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Student Corner – Crochet Heart Keychain

Today I’m featuring a 4th grade student who mastered single crochet. Last year, she worked on single crochet and had trouble ‘getting it’. At the start of this year, she saw that I had made a small heart and she liked it. I told her that she could make one with her skills, forgetting that she hadn’t quite mastered single crochet.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the school year is pretty busy and I didn’t have as much time to work with her as she needed. Every Friday, we have a fun movie day with no homework. The first part of the day is busy setting everything up, but once the kids have their snack, I have more time to crochet and to teach crochet to those interested.

She was trying to work on her single crochet while I intermittently tried to guide her as I was constantly running off to do something else. At one point, I saw her unravel her work and start to put it away in frustration. I felt bad about not being able to give her more time when she was so close to getting it.

I was almost done with my dutie so I asked her not to put it away and give me another chance to help her overcome her frustration. I was sure she was close to understanding how to do it. She agreed and I was finally able to sit with her. What helped her the most was when I put my hands over hers and had her ‘feel’ how it needed to go. With my undivided attention, she was able to do it on her own. She was so excited to finally ‘get it’.

After she finished her small square, I showed her how to do double crochet to form the bumps. It was uneven but it was perfect anyway. I guided her on the second heart and she did it all herself. I showed her how to put the hearts together to make a keychain. She proudly displays it on her backpack.

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A Nudge From Mom – Swatch Found

Yay! I found it! {Jumping up and down with glee} Where was it? I’m embarrassed to say, but I will confess. It was nowhere near where it was supposed to be. I’m also pretty sure I checked there already and didn’t see it.

See that mess that is the top shelf of my craft closet? See those clear bags with junk in them? The one on the top left has scraps of rags I sometimes use for stuffing my dolls. It’s sitting on top of the looms.  I rifled through that yesterday (among every other place in my office/craft room) looking for the swatch. And I do mean RIFLED! I didn’t find it. The clear bag on the right sandwiched  between a white bag on top and a white bag below was pulled out as well. That one has baby clothes in the event I want to make large dolls.

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The swatch was on top of and to the back of the clear bag on the top left.

Knowing it was originally in a clear pouch that had other mis-matched pieces of crochet I didn’t know where else to put (things like little flowers and bows, disembodied doll arms and legs and my mom’s swatches), I opened up my big blue bin. Continue reading

Freebie Friday – Double Crochet Reversible Square Pattern

My mom used to love making us all (my siblings and I and our children) beautiful crochet blankets. We all have a variation of one in particular. It is a reversible blanket that looked like a series of little squares made using double crochet where the posts are interlocked, woven, interlaced or what ever other language you want to use.

When my mom passed away a few years ago, I kept a little swatch of this pattern in case I ever wanted to try to make it.

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Mom’s swatch

I had made one of these blankets with her guidance 29 years ago.  I was pregnant and I was trying to get it finished before my baby was born. It was one of thee most frustrating experiences of my crochet life up to that point. It’s a super simple pattern to make once you get going. After all, it’s just double crochets. But if you mess up, it’s like ripping back two blankets because of how it works up. Equally, it took me a long time to make it because it’s like making two separate blankets at the same time.

So it took me forever to make it and when I messed up, it hurt even more to rip it back. And it was only a baby blanket so it wasn’t that big. Admittedly, I was a lot slower then than I am now and I didn’t know how to fix my mistakes. All I knew how to do was rip back to fix a mistake. Now, I would finish much more quickly and I would know how to fix it and keep going without having to rip.

Needless to say, I felt on the verge of tears when I was working on it, thinking I would never finish it in time. I did though. I didn’t give up and I finished it right before my daughter was born (I think she still has it lying around somewhere). The satisfaction I felt when I finished it can’t be described but lets just say I was extremely happy it was done and I never made another one.

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This is my daughter’s blanket. It’s a little beat up because it’s 29 years old!

Fast forward many years and my mom started making them for everyone. My daughter got several new ones and my son got one.

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This is my son’s. He loved orange and picked the colors. He was about eight or nine. He’s 17 now and he’s still using it. 🙂

We all loved (and continue to love) them. When mom passed, I had no desire to make any. I’ve since figured out how to make other blankets she’d made but not the ‘squares’ one even though I have the swatch.

More recently, I’d say within the last two years, I went on an internet search looking for the pattern. I tried all kinds of language looking for it and never found it. I always told myself I could probably figure it out from her swatch but I wasn’t 100% sure I could. What if I undid her work in an effort to make one and couldn’t? Her work would be unraveled and I wouldn’t have the swatch anymore. Then it would be lost! So I never undid it and kept searching the internet.

Then one day within the last six months or so, a blogger I follow wrote a post about that same pattern! I was so excited. The name for it was so simple that I thought I would never forget it. I was going to respond but I got distracted and forgot about it. Then when I remembered, I couldn’t remember which blogger it was. I spent hours and hours searching through all the blogs I follow looking for it and never found it (if you’re that blogger, let me know who you are!). At first, I searched the ones I thought most likely to have posted it and then I searched through all of them going back months, to no avail. I finally gave up and tried to remember the title she used to describe it. It was something like interwoven double crochet but that didn’t bring up what I was looking for.

Then a couple of days ago, I tried searching the internet again, using as many descriptive words as I could and I found one video on YouTube! It’s mostly the right pattern and I got busy working up a swatch.

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My swatch

Then I went looking for my mom’s swatch to compare and I couldn’t find it! Oh no! At least I know it’s here somewhere. I must have put it someplace safe, so safe I can’t find it. Heh! But at least I know how to do it now. Luckily I took a picture of the swatch and used that to compare to my swatch.

Mine is slightly different. Mom’s edges look better and neater. I need to find her swatch so I can make the adjustments. I think she started her’s a little differently than what I found.

I am so grateful for that video but I think I’m going to make my own version. Her video is very long and I think I can make one that is a little more condensed but still useful. I also want my video to match my mom’s pattern (as soon as I find her swatch). Plus I worry that the video could disappear and I  would be out of luck again. At least if I shoot my own, I’ll always have it. It certainly can’t hurt to have more than one tutorial on the pattern.  🙂

Craft Yarn Council Certification- Pass or Fail

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I passed! I passed! I had my exit call with my master teacher. It was a great phone conversation. Right off the bat, she was really nice. As the time drew nearer for our scheduled talk, I got more and more nervous. Was my portfolio any good? Did I make any mistakes that would cause me to fail? Were my lesson plans too long or not clear? Was she going to ask me something I didn’t know how to answer? This call could be disastrous! Yep, I was getting pretty wound up there.

But none of that happened. She put me at ease right away and was very conversational and friendly. She told me my portfolio was beautiful and very impressive but that I must know that already. I did not! It was very organized, that I knew. I did the best I could with the swatches but you never know what someone else might think but I knew I could present my work in the best light possible. So it was nice that she noticed. Continue reading

Crochet Mermaid Puppet

Deviation from the plan

I went ahead and kept working on the mermaid puppet when I should have been finishing up my lessons from my certification course. I was rewarded with an ugly puppet. She was turning out so hideous! I didn’t like her. I made a few faux pas along the way that translated into a not so pretty crochet mermaid puppet. I set sail on the wrong course and kept going down the wrong channel.

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Why you keep calling me ugly?!

What had happened was…

Let me start by saying my intentions were good. I had good ideas. It was the Continue reading

Crochet Goals For July

July is here and I can’t believe I’m halfway through the summer already. That means I only have one more month to finish all the goals I had for the summer before I go back to work. Having said that, I did accomplish a lot so far, crochet and otherwise. I have ticked off a bunch of tasks off my summer list (like getting the leaky outdoor water faucet fixed), so I’m very proud of myself.

Now, I just have to get the house painted, get a new fence installed (our backyard fence is literally breaking apart and is on the verge of tipping over!), re-organizing our garage, getting our sprinklers repaired and getting some plumbing issues taken care of. I think that’s all of it! Wait, I need to clean up my desktop and back up everything. That’s actually a monumental task. Oh, and lose 15 pounds. Nah, I’ll leave that for when I go back to work.

On the crochet front, I want to finish the first level of the certification course this week and have it sent off by Saturday. I’ve finished the last project in lesson five. I needed to find or design a beginner project to go with the three lesson plans I have to turn in. I was going to make some slippers but slippers don’t quite reflect my personality. Instead, I wanted to make a toy. I decided one of my square rag dolls would fit the bill.

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He’s ready to go!

There’s quite a bit of sewing, so hopefully that doesn’t disqualify it as a ‘beginner’ project. It’s nothing but single crochet squares and rectangles. If I pass the course, I’d like to sign up for level two and maybe finish that off before I go back to work in August, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

I finally started the mermaid puppet while in San Diego last week.

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This might be a project I do for level two of the certification course.

Continue reading

Craft Yarn Council Lessons 3 and 4

Now that I’ve started blocking, I’m blocking everything! I kept a big, rectangular piece of foam board that was part of the packaging for my standing desk. I thought it might work well for blocking my lesson swatches. I like it so far. I have a spray bottle on my desk and am looking around my office looking for other things to squirt, I mean block. Blocking is fun! Waiting for the pieces to dry, not so fun. ☹️ Running around squirting my family, fun🙃

Not sure I’m blocking right. I know I’m wetting and pinning right, I’m just not sure I’m shaping them right, but it’s the first time I’ve blocked anything so I’m sure I’ll get better.

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The hardest part of my swatches is making a perfect 5″ square. I’ve had to adjust all kinds of things to make the squares come out the right size but it’s been fun figuring it out. I’m totally committed to making this work.

The hardest square for me was the popcorn stitch. The pattern calls for two rows of double crochets, seven rows with popcorn clusters and two more double crochet rows. I had to use medium weight yarn. I just couldn’t get 11 rows and I went down to an F hook and crocheted very tight!

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My toughest swatch!

I got up to nine rows so I went with that, one row of double crochets (instead of two) at the ends with the seven rows of popcorn stitches. My other alternatives were to use a bigger hook and skip some of the non popcorn rows (only seven rows total) or still have the two rows at each end intact but  eliminate some of the rows with popcorn stitches. I think my solution was the best one. I kept the integrity of the popcorn stitch design. The directions say you can alter the stitch count and hook size to attain gauge but hopefully what I did falls within the parameters of what I can change to make it the right size.

The last thing I need to do for lesson 4 is create or use someone else’s pattern for crocheting in the round without joining. It has to be something a beginner can make. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to make but settled on making a handle cover for a pan. I have cast iron skillets and actually need handle covers so this is perfect. I finished it and realized I don’t want to send it in as an example of my work. It’s going straight to my pan.

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Instead, I made a small happy face emoji keychain instead.

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Now that’s something more up my alley.