Anyone who was born in the 80s can appreciate the original Nintendo Entertainment System. There was nothing better than the original Mario Bros. game, which also came with duck hunt, a classic old school shooting game. I still love it. In fact, my boyfriend and I still own an original Nintendo (though we rarely play because 80s video games aren’t exactly compatible with plasma TVs). So in honor of my love for Mario and NES, here is a great Mario crochet blanket by Gege Crochet.
Thanks to the help of the experienced crocheters in my crochet group, I have almost finished an experienced crochet pattern. It’s a Lion Brand pattern for a beautiful jacket, which hits just below the hips. I purchased a little 3 crochet pattern booklet called “Lush Texture in Homespun,” when I found HomeSpun yarn on sale for half-off. I bought four skeins. The texture of Homespun yarn is amazing. I picked a color called Tudor, though this picture is an awful representation of how pretty it really is.
In reality, the yarn has created soft, lightly changing colors of purple, blue, yellow and green as I crochet. It’s like a rainbow for adults. I really intended to finish this pattern while it was still cold, but it has taken me AGES! Instead of working on row numbers, I had to measure…constantly. All I have to finish is a few inches on this last sleeve and I intend to assemble it tonight. I love that you create a finishing edge all the way around and that you also crochet a sort of floppy collar for the jacket. I’ll post pictures tonight. Here are a few things that I have learned during this pattern:
- Instead of weaving in yarn tails at the end, simply lay them over the last row and crochet over them. This is so much easier! Going back and weaving in all the tails is such a pain.
- When crocheting/sewing/knitting large garments, you really need a yardstick or tape measure instead of just a ruler (though I coped just fine with stitch markers).
- Speaking of stitch markers, do not buy them. Use safety pins. They work just fine and you can usually get them free off dry-cleaning and clothing purchases.
- Don’t crochet right from the purchased skein, as you’ll have to keep awkwardly pulling on the yarn as you go. Instead, re-wind your yarn into a center-pull ball which will more easily feed without needing to pull and flop the purchased skein around. Here’s how to easily create that center-pull ball.
Now that spring is in the air, I want to cover the house in little crochet flowers. Do you think my boyfriend would mind? No matter. I’ve already found some of the best crochet flower tutorials on the web. Make a few of these for mom for Mother’s Day. Turn into brooches like this first example, create jewelry like the wire example or affix to a bit of craft wire wrapped in floral tape for a “bouquet.”
- Attic 24 is my favorite source of insta-cheer. She offers an idea for making tiny crochet flower brooches complete with buttons. If you look closely at the first image, you’ll see the instructions for making the little flowers. Hooray!
- For those of us who learned how to crochet ENTIRELY through instructional videos, Little Birdie secrets offers this video tutorial for creating crochet flowers. Her crochet flowers adorn hats, shoes and more.
- For something entirely different, I found this Craftypod tutorial for crocheting flowers in wire for jewelry or other craft projects. I’d love to get my hands on some craft wire and try this.
- I quite love the layered look of this crochet flower with tutorial from Echoes of a Dream. I think a few of these would look fabulous affixed to a messenger bag.
- For something a bit more ambitious and definitely impressive, check out this pattern for a crochet rose at the Crochet Spot. I’m definitely excited to have found this blog. This little rose would be perfect for an upcoming Mother’s Day gift.
Can’t get enough? Check out these flower crochet tutorials from AllFreeCrochet, AllFreeCrochetAfghanPatterns and FaveCrafts!
What’s your favorite flower to crochet?
I’m still chugging away at the ballet wrap sweater in double crochet. I’ve now finished one more sleeve. I keep getting distracted by embroidery and paper-bead aspirations, new recipes, and the first video game to which I have ever been addicted (I blame the boyfriend). I always return to the crochet eventually. This wrap sweater closes with a tie or rope cord, or you can use a pretty ribbon in a color matching the yarn. Learning how to crochet a rope or cord in crochet is pretty useful though for a variety of projects. You can use it as a stem for a crochet flower or shamrock, for upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.
Here are two different methods that I have learned to crochet a cord or rope:
Method 1: Once you get the hang of it, this method is easier, because you don’t have to crochet around.
- Take a long length of yarn or string and double it over. Do the same with another length of yarn.
- Tie each doubled-over length of yarn to the crochet hook with a slipknot.
- To make the first stitch of your cord, pull the first loop through the second.
- Alternating yarn, continue to pull the opposite yarn through the loop on the hook.
- As you go, it will start to resemble a cord.
- To finish, pull one all the way through the opposite loop. Pull tight and secure the yarn with two knots for each pair of strings.
Method 2: This method teaches you how to front post single crochet, which also comes in handy in many projects.
- Take your crochet hook and yarn and tie a slipknot as normal.
- Chain 4.
- Do 3 single crochet (sc) in first chain.
- Front post single crochet (fpsc) around chain 3, turning clockwise.
- Then fpsc around first sc, then second sc and on. Continue to fpsc.
This will create a kind of square cord.
To Front Post Single Crochet, yarn over (YO) and insert hook back to front between next two stitches then back again between stitch being worked and the stitch after it on the previous row, yo and sc.
I have discovered that you can actually overdose on crochet and have to walk away for a few days. Last Thursday, I completed one of the front panels for the Ballet Wrap Sweater from Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet and did half of one sleeve panel. I have not crocheted since. I think I’m finally ready to return to my project. In total, I have to make 1 back panel, 2 front panels, 2 sleeves and two crochet cords to tie the sweater closed. Here are my two complete pieces, the back panel and one front panel.
As you crochet, you shape the armholes, and for the front panel, the diagonal slant of the wrap. I’ve really had to keep track of my rows this project, which has meant a pencil behind my ear and a notebook right next to me to check off rows. I might add I had to re-do half of the front panel because I missed the language at EACH end of the row. I’m still learning. I’m nervous about assembling the piece which does NOT have you sew up the sleeves first. Should be interesting.
The entire sweater is done in double crochet, which makes these fantastic raised ridges and lower valleys. The pictures do not do the color justice, which is Country Blue in Caron Simply Soft.
Below is an image from the book of the Ballet Wrap Sweater. Of course I can’t share the pattern, but I would highly recommend this book if you are a beginner or just for some great patterns. Their version uses a silk and cashmere blend yarn which I covet! Follow the link above or click on the image to find the book on Amazon.
A wonderful reader and fellow member of a Crochet group sent me a crochet pattern for yarn scrap slippers to publish at FaveCrafts. There cozy slippers are easy for beginners and great way to use up those tiny balls of yarn left over after a project. You can make them short or up to the knee or extra warm. Read the full crochet pattern here.
Currently, I’m crocheting a ballet wrap sweater (pattern from the Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet), but I’ll probably whip us some of these slippers soon for padding around the house. In the meantime, I’m having a little trouble with the concept of changing to a new ball of yarn as with a color change (actually, I’m completely avoiding any color changes at this point, haha), and the best way to weave in ends. Sure, I can do both of these techniques, but I’m looking for smoother transitions. It’s likely a matter of practice but I happened to stumble across futuregirl’s tutorials on Seamless Single Crochet and Weaving in the Last End. The tutorials offer smoother ways to change colors and weave in the yarn tail respectively. Perfect!
Check out this crocheted tablecloth that is… well, it’s the table. The tablecloth has been soaked in a resin that has made it board stiff and therefore able to support itself as a table. Eerie, but I like it. From PinkWolf.
Since I’ve been living in Dublin for over a year now, I wanted to feature a local pick on Etsy. I think it’s fantastic that Etsy encourages shoppers to peruse local artists and crafters. I’m a big proponent of supporting your community. While there are many to choose from, jewelry and accessory artist Kathie Stamou caught my eye. She uses materials gathered from travels, in addition to notable crochet skills which I cannot help but appreciate with my own love of the craft.
Aren’t these cheery?
Visit Kathie’s beautiful Etsy shop here. Perhaps I’ll point my boyfriend in this direction for Valentine’s Day/Graduation. (Trinity confers my Master’s the day before Valentine’s Day. That should be a fun weekend.)
It seems as though a craft revival has occurred in my generation. Sitting down to watch an episode of Law and Order or Desperate Housewives with a group of girlfriends in college, several would pull out crochet work. They were making gifts for family or scarves for themselves during the freezing cold Chicago winters. I like the idea, especially because such work keeps you mildly active even while resting on the couch. You can create something and still enjoy some TV entertainment or visit with your friends.
As a complete novice to the craft, knowing where to begin in crochet is difficult. First, you need a crochet hook and basic yarn. An “H” hook is often recommended for beginners with some inexpensive acrylic yarn. American sizes range from B (smallest) to S (biggest), so you can get an idea of where this size sits. Before looking at any craft books, magazines, or, my favorite option, blogs, you have to be familiar with certain terms.
With my own skills in mind, I’ve created a Beginner’s Guide to Crochet (for the complete novice). Simply page through the five part guide for videos on how to tie a beginning slipknot, make a foundation chain, do the crochet stitches, and more.
Before you begin, learn how to hold the crochet hook. The hook should be in your right hand if you are right-handed. My preferred way is hold the hook like a pencil between my thumb and forefinger. In this picture, I’ve already tied the yarn to the hook with a slipknot. The yarn end attached to the ball or skein is wrapped around the pointed finger of my left hand to maintain yarn tension. You will find that maintaining yarn tension is very important. The thumb and pinky finger of my left hand help to stabilize the foundation chain as it’s formed and later the piece as I’m crocheting.