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 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!!

Shells of Love-001

The 2015 Gift-A-Long is almost here!

The 2015 Gift-A-Long (GAL) is almost here!

This is the third year for the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long and I’m so excited for it to begin.  Every year has been a lot of fun and this year, it is bigger than ever and guaranteed not to disappoint.

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

Basically, 335 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.

There is an amazing stats page you can find here: Indie GAL Stats!
#giftalong2015In a nutshell there are:
335 designers from 30 countries.
Over 150 donated physical prizes, and more coming in…
Over 2,300 digital prizes (patterns!)

There are almost 16,000 patterns to knit or crochet that will make you eligible to win one (or more) of the fabulous prizes.  Of the almost 16,000 patterns, 5,065 of them will be on SALE for 25% off!  Yup! Big Savings so stock up on your favorites.  The sale runs from Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm US EST to Friday, November 27, 2015 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.  And be sure to check my Facebook page as I will be featuring a GAL Crochet Pattern of the day, every day of the Gift-A-Long!

You can find all my GAL eligible patterns here: Crochet by Darleen Hopkins on Ravelry 

Lapghans for donation, charity stast bust challenge by Darleen Hopkins

2015 Stash Bust for Charity-November, blanket done!

Blanket for donation is done!

lapghan for donationI’m super excited to share with you the finished Inca Blocks Lapghan!  The pattern was adapted from Beth Graham’s Inca Block Wrap.  The only change I made was to add some stripes and work a few less rows.  Basically I worked the pattern until I ran out of yarn.  The finished blanket is 42″ wide X 39″ long and should be a nice and cozy lapghan.  I know it kept me cozy while I was stitching it 🙂

This blanket and the other lapghan I made earlier this year, will be donated to the local nursing home.  Every year, just before Thanksgiving, the nursing home puts up a wish tree of items needed by residents who don’t have much or don’t receive many visitors.  I always see lap blankets listed and I always wish I had time to make one.  This year I (finally) thought ahead and made two ahead of time.  The tree should be up this week.

Lapghans for donation, charity stast bust challenge by Darleen Hopkins

This blanket is included in my Stash Bust for Charity, 2015 challenge.  The blanket weighs just over 1 pound, 1.5 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 10

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: 4 pounds, 14 ounces!

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

Summer 2015 Wrap Up

Better late than never…

Wow, you know you are a little behind in posting blogs when you find one from -3 MONTHS AGO-that was never finalized and posted.  Well, here it is, a little late and a little out of season.  I’ll try to be a little more timely with the next one!!

August 2, 2015
It seems so odd to me to be thinking that summer is almost over on August 2, but it is; summer vacation anyway.  I’ve lived in Georgia 18 years now and I still haven’t gotten used to kids starting school in early August.  But we have open house tomorrow and the first day of school starts on Thursday.  My oldest has already started his high school marching band practices (Nov. 1 UPDATE: one football game left in the season) and I’ve had my youngest “training” for middle school cross-country all summer.  The first meet is just 3 weeks from tomorrow! (Nov. 1 UPDATE: He has completed his cross-country season and won the Coach’s award for being a good example and having a positive attitude! So proud of him!) Our summer has been busy with a nice family vacation, some friends over for sleepover parties, a camp here and there, getting wisdom teeth removed for one child and the other getting braces, and teaching the oldest to drive (wow!).  With all this, I did manage to squeeze in a little crochet time.

Hot pad crochet pattern. Christmas candy, gingerbread man and snowmanOwl crochet pattern amigurumi by Darleen Hopkins

In May the Peppermint Pals Hot Pad set was released and I was very excited to complete my charity lapghan for donation to the local nursing home in May as well.

Shawl-Moxie Crochet PatternShells of Love crochet baby blanket

June was a little quiet while I worked on a hat for Halos of Hope but July was BUSY! The Owl Always Love You amigurumi pattern was released in July as was my 4th shawl, Moxie. In addition, the Shells of Love baby blanket pattern was updated. Phew! July was a busy, busy month.

Yesterday, August 1, I posted a holiday stocking pattern for testing and hope to have it available by September 1. (Nov. 1 UPDATE: It is now available! It is hard to think of Christmas when the summer bugs are still singing but the holidays will be here in just a few short months.

The two months of no school and my adjusted work schedule have been nice but I am looking forward to the routines that the school year brings us.  I’m always sad when the summer bugs (the singing ones, not the biting ones) go away.  I love listening to them while I crochet on my back porch.

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, June Update

A Birthday Hat for Halos of Hope

Countryside Slouchy crocheted for Halos of Hope, chemo donationPat with 12 Months = 24 Hats  is so sweet.  My birthday was last month and she surprised me with a gift pattern, The Countryside Slouchy.  This hat has a unique style and is one I had not yet made.  It is always fun to try something new and I enjoyed making this hat.  Thanks Pat!!!!

Click on the hat and it will bring you to my Ravelry project page to see more photos.

This hat weighs 3.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 10

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

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 3 pounds, 12.5 ounces!

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Lapghan crocheted with scraps made for donation #CbyDH

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, May Update

Scrap Lapghan!

Lapghan crocheted with scraps made for donation #CbyDHEach November the local Wal-Mart hosts a couple giving trees for charitable organizations that support local kids in need as well as seniors living in the local assisted living center.  Paper ornaments are hung with holiday wishes of the individuals served by the organizations.  Every year I fulfill a child’s wish and purchase something from the store for them.  And every year I notice a senior wishing for a warm lapghan and I think to myself, “Darn it, I don’t have time to make one.”  So this year I was determined to plan ahead and make a lapghan or two in advance.  This is my first and it will be donated this coming November.

While doing research for the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle series, I came across a new-to-me concept for using up small scraps called Magic Balls.  I thought this was a fantastic idea. I  gathered up a number of unused squares and scraps from when I designed the Patchwork Kitty Blanket and made three magic balls with the smaller scraps.  Working in the left-over squares with a version of the Nighty Night Baby Blanket I was able to finish a 30″ X 36″ lapghan.   Phew, that was a lot of ends to work in!!

The blanket weighs 1 pound, 3 ounces.

Yarn scraps for magic ball

The scraps before!!! What a mess 🙂

Magic balls of yarn made with yarn scraps

Magic balls of yarn made with yarn scraps.

 

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 9

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

Total lapghans made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 1

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 3 pounds, 9.25 ounces!