep them warm, I thought it would be fun for each of them to wear a different hat.  They modeled and I snapped pictures-Enjoy.Glacier Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen HopkinsCubed Hat Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsBentley Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen HopkinsGlacier Crochet Hat Pattern

Glacier, Cubed and Bentley Crocheted Hat Patterns

Glacier, Cubed and Bentley Crocheted Hats

 

Stash Bust Challenge, 2014 September Update

Crocheted in Cascade Yarn’s Bentley

Crocheted by Darleen Hopkins for Halos of HopeI just finished this hat about an hour ago and I’m really excited to share it with you!  This past Saturday I was playing around with some of the fantastic Cascade Yarn I received from Shannon a few months ago and decided to “wing it” with an idea.  Four days later I have this adorable hat!  I’m really pleased with the final design and pretty sure this one is going on my “make sure your write up this pattern” list.   I used 100% of the 3.5oz skein.  The hat can be worn with the ends rolled up and the hat pushed back, slouchy style, or pulled all the way down over ears.  I added a pompom because they are fun.  But I didn’t sew it on.  Instead, it is attached with a safety-pin so the user and alter the style either with or without the pompom or it could be removed when the hat is washed.  I hope you like this one as much as I do!

Bentley yarn is an easy care, 75% acrylic, 25% superwash wool blend.

Halos of Hope is falling short on the need for adult hats.  I’m going to try to get at least one more done before I mail this one out.  I’m behind in my Stash Bust Challenge for 2014 but I’ll keep on stitching!

Total hats made in the 2014 Stash Bust Challenge: 14

Total weight of the hats to date: 2 pounds, 12 ounces.

Buy 2 Get 1 Free on Ravelry, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins

Stash Bust Update, March 2014, on Safari with Halos of Hope and Stitches South

I’m always so excited to hear when Halos of Hope has a new collection campaign. Mainly because they are awesome and do awesome work but also because it gives me some direction on what type of hat to make.  Sometimes I’ll have a ball of yarn sitting in my basket begging for me to make a hat with it but I’ll have no idea what design or pattern to use.  Then, along comes Halos of Hope with a new themed collection and BINGO, the light bulb comes on (and I don’t even need my Thinking Cap!) and I know exactly what to do with that yarn.  That is what happened with both some brown yarn and this crazy Pomp-A-Doodle yarn I had purchased.

Zombie Monkey Hat crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/projects/DarleenHopkins/zombie-sock-monkey-attacks-hat-with-or-without-earflaps-2

Halos of Hope’s latest themed collection is ‘On Safari’ for Atlanta area children’s hospitals.  Basically, they are requesting any type of themed hat that can be found on safari or at the zoo.  They are collecting the hats and plan to distribute them while in town for Stitches South in April.  If you remember, last year they went ‘Under the Sea’.  So with this in mind, I peered into my yarn bin and that super soft, dark brown yarn I had no idea what to do with yelled out at me-MONKEY!  but not just any monkey, ZOMBIE MONKEY!! He’s a cute little guy with mismatched zombie button eyes.  I hope he brings a smile to a brave young man (or lady).

Lion Hat for Halos of Hope, used Zombie Monkey pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zombie-sock-monkey-attacks-hat-with-or-without-earflapsThe second ball of yarn to call to me was this crazy Pomp-A-Doodle yarn.  I thought it would make a pretty good lion.  I had to get a little creative with this one.  Click on the photo to bring you to the project notes-you won’t believe what pattern I used!

Striped Stocking Hat from Candy Corn crochet pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/candy-corn-earflap-hat-stocking-cap

My last hat to share was actually started in …2012… and I finished it up in February during the Winter Olympics (Ravellenic Games on Ravelry).  This is another hat where I got creative with the pattern as I used the Candy Corn Stocking Cap for this one.  I’m real please with it and it too will be donated to Halos of Hope when they are in town next month.  The three hats come in at 9 ounces.

Total hats made in 2014 challenge to date: 6

Total weight of the hats made in the 2014 challenge to date: 1 pound 1.25 ounces

Pattern Testing for Hope

Thank You Amazing Pattern Testers!

Whenever I’m ready to release a new pattern, I always tech edit and pattern test it.  There’s a great group on Ravelry where individuals volunteer to test patterns, for free.  They work through it and let me know if anything is confusing and could be worded better.  Or if stitch counts are wrong, if I missed a “ch 1 and turn” or even typos.  I usually ask my testers to list final yarn usage so I know if my amounts listed are accurate.  It’s a great group and everyone wins.  The testers get a lot of free patterns and the designers get a lot of free help from the very people who use the patterns.

When I was ready to test my Kissy! Kissy! Fish Face Hat, I tried something different.  With the help and blessing of the group’s moderator, Chris, I made an unusual request of the test that the tested hat be crocheted in chemo friendly yarn and then mailed to me to be donated to Halos of Hope for their Under the Sea Campaign for Atlanta area hospitals.  I wasn’t sure what to expect-postage is expensive and a lot of people don’t have the extra $$ for postage, but boy did this great group of ladies step up to the challenge.  I had 16 volunteers in a short period of time.  From the 16, I received 26 hats for donation!   What a great, giving group!

Kissy Fish Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsCrochet Pattern Kissy Fish by Darleen HopkinsKissy Kissy Fish Face Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsFish Hat crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsHats for Halos of Hope

Check out these amazing fish!  I included the 3 that I’ve made so far.  I’ve got a couple more fishy hats I plan to finish up this week (Stash Busting for Hope!).  Once they are done, I’ll be packing up all 31 hats to send to those brave young fighters.

Find out more about Halo’s Under the Sea Campaign.  It’s not too late to make a hat and get it in the mail to them.  I’m offering a 50% off coupon on my Ravelry site for the Kissy! Kissy! Fish Face Hat pattern.  Use coupon code “HOHFishFace” to save $2.25 on the pattern, then, apply the savings to your postage.  You’ll be so glad you did. : )

Coupon code expires 3/15/2013 midnight EST

Enjoy!

Buy 2 Get 1 Free on Ravelry, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins