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.

Crochet Abbreviations

Crochet Abbreviations

Sample Abbreviations ChartReading a pattern full of abbreviations can feel a bit overwhelming. It can also be very entertaining. Some girlfriends asked me to teach them how to crochet and I started by having them look through a magazine to show them how diverse the craft is. They started to phonetically read the patterns and we all laughed at how strange it sounded.

It’s easier than you might think to read a pattern. Patterns try to abbreviate wherever possible to keep the instructions short and compact so that the instructions aren’t a bazillion pages long (yes, I exaggerate a bit). If you know the basic stitches (chain, slip stitch, single, half double, double crochet), then reading a pattern will be easier.

Abbreviating Crochet Terminology

Crochet language is abbreviated a couple different ways.

  • The first letter of each word is used. 
    For example: “sc” is the first two letters of “single crochet”
  • The first few letters of a single word are used.
    For example: “beg” is the first three letters of the word “beginning”
    For example: “inc” is the first three letters for the word “increase”
  • There are some instances of compound abbreviations…but again, they use the principles mentioned above.
    For example: “sc2tog” means single crochet 2 stitches together.

Though abbreviations have been standardized, no two designers write the same. It’s up to each designer to choose how much instruction to give and how much to condense. I’ve seen patterns that are nothing more than numbers that look like ratios (i.e. 1:7, 2:14, 3:21). My sister and I tend to write more, not less. We write step-by-step instructions so that you can duplicate our process, using common abbreviations so that our patterns are too lengthy.

Many patterns will also have an abbreviations list. Refer back to that when you get stuck with an abbreviations. Deborah and I include an abbreviations list in all our patterns.

For a list of commonly used abbreviatons, visit our Crochet Abbreviations page.

US vs. UK Terminology

Just when you think you have the language of crochet all figured out…you run into one big snag: US and UK Terminology is not the same! They may sounds the same…but they’re not.

A single crochet in US is called a double crochet in the UK.

Here is a conversion chart for US vs. UK Terminology:

US UK Abbreviations Chart

Deborah and I write all our patterns in US terminology.

Problems Reading a Pattern

If you are having problems reading a pattern, you have a few options:

  1. Ask for help from a knowledgeable crocheter.
    This could be a friend, relative or someone from a yarn shop or crochet group.
  2. Find a different pattern for the same thing.
    It could be that the writing style of the designer doesn’t work for you. See if someone else has a pattern that is easier to understand.
  3. Educate yourself on YouTube.
    You may need help with a specific stitch like the crocodile stitch. Watching videos to learn crochet stitches will make it easier to read your specific pattern.
  4. Ask the designer.
    If you are struggling with a particular spot in a pattern, you may want to touch base with the designer. There could be a problem with the pattern or with the way the instructions were written.

The best way to learn is by doing. Find a pattern for something you want to crochet and give it a try. If you need patterns, we recommend browsing through Ravelry.com.

Fair Isle vs. Intarsia

Fair Isle vs. Instarsia

Many knitting patterns involve color changes while most crochet patterns do not. Why is that? Having changed colors in knitted and crocheted projects I will say that it’s not because it’s easier to do when knitting. I actually found it easier to change colors while crocheting. There are two ways to change colors when knitting or crocheting, Fair Isle and intarsia. I have used both methods and the method I use depends on the project being made.

Fair Isle

Fair Isle, also called “stranded colorwork”, has several characteristics.

  1. It’s usually done in the round, like hats and sweaters.

    Flame Hats and Mittens

    Flame Hats and Mittens

  2. It traditionally uses only two colors per round. Other rounds may use two different colors, but each round uses two.
  3. The yarn is not cut but is crocheted over or dropped (to the back/wrong side)and picked up when needed. This leaves a strand of yarn on the back. For mittens, it is easy to snag the strands on the inside with a finger when putting the mittens on.
  4. The Flame Hat and Mittens are great for learning Fair Isle as the color work is only along the brim of the hat or the fingers of the mittens.

Mittens

Pictured left is a pair of mittens from our Flame Beanies and Mittens Set. The mitten on the right shows the wrong / inside of the mitten. Strands of yarn are carried along the inside until it is needed again.

As mentioned above, these are crocheted in the round. The beanies have a similar stranded look inside.

Intarsia

Intarsia has several of its own characteristics.

  1. It’s usually done in rows on flat pieces.

    Panda Set

    Panda Set

  2. A ball or bobbin of yarn is used for each color section and is dropped and left dangling until is it picked up and used on the way back.
  3. The yarn is always dropped to the project’s wrong side. Because it is worked in rows, sometimes it is dropped to the back and sometimes it’s dropped to the front.
  4. The Bamboo Blanket has only two color sections, black and white, making it a great beginner piece for Intarsia work. That means there are only two skeins or balls to keep track of when crocheting. The bamboo stalks are crocheted separately and sewn on.

Both Fair Isle and Intarsia use charts/graphs instead of written out instructions. Generally one box in the graph equals one stitch. Graphed work looks best in single crochet though half double crochet can work, depending  on the graph. Keep in mind, stitches in crochet do not line up one on top of another like knitting does. When trying to make vertical lines and things like letters, they will end up looking a little wavy. The stitches will line up a little more when working in rows. A vertical line will tend to lean right when working in the round.

There are just a few other tips for creating a successful piece of color work.

  1. When changing colors, you should use the new color for the last YO that is pulled through the loops on the hook.
  2. Tension can be a problem. If part of the project changes colors and part of it does not, sometimes one section is tighter than another. Be aware that you may need to relax during the color changing section.
  3. It is also easy to make a tighter section if there are long sections where a color isn’t used in Fair Isle. Crocheting over the unused yarn every 2-3 stitches helps keep the tension relaxed. Imagine trying to put on a hat that has no give because the strands are too tight.

My first projects were hats and scarves. They were small enough to practice on and I could pull them out and try again if something wasn’t quite right. With a little practice, it is possible to get into a rhythm with dropping and picking up the different colors. There is no reason Intarsia and Fair Isle can’t be just as popular in crochet as it is in knitting.

For a fun Fair Isle project, try the Flame Hats and Mittens.

For a fun Intarsia project, try the Bamboo Blanket.

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.

Cell Phone External Battery Pack Bag

Cell Phone External Battery Pack Bag

battery pack bag

Recording video on your phone? You’ll need a cell phone external battery pack because video will drain your power fast. We’ve created a great little bag to stow your battery that can clip to your belt loop, backpack or a tripod.

We’ve dressed up the bag with a “Hangout” appliqué that doubles as a business card holder. “Hangout’s” are a free video conferencing feature of Google Plus. As of today you can video conference with up to 10 people at once. Pretty sweet!

Cell Phone External Battery Pack Bag  – Crochet Pattern

bag on tripodI designed this external battery pack bag for my husband to take on business trips where he might do a lot of recording on his cell phone. I didn’t have black yarn…so used blue for the bag. Probably not the best choice since many people associate blue with Facebook!

Skill Level: Easy

Stitches Used: Chain, Slip Stitch, Single Crochet, Half Double Crochet, Double Crochet, Treble Crochet

Techniques Used: Crochet in Rows and in the Round. Increase and Decrease

Size: 3 ½” wide x 1” deep x 4” tall

Get the Pattern

The external battery pack bag pattern is available on the Free Crochet Patterns page or in the Store.

FREE Patterns

Crochet Bunny and Easter Snacks for Kids

Crochet Bunny and Easter Snacks for Kids

A crochet bunny is the perfect accent for a mason jar full of Easter snacks for kids.

crochet bunny

It’s a strange phenomenon that the Easter bunny lays eggs. But who are we to question such a thing. We’re having fun with it and the kids will too. They’ll have a blast making and eating these chocolate snacks.

Let’s start with the Easter Snacks for kids because the chocolate will need time to cool and harden before it can be placed in the mason jar for storage (assuming you and the kids don’t eat them all first!).

Easter Snacks for Kids

If you’re looking for fun Easter snacks for kids…this is an easy and delicious one! It’s great for kids of any age.

easter snacks for kidsSo, we present to you…Easter eggs in a nest. It looks a bit like a bird’s nest. In fact, both birds and rabbits have their young in a nest. Rabbits build their nests in the dirt. The chocolate makes the eggs look like they are nestled in the dirt…so, we’re calling this snack an Easter Bunny Nest.

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 bag rectangular pretzels (Snyder’s of Hanover Butter Snaps)
  • 1 bag Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1 bag M&M’s – Easter colors
  • 1 cookie sheet

kisses on pretzelsDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 175°.
  2. Spread pretzels flat on cookie sheet (about 50 of them).
  3. Unwrap and place one kiss centered on each pretzel.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes to soften Kisses.
  5. Immediately press 1 to 3 M&M’s into each Kiss to form nests.
  6. Allow to cool and harden for a couple of hours.

Note: Young children will only be able to place 1 M&M in the nest. Older children can place 2 or more in each nest.

FYI: I Googled “Easter Snack” and found this snack on Jamy Fisher’s website. Thanks, Jamy for sharing!

Crochet Bunny for Easter

For Easter (and bunny lovers everywhere) we have a crochet bunny mason jar cover. This is adorable as a cup cozy, too. We’re showcasing it as a cute (and delicious) gift idea for the holidays. One that the kids can get involved with as well.

crochet bunny in four color combinations

This is a great stash buster. We’ve used Vanna’s Choice. The colors can be as soft and neutral as a real bunny or as bright and colorful as your heart desires.

Skill Level: Easy

Stitches Used: Chain, slip stitch, single crochet, double crochet

Techniques Used: Crochet in Rows & Rounds, Increase

Crochet Bunny Supplies:

  • Vanna’s Choice Yarn (Worsted Weight – 4)
    BEIGE, BLACK, PINK
    (Brown Bunny: Taupe Mist, Rose Mist, Radiant Lime, Black)
    (Purple Bunny: Purple, Dusty Rose, Raspberry)
    (Rainbow Bunny: Scarlet, Radiant Lime, Radiant Yellow, Radiant Orange, Colonial Blue, Aqua, Raspberry, Black)
  • Crochet Hook: H / 8 / 5.00mm
  • Yarn Needle for Sewing
  • 1 Mason Jar

Crochet Bunny Instructions

Beige

Ch 34, join with a sl st.

Rnd 1-9: Sc around. (34)

Join with a sl st. Cut yarn; weave in end.

EAR INSTRUCTIONS (make 2)

Beige

Ch 9

Rnd 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook. 6 sc. Work 3 sc in last st. Turn to other side of foundation ch. 6 sc, sc inc in last st. (18)

Rnd 2: *Sc inc, 8 sc* twice. (20)

Rnd 3: *2 sc inc, 8 sc* twice. (24)

Rnd 4: 2 sc inc, 3 sc, 2 sl st. Leave remaining sts unworked. (9)

Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.

So, we present to you…Easter eggs in a nest. It looks a bit like a bird’s nest. In fact, both birds and rabbits have their young in a nest. Rabbits build their nests in the dirt. The chocolate makes the eggs look like they are nestled in the dirt…so, we’re calling this snack an Easter Bunny Nest.BOW INSTRUCTIONS

Pink

Ch 9

Rnd 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook. Sc, sl st, sc, dc, ch 2, sl st in last st. Turn to other side of foundation ch. Ch 2, dc, sc, sl st, sc, dc, ch 2, sl st into last st. (12)

Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.

ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Embroider “V” shaped Nose across Rnd 4 with Pink.
  2. Embroider two Eyes across Rnds 6 & 7 with Black.
  3. Sew Ears 2 sts away from each eye on Rnd 9. Fold ear a bit at top if desired.
  4. Sew Bow to top of Ear as desired.

More Cozies in Store

coffee cup cozy patterns ebookLove this bunny cozy? There are more seasonal, holiday and just for fun cozies in the store in our Crochet Cup Cozy eBook. We’ve created an entire collection with 28 designs one ebook.

Looking for the cup and mug version? They’re in the ebook.

Each design in the ebook has instructions to fit Mugs, Cups and Mason Jars. Every design has a delicious recipe or fun craft.

All 3 bunnies pictured at the beginning of this post are in this ebook! AND the ebook includes 4 new designs – Dracula, Vampire, Mummy and Blue Jeans.

Available in the StoreRead more about the set:

Blog: Coffee Cup Cozy Collection

Store: Coffee Cup Cozy Collection

Leprechaun Hat Jar Cozy and Green Food

Leprechaun Hat Jar Cozy and Green Food for St. Patrick’s Day

For St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve created a Leprechaun hat jar cozy.

leprechaun hat

This jar is the perfect way to gift green foods to your friends and family for the holiday! Our green food of choice…frozen lime flavored grapes. We’d call them sour grapes…but you might get the wrong idea. This is better described as a healthy version of Sour Patch Kids candy.

This hat design is quite versatile. The cozy itself fits a to-go coffee cup. And if you change the colors (to black, for example), this would be perfect for President’s Day or any special occasion where a top hat is needed.

Let’s start with the green food because it needs time to freeze.

Green Food – Sweet & Sour Grapes

Any green food would be cute stored in this festive Leprechaun hat jar, but we’ve got a fun, healthy and super easy recipe for you…Sweet and Sour Grapes. The green grapes are the sweet part. The lime Jello is the sour part. They are surprisingly delicious!

Ingredients and Supplies:

green food1 box lime jello

2 lbs. green grapes

Resealable bag – gallon size

2 Pint size mason jars

Directions:

  1. Pour lime jello powder into resealable bag.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Wash the grapes.
  4. Pluck grapes off of vine. Place in bag while still wet.
  5. Shake bag to coat grapes with jello.
  6. Place grapes in mason jars and freeze for a couple of hours.
  7. Serve frozen.
  8. Store in freezer or refrigerator depending on how cold you like them.

Leprechaun Hat Jar Cozy

st patricks day jar cozyThis crochet Leprechaun hat is also easy to make. And it whips up in a couple of hours. This top hat design is shown here in green…but with a simple color change, this cozy would fit any formal or patriotic occasion (a red, white and blue would be great for July 4th in the US – just sayin’).

Skill Level: Easy

Stitches Used: Chain, Slip Stitch, Single Crochet, Double Crochet

Techniques Used: Crochet in the Round, Increase

This is a great stash buster. We’ve used Lion Brand yarns. The Kelly Green and Black are Vanna’s Choice. The Gold is Vanna’s Glamour. We love the way the Gold sparkles next to the Kelly Green.

Leprechaun Hat Supplies:

  • Vanna’s Choice Yarn:
    KELLY GREEN, BLACK
  • Vanna’s Glamour:
    GOLD
  • Crochet Hook: H, C
  • Yarn Needle for Sewing
  • Pint size mason jar

Leprechaun Hat Cozy Instructions:

Kelly Green

Hook: H

jar cozy aboveCh 34. Join with a sl st.

Rnd 1-7: Sc around. (34)

Rnd 8: 33 sc. Drop Kelly Green and change color to Black with a sl st. (34)

Rnd 9: Ch 2, dc around. Join with a sl st. (34)

Finish off Black and weave in ends.

Pick up Kelly Green.

Rnd 10: Ch 1. Sc around. (34)

Rnd 11: 33 sc, sl st. (34)

Rnd 12: Working in the front loops only, sc around. (34)

Rnd 13: *Sc inc, sc* around. (51)

Rnd 14: *Sc inc, 2 sc* around. (68)

Rnd 15: *4 sc, sc inc* around. End with 2 sc, sl st. (82)

Finish off and weave in ends.

BUCKLE INSTRUCTIONS

Gold

Hook: C

Ch 18

Row 1: Dc in 3rd ch from hook. 2 dc, dc inc, ch 2, * 3 dc, dc inc, ch 1* 3 times. Join with a sl st. (16)

Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.

Pin then sew belt buckle in a square over the Black “ribbon”. Weave in ends.

More Cozies in Store

coffee cup cozy patterns ebookLove this Leprechaun cozy? There are more seasonal, holiday and just for fun cozies in the store in our Crochet Cup Cozy eBook. We’ve created an entire collection with 28 designs one ebook.

Looking for the cup and mug version? They’re in the ebook.

Each design in the ebook has instructions to fit Mugs, Cups and Mason Jars. Every design has a delicious recipe or fun craft.

All 3 Leprechauns pictured at the beginning of this post are in this ebook! AND the ebook includes 4 new designs – Dracula, Vampire, Mummy and Blue Jeans.

Available in the StoreRead more about the set:

Blog: Coffee Cup Cozy Collection

Store: Coffee Cup Cozy Collection

Crochet Baby Monkey Hat Pattern Set

Crochet Baby Monkey Hat Pattern Set

Now available electronically!

baby monkey hat set

This adorable baby monkey hat comes with coordinating mitts, booties and diaper cover! This is a big crowd pleaser. Crochet this for your next baby shower and you’ll get lots of oohs and aahs. This baby set is a popular design at craft shows, too!

Each element is cute enough to stand on its own. The hat is adorable. The mitts are cute. But the tail on the diaper cover and the little booties get the most rave reviews. This is a delightful photo prop.

This design was featured in the 2012 Holiday Issue of “Love of Crochet” (without the diaper cover). Now the crochet pattern is available electronically.

Crochet Baby Monkey Hat Set – the Pattern

Monkey Full OutfitThe pattern for this newborn baby monkey hat set also includes directions for preemie hat and diaper cover.

Like all our patterns, this crochet pattern includes: written directions, lots of photos, checkboxes to mark your progress, materials list, etc.

Skill Level: Easy

Crochet Baby Monkey Hat Set – In the Store

This crochet baby monkey hat set pattern is available as a pdf. Pick up your copy of the Monkey Baby Hat pattern in the store.

Available in the Store

 

Lil Monkey blocks, security blanket and baby blanket

More Monkey Fun

This baby monkey hat set coordinates nicely with the toy set we introduced a few months ago.

For even more monkey fun, check out the matching Monkey Blankets and Blocks Set!

Baby Pilot Hat, Scarf and Goggles

Baby Pilot

A new baby pilot…so sweet and adorable. Little ones like this fly straight into your heart with this hat, scarf and goggle set.

baby pilot hat goggles scarf

Cami Hickman-Adams crocheted this fun baby pilot set for photographer Megan Nagase. Cami modified the Bomber Hat Set a bit but kept the overall look and feel of the piece. Nice work Cami!

Baby Pilot Set Available For Purchase

Crocheted Set
Cami crochetes finished pieces at Cami’s Creative Commodities. Contact her on Facebook for your own baby pilot hat and google set!

Crochet Pattern Only
Buy the Aviator Set pattern in our store and crochet the set yourself. This sent includes 6 hat sizes, 3 adjustable goggles and 3 scarves. The whole family can take to the skies in this set.

Here are more fun photos of this adorable baby pilot.

Nagase Photography

Photography Information
A special thank you to Megan Nagase for sharing these lovely photo. Megan is located in Frisco, Texas and works in the Dalls/Fort Worth area. She specializes in children and boudoir photography. You can learn more about her work at Nagase Photography.

 

Newborn Baseball Outfit

Newborn Baseball Outfit

A new fan is born! This newborn baseball outfit is a beautiful photo prop. It makes me want to break out some peanuts and cracker jacks!

Newborn Baseball Outfit

Katrina Fox crocheted this for her grandson. We love how it turned
out. And the photo is absolutely darling.

Newborn Baseball Outfit – Available For Purchase

Katrina would love to hook up more new fans with this cute Newborn
Baseball Outfit. It’s available a couple of ways:

Crocheted Set
Buy the crocheted set (hat and mitts) at LissyLooBoutique on Etsy.

Crochet Pattern Only
Buy the pattern “Li’l Slugger” (hat, mitts, bib) in our store and crochet the set yourself.

A special thank you to Katrina for sharing this lovely photo.