Behind the Scenes: Baby Pink – Shelly Baby Set

Behind the Scenes: Baby Pink – Shelly Baby Set

The Baby Pink Shelly Baby Set eeked out a win in the Twin Face Off design challenge using Bernat Softee Baby yarn in May 2015. I, Dana, thought I would share a bit about how the design came to be.

Pink Baby Blanket Set

 

The blanket was the first project I created. I was inspired by swatches I found in the Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Sarah Hazell. From there I created a sweater, hat and booties that incoporporated the elements from the center panel and edging of the blanket.

As you can see in the photo above, I used a brown ribbon as an accent in the set. I adore the contrast in color. Ultimately I swapped the brown for a pink because I couldn’t find a button that coordianted without being overpowering. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the daisies…but I think they are a bit bright for the set.

pink booties with daisy buttons

That being said, I absolutely adore how the daisies look with the booties. If the challenge had just been baby booties, I definitely would have kept them. Perhaps I should have looked a little harder for a ribbon to go with the buttons…maybe a white or yellow.

Pink Shell Baby Sweater Hat Booties

This is the first time I’ve created a baby sweater, so it was the last thing I designed…and I was nervous about it. Deborah went through a baby sweater craze recently and honestly, I was a little intimidated to make one. She shared her basic pattern with me and I was able to modify it to create a cute little sweater that I’m happy with.

Twins Face Off Baby Sets

 

This particular challenge was really fun for me. I don’t often make girly items and I found that it was a blast! Deborah was thrilled to make a “boy” set because she’s got two little ones at home. So she was very interested in creating projects that she would actually use.

Shelly Baby Blanket in Blue

 

Our mom saw a sneak peek of the pink baby blanket before the challenge went live and she loved it! She wanted to make a blanket for her great grand son and asked for the pattern. So, she was the first pattern tester for the baby blanket. The blanket turned out great and looks adorable in baby blue. Good job, Mom!

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Chutes and Lattice

chutes and lattice with twist and tuckBehind the Scenes:
Chutes and Lattice Scarf

Inspiration comes from lots of different places. In the case of the Chutes and Lattice Scarf, it was a combination of having a beautiful yarn on hand at a time when I was browsing through a stitch dictionary.

First: The Yarn

I attended the Estes Park Wool Festival a few years ago with my friend Jean (from Desert Rose Designs). There were lots of beautiful yarns at the show, and I was overwhelmed by it all (what did I know…I crocheted with acrylic most of the time). Jean had a lot of great things to say about the yarn we saw in the booth of Brooks Farm. So I decided to buy a skein. I selected Acero because I loved the rich color, the soft fiber (wool/silk/viscose blend) and that one skein had 420 yards. Of course, I had no idea what I was going to do with it!

Second: The Stitch Dictionary

donna kooler's encyclopedia of crochetAbout a year after attending the wool festival, I found myself browsing through Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet. I was inspired by a lot of the designs in there, particularly those in the “Lace Patterns” section.

So, out came the Acero yarn. I began crocheting a few swatches and soon realized that my projects didn’t always look like the pictures in the book. I learned a valuable lesson: the material the yarn is made of will impact the look, drape and feel of the finished project! I was bound to stumble upon this widely known truth sometime. I’m glad it was when I had a beautiful yarn and a great book to refer to.

Third: The Scarf

To me, the “Chain Lace” on page 149 of Donna Kooler’s book looked like flowers or chutes. Although I loved it, I didn’t want that pattern to make up the entire scarf. So I added some lattice; open ladder like chain work which I sprinkled throughout and added to the ends. And since the chutes are directional, I created the scarf in two panels.

I loved it. My sister and mom did, too. My mom has even hinted that she’d love it if I’d accidently leave it at her house when I come visit. Since she’s a crocheter herself, I think I’ll just leave her the pattern!

Coral BloomsFourth: Publication

I was so happy with the scarf, I decided to submit it to Love of Crochet magazine and they accepted it! They requested a lighter color yarn, so I recrocheted it in Knit Picks Gloss in Guava (color discontinued). Renamed “Coral Blooms”, my scarf appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of the magazine.

Fifth: Self Publishing

The magazine had exclusive rights to the design for several months, meaning I couldn’t sell it on my website (or blog or share photos of the design I loved so much).

Now I can…thus my Behind the Scene’s article. One of the fun things about self publishing is the ability to show more photos. Earlier this week I posted the pattern in the shop and shared lots of styling options on the blog, which were modeled by my friend Lorien (from Lady Lorien Designs).

This is a really fun lacy design. If you make one for yourself, please share photos on Ravelry! We’d love it.

Behind the Scenes: Bohemian Handbag

Behind the Scenes: Bohemian Handbag

The Bohemian Handbag won by a very healthy margin in the Lion Brand sponsored Twins Face Off purse design challenge in April. I, Dana, am thrilled that so many people liked it.

Bohemian Handbag Collection

I have a confession to make, this simple handbag was not one of those projects that come to fruition in one sitting. In fact, I talked about it with the ladies in my crochet group, looked at projects online, and visualized a myriad of designs before settling on this basic construction.

There were several types of bags I considered for the challenge.

  • 1st I was contemplating a backpack, something cutesy that a child might wear. I was even calculating how to incorporate a small padded pocket to store a computer tablet.
  • 2nd I decided on a stitch sampler bag with lots of different pieces sewn together almost like a free form project. I even worked up a small swatch with the star stitch (which looked beautiful, by the way)
  • 3rd I began working on a round bag with the spiral that would be on the front and back panel. I envisioned a long shoulder strap and a gusset with a zipper.
  • Bohemian Handbag Crochet PatternFinally, after carefully frogging the previous designs, I settled on a spiral based bag with two skeins of yarn that would chase each other around the bag. I decided to let the color be the main feature of the bag and double crocheted in the round. Once the main shape of the bag was finalized, items like the handle and flower closure quickly took shape.

This entire project makes me chuckle becaues I rarely use a purse. Those rare instances where I do use a purse, it’s generally so small that it only fits my phone, wallet and car keys. That being said, this challenge was quite fun. I enjoyed both the project category and the vibrant Landscapes yarn.

Behind the Scenes: Lil’ Snapper

Behind the Scenes: Lil’ Snapper

My in-laws recently had a baby, and to celebrate, I decided to crochet something to match the theme of the baby’s room. The overall theme was turtles, so I set out to make a sweet little turtle photo prop. After looking at the various turtle patterns available, I wanted to make something as lifelike as possible.

Baby Turtle Photo Prop Crochet Pattern

I drew various shell patterns and debated about the shape of the shell segments. I finally decided that hexagons and pentagons would be the easiest. Still, I wanted a pattern that would show intricate texture found on shells. That’s when I decided to try the spike stitch. After several prototypes, I settled on the pattern used in this Lil’ Snapper set.

Crochet Turtle Blue and Brown

Originally I designed the pattern in green and brown, thinking that was the color of the baby’s room. Nope, it was blue and brown! I furiously set to work redoing all the work I had done before. Turns out blue and brown make for an adorable turtle as well! That got me to thinking, there are girl turtles too, so I played with a pink version as well.

Turtle Family

Turtle Family

The set originally included the blanket, hat and diaper cover. Those were published in Love of Crochet. I was doing some research on rattles for another project when I realized that the hexagon shape would work for a little turtle rattle. A plastic Easter egg filled with popcorn seeds was the perfect size for the little hexagon. I also thought the little cape photo prop could be turned into a little stuffed animal, and thus the Turtle Family was born. I even debated about turning it into a purse, but that has yet to be done.

Behind the Scenes: Granny Heart Clutch

Would you rather keep your hooks and supplies in a plastic sandwich baggie, or in a crocheted granny heart clutch?

For the longest time I used a zippered plastic bag. It was actually quite convenient. It could be rolled up and put in my crochet bag or sit beside me as I worked. But I had to use the gallon size bag and it seemed slightly bulky.

A Owl Bean Bag Deb Blanket

After making a few heart granny squares for the Granny’s Tree of Love afghan for the Owl Set (pictured above), I decided to try to make a little clutch. I decided to make a bright and colorful one first. Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice has many lovely colors and made a delightful clutch. I lined it so I could keep my hooks and supplies in it.

This clutch appeared in Love of Crochet magazine. The editor suggest monochromatic colors and this grey and black version was created (pictured below in Knit Picks Shine).

Perfect purse for crochet hooks

I put a couple of magnetic clasps on it to keep my items safe inside. It has quickly become one of my favorite projects. It is beautiful and practical.

Learn more about the Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch.

Behind the Scenes: Houndstooth Shrug

Behind the Scenes: Houndstooth Shrug

The Houndstooth Shrug won by a landslide in the Twins Face Off Shrug design challenge. But it wasn’t always stunningly beautiful. It went through a couple of redsigns on it’s way to greatness.

“Shrugly” was how Deborah’s husband described the shrug at one point. Yep, combine the word shrug with ugly and you get one shrugly garment.

Behind the Scenes Hood Frogged Voted Favorite

I think Deborah lost 50 pounds by getting rid of the hood!
Collar that was to join in the front because a lapel

Deborah and I talked on the phone throughout the design process and at one point I encouraged her to google images for Cruella Deville (cartoon character in 101 Dalmations). She liked the idea of splitting black and white on the outfit.

Deborah also mentioned that the collar was a happy accident. “I originally designing the collar so that it would join and buttoned in the center front,” she explaiend. “But, when I folded the collar back it created a stunning lapel”. The back of the collar looks great folded flat (as pictured above) or up (pictured right).

Kudos to Deborah for working and reworking her design until she got it just right. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

She held strong to her convictions to create a beautiful garment and  her hard worked paid off.

stay strong

You can see more pictures of the Houndstooth Shrug in the shop.

 

Behind the Scenes: SC Photo Tutorial

Behind the Scenes: How to Single Crochet Photo Tutorial

I, Dana, have a love / hate relationship with the single crochet. On the one hand, it is the work horse of crochet. On the other hand, it get’s used a lot…so much so that it often leaves me uninspired. I especially hate how single crochet looks when crocheted in rows.

4 dishies spread outAs a crochet designer, I know there are a myriad of textures that can be created with just a single crochet and a chain and I don’t know why those textures are used more frequently. So I created a pattern and photo tutorial to showcase just how beautiful single crochet can be.

My other goal was to teach new crocheters and those needing to brush up their skills the basics. Not only that, I want to help them get over the learning curve as quickly as possible. It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of patterns on the market for beginners. So this tutorial was designed to teach the core principles that are seen in easy and advanced patterns.

After completing all 7 dishclothes in this pattern, new crocheters will be able to single crochet like pros.

I chose dishcloth patterns for a couple of reasons. 1) Creating square swatches is boring (to me anyway) even though they do a great job of showing us texture. By crocheting dish clothes, not only will newbies learn how to crochet, they can use their hand made items! 2) Dish clothes are small and can be completed quickly. It’s nice to have a feeling of accomplishment with each dishcloth completed.

Check out the How to Single Crochet Photo Tutorial.

Behind the Scenes: Victorian Lace Gift Card Holder

Behind the Scenes: Victorian Lace Gift Card Holder

Victorian Lace Gift Card HolderWhat was my inspiration? Two things: 1) I needed a gift card holder for a dear friend (she adores Chic Couture), 2) I had been contemplating a lattice and rose design in thread for a while and wanted to try it out on a small project.

Problem? I don’t really like working in thread and I hate changing color in thread!

Solution: Crochet with two strands at once and a size D crochet hook. Use chalk to color the flower. The chalk allows for more subtle coloring with a kind of whitewash look to it. That’s what I was going for. The color won’t last long, but it’s not a wearable item, so that wasn’t a concern for me.

My friend was thankful for the gift card and raved about the gift card holder. She said she loved it so much that she was going to use it as a business card holder. Huh, what do you know…it is the perfect size for that. Awesome!

Behind the Scenes: Ball-and-Chain

Behind the Scenes: Ball-and-Chain

Do spouses automatically have to wear stuff we knit or crochet? There are several things my husband won’t wear, but he did say that if I ever made a ball-and-chain scarf, he would wear it. Ha! I’ll believe it when I see it.

Ball and Chain Wedding

I actually started one a long time ago (and by a long time ago I mean about five years ago), but ended up giving it to my niece when she got married. She used it in her wedding photos and it looked like a lot of fun. Now I kind of wish I had had one when I got married! Upcoming weddings have motivated me to brush off that old incomplete pattern and finish it up.

I experimented with a couple different sizes of balls and stitches for the links before settling on what I have here. The first ball I crocheted was rather small and my husband said he could easily walk away if he had a ball and chain like that! I made one a bit bigger, though it’s still not up to scale. A ball with a diameter of 5.9 inches would be a bit cumbersome as a scarf!Balls and Chain

The scarf would be a great prop for plays like A Christmas Carol. Of course stuffing in the ball is rather light and wouldn’t provide much drag when walking across the stage, but a ball filled with popcorn would!

A Ball and Chain Ankle

Wherever a little physical restraint is needed, the ball-and-chain is a perfect project.

Check out the Ball and Chain pattern in our shop.

Behind the Scenes: Designing a Houndstooth Pattern

Behind the Scenes: Designing a Houndstooth Crochet Pattern

How is it my husband knew what houndstooth was and I did not? A friend of mine said she was going to try to come up with a crocheted houndstooth pattern.  I had seen this pattern many times before but never knew what it was called. Trying to come up with a pattern intrigued me and I, too, made several attempts at getting an approximate pattern.

Lion Brand Fun Fur

Lion Brand Fun Fur

First I had to decide if I wanted a small houndstooth pattern or a large one. There are several lovely small patterns available online often using an alternating pattern of single crochet and double crochet. I wanted to come up with a larger pattern, one that really incorporated the diagonal lines of the houndstooth. However, the diagonal spike stitch patterns I came up with seemed jumbled and messy. I finally decided to use a spike stitch that went straight down. The effect was quite lovely.

Trendsetter La Furla

Trendsetter La Furla

I first proposed the houndstooth trio to a crochet magazine with Lion Brand’s Fun Fur. Paired with Vanna’s Choice yarn it made a lovely set. The magazine’s editor suggested I redo the set in Trendsetter’s Merino wool and La Furla. These are quite luxurious yarns. They are both incredibly soft and warm. The La Furla is thicker and softer than Fun Fur. They are stylish and functional for even the coldest of weather. Lion Brand has since come out with an equally soft and thicker fur like called Romance. Both yarn brands make for a beautiful houndstooth set.

So, just how did my husband know what houndstooth was? From football, of course. College football coach Paul Bryant was often seen at games wearing a houndstooth hat!

Learn more about the Houndstooth Trio in the shop.