The Granny Square has come a long way, baby. From the early days of crochet squares stitched together to make a throw for the back of the sofa to models strutting down the runway in designer granny square clothes.
A staple for crocheters with balls of leftover yarns, the granny square lives on not only in afghans, but you would be surprised at how much it has expanded. Clothing, bedding, pillows, hats, scarves, bags and purses, even jewelry. With a crochet hook and a knowledge of double crochets, you can make art out of little balls of leftover yarn.
Whether you choose a color scheme for just go random, the granny square is making a comeback for the next generation. Now you probably won’t see the granny vest worn, but you may see a scarf or a hat, or a knit top accented with granny squares.
And the granny is not just a square, it’s a triangle, a rectangle, a pentagon, even a circle. BobWilson123 http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bias-granny-shawl has a great bias granny shawl pattern that is easy to follow. The shawl I crocheted is that pattern.
Stripes, solids, variegated yarns can all work with the granny. It’s up to you to decide what colors, yarns, hooks, designs you use to create your granny.
The internet is a great place to find your inspiration for the granny square. Pinterest shows many styles of the granny in all shapes, sizes and colors. What will be your inspiration to crochet something granny?
I would love to hear about and see your granny square creations.
Recently, I posted pictures of kid’s character hats and matching bags onto social media and got a lot of positive responses.
A light bulb went off in my mind, and while the hat, is not my design, the bags, the eyes, ears, nose, eyebrows and bow are, so why not share my patterns?
I have assembled all the facial features for you to grab to make for your own hats. Scrap pieces of yarn is all it takes, and in little time, your hats will have added character.
I use the Magic Ring Method to start because it closes the beginning hole completely. June Gilbank (Planet June) has a great You Tube video here to learn. www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLUaywX0-WE
Yarn: white & black (eyes, ears); gold (unibrow); orange (nose); red (bow); light brown/dark brown (cookie)
US G (4.25mm) Crochet Hook
Removable Stitch Markers (2-4)
(black) Magic Ring, single crochet 6 stitches, pull starting tail tight, then slip stitch into 1st st, bind off, cut a long tail to sew to white of the eyes.
Round 1: Magic Ring, 6sc into loop, pull tail tight, (do not slip stitch)
Round 2: 2sc in each stitch 12sc
Round 3: 2sc in 1st, sc in next st; repeat around, slip stitch into 1st sc, bind off, cut long tail 18sc
Attach black eye to center of white eye (Oscar); Elmo- attach black eye to lower portion of white eye
Cookie Monster- 1 eye in center, like Oscar; 1 eye lower, like Elmo
NOSE (Elmo) with orange yarn, just like white eyes
Round 1: Magic Ring, 6sc, pull tail tight
Round 2: 2sc in each st 12sc
Round 3: 2sc in 1st, sc in next st; repeat around 18sc
Round 4: Half double crochet in 1st, 2 double crochets in next 2 stitches, half double crochet in next stitch, single crochet in next stitch, slip stitch in next. Bind off, leaving a long tail.
Stitch nose to lower portion of face, then attach eyes, stitching them along upper edge of nose, making the black portion point inward towards the nose.
With a long Tail and gold colored yarn (you will use both tails to sew unibrow onto hat)
HDC in 2nd chain from hook, hdc in next 4 chains, SC in next 10 chains, HDC in last 5 chains. Slip Stitch in side of last hdc. Bind off leaving a very long tail.
To attach to hat, attach black eyes to center of white eyes, sew to hat and place them 3 stitches apart. Lay unibrow on top of eyes, with brow resting near black portion, place 1 stitch marker on both ends of brow. Take another stitch marker and place between eyes, pulling it down to form a point.
Sew one side of unibrow along outer edge of eyes, to center point, move to underside of eye, and sew back to beginning point, leaving tail for now.
Take other tail, and sew other side of unibrow, stitching top of brow and moving to lower side of brow. Once entire unibrow is stitched to hat, use sharp pointed scissors and stuff tail into each side of brow. It is used as stuffing.
EARS (for kitty) Make 2 White yarn
Magic Ring, chain 1, 4sc in loop
Round 1: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next stitch, repeat once more 6sc
Round 2: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next 2 sts, repeat once more 8sc
Round 3: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next 3 sts, repeat once more 10sc
Round 4: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next 4sts, repeat once more 12sc
Round 5: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next 5sts, repeat once more 14sc
Round 6: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next 6sts, repeat once more 16sc
Round 7: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next 7sts, repeat once more 18sc
Round 8: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next 8sts, repeat once more, slip stitch in next stitch. Bind off, leaving a long tail. 20sc
Attach ears starting at 3rd round of hat, down to 6th round of hat.
BOW (for kitty hat) red yarn
With a long tail, chain 13
Row 1: SC in each stitch, ch 1, turn
Row 2: (from now on) Sc in back loop of each stitch, ch 1 turn
Row 3: Repeat previous row for the next 5 rows, slip stitch in last stitch. Bind off and leave a long tail.
With darning needle, thread the needle, and stitch to center of bow, weave in from one side to the other, the pull to create crease. Wrap around center of bow at least 10 times. Take both tails, and make a knot to secure. It will be ready to sew onto front of ear on the hat.
COOKIE (for Cookie Monster) light brown and dark brown yarn
Round 1: Magic Ring, 6sc in ring
Round 2: 2sc in each stitch 12sc
Round 3: sc in next stitch, 2sc in next stitch, repeat around 18sc
Round 4: sc in next 2sts, 2sc in next stitch, repeat around 24sc
Round 5: sc in next 3sts, 2sc in next stitch, repeat around 30sc
Rounds 6-8: sc around 30sc
Round 9: sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog in next stitch, repeat around 24sc
Now grab a long piece of dark brown yarn, thread darning needle, and make little “chip” strips all around the cookie. Keep the needle attached and continue to decrease
Round 10: sc in next 2sts, sc2tog in next stitch, repeat around 18sc
Round 11: sc in next st, sc2tog in next stitch, repeat around 12sc
Add more chips to the underside of the cookie.
Round 12: sc2tog all around. Slip stitch in next stitch, bind off, leaving a long tail.
Use both ends of the dark brown yarn to tie a knot. Cut the yarn. You will now attach the cookie to the top of the hat.
Here we are, heading into the last days of August, the end of summer, back to school, changing into fall weather and the holidays will be fast approaching.
I have been preparing for my fall and winter arts and crafts shows. Applications are being mailed, hoping to get into events from the past, and I am waiting for the application process to open up for those highly sought-after December boutiques.
This week, I crocheted a couple animals of varying yarn weights. Weights, for those that don’t know, are the varying thicknesses of the yarn. Weights range from 0 (Lace) as ROWAN KidSilk Haze to 7 (Jumbo) like BERNAT Mega Bulky yarn. I have knitted with the Bernat Mega Bulky yarn, using size 19 needles for a blanket. Sadly, lace weight yarn is too thin for me to see the stitches.
The ladybugs you see were crocheted with 2 different weight yarns. The large ladybug used Bernat Softee Chunky yarn, a 6 (Super Bulky) gauge and H (5.00mm) crochet hook and the smaller one, Red Heart Super Saver, a 4 (Medium) weight and a G (4.25mm) hook. The pattern was purchased on Etsy, from designer daveydreamer.
As you can see, there is quite a difference in size. The large ladybug measures 10 inches long by 6 inches tall by 7 inches wide. The smaller ladybug measures 6 ½ inches long by 4 inches tall by 5 inches wide. It’s fun to take a pattern, use another weight yarn, and see the differences it can make. Same pattern, big results.
The same can be said for the micropods shown. Whether its Red Heart With Love yarn, Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky or Bernat Baby Blanket, the same pattern can have varying results. I love to mix up the yarns and make various sizes of animals. Who says you have to follow the guidelines of a particular pattern. Mix it up, use a thicker yarn for a larger animal or a thinner yarn for a smaller animal.
I love the internet. It is packed with a plethora of information. It is easy to spend hours and hours looking at pictures, patterns, web sites, emails of all things knit and crochet. For a new knitter or crocheter, it can be quite overwhelming trying to find the right pattern to knit or crochet. Over the years of frolicking the web, I find that there are a few websites and blogs that I tend to return to more than others. Here are just a few locations that I think are quite helpful for those of us afflicted with yarn:
RAVELRY. Here you can find all kinds of information about yarns, patterns, designers, people, groups. If you are looking for information on a particular yarn, you can search for it on Ravelry. I have recently been purchasing beautiful designer yarns and some of those yarns only have the name of the company and the yarn color. I am not too familiar with yardage on cones, so I search for the yarn, and Ravelry pulls up all the information I need: ounces, yards, grams, needle size recommended, hook size recommended, if its discontinued or not, even other colors.
It’s also one of the places for patterns, patterns, and more patterns. Whether they are Free or A Fee, you can definitely spend hours just on Ravelry searching for patterns. Last week, my library of patterns was 10 pages, about 500 patterns. I edited the library and now it has 400 patterns in it. I have not knit or crocheted each of them, but right now I have 8 WIPs (works in progress) of patterns on page 1.
I have decided to revisit a shawl that took 1 year to complete. It’s called Afternoon Tea, a knit shawl by Helen Stewart. In 2012, my knitting guild chose this shawl as its quarterly knit item. The first time I had tried to knit it, I got about half way done, and put it away to be finished at another time. I was insecure about my knitting techniques at that time. One year later I picked it up and finished it in a weekend, and it sold at an event I was participating in. Now with new yarn on the needles, I am already half way done with it. My skills have improved quite a bit this past year, and I feel comfortable knitting the pattern.
ALL FREE CROCHET/ALL FREE KNITTING. I receive their newsletters which are filled with many ideas. In each email, you can easily get 10 patterns to try to knit or crochet. Whether it’s a scarf, hat, shawl, afghan, baby blanket, you will find many patterns to choose from, ALL FREE. That’s right, no charge to you.
LION BRAND YARN.This is the first website I ever visited, way back in 2001. In fact, I learned how to crochet animals from Lion Brand. My first animal was a turtle I crocheted in 2003; 14 years later, I still crochet it. The step by step instructions are easy to follow. The patterns use Lion Brand yarns. If the yarn is discontinued, it will give you suggestions for other Lion Brand yarns.
Some of the patterns I knit and crochet with are from Bloggers that I have followed for years. These include:
MOOGLY. Tamara has been crocheting and blogging for years. One of my all-time favorite patterns is for a shawl called Fortune’s Shawlette. The shawl can be made with any yarn, no matter the gauge, from lace weight to chunky yarn. She has great tutorials on her blog, along with many patterns.
REPEAT CRAFTER ME. Sarah is another crocheter and blogger who is known for her C2C—corner to corner —afghans. I found her while researching kid’s character hats, and her daughter is her model for her hats and all things kids. One of my all-time favorite patterns is Penguin Earflap Hat. Her hats include all sizes from infant to adult, all easy to follow with plenty of pictures and details.
These are just a few sites that I find both informative and educational. What are your favorites websites? Comment below and let’s see what we can come up with.
Gizmo here: My roommate and mentor Baggy is taking a little R&R because of a bad tummy. So he asked me to fill in and let you know about Kathy’s FREE patterns! From now until August 12 all patterns are free. So, check them out and grab one or two. Hey, are you going to use that yarn?
Have you ever flipped through a magazine, walked into a store, found an article of interest and said to yourself, “I can do that”? Well, that happened to me recently and I had to do something about it. While walking through the local mall, I came across a purse on a mannequin that caught my eye. It had fringe on it, with a long strap and it was crocheted! My thought was, “I could make that.”
I couldn’t get it out of my head, I just had to crochet that bag or one similar. Maybe make one with fringe, a long strap to be worn crossbody, big enough to put wallet and sunglasses in it, but not too big.
On Saturday morning, with a cup of hot tea in my hand, I sat down in my “cave” (aka the office) to begin the process of crocheting a bag. First I had to determine a few things. Such as, how big would the bag be? What yarn would be used? What size crochet hook? And, so on.
Originally, I grabbed my stash of Lily Sugar & Cream Cotton yarn, in the colorway Sonoma Print for the bag. The skein is large, 12 ounces, approximately 600 yards, but I need both ends to crochet the bag with 2 strands held together, so my husband wound off half the large skein onto the yarn winder. It’s great to have a yarn winder, much easier than rolling into balls.
Choosing the crochet hook.
Cotton yarn will stretch a bit, so a larger hook, like P, will make the bag airy and will stretch whatever you put in it. A J hook will make the bag stiff, which is good but you do want some give in the bag. My choice for the bag is N-9mm. It will make the bag flow, while still hold its shape.
Let’s crochet. If you do not want to follow this with all the photos, commentary and instructions, you can pick up the pattern from the patterns link above. For 1 week, you can get the pattern for FREE, afterwards it will be priced at $4.00.
There will be abbreviations in the pattern here: ch chain st-stitch ss slip stitch sc single crochet hdc half double crochet
For the sample shown the directions I am using Lily Sugar & Cream yarn-Americana Ombre colorway. With 2 strands of yarn held together, make a slip knot and chain 22. SC in 2nd ch from hook, across to last chain, 2sc in last chain, turn work to underside and 2sc in same stitch, sc across chain, 2sc in last stitch.
Place a removable stitch marker, SC in each stitch around for 10 rounds. As you can see from the photo here, this is what it will look like. After the 10 rounds, which forms the base of the bag, you will now hdc around for 12 rounds.
Do not bind off, its time to add the shoulder strap. HDC in the next 4 sts, turn, sc in each st, continue to make the strap… it will be at least 100 rows. But don’t worry about counting the rows. Just crochet as long as you want the strap. When you have the strap length, lay bag flat, lay the strap on top of the bag, and sc the 4 stitches to the bag.
DO NOT BIND OFF. You will now make the closure flap. SC in same stitch as the strap edge, sc the next 19 sts, ending with sc in strap edge. Turn and continue to sc across this for 10 rows. Decrease first 2 stitches, and last 2 sts of each row, until there are 2 sts remain. Chain 5, slip stitch in 2nd chain from hook. Add a cute button to close and you are done.
If you do not want to make the envelope closure as in the Americana sample, and just want the flap to be a straight edge, as in the tricolor purse, all you have to do is single crochet 15 rows. Cut fringe to a length that will meet the bottom edge of the purse. And there you go.
Let me know what you think about the bags. They are fun to make and can be made in less than 8 hours.
At the knitting guild I belong to, one of the classes we learned from was how to add crochet edgings to baby afghans. It is a nice embellishment to an ordinary item. All it takes is 1 yard of fleece fabric, a rotary cutter with a skip cut rotary blade, some yarn and in no time will you have a great gift. Thanks go out to our instructor, fellow guild member Cathy McFarlane for teaching the class.
Here is your supplies list:
• 1 yard fabric Go to your local craft, fabric store. You can usually find remnant pieces already cut to size, no need to shop for the fabric, its already done for you.
• Rotary Cutter (or Scissors) and Mat Round cutting blade in a handle and a mat that doesn’t cut.
• Yarn I use scrap yarn from my stash
• Crochet Hook I use US H/8, 5mm crochet hook
• Skip-Cut Rotary Cutter Blade Makes perfect holes in fleece and other material for crochet edge blankets
• Needle and Thread/Embroidery Floss used for Running Stitch- Hand-sewn stitch that weaves in and out of the fabric, resulting in a dashed line.
With each 1 yard fabric piece, you will be able to make 2 blankets. Take your rotary cutter or scissors and cut the fabric in half at the fold. Set one piece aside. Lay one fabric piece on the table. With the needle and thread, you will sew a running stitch along all 4 sides of fabric. It’s about a 1 inch hem.
Lay fabric on mat, put the skip-cut blade in the rotary cutter. Be careful as the blade is sharp. Roll the cutter along the inside of the hem, only rolling once. When you get to a corner, carefully turn your piece. I use a pin, to mark the last cut. If you cut it more than once, it will leave a larger hole. Go around all 4 sides.
Time to crochet the edging. With all crochet projects, start with a single crochet row. Make a slip knot, insert your hook and yarn into a hole, be sure to go through both thickness, single crochet. Go across the edge, make 3-5 single crochets in corner. You may need to trim the corner, so it is not too thick, and continue around all 4 sides. Slip stitch to first single crochet.
Now the fun begins. There are many crochet stitches you can add to the single crochet: Double Crochet, Shell Stitch and Picot Stitch just to name a few. You can change yarn colors, or keep it the same, its up to you. Here are samples of my crochet edgings.
Double crochet- dc each stitch gives you a nice border. My sample shows you the nice edging. When at the corner, add a chain between each single crochet to keep the corner from rolling up. Or do 2 double crochets in each stitch.
Shell stitch- 5 double crochet in each stitch gives you a nice scallop edge. For my sample, I did 5DC in 1 stitch (st), skip 1 st, single crochet in next st, skip 1 st. Do this until you get to corner, at the corner, 6dc in center of corner stitches.
Picot stitch- Ch 3, 4, or 5 and slst into first ch (picot made!). Work two, three, or four stitches, then make another picot. My sample shows ch 4, slip stitch (sl st) into 1st chain, sc in next 3 stitches and repeat across. When at corner, ch 3, sl st into 1st chain, sc in next st, ch 4, sl st into 1st ch, sc in next st, ch 3, sl st into 1st chain and continue around. Repeat this process for each side and corner.
These are just a few of the many crochet edgings you can add to your projects. Not just for crochet and knit items anymore!
What are your favorite crochet edgings to use? Just post in the comments section on the page, I would love to hear your favorites.
Can you believe its June already? Where has the time flown? The weather has been wonderful, a few hot days in May, ending with what the forecasters now call May Gray, synonymous with June Gloom. The gloom comes from the dense cloud coverage that does not go away during the day, only for an hour will you see the sun, as it sets over the ocean. I actually like the gloom, it keeps the heat down and most importantly, the traffic muffled during the wee hours of the morning. Except this past week.
There’s a new yarn cat in town. We adopted a tiny, 8 week old kitten. He was found a couple weeks ago, just skin and bones. His foster family took him in, fed him, gave him love, but could not keep him. I saw a picture on facebook, contacted the foster, and then I showed Lee.
Baggy Here: I know how Kathy works…
Lee has wanted a kitten for a long time. It has been 25 years since we had a kitten in our household that small. Baggy was almost 6 months old when he came into our lives.
It’s been a bit of a change here. So far so good. We kept them separated for a couple of days. Slow introductions, with humans watching over each kitty.
The kitten, whom we are calling Lil G, as in Gandalf the Gray —the name the fostering family gave him— has no fear. He walks up to Baggy, a stare down begins, Baggy hisses, Lil G hisses back, then runs away.
So far no claws, all paws. Yesterday, we let them sort out their differences. There has been lots of chasing; Baggy chasing G, G chasing Baggy. It’s shaping up to be a 2 cat household quickly. Now if I can get Lil G to sleep past 5am, life will be back to normal, and I will be able to crochet without Lil G shredding my yarn.
Baggy Here: If that little guy keeps up the good manners and respect for his elders, I may be able to teach him a few tricks.
Last Saturday I participated in the El Segundo Hometown Fair. It’s an annual event for the city that brings out families. The kids get to play in the bounce houses, the adults chatting amongst themselves and the arts and crafts vendors get to make new customers.
Typical of beach living it was a cold, windy, damp day. I am often approached by customers asking some common questions about my knit and crochet items. Such as if I teach children and do I teach knitting.
The answer to both is yes. I do teach kids how to crochet, with minimum age of 10 years, and not more than 6 kids at a time. If there are more than 6 kids in a class, they lose the one on one teaching, with some catching on and others not at all.
I also teach knitting. Sometimes privately in my home and sometimes through other venues like yarn shops or through a city program.
Customers also ask how long I have been crocheting animals. This question always brings back memories of the first arts & crafts event I participated in. It has been 10 years now that I have been knitting and crocheting for fairs.
To be honest, I cannot remember exactly how I got into selling at craft fairs. My first show was at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. My table had knit and crochet scarves and crochet beanies. The beanie hats were the first time I had ever crocheted in the round. People complimented me on how well I knitted scarves, and that I should have raised the price of the scarves. (Lessons of the newbie!)
I went online and spent many hours looking at patterns.
My first animal I ever crochet was the turtle. Many mistakes were made but I had to try. Once I got the hang of it, I found it to be easy to crochet.
In 2007, I participated in a show at a senior center, brought along 8 crochet animals, along with other items. The animals were a hit! I had found my niche and have been crocheting animals for 10 years. I create my own designs too which include the octopod, jellyfish, seal, teddy bear, ducky ball with more to come.
Five years after that beginning All of my ocean related animals are shipped to Buy Hand – Laguna Beach, where I consign them. Their customers love my crochet animals —they have even been photographed for a local newspaper article on the shop!
How did you find your niche?
Baggy here: I love a good story. Tell me how you found your niche in the comments below.
Here are 2 of my Spring Arts & Crafts Shows I am participating in. I hope to see you at either event. Earth Day is April 22, come out, see some fine crafters selling their wares.
Arts & Crafts Fairs are not only for fall and winter, they are also for the springtime.
I am confirmed for the following 2 local events and I hope you can come out and support my art.
Saturday April 22, 10am-2pm. Anderson Park, 3007 Vail Avenue Redondo Beach, supporting the North Park Seniors. I will have a table outside the center, and it will have shawls, crochet animals, felted wallets and coffee cup cozies.
Saturday May 6, 10am-3pm. Hometown Fair, 600 Main St El Segundo. This event has arts & crafts vendors, carnival rides, game booths, music & entertainment, community expo, bake off contest and a Rubber Ducky Derby benefits C.A.S.E. Buy your rubber ducky during the Hometown Fair.
I will have a canopy full of my products for you to purchase. My new item this year is the repurposed tote bag: made from cotton yarn, its great to use for groceries, the farmers market, beach.
Did you get a chance to “crawl”? How many shops did you visit?
I crawled, and my husband was gracious to drive me from store to store. We even found a couple book stores for him to “crawl” in.
We mapped our route, packed a snack bag of water, sodas, chips, then started the 2-hour drive at 7:30am, along 3 freeways, to Claremont. It was faster than we anticipated, arriving at 9:00am, so we had time to eat breakfast. Knitting was my companion during this time. Occasionally an LA landmark made it into my photos.
The goal all was to spend 15 minutes at each store, browsing the shelves, drooling over all the yarn lovely and meeting the shops owners. Twelve of the 17 stores we had never visited before, so it was nice to see what they have to offer.
Instagram & Twitter also played a role in visiting the shops. Each shop had 2 yarns featured for the crawlers to snap a “yarn selfie” and post to social media. Photo bombing was prevented at most locations, except one or two, (you’ll see an extra limb or two in those photos) only because of a lack of seating.
Each shop gave the crawlers a logo pin to put on the official LA Yarn Crawl Tote Bag and a FREE knit and crochet pattern. And, several stores gave a free “gift with purchase”. There were product demonstrations, artist trunk shows, and exclusive dyed yarns.
On Friday morning, I met a Tunisian Crochet Designer/Author, Sharon Hernes Silverman. She demonstrated a different way to crochet Tunisian without the long double ended crochet hook. I had a nice conversation with her, and cannot wait to start crocheting from her books that I purchased.
Not only is yarn available for purchase on the crawl, so are the tools and accessories for both knit and crochet. See the photo evidence of my purchases. You can never have too many locking stitch markers or tape measures, right?
One store even had “$5 & $10 Mystery Bags”. You buy the bag, and inside is a mystery as to what you purchased. I purchased the $5 bag, and inside was Tapestry Needles, Folding Scissors and Row Counter. It was a good purchase.
As you can see, yarn was acquired for crochet animals (Chunky Baby yarns), scarves, shawls, project bags and tote bags. New colors, new fibers, new year.
After 3 days of crawling, 10 freeways, over 300 miles, now the real fun begins… Winding Yarn!