Inspiring Book & Give Away! Quick Crochet for the Home

I do not often do reviews. This has been a personal issue for me, as I don’t want to feel like I am just “hocking” items and adding an endorsement to everything in the hopes of gaining more followers or the like. I want to actually mean what I say and have those that read my work realize that I am taking caution in sharing my views. I know I could share negative thoughts in a review, but really I would prefer if I couldn’t say something nice, that I not say anything at all. So I am selective.

When I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing the first book written by Tamara Kelly, aka Mooglyblog.com, I was flattered, but a bit apprehensive. I consider Tamara a friend, so it doubly feels like I cannot say anything negative, especially about her first book. Fortunately, after reading through it I can easily stay to my “moral high ground” of endorsements, as the book is really very nice and well done.

The book, Quick Crochet for Home, honestly would not have been the first book I would have considered for my bookshelf. This is because I have done so many home décor projects over the years that I thought I couldn’t find any that would inspire me anymore, I was wrong. Tamara applies some techniques in ways that I had not considered before and helped me to look at home décor with fresh eyes.

When checking out the Around the Table Trivet I was surprised that there was no cording listed in the materials, as looking at the photo images it appeared that the rounds were well padded, then I noticed that there was not spiral effect of the rounds. The genius of the pattern has one round worked over the adjacent round! So there is not obvious join, and it creates its own padding…genius! It is one of those, why didn’t I think of that moments.

Then her Chevron Cuddles Blanket takes the challenge of the increase and decrease stitches out of the famous crochet design of zig zags, and worked the design side to side carrying different colors instead of working each color as a separate row. This has some definite benefits, such as being easier of newer crocheters, and allowing you to really envision how the colors come together well before you have finished the project. You only have to know how to double crochet, and change colors…it is that simple, yet looks much more challenging.

I also found that the book was well presented, layout well, offered well written patterns and charts. Another bonus, it has photography that actually helped you understand the project, not just look really pretty.

I found inspiration in several of the other designs as well, but I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed going through this book. There is a little something for everyone, there are patterns that you will easily work over and over again, as well as others that might only wait for the perfect moment. Tamara shares several different original ideas in her approach to her designs, and I am sure that you will find something that you will create.

As an added bonus, I have the opportunity to GIVE AWAY a FREE copy of Quick Crochet for the Home by Tamara Kelly, to one lucky reader! Simply leave a comment telling me what your favorite item is to crochet…whether it be home décor or something else, by midnight Friday, September 1, 2017. The following day one comment will be selected at random to choose the winner.

 

One Skein, One Loop

I love the challenge of creating a single skein project, sometimes it lends itself to a fantastic idea, and sometimes it is just a practice of futility. However, I think this latest design is the former.

Scarf in a Loop is a simple attempt at Bruges Lace. Bruges Lace is a classic technique that essentially crochets a ribbon of narrow crochet stitches with chain loops on its edges. These chain loops allow the ribbon to be bent and twisted, while joining these loops together. So basically if you can draw the line of a ribbon you can create the design in crochet. This scarf pattern is drawn as a ribbon in a simple oval.

Scarf in a Loop, Crochet World October 2017 Photo courtesy Annie’s

The one drawback to Bruges Lace patterns is the number of rows involved. Often a pattern can seem intimidating when it lists hundreds, if not thousands of rows. So keep in mind that these rows are often only a couple of stitches wide.

One of the things I really enjoy with Scarf in a Loop is the way the color moves. The yarn, Lion Brand Unique, has some nice color changes and this design really highlights this. It is a bulky size yarn so it works up fairly fast, and has a nice weight.

Crochet World, October 2017, decided to feature this design and I think it is great as a gift for the upcoming holiday season, or simply for a quick accessory to keep warm during this ever cooling season.

Swirls That Will Brighten Your Day

Sometimes while crocheting my mind can completely wonder and I have no idea what I am stitching. This is actually a really therapeutic approach at times, it allows me to be productive and keep my hands busy while allowing my mind to day dream or work things out. My latest design Swirling Valley Circular Throw, in the August issue of I Like Crochet Magazine, actually was created this way.

Photo courtesy of I Like Crochet Magazine

I began working on a spiral motif, but then I began thinking of other things and before I knew it I had an entire throw. The stitch pattern is essentially that needed to create a flat circle, but you have to work more than one color, and thus more than one strand of yarn, in each round. This can be a bit daunting as you need to keep the strands from tangling, but I have found that by twisting the yarn in the same direction each time I switch colors that I can at least create a uniform tangle that I can easily untwist every few rounds. I know others that have easier techniques, using holders that keep the skeins apart so they cannot wrap around each other, or little finger rings that hold each color independently ready for use. However I have never really gotten the hang of these and simply just untangle as needed…this at least changes my task at various times.

Photo courtesy I Like Crochet Magazine

Swirling Valley Circular Throw is made up of only three colors but utilizes six colors per round, so if you wanted something to have a real spiral effect you could simply use six different colors in this throw instead of each color twice.

I like this design for kids, I can easily see it in bright vibrant colors to adorn a play room, or even in soft pastels to create a dazzling throw for baby.

I have an additional confession, when I started working the final rounds I was getting a bit exhausted, thinking that they would never end. This is typical of large circles, but the color changes at least kept it more interesting and manageable, so this did not become an un-finished project (UFO) in my work bag.

 

Parisian Champagne Throw-A Nice Little Piece

It is always a fun morning when I learn  that I have a new design out and published that I can share with the world. Today the Parisian Champagne Throw is available in the August 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine is out and alive in the world.

This throw actually started out in a smaller format. The motifs that I have designed, I originally considered for a thread table cloth. I have fun working up the little round motifs and thought they fit together a bit like clockwork. However after creating a square contaminating 4 of them I felt that they would be a really busy looking pattern for a table cloth. Thus they became a 4 square motif in themselves, and then joined with others. As is usual I have worked these motifs as “join as you go”, so there is no sewing or seaming needed.

My decision to alter the original design from a thread table cloth, really was one of complete practicality. This design really works best with two colors and weaving in all the ends necessary for a table cloth…in thread…was a bit too daunting for me to consider.

The design is worked up in a heavier weight yarn then you might usually consider, but this helps give it a practical picnic use for these warm months, while still giving a practical warmth factor for cooler months. It is pretty easy to find two colors that you enjoy together, and this throw works great with any of them. Personally I really like how the soft cream really allows the coral to pop, giving a comfortable and subtle contrast.

This throw can also be taken down a bit, attempt it in a baby yarn and create a memorable baby blanket, without having to worry about meeting the gauge, as the smaller yarn and hook will automatically adjust the motifs to a correct size.

I hope that you give this throw a try, and share your progress with me. I still haven’t got a table cloth, but maybe the next design.

Berry for a Bit of Texture

Often it is just a subtle texture that can give a great effect on a fabric. This little stitch, which I refer to as a berry stitch, is quite effective in this regards.

This stitch is essentially a single crochet and a chain 3 loop. The chain 3 loop is worked between the stitches, then pushed to one side of the fabric. This enables the fabric to have a little more stretch, and a very gentle little “bump” of texture. The chain loops can also be worked between larger stitches, however the loose a bit of their “bump” effect as it basically squeezes the loop in the space between the tall stitches. The single crochet is a shorter stitch so the chain loop is pushed outward.

This chain loop can be worked between every stitch, as I did in my sample, it can be worked every few stitches. Working every stitch creates a row that reminds me of little pearls, but this stitch can be worked so that it would be a staggered bead of these little pearls instead of a row. These loops are typically worked in one row and the next row is worked without the loops. This results in a fabric that only has bumps on one side. There is nothing that forbids working this stitch on every row, I just find that in my purposes I prefer it only on one side.

I have used this stitch several times, often I use it in floor mats or the soles of slippers. I also find that I really like it in baby blankets. One of the things that I find nice with this stitch is that for slippers and mats, is that the extra stretch in the stitch gives it a very soft, fluffy, almost pillow like quality. That then is not only attractive to look at, but it is also very functional.