Thursday, March 26, 2015

Week of 3/25/15: Let's Have a Ball!

This week is all about yarn and different yarn weights. Our weekly challenge is to crochet a project using different yarn weights within the same project.

I made a skinny scarf for my project:

It can also be worn as a cowl:

It was pretty simple to make. I used 8 strands of different yarns held together as one, and I finger crocheted a simple chain out of them. The chain twisted in several spots, but I didn't care, I actually like how twisty it looks.

It was fun to make, and I have a lovely skinny scarf for next fall and winter. (I am so done thinking about winter! Let's get spring springing!) This idea would be a great project for a last minute gift, and is also a great de-stash project.

What project will you crochet with different yarn weights?

Join us and Let's Have a Ball!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Week of 3/18/15: Egg-cellent!

Spring arrives this week on Friday, March 20th, so our challenge this week is to crochet and decorate an egg. While most of us associate decorated eggs with Easter, the early symbolism of the egg relates to fertility, life, and the renewal of life.

Click here to read a great article about the history of eggs from Scroll down to the symbolism section.

I crocheted my egg using yarn that I had dyed with Kool-aid, but there are many ways to decorate your egg. You could add beads, “paint your yarn”, add tiny flowers, make it into an amigurumi chick, whatever you wish.

Below is my egg pattern to get you started. Have fun with it and be creative!

Egg – cellent egg crochet pattern

Small amounts of medium weight yarn, size H (5 mm) crochet hook, polyester fiberfill for stuffing, stitch marker.

Special stitch: single crochet decrease (sc dec)
I like to use an invisible sc dec when I am crocheting amigurumi, or anything where you won’t see the wrong side. It is worked over two stitches to form a decrease.
Insert hook in front loop of the first st. Keeping this loop on your hook, insert the hook in the next st through the front loop. You will have 3 loops on your hook. Draw your yarn through 2 of the loops on your hook. Yarn over, and draw through the 2 remaining loops on your hook to complete the stitch.

Notes: this egg is worked from the top down in a continuous spiral. The pattern does not include striping instructions, and I chose to make my sample sample using the continuous spiral because I didn’t want a seam. If you want to crochet stripes and keep them even, you can end each round with a slip stitch in the beginning stitch. To begin the next round, ch 1 and sc in the same stitch.

Rnd 1 (RS): ch 2, work 6 sc into 2nd ch from hook. (6 sc)

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc. (12 sc)

Rnd 3: *sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. (18 sc)

Rnd 4: sc in each sc.

Rnd 5: *sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. (24 sc)

Rnd 6: sc in each sc.

Rnd 7: *sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next. (30 sc)

Rnd 8 thru 11: sc in each sc.

Rnd 12: *sc in next 3 sc, sc dec. Rep from * around. (24 sc)

Rnd 13: *sc in next 2 sc, sc dec. Rep from * around. Stuff with fiberfill. (18 sc)

Rnd 14: *sc in next sc, sc dec. Rep from * around. (12 sc)

Rnd 15: *sc dec. Rep from * around. (6 sc)

Fasten off leaving a length for sewing, and sew remaining rnd closed.

Ch(s) – chain(s)
Rnd(s) – round(s)
RS – right side
Sc – single crochet
Sc dec – single crochet decrease
St - stitch

How will you decorate your egg? Celebrate spring and enjoy!

Join us and have some fun
as we share a new crochet challenge each week

Your Weekly Crochet Challenge  

Ravelry Group - 170 members and growing!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Week of 3/11/2015 - Happy Birthday!

This week it's all about birthdays for our weekly challenge:
It’s probably been ten years at least since I received this gift from my friend Christine. It is not a crochet item, but it helps me to crochet every day. She gave me the gift of an Ott-Lite. I didn’t realize how useful and helpful it was until I started using it. I have it next to my chair in my craft room, and I literally do use it every day. I see truer colors in my yarns and of course it helps to see clearly and I'm not straining my eyes to read. It is a floor stand model, and I like it so much that I bought a few table top versions to place elsewhere in the house.

What was your favorite crochet related gift you received and/or gave to someone else?

Fun and Cupcakes! Enjoy!

Join us and have some fun 
as we share a new crochet challenge each week

Your Weekly Crochet Challenge  Ravelry Group - 170 members and growing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Week of 3/4/2015 - Whoo hoo! It's a Celebration!

It's a brand new Ravelry group: Your Weekly Crochet Challenge

Kicking off just in time to celebrate National Crochet Month. So jump on in and join us for new challenges, new friends, and all things crochet!

Whoo hoo! It's a Celebration!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 52: Hurray! What a Fun and Challenging Year it's Been. What Was Your Favorite?

Wow! It is so hard to believe that a year has gone by already. This is the final week of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge, and the last challenge is to discuss your favorite challenge and why. (But, they are all my favorites!)

The most challenging and time consuming, for me, was Week 38: Create an analogous color scarf. I had the squares completed around the date of the challenge, but it took me much, much, longer to actually complete the scarf and take pictures. I am so happy that I completed it, and I have a colorful and bright companion for the last few weeks of winter.

On the flip side (pun intended!), we had a challenge to make a beach or summer fun project for Week 17. I designed a pair of flip flop socks (which I am so looking forward to wearing again!), and I included a tutorial on how to make them on my blog. This challenge progressed very smoothly and seemed to come together in no time at all.

This year long project has been a challenge in many respects. When I created it, I told myself that I would not beat myself up if I did not complete every challenge. This attitude made it much more enjoyable, and I did have a lot of fun with it.

In the beginning, my intentions were to keep my blog updated and to keep a blog roll of participants. I really wanted to discover new things about crochet and to inspire myself to design some new patterns. Over time, my focus moved towards my Ravelry group. This group has been the most rewarding part of the project. I learned some new things, met some terrific friends, read their heartfelt, funny, wonderful (and sometimes sad) stories, laughed a lot, and found myself loving crochet even more.

Thanks so much for a great year!

Beginning March 4th, 2015:

Inspire… Motivate… Create… Share… 

YOUR Weekly Crochet Challenge

Join us!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week 51: Make Some Crochet Bling Jewelry In Honor of the Oscars

Did you watch the Oscars on Sunday, the 22nd? If not, here is a list of the nominees and winners:

In honor of this red carpet event, this week's Challenge was to create some crocheted jewelry. Previously I had found a vintage pattern for a cocktail ring:

I purchased some Stretch Magic 1mm elastic cord, used re-purposed beads (6mm), and a small hook. To say the least, it was a frustrating experiment! This type of cord is all plastic and extremely slippery to crochet with. Another problem is that the 1mm cord is too large. So, I searched for another pattern and found this Boutique Ring archived pattern on Groovy Crochet. I found a variety pack of cord at Jo-Ann's to experiment with and the .5mm sparkle elastic cord worked great! It is more of a fabric type cord that has a silver thread wound through it. It also helped to use a larger hook, size D/3.
Here's my ring:

I'm glad I didn't give up and took the time to finish this project. It's been a great reminder that having the proper tools and detailed instructions make crocheting so much more enjoyable!

Thanks for joining me this week for my Week 51 Crochet Challenge.

New Challenges and a new format coming soon! 

Join us on Ravelry:

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

Join the conversation on Ravelry:

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for an announcement 

about new Challenges for 2015!

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!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 37 and Week 38: Using Color Theory to Create an Analogous Color Scarf

The Challenge for week 37 is to learn or review color theory and to find a small block crochet pattern of three rounds to be used for next week's project. I found a great tutorial on color theory from Tiger Color that you can find here.

The Challenge for week 38 is to create an analogous color scarf using the crochet block pattern from last week. Analogous colors are 3 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Yellow, yellow green, and green are analogous. Instead of using only 3 colors for my scarf, I got a little bit ambitious and decided to use them all! (Kind of gives you an idea about how much stash I have, lol!)

Here's the 3 Round Block Pattern I created (US terminology):

Small amounts of medium (worsted) weight yarn in three colors
Size H (5 mm) crochet hook

Ch 3 at beg counts as a dc

Ch 4 at beg counts as a dc plus ch 1

Beg CL (beginning cluster): * yo, insert hook into st and pull up a loop, yo, and pull through 2 loops on hook. Rep from * twice. Yo, pull though rem 4 loops on hook.

CL (cluster): * yo, insert hook into st and pull up a loop, yo, and pull through 2 loops on hook. Rep from * three times. Yo, pull though rem 5 loops on hook.

Dc2tog (to join blocks together): Yo, insert hook in st of the first block to be joined and pull up a loop, yo, and pull through 2 loops on hook. Yo, insert hook in the corresponding st of the second block and pull up a loop (you will have 4 loops on your hook). Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, yo, pull through remaining 3 loops on hook. 

With color A, ch 5 and join to form a ring.
Round 1 (RS): ch 4 (counts as a dc and ch 1). * Dc in ring, ch 1. Rep from * 6 times. Join with a sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch. Fasten off. (8dc, 8 ch 1s)

Round 2: attach color B with a sl st in any ch 1 sp. Ch 3, work Beg CL in same ch 1 sp. * (Ch 3, CL) in each ch 1 sp. Rep from * 6 times. Ch 3, join in top of Beg CL. Fasten off. (8 clusters, 8 ch 3 sps)

Round 3: attach color C with a sl st in any ch 3 sp. Ch 3, work 2 dc in same ch 3 sp. *(3 dc, ch 3, 3dc) in next ch 3 sp for corner. Work 3 dc in next ch 3 sp. Rep from *2 times. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch 3 sp. Join in top of beg ch. Fasten off.

beg - beginning
ch(s) - chain(s)
dc - double crochet
rep - repeat
RS - right side
sl st - slip stitch
sp(s) – space(s)
st(s) - stitch(es)

Using the color wheel, going clockwise, I began with yellow for round 1. Round 2 is yellow-orange, and round 3 is orange. This is the first block in row A below.

The next block in row A uses the next 3 colors on the color wheel; red-orange, red, and red-violet. I completed the next 2 blocks in the same manner for a total of 4 blocks, which uses all the colors on the wheel. For the 2nd set of 4 blocks in row A, I did the same thing, but began with the color next to yellow, from which the first block started. Confused yet? Here's some pictures to help you visualize it. Keep in mind I'm only describing the bottom row A.

First 4 blocks, right to left, beginning with yellow on the color wheel going clockwise.

The 2nd set of 4 blocks, beginning with yellow-orange on the color wheel, again using analogous colors.

The 3rd set of 4 blocks, beginning with orange.

For row B of my scarf I inverted each block of color. Block 1 row A is worked in this color order; yellow, yellow-orange, orange. For row B, I began with orange for round 1, yellow-orange for round 2, and yellow for round 3.

I joined the squares together using black yarn and dc2tog.

I didn't intend to make it complicated, and it didn't seem so while crocheting it, but explaining it is more difficult. I hope this post makes sense! I really did enjoy making this scarf and it was a fun experiment with lots of color and creativity.

Thanks for joining me for week 37 and 38 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge!

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!