I wanted to make a baby blanket for my little girl, who should be showing up any day now! I didn’t want anything too cutesy. I found this pattern and loved it.
Pattern: Tiramisu Baby Blanket, by Alicia Paulson
Notes: Blankets are always a nice way to relax and just crochet without worrying so much about sizing and other details. This pattern is so simple, but turned out very chic.
Yarn choice: I chose a yarn that was worsted (I used Red Heart Shimmer), but probably not the same ply as the yarn suggested, so mine turned out a little smaller than 32”x32” (as indicated in the pattern). That’s okay though - I live in a warm climate, so the lighter/thinner blanket is nice to have. If you live in a cooler climate, and you find a yarn you love that is not swatching out right, just hold two strands together (increase hook size too) and you’ll end up with a warmer blanket!
Ribbon:I bought all my supplies at once. In hindsight, I’d have been better off purchasing the ribbon after I had begun the edging so I knew what width ribbon to buy. The pattern calls for 1/2 inch - but I suggest purchasing whatever width best fits your edging. If you’ve already purchased your ribbon, test it when you begin the edging and adjust the stitch to the length needed to best fit the ribbon (so it lays flat).
Making a perfect bow: I really struggled tying a bow that wasn’t crooked. So, like always, I turned to YouTube for help. Here’s a video that helped me tie a perfect looking bow to finish up my chic baby blanket: Perfect Bow
Who Should Make This? Safe for beginners, but even advanced hookers will find this to be a fantastic pattern for a quick, chic baby blanket.
Skills Needed: chain, single crochet, double crochet, slip stitch
Here are a couple more owl hats made for a friend’s twins. You can sort of see the size of the hat - they’re sitting on average sized wine glasses. Tiny! :)
I made this newborn-size hat for my baby girl - expected to arrive very soon! We live in a warm climate, so it will mainly be used as a prop in her newborn pics. However I’ve received a lot of requests on Facebook to make different sizes for my friends in the north… for more practical purposes.
PATTERN: Crochet Owl Hat (Newborn-Adult) by Sarah Zimmerman © Sarah Zimmerman
This was a really fast project. For experienced hookers, I’d say plan for 3 hours or less (depending on which size is made). For newbie hookers, it may take a bit longer.
Hat: I used stash yarn - a combo of Caron Simply Soft (grey) and Red Heart Super Saver (all other colors). I highly recommend choosing a soft yarn - the Caron was great… but there are lots of choices out there. (Super Saver has a great color selection, but it feels like plastic and would be very itchy without a soft liner in the hat.) My baby won’t be wearing this for warmth - only for pics - so I opted to go with whatever I had on hand.
Eyes: Again, these were made of Super Saver yarn. The magic circle method makes these super easy and fast to create!
Beak: This can’t be any more basic to make - it’s a combo of different stitches that make a triangle.
Assembly: Sew all the pieces on the front of the hat using the tails left over from each piece.
Ears: These are great… just make a knot!
Braids: Just like the ears, make a knot, braid and make another knot. Super easy!
Buttons: I used stash buttons that complimented the base grey color of my hat. Use buttons that almost cover the colored inside circle - but not quite. It’s a nice effect. I used regular sewing thread and a needle to sew the buttons on after the rest of the hat was complete.
WHO SHOULD MAKE THIS? Advanced Beginner
This pattern is great for anyone from an advanced beginner to an expert.
Skills needed: Magic Adjustable Loop/Circle, SC, DC, HDC, HDC decrease, braiding, basic knot
Hazel quickly outgrew her first sweater I had made for her. It was easy to find patterns for sweaters to fit smaller dogs. For some reason there are very, very few patterns out there for larger dogs… and even fewer for bulky breeds, such as a Boxer! Larger dogs get cold too!! (Especially the breeds with short hair like Boxers, Dobermans, Weimaraners, and Vizslas) So after a couple attempts at modifying patterns for small dogs, I decided upon this one originally created for a Greyhound. I have to compensate for the slender vs. bulky body type, but at least it’s a start!
Pattern (on Ravelry): Side Button Greyhound Sweater, by Terri Lee Royea
I’m way too lazy for a gauge swatch (I have a good feeling this will come back to haunt me later.) I didn’t have the right size circular needle - so I’m using a larger one than the pattern calls for. I’m thinking I might need to make a M instead of the L considering the needle I’m using. Oh well… here I go.
Casted on 77 stitches, then decreased one when connecting the round. Knitting 76 in 2x2 rib in the round on size 10 circular needles (magic loop method).
I’m about 3 inches into the collar. I’ve been browsing pictures of others’ projects and am a bit confused about where this ends - if I make this 8 or 9 inches long… will I fold this in half for a 4 or 4.5 inch turtle neck? Or does this go further down the back and the actual folded part is shorter? I’m going to blindly follow the pattern and hope for the best.
I have a boxer, so I think I’m going to be glad for the larger needle size since she’s a much, much bulkier breed than a greyhound. I found Ravely user, caruba’s project notes very helpful since it appears she adapted hers for a boxer. I’ll be referring to her notes often!
I made the folded over part of the collar about half the size the pattern calls for. Working the L size, it says knit 9 inches. Mine is about 4.5. I held it up to Hazel’s neck and folded it over… she’s a bulky breed, and has a much shorter, stockier neck… 2.25” is plenty! (She’s still growing, so my guess is I’d have room for another inch to an inch and a half, BUT I don’t know for sure so I’m playing it safe. I’d rather have it too short than too tall!)
I increased in every K2 pair. That turned out to be 19 increases (instead of the 18 called for in the L size pattern.) I figure this is going to work out fine since, again - bulky breed, her shoulders will be extra broad in a few months.
I’m working the K3xP2 rib right now. The pattern calls for 11 rows… I might increase on one row in the middle of this section… we shall see….
I increased 5 in the 7th row after the original increases. (I had my stitches split 46 on one side of the magic loop and 49 on the other. I added 3 spread out evenly on the 49 side and 2 on the 46 side.)
I finished the second collar increases with 14 increases (I just added one to each leftover K3 after the last set of increases. Now the whole rib pattern is K4xP2.)
I then worked 8 rows even.
HINT: Use the LAST row to set up the gusset markers!! (I missed that and ended up knitting an extra row to make it 8… I had intended to only knit 7 rounds even.)
I set out 18 stitches across the split between needles (as this is growing the magic loop is become more and more difficult. I’ll just knit in the round very soon!) The instructions for the gusset are very confusing. Some experience knitting socks or mittens would be helpful if you’re a beginner considering this pattern.
I am knitting any purls that sit right next to the increases in the gusset as the pattern suggests.
…That is the question.
I’m considering a lace project next. I’ve never done lace, so I’m a newbie. I’m going to do as much learning as I can before I determine if this is a viable Christmas gift option or not!
I’ll share my findings as I go.
Lace for newbies like me!
Lace 101 (by Knit Picks):
(click each link to be directed to that video.)
OK… I’ve selected my pattern, and my yarn! The yarn is Filigran Lace No. 1 and the color is a GORGEOUS purple! I just had to get it… even though it wasn’t at ALL the color I went in looking for! (Oh well… if it speaks to you, you get it! Nuff said!)
Filigran Lace No. 1
Pattern (on Ravelry): Gail (aka Nightsongs) by MaweLucky/Jane Araujo
It’s a good thing I used some scrap yarn to practice! After completely ripping out twice I finally realized the charts (right and left) in the pattern need to be worked at the same time! Duh! So I reprinted those pages, cut them out and taped them together. Now it makes sense!
Okay, I’ve started on the real yarn. I had to rip out once already… boo. This is way harder on big needles!! Lace weight yarn on a size 6 needle is a bit crazy, I’ve decided. The only size close that I had was a pair of metal US 6 straight needles… um yeah. So I’m planning a trip to the store to find a size 6 bamboo circular. I hope that will help!
I know I’ve already got two (kind of major) mistakes in my project. I just couldn’t rip all the way out again and chance ruining more of my scrumptious yarn! I’ll have to take a gander at it stretched out after a few more rows to see how noticeable my dropped-then-picked-up stitches are. Ugh.
I’ve made it half-way through the first repeat and am FINALLY figuring out the pattern. I think it will go okay and I’m crossing my fingers my previous mistakes will not be too noticeable. ( BTW, The bamboo circulars are magical. So much easier than those crazy metal straights on this yarn!) Above, you’ll see a photo of my progress to this point. As I learned in the Knit Picks lace videos (linked above) all lace looks like a hot mess before it’s blocked. Mine is no different - hot mess. Trust me, when I stretch it out with my hands it’s amazing how it changes into something beautiful!
In the pattern, on the bottom of the page with Chart 1 - Left side, the designer/author says, “…only the edge leaves and the central ones (the ones closest to the yellow column) begin with yarn overs.” I really didn’t understand what this meant until I got into the first repeated row (using the instructions on the main pattern page on Ravelry, I’m repeating rows 21 - 35.) I discovered by “yarn over” she meant the whole section before the shaded area of the chart on each row. I’ll include a video description of what this means… stay tuned!
Forget that… after turning the corner into Hell, I’ve discovered my method of translation went awry somewhere in row 35 of the third repeat. My shawl was turning into one real hot mess. So I frogged ALL the way back to nothing and went back to researching notes on this pattern. Holy moly, that chart sucked to try to use!
So, after further research I found a lot of people struggled with that chart. To be fair to the chart-maker/pattern designer, I have to admit I was a bit too ambitious with pattern choice for my first ever attempt at lace. I would imagine, with a lot more experience, this chart would make a lot more sense.
I stumbled upon an uncharted pattern for this shawl! Woo hooo!! Christmas came early! Here’s a link to the uncharted pattern (which I highly recommend referencing in place of the chart in the main pattern if you’re a newbie like me!)
I’m so happy I found the uncharted version of this pattern! I’m back to the same place I was when I had to frog… and it’s going SO MUCH BETTER! I am mid-way through the third repeat and the pattern is really coming out beautifully. I doubted that I’d actually be able to do this before, now I’m fairly confident I’ll have a beautiful shawl to give as a gift this Christmas! I’ve figured, with 22 days left I have to finish at least 5 rows a day to have this ready to ship off for Christmas.
I’m right on schedule with my knitting. I’m doing 5 or more rows each day to make my Christmas deadline. It’s turning out so beautifully so far. Now I’m looking ahead to finishing. I’ll need to find blocking materials - I’ve blocked before… but never anything that relies on good blocking. I’m not sure my make-shift towels and paper weight method will work with lace. In fact… I know it won’t. Also, I’m now considering beading the finishing rows and am shopping for a pretty shawl pin to go with it. So exciting!
Found a beautiful shawl pin on etsy… it’s all coming together! (IngoDesigns has a beautiful selection of amazing shawl pins. Check ‘em out!)
I’m almost done with the 4th repeat… planning on 7 repeats before the edging. I am looking ahead to blocking. Did a little research and decided to go with actual blocking tools (rather than my usual make-shift blocking techniques.) I ordered blocking mats and blocking wires from KnitPicks.com today.
Fast forward a couple weeks… I’m moving onto the 7th repeat. I may finish this one and move onto the edging in the 8th repeat - we’ll see how much yarn I’ve got left. It’s going really, really well. There’s only one sort-of major mistake where I was off by one stitch on a row - but I’m not about to rip back and fix it at this point. I’m going to live with it. No one is perfect… well at least not on their first try! I’m just crossing my fingers that no one (but me) will ever notice anyway!
I received my Knit Picks blocking tools a few days ago. I’m looking forward to casting off and getting this shawl blocked! I can’t wait to see the pattern pop once it’s all pinned up. :)
Fast forward to 1/20/2012…
I FINALLY FINISHED!! After a brief, and much needed, break from this over the holiday to make several last minute gifts, I finally finished my very first attempt at lace. The shawl turned out to be gorgeous. The pattern really popped once I blocked it out. What a relief to have this one done!
The leaf pattern to this lace is gorgeous! I love, love, loved the “uncharted” help I found (see link above). Without the uncharted version of this shawl pattern I know I would not have been able to finish it.
Who should make this? NOT recommended for beginners!
This was my first lace project, and I think I bit off more than I could chew. It was an ambitious choice for my first attempt at lace. I figured the concepts are the same, how hard could it be? I think with this one, since the pattern is not the same repeating pattern every other or every 3 rows it took a lot of concentration to get through each right-side row. Towards the end you’re looking at 300+ stitches in a single row! I was overwhelmed. If I could got back in time, I might choose an easier lace pattern project to start with. Perhaps a scarf, or something with a chart fully printed out. (This one assumes knowledge of charts and only has on leaf charted. I couldn’t figure out how to repeat that chart so it worked symmetrically… hence the uncharted version coming to my rescue!)
I can say the Knit Picks tutorials really did help prep me for the actual skills needed to see this through. The biggest thing that would be confusing to a lace newbie would be the double YO at the center of this shawl. While some chose to put a k1 column at the center, I liked the open symmetrical look, as intended by the pattern designer. So I left the double YO in as written. If you’re not sure about what a double YO is, or how to do it, the Knit Picks videos (linked above) will come in handy for you too.
So I would rate this pattern: For experienced knitters, lace charting experience helpful
I’ve been invited to a Christmas party and as part of the festivities, I need to bring a White Elephant gift. While I know I could just grab something stupid, cheap and/or useless from my house (like a box of expired jell-o that my fiancé received last year) that would otherwise find itself in the hands of the garbage collector, I’m choosing to honor the spirit of the season (and perhaps my attitude towards the “white elephant” gift exchange in general) and bring something with a little more thought and effort… an angry bird. :)
I subscribe to Crochet Geek’s (Teresa Richardson) YouTube channel and just adore her patterns!! This is not the first, nor the last, of her patterns I will make! If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, it’s definitely worth a look!!
Her Angry Bird hat is perfect for the occasion and I’m very excited to get started!
After a few false starts I’ve finally found a size that works. Being a white elephant gift, I didn’t want to have to purchase anything new. I’m using stash yarn and hooks I already have. I couldn’t find my H size hook, so I tried an I size. That, with the Red Heart Cherry Red, was way too big! So I ripped all the way back and pulled out a size G (4.25mm) hook and tried again. This time the hook size seemed better, but the hat was still too big. So I ripped back to the end of row 12 and skipped the last increase row (row 13) and made that one a SC in every stitch row instead. PERFECT!! (It may not fit a guy - but I can’t see a 30-something guy wanting to wear this anyway. I figure if a fun gal wants it in the exchange, it will either fit her or one of her older children!)
I’ve completed the eyes - but haven’t outlined them in black yet. If you’re using the written pattern, don’t miss the part that indicates you’ll be working back and forth in ROWS! I did and ended up making these over again. The video is very clear (obviously), but the written instructions could be misread. It does say to work in ROWS (vs. round and round and round like the hat), but I missed it given the start of the eyeball. So, once you’ve crocheted the 6 stitches in the middle of the starter chain ring, start working back and forth in rows, not in the round.
I attached the eyes with black yarn around the black outline - I hadn’t read ahead to the part where the beak was supposed to be attached under the outline… Oops.
I used gold instead of yellow (that’s just what I had on-hand.) I think it looks great. I attached the beak flat (no stuffing.) I attached the beak along the black outline and tried to tuck it in as closely as possible. If I had read through the pattern (or watched through the video) before beginning, I would have known to attach the eyes with WHITE yarn so I would be able to tuck the beak under the black outline. However, I DO like the way the eyes lay completely flat and flush on the hat by sewing around the outside of the appliqué with BLACK yarn. While the edges of the beak can sort of be seen still - I think it looks okay. When I make this again (because I know I will - it’s such a fun, easy pattern), I will probably attach the eyes around the black until the bottom where the beak will be. There I’ll switch to white to allow for the beak to get “tucked” in under the black outline of the eye.
After the other pieces as practice, the feathers are piece of cake (not that the rest is ever “hard,” but each piece, except the eyebrows, are started int he same way.) I made two feathers. One is about 1/2 as long as the other. I attached them right at the top-middle of the hat - where the original ring to start the project was made.
I love how easy this pattern is! It’s even easier with the how-to video! I love that it’s highly customizable for all sizes, shapes, and colors. I love how quickly this project was finished!
Who should make this? Safe for beginners!
This pattern is pieced together little by little. The eyes are attached like an appliqué and beak and feathers are attached in much the same way. If you’re new to crochet, this is a GREAT project for you for several reasons:
So that’s why I rate this pattern, Safe for Beginners!
Pattern: Classic Mittens by Bernhard Ulmann / Bear Brand / Botany / Bucilla / Fleisher
Scott has lived in Seattle for over a year now and has yet to update his Phoenix outdoor accessories. He complains about how “cold” it is all the time… well YEAH! It’s cold if you’re not wearing a proper coat and mittens. Coming from the best state in the US, Minnesota, I know a thing or two about being prepared for the weather. So… it’s time to lead by example and make the guy some mittens.
Color requested: Black
I’ll check my stash for black worsted weight yarn. I know I have some, but I’m not sure I’ll have enough for two mittens… so they may end up striped with some other stashed color. We shall see!
So far this is a basic, quick knit. I have to say I really like that way the pattern is written! It takes a quick read-through to really understand how it is supposed to be read… but then it’s GENIUS. I know I’ll be using this pattern again and again.
I finished the first mitten, and after a try-out, it was decided it was made too short. (I had modified it to be shorter than the men’s pattern by about an inch.) So I’m ripping back on the second one now - and the first, completed, one later - to before the decreases to go back and just follow the pattern as written. No mods.
Done! While I didn’t go to 6.75 inches past cuff, as directed in the pattern for Men’s mittens, I did go to 6.5 inches. They are now the perfect length!
Pattern: Classic Mittens by Bernhard Ulmann / Bear Brand / Botany / Bucilla / Fleisher
I love the simplicity of the pattern - once I figured out how to read it. I love the classic look. Any worsted weight yarn will work. I used a basic Red Heart Super Saver since these will be used to walk the dog. They’re not soft, but they’ll be durable and, most importantly, washable! I also like the look of the thumb gusset - it has a very classic look. These are basic mittens - and sometimes the classic, basic look is the best!
I think these would be even better lined. The thumb would need to be increased a few stitches to make room for a soft lining, but the hand-part should be fine. I might throw some leftover material from cotton pajama pants on the inside of these to make up for the scratchy acrylic.
Definitely take the time to measure the hand of the mitten wearer to be sure the thumb and hand is make long/short enough. While ripping back is possible with a life-line… it’s a pain since it definitely can be avoided! If in doubt - just follow the instructions without mods.
I did add one step to the thumb. For the men’s mitten it says to pick up and the 3 stitches casted on for the thumb - then go round and round the thumb until the decreases. I actually picked up 5 stitches - one on either side of the casted on 3. Then decreased each extra stitch with the first/last stitch of the original 17 on the other two needles to close the little holes on the front and back of the thumb gusset.
Who Should Make These? Beginner
This would be a fantastic project for anyone who is learning to read patterns - since it’s very simple layout is easy to understand. You’ll need to know the knit stitch, purl stitch, and how to knit on dpns. The trickiest part is probably picking up the stitches on the thumb. I used a crochet hook - it makes it a breeze! Also, casting on the extra stitches at the thumb sounds scary - but it’s really not. It’s so simple! Use the backwards loop cast on… it’s so easy. Here’s a tutorial from PlanetPurl in case it’s a new technique to you: The Backwards Loop Cast On
For these reasons, I rate this pattern: Beginner
OMG… love this idea!! Red Heart always has such cute patterns. This is going right to the top of my to-do queue!! Just in time for the holidays!! PERFECT for all my long-distance friends and family! Can’t wait!
Pattern: Faux Shearling Throw by Ellen Gormley
Finished Off Faux Shearling Throw… isn’t it beautiful?
I LOVE this pattern. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. The blanket is amazing… I made it as a gift for a 35 year old guy - perfect! He loved it.
The pattern uses basic crochet stitches, so it’s a GREAT beginner crochet project. It looks way more difficult than it is. It uses affordable yarn. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow.
This pattern is GREAT. It’s not too “afghanny,” which makes it a perfect gift for a 30-something guy!
Go to my Ravelry Project Page for more detailed notes.
I love the shearling look! It almost doesn’t look like yarn… it’s great. We get many, many compliments on this cozy throw. The Light and Loft yarn really makes this piece.
Who should make it? Safe for Beginners
The pattern is well written and incorporates the same three stitches over and over again. That’s why I rate this one safe for beginners.
SAFE FOR BEGINNERS!!