"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I've Finally Gotten It Right (Free Crochet Pattern)

I'll spare you the details of the saga. Suffice it to say, my poor, beloved, decrepit, hot pink, Dell laptop went belly-up a couple of weekends ago. The battery has been useless for about two years, but the power cord is now fried. (Thank you, Hurricane Sandy!) Ironically, she finally breathed her last breath maybe twelve hours after the new one shipped. The good news for me is that because it's just a power issue, if I choose, I can replace the battery and cord and have a backup.

The good news for you, my beautiful, highly intelligent readers, is that because I spent a few days without a computer I finally found the time to finish the beanie pattern I've been promising for about a year.

Before I post that, however, I need to tell you how awesome Newegg.com and UPS are. Between fast service and fast shipping, I had the new machine in five days. That, mind you, was over a weekend. And the price was fabulous. The new baby was on sale, so for what would have been the full price, I was able to get Office installed on it as well. You can bet I'll be checking Newegg whenever I need electronics in the future.

Okay, enough about my new toys, let's talk crochet! This has definitely been the most difficult pattern I've ever developed. I could not get it to work right no matter what I did. Then I finally figured it out. It wasn't so much the pattern but how I was going about it. Getting the right curve in a round pattern comprised mainly of single crochet is tough. It wants to flatten. So I flipped it over and treated it like piece of amigurumi. That's when it all came together. It's still not quite as domed as I would have liked, but once the wearer has the hat on, the curve is more pronounced.

Some of you will find it odd stitching a hat from the bottom up rather than the top down, but trust me on this. It gives you a better curve at the top. Still, all that work wasn't for naught. The "failed" attempts at making the  hat showed me exactly what I need to do to make the handbag pattern I wanted to put together. THAT you'll just have to wait for. Heh. What can I say? I love to tease you.

Sample was crocheted using 100% cotton
worsted weight Peaches and Cream (discontinued)
and yielded a small/medium adult sized hat
The Blog Collection Beanie
by Laurie Laliberte

Supplies needed:

about 4 oz. (180-190 yds.) worsted weight yarn
size I-9 (5.5 mm) crochet hook for main body
size G-6 (4.0 mm) crochet hook for band
stitch marker or scrap of yarn for marking end of rounds
yarn needle or smaller size hook for weaving in ends

All instructions use American terminology and standard abbreviations.

Special Stitches:

front post double crochet (fpdc)—yo, insert hook behind post of stitch (from front to back to front), yo, pull up loop, yo, pull through 2 loops (2 loops on hook), yo, pull through remaining 2 loops

back post double crochet (bpdc)—yo, insert hook around post of stitch (from back to front to back), yo, pull up loop, yo, pull through 2 loops (2 loops on hook), yo, pull through remaining 2 loops

single crochet decrease (sc dec)—insert hook in next st, yo, pull up loop (2 loops on hook), insert hook in next st, yo, pull up loop (3 loops on hook), yo, pull through all 3 loops (counts as 1 stitch)

Construction note:

The term join, as used in this pattern means join with slip stitch in first stitch of round.

You will notice that I do not instruct you to join at the end of every round.  I found it easier to work the body of the pattern in continuous rounds.  This prevents having a visible seam up the back of your hat.  If you choose to join at each round, begin the next round with a ch1, even when that round begins with a dc.

If you join and ch1 at each round, your ch1 does not count as your first stitch.

with smaller hook, ch 72, join w/sl st in 1st ch being careful not to twist chain

Round 1:  ch3 (counts as first stitch), dc in 2nd ch from hook and in each each ch around, join (72 sts)

Round 2:  ch2 (counts as first st), [bpdc in next dc, fpdc in next dc], 35 times, bpdc in last dc, join (72 sts)

Round 3:  ch 2 (counts as first st), [bpdc in next bpdc, fpdc in next fpdc], 35 times, bpdc in last bpdc, join (72 sts)

Round 4:  repeat Round 3, switch to larger hook

Round 5:  ch1 (does not count as first st), sc in each st around (72 sts)

Round 6:  sc in back loops only (blo) around (72 sts)

Round 7:  repeat Round 6

Round 8:  [sc in blo of next st, dc in blo of next st] around (72 sts)

Round 9:  [dc in blo of next st, sc in blo of next st] around (72 sts)

Round 10:  repeat Round 8

Round 11:  repeat Round 9

Round 12:  repeat Round 8

Round 13:  sc in blo of each stitch around (72 sts)

Round 14:  repeat Round 13

Round 15:  repeat Round 13

Round 16:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in each of next 4 sts] 12 times (60 sts)

Round 17:  sc in each st around (60 sts)

Round 18:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in each of next 3 sts] 12 times (48 sts)

Round 19:  sc in each st around (48 sts)

Round 20:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in each of next 2 sts] 12 times (36 sts)

Round 21:  sc in each st around (36 sts)

Round 22:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in next st] 12 times (24 sts)

Round 23:  sc in each st around (24 sts)

Round 24:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in each of next 2 sts] 6 times (18 sts)

Round 25:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in next st] 6 times (12 sts)

Round 26:  [sc dec in next 2 sts] 6 times (6 sts)

Round 27:  [sc dec in next 2 sts] 3 times (3 sts)

At this point, you should be able to draw a loop through the remaining stitches and close any gap you may have.  Finish off, weave in ends.

To increase size slightly:

Add to foundation chain by twos until desired size is reached. Adjust decreases at end to compensate.

To increase size significantly:

Begin with 84 chains instead of 72 (stitch count for Rounds 1-15 will be 84) and add the following after Round 15

Round 15a:  [sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in each of next 5 sts] 12 times (72 sts)

Round 15b:  sc in each st around (72 sts)

Now proceed to Round 16 and continue pattern from there.

For links to all of my free patterns, click the link to the left.

To find out how to get a free pdf of this, or any of my other hat patterns, go here.

The Blog Collection Beanie as modeled by my adorable four-year-old niece

Da Roolz:

Any pattern I design and post here is my property. Please do not duplicate my patterns for any reason especially to sell. Instead, please link to my blog or to the pattern page when referencing one of my patterns.

You are more than welcome to offer finished items made from my patterns for sale. I see no reason why you should not profit from your hard work. However, I'd really appreciate it if you gave me credit for the design; please reference my blog or the pattern page.

If you do make any of my patterns, I'd love to see your finished items; please feel free to email pictures to me. Also, if you make my patterns to sell and want a bit of free advertising, send me pics and a link. I'd love to send customers your way.

BigGirlJewelry at yahoo dot com

Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

I was all set to post a crochet pattern this week, then I remembered that today is November 11, my parents' wedding anniversary. It also just happens to be Veterans' Day.

I thought about, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when thousands of homes in New York and New Jersey are still without power, working in a tribute to the National Guard. So I started poking around the Internet, looking for more information. That's when I happened upon this article and video from CBS News. I felt compelled to share it.

So I suppose you'll all just have to exercise some patience and wait a week for that pattern. Trust me. You won't regret it. Meanwhile, remember those who have served and those who are still serving so that we can sit in the comfort of our homes and crochet.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What I've Learned

I wrote this post way far back when I began this blog and never published it. I came across it a few minutes ago and now I wonder why I never shared it with my readers. These are a few tips I picked up while working my very first amigurumi project, way back when, and yet they're wise words for any beginning crocheter.

So, better late than never, I thought I would share them with you now:
  • Read your pattern before you begin stitching -- I will usually skim through a pattern before I even make a trip to buy yarn for it. Some designers give instruction differently than others, so it's important to make sure you understand the project before you begin.
  • Count your stitches often -- Few things are more frustrating than getting half way through a project and discovering that your stitch count is off. Although many mistakes can be easily corrected, many others can not.
  • Use stitch markers -- I usually use just a piece of scrap yarn to mark stitches. This is most important when working in continuous rounds as you would when making mittens or amigurumi.
  • Take a breath -- If I become frustrated or overwhelmed with a project, I'm more likely to finish it if I fold it up and set it aside for an hour, a day, or even a week than if I force myself to continue working through the problem. Many times I return to find that I just misread an instruction or messed up one stitch.
  • Know when to walk away -- If you've started a project that turns out to be more than you can handle, allow yourself to let it go. Remember that crocheting should be a stress relief, not a cause for stress. You can always try again when you feel better prepared to handle it.
  • Ask for help -- There are so many designers/bloggers out here on the www who are very willing to lend an ear and help teach the next generation of crocheters. Drop an email to someone who can help you solve your dilemma. Mine is BigGirlJewelry (at) yahoo (dot) com.
Happy Crocheting!

My first amigirumi project, the (free) Toad and Toadette patterns by Wolfdreamer, can be found here.