1 for Me, 1 for You- Berries and Bobbles 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 two weeks and sharing it with you, I just ask that make one for donation.

Warm Up America is a nation wide 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.

Berries and Bobbles Block

Even is 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.

Berries and Bobbles Block

This block features some texture, by utilizing chain loops that create little “bumps” or “berries” while it is broken up by strips of bobbles.

Gauge: Square measures 7”x 9”

Materials

Medium weigh yarn

J/10/6.00mm crochet hook

Special Stitches

Bobble: [Yo, insert hook in stitch, yo, pull through a loop] rep 4 times, yo, pull through 8 loops.

Block Pattern

Ch 23

Row 1: Sc in second ch from hook, sc in each ch across, turn. -22sc

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each st across, turn.

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next st, [ch 3, sc in next 2 sts] 9 times, sc in last 2 sts, turn. -9 ch-3 loops

Row 4: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each sc across, pushing ch-3 loops to the back side of work, turn.

Row 5: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next 2 sts, [ch 3, sc in next 2 scs] 9 times, sc in last st, turn. -9 ch-3 loops

Row 6: Rep Row 4.

Rows 7-8: Rep Rows 3-4.

Row 9: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each st across.

Row 10: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next st, [Bobble in next st, ch 1, sc in next 2 sts] 6 times, sc in last 2 sts, turn. -6 bobbles

Row 11: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each sc and bobble skipping ch sts, turn. -23 sc

Row 12: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each st across, turn.

Row 13-22: Rep Rows 3-12.

Row 23-29: Rep Rows 3-9.

Row 30: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each st across. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

See the texture on the Berries and Bobbles Block

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.

New Design Release- Perfect for Fall

There is a certain rush about getting up in the morning to receive the message that your latest three designs have been released by I Like Crochet Magazine. There are two in the August 2019 issue and one in the latest book collection, The One-Skein Crochet Collection.

Easygoing Tank- photo coutrsey Prime Publishing

Easygoing Tank

The Easygoing Tank, found in the August issue, is worked as one piece, side to side. It has a simple stitch pattern and is shaped on one edge of the fabric. By using a few join-as-you-go techniques that are explained in the pattern, you can even avoid seaming the tank at all, and finish the entire top with just your hook!

Serene Wrap Skirt- photo courtesy Prime Publishing

Serene Wrap Skirt

The Serene Wrap Skirt, also found in the August issue, is another fun project that has you feeling successful in garment creation. It is worked from the short edge, and increased to the skirt length, then is worked until it fits. The color change is worked within the rows, but are not carried along, but dropped and added as needed….with no ends to weave in. There is some gentle short rows to allow for an ease in the waist fit. Simple ties just above the hips keep this skirt secure. Imagine the color combinations that you create with this structured border edge.

Hello Cozy Hat- photo courtesy Prime Publishing

Hello Cozy Hat

The final design, Hello Cozy Hat, featured in the One-Skein Crochet Collection, and is a slouchy beanie that has an up turned brim to share a surface crochet greeting. Worked flat with short rows at the crown, this hat is then topped with a pom-pom, and using crochet thread the message is surface crocheted in the unused loops of the stitches on the row.

It is always a good morning to be able to share new designs, new ideas, and a new hope to inspire.

Cotton Yarn is not Created Equally

The weather is changing and I want to crochet with cotton, but not all cotton is created equally.

When going through the craft store aisle of yarn, finding a cotton yarn for you project can be a bit challenging. The mainstream market seems to only have room for cotton crochet thread and a medium weight cotton that is often associated with dish towels. (Need to know more about yarn weight? Here is some info)

As I venture into my small local yarn store I do find a finer weight yarn of cotton, but it states “Mercerized”. It has a nice sheen, but is this what I need for my project?

Knowing a bit about cotton, can really help you to avoid any mistakes with projects in the future.

What is Cotton?

Cotton is a plant based fiber, well it is actually a cellulous based fiber that protects a plants seeds in what is referred to as a boll. The fiber has a short staple, meaning a short length. Due to the short nature of the fiber it is spun together more times than might be necessary for a wool yarn. This is strictly due to its length.

When long fibers are twisted together they have more points of contact when lying next to each other, so just a few twists can hold them together. With cotton being short, however, the fibers do not have as many points of contact, and thus have to be twisted together more times to ensure that they stay twisted together.

It is this high amount of twist that can cause cotton to shrink on its first wash. When water finally makes contact with the spun cotton, the cotton actually relaxes and while it softens up, it also can be less stretched and thus “shrink”. Unlike wool this reaction will only occur once, and for any use forward the cotton will remain completely stable.

What is Mercerized?

Many like to use cotton yarns for dish clothes, however this is where you need to understand the term “mercerized”. Cotton when spun can have a soft, fuzzy, halo around it. You find this in most medium weight cotton yarns available on the market today. The term mercerized is a process in which the cotton yarn is essentially singed and the fuzzy halo is removed, leaving in its place a sleek shiny yarn.

Note the top yarn (pink) has a shine, this yarn is mercerized. The bottom yarn (green) has a softer, slightly fuzzy look, it is not mercerized.

So why is it important to know about mercerized? Well, for started mercerized cotton does not absorb water like un-mercerized yarn. Meaning if you wanted to make a dish towel mercerized cotton will not behave in a manner that you desire. This is a pretty important distinction, and one worth repeating. If you want to make household items that will absorb liquids, do not use mercerized cotton.

Mercerized cotton I find to be lovely in garments and shawls. It has a nice sheen and feels like cotton, but unlike my T-shirt, if you hit me with a water balloon it will not pull dramatically down with the weight as it will not be absorbing the water.

Where Can I Find Cotton Yarn?

You might have to do a bit of looking to find cotton yarns for you project, but it is worth the trouble. Here are a few suggestions: