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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.  🙂

Freebie Friday – Crochet Mermaid

I’ve been thinking about mermaids lately. I want to make a really cool crocheted mermaid. There are lots and lots of pretty crochet mermaid patterns out there but I want to create my own. Hey, maybe a mermaid puppet! Anyway, that doesn’t stop me from admiring what’s out there. While I was ogling the available pictures, I came across a few I couldn’t resist sharing.

These are NOT my patterns. They are courtesy of a Google search.

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Adorable! And if you’re mermaid crazy too, here’s the link to these mermaid patterns.

Freebie Friday – Crochet Puppets

I assume not everyone has a need for a crochet puppet, but since I was entrenched in puppets, I thought I’d share how I make them. I plan on making a video for a puppet or puppets soon, so if this post looks too wordy (I know it does to me), you can just wait for that. It will eventually happen, but if you want to get started right away, read on!

The Process

The body

I start with a tube that fits around a hand. Sometimes it comes out a little tighter and sometimes a little looser than I like, but it doesn’t really matter as long as it goes over your hand.

The tube can be made up of any color and any kind of yarn. This will be the shirt (or top part of a dress) and can be made out of any stitch or color combination. I’ve only made three puppets so far and they were made for my students so I kept the tube portion simple. I’m all about simple. I used single crochet in the round for two of them. For the third one (red and black puppet), I made a rectangle of single crochet rows and then sewed up the side to make a tube. You could even make two squares and sew up on two sides. I haven’t tried this yet.

Jeffy body

I’m just a tube (in the round).

crochet puppet body

Nothing but a tube.

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Freebie Friday – Finger Knitting

I’m notorious for telling the kids that if they want to learn something, they need to keep trying, even when it seems super hard. It will get easier.

I’m not a knitter. I wanted to learn, though. I tried, got frustrated, tried again, failed again, and vowed to become the best crocheter ever! Nope, I didn’t follow my own advice. I gave up. The irony wasn’t lost on me. I guess I didn’t want to learn that strongly or I would have followed my own advice. But a good thing came of my failed attempt and that was a deeper love of crochet and a desire to keep honing that craft. Thanks failed knitting attempt!

Then I stumbled upon this video tutorial on how to finger knit. Finally, knitting I can do! It’s also something I can teach the kids. This is the kind of project I think they can all do. I might save it for the next school year but I definitely want to introduce it to them.

In the meantime, I did introduce it to one of my Kinder girls and she got so excited because she learned how to do it all by herself. When it was time to go home, she didn’t want to put it down. I didn’t have the heart to force her to stop so I let her take the ball of yarn home so she could keep working on it.  She wanted to make a scarf. I can’t wait to see it and share in a future post highlighting student work.

But just because I think it would be great for kids doesn’t mean it wouldn’t also be great for adults. Have a go at it and see what you think.

Photo and video courtesy of the web. 

Freebie Friday – Finger Crochet

I’ve been experimenting with finger crochet lately. Mainly, I like a new challenge. I wanted to see how many stitches I could make just by using my fingers. Turns out, it’s a lot! I started with the basics like single, half double, and double crochet. I then moved on the Tunisian crochet trying out the simple stitch and the knit stitch. Those are the Tunisian stitches I use anyway. Then I tired the star stitch and it came out pretty. I only made one round of it but since I’m using my fingers, that round was pretty big. I turned it into a phone case.

Star Stitch finger crochet

Which brings me to my next point. What the heck am I going to do with this technique? I’ve seen people make all sorts of things with finger crochet, but nothing that I would want to make with this method. I feel like I’m in a maze, wondering in which direction to go (I knew I could sneak the word for the daily prompt in there!). Which path will lead me to make the best use of this style of crochet? The phone case is cute and it was fun but what else?

I don’t have much chunky yarn, so I decided to use three strands of regular acrylic yarn (medium weight).  I have plenty of that to work with. Well, after doing a few rows of single crochet with it, my finger started to hurt. What’s going on here? It didn’t hurt when I was using the chunky yarn. It was hurting now, though. It felt like I was irritating my skin. Was all that finger crocheting finally starting to irritate my skin or was it the rougher yarn that was the real culprit. I’m still not sure, but I think it was the rougher yarn coupled with trying to manage three strands of yarn on the finger. I was pulling the strands on the top of my finger versus the side of my finger when I use the chunky yarn. Looks like the top of my finger is more sensitive and more prone to irritation. Either way, it slowed me down a bit. Today I tried it again with the chunky yarn and that’s when I noticed I was pulling the yarn over from the side and there is no pain. I’ll have to consider that before I use the acrylic yarn again.

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Single crochet in the back loop done with three strands of yarn

I think I want to make a doll or toy next with finger crochet. That’s my thing so I’m going to brain storm. Until I come up with something, here are my quick videos on how I finger crochet.

Freebie Friday – Crochet Graduation Cap

At the end of every school year, it’s become a tradition that I make our 5th graders little crocheted graduation caps in our schools colors. It’s their last year at our school as they are ready to move on to middle school. The year has flown by and we are at the end once again. I made five little caps this year and I thought it would make a nice Freebie Friday post.

Blue graduation caps

How I make them

The caps are super simple to make and the kids love receiving them.  The hat is just a square and a rectangle sewn together.

I use a large hook size like an I or a J. I grab whatever hook size feels good with 2 or 3 strands of yarn.

The top portion of the hat is just a small square. I eye-ball it every time but usually end up with about 5 or 6 single crochets per row.

I make the same amount of rows as I have in single crochets per row. For example, if I have 5 single crochets in each row, I make 5 rows as well. I fold it corner to corner to check that it’s a square.

On my last row, I leave a really long tail so I can sew around the edge of the square. It gives it a little finishing touch. Sometimes I single crochet around the edge.

Then I make the lower portion. Again, I eye-ball it but usually end up with about 13 or 14 single crochets per row and I make 3 rows. I sew the ends together and then sew the tube to the top part of the hat. I add a button and a tassel and I have a hat.

graduation cap

Here’s a video showing the process.

Freebie Friday- Pattern – Mom’s Crochet

It’s always such a nice surprise to discover something my mother made that I had never seen before. Inevitably, I want to figure out how to make it, even if I never plan to, you know, actually make it. I go about this by looking at the piece to see if I can figure it out myself, and when I fail at that, I look it up online. That has various success rates. Sometimes, I’m lucky and I find a pattern, but most of the time I don’t. This is because I’m looking up the pattern based on how the item looks to me. The pattern might be out there in cyberspace but I don’t have the right search words to find it.

True story (mostly, it depends on who you ask)

Sibling rivalry is real. It is alive and thriving with my siblings. Whilst visiting my sister, she regaled me with a story about how she discovered a bag underneath her bed. A bag that had been there for so long, she didn’t even know how long. For one reason or another, she pulled it out wondering what was in there. That’s when she found a blanket that my mother gave her that she hadn’t looked at in years. Turns out, it was double-sided and very thick and pretty. She had made it for one of this sister’s kids.

Mom's double sided blanket

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s heavy and  stretchy and prettier than it looks.

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