Things-I’m-Working-On Thursday

It’s been really busy around here lately and I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit. OK. A lot. To get back on track, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been working on lately.

It was Mother’s Day a little over a week ago here in the US. I really enjoyed making special goodies for my mom and mother-in-law. I sent them each a personalized card and some crochet coasters. My MIL loves the ocean and everything beach related, so I went with a seashell theme for her Mother’s Day gifts.

Mothers_Day_Handmade_Card_Cotton_Crochet_Coasters_Designs_From_Scratch

Scallop Shell Mother’s Day Card and Crochet Coasters

Inspired by the beautiful colors of spring, I decided on a floral theme for my own mom. I made her some colorful coasters and a card with some pretty, paper flowers. Thanks to almost a whole bottle of glue, the 3-D roses arrived safe, sound, and still attached to the card! Since my mom is the one who inspired me to crochet, I just had to send her a “Captain Hook” t-shirt too!

Mothers_Day_Handmade_Card_Flowers_Cotton_Coasters_Designs_From_Scratch

Pretty Flower Mother’s Day Card and Crochet Coasters

I started working on this crochet Deep V-Top a few months ago. Bernat offers it as a free pattern on their website. It’s my first real attempt at crocheting something wearable. I’ve had to alter the pattern quite a bit to keep it out of crop-top territory. Somewhere along the way I got all mixed up and crocheted the cap sleeves backwards. Luckily I don’t have to undo a million rows to fix the problem, but I’m still a little embarrassed at my total “D’oh” moment!

My First Attempt at Something Wearable…Keyword: Attempt!

The other day my Meema (maternal grandmother) asked me to crochet a baby blanket on her behalf. Her only request was that it be for a baby girl. After getting sucked into Ravelry for what seems like a life-time, I finally decided to crochet a basketweave stitch blanket. I’m thinking about adding some flowers to one side, so the little one can play with the petals! I picked out some Caron Simply Soft yarn in Grey Heather and Watermelon. I can’t wait to get started!

Baby_Blanket_Yarn_Heather_Grey_Watermelon_Pink_Designs_From_Scratch_Caron_Simply_Soft

Super Soft Baby Blanket Yarn

Before starting the baby blanket I really wanted to try out the basketweave stitch. Since I have tons of cotton yarn on hand, I decided to make a dishcloth for our kitchen. It’s gone surprisingly fast and I’m already almost halfway done! I just love the basketweave stitch now that I’ve gotten the hang of it!

Basketweave_Stitch_Crochet_Cotton_Dishcloth_Designs_From_Scratch_Ivy-League

Cotton Crochet Basketweave Stitch Dishcloth (Try saying THAT 10 times!)

These projects are only the tip of the iceberg! I’ve been doing tons of gluten-free baking, and have more t-shirt designs and crochet patterns on the way. I’ve also re-listed some of the products in my Etsy shop, and have new items to add soon. Stay tuned!

 

Advertisements

Designs From Scratch Boutique Now on Etsy!

UPDATE: After almost a year on Etsy, I’ve decided not to re-list or add any more products to my shop. I realized that I was using my store as a way to refer people to my work and general prices of items that I make. This is obviously something I can easily do on my blog! I would have stuck it out, but I really disagree with the allowance of so many resellers on Etsy. When it started, Etsy was a great way for individuals to sell their one-of-a-kind, handmade creations without worrying about competition from big brand companies that mass produce items. Since this is no longer the case, I’ve decided to close up shop. If you’re interested in one of my custom creations, please contact me and I’d be happy to work something out! You can also find my craft-inspired artwork on a range of products in my Zazzle store.

I’m proud to announce the grand opening of the Designs From Scratch Boutique on Etsy! I’ve started off by listing some of my favorite crochet items. This high quality messenger bag is made to order and comes with a sturdy, cotton liner. The roomy design makes it a great everyday purse to protect all of your essentials. Personalize it by choosing your own colors, and I’ll have your custom bag on its way in no time!

Magnificent Crochet Messenger Bag

Looking for something a little smaller? This clutch purse is the perfect accessory for any occasion. You can make it yourself using my free pattern or order the ready-made version and have it shipped to you for free!

Ice Blue Crochet Clutch Purse

Children, pets & elephant lovers alike will enjoy having these adorable elephants around. Since they’re too cute to just have one, these little buddies come in a set of two!

Crochet Amigurumi Elephant (set of two)

Feel better about transporting your laptop with this cotton laptop case. It’s made as one piece for added durability, and has a simple three-button closure.

Cotton Crochet Laptop Case on Etsy

Love your iPad? Then you’ll love this cotton sleeve made specifically for tablets! The inside of this case is ultra-soft, meaning it won’t damage your screen. The top portion of the sleeve folds over to keep your device in and everything else out!

Crochet iPad/ Tablet Case

 

Crochet Broomstick Lace With a Highlighter

Crocheted Broomstick Lace Purse Handles

Crochet Broomstick Lace Handles

Can you believe this delicate, crochet broomstick lace was made using only acrylic yarn, a crochet hook, and a large highlighter?! I chose broomstick lace for the handles of my Orchid Crochet Purse From Scratch. The straps turned out so well I just had to share the technique! I originally found Sandra from Crochet Cabana‘s tutorial on how to crochet broomstick lace. The only thing? I didn’t have a “jiffy” hook or even a thick knitting needle like Sandra suggests. Feeling crafty, I decided to improvise. Since the hook Sandra uses in her tutorial looks like an oversized pen, I searched the house for something suitable. The closest thing I could find was a permanent marker, but it proved to be a bit too small.

Crochet Broomstick Lace using a permanent marker

Permanent Marker = Too Small

Since the marker wasn’t right for the job I kept trying. I got it right on the second try when I used a thick highlighter. The holes of the broomstick lace ended up being nice and big due to the highlighter’s large diameter. I began my handles with a foundation chain of five. This produced one lace loop per row and allowed me to build my rows up to the length I wanted for my strap. I used a size G/ 4.25mm hook for my broomstick lace, but you can always experiment and choose the hook that is right for your tension and/ or yarn.

Crochet Broomstick lace with a highlighter

Highlighter = Just Right!

I was a little nervous to attempt this stitch since it looks so complicated, but it ended up being a lot easier than I thought! When I finished the straps my husband asked if they were going to be strong enough to hold up such a large purse. That’s the beauty though, the lace only looks fragile! In reality it’s actually quite a durable stitch, as so much yarn goes into each loop of lace. My broomstick lace handles were the perfect addition to my basic Orchid Purse.

I’m absolutely in love with broomstick lace! It’s so pretty and simple to make. What’s your favorite use of broomstick lace? Have you ever turned random household objects (like highlighters) into crafting tools?

Crochet Broomstick Lace with a Highlighter

Orchid Crochet Purse From Scratch

My Posey Purse in Orchid

Did you know that Red Heart offers free knit and crochet patterns right on their website?! While browsing through their hundreds of patterns I came across this crochet Posey Purse. I instantly fell for the bag. It looked cute, simple, and big. Since I tend to carry my whole life with me wherever I go, those are my three basic requirements for a full-time purse. I even had a skein of Red Heart Super Saver in Orchid that I had been dying to use. Even though this is technically an intermediate-level pattern, I decided to try it out since the instructions looked simple enough for a beginner.

The whole body of the purse is made up of rows (and rows, and rows) of single crochet. The single crochet stitch is very basic, so I had no problems whipping up the main part of the bag. I think I can even single crochet in my sleep now! Just as I was wondering why the pattern was marked as intermediate, I got to the part where I had to do the edging. At that point my bag looked like a huge rectangle, however, the finished purse is gathered at the top. The edging is what gives the purse its trapezoidal shape.

The instructions said to ‘evenly space’ a row of stitches across the edge of the purse body to create the gather. Being new to crochet I had no idea how to go about doing this. Were there specific places on the edge of the piece that I was supposed to stitch into? Was this some super-secret crochet technique that I hadn’t learned yet? Since I wasn’t sure what to do I asked the experts on Ravelry. As it turns out I was WAY over-thinking things. There isn’t really a “right” or “wrong” way to evenly-space stitches – you just have to be consistent.

Once the edging was done the handle flaps were really easy to complete. I decided not to use the bamboo handles that are recommended in the pattern though. I like the way they look in the sample photo, but I wanted to keep the whole purse crochet. I also prefer longer straps on bigger purses. Something about threading my arm through a tiny handle just to have a bag crammed into my armpit doesn’t really appeal to me. Insane, I know.

Broomstick Lace Crochet

Broomstick Lace Handles

The purse itself was too basic to just add any-old-strap to it. Considering I only know a few basic stitches, I figured I would have to learn something new if I wanted to make the bag unique. A while back I came across this tutorial by Sandra from Crochet Cabana on how to crochet broomstick (or “jiffy”) lace. At the time it looked way out of my league, so I bookmarked it in my ‘Attempt MUCH Later’ folder. Desperate for a new and interesting stitch, I dug up Sandie’s tutorial.

I was a little disappointed when I saw that I would need a special “jiffy” needle in addition to my regular crochet hook to make the lace. I don’t have a jiffy needle or even a knitting needle like Sandie used in her tutorial. I really didn’t want to buy a special tool, especially since I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to pull off the stitch, so I improvised. I used a big highlighter instead of a needle, and the handles turned out great!

All done - inside and out!!

I’m so happy with with the finished purse! It’s even bigger and better than I thought it would be! Now it just needs a pretty posey or two! What are your requirements for an everyday purse? Do you carry your whole life with you or do you like to stick to carrying the essentials?

Crochet Clutch Purse – Free Pattern

Blue crochet clutch purse with flap

Want to make a cute Clutch Purse of your own? Check out the free pattern below!

A couple of weeks ago I started making the Crochet Posey Purse from Red Heart. I was halfway through the project when I came up with an idea for a smaller clutch-type purse. Since I tend to get really excited when I come up with an idea, I had to try it out right then. So I put my posey purse on the back burner, grabbed some pretty blue yarn from my stash and set to work on the clutch I had dreamed up.

After a couple of mini-prototypes and one full-sized fail I finally got it right. I was so excited with how it turned out. It was exactly like I had imagined. I couldn’t keep it to myself, so I wrote up a pattern. Creating the pattern ended up being harder than making the purse itself. Half the time I still have trouble even reading crochet patterns, let alone writing them!

Crochet pattern corrections

I turned to the Ravelry community to check my pattern writing “skills.” If you haven’t heard, Ravelry is basically the Facebook for yarn lovers – except better! When I asked for an extra set of eyes to go over my pattern, I almost immediately got helpful responses. Sandy of Sandy’s Cape Cod Originals offered to take a look at what I had come up with. Kindly, she made many corrections, gave me great tips, and a lot of feedback. Sandy has over 30 years of experience crocheting and sells hundreds of crochet patterns on Etsy and Ravelry. I’m so grateful for all of her help.

Blue crochet clutch purse with flap and strap

After all was said and done I decided to offer the pattern for free both on my blog (see below) and on Ravelry. Please note that this pattern is for personal use only and may notbe sold, reprinted, or copied in any way without my express permission. If you decide to sell something you make from one of my patterns, I ask that you give credit to me as the pattern designer. I also ask that you include a link back to the free pattern, so that others may have the opportunity to make the item themselves. I’d love to see what you come up with! Let me know what you think! Good luck and happy crocheting!

Free PDF pattern download: Crochet Clutch Purse

Barstool Booties

An epic battle has been going on in my house. Well maybe not, but our bamboo flooring and barstools from Ikea just don’t seem to want to get along. At all. Each day they’ve gone head to head, and the floor’s been loosing miserably. I knew I had to do something to stop the barstools from continuously marking their territory, but I just couldn’t decide what to do.

There was the option of buying some of those little felt pads to stick to the bottoms of the feet, but I really don’t like the look of them. I also prefer to handmake everything when possible. I finally decided to sew up some little socks out of fabric scraps, but kept putting it off.

Then as if they read my mind, Red Heart released this Protect-Your-Floor Sock pattern. I rejoiced inside at seeing the solution to my problem! My excitement was cut short when I saw that the pattern was for knitting, not crochet.

Not one to be discouraged I nixed the sewing idea, and decided to make my own crochet version. Follow this tutorial to make some booties of your own for your barstools or chairs!

Begin by making a slipknot, then chain (ch) three, slip stitch (Sl st) to first ch.

You should now have a tiny circle. Ch 1 to start a new row. Single crochet (sc) around the outside of your circle until you get back to the beginning of the row you just made. Sl st the loop on the hook to the first sc.

Contintue adding rows of sc until you end up with a tiny circle that is just bigger than the foot of your barstool or chair.

Next, ch 1 as if you were going to start a new row. Sc through each inner loop until you’ve gone around the whole circle, and Sl st to join.

Again, ch 1 and add another row on top of the previous row. If you sc through both loops, your bootie will build straight upwards. However, if you continue to sc through the inner loops, it will make for a more tapered effect (I went with the taper).

There you have it. Barstool booties to protect the pretty flooring! Customize them by using different colors or making them taller. Let me know what you come up with!!

P.S. This is my very first tutorial, so let me know what you think! Feel free to ask questions and leave comments!

Single Crochet Mug Cozy

After thoroughly practicing the single crochet stitch I was ready to move on to a real project. Endless hours of searching later and I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to make with my acrylic Red Heart yarn. I took a break from searching to browse some of my favorite craft blogs for inspiration. I ended up finding this crochet cup cozy tutorial by Stephanie from All About Ami. Stephanie’s cute pictures had me “hooked” (hehe, I couldn’t resist!) and I knew just the mugs I wanted to use.

Our mugs

I love our stainless mugs. They hold a good amount of liquid and have cool flip out handles! Since they’re metal, they tend to really heat up when filled with a warm beverage. The mugs get so hot that you can expect to get burnt if you don’t pick them up by the handles. I’m definitely not a fan of getting scorched, but I usually prefer to hold the whole mug in my hand. I knew I had found the perfect solution when I saw Stephanie’s cup cozy tutorial.

As instructed, I started off with a chain that was slightly longer than the circumference of my mug. After crocheting a few rows I held the piece up to my mug. I should have checked a lot sooner because the piece wrapped around past the handles. Rookie mistake. Don’t you just hate when that happens?!

Too long

Since it was too long, I pulled the whole thing apart and started over. For the next attempt I tried making the chain just a bit longer than the handles. A couple rows later and it was clear that once again it was too long. Then I made the chain end right at the handles, but that wouldn’t allow room for rows up and down the sides. The porridge was just right when I made the chain end just short of the handles.

My yarn after a few do-overs

Shorter chain

The main part of the cozy was so simple that I completed it in no time. It was smooth sailing until I tried to connect the two edges. Apparently my connecting chain wasn’t snug enough because the section became all loose and wonky looking when I added another row.

Too loose

I tried once again, made sure it was nice and snug, and had no further complications! I couldn’t decide on a button to use from my dwindling collection, so I just slip stitched the row of chains to the opposite edge above the mug handles.

Finished!

Since the metal mugs tend to sweat when they’re filled with cold beverages, I decided to add a bottom to my cozy. I made the bottom by single-crocheting rows of decreasing circles. To close up the center, I slip stitched the loop on the hook to a loop directly across from it in the circle. I continued to slip stitch opposing loops until the middle was closed up.

With a bottom

With a friend

Stephanie’s cup cozy pattern is super simple to make. Her instructions (and awesome pictures) make it a great project for beginners! Even with my many mistakes extra practice, this mug only took me a couple hours to complete!

Crochet-Happy

My husband and I recently moved across the country. My mom crocheted us an awesome blanket as a going away present. Right before we left, she gave me a crochet hook and showed me how to weave the yarn ends back into the work to hide them if they came loose.

My mom’s been crocheting for as long as I can remember. For some reason the thought of learning to crochet only popped into my head AFTER moving over 3,000 miles from her. Yeah, real smart! Owning a craft tool that I didn’t know how to use was really eating at me. I was absolutely determined to conquer the art of crochet.

I had my hook and some yarn, but just thinking about all those loops and stitches had my brain in knots! Without my mom close by I wasn’t sure where to begin. I did the next best thing and I asked my pal google for tips on “how to crochet.” I quickly found that learning this new skill by looking at step-by-step pictures was just not working for me. The directions might as well have been in a different language and the diagrams only further added to my confusion.

I was ready to pull my hair out when I finally came across this great video tutorial by Polka Dot Posh. The video shows the basic single crochet stitch as well as a tutorial for a pot holder. The instructions are so easy to follow and the camera angle is just right!

I didn’t end up making the whole pot holder (I didn’t think the acrylic yarn I was using was appropriate), but it was a fun way to learn and practice.

The whole time I was practicing, I kept wondering why it had taken me so long to even attempt to crochet. It ended up being so much easier to understand than I had ever thought! I can’t wait to learn more crochet stitches!!

Do you crochet? If so, how did you learn? Have you ever put off learning something only to find it wasn’t as bad as you thought?