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?

Crochet to do list and a hat challenge

Hats, and Lists and Bears, Oh MY!

Hats for Halos of Hope; bears for a sweet charitable project called Team Lewis I just found out about and has a very special meaning to me; a new design currently in progress; new design ideas I’m dying to get started on; the CGOA Master Crochet Program I’m determined to start and finish in 2015; and EYEBALLS, gotta have more eyeballs in lots of colors.  So much to crochet and so little time.

cotton and cotton blend yarn stash for charity crochet

How many hats and bears will this yarn make?

What do you do when you can’t decide what project to crochet first?  Do you have multiple WIPs going at once, skipping from one project to another or do you just crochet as fast as possible to finish one item and then move onto the next?

Me, I’m a list girl.  Growing up I remember my dad making lists.  They’d be in the corner of his desk blotter with the items crossed out as completed.  I don’t remember or know what the lists were for, “to do” lists of some sort, but I can still visualize them on his desk in the house I grew up in.  I guess that is why I make lists for everything.  I make them at work, I make them at home.  I make lists for my kids of chores to do when school is out and my husband and I have to work.  I make lists for the grocery shopping (sectioned into quadrants: grocery, non-food, cold stuff and produce).  And I make lists of items to pack for when we go on vacation.  Lists for everything!

See UPDATE below! So here’s my list of crochet items I plan to stitch in April.  I tend to get bored making too much of one thing so I have to mix it up a little.  I’m going to try to stick to it and in order…

1) Finish WIP hat for Halos of Hope
2) 2 bears for Team Lewis
3) Cotton hat for Halos of Hope
4) Work a night or two on WIP design
5) 2 more bears for Team Lewis
6) Work a night or two on WIP design
7) Cotton hat for Halos of Hope, ship all hats made to date
8) 2 more bears for Team Lewis, prepare for shipping
9) Finish brown eyeball
10) Start that new design you want to do so badly!!

UPDATE:  After drafting this post but prior to publishing, I received a challenge from Pat.  She bet me 2 skeins of cotton yarn that she could make more hats for Halos of Hope this month than I can.  I say GAME ON!  I may have to tweak the order of my crochet to do list a bit due to this new development and pick up in May what I don’t get to this month.  Halos of Hope is such a great organization so I want to make as many hats as possible.  Also, I want to WIN!   And I do want to make at least 6 bears this month as they need to be in the mail by the end of the month.

Revised list
1) 6 bears then as many hats as physically possible.

Looks like my crochet time will be spent mainly on hats and bears.  And it looks like we may be eating a lot of frozen dinners this month.  Less time cooking = more time crocheting!  So much to crochet, so little time.

Silly hats for silly kids crochet patterns by darleen hopkins

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

Happy Puppy Hat, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Mid-January update

New Challenge for 2015

It’s a new year and therefore time for a new challenge.  A couple of years ago I decided I was going to work on busting out some of my stash yarn and make hats for chemo donation.  My 2013 Stash Bust Challenge was focused on a box full of Bernat CottonTots yarn.  I ended up crocheting 5 pounds, 15.5 ounces of it into 32 hats for Halos of Hope or other charitable donation.  I had also crocheted other hats for donation in different yarn that I didn’t include in the count.  I was pretty busy with hats that year.  Last year’s challenge didn’t focus on any yarn in particular, just random yarn in my stash.  Last year I made 24 hats out of 5 pounds, 4.25 ounces!  I must have made some pretty heavy hats!

It would seem that most of my stash yarn would be close to gone at this point. Sadly, no.  I still have too many boxes of yarn.  So 2015 will once again be all about working from stash yarn for charitable causes. This year’s goal will be a minimum of 24 hats and 5 pounds of yarn.  I’ve got some funky fun fur that needs to used and a ton of cotton and cotton-blends that will be perfect for chemo hats.  I also hope to make a lapghan or two.

Let’s start this challenge off with the first 3 hats of 2015 completed!

Hat for Halos for Hope, crocheted by Darleen HopkinsThe first is called End’s Swell.  I won this pattern in the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry last month.  It is stitched with slip stitches which was totally new to me.  The final result is adorable.  The pattern is a great way to use up smaller leftovers without having to work in a million ends.  I can see making more of these in random stripes as leftovers come available.

Divine Hat for Halos of Hope, crocheted by Darleen HopkinsNext is another Divine Hat.  This is a great pattern and my third one.  I used Caron Simply Soft for this one.  It looks great but, going forward, I’ll use thinner yarns when making this pattern.  I loved it in Caron Spa.

Happy Puppy Hat, crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsLast is a Happy Puppy.  Last month I re-worked the pattern in Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand.  I also re-formatted the pattern and took new pictures.  The pattern was originally written with Bernat  Denim Style-a great cotton/acrylic blend.  Unfortunately this yarn has been discontinued.  I (of course) have a few skeins of it in my stash and found this hat partially finished.  Because Denim Style is super soft and perfect for chemo hats, I finished it and will include it in my next batch of hats to Halos of Hope.

This 2015 challenge is on and off for a good start!

The three hats weigh 7 ounces.

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

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 7 ounces

CrochetForMen

 

Pattern Re-Launch: Happy Pets, Kitty and Puppy

Cat and Dog Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen HopkinsThe adorable Happy Pets hats was one of my earlier patterns.  The original recommended yarn had been discontinued so I reworked the pattern with the awesome Vanna’s Choice yarn by Lion Brand.  In addition to the new yarn, and photos, I reformatted the pattern presentation.  The original pattern is still the same, just presented a little bit prettier now.  I hope you like it!  In celebration, I’m offering it at 50% off (Ravelry only) from now until Jan. 18, 2015 midnight EST.  Just make sure you use coupon code “HappyPets50percent”.

Buy Now Link with coupon code already applied or learn more about this adorable pattern.

SillyHatsSillyKids (800x99)

Got Drool?

Got Drool?

I’d like to introduce a few of my latest designs….Drool Bibs!

 Penguin Drool Spit Bib

Penguin Drool Spit Bib

Polar Bear Drool Spit Bib

Polar Bear Drool Spit Bib

Hippo Drool Spit Bib

Hippo Drool Spit Bib

Lion Drool Spit Bib

Lion Drool Spit Bib

Baby Bear Drool Spit Bib

Baby Bear Drool Spit Bib

Bunny Rabbit Drool Spit Bib

Bunny Rabbit Drool Spit Bib

My oldest was a drooler-big time.  He was an adorable, chubby, happy baby that soaked everything!  I wish I knew how to crochet back then (I learned when he was about 5) because I spent a small fortune purchasing cute drool bibs to soak it all up and keep him dry.

Babies like him are what inspired me to design these adorable drool bibs.  Make them in cotton or cotton blend yarn for maximum absorbency.  I made mine in Knit Picks Comfy Worsted-what a great yarn!  These bibs work up quick and are sure to be a hit at any baby shower.

Each bib pattern set comes with 2 patterns.  So far I have made 3 sets; Forest Friends-Adorable Bunny and Sweet Baby Bear, Safari Friends-Happy Hippo and Loveable Lion and just released, Polar Friends-Preppy Penguin and Charming Polar Bear.  Be on the lookout for more.  I’m addicted to designing them and have plans for many, many more Friends!

Patterns are available on Etsy, Craftsy and Ravelry for $3.50/ SET (2 patterns per set)  Don’t forget, all Crochet by Darleen Hopkins purchases on Ravelry are Buy 2, Get 1 Free!  No coupon needed!