1 for Me, 1 for You- Rolling Along Block

Help me help local communities by creating blocks for Warm Up America, by making a block for yourself and one for a community project with this free pattern. I will be creating a new block every few weeks and sharing it with you, I just ask that make one for donation.

Warm Up America is a nationwide organization that encourages local donations, but will also except donations to be sent to their office so that blocks can be assembled and then blankets can be donated through the United States.

Rolling Along Block

Even if you do not want to participate with Warm Up America, please consider creating blocks, or blankets for your local community. There are various places in every community that accept donations.

Rolling Along Block

Working the Catherine’s Wheel

Catherine’s Wheel is a classic crochet stitch that works one row of shells over a row of decreases to create a circle or wheel look. I have made a couple of changes to the classic pattern. For starters instead of working a single crochet after completing the shell or decrease, I work a slip stitch. I find that this help prevent “gapping” that occurs in the chain 3 area.

Working a dc9tog, you will have 10 loops on the hook.
Yarn over and pull through all the loops on the hook.
Slip stitch worked after the chain 3, to secure the decrease.
Working a decrease on the corner, dc5tog.

I should also point out that I work the shells in “the center of the decrease”, this is the biggest opening. However it is really not the completion of the decrease stitch, but the third chain. I feel that working here emphasizes the “center”, when working in the actual point of completion just looks a bit wonky.

Work the Shell in the center of the decrease, it creates a “hole”.
Working a shell at the beginning of a row means working in the center of the decrease.

I do have an exception to this, and that is when finishing a row with a shell it needs to be worked in the top of the turning chain to keep the edge straight. This will be just over from the “center”.

The “exception” the last shell is worked in the top of the turning chain, this helps to keep a straight edge.

Gauge

7”x9” rectangle

Materials

Medium weight yarn, in 2 colors MC (main color), CC1

K/10 ½/6.5mm crochet hook

Special Stitches

Double crochet 4 together (dc4tog): Working over the next 4 sts, [yo, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops] six times, yo, pull through all 5 loops on hook.

Double crochet 5 together (dc5tog): Working over the next 5 sts, [yo, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops] six times, yo, pull through all 6 loops on hook.

Double crochet 9 together (dc9tog): Working over the next 9 sts, [yo, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops] six times, yo, pull through all 10 loops on hook.

Note:

Change colors without fastening off the yarn. Instead carry the yarn along the edge, and it will be hidden in the edging round. Here are some tips for do it.

The Pattern

With MC Chain 25

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, [sk 3 chs, 9 dc in next ch, sk 3 chs, sc in next ch] three times, change to CC1, turn. –(3) 9 dc shells, 5 sc

Row 2: Ch 3, dc4tog, ch 3, sl st in next st, ch 3, dc9tog, ch 3, sl st in next st, ch 3, dc9tog, ch 3, sl st in next st, ch 3, dc5tog, turn. – (2) dc9tog, (1) dc4tog, (1) dcs5tog

Row 3: Ch 3, 4 dc in same st, sl st in next sl st, 9 dc in center of dc9tog, sl st in next sl st, 9 dc in center of dc9tog, sl st in next sl st, 5 dc in top of turning ch-3, change to MC, turn. (2) 9 dc shells, (2) 5 dc shells

Row 4: Ch 1, sl st in same st, ch 3, dc9tog, ch 3, sl st in next st, ch 3, dc9tog, ch 3, sl st in next st, ch 3, dc9tog, ch 3, sl st in last st, turn.

Row 5: Ch 1, sl st in same st, 9 dc in center of dc9tog, sl st in next sl st, 9 dc in center of dc9tog, sl st in next sl st, 9 dc in center of dc9tog, sl st in last st, change to CC1, turn.

Row 6-13: Rep Rows 2-5 twice.

Row 14: Rep Row 2. Fasten off.

Edging

With color MC, sc in each st across, 3 sc in corner, work evenly sc around block working 3 sc in each corner. Finish off.

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.

1 for Me, 1 for You- String of Stars Block

Help me help local communities by creating blocks for Warm Up America, by making a block for yourself and one for a community project with this free pattern. I will be creating a new block every few weeks and sharing it with you, I just ask that make one for donation.

Warm Up America is a nationwide organization that encourages local donations, but will also except donations to be sent to their office so that blocks can be assembled and then blankets can be donated through the United States.

String of Stars Block

Even if you do not want to participate with Warm Up America, please consider creating blocks, or blankets for your local community. There are various places in every community that accept donations.

Star Stitches

This block is used working star stitches. Star stitches are similar to working a decrease over several stitches, but instead of over several stitches it is over various parts of adjacent stitches. Pulling up many loops in many places creates this unique looking stitch, in this block I have you working 2 different types of star stitches. One star is big and full over yarn overs to create a dynamic appearance, while the lighter star is does not have yarn over, and few loops, but creates a great textural effect, and in my opinion looks cute pall stacked upon one another.

Gauge: 7”x9” rectangle

Materials

Medium weight yarn, in 3 colors MC (main color), CC1, CC2

K/10 ½/ 6.5mm hook

Special Stitches

Beginning Full Star (BFS): Yo, insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yo, pull through loop, yo insert hook through base (post) of last stain next ch, yo, pull through a loop, yo insert hook into same st as chain, yo, pull through a loop, yo, insert hook in next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, insert hook into next hook, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all 11 loops on hook.

Full Star (FS): Yo, insert hook into eye last star made, yo, pull through loop, yo insert hook through base (post) of last star, yo, pull through a loop, yo insert hook into same st as last base (post) of last star, yo, pull through a loop, yo, insert hook in next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, insert hook into next hook, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all 11 loops on hook.

Loop placement for the Full Star Stitch (the placement is the same as the Light Star, but a Yarn over is worked between each inserting of the hook).
After pulling through all the loops, you chain 1, this creates an “eye” at the center of the stitch

And the Smaller Star

Beginning Light Star (BLS): Insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yo, pull through a loop, insert hook in next ch, yo, pull through a loop, insert hook into same st as chain, yo, pull up a loop, insert hook in next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all 5 loops.

Light Star (LS): Insert hook into eye of last star made, yo, pull through a loop, insert hook through base (post) of last star, yo, pull through a loop, insert hook into same st as last post of last star, yo, pull up a loop, insert hook in next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all 5 loops.

Loop placement for the Light Star Stitch.

If you would like to see some more detailed step bu step of the loop location, here is a tutorial for the Light Star Stitch.

Block Pattern

With MC Ch 28

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, turn. -27 sc

Row 2: Change to CC1, ch 3, BFS, ch 1, [FS, ch 1,] 12 times, turn. -13 Full Stars

Row 3: Change to MC, ch 1, 2 sc in same st, sc in each ch and the top of each star across, turn. -27

Single crochet into the top of the Star Stitch, and in the chain space, when working stitches over the Full Star Stitch.

Row 4: Change to CC2, ch 3, BLS, ch 1, [LS, ch 1] 25 times, turn.-26 Light Stars

Row 5: Change to MC, ch 1, 2 sc in same st, sc in each ch-sp across, turn. -27 sc

Only work in the chain space when working the next row on a row of Light Star Stitches

Row 6-13: Rep Rows 2-5 twice.

Edge

Rnd 1: Ch 1, sc in sc in same st, sc in each st across until 1 st remains, 3 sc in last st, working over row ends evenly sc across to beg ch, 3 sc in last st, working in unused loops of beg ch, sc in each chain across, 3 sc in last st, working over row end evenly sc across, 2 sc in last st, sl st to beg sc, fasten off.

Weave in ends, block. (see tips here)

Titter Tat a Stitch that Breaks the Rules

There are times when you can come across a crochet stitch that breaks all the rules, for me the stitch I refer to as Titter Tat does just that. This stitch creates an open stretchy pattern whose stitches appear to be sideways, and you do not chain at the beginning of a row, you simply begin working your stitches.

I have used this stitch in the Wine Country Throw that is found in the October 2016 issue of Crochet World, it does have a bit of stretch, which can be deceiving when attempting to get a desired size, but I really love the affect.

Titter Tat Stitch www.lindareancrochet.com

Titter Tat Stitch

Begin with a chain that is a multiple of 4, then add 2 more chains. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook, [chain 4, skip 3 chains, single crochet in next chain] repeat everything in the brackets across, then turn. Do not chain anything, and simply work (2 double crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in all chain 4 loops across, and then turn your work. This can be a little awkward with the first stitch as it seems a bit distorted as it is pulled over, this is the correct approach as it will set the first stitches up the match the rest. All subsequent rows are worked the same, no beginning chain, working (2 double crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in all chain 3 spaces across. You work this until you have the desired length. This stitch can really benefit from blocking, but the type of yarn can influence how well this works.

The more formal written pattern looks like this:

Ch a multiple of 4 +2

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, [ch 4, sk 3, sc in next ch] across, turn.

Row 2: [(2dc, ch 3, sc) in ch-4 sp] across, turn.

Row 3-desired length: [(2dc, ch 3, sc in each ch-3 sp] across, turn.

You may want to add a solid border to the stitch to limit the stretch, but that is a personal choice. If you are seeking to practice this stitch and create a throw for charity you may want to consider your local foster youth programs. Often foster kids in any community have limited personal belongings, and upon during 18 are now legal adults with in many cases nothing to begin their own households. Foster youth programs try an ease this transition.

Cross Stitch- Crochet For a Difference

I will admit, that featuring on how crochet can make a difference locally has really helped me remained focus on what is important. Prior to working as a freelance designer and instructor I worked in public service, I there are times that I really miss the satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life. So finding a way to remind myself that crocheting is a way to make an impact, is very powerful to me.

I was thinking about a simple stitch for an afghan, and my mind kept coming back to a simple cross stitch. It is made up of double crochet stitches that are, as the name states, crossed. To this stitch I work a chain in any even number, and add 1.

Row 1: Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in each chain across, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3 (this will count as a double crochet, and not be crossed, this is the edge), [skip the next stitch, double crochet in the next stitch, now double crochet in the stitch that was skipped] repeat across, double crochet in the last stitch, turn.

Repeat Row 2 until desired length.

Final Row: Chain 1, single crochet in each stitch across.

Cross Stitch www.lindadeancrochet.com

Cross Stitch

This creates a lacy type of fabric, and works well in a wide variety of yarn types. It is a simple texture as well, creating many options of feel. One of the reasons I enjoy this stitch is that once it is set up, it almost becomes a mindless stitch pattern, since it is really pretty simple to see if I made an error, thus I do not have to count my stitches.

After working this stitch up in an afghan you may want to consider donating it to a local residential care home. In any community you may be familiar with long term care homes, or what some people call nursing homes, yet there are many smaller ones that may actually be down the street from you in a simple home. To find these locally in your community contact your local Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, this program facilitates and trains volunteers to routinely visit all sorts of care facilities to ensure that the rights of the residents are not being violated. Find your Long Term Care Ombudsman within your local Area Agency on Aging, find it here.