Pechin is a New Classic- A Great Shawl

There are a couple of stitches that always seem to make their way into my work. I find that I create multiple projects using them, and still I never tire of working them. My latest design from Manos del Uruguay and Fairmount Fibers, Pechin, falls into this category.

This shawl is worked from the center of the neck outward, utilizing a simple chain and single crochet combination. I find that this stitch allows that yarn to really be the feature. It creates a light, airy fabric that embodies the yarn to go as far as it can. By this I mean that you can go a long way with just one skein. As an example, Pechin is only a 2 skein shawl (using Manos del Uruguay Milo), and a really good sized shawl at that.

For Pechin, I broke up the chain stitch pattern with bands of shells. This creates a visual break as well as a bit of dimension. The bands gradually space further apart in this design to help keep the flow balanced, and I feel it helps give a really classic look.

I have to admit, I could work this shawl over and over again. The stitch pattern has a nice rhythm, and just enough details, at just the right time, to keep it from getting boring. I also feel that it really has a beautiful balance between the design and the yarn, they feel at harmony with one another as neither over powers the other.

Okay, that might seem a bit wordy or dramatic, but what I mean is that it is a pattern/design in which you can appreciate both the yarn and the design at the same time. I have spoken in the past about how you select a yarn or pattern to bet let one or the other be a highlight, like not using a variegated yarn in a design that is heavily textured, as the yarn will win over the design (read more here). Pechin however, has a balance that allows the yarn to shine as well as the design, and this is true even if the yarn is variegated.


The Basic Crochet Hat

I have been asked to outline a basic pattern for a top down crochet hat several times over the last few weeks, this has resulted in this really basic crochet pattern.

I designed this pattern with baby yarn, so it can easily be adapted for donation hats for those journeying through a cancer diagnosis that might include chemotherapy. Baby yarn is recognized as being soft, and as it is 100% acrylic it is hypo-allergenic.

The pattern is written to address 5 different and popular hat sizes, to use the pattern find the type of hat you want to create, notice the location of the name in the parentheses, as all subsequent rounds of the pattern will relate to this same position. (To make a custom sized hat, check out my basic hat formula here). This hat has a tie at the brim to allow for some adjustment by the user to get a bit of a more custom fit.

Basic Hat


Lion Brand Baby Soft light weight yarn, (60% acrylic, 40% nylon)

G/6/4mm crochet hook



10 rounds =4 ½”(11.5cm)


Preemie (Baby, Kid, Woman, Man)

Ch 4, sl st to first ch to create ring.

Rnd 1(1, 1, 1, 1): Ch 3 (counts as dc here and throughout), 11 dc in center of ring, sl st to top of ch-3. -12 dc

Rnd 2 (2, 2, 2, 2): Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st around, sl st to join. -24 dc

Rnd 3 (3, 3, 3, 3): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next st, [2 dc in next st, dc in next st] rep around, sl st to join. -36 dc

Rnd 4 (4, 4, 4, 4): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 2 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] rep around, sl st to join. -48 dc

Rnd 5 (5, 5, 5, 5): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 3 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts] rep around, sl st to join. -60 dc

Rnd – (6, 6, 6, 6): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 4 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 4 sts] rep around, sl st to join. -72 dc

Rnd – (-, 7, 7, 7): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 5 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 5 sts] rep around, sl st to join. -84 dc

Rnd -(-, -,  8, 8): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 6 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 6 sts] rep around, sl st to join. -96 dc

Rnd – (-, -, -, 9): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 7 sts, [2dc in next st, dc in next 7 sts] rep around, sl st to join. -108 dc

Rnd 6-11 (7-15, 8-16, 9-16, 10-17): Ch 3, dc in each st around, sl st to join.

Rnd 12(16, 17, 17, 18): Turn, ch 1, sc in same st, ch 1, sk 1 st, [sc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 st] rep around, sl st to join, fasten off.


Create a chain that is 5 inches (13 cm) longer than the circumference of the hat. Weave the chain through he ch-1 spaces, tie into a bow.


Weave in all ends.

A Simple End Two Ways for Crochet

I have found some debate on how one ends their work. This might seem like a something quite simple, but there a couple of different ways I have seen it done, and I am sure there are others.

Finish off.

Pulling the cut yarn through the last loop on hook.

At the end of a pattern it will say finish off or fasten off, both essentially mean the same thing, cut your yarn and end your work. It is the process to end your work that can get some discussion. No one really talks about it, as many are afraid that they may not being doing it correctly and they don’t want anyone to know. So this gets discussed in small private groups that people do not feel judged in, or when a brand new crocheter asks the question to a large group.

The two most common I have found in my discussions are to complete the stitch, leaving 1 loop on the hook, cutting the yarn and pulling through this one loop. This does leave a slight “bump” at the end of your work, because in a sense you are creating a knot. I will be honest, this is the approach I most often use, I like to feel that the end will not come undone, basically it is a piece of mind for myself.

Finish off.

Pull cut yarn though the end of last stitch.

The second is to finish the last stitch, cut the yarn and pull it through the last stitch. This is the method used when working an invisible join, and l feel it can have a really nice finish off, if you are prepared to weave in your ends immediately. There is the benefit of not having any extra little knot at the end of the work, giving a soft even feel across the entire fabric.

There really is not right or wrong way to finish off, it is a matter pf personal preference. You may feel that in some instances a different finish can benefit your work, and that is fine. As always as long as you are happy with your work, that is all that is important.

Crocheting the Mark

The other day I was going through an old box and I stumbled across some “early to me” crochet. I recall, about the time I was learning to crochet at age 10, at school I received a crocheted bookmark. My teacher had a friend who crocheted and she had created a bookmark with a “curly q”. My teacher gave them as prizes to students that had met her reading goal, I cannot recall exactly what the goal was but I remember the prize.

Curly Q bookmark in use

I remember being in awe of how it was made. Being a new crocheter I had no idea how the twists were created. I used that bookmark for years, and several years later, after becoming more proficient in crochet, figuring out how it was made. I have since recreated this bookmark for teachers of my children. They have used them in much the same way as my teacher years ago, meeting a goal and getting a reward.

I am sharing this stitch pattern for this bookmark in the hopes that you might make a few and share them with teachers or your local library, helping sharing the gift of reading. I know that many think that all books are going digital, but there is something about holding a book and moving your bookmark through the pages that has a gratification that can’t be completely explained.

More of the Curly Q bookmark in use

This is a really loose pattern, I don’t know if I should even all it a pattern, I am basically sharing how I create mine, and none of the stitch counts are really important. The gauge does not matter, it doesn’t matter what yarn or hook your use. To begin you chain anywhere between 6 and 8, slip stitching to the first chain to create a ring. I then chain 1 and place about 12 single crochets in the ring, slip stitch to the beginning single crochet. Now create a chain of about 18” to 24”, then double crochet in the 4th chain from the hook, add 2 more double crochets to the same stitch as the last, work 3 double crochets in each of the next several chains, working until you feel the “curl” you are making is long enough. Finish off, and weave in all ends.

That is all there is to it. The chain section lays in between the pages while the “curly q” can slip through the ring to secure around the book binding. This is a simple scrap project, and one I find fun and fast.

Teaching Crochet In Chicago!

If you would have told me a couple of years ago that I would be a crochet designer, published in several well-known magazines worldwide, I would have thought you were crazy. Then if you added to that, that I would be teaching on the National Stage at conferences, I would have asked for you to check what was in your water. I never would have seen this is the future journey that I would have been on. After all I was working in a support position for social works in cafe of the elderly. I found my job rewarding, knowing that I was making a daily difference in the lives of people in my community.

Well, changes in the structure of my job, as well as the needs of my young kids helped me envision a new path. I still have to pinch myself at times to realize that I really have accomplished these things, and that I am teaching again this year at the Crochet Guild of America’s annual Chainlink Conference, this year July 26-29, 2017 in Chicago.

Needle Felt crochet motifs on fabric

I am teaching some classes you may not have expected. I am teaching how to Needle Felt your motifs directly onto fabric, allowing you to take your crochet into an entirely new direction with no sewing required! Barbed needles are great tools that can be used to create some fabulous projects, but using it with crochet is a direction that you may not have explored, until now.

Convert It! Learn how to crochet your favorite knitting pattern

I am also teaching Convert It! This is a class that will overload you with information about how to take your favorite knit design and recreate it in crochet. Learn what drives you to choose your pattern, and then understand how to dismantle it and put it together for the exact look you want, while learning and understanding the basic differences between knitting and crochet and how to use the strength and weakness of each to complement each other.

What the Pattern Does Not Say

What the Pattern Does Not Tell You covers all the things that designers, writers, and publishers assume you already know. There are many simple things that can get overlooked in the writing, but can really make a complete difference in the outcome of your success. Don’t let the lack of this information hold your crochet back.

While teaching Re-Invented Broomstick Lace, I have learned so much myself. People have an idea of the basics of Broomstick lace, but there are so many possibilities. This class offers inspiration in how to use this stitch to create stunning fabrics that will leave everyone asking how you did that. It can be your secret, and hopefully you will get inspired to invent even more new approaches to this lace technique.

Re-Invented Broomstick Lace

It will be a fun couple of days in Chicago, and if you can join me it would be great to see you. I don’t know what crazy adventure I will be on in the next couple of years, but I have learned, NEVER, rule out anything!