Crochet Potholder Swap!

Potholder swap 1 WEB

First completed potholder for the swap!

I’ve always loved potholder patterns.  There are so many cute, silly and fun patterns available.   I have a lot of crocheted potholders.  They were my first crochet projects.   It was a great way to perfect my tension.  But because they were so simple, they are plain and not at all exciting and are showing some wear.  I’ve had them for about 10 years now.    So when I heard about a potholder swap, I was super excited.

I’ve never participated in any swaps before and have always been curious about them.   I’ve learned that you make the item then mail it along with return postage to whomever the organizer of the swap may be.  She (or he) sorts them all and mails you an item made by another person.  For this swap we are each making three potholders of the same pattern.  The colors can vary but the pattern is to be consistent.  Then, we will receive back three potholders made by three different people!  I think it will be awesome to see the work of others.

I had a heck of a time deciding on which pattern to use.  I was tempted to go whimsical.  Many of my bib patterns could easily be converted to potholders and I was really leaning toward making three pigs (three little pigs, get it?)  But then I saw this Granny Stitch Potholder pattern by Recycle Cindy.  I thought it was adorable and genius in its simplicity.   And I’m really into grannies lately as I’m working on three different pattern designs that incorporate granny squares.  So, the combination of this cute potholder pattern with my quest to work from stash and I quickly became hooked (sorry, no pun intended).

So far I’ve completed one potholder.  Each one is using up a lot of scraps, which is great but results in a ton of ends to weave in.  My goal is to get them in the mail this weekend.  I have a lot of weaving and crocheting to do to in order to finish!

Are you interested in participating?  Check out the Ravelry group here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/2016-potholder-swap

hotpadsHot Pads-Peppermint Pals, Snowman and Gingerbread Man

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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Confessions of a Crochet Addict

You know you are addicted to crochet when…

KissyFishFace (1000x1000) …you are 2 stitches into a 100 stitch row and it is time to leave and you say, “I just have to finish this row first”.

…you keep a project bag in your car for the “just in case I have to wait five minutes to crochet while waiting for ______ to finish”.   (Fill in the blank with any child’s sporting or school event.)

…you find stitch markers in your slippers.

…you buy a new camera just so you can take better photos of your projects.

…you buy a smartphone just so you can take quick photos of your projects.

…instead of counting sheep, you count stitches.

…you don’t mind arriving early to work to secure a parking spot because you are happy to sit in your car and crochet for a few minutes.

…you recall your vacations by which project you made while traveling.  “Oh I remember that trip.  That was when I made….”

…you are more excited for a “snow/ice day” than your kids.

…when packing for vacation you pack your yarn first.

…you find stitch markers in every room of your house.

…you post more photos of yarn and your projects than pictures of your kids.

…road trip = more crochet time (oh, and family time too!).

…you compare how much something costs to skeins of yarn. (It’s how much?  Gosh that’s like five skeins of yarn!)

…your idea of a good date night involves a yarn store and coupons.

…your idea of an exciting Friday night is blocking a shawl.

…you have daily UFO sightings at your house.

…your teenage son actually knows the difference between knitting and crocheting.

…you find stitch markers in the dryer.

…you are having a panic attack because you can’t find your *favorite* G hook.

…you tell your son, “Sorry, your homework has to wait.  I need the computer for this pattern.”

…you’ve used the phrase “yarn diet”.

…you have more throw blankets than couches, loveseats and chairs combined.

…new car shopping involves checking for enough *leg AND crochet bag* room.

…you find crochet hooks under your couch.

…you find yarn under your couch.

…you find stitch markers under your couch.

…you have crocheted by candlelight.

…you get excited when your husband says “road trip” before you even know where he wants to visit.

…you take a vacation day to catch up on things at the house and the number one item on your list is to finish your current crochet project.

…your cat totally ignores the balls of yarn splayed across the floor, “Been there, done that-Meow!”

…you store yarn in your bathtub.

…you find stitch markers at work.

…you are annoyed when you DON’T have to wait at the doctor’s office.

…you have a room dedicated to just yarn and crochet.

…you think it is totally normal to ask someone his or her head circumference.

…you find pieces of yarn in your purse and your coat pockets.

…you find stitch markers in your purse and your coat pockets.

…you suffer from APDS* and AYDS*.

*APDS-Acquired Pattern Disorder Syndrome.  The inability to stop purchasing patterns, resulting in a collection of patterns that far exceeds your life expectancy.

*AYPS-Acquired Yarn Disorder Syndrome.  When you’ve acquired so much yarn you will never, ever use it all in 3 lifetimes.

…you find you can relate to all of the above!

We adopted our cat from a shelter so we don’t know a lot about her parents.  She does have some Manx in her as she does not have a tail.  So…. you might be addicted to crochet when your son asks you to crochet a tail for your cat and you pause a moment thinking over the possibility of this project.
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Relax! And enjoy your healthy addiction to crochet. Now go create something extraordinary.

EyeballPillow900

New Pattern Alert-Love Notes, Mixed Media Cards

Just Released, Love Notes – Mixed Media Cards

Love Notes crochet pattern for mix media cards to make for Valentines or any timeJust in time for Valentine’s Day!  Also perfect for weddings, anniversaries or “just ’cause I love you” days! What’s different about this pattern?  Pattern includes instructions for hearts as well as pre-made templates.  Crochet, print and mail.  It’s that easy!

Pattern available here: Love Notes

Remember, all Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns are Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE when purchased on Ravelry. No coupon needed!


Owl crochet pattern

Crochet and knitting and football and basketball

Crochet and knitting are as similar as two of America’s most popular sports-basketball and football. 

It's a crocheted shawl, not knit!  How to explaid the difference between knit and crochet.

What a beautiful knit shawl! Thank you but it’s CROCHETED!

“She’s crocheting, you know, knitting.” How many times have you heard that?? or “Isn’t crochet just the same thing as knitting?” or “What’s the difference, really? They both use yarn, right?” Well, yes, knitting and crochet both use yarn but as you and I know, they are very different in some ways and very similar in other ways. The next time someone comments how they are the same thing….try to explain the difference in a way many will (hopefully) understand..

Crochet and knitting are as similar as two of America’s most popular sports-basketball and football.
Let me explain.
Yes, knitting and crochet both use yarn and a pointy thing to stitch rows and ultimately a finished item. But they differ in three very important ways.

First, the tool. The crochet hook and knitting needle are about as similar as the balls used to play football and basketball. While both balls are filled with air, they are shaped differently and used differently. Nobody kicks a basketball and nobody dribbles a football.

Next, technique. Both sports have an offense whose purpose is to make a touchdown/basket but how the football offense is played is very different from how the basketball offense is played. Have you ever seen basketball players in a line of scrimmage? Nope. Same with both sport’s defense; they serve the same purpose but executed differently. Similarly, while both knitting and crochet have a goal to create stitches, how those stitches are made are very different. We, knitters and crocheters, use our tools differently. The result is the same, a lovingly stitched item, or for the sports-minded, a game well-played.

Last, language. While both fiber arts use patterns, our language is very different. A crocheter who has never picked up knitting needles is not going to be able to read a knitting pattern. It is a learned skill as is reading a crochet pattern. I have heard a lot of both football and basketball terminology in my house, I have a sports enthusiast husband and two teenage boys, but I really don’t know what most of them mean. I know the basics, a three pointer is good in basketball and a blitz is a football thing, but that’s about all I know. And although I can’t explain basketball terminology or football terminology, I know they are different.

I believe most people know how different the two sports are. That although they have similarities, they are played differently, the tools are different and the lingo is different. So the next time someone makes a comment about your “knitting”, take a second and try this analogy and maybe it will help them understand.  And when you are done explaining it, tell them you are hoping the Chicago Bulls win the Superbowl 🙂

Whispers

Stash Bust Update, Mid-December 2015

Final Count for 2015 Stash Bust Challenge??

Melo hat by ACCROchet

I finished what will likely be my last charitable project for 2015, the Melo Hat by ACCROchet.  It’s a super cute hat.  I had to adjust the pattern a little as my yarn was much thinner than the suggested yarn.  I ended up adding an additional pattern repeat and working a lot of extras rows.  It’s super slouchy with a removable pom-pom.  I hope a young teen will enjoy it.  I’m super happy I was able to complete this during the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry.  There is a slim chance I’ll have time to finish another hat before 2016 starts.  But if not, I’m pleased with the results to date!

The hat weighs over 4.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 12

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

Total blankets made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 2

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 5 pounds, 5 ounces!
Spiffy

Crochet Designer Interview, Janet Brani

Janet Brani with OneLoopShy

Side Strips copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Side Stripes
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

I met Janet last year when I won one her patterns during the 2014 Gift-A-Long.  I choose Ends Well to make as one of my 2015 Stash Bust Challenge hats. I like that fact that there were no ends to work in. I really dislike weaving in ends.  This was my first time making something with slip stitch crochet and the hat is adorable.

Let’s learn a little bit about Janet.

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn? 

I learned to crochet when I was 8. My grandmother taught me, and used to “frog” all my work and wind it right back up into a ball so I could try again! I learned years later that my grandmother was left-handed, which might explain why I hold my hook and tension my yarn a little differently than the norm.

Artifice Slouch (Tunisian) copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Artifice Slouch (Tunisian)
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

I have been designing around 5 years, with the first patterns being ones I created for teaching when I worked at a yarn shop. I submitted a couple of designs to magazines after meeting with editors at CGOA convention, and it has just grown from there.

Why knitting/crochet? What is it that interests you? What do you enjoy most about the craft?

I know how to knit, but always reach for a hook first. Crochet comes naturally to me and knitting is a struggle that usually ends with dropped stitches! When I worked at a yarn shop, I enjoyed a friendly rivalry with my knitting co-workers, which most often revolved around how much faster I could make something!

Countervail copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Countervail
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

What is your favorite design of yours, why? 

My “Messenger Bag” that was featured in the 2014 issue of Vogue Crochet. I love felting crochet and I had this image in my head of making an animal print. It is one of the few times that the finished project actually ended up exactly as I imagined!

How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?

I may have as many as 15-20 WIPs, and I know I will never finish them. Once I lay something aside, I tend to lose interest in it and, truth be told, quite often can’t remember what it actually is!

Spoiler Alert copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Spoiler Alert
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

What are your favorite stitches?

I love slip stitch crochet, and intend to do more designs with it in the new year. I also love linked stitches and have been using them a lot to produce a fabric that is more “knit like”. My newest hat pattern, Alexin, uses both slip stitch and linked stitches.

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?

Yarn shopping!

Thank you Janet!  You can find OneLoopShy on Facebook and on Ravelry.

MerriestOfHolidaysRavBanner

New Pattern Alert-Sunny Days Baby Mobile

Just Released, Sunny Days Baby Mobile, crochet pattern

Sunny Days Mobile, crochet pattern for baby, tweens, teens or anytime you want a little sunshine! #CbyDHCold weather got you down?  Make yourself this adorable Sunny Days Mobile and your forecast will be nothing but rainbows and sunshine!  Also a perfect baby gift or room decoration for babies, tweens and teens.  Pattern available here: Sunny Days Baby Mobile

Remember, all Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns are Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE when purchased on Ravelry. No coupon needed!

Oh, and have you heard about the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long?  This mobile qualifies for prizes if you participate!


Crochet designer interview: Betty Fay Wallace

Crochet Designer Interview, Betty Fay Wallace

Snowbaby crochet pattern by Betty Fay Wallace

Snow Baby Cocoon and Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

I had the pleasure to interview Betty Fay Wallace for this week’s designer interview.  I discovered her last year during the 2014 Gift-A-Long when I made one of her beautiful hats, the La Villa Lace Brim Slouch hat, as part of my 2014 Stash Bust Challenge.  And this year she was one of my assigned designers for my part of the GAL pinning.  (The last two years I have been on the Pinterest team helping to create beautiful boards of the GAL featured patterns.)  Her designs are beautiful and lacy making those of us without a little girl to crochet for very, very jealous!

Let’s get know Betty!

I am retired with two grown children, a grown granddaughter (and an any-minute-now great-granddaughter) and two young grandchildren, and my sweet dog Jake.  I have also been blessed with a large extended family and many friends.

Lucy Lane Sweater by Betty Fay Wallace

Lucy Lane Sweater
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?

At least a hundred years…sometimes I exaggerate.  I just saw a Facebook post that said “I thought it would take longer to get this old”!  Anyway, my grandmother and aunts taught me to crochet and knit at a very young age.  And that was many years ago.

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

After I retired, I decided to enjoy my hobbies of knitting and crochet.  Soon the house, dogs and grandkids were all covered in my projects!  So I decided to sell some of my items on Etsy.  I couldn’t imagine anyone actually buying them but it wasn’t long until I could not keep up with the orders.  The aches and pains – not to mention pounds – soon added up. So I decided to write-up my patterns.  It’s a perfect solution.  I get to play with my hooks, needles and yarn but at a more leisurely pace and still occasionally get in a little exercise.

Seaside Cottage Cocoon/Snuggle Sack and Hat by Betty Fay Wallace

Seaside Cottage Snuggle Sack and Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

What is your favorite crochet tool?

My favorite tool is the Wood Yarn/Thread Holder handmade by willysman on Etsy.  It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and the most useful item I possess.  I had tried every yarn holder and gimmick I could find but had not found anything that worked very well for me.  These are pricey and I hesitated before spending this much.  But I am so glad I did.  The yarn flows smoothly and effortlessly without tangling.

It is such a well made and beautiful item that I know it will be one of the things I pass on to my granddaughters as one of my treasures.  He makes them in a variety of woods.  The price is determined by the wood used.  I also purchased the “thingy” – a separate attachment that keeps the yarn centered.  I haven’t tried it without that piece so I’m not sure it is absolutely necessary.

I am not affiliated with him in any way.  I just love this gadget so much I tell everyone about it.

Nacogdoches Night Scarf by Betty Fay Wallace

Nacogdoches Night Scarf
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

What other crafts do you enjoy?

I love to sew, garden, play with grandkids, reading – anything fun and not too strenuous.

What challenges do you face when designing and how do you overcome them?

Designing is easy!  Putting it down on paper in that foreign language of crochet, formatting a word document, photographing and editing pictures, and keeping up with all the computer knowledge necessary to accomplish all of this is the hard part.  Makes my head hurt!  I also try to include charts with all my patterns.  I can work from a chart much easier than written instructions.  But creating the crochet charts is also a very time-consuming, brain fogging procedure.  But I love the challenge.

I make use of every online resource available, such as, Craft Yarn Council, all the forums on Ravelry, the pattern testers on Ravelry and other Ravelry designers.  The testers and other designers are always so generous with their help and support.  It is a fantastic community!

What was the last thing you crocheted/knit for yourself?

I just finished a beautiful shawl – Rosewater by Janina Kallio. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Duffay/rosewater

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?

Knitting

La Ville Slouch Hat by Betty Fay Wallace

La Ville Lace Brim Slouch Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

Where can we find you?

I didn’t really plan any of this so I didn’t coordinate the names of my sites very well.  I can be found on Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy.  Annie’s Catalog also carries some of my patterns.

My names include Betty Fay Wallace Designs, Maison de Terre Handmade Gifts and Cielo’sCloset.

And on Facebook.

Thank you!
I LOVE the Nacogdoches Night Scarf, above, and I asked Betty about the name.  She said it was designed for her granddaughter’s homecoming football game at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.  And the Lucy Lane sweater is named for her soon-to-arrive great granddaughter!  How sweet!!

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