My Crochet Goals

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I recently wrote about my knitting goals. I want to give equal time to both knitting and crochet on this blog so I also wanted to write about my crochet goals. Lately, I have been more inspired by knitting than crochet. Until I started the blanket I am making right now, I have been knitting more than I crochet. However, when I thought abut it there are many things I want to crochet. Here are the crochet projects I want to do in the future. I look at this list I made and realize I could be busy for a long time.

Crochet more garments

In the past, I have struggled to find crochet garments I want to make. However, I have found a few  patterns I like. I really like this Convergence Top pattern. I found out about it when I asked for advice on crochet garment patterns on a Ravelry forum. I have been eyeing the Northern Dreams Pullover for a long time. When I first saw the pattern years ago, I thought it looked like a difficult pattern and never thought to attempt it. I recently looked at it again and realized it was a crochet version of a yoked sweater. Now I really want to make this sweater. However I am on a tight budget right now and would have to buy yarn to make both. I have also been eyeing this pullover by Dora Ohrenstein. 

Make a dress

A friend of mine designed this dress and I really want to make it at some point. I also love this dress by Lily Chin. Both would be a challenge for me and a big project I know I want to make these at some point but I am not sure when I will get around to it.

Make a ripple blanket

This past winter, I was reading about temperature blankets and came very close to making one. I decided to make the blanket I am working on now instead. A friend gave me some red heart yarn that should work well for a blanket. I like the way the rippled blanket looks and I like the idea of having a colorful blanket to use during the winter.

 Freeform crochet

I have been reading about freeform crochet for years and am intrigued by the idea. If you don’t know what freeform crochet is, this article describes freeform crochet pretty well. I really like the idea of being creative and freewheeling with crochet. I have read about the work of Prudence Mapstone, and Jenny Dowde and would love to explore freeform crochet further. I have thought that it would be a fun way to use some of my scrap yarn.

 Make some of the design ideas I have sketched

I keep a sketchbook and write ideas for projects that I could design.I want to get in the habit of working on some of these ideas on a regular basis.

My Knitting Goals

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I thought I would write a post about my knitting goals and what I want to make next. As we start a new month and go into a new season, it felt like a good time to think about how I want to build my skills and what I want to do differently with my craft projects. These are the knitting techniques and projects that have been on my mind lately.

Learn to knit socks

I have wanted to learn to knit socks for a long time. I even bought a couple of books on sock knitting and a few skeins of sock yarn. I am not sure when I will get around to it but I want to learn at some point.

 Knit a sweater using the percentage system

The percentage system is a way of making a sweater without a pattern that was devised by Elizabeth Zimmerman; it is described in her books. A couple of her books that describe it are Knitting Without Tears and Knitting Workshop. I have read couple of books by Elizabeth Zimmerman and I am a big fan. I love how she encourages her readers to be more creative and knit without a pattern. I am hoping to start this project this fall or winter.

 Make more garments

I have realized that I haven’t made a garment in 2 years and I really want to change that. I am thinking my next knitting pattern will be a summer top. I want to start it once I finish the scarf or shawl I am knitting right now.

 Make a cardigan

As I stated above, I want to make more garments.  I also want to make items for my wardrobe. I wear cardigans constantly and my favorite cardigan is wearing out. I am thinking I want to make a cardigan instead of buying one. I am eyeing a couple of patterns to make for this winter. 

 Use up some of my older yarn stash

I have had some of the yarn in my stash for years. Some of this yarn sits in my stash because I don’t know what to do with it. I started the lace scarf I am making to use up the yarn I had leftover from a sweater I made. I had a little over a skein left and I wanted to use up the yarn. I would like to do similar projects to use up odd bits of yarn in my stash.

An Update on Bead Crochet Projects

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About a month ago, I wrote about getting back to bead crochet and beadwork after not doing either for a long time. Since then, I finished the bracelet I was making. This time, it came out the right length. I then had to figure out how to join the rope together into a bracelet. To join the rope, I used the instructions in this book. I joined it together and am happy with it for the most part. A little later, I did a google search on joining ropes and found another way to join the ropes that may be better. Here is a video of that technique. I want to try this technique on the bracelet I am making now.  

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 I started making another bead crochet rope and decided to use a pastel color scheme. I had trouble deciding between red, blue, grey and ivory or pink, grey and ivory. I really liked the pink beads and so I decided to go with the pastels. I am using a different thread this time. This book recommends Jeans Stitch or Gutermann 100% polyester top stitching thread. I used Jeans stitch for the previous ropes I did and now I am trying the Gutermann thread. I would like to make a project using each type of thread to see how they work.

More Stash Busting Projects

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Recently I wrote about the scrap yarn in my stash and the projects I have done to use up the yarn. One night I looked up stash busting patterns on Ravelry and found some beautiful patterns. There are a lot of lovely and creative ways to use up yarn. Here are a few of my favorites.

 1: A lot of people like to make blankets out of mitered squares. I have seen a lot of pictures on Instagram of people making blankets made out of mitered squares using fingering weight or worsted weight yarn. I used these instructions to make a scarf but a lot of people use these instructions to make a blanket.

 2: I like this winter hat pattern that has been in my Ravelry queue.

 3:I absolutely love this beautiful pillow pattern. I love the bright colors.

 4: This is a cute pattern for a snake.

 5: I almost have to include a pattern for a log cabin blanket. I love how they look and want to make one at some point. This is another pattern that is in my Ravelry Queue

 6: This crocheted lace shawl would be a good pattern for summer

 7: The designer designed this knitted shawl to use up her scraps of fingering weight yarn.

My Stash Busting Projects

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One thing I love about being into crafts is finding ways to use what you have to be creative. I love looking up creative ways to upcycle. I also enjoy reading about projects that use ordinary household objects to make something creative and interesting. In that vein, I want to write a small series on using up scrap yarn. This week I will talk about my experiences with stash busting.

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 In my stash, I have 2 bags of small amounts of yarn that are leftover from other projects or from projects I unraveled. I also have several skeins of leftover yarn. I can’t bear to throw out any of it no matter how small the amount. I keep thinking I could find a use for it. Originally, I kept all the odd bits of yarn because I wanted to learn freeform crochet and I kept thinking that I could use it in that technique.

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I haven’t done much freeform crochet but I have used up scarp yarn in other ways. Periodically, I like to go through my stash and and find ways to use up odd bits of yarn. I made the bag in the middle picture to use up scrap yarn. I recently made these slippers to use up an odd skein of bulky weight yarn. I also made a hat and several scarves to use up odd bits of my stash. Some of the projects work better than others on stash busting. I will start a project to use up scrap yarn and end up buying more to finish it. I started the scarf in the top picture to use up some purple and pink yarn I had but ended up buying 2 skeins to finish it. I bought the grey to add a neutral color and I ran out of the purple and had to buy more. I wrote about the scarf project here. With the blanket in the bottom picture, I drastically underestimated how much yarn it would take and had to buy a lot more yarn than I was originally trying to use up.

Ravelry’s 10th Anniversary

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May 2nd was Ravelry’s 10 anniversary. I thought I would take a moment and write about what the site means to me. Ravelry is an amazing place. It is a an online community for knitters, crocheters and spinners. It has a database where you can look up patterns and yarn. It also has a place to list the projects you have made and a queue to list the patterns you want to make. Plus there are a large number of forums where you can interact with other fiber types. You can look up a yarn and see what others have made with that yarn You also can look up a pattern and read what others have to say about the pattern and see what it looks like when it is finished.

Thanks to Ravelry, I found out about Elizabeth Zimmerman, freeform crochet, yarn bombing and a lot of my favorite designers. I also received countless tips on how to expand my skills. I learned about art projects that asked knitters and/or crocheters to help out and make stuff for the exhibits. I have made pieces for 2 projects. Here is a link to one of the projects. I also participated in the Mandalas for Marinke project. Here is a blog post showing the Mandalas I made for the project. Ravelry has even helped with non fiber related things. I have found out about some of my favorite books from a book group I joined on Ravelry.

 One of my goals is to design and publish my own patterns. Without Ravelry, I wouldn’t know that this option exists. Plus there are 2 groups on Ravelry that are incredibly useful if you want to design patterns.They are Designers and budding designers. Both groups have amazing resource pages. Thanks to those pages, I found out about 2 Craftsy classes and a lot of books I could read on knitwear design.The Ravelry forums have been a lifeline for me at various times. Just about any knitting or crochet question you have could be answered on the forums. Recently, I went on the forums to find out how to try on a top down sweater before it is finished and found out about some tools I didn’t know about before. In short is an amazing community.

Stephen West’s Craftsy Class

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I recently completed a shawl class by Stephen West. I was hoping it would give me the knowledge I needed to design shawl patterns. After the class,  I felt a lot more familiar with basic shawl shapes and the techniques used most often in Shawl making. For one of my next knitting projects, I want to design a triangle shawl and this class gave me more confidence that could design my own. It made me want to knit his shawl patterns. When I had finished the class, I put several of his shawls into my Ravelry queue. I found out about his Herbavore Shawl Pattern from this class and I started knitting it. 

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 Before I started the class, I had already done a garter tab cast on and made a triangle shawl. The first part of the class covered the garter tab cast on, the triangle shawl shape, make one increases, and yarn over increases. That part was a review for me. Then he went over how to use increases to make new shapes and how to distribute increases. The last part of the class covered binding off, blocking and color and texture.  I learned some new cast off methods and new ways to increase and decrease to get different shapes. Stephen West is so upbeat that watching these videos brightened my day.  I could tell that he is incredibly creative. When he was talking about how he designed the Herbavore shawl, he said that he was doing a triangle shawl and got bored so he added new increase sections. Overall, I enjoyed the class and learned something. 

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.

Rediscovering Pinterest

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As much as I love DIY and handmade you would think that I spend loads of time on Pinterest but I don’t. I have a personal Pinterest account that isn’t connected to this blog. I have friends who swear by it, and I have heard all the jokes about going into the Pinterest vortex. Until recently, I hadn’t logged into my account in several months if not years. I am not sure why I didn’t use it; I just never got around to it. However, I recently logged back in because a friend on Facebook who cooks a lot said that she uses Pinterest to find recipes. I have been bored with my cooking and looking for new recipes so I decided to dig up my password and log in. At first, I wasn’t sure how to use it anymore and the ads and recommended pins annoyed me. However I figured out how to use it again and found some new recipes to try.

This year I have been doing a basic bullet journal and have wanted to find some new ideas for it. I found out Pinterest is a good place to look at bullet journal ideas. Then I was taking a knit design challenge and I found out that you can use Pinterest to look up knit stitches. I am not sure why that never occurred to me but that is a game changer. Finding that out just made me realize that Pinterest can be insanely useful. I also want to change my hair, guess where I can get ideas on hair color? So I want to find new recipes, get ideas for my planner set up, change my hair and look up knitting and crochet stitches. I am late to this game but I am really seeing how useful Pinterest can be for gathering ideas and inspiration. I think I will log in to check on some of these things. I will see you in a couple of hours.

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.