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

 

Stash Bust 2014, Final Update

Last, but not least… but what is it?

Critter Hat for Halos of Hope, chemo charity crochet hat

Critter Hat

December 31, 2014 and my last hat of the year for the 2014 Stash Bust Challenge was just finished.  I didn’t think I’d have time for another hat this year but then remembered this hat I had started a couple of months ago and hadn’t finished.  There’s a reason I didn’t finish it…fun fur/eyelash yarn.  I’m not a fan of this type of yarn but for some reason (clearance aisle a few years ago!) there are a few skeins of this stuff in my possession. UGH.  There’s no pattern for this critter.  I just made a hat.  As it progressed it was kinda large so I added some super bulky yarn as an edging to tighten it up.  Then, to use up what was left, made some ears-why not?-to create a critter of some sort.  The edging part is pretty tight on Buffy’s head so I’m hoping it will fit a large child.  The good news is I used up all the super bulky and the dark blue fur yarn, less than a yard leftover of each, and created a hat some child will (hopefully) like. The bad news, I have more of this fur stuff, lots more.

This hat weighs 4.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2014 Stash Bust Challenge: 24
Total weight of the hats made for donation in 2014: 5 pounds, 4.25 ounces!

Check back in a week or so for a new 2015 Challenge!

Stash Bust 2014, Mid December Update

Purple Butterscotch for Halos of Hope

Butterscotch Cream crochet hat made for Halos of Hope
Here’s the second hat for December in my 2014 Stash Bust Challenge.  This is the Cable and Rib Slouchy Hat from Red Heart.  I really like this pattern.  It uses short rows for the crown shaping and it’s pretty easy.  When I was a little more than half-way through I realized I wouldn’t have enough purple yarn (Caron Simply Soft) so I added the blocks of cream to get the needed circumference.  The only other modification I made was a slight adjustment to the brim.  I’d like to add a pom-pom but I’m going to wait until I have a chance to crochet another Divine Hat with the remaining cream yarn as I don’t want to run short.  If there’s enough cream left over, I’ll make a pom-pom for this hat.  If not, it looks good as is!

This hat weighs 3.5 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2014 Stash Bust Challenge: 23
Total weight of the hats to date: 5 pounds!

Gift-A-Long Designer, Sarah Jane Jackson

Sarah Jane Jackson, Crochet Designer

Frostberry Hat crochet pattern by Sarah Jane

The Frostberry Hat Crochet Pattern by Sarah Jane

I’ve not had the opportunity to meet Sarah in person (I’m in Georgia, USA she’s in Queensland, Australia) but  was first introduced to her when I tested The Acacia Cloche pattern of hers in 2011.  She was so sweet and friendly during the test that I was more than excited when I had an opportunity to get to know her a little bit better through an online designer forum.  In the last year, I’ve made two more of her patterns, The Winter Tracks Hat and The Frostberry Hat.  Her designs are beautiful and stylish and always current with today’s trends.  And of course, exquisitely modeled on her lovely children.

Let’s get to know a little more about Sarah.

The biggest thing about me I guess is that we have 8 children! 7 of them at home, the kids at home range in age from 23 down to 4 and 5 of them are boys (which always leaves me short of models!). It’s busy but housework seems to have become more optional as I get older, leaving me enough time to crochet ;). My youngest starts school next year and I am hoping to turn designing into a decent part time job…..we will see how that goes!

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

Evening Delight Shawl by Sarah Jane

When I first learned to crochet I only knew chain, so I used to design things made with chains and find a way to link them together. I didn’t learn to read patterns until I was about 20 so I have always designed. A few years ago I came across a little ad on a website looking for sample knitters/crocheters and designers, I sent off an email and haven’t looked back since…..I stumbled across Ravelry about 6 months later and that was a match made in heaven, I couldn’t believe that there was actually somewhere I could sell my own designs!

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

I have crocheted as long as I can remember with a few breaks for other types of craft. I always come back to crochet because I love the portability and convenience, Also the sheer creativity in being able to take a piece of string and a hook then being able to turn it into something beautiful, it thrills me every time!

What inspires you and/or your designs?

Steam Punk Corset Crochet Pattern by Sarah JaneJust about anything, colour, fashion and yarn I think would be the top 3. I am often inspired by a stitch pattern I love and want to find a way to use and I often want to create a certain ‘look’ with what I am making. My steampunk collection was the result of chasing a type of style or ‘look’.

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

Hmmmm I am not counting my wip’s…I might give myself a heart attack.  I am sure I have more than I actually remember! I always have at least 3 things on the go at a time and there are a few that are in time out or hibernation. I am pretty ruthless though, if I get bored with them or decide I won’t finish then I rip them out.  I am often ripping something out if I am not happy with it. The ladies in my craft group have been known to almost cry when I start ripping something that is almost completed (this happens more often than I like to admit).

What was the last thing you crocheted for yourself?

Winter Tracks crochet hat pattern by Sarah Jane

Unfortunately here in Brisbane most of my style of crochet is not really wearable although I try and wear at least some of my hats. I haven’t finished anything specifically for myself yet but I am in the (very slow) process of making myself a summer top. I’m not quite sure I will ever get it finished though as the colour isn’t thrilling me at the moment.

Thanks Sarah!  I anxiously await some more of  your designs.

The hat at above is Sarah’s Winter Tracks Hat.  It is the second time I made this hat.  I accidentally left the brim off this one but it still looks fantastic anyway.  See below for links to where you can find Sarah and her designs.

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sarah-jane
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sjack44/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahjaneDesignscrochet
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/Sarahsshoppe

 

Whispers Crochet Shawl Pattern

Stash Bust 2014, First December Update

Another Winter Tracks by Sarah Jane Made for Halos of Hope

Winter Tracks crochet hat pattern by Sarah JaneI’m still plugging away at my Stash Bust Challenge.  I’m beginning to realize I won’t be making 7 pounds worth of hats but that’s OK.  I’ll make what I can.  This is my second Winter Tracks hat, designed by Sarah Jane.  The hat is written to have a brim.  I was so tired and so excited to finish the hat last night that I completely forgot to add it.  Oh well, I think it looks great with and without so I’m going to leave it as it.  Great pattern!  Gotta go, I need to get stitching…

This hat weighs 4.75 ounces.

Total hats made in the
2014 Stash Bust Challenge: 22
Total weight of the
hats to date: 4 pounds, 12.5 ounces.

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

Gift-A-Long Designer, Denise Balvanz

Denise Balvanz, Knitting Designer

Reindeer hat crochet pattern by Denise BalvanzI had the pleasure to interview Denise for my second post in the Designer Interview Series.  Most of her designs are knit although she does have the cutest little crochet reindeer hat I have ever seen.  Seriously, do they get any cuter than this? Denise is also participating in the Gift-A-Long this year and has hand-picked a couple of her favorite designs that would make great gift ideas for the holiday season.  I am in awe of her colorwork and a huge fan of the Roses Christmas Stockings series, see photo below.  With great pleasure, I’d like to introduce Denise Balvanz!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Amaliya Knit Pattern Set includes caplet, hat, mittens and fingerless mitts.

Amaliya Knit Pattern Set includes caplet, hat, mittens and fingerless mitts. Modeled by one of Denise’s beautiful daughters.

Most people who meet me remember first that we have 8 children! Most of them are grown now but we still have 7th and 12th graders that we are homeschooling. I have sewn and knit a lot of clothes for growing children! Over the past 10 years I have taught at my LYS, spent 3+ years working with a small US-based Norwegian yarn distributor where I packed orders, set up a retail website, helped proofread/tech-edit the patterns she was translating and ran the business when she was out of the country, and most recently, spent more time designing patterns and knitting for fun!

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

My love of fiber crafts started when I was quite young, maybe 6 or 7 years old. I remember a friend of my mom’s helping me learn to knit when we were on vacation. My grandmother was a knitter and crocheter too but mostly I am self-taught.

What other crafts do you enjoy?

If it involves fiber I have probably given it a try; embroidery, counted cross stitch, needlepoint, macramé (hey, it was the 70’s). My biggest loves though are knitting, crocheting and sewing.

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

I have a bent toward entrepreneurism. I was a custom dressmaker/alterationist for 25 years as my children were growing. Then about 10 years ago, I walked into the LYS and was asked if I would like to teach some classes. Some of my designs were patterns for the classes I taught at there.

I have never been good at following a pattern without making at least a few changes to it. My first designs for my own use came about because of that. Except for the stranded patterns that I generally chart first, I design a lot of things on the needles as I knit. My knitting friends are always amazed at that. I have the ability to “see” the knitting in my head as I knit and even as I read a pattern.

What inspires you and/or your designs?

Endless Roses Christmas Stocking knitting pattern set by Denise BalvanzI love clean, classic styles; cables and textures; and the 2-color Norwegian designs. Working with a Norwegian yarn line and visiting Norway in 2010 were highlights of my designing career. I am hoping to use more of the ideas from the Norwegian traditions in my future designs.

Thank you so much Denise!  You can find out more about Denise and her beautiful patterns at the following links:

Ravelry — DeniseInIowa,
http://www.ravelry.com/designers/denise-balvanz
Website — http://denisesneedleworks.com
Blog — http://denisesneedleworks.blogspot.com/
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/DenisesNeedleworks
Pinterest — http://www.pinterest.com/DeniseInIowa/

Shawls B2G1

Elsa Frozen hat crocheted by Darleen Hopkins https://crochetbydarleenhopkins.com/patterns/

Stash Bust 2014, Last November Update

Elsa and Ninja Hats for White Christmas Donation

Elsa Frozen hat crocheted by Darleen Hopkins https://crochetbydarleenhopkins.com/patterns/Two more hats for donation completed in November! Whoo-Hoo!  These two cuties will be donated locally.  I had an almost full skein of white Red Heart Super Saver in my stash. This isn’t the best yarn for chemo hats so I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then I received notification that this year’s White Christmas has a Frozen theme. Every year the employees of the local university where I work collect A LOT of food and toys (White Christmas) for those who live in the town and are in need. So, I decided to make an Elsa hat for the collection. I’m pleased to have found a charitable use for this yarn. And because it will be worn by a child who will have hair, this yarn should be OK.

For the hat, I used my Chirp! Chirp! Tweet! Tweet! Hat Baby Bird, Chick, Bluebird, Cardinal you pick hat. I added the hair and crown.

Ninja Turtle hat crocheted by Darleen Hopkins  https://crochetbydarleenhopkins.com/patterns/

The Ninja Turtle hat was crocheted with Red Heart Super Saver also.  I hope it will go to a young boy who will have fun with it.  I have a lot more of this green and I wish I had the time to make more Ninja Turtle hats.  If I still have the yarn next November, I just may make another turtle or two for the collection next year.

The two hats weigh just over 7 ounces.

Total hats made in the
2014 Stash Bust Challenge: 21
Total weight of the
hats to date: 4 pounds, 7.75 ounces.

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

Gift-A-Long Designer, Cynthia Levy

Cynthia Levy, Knitting Designer

Twisted Maze Socks, knit pattern by Cynthia Levy http://www.ravelry.com/people/redtigerOne of the great things about the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry is the opportunity to get to know other designers.  Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia Levy, a knitting designer.  Many of Cynthia designs incorporate amazing and lovely cabling.  She has published a number of beautiful knit sock patterns as well as some quick-to-knit designs that would be perfect for the holidays that are fast approaching.   After you get to know her a little bit better, check out her gift suggestions and get stitching!

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

I’ve been knitting ever since I was a pre-teen figure skater.  I considered it essential to have a sweater and mittens to coordinate with every skating outfit and the best way to collect them was to make them myself.  The first thing I actually remember knitting was a fair isle yoke sweater to match a skating skirt.  My mother was used to my habit of jumping right into a complex project, instead of ever starting a new hobby with something simple, so she agreeably purchased the yarn and delegated any necessary assistance to my grandmother.

What is your favorite design of yours, why?

Snow Flurry Mittens Knit Pattern by Cynthia Levy (Redtiger)

Snow Flurry Mittens by Cynthia Levy (Redtiger)

One of my favorite original designs is Snow Flurry Mittens.  I live in the Canadian sub-arctic and -40C is normal winter weather.  Anything warm and cozy is bound to be well loved by me.  The pattern was a bit of a challenge to get just right so I’m quite proud of it.  The snowflake pattern is worked with the mitten held inside-out, so that the pattern stitch can be easily accomplished in the round, and a variety of needle sizes are used to accommodate the gauges of the various stitches.

 What is your favorite project of yours, why?

I absolutely adore Julia Farwell Clay’s Bartok Tunic pattern published in Interweave Knits Spring 2013.  I fell in love with the pattern the second I saw it.  I made my tunic in the yarn and colors specified in the magazine, but shortened the length and narrowed the sleeves.  It’s the most comfortable sweater ever and garners compliments everywhere.

 What are your favorite knit tools or notions?

stitch markers https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/caliopesfibreI have a real weakness for double-pointed sock needles.  My current favorites are Knitters Pride Karbonz and Kollage square needles.  And I have recently become a fan of pretty stitch markers.  I recently acquired some stitch markers from Caliope’s Fibre that make me happy whenever I look at them.

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

If I’m not knitting or designing, I’m probably toiling away at my more than full-time day job.  But if I’m not working or knitting, I certainly won’t be idle.  My husband is a private pilot so our summers are dedicated to enjoying our little Cessna floatplane.  My other activities include pottery, quilting, weaving, tole painting and stained glass, as well as fishing, camping, hiking, gardening, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Too many interests, too little time!

 Where can we find you?

Eye of the Helix Sock Pattern by Cynthia LevyThe best place to find me is on Ravelry as redtiger.  I spend way too much time gazing at all the great patterns and yarn displayed there.  My original designs are available through my shops on Ravelry, Craftsy and Patternfish.  I’m also on Twitter as Redtigerdesigns.

 

Thank you Cynthia!  Your designs are beautiful and inspiring.  I’m a huge fan of your gorgeous cabling.  Keep warm (-40C !!!) and happy stitching!

Stash Bust 2014, 3rd November Update

Gift-a-long hat, La Villa Lace Brim Slouch Hat for Halos of HopeA Gift-A-Long Hat for Halos of Hope

Two weeks ago I mentioned the Gift-A-Long that is occurring on Ravelry.  This is such a fun event, please check it out.  It is still going strong through Dec. 31, 2014.  The participants are having a lot fun sharing their WIPs, FOs and random thoughts.  You never know what you might find or learn there; lots of new designers and patterns as well as learning what Vegemite and Marmite are.  I gotta try this stuff!

While searching the GAL crochet designers, I discovered this beautiful hat by Betty Fay Wallace, La Villa Lace Brim Slouch Hat, and just had to try it.  I’m so pleased with the hat.  I haven’t made anything like this before.  It is crocheted in mercerized cotton and it is gorgeous.  With three more hanks of this same yarn in my stash it is very likely I will make more of these.

This hat weighs 3.5 ounces.  This is my fourth hat this month.  There’s one week left in November and I have a goal to make a couple more!

Total hats made in the 2014 Stash Bust Challenge: 20
Total weight of the hats to date: 4 pounds, 4.25 ounces.

 

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

Stash Bust 2014, Another November Update

One more for Halos of Hope

Striped Bentley by Darleen Hopkins crochet patternThird week of November and I have one more hat to be donated to Halos of Hope! This is the striped version of the Bentley Hat I made in September.  I finally wrote the pattern down and it is now available.

Although the pattern is written for Cascade Yarns Bentley, I made this one in Caron Simply Soft.  For some reason have 2 more skeins of the mauve so you will be seeing more pink hats in the future!

This hat weighs 3.75 ounces.  I’ve made over 4 pounds so far-it’s going to be tough to make the full 7 pounds in 2014 but I’ll keep on trying.

Total hats made in the 2014 Stash Bust Challenge: 19
Total weight of the hats to date: 4 pounds, .75 ounces.

 

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