My Experiments with Bead Crochet Ropes

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Before I knitted or crocheted, I did a lot of beadwork and jewelry making. I have been making jewelry off and on since the early nineties. At one time, I even tried to sell my pieces on Etsy. I ended the shop a long time ago. In recent years I have been knitting and crocheting a lot and beading very little if at all. Last year, I realized that I missed doing beadwork and decided to carve out time to work on beading again. I had started several beading projects years ago and they had sat there and I hadn’t been working on them. I went through the projects and took apart the ones I didn’t want to work on anymore. I decided to keep a few projects and finish them. I am hoping to finish those projects at a later date. I had worked on bead crochet ropes before and thought that would be a good way to start getting back into beading since it incorporates both beading and crochet.

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I used this book as a reference. This  book on various beading techniques is another book that has a section on bead crochet ropes. Stacy Trock of Fresh Stitches made some bead crochet ropes. Here is a tutorial she wrote. She strongly recommends this book; I haven’t read it yet but I want to read it. With bead crochet you string the beads on the thread beforehand. I was aiming to make a bracelet. The first one I did came out too much short because I misread how much thread to use. That is the orange, red and grey one in the above picture. The second rope (the yellow and grey one in the picture) turned out better but still a little too short. I am on my 3rd attempt and so far so good. It is the project in the first picture. I have been using Jeans Stitch quilting thread, size 8 beads, and a size steel 10 hook. I am enjoying working on bead crochet ropes. It goes faster than knitting or crochet. This time I am hoping it will be long enough to wear as a bracelet. 

My Recent Knitting and Crochet Projects

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Since I recently wrote about the blanket I made, I wanted to write about other projects I have been making. I just finished making slipper socks. This pattern is the Ribby Slipper Socks pattern by Cathy Carron. I made this project because I needed a pair of slippers and was looking for an easy, relaxing knitting pattern. I decided to make slippers instead of buying them. I had some navy bulky weight yarn in my stash that I wasn’t sure how to use. I realized this pattern would be a good fit for the yarn. I rarely make the same pattern twice but this is the third time making these slippers. In the past, I had used this pattern to make my dad a pair of slippers for Christmas one year and I made myself a pair that wore out.

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I also just finished this string bag. I am hoping to use the bag when I visit to farmers markets. The yarn is Martha Stewart brand yarn I got on clearance one summer and never could figure out how to use. I finally decided to do this bag pattern. It is an easy pattern and a good use for this yarn. I am trying to decide if I want to make a second bag.

DSC_0011 (3)-1 As far as current works in progress, I am working on the blanket I wrote about earlier. I have also been working on the Herbavore shawl. I found out about it when I did Stephen West’s Craftsy class on shawl design. The pattern uses increases in a novel way and I wanted to see how he did it. I am using Manos del Uraguay Allegria yarn in the Atlantico colorway. The yarn was an impulse buy. I saw this yarn and had to buy it because I loved the colors. I have been trying to use up my older stash but I was excited about using this yarn with the pattern. Starting this pattern has been harder than I thought. I had to use several stitch markers to separate the increases and there is no resting purl row. I kept having to rip it out and start over I had to keep careful count of the stitches. Eventually saw how many stitches I needed to use between each set of stitch markers and was able to get the hang of it by carefully counting the stitches. I was about to give up when I got it. I love working with this yarn; I love the colors and once I got past the first few rows, the pattern isn’t that difficult.

My Favorite Crochet Books

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Stitch’N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker

I learned to crochet from this book. It has a good overview of the basics and some cute patterns. It is also a sentimental favorite because the author’s first book Stitch’N Bitch is a big reason I wanted to learn to knit or crochet in the first place.

 Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet

 If I am not sure how to do a technique this book is the first place I look. It is a comprehensive guide of the basics and beyond. The second part of the book has a stitch dictionary that I use often.

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 Crochet Master Class

This is a great book if you want to go beyond the basics. It gives projects, instructions and background on several techniques including freeform crochet, irish crochet and hairpin lace.

 200 Crochet Blocks

 If you like to make blankets, I highly recommend this book. It has a lot of motif designs and it also has a section on how to design blankets.

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 The Finer Edge

The author of this book is Kristin Omdahl and I am a big fan of her designs. I think any serious crocheter should have a book of edgings. The edging in this book are lovely. The book also has a list of projects.

 Crocheting School a Complete Course

This is another good book to have if you want to get beyond the basics. It gives instructions on several techniques including broomstick lace and Irish lace.

My Blanket Project

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I am back with new content after a hiatus. Life happened, I was stressed out and I let this blog go by the wayside. Recently, I was making this blanket and kept thinking that I wanted to write about it. I sat down to write the draft and realized how much I missed writing blog posts and decided to work on new content. I wanted to make a blanket because I only have one other handmade blanket that I finished in November of 2014. That blanket doesn’t go with my current color scheme. When I made that blanket, I knew I wanted to use granny squares and a specific color theme but after that I winged it. It took me over 3 years to finish it because I worked on it on the side of other projects and I didn’t plan ahead that well. As result, I spent a lot of time figuring out how to put the squares together after I made them. In the time since I made that first blanket, I got more interested in designing my own patterns and realized the value of sketching, figuring out the math and planning ahead of time.

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This time I wanted to make a blanket and plan ahead how I was going to make it and how I wanted it to look. I knew that I wanted to use a black, grey, white and red color scheme. I love neutrals with a pop of color. I was reading Fridays with Franklin and he made blanket inspired by quilting patterns. I loved the idea and started to think about doing something similar. I looked up quilting patterns  like this one and started sketching out ideas. At this point , this felt like a big project and I wasn’t sure how I would pull it off.

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 I started to swatch for the squares. I looked at the book, Crochet Workshop and used instructions from the book on increasing. It didn’t work well at all. I was aiming for a square but it didn’t come out square at all. For swatch number 2, I pulled out the book, 200 Crochet Blocks. Before, I started to swatch #2, I read the first section of the book. The first section was on how to mix and match blocks. The book showed a pattern that had squares arranged to look like diamonds. I played around with that idea in my sketchbook and was so excited. I swatched a square from the book that I was sure would work; it didn’t work at all. The edges curled up, and the square used a single crochet stitch. As a result, the square took a long time to make. A whole blanket of single crochet squares would take a long time and would completely try my patience.

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 Then I remembered a crocheter I follow on Instagram made a blanket using using the corner to corner stitch. I found a tutorial on the technique on the Crochet Crowd website. Once I figured out how to make the square, I made a swatch using the corner to corner technique and I liked it. It gave me the effect I wanted.  Then I did some math to figure out how many squares I needed to make and how much yarn I would need. I had looked at this site to figure out different afghan sizes. I knew I wanted a blanket that would cover the top of my bed. I measure the bed and wrote down those numbers. Then I measured my swatch and figured out how many squares I would need across and down. I figure I will need to make 56 squares and I have made 20 so far. I am enjoying the project and will keep you posted.

My Granny Square Bag Project

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I both knit and crochet but recently I wasn’t that inspired by crochet and I was knitting a lot more than I was crocheting. On Ravelry, I am a member of a group called the International Freeform Forum-IFFF. The group is about freeform crochet, knitting and mixed media. Freeform crochet and knitting is making a piece without a pattern and being creative with the colors and stitch patterns. The group will often have have freeform alongs (FFAL) which are crochet alongs* for free form work. The theme of one of their recent FFALs was Everything Old is New Again. The thread on Ravelry said that the theme can be interpreted as re purposing an old project or clothing, using a motif from an old project in a new project or using a classic technique in an updated way. In the thread, a lot of the group members were so talented and creative and that was inspiring to me.

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This FFAL made me think of 2 granny squares I had. They were leftover from a blanket I made a few years ago. They didn’t fit in with that project and sat in with my yarn scraps because I didn’t know what to do with them. I read the theme and immediately had the idea for make a bag around those 2 squares. I decided on a light blue, beige and dark blue color theme color theme. I also decided to use yarn leftover from other projects.

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I based the shape of the bag on another bag I made several years ago.I crocheted 16 squares and then sewed them together. With the straps, I ended up single crocheting around the top of the bag and then crocheting the straps. I am happy with how it turned out and I had fun making it. I was a long time lurker in the group but this was the first time I had participated in a FFAL. The other members of the group were so welcoming and supportive and it meant a lot to me. It was so encouraging to be able to interact with other crocheters and knitters and have them be so supportive.

*A group of people making piece at the same time and posting their experiences in a forum or blog.