Thursday, January 15, 2015

Week 46: Make a Row Counter Bracelet to Keep Track of Your Projects

This week the 52 Week Crochet Challenge is to make a row counter bracelet. For inspiration and a great how-to, check out this great tutorial by Sutherland Studios, click here.

I decided to go in a different direction with my bracelet. I used silver tone oval shaped memory wire, and two sizes of beads. The smaller beads (6 mm) are for counting rows 1 through 9, and the larger beads (8 mm) are for counting rows in groups of ten. This bracelet will count up to 99 rows.

To keep the beads centered on each strand, I glued very small silver beads on each side of each bead row, making sure to leave enough room between the beads for attaching a lobster claw clasp. I think the silver beads are actually crimp beads, although I did not crimp them, but used BeadFix glue by Beadalon to secure them. This glue worked very well and dried quickly.

I am using a fine silver chain with small lobster claw clasps on each end to keep track of both sets of row counts. In the front view photo above, you can see where I have them attached, and that I have 51 rows completed. I mark the rows right to left, and one clasp is to the left of one small bead (which equals 1 row) and the other is attached after 5 large beads (which equals 50 rows). The nice thing about using these clasps is that they are very secure and you won't lose your place, even when you take the bracelet off.

Here's another photo to give you a better idea of how I constructed it. On each wire end I used round nose pliers to make small loops so the wire won't scratch my wrists.

Material list:
Silver tone oval shaped memory wire
9 small beads (6 mm)
9 large beads (8 mm)
4 silver crimp beads
2 lobster claw clasps
Silver tone chain, approx. 2 inches long (make sure it's long enough to mark both bead rows, end to end)
2 small jump rings (for attaching the chain to the lobster clasps)
Jewelry/bead glue

Wire cutter
Round nose pliers

I hope the challenge this week has inspired you to create your own row counter bracelet. Your bracelet just might become one of your favorite and most often used tools.

Enjoy, and thanks for joining me for week 46 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week 42: Celebrate the First Day of Winter by Crocheting a Snowflake

For this week's challenge I wanted to take the opportunity to explore new technology and how to incorporate it into my crochet. Many people I know use their phones and tablets exclusively to keep track of their projects and patterns. I, on the other hand, still like to use a paper copy that I can carry in my project bag and make notes on. Inevitably, I make changes to written patterns and I also like to keep track of the small details, such as when I start/complete a project, which hook I am using, and so on. I have a Kindle Paperwhite, which I love and always have with me, so when I found these snowflake patterns available, I decided to give it a go.

This leaflet by Petra Tomack-Zimmerman has written instructions as well as crochet charts, which is what I used to create my snowflakes. I ended up making small changes to the last round of Snowflake 3, but it was easy to add notes to the pattern on my Kindle. Since my devices are synced, my notes are available when using my Kindle, tablet, or computer. Below are the results of my experiment.

I really enjoyed making these snowflakes using my Kindle, and I can see myself using this technology much more in the future.

Happy Winter!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

RBC Etsy shop hits a milestone!

This week reached its 1000th sale! 

In celebration, now through November 3rd, use coupon code RBC1000 at checkout to receive 15% off your order.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 32: Make a Blanket or Toy For Your Furry Friends

I had great hopes for this week's Challenge having thought about what I was going to do well over a week ago. I've been working on my project and I even had a blog post title picked out: Waffles and Sunday Drives.

Well, the best laid plans . . .

So, here's what I have so far, a pet blanket that is taking me FOREVER to finish. Believe it or not, this is row 71!

It is crocheted with the waffle stitch (here's where the waffle part of my original blog title would have come in) and it's a very small stitch.  For some reason, I kept on with it despite the wonkiness and its out of shape unevenness. It's pretty much a hot mess.  But, since I've gotten this far, I do plan on finishing it. I like to use blankets like these in the car when we are driving (here's the Sunday drive reference for the blog title, but I'm not sure why, we really don't take Sunday drives, maybe it's an idyllic reference?) when I have my Yorkie on my lap. Her feet are very pokey otherwise and this way she can curl up and relax. The waffle stitch is comparable to what you see in thermal wear, small pocket shaped stitches that keep the heat in. It's pretty thick too, like a pad. When I finish it, I plan on putting a simple border around it. My hope is that somehow a border will make it look more even.

Here's my girl I'm making it for:

Her name is Daphne (a.k.a. The Bean):

Here's a picture of my "girls", Sally, Daphne and Abby:

This week for me has really been a challenge, but one I hope to finish soon. I will post a picture of the blanket when I finish it.

Thanks for joining me for week 32 of the 52 Week Challenge!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 31: It’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month - Crochet a Toy or Blanket For Your Local Shelter

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and in recognition of that, this week’s Challenge is to make a blanket or toy to give to your local animal shelter. 

When I first started crocheting, making pet blankets was a great way to practice my stitches and it started me on the path to becoming a designer. They are terrific projects for beginner crocheters and the blankets can be made by working rows or by working in rounds. I still have those blankets I made years ago, they wear really well and have been laundered many, many, times. 

Contact your local shelter first to make sure they will accept your blanket or toy donation. You can also check out the Snuggles Project here. This website is a great resource for finding shelters, and they also have a free pattern library. The Snuggles Project has been around for years, and I am happy to see they are still up and running. 

For other ways to help your local shelter, check out the list at There are many great suggestions, such as helping to promote special events for Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.

One of my first self published patterns is a swirly cat toy. Pictured below is my most adorable cat B.C., who sadly, is no longer with us. I love to look at this picture of him though, he was quite the character - a fierce warrior, and yet a snuggly cuddle bear. He was the first pet we adopted when we moved into our new home. He got a new home too, and we got the best cat - ever!

Thanks for joining me for week 31 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Week 29: Celebrate Fall With Colors or Leaves

It’s hard to believe that Fall is almost upon us. It starts September 23rd, and in celebration, this week’s Challenge is to crochet some fall leaves, or to create a project using fall colors. This is an easy challenge for me, because they are my favorite colors.

I am lucky to have a replica of my maternal grandfather’s family tree hanging in my living room and I’ve used it for my color scheme.

I also have a round braided rug that has the same colors in it. I’ve started a new 12 point star afghan that will highlight these colors. I’ve been playing around with the stripe pattern, as well as what yarns and colors I’m going to use. I’m still kind of undecided, so we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve made several of these star blankets, from baby size to huge afghans, and they are a blast to make! Several women in my crochet group have made them, and we all agree that the pattern looks difficult, but is quite easy to do. It’s a great time of year to start a large project like this, and as the days grow colder, it’s nice to have it on my lap while working on it.

How do you plan to celebrate Fall?

Thanks for joining me for week 29 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 26: Organize Your Project Bag and Crochet Kit

These days I tend to travel with a much lighter project bag. A friend of mine gave me the lovely tote bag you see pictured. She made it herself out of a chicken feed bag and I love it immensely! It's very roomy and will even hold an afghan. I have a smaller tote that I carry inside the bag that is meant to be used to hold wine bottles, but it makes a great yarn organizer instead! It holds up to six skeins of yarn and I can tuck my kit and hook in them also. The organizer also makes it a fast job to change out my tote bag too. Lately I've been busy crocheting mittens, texting mittens and fingerless gloves to sell in my other Etsy shop, RedBerry4You, this holiday season.

The pink kit pictured is The Knit Kit that I purchased online. I can't remember where I bought it, but it was on sale at the time. It is a bit pricey, but I find myself relying on it so much that if I ever lost it I would replace it right away. It has a row counter, tape measure, yarn cutter, scissors, and a small compartment that holds my yarn needles, yarn threader and stitch markers. It also has a crochet hook that knitters use to pick up dropped stitches, but I consider it back up, just in case ;) Oh yeah, and it's pink!

The most important part of my project bag and kit are that they keep me organized and always ready to get to stitching. How do you organize your projects?

Thanks for joining me for week 26 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Week 23: Make Some Crochet Art!

My inspiration for the Challenge this week is from the word art pictured above. I made this a few years ago and it hangs above my desk where I see it every day. The colors are bright and happy and it's a reminder (not that I really need one!) of why I love crochet so much.

For this week I made another word art creation and used one of my crochet pattern descriptions for the text:

I really enjoy this medium because I can be artistic without having to draw, or paint, and I love words and typography, and of course, color. To try it yourself, check out

I hope this inspires you to create some crochet art that you will enjoy, whether it's created from wordle or not. What inspires you?

Thanks for joining me for Week 23 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge!
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 21: What is Your Favorite Crochet Hook and Why?

This week's challenge is to talk about my favorite crochet hook. That's pretty simple really, I prefer any hook that I happen to have in my hand at the moment! But seriously, I do prefer wood hooks. They are warm in my hand and my "regulars" have a nice patina on them from being used so often. I have a set of birch Brittany hooks that are my "go to" set, and which I use when designing. It's easy for me to keep a consistent tension and gauge with these. I only have a few that are walnut wood, they no longer make them and they have become quite collectible, but you can easily find birch hooks for sale.

A friend of mine gave me this lovely wood hook with an adorable hen on top. It is such a fun hook!

I also have a small collection growing. These hooks have polymer clay handles. The flower patterns are very intricate and colorful. I can only imagine that it took many, many, hours just to create the flowers, and yet, they were not very expensive. I found them on Etsy.

The lovely hook below is made of abalone. It is quite a different feel to use because of its curved handle. These can be found on the Lacis website.

The hook below was also a gift. It is made of stainless steel and would be used for thread crochet. It's not very comfortable to hold because of the decoration, but it is unique, which is what I love about it.

I hope you've enjoyed taking a peek at my hook collection. What is your favorite hook? I'm always interested to know what other crocheters prefer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 20: It's Christmas in July!

This week's challenge makes me feel like I have a chance to get ahead of my holiday crochet projects. One tradition I have is that I like to make a Christmasy potholder to give as gifts to family members. Last year I considered doing something else, but at Thanksgiving dinner my sister-in-laws were talking about them, wondering what the potholder would be. Well, that pleasantly surprised me, so I got busy and found a pretty snowflake potholder. Unfortunately, I didn't give myself enough time, so at the last minute I was crocheting like a mad woman, driving myself nuts.

This year I'm hoping July is early enough! I considered designing my own pattern, but then I found this from the Country Meadow Settings leaflet by The Needlecraft Shop.

I think I'm going to make the Cardinal. It's Christmas colors but not too Christmasy, but a pretty winter theme. I've already made the front piece of one and the cardinal for it, but my bird is too big, so I'll have to adjust my hook sizes. I'll post pics when I have one finished.

Merry Christmas in July!

Thanks for joining me for week 20 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge!

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