Tunisian Crochet at YarnCon

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Ok, I am just too excited about teaching Tunisian Crochet at YarnCon in Chicago. This year the indie fiber fair will be on April 18 & 19 2015.

I’ll be teaching a class on Tunisian crochet in the round on April 19, using a double ended Tunisian crochet hook. Above is a small class project, designed to be an iPhone cozy, but it fits my reader glasses perfectly! This is just one example of the many things you can do with Tunisian crochet worked in the round. Class is listed as Tunisian crochet cellphone cozy I’d love to see you there.

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Beisdes that I’ll be teaching a class on beginning Tunisian crochet. If you’ve always wanted to give Tunisian crochet a try this is the class for you. Short and sweet, it covers the basics. Above, a swatch showing some basic Tunisian crochet stitches.

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In more Tunisian crochet news, I’ve been working on a beautiful project using Tunisian crochet short rows. The pattern is Tunisian Shell Shawl by Elena Fedotova. It’s not a free pattern but is worth paying for. The instructions are detailed and excellent. This is an intermediate level project, a beautiful one to polish your Tunisian crochet skills with.

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Here’s a close up of the stitch detail. See my Ravelry project page for for technical details.

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Totally unrelated to crochet, the selection of old time candy at local frozen custard shop Lickity Split on Western Ave. in Chicago.

candy at lickity split

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A little octagon flower purse

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March is National Crochet Month (NatCroMo). I’m happy to be part of Crochetville’s NatCroMo Designer Blog Tour. Each day in March they’ll be profiling two crochet designers with links to their blogs. Thanks to Amy and Donna for including me in the tour.

I designed a quick little project to celebrate NatCroMo using 2 octagon motifs. These take a small amount of yarn so they’d be a perfect use for your leftovers. I made mine with worsted weight yarn, Cascade 220, but you could use pretty much any worsted or aran weight yarn. I used about 20 grams of yarn total (about 44 yds. or 40.2 meters). Finished size is 5″ across from point to point.

Octagon Flower motif
I used 4 colors of Cascade 220 and a size 7 (4.5 mm) hook.
This motif is worked in the round. Do not turn after each round.
Abbreviations (U.S. Terminology used)
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
tr = treble crochet
sl st = slip stitch
y.o. = yarn over
tr2tog = treble crochet 2 together

Two steps to make a tr2tog:

1) Y.O. twice, insert hook into sc, y.o. and pull up a loop, (y.o. and pull through 2 loops) twice, 2 loops on hook.
2) Y.O. twice, insert hook into same sc, y.o. and pull up a loop, 5 lps on hook, (y.o. and pull through 2 loops) twice, y.o. and pull through 3 loops, 1 loop left on hook. tr2tog made.

Octagon Motif, make 2 for small purse.

Round 1: With color A Ch 2, make 8 sc in 1st ch made. Sl st to first sc to join. (8 sc)
Round 2: Ch 1, make 2 sc in each sc around. Sl st join with color B. (insert hook into 1st sc made, y.o. with color B and pull through all loops on hook, sl st made). Cut color A leaving a 6” tail. (16 sc)
Round 3: With color B ch 3, tr in same st as sl st, ch 3, sc in next sc, (ch 3, tr2tog in next sc, ch 3, sc in next sc) 7 times. Ch 3, sl st join with color C in top of ch 3, cut color B leaving 6” tail.
Round 4: With color C, ch 1, sc in tr, ch 2, dc in sc, ch 2, (sc in tr2tog, ch 2, dc in sc, ch 2) 7 times, Sl st join with color A in  first sc, cut color C leaving 6” tail.
Round 5: With color A, ch 1 beginning with first sc, [sc in sc, sc in ch  2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in dc, sc in ch 2 sp] 8 times. sl st join with color D in first sc, cut color A leaving 6” tail.
Round 6: With color D, ch 3, dc in each of next 2 sc, *(dc, ch 2, dc) in ch 2 sp, dc in the sc immediately after the ch sp , dc in each of next 4 sc.
(Note: be careful not to miss the 1st sc that is right after the ch 2 sp).
repeat from * 6 more times, then (dc, ch 2, dc) in last ch 2 sp, Dc in each of last 2 sc, join with a sl st in top of ch 3. Fasten off.
Weave in ends giving each end a gentle tug to snug up any loose stitches.

octagon chart

© Kathy Kelly 2015 All rights reserved. Please do not copy or distribute.

To make purse:
Place two motifs together with right sides facing out. Pin together leaving two sides of the octagon open.  Whip stitch the two motifs together at the sides, joining outside loops from a stitch from each motif. Sew 6 sides leaving 2 sides open.
Find a button that will fit through the hole in the point of the motif. Use sewing thread to sew the button to the back motif so that it will go through the front motif.

Here’s a photo showing the top opening of the bag with the button sewn to the back motif.

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If you’d like to add a strap it would be easy to sew one to the corners where the purse opens. I’d suggest holding two or more strands of yarn together and making a long chain. Another possibility would be to use a pretty ribbon for a strap.

Next month I will be teaching beginning Tunisian crochet and Tunisian crochet in the round (with double ended Tunisian hook) at YarnCon in Chicago IL. That’s Sunday April 19, 2015. If you are in town be sure to check it out. It’s a great little Indie Fiber Fair and I always have fun browsing the vendor tables there. Sending a shout out to my friends at Sun Valley Fibers, and Fleur de Fiber, looking forward to seeing you at YarnCon.

Here’s a sneak peek at the Tunisian crochet phone cozy we’ll be making at YarnCon.

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Snowed In, Cat toys out

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Since we have been snowed in it seems like a good time to share the blizzard of cat toys I made last week.

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These very cute “flat” mice are popular with my cats. They’re made from worsted weight acrylic yarn. The pattern, My Cat’s Favorite Mouse is free on NayanPon’s blog.

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My cats also love these catnip mice made by holding two strands of cotton yarn together. I used Peaches & Creme and Lion Cotton, but Sugar and Cream would also work well. The pattern Catnip Fishies by Susan Morishita is available free on her blog Amigurumi Friends.

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The Kitty Tweets pattern by Vicki Mikulak is available as a free download from Ravelry. I am not so happy with the beak. If I made another one I’d experiment to see if I could make it look a little better. But it’s a cat toy and I don’t think the cats will care.

Looks like the pattern Catnip Mouse Toy by Stephanie Garcia is no longer available. As a substitute I suggest trying the Easy Peasy Catnip Mouse available free on tubachingching’s blog.

The less than realistic, but cat attractive, octopuses are made from worsted and DK weight yarn using my free Octo Octo pattern. Here’s McDuff with his paw guarding Octo Octo.

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And here’s some snow. The photo was taken early on in the storm, we got a lot more!

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Octo Octo free cat toy pattern

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In the 1980’s my sister made a cat toy for my first cat K.C. He loved the toy and we called him Octo Octo. We were unable to find the original source of the pattern. I have made a few changes and written the instructions so you can make one for your cat. Yes, I know, he only has 4 legs, but since he’s a cat toy he reserves the right to be as he is.

Materials
Yarn
DK weight, I used about 10 grams Patons Astra for the yellow Octo.
Size E 3.5 mm hook for DK weight yarn
OR
Aran weight, I used about 20 grams  Red Heart Super Saver for the blue Octo.
Size 7, 4.5 mm hook for Aran or Worsted weight yarn.
Catnip
Old nylon stockings
You can use your old stockings with runs in them or if you don’t wear them you can buy the short kind at a drugstore, cheap is fine for this purpose.
Yarn needle to sew on legs
Embroidery thread and needle or scrap yarn To make eyes.

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Some nylon stockings I purchased at a drug store.

Abbreviations
ch = chain, sc = single crochet, sl st = slip stitch, st = stitch, sts = stitches

Special Stitches

Join: at the end of each round slip stitch into first sc of round to join.

Invisible Decrease: Worked over 2 stitches. Insert hook into front loop only of sc, without yarning over insert hook into front loop of next sc (3 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through 2 loops (2 loops left on hook), yarn over again and pull through 2 loops. Invisible decrease made.
Rather than reinvent the wheel I will direct you to this excellent video to see how this stitch is made.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ575_ZklWk

Instructions

Head
                                                                                                                                             You will be working in joined rounds. to help keep your place mark the first sc of each row with a locking stitch marker. You will not work into the ch 1 that begins each row. 
Starting at the top of the head, leave a very long tail, about 36”.

Round 1: Make a slip knot, ch 2, make 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Join.

Round 2: Ch 1, starting in next st make 2 sc in each st around (don’t forget to mark the first sc of the round with a stitch marker). Join. (8 sc)

Round 3: Ch 1, starting in next st work 2 sc in each st around. Join. (16 sc)

Round 4: Ch 1, (make 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st) repeat around. Join. (24 sc)

Round 5: Ch 1, sc in next sc and in each st around. Join (24 sc)

Rounds 6-9: Repeat round 5.

Stop here but do not cut yarn. Remove hook from working loop and secure with a safety pin or locking stitch marker.

Pull String
To make a pull string for the top of Octo’s head, insert hook into top center of head and pull the long yarn tail to outside of head. Insert hook into one of the stitches at top center of head, yarn over and pull up a loop. Ch until you run out of yarn or the pull string is as long as you like. Fasten off.

Stuff Head
Put the toe of a nylon stocking into the Octo head. Stuff with catnip, or a combination catnip and fiberfil or yarn scraps. Stuff fairly tightly. Then tie a knot in the stocking and cut off excess fabric.

Finish Head
Going back to the loop from round 9, insert hook and begin round 10.
Round 10: Ch 1, Work the invisible decrease around (see special stitches). Join. (12 sts).
Round 11: Ch 1, work invisible decrease around. Join. (6 sc). Fasten off leaving a long tail to sew legs. Note that you will have a small hole in the bottom of head.

Legs
You will make two lengths of leg curls that will be folded in half to make 4 legs.
Step 1: Ch 60 for Sport Weight yarn, or ch 70 for Worsted or Aran weight yarn.
Step 2: In second ch from hook make 3 sc, continue making 3 sc in each chain. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Repeat steps 1 & 2.

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A photo of the pieces of Octo.

Sew Legs
Fold one of the leg curls in half and insert part of it into the hole in bottom of head. Use the long tail to sew a few stitches to secure it in place. Then fold the other leg curl and insert it into hole and sew a few stitches. Continue to sew a few more stitches in each leg curl to make the legs secure. Fasten off.

Eyes
Use embroidery thread or yarn scraps to sew on eyes. Mouth?? It’s up to you!
Throw Octo Octo to your cat and see what happens.

Octo, Octo © 2015 Kathy Kelly All rights reserved
For personal use only. Please do not copy but feel free to link to my blog.

Hey! I’m participating in the Hookin’ on Hump Day blog party at Moogly and Petals to Picots. Check it out!

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Snowflake roundup, my favorite flakes to make without using stiffener

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Here is a review of my favorite snowflakes to make when you don’t want to use starch or glue as a stiffener.

This year I am all excited about re-imagining the traditional crochet snowflake. Rather than use cotton thread, I decided on Loops and Threads Payette yarn from Michaels. It’s an acrylic sport weight yarn with metallic threads and tiny sequins strung on a fine thread running through the yarn. After some experimenting I found that a size C, 2.75 mm, hook was the smallest I could use with this yarn without hanging up on the sequins. Notice that I picked the “sterling silver” color just to mix things up.

Using spray starch did not improve the look of the yarn, so I decided not to stiffen them. After scouring Ravelry for snowflake patterns I tried out a bunch that I thought would work well with this yarn. I avoided patterns that had a lot of chains and tried to find ones that had more structure so the flakes would hold their shape without stiffening.  I steam blocked all of the flakes using a steam iron held above, but not touching, the yarn.

TIP: To make weaving in the ends easier, take a small scissors and carefully cut in half the sequins on the tails to be woven in. Be careful not to cut the thread that the sequins are strung on, just cut open the sequin and pull it off the thread.

After trying many patterns here are my favorites. All of these patterns are available free at the links provided.

First, a collection of well written patterns for snowflakes, including good charts. I  recommend Assorted Snowflakes  designed to be made with Lily Sugar & Cream yarn. These work well with the Payette yarn. This is “snowflake C” in the collection (not a traditional snowflake since it’s 5 sided).

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If you are comfortable reading charts, I would recommend Snow flake motif by Chinami Horiba. This is a Japanese site, there is a photo and partial chart. It holds it’s shape pretty well and is fancy looking . I did this one in white (icicle color).

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Next is another pattern with charts. I don’t even know what language this site is in, but the patterns are quite attractive. I really like the 1st and 8th pattern on the webpage because they have a lot of structure and hold up well without stiffening. There are also some pretty ones that would need to be stiffened to hold their shape. I will call these the Klubka snowflakes. This is the first snowflake on the web page.

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Special shout out to the Crochet Snowflakes Group on Ravelry. I enjoyed seeing the snowflakes group members made and also their links to snowflake patterns on the web. It’s a good resource if you’re looking for information about flakes.

Another site to check out is snowflakepatterns.wordpress.com. This blogger has many interesting snowflake patterns with clear written instructions, no charts.

And although the patterns weren’t appropriate for the yarn I was working with, check out the Snowflakes by Sally V. George from the botherthebirds blog. If you scroll down the page you’ll eventually find the link for snowflakes, click to download the pdf. Her patterns feature beautiful hand drawn illustrations, so retro! The written instructions are clear, no charts included.

This is Sally’s snowflake #4, beautiful, but I will need to use it as an applique rather than a hanging ornament.

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You can see the rest of my snowflakes, including the ones that didn’t work as well, on my Ravelry project pages.

I hope you’ll try making a few flakes this winter, just for the fun of it. They make a great take along project and you can hand one to a friend as a sweet gift.

 

 

 

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In Love with Color

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As winter approaches I find the need to add more color to my life. With one skein of Misti Alpaca Handpaint Sock yarn on hand, and a 3.75 mm hook, I decided to revisit an old pattern of mine, the Shawlini. This is more of a scarf with a point than a shawl. The variegation of the yarn obscures the stitch pattern in the body of the scarf. But the stitch pattern adds depth to the yarn and you can sense that something is going on there, even if you can’t quite pick out what’s happening.

If you’d like to try your own version of the Shawlini, the pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry.

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I recently tested a pattern for designer Adrienne Lash. For this one I pulled out some leftovers of Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. Talk about beautiful colors, this yarn really complimented her new Diamonds Adrift Scarf Pattern. The pattern is available on Ravelry for $3.95,  just click the link and you can support an indie designer. By the way, she liked my scarf so much that she included a photo of if on her pattern!

I added fringe to tie the colors together. If you need help making fringe here’s a  youtube video  with Judy Graham demonstrating how to do it.

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I really enjoyed making this scarf and was able to use up some odds and ends of my Noro yarn.

I’m participating in the Hookin On Hump Day blog party on Moogly. Check it out if you’re interested.

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End of Summer crafting, scarves

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I recently finished a couple of cute scarves that were fun and easy to make.

The scarf above is made from a free pattern called Windowpane Scarf by Adrienne Lash. The pattern is available for free on Ravelry. My scarf is dedicated to the memory of my mom, Lu, who passed away in August. It uses one skein of sock yarn. As usual you can find technical details on my Ravelry project page.

Here’s another scarf that was super easy to make. It would make a great project for a beginning crocheter.

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The pattern is called Arugula scarf by Jennifer Dickerson. It’s also available free on her Fiber Flux blog. It really does look like lettuce! Ha. Here’s the link to my project page on Ravelry.

Just a reminder that Ravelry is a great site where you can find inspiration and an amazing database of crochet patterns, both free and for sale. It’s free to join Ravelry and the community there is wonderful. I highly recommend it.

 

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