ILikeCrochet.com – how to subscribe

ILikeCrochet.com-online magazine

Winter Sky Cowl, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
February 2017
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Farmstand Watermelon Basket Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

ILikeCrochet.com is an online/digital magazine that is published by Prime Publishing. You can view the bimonthly issues on either your desktop/laptop or your tablet.

The site offers a couple different options for access. Either tablet only, website only or combined tablet and website access. I don’t have a tablet so I only use it via my laptop. The great thing about the website subscription is you get access to ALL THE PREVIOUS ISSUES dating back to April 2014, as well as 6 new issues a year! That’s a lot of patterns and articles. FYI-back issue access isn’t an option with the tablet only subscription, just the website subscription.

In addition to my contributions to the magazine, I have also made the following hats; The Butterscotch Cream Hat from the December 2014 issue and the Darling Baby Hat from the April 2015 issue. Both have been donated to Halos of Hope as part of my 2014 and 2015 Stash Busting Challenges.

Check it out, see all the great patterns currently available and imagine all the fantastic patterns still to come.  If you do subscribe, please follow my link. This is another way they support independent designers by providing referral fees. How awesome is that!

Check out the magazine at this link. > Subscribe!

pretty-in-pink-eyeglass-case

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
April 2017
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Spiced Cider Set; hat and button-up scarf, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
October 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Watermelon Placemat Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Watermelon Napkin Ring Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Fresh Air Scarf crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Blue Rivers crochet hat pattern by Darleen Hopkins, photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
December 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Lime and Lemonade coasters crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Tuxedo Bib crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH, photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
June 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Sunny Days Baby Mobile crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
April 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Owl Always Love You crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
February 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pepermint Pals Hot Pad set pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
November 2014
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

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Blocking Acrylic Yarn-Yes You Can!

Patchwork Kitty BlanketOne of my favorite 100% acrylic yarns to use is Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice, a great aran/heavy worsted weight yarn.  With its bright colors and easy care wash-ability, it is often my yarn of choice for baby blankets, throws and hat and scarf sets.  Even my kitty loves Vanna’s Choice!  Not everything you make with this yarn will need blocking.  However, when you do make an acrylic item that would benefit from blocking, don’t fear.

Blocking acrylic can be done and is easy.   To block acrylic, you must subject the fiber to heat in the form of steam.  Some call it KILLING ACRYLIC, and in many ways, this is accurate in that you do permanently alter the fabric.  The heat “melts” the fibers together to create the blocked shape.  If this is done properly and accurately, you will not notice anything more than a beautifully finished item.   So how do you do this?

First, what do you need?What you need to block acrylic yarn

  • Steam  I choose to use a garment steamer.  Some use an iron with a steam setting.  If you use an iron, it is important that the iron NEVER touches the fabric.  If it does, it will burn and you will end up with a shiny, flattened item with loss of stitch definition.  There are times when this may be the desired effect, but usually it isn’t.
  • Blocking boards
  • Blocking pins-no rust
  • Your item.  I’m using the scarf from the pattern Glacier.  The stitch pattern creates a knit look ribbing on one side and a beautiful texture on the other.  It also causes the scarf to curl.  Blocking is necessary to remove the curl.

how to block acrylic yarn step 1Step One

Pin the item to the blocking boards.  This is the time to stretch it to shape, open up lace and even out the edges.  For this scarf, I just want to remove the curl.  I’m not interested in stretching or opening up the stitches.  I like the ribbing and want to keep it as is.

how to block acrylic yarn step 2Step Two

Attack with steam.  Keep the iron or the garment steamer head about 1/4 to 1/2 inch away from the fabric.  Work the steam over the entire item and use your fingers to make adjustments if necessary (do not place your fingers in direct steam, it will burn you).  I found it is NOT necessary to soak the garment.  Just damp is fine.  For this scarf, I steamed the entire scarf but spent additional time on the edges as that is my area of concern.

how to block acrylic yarn step 3Step Three

Allow to dry, mostly, then repeat on the other side.  I had a couple of sections that did get soaked.  I didn’t worry about them drying.  When the damp parts were mostly dry, about 20 minutes or so, I flipped it over and repeated.  As you can see by the photos, the scarf is laying pretty flat and there was no need to pin.  Giving it a second attack of steam on the other side will finalize the blocking.  Now allow it to fully dry and you are done!

Your finished product will now look like a polished and beautiful handmade work of art!

Glacier scaf before blocking acrylic

Glacier scarf before blocking

Glacier scarf after blocking

Remember, blocking or killing acrylic is permanent.  There will be items you don’t want to block as you wont want them to lose their stretch-ability. You won’t want to do this on something that is crocheted with negative ease.  The sample scarf has a ribbing stitch pattern.  It is purely decorative and not necessary for stretching.  The coordinating hat also uses a similar ribbing stitch pattern however it is necessary for the hat to have give and stretch for proper fit.  I would not want to block the hat as I would not want to remove this necessary design feature of the hat.

Blocking shouldn’t be something to fear but you do need to be aware that it does permanently change the crocheted item.  Therefore, go slow.  You can always block some more but if you do too much, you could end up with something you hadn’t planned for.

Glacier

Magic Circle aka Adjustable Ring, how to

How to make a Magic Circle/Adjustable Ring

I start almost all of the hats I make with a magic circle.  It’s a fantastic way to start anything that is worked in the round if you want to be able to control the amount of “holey space” in the middle.  With the magic ring, you can pull the hole as tight as you physically can leaving no gaping hole in the middle of your hat.  If a pattern suggests you chain 2 then work a round in the second chain, replace it with the magic ring and you’ll be real pleased with the results.

I’ve seen this method called the magic ring, adjustable circle, magic loop and many other similar combinations.  Whatever you want to call it, it is a great way to start a hat or any other item that is worked in the round.

step1 (300x300)1)Create ring and position with working yarn on top.

 

 

 

 

step2A (550x550)step2B (550x550)

2) Insert hook into ring and pull up a loop.

 

 

 

 
step3 (550x550)
3) Secure with a chain stitch.

 

 

 

 

step4A (550x550)step4B (550x550)4) Work stitches of 1st round (sc here) over both BOTH strands of yarn and pull tight with the END strand.

5) Continue with pattern.

 

Oink! Oink! Piglet, Piggy

Crazy for Earflap Hats!

Are  you CRAZY for EARFLAP hats?  I am!

When I started making them, I wasn’t sure how to attach the braids just right.  It took a lot of practice but I believe I have perfected the look.  Follow the tutorial below and you can too.

Tutorial-earflap braid

Tip-When I complete the earflap, I leave a long tail and rather than work the ends in, I work it into the braid.  Two less ends to work in!

RS=Right Side      WS = Wrong Side

1)            For 10” braids, cut 11, 22” pieces of yarn.  Fold in half.Insert hook from WS to RS of earflap and pull the yarn through.  (I find it easiest to use a large hook, size J or larger)

2)            Pull the ends of yarn through the loop and tighten.  Make sure you even out and tidy up any loose strands.

3)            Braid, tie off and trim ends.  Repeat on opposite side making sure braids are the same length.

 Enjoy!

Candy Corn Earflap Hat,
Crochet by Darleen Hopkins