Mandala Madness 2, Texture

mandala madness two_1680

One thing many of my favorite mandala patterns have in common is texture. The bottom two mandalas in the photo above are examples of how nicely textured stitches work when using multiple colors.

This is the Mini Rosette Mandala designed by Sandra Eng. She uses overlay crochet to create the beautiful pattern.

rosette mandala 1660 - Version 2

When I finished making this I was surprised to see from the back that I was just making rounds of each color!

rosette mandala back_1664

The Mini Rosette Mandala was a great opportunity to learn a little about overlay crochet. I would say this is leaning towards the advanced level. Using front loop only, back loop only, and post stitches things seem a bit complicated. But if you know how to read your stitches it isn’t that difficult. With this one I also found the instructions a bit confusing in places. I used both the written instructions and the chart to sort things out and I’m very happy with the results. If you’d like to see my notes on the project visit my Ravelry project page here.

This is the Quandry Mandala designed by Sandra Eng. Incorporating puff stitches, clusters, post stitches and using chains that extend to previous rounds this mandala has a lot of visual interest.

quandary mandala

I had some issues with the Quandry Mandala which took a little figuring out. If you’d like to see my detailed notes check my Ravelry project page.

I used Patons Grace for both of these mandalas.

Both these patterns are from the book “Modern Crochet Mandalas, 50+ Colorful Motifs to Crochet”. I used the photos from the book for color inspiration.

I will have a book review in a future post so stay tuned.

You might want to check out Sandra Eng’s blog mobiusgirldesign.

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Mandala Madness

Mandala madness_1656

Crochet mandalas have been gaining in popularity for the last few years and I finally caught the bug. After seeing so many bright and colorful mandalas on Ravelry I decided to try my hand at it. In the process I found a favorite designer, Sandra Eng.

All of the mandalas above are designed by Eng.

Puffs mandala_1665 - Version 2

This is the Puffs & Picots Mandala. It’s available as a free pattern on Sandra’s blog Mobiusgirldesign and includes a photo tutorial. If you’re thinking of making a mandala this is probably a good one to start with.

What I like about Eng’s designs is that they incorporate post stitches, puffs and other techniques to give the mandalas more texture. Some of these techniques fall into the intermediate level, but I think this one could be handled by an adventurous beginner.

Most of the mandala patterns I have seen call for sport weight or DK weight cotton yarn. In the U.S. this can be hard to come by, especially if you are looking for a yarn that comes in many colors. I used Patons Grace yarn, which comes in fairly many colors and can be found online or at some of the big chain craft stores.

The other two mandalas are from the book “Modern Crochet Mandalas: 50+ Colorful Motifs to Crochet”. Several designers are featured in the book but I find I am drawn to Eng’s designs. Shown in the top photo at lower left is the Fine China Mandala, and at top is the Rosette Mandala. You can find more information about my Puff & Picots Mandala and the other two mandalas by clicking on the titles to go to my Ravelry project pages.

I’ll share more details about these in a future post.

I hope you will be inspired to crochet a mandala.



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Filet Crochet!


Today I’m happy to share with you a chart for an adorkable filet crochet cat.

Filet crochet is a technique to make designs using open and filled squares or blocks. Usually filet crochet patterns are charts, without written instructions.

If you would like more information on working filet crochet I would recommend this article by Kathryn Vercillo on the Spruce.

Size 10 crochet cotton
1.5mm steel crochet hook

Finished size 4.25″ wide, 4″ tall, blocked
Abbreviations in US terminology
dc = double crochet
ch = chain
sk = skip
sc = single crochet
st (sts) = stitch(es)
yo = yarn over

Special stitches
dc2tog =  2 double crochet together worked over 2 sts of previous row. Yo, insert hook into st and pull up a loop, yo and pull through 2 loops, yo, insert hook into next st and pull up a loop, yo and pull through 2 loops, yo and pull through all loops on hook.

dc4tog = 4 double crochet together, worked over 4 sts of previous row. Yo, insert hook into st and pull up a loop, yo and pull through 2 loops, (yo, insert hook into next st and pull up a loop, yo and pull through 2 loops) three times,  yo and pull through all loops on hook.

The grid chart is read right to left on all odd number rows, and left to right on even numbered rows.

new chart_1622

To start: ch 48, work a dc into 4th ch from hook, dc into each chain of the row. 46 stitches, ch 3 at beginning counts as a dc here and throughout.

Row 2: read from left to right on the chart. ch 3, 3 dc (first filled square made), ch 2, sk 2 dc, dc in next st (open square made). Work in this manner across following the chart. When you reach the last 4 sts make 4 dc (filled square) to end the row.

Continue on reading the chart in the same manner. When working a filled square over an open square work into the chain space.

Beginning on row 11 I have added a few stitches to the mesh to make the cat design look more cat like. For these groups of stitches I have used traditional crochet chart symbols,  see the key on the chart. For the dc2tog and dc4tog see the special stitches section above.

When you are done I highly recommend blocking to even out the stitches. I soaked mine for about 10 minutes in cool water, then rolled it in a towel to extract excess moisture. I pinned it out on a blocking square but an ironing board cover also works well.

I am happy to be participating in Crochetville’s 5th Annual NatCroMo Blog Tour. Check out the featured blogs at Crochetville.



McDuff checks out the work in progress. Is that a cat treat under the yarn bowl?



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Crochet Workshops at Yarncon

I’m excited to offer several crochet workshops on April 1 & 2 at Yarncon in Chicago.

tunisian crochet_1611

I’m teaching a beginning workshop on Tunisian crochet. Above is a photo of some Tunisian crochet stitches worked in several colors. I think this will become a scarf; even with the most basic stitches you can create something beautiful.

pink cables_1613


Above is a photo of the crochet cables I’ll be teaching in a workshop. I’ll cover how to make cables and offer instructions on how to make a cabled headband or ear warmer. This is a really cool technique and a fun project for anyone who wants to try cables for the first time.

baby suri scarf- 513

The Tunisian Crochet Lace workshop is an introduction to lace stitches. We will begin making my Skinny Mint Tunisian Scarf (shown above) using the techniques we have learned. This is the perfect spring accessory, light and airy. Add this to your crochet arsenal.

Yarncon is one of my favorite fiber events. Indie dyers and yarn stores sell their wares. It’s a great place to shop for unique yarn, spinning supplies, various knit and crochet supplies, project bags etc. I’m excited to see what the vendors have to offer this year. With so many local yarn stores closing this is an opportunity to see the yarn and fibers in person and still buy from indie shops.

Here is the schedule for my workshops.

Beginning Tunisian Crochet Saturday April 1, 12-12:50 pm (beginner level)

Crochet Cables Saturday April 1, 1-2:50 pm (intermediate level)

Beginning Tunisian Crochet Sunday April 2, 11-11:50 am

Introduction to Tunisian Crochet Lace Sunday April 2, 12-1:50 pm (advanced beginner level) Take the beginning Tunisian Crochet workshop and you’ll be able to do the Tunisian Crochet Lace.

Yarncon April 1 & 2 2017
Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall
1340 W Washington St
Chicago IL 60607

For more information or to sign up for classes see their website.

Coming up: NatCroMo Blog Tour on Crochetville.

My blog will be featured on March 21, 2017. I’ll be featuring a new crochet pattern.



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Heart Mania


With valentines day coming up I got stuck on a heart kick. I found a free pattern, Heart Crochet Hot Pad, while searching patterns on Ravelry. The pattern calls for worsted weight cotton. In my first attempt, shown above, I used Patons Grace, a sport weight cotton. It’s pretty, but kind of large, about 6.5″ at its widest worked with a 2.75 mm hook.


The hearts above are all done in size 10 cotton crochet thread except the very top heart, which is done in size 8 perle cotton. The pattern done in size 10 crochet cotton made a heart about 4.25″ wide using a 1.5 mm hook.


The size 8 perle cotton, above, made a heart 3.25″ wide using a 1.25 mm hook.


In the end I decided I liked this pattern in the size 10 cotton, above, the best. This one has an edging of variegated pinks.

The pattern has written instructions but no chart. Since I really like working from a chart I decided to draw my own. If you want to see the chart and more info. see my Ravelry project page.

I altered the edging slightly. In the second round of the edging I worked sc, ch 2, sc, into each chain space around. It gives it a little postage stamp edge. Thanks to Chalklegs on Ravelry for that neat idea.

This is a fun little project so if you’re interested I urge you to give it a try. And you might even want to try your hand at drawing a chart for this too.



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A Scrappy Thing


My favorite weight of yarn is fingering, and over the past 8 years I’ve used a lot of it. About two years ago I decided to make a scrap yarn project using all the little balls of leftovers. Finally after 25 months I have finished my scrappy thing!

With the yarn all heaped together in a big pile I realized almost all of it was variegated or self striping. It looked like a big clash of colors. Fooling around with it I found that the singles yarns didn’t quite match gauge to my multi-ply scraps, so I sorted out all of my singles and just used the multi-ply.

Finding a pattern was a bit of a challenge. Eventually I decided on Color Blend Stole which is a free pattern by Aparna Rolfe, one of my favorite designers. I followed the pattern as written except that I did all of my stitches in the back loop only. And I used my leftovers changing colors after 2-4 rows of the pattern depending on how much of each color I had.

At first I didn’t think it was going to work, everything seemed to clash. But as I continued  I was surprised to see that the overall effect was quite striking.


I went until I had used most of my leftovers, using 451 grams total of yarn. The finished size is 72″ by 31″ not including the fringe. Normally I’d just weave in the ends but they looked interesting so I added more strands making a fringe that is not too dense.

Using the back loop only technique made the wrap have a very soft drape and also a bit of a ribbed texture.


I have to say after all these years of crocheting, making many projects,  I was surprised by how this project turned out. I really didn’t expect it to work as well as it did. I’ll call it my New Year’s surprise.

If you’ve been thinking of doing something with your scraps I would recommend Color Blend Stole. You can use the pattern with whatever weight yarn you like. It does take a bit of concentration to follow the waves of stitches but it’s totally worth it.

A List of some of the yarns used:
Fluer de Fiber Acadian
Frolickijng Feet Done Roving
Malabrigo Sock
Smooshy With Cashmere
Claudia Hand Painted Fingering
Hand Maiden Casbah
Misti Alpaca Handpainted Sock
Crazy Zauberball
Zitron Trekking Hand Art
Sun Valley Fibers Merino Nylon Fingering
Three Irish Girls Velvet Sock
Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock

You can see more details on my Ravelry project page.

Now I have a box full of singles yarn scraps to work with. I have my eye out for the next scrap yarn project.



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Snowflakes 2016 in review


This year my sister gave me an old magazine called “Favorite Classics Christmas Crochet” from 1992. This set of snowflakes if from the article Snowflake Fancy. The magazine doesn’t credit the designer which is a shame because I’d love to know who designed these.

I like the whimsical decorations at the ends of the points, suggesting flowers.

Unfortunately this magazine is out of print but the snowflake in the center is available, including a workable chart, on pinterest.

I got a little crazy and tried a couple of snowflakes in pink.


Continuing on the theme of interesting terminal decorations, I found this snowflake that appears to be from a Russian website. Here’s the link on postila.


The ends of this flake look like little crowns to me.

All of these flakes were done in either size 10 or size 20 crochet cotton.


If you would like technical details for the snowflakes shown visit my  Ravelry projects page

Search snowflakes to see all of the snowflakes I’ve made along with notes including hook size, thread size, finished dimensions and pattern used.


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