You’ve Got Options- Diamond Star Square

What fun to be part of the You’ve Got Options CAL! This is a project that actually has 2 different squares, different sizes, but built upon each other. If you have missed any of them, please check out all the opportunities here.

For my part I worked a square that utilizes carrying your throughout the project, crocheting over the color you are not working. This allows for some specialized color changes without having to weave in a bunch of ends.

A little insight

It also uses a process that creates inverted V’s, by using front post double crochet stitches that are worked together. These may be new techniques for you, or stitches you may not work often, so I offer some detailed information about them, and recommend reviewing it before beginning the squares. If you want to understand more about post stitches, both front and back are used in this design, I share some insight here.  To understand more about how to work decrease stitches, I share some tips here.

After you complete the smaller 6″ square, you then really put this square on its head, by moving the corners to the sides. This causes the square to rest on its point.

Square measures 12” x 12” (at end of Round 6, square measures 6” x 6”)

Materials

  • J/10/6.00mm crochet hook
  • Lion Brand Basic Stitch Premium medium weight 100% premium acrylic yarn (3.5 oz/100g/219yrds/200m) 1 skein each color #141 Plum (MC), #98 Cream (CC)

Abbreviations:

  • Beg: Beginning
  • Bpdc: back post double crochet
  • Bphdc: back post half double crochet
  • Bpsc: back post single crochet
  • CC: contrasting color
  • Ch: chain
  • Dc: double crochet
  • Fpdc: front post double crochet
  • Fphdc: front post half double crochet
  • Hdc: half double crochet
  • MC: main color
  • Rnd: round
  • Sc: single crochet
  • Sl st: slip stitch
  • Sp: space
  • St(s): Stitch(es)

Special Stitches

Front Post Double Crochet Two Together (Fpdc2tog):  Yarn over, insert hook from front to back and then to front again around post of stitch last worked into (or around st indicated) on previous row, yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook, skip next st on rnds 2 and yarn over, insert hook from front to back and then to front again around post of next stitch (or around st indicated), yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook, yarn over and draw through all 3 loops on hook.

Front Post Treble Crochet Two Together (Fptr2tog): Yarn over twice, insert hook from front to back and then to front again around post of indicated stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop, [yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] twice, yarn over twice, insert hook from front to back and then to front again around post of indicated stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop, [yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] twice, yarn over and draw through all 3 loops on hook.

Notes

Leave unused color behind your work and work over unused color when possible.

The Smaller Block

Rnd 1: With MC, ch 4 (last 3 chains count as dc), 15 dc in 4th ch from hook, join to top of beg ch. -16 dc

Rnd 2: Ch 3 (counts as tr here and throughout), dc in same st, dc in next st, change color to CC, fpdc2tog, change color to MC, [2 dc in next st (behind fpdc2tog), 1 dc in next st (used for 2nd leg of fpdc2tog), change color to CC, fpdc2tog, change color to MC] repeat around, slip stitch in top of beg ch-3 to join. – 8 fpdc2tog, 24 dc

Working stitch location of “legs” of fpdc2tog
Completed Round 2

Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same st, change color to CC, fpdc2tog over last and first fpdc2tog, change color to MC, skip next st, 2 dc in next st, dc in next fpdc2tog, [2 dc in next st, change color to CC, fpdc2tog over last-used and next fpdc2tog, change color to MC, sk next st, 2 dc in next st, dc in next fpdc2tog] repeat around, sl st in top of beg ch-3 to join. -8 fpdc2tog, 40 dc

Completed Round 3

Rnd 4: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st, change color to CC, fptr2tog over last and first fpdc2tog of previous row, change color to MC, [skip next st, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st, change color to CC, fptr2tog over last-used and next fpdc2tog, change color to MC] repeat around, sl st in top of beg ch-3 to join. -8 fptr2tog, 56 dc

Working stitch location for “legs” of fptr2tog
Completed Round 4

We start making corners

Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in next st, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 3 sts, change color to CC, fphdc around fptr2tog, change color to MC, sc in next 3 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts, change color to CC, (fpdc, ch 1, fpdc) around fptr2tog (corner made), change color to MC, [dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 3 sts, change color to CC, fphdc around fptr2tog, change color to MC, sc in next 3 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts, change color to CC, (fpdc, ch 1, fpdc) around fptr2tog, change color to MC] repeat around, sl st in top of beg ch-3 to join. Fasten off CC. -4 fphdc, 4 (fpdc, ch 1, fpdc) corners, 16 dc, 16 hdc, 24 sc

Rnd 6: Ch 2 (counts as hdc), [hdc in each st across to ch-1 sp, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp] repeat around, hdc in last st, sl st in top of beg ch-2 to join. Fasten off. – 68 hdc, 4 (dc, ch 1, dc) corners, (19 sts on each side of square)

Making the Bigger Square

Rnd 7: With CC, join to any ch-1 corner sp, ch 3, (dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp as join, bpdc around each st to next ch-1 sp, [(2dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp, bpdc around each st to next ch-1 sp] repeat around, sl st in top of beg ch-3 to join. -76 bpdc, 4 (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) corners

Rnd 8: Ch 3, dc in next st, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, [dc in next 3 sts, change color to MC, fpdc2tog, change color to CC] five times, {dc in next 3 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, [dc in next 3 sts, change color to MC, fpdc2tog, change color to CC] five times} repeat around, dc in last st, sl st in top of beg ch-3 to join. -20 fpdc2tog, 72 dc, 4 (dc, ch 1, dc) corners

Rnd 9: Ch 3, dc in next 2 sts, {(dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, dc in next 6 sts, [change color to MC, fpdc2tog over previous and next fpdc2tog, change color to CC, sk next st, dc in next 3 sts] 4 times, dc in next 3 sts} repeat around omitting last 3 dc on last repeat, sl st in top of beg ch-3 to join. Fasten off both colors. -16 fpdc2tog, 84 dc, 4 (dc, ch 1, dc) corners

We are moving the corner…

Rnd 10: Note corner location will shift in this round. With MC, join to any ch-1 sp, ch 1, sc in same sp, bpsc around next 4 sts, bphdc around next 4 sts, bpdc around next 5 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, bpdc around next 5 sts, bphdc around next 4 sts, bpsc around next 4 sts, [sc in ch-1 sp, bpsc around next 4 sts, bphdc around next 4 sts, bpdc around next 5 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, bpdc around next 5 sts, bphdc around next 4 sts, bpsc around next 4 sts] repeat around, sl st in first sc to join. –32 bpsc, 32 bphdc, 40bpdc, 4 sc, 4 (dc, ch 1, dc) corners

Rnd 11: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next 4 sts, [hdc in next 5 sts, dc in next 5 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, dc in next 5 sts, hdc in next 5 sts, sc in next 9 sts] 3 times, hdc in next 5 sts, dc in next 5 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, dc in next 5 sts, hdc in next 5 sts, sc in last 4 sts, sl st in first sc to join. -36 sc, 40 hdc, 40 dc, 4 (dc, ch 1, dc) corners

Rnd 12: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next 10 sts, [hdc in next 5 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, hdc in next 5 sts, sc in next 21 sts] 3 times, hdc in next 5 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, hdc in next 5 sts, sc in next 10 sts, sl st in first sc to join. Fasten off. -84 sc, 40 hdc, 4 (dc, ch 1, dc) corners

Rnd 13: With CC, join to any ch-1 sp, ch 2 (counts as hdc), (hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in same sp as join, bphdc in each st across to next ch-sp, [(2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in ch-1 sp, bphdc in each st across to next ch-sp] repeat around, sl st to join. Fasten off. Block. –132 bphdc, 4 (2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) corners (37 stitches on each side of square)

The wrong side of the Diamond Star Square

Eventful Crochet Year and New Opportunities

This is always the time of year that I take stock of what the last year has brought. Honestly, it helps me realize that I am not just spinning my wheels, I really am doing things!

Teaching

For example, this year I have taught 53 classes at my local yarn store (not including private lessons), I have taught 16 classes at 5 different national events. Four classes at DFW Fiber Fest in April (find me there this year teaching the CGOA Masters Day), four classes at the Jimmy Beans Wool annual retreat in June, two classes for the Northern Illinois Chapter of CGOA in May, five classes at the Crochet Guild of America annual Chainlink Conference, and a class for a unique on-line conference, Stitch Markers Live.

This is part of the contributing factors of my 10 trips in 26 weeks that really kept me on my toes. Some were business networking, some were educational, and some were teaching. But all were really enjoyable.

Retreats

I also started day long crochet retreats. Celebrating my first event at a local winery; getting a tour, enjoying learning about wine and crocheting, a grat day was had by all. I have the second event is already on the calendar for the end of January this time at a chocolate shop. Find information to join me here.

Crochet with Linda at the Winery, August 2019

Designs

I didn’t just sit back when it came to designing. I only had 8 designs in freelance publications, but I created 15 designs, 4 for sale in my pattern line, the rest are either free patterns on my website or available for purchase in kits with various retailers.

Charity

I also started an afghan block pattern line to encourage people to learn a crochet stitch and help a national non-profit, Warm Up America. Warm Up America utilizes volunteers to put these blocks together and donate afghans to those in need. I have created 7 blocks this year, and continue to strive to create a new block design every few weeks.

Newsletter

Another large event for me, was actually pulling it together and creating a monthly newsletter. I highlight what has been happening in the month prior and what I am excited about in the month to come. This has really helped me to stay focused and reflective. If you haven’t already, sign up to receive it here.

Volunteering

Then in the midst of all this teaching and creating, I have continued to lead the Crochet Guild of America, as its President. That means monthly Board meetings, and keeping volunteers moving forward with various initiatives and undertakings. Working with 6 other Board members to help spread the word of crochet, preserve its heritage, and encourage more learning.

Home Life

I have juggled this with scheduled power outages to prevent forest fires. With the busy calendars of my two kids, be it sports, band or 4H there is never a dull moment. In addition I have juggled all the running of a household as my husband has had to work increasingly demanding work hours. I know that this is nothing new for women, but it is worth remembering that it takes time and has value.

The Decade

I was considering taking a look at where life has taken me in the last 10 years, but really a decade ago to now, is almost not recognizable. I made new friends, I lost people I care about. I was working in the field of Social Work for the older adults. My children were just starting school, my husband had human being work hours, and I was not in a position to even imagine that I would be self-employed in working in crochet. It is like a completely different world, and leaves me really wondering where the next ten years will take me.

Crochet with Linda at the Winery

Crochet with Linda at the Winery, a new adventure. Just when I think life should be settling into a rhythm, a new idea spices things up! I have spent the beginning of 2019 traveling and teaching, and just as I set my schedule for teaching at my local yarn store I add in something new….retreats!

I am offering the first of several retreats Thursday, August 29, 2019 from 10:30-4, just south of Placerville, CA.

Crochet with Linda at the Winery, featuring Holly’s Hill Winery and Lisa Souza Dyeworks Yarn

I have been imagining these retreat events for quite a while now. An event that engages skill building with inspiration, in a great setting, with great materials. And maybe doing something that you have always meant to do. This one in just a few weeks, definitely fits that build!

The Skills and Project

Sometimes gaining skills at a Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels can be a challenge. This unique design and pattern has been created to do allow skills to be built and advance your skill. The same stitch pattern utilizes three different ways to create a cowl. Beginning level works the cowl flat, while intermediate works in the round, and still advanced works in the round moebius from center out. The cowls are wide enough to be hooded, and with just enough lace work to allow this cowl to be worn in many seasons.

The Location

A family owned and operated winery, in a beautiful setting. Holly’s Hill overlooks the north fork of the Consumnes River Valley, and features French style Rhone Wines. The Co-Winemakers, the husband and wife team of Josh and Carrie Bendick, have a hand in every aspect of the process. They use old fashion techniques to create these Rhone-style wines. We are fortunate enough to have an exclusive tour of the winery. While learning about the wine making process from the experts. In addition you will get to sample a variety of wines in a tasting, while relaxing and enjoying the beautiful view.

The Materials

We will let a fingering weight superwash merino and bamboo yarn flow through our fingers. Lisa Souza Timaru Sport is a luscious yarn that has a coolness to the touch and a beautiful shimmer. Three hand dyed colors available to choose from, a warm, neutral and cool color, which offers a bit of something for everyone. Lisa is known for her gorgeous colorways of yarn, and these will not disappoint. Hooks will be provided (beautifully turned wood), but if you have a preferred hook in your set, please feel free to bring your size G/6/4.00mm.

Enjoy the view, the wine and definitely the crochet!

Enjoy gourmet box lunch, also included. No pepperoni pizza here. There are menus are being worked up with locally renowned restaurants to provide a day that allows everyone to feel pampered and valued.

As the final outlines of this event are being worked up, plans are well underway for another in October. If you want to be kept abreast of these new retreats, please sign up for my newsletter. Want to attend this event, register here.

I hope to see you soon, and will keep you posted on this new adventure!

5 Tips to Stay Cool and Crochet

Some say it is too hot to crochet, but I have always found the summer months my most productive time of year. I should preface that I do not have any air conditioning. I know that some might see this and think that I must be in some Nordic part of the world, and while I live in a climate that affords me cool nights and hot days, my summer temperatures can easily find a month of temperatures over 100° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius). So, let me share some of my tips.

Stay Hydrated

I keep a glass of water or iced tea near me at all times. I have a pretty bad habit of getting really involved in “just one more row” to the point that I can miss meals, so having a beverage at the ready really helps me have no excuse to not get a drink. It is pretty easy to hold the project and get a sip.

A tall cold glass to keep hydrated

Lotion if Needed

Since I live in an area with very little humidity, I need a good lotion to keep my hands smooth and feeling good. I have found that I like some wax based lotions that are in a solid form, like lotion bars. However I have also found success with thick medicated lotions. Basically anything that absorbs into my skin and does not feel like it is just sitting atop my skin.

Find the Shade

Honestly, I probably am in doors with most of my stitching, but venturing out in the heat of the day means that I am finding a nice piece of shade. If the location has a bit of a breeze even better. In addition, I am usually wearing a hat and sporting sunscreen.

If at all possible I make sure that I am out of the car. Sitting in the car and crocheting might be a necessity for me in some instances, but if I can get out of the car and get into fresh air it helps.

A Well Placed Fan

Putting a fan about 6-10 feet away and directed at me, is all I really need. If it oscillates, it is even better. This air movement helps to keep me comfortable, even while finishing a king sized afghan.

Check your Yarn

I tend to avoid using yarns with a lot of halo, or “fuzz” when the weather turns hot. I prefer a smooth yarn. Although this is probably more of a mental thought of what is cooler to work with than a reality. I just think that as the yarn slips smoother through my fingers, the easier it flows the cooler I feel.

I think that looking over my list I realize why I am so productive during hot weather….I basically find a place and stay there, I stay in a seat, with a fan blowing and a cold drink, in the shade while pampering my hands a bit. This makes it easy to work on projects, and beat the heat.

Crochet More Alike

For some reason I am finding it difficult to write this post.

The last couple of weeks has reminded me of something quite fundamental within the fiber arts. When you find those that share your hobby, you find your tribe. I have witnessed several examples of how this tribe is a force of good in the world.

The first example was while I was at the DFW Fiber Fest. Just as the vendor market was about to open the rumor had spread that one vendor had not been able to set up. Apparently, the trailer that carried all of their yarns, their samples, their entire booth set up was stolen from a hotel parking lot.

Most vendors are small businesses, the entire family participates in the entire experience. This is the livelihood, and obviously a loss like this is huge set back.

So, what happened next was a true feeling of the tribe. All the other vendors donated items for a raffle drawing, while attendees began taking up donations. After 24 hours all organization came together for one central raffle drawing fundraising event. In just two and a half short days over $12,000 was raised to help offset the losses to this family.

To add to the story, apparently the thieves took approximately a third of the yarn they had stolen and donated it to a Habitat for Humanity store. A crochet loving volunteer thought that this donation looked odd, did a bit of research and was able to return some of the vendors stock to them. The vendor was able to have a small booth to sell these found yarns, in which they had a steady show of support.

This was occurring as a fellow crochet was losing her battle with cancer. By now in life I have been down this path before, it does not become any easier. However there was a bit of a difference with this passing. I know this crocheter from the Crochet Guild of America, I have spent time with her at the annual conference, and followed her life on-line via Facebook.

After her passing, her only living relative, her brother, reached out to her crochet community to inform them of just how much we all meant to her. This tribe was her family, and the simple act of sharing our love for crochet had created an environment in her life that was the world to her. Her tribe was important to her enough that they become a part of her everyday life. There is a void in the crochet community.

There are other instances that have come together this week to remind me that there is so much more we have in common than we have different. Crochet just happens to be one of those tribes that we can easily recognize, we know that if someone plays with yarn we can find a common ground.

I still do not understand why I have had such difficulty putting any of this to words, maybe it is because my tribe is too close to my heart.