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!

http://www.ravelry.com/groups/your-weekly-crochet-challenge



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!
Julie





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:
http://oscar.go.com/nominees

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:
http://www.ravelry.com/groups/52-week-crochet-challenge





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

Tools:
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:
http://www.ravelry.com/groups/52-week-crochet-challenge

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):

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

Stitches:
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. 



Instructions:
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.

Abbreviations:
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 redberrycrochet.etsy.com 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!

It's never too late to join in the fun:


52 Week Challenge
Ravelry Group - 150+ members and growing!






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 PetFinder.com. 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!

It's never too late to join in the fun and there's no need to catch up,
just jump right in:



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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!

It's never too late to join in the fun and there's no need to catch up,
just jump right in:



Ravelry Group - 150+ members and growing!