Happy New Year 2016

Wishing You a Crochet Filled 2016

January brings feelings of new beginnings and thoughtful resolutions though my (Dana) new year feels like it started in October with an fabulous new job (Interweave Crochet – #fwcommunity) working for an awesome boss (Marcy Smith) in a new city (Fort Collins) as a single woman (goodbye troubled marriage).

So now that the new beginnings are established…I’m left with resolutions. This year I’m going to look at resolutions differently. I’m going to focus on the things I enjoy and resolve to do more of them. It’s a matter of perspective, really. I’m not going to worry so much about what I should do, but look at behaviors that are good for me and that I enjoy and do more of those.

So, for 2016, here’s to

  • more crochet
  • more mountain biking
  • more working hard
  • more relaxing with a good book
  • more heartfelt time with friends and family

As for mountain biking…pictures of my twin sister really inspire me to want to get out and ride…and incoporate crochet alongside it!

Crochet and Mountain Biking...who knew they worked so well together! Here's Deborah yarn bombing a friends bike rack.

Crochet and Mountain Biking…who knew they worked so well together! Here’s Deborah yarn bombing a friends bike rack.

Deborah really is my inspiration...and apparently the guys stop and take notice, too!

Deborah really is my mountain biking inspiration…and apparently the guys stop and take notice, too!

For 2016, we plan for Yarnovations to be more of the same. Deborah and I will bring you fun and quirky designs of crocheted projects that we are inspired to make on the spur of the moment or have planned way in advance.

We are currently working on a dishie series. We will publish a dishcloth and other kitchen/household item once a month using FibraNatura Good Earth. This series, sponsored by Universal Yarn, is a great way to learn new techniques on smaller projects. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Happy New Year from one hooked crocheter to another.

New Assistant Editor – Crochet at F+W Media

Dana is now the Assistant Editor – Crochet at F+W Media

Dana Bincer Assistant Editor - Crochet at FW Media

It’s official. I, Dana, am the new Assistant Editor – Crochet at F+W Media…it says so on the name badge on my cubicle wall! Woot. I get to work on both Interweave Crochet and Love of Crochet.

I moved to Fort Collins and started work a week ago and it’s been a blast. To say this is my dream job would be an under statement. My coworkers (and boss) are amazingly talented and very helpful / supportive as I learn my new responsibilities. They are ok with my pink hair and I can wear jeans to work. Oh, and I get to talk crochet all day – I know…pretty awesome. I haven’t picked up a crochet hook since I started…but I’m sure I will once I get settled in a bit more.

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: 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!

Review: Crochet Stitch Directory by Sarah Hazell

Review: “Crochet Stitch Directory” by Sarah Hazell

Crochet Stitch DictionaryLove this book. I, Dana, just have to say that right up front. Most of the crochet dictionaries in my collection (I only have a few, mind you) leave me uninspired. But not Crochet Stitch Dictionary. This book is the first one I pull out when I’m looking to create something with texture like a baby blanket.

10 Things I Love about “Crochet Stitch Dictionary”

  • 200 Stitches. My hat’s off to Sarah Hazell for fitting 200 designs into a 192 page book.
  • There are no patterns, just swatches. I prefer my dictionaries to be just that…dictionaries. I don’t want valuable pages wasted with random patterns I’m never going to crochet. Thankfully this book is packed with swatches.
  • There are step-by-step photos. For stitches that have multiple steps, there are photos! Very helpful.
  • There are charts for every design. And they are color coded making them easier to read as you move from one row to the next.
  • Colorful yarns are used throughout. The swatches are shown in lots of colors. I like that they aren’t all just crocheted in white yarn. The book feels cheerful as you flip from page to page.
  • Basic stitches are included. I like that standard stitches are included like single and double, and also Star, V and Chevron, etc.
  • Lots of advanced stitches are included. There are lots of patterns with cluster stitches, post work and crossed stitches.
  • Packed full of new stitches. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve never heard of the Berry Stitch or Granule. But I love them now that I see them in the book! I so want to make something with the unique stitches I’ve only seen in this book.
  • Lots of swatches using multiple colors, beads and loop stitch are included. I love that the swatches address other items that change the way a swatch looks such as beads, loops and color changes.
  • Tunisian Crochet is not included. Tunisian is such a different technique, I’m glad it’s not covered in this book. When I want to work Tunisian, I’d rather pull out a book that deals only with that.

So, although I adore this book, it’s not perfect. New crocheters will probably find it challenging because it’s condensed. Although there are step-by-step photos, there aren’t a ton. And if a new crocheter tries an advanced stitch, they’ll be frustrated. I haven’t kept track, but I think I’ve seen a typo or two in some of the written directions. But with the charts being right next to the directions, that takes care of any confusion.

The book doesn’t have any edging, which I find a pro, while others may feel a con. I actually designed a baby blanket using two different stitches from the book, one stitch as the center panel and another I modified and used as edging.

As I said, this is my #1 go to stitch dictionary. If you are looking to buy just one, this has my vote (so far).

Boston Red Sox – Crochet B Applique

Boston Red Sox – Crochet B Applique

If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, you’re gonna love this crochet B applique. It looks adorable on the Lil Slugger Baseball Set…which I crocheted for my nephew, who’s expecting his first child.

Boston Red Sox Baby Set

No one knows the gender of the baby…so I crocheted two caps, a blue one and a pink one. If they  have a little girl…well, I’ll let them decide which cap they want to dress the baby in.

Not only is the cap adorable in pink, it’s also great for breast cancer awareness games!

Boston Red Sox – Crochet “B” Applique Pattern

I tried to make the B as close to the logo as possible. Though its not exact, I figure close is close enough. I hope you agree.

Skill Level: Easy

Stitches Used: chain, slip stitch, single crochet

Techniques Used: Crochet in the Round, Decrease

Size: 2.5″ tall x 1.5″ wide (when crocheted with C & 3 hooks)
3.5″ tall x 2.5″ wide (when crocheted with H & C hooks)

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Vanna’s Choice (Worsted Weight – 4):
    CRANBERRY, WHITE
  • Hook: C/2/2.75 mm
  • Hook: 3 / 2.10 mm
  • Yarn Needle for sewing

Because this applique is crocheted with a small hook, it can be a bit challenging to see the stitches. I would recommend that you practice this pattern with an H and C hook before attempting it with a C & 3 hook.

UPDATE: We took more photos of how to crochet the B on our post: Boston “B” – Photos of Each Row.

Crochet B Larger“B” INSTRUCTIONS

Cranberry

Hook: C

Ch 13

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook. Ch 3. Sl st into 2nd ch from hook. Ch 1. Work sl st in 1st ch made in the ch-3 and side of last sc made. 5 sc. In next st work sc, ch 3 and sc. 5 sc, ch 3. Sl st into 2nd ch from hook. Ch 1. Work sl st in 1st ch made in the ch-3 and side of last sc made.

Row 2: Work on the other side of the foundation ch. Sc inc. Ch 10, skip 4 sts, sc (in sp opposite of ch-3 sp), ch 10, skip 5 sts, sc, sl st on top of work.

Row 3: Turn, skip the sl st. 6 sc, ch 3. Work sl st into 3rd ch from hook and side of last sc made. 4 sc, skip a st, sc dec, 3 sc. Ch 3. Work sl st into 3rd ch from hook and side of last sc made. 6 sc, 2 sl st (last sl st will be on top of the B). Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.

OUTLINE INSTRUCTIONS

White

Hook: 3

Use only 2 of the 4 strands of the yarn.

There is no “right side” to the letter. Choose which side you want to be the top.

In the back loop only, loosely sl st around the outside of the “B” and the inside holes. If your sl sts are tight, the “B” will bunch making it harder to stretch the “B” to its desired form when pinning it to the hat. Finish off and weave in ends.

Baseball closeupPin then sew “B” to hat or desired project with the Cranberry tail.

Learn more about the Lil Slugger Set.  Newborn pattern includes:

  • Baseball Cap
  • Baseball Mitt
  • Catchers Mitt
  • Ball Diamond Bib

Russian Tea Recipe and Crochet Radioactive Cozy

Russian Tea Recipe and Crochet Radioactive Cozy

There are many Russian Tea Recipes, but this is my all time favorite. My mother calls it Spiced Tea, but at craft shows it is referred to as Russian Tea. And because I have a sweet tooth, I like this really sweet blend.

Russian Tea Recipe

We’re packaging this tea in a mason jar which is perfect for gift giving. Since it’s loaded with sugar, the crocheted cozy with the radioactive symbol on it is definitely fitting! This cozy would be perfect for any “toxic” drink (tea, coffee, hot chocolate) or food (bean or split pea soup).

Let’s start with the Russian Tea. Then you can enjoy a cup while you crochet the radioactive cozy!

Russian Tea Recipe

This Russian Tea Recipe has been in the family for years. So I’m not sure who to credit for this particular combination (if you know, please leave me a comment below). You can adjust the sweetness of your tea by adding more or less to your cup of hot water.

Russian Tea Ingredients MixedThis spiced tea is a cross between hot apple cider and orange juice. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Instant sweetened lemon tea
  • 1 cup Tang
  • ½ to 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Store in mason jar.

Serving:

  1. Add 3 teaspoons to 1 cup boiling water (adjust quantity to desired sweetness).

Crochet Mason Jar Cozy with Radioactive Symbol

If you like your beverage a little stronger than most, the radioactive symbol is the perfect image for your cup cozy! It’s also a cute way to adorn a gift for April Fools Day (April 1)…just sayin’.

Crocheted Radioactive Cup CozyThis is a quirky and delightful way to use up your yarn stash. We’ve used Vanna’s Choice. Use Mustard or Radiant Yellow for a traditional cozy or try a Radiant Lime to represent the radioactive material inside your cup or mason jar!

Skill Level: Intermediate

Stitches Used: Chain, slip stitch, single crochet, no foundation chain double crochet

Techniques Used: Crochet in the Round

Supplies:

  • Vanna’ Choice Yarn: MUSTARD, BLACK
  • Mason Jar

Jar Cozy Instructions

Mustard

Hook: H

Ch 34, join with a sl st.

Rnd 1-9: Sc around. (34)

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

Radioactive Symbol Instructions

Center Circle Instructions

Black

Hook: C

Ch 3

Rnd 1: 7 hdc in 3rd ch from hook. Join with a sl st. (7)

Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.

Outer Semi-circle Instructions (make 3)

Black

Hook: C

Ch 4

Row 1: Ncfdc in 4th ch from hook, 3 ncfdc, Ch 3. Sl st in base of dc. (5)

Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.

Assembly Instructions

Pin then sew Radioactive symbol to cozy. Weave in ends.

More Cozies in Store

coffee cup cozy patterns ebookLove this radioactive 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.

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

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

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!