Crochet: Lace Circular Vest (a doily to wear!)

Rainbow Willow lace

Sometime in 2015, a friend of my aunt’s asked if I could make her a “lacy sweater thing that looks like a rainbow.” She showed me a photo of a circular vest and my mind went, “ohhhhhh” and my mouth went, “YES!” I had known for a little while that I wanted to convert one of my doily blanket patterns into a wearable accessory.

anya-vest

For this version, I decided to use Anya and Red Heart’s Unforgettable yarn. I made some notes about my adjustments and prayed it would fit. I didn’t really have any sizes to go by, just estimations. When I gave it to her, she immediately put it on and…it fit! I was so relieved.

I had plans to edit my pattern and include the adjustments, so folks could make a vest if they wanted to. Maybe include instructions for making different sizes, because ‘Anya’ is mostly concentric circles and it was easy to place the armholes wherever I needed them.

Fast forward two years and my cousin asks if I could make a circular vest for her daughter to use as a swim coverup. I think about the one I made in 2015 and realize I never transcribed my notes. Actually, where IS that notebook? WHAT NOTEBOOK DID I EVEN USE?! You can probably imagine me tearing through every notebook I’ve used in the past few years. I.could.not.find.my.notes. I had to start from scratch.

I asked my cousin for size examples (so I can google size charts! I love that brands have their size charts online) and favorite colors. She said teal, pink, and purple were favorites and I spent the weekend looking up yarn choices. After checking out Unforgettable again, I realized it would be a little heavy for summer time use. Plus, I made an adult size vest, last time, and I needed one to fit an eight year old.

rainbow-willow3

I ended up coming back to Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Ball a lot. I bought two different colors from Craftsy: Restful Rainbow and Lotus Blossom. The latter was almost exactly the same colors my cousin specified. I was so happy when they arrived!

I sat down to make the vest and realized I wanted to use Willow instead of Anya, this time. I used a 6.0 mm (US J/10) hook and started. Since my son is only a few months older than my cousin’s daughter, I decided to use a t-shirt of his to estimate when/where I would need to place the armholes. I simply laid my work on the shirt, the center of the circle a little below the center of the chest. I wanted the armholes to be on the top half of the doily, not right at the center, so the diameter of the circle needed to be bigger than the width of the chest.

When I got to the size I needed, I figured out where in the round I wanted to put the armholes. I decided that the beginning of the round should be in the bottom half, so I worked a small part of the round, then made a long chain and skipped a good amount of the repeats, then started again. I worked the pattern until I got to where I wanted the second armhole. I made another chain, skipped repeats, then finished the round. Armholes! I had armholes. I lined it up with my t-shirt and it was a pretty good match, so I moved on to the next round.

This round was a lot easier than I thought it would be. When I got to the chains, I just worked them like they were regular stitches. However many repeats I skipped in the row below, I just made that many repeats in the armholes. After the round, I counted the stitches (stitch counts are listed at the end of every round) and it matched up. Wheeeeewww!

rainbow lace

I finished the rest of the pattern. I didn’t add any extra rounds, but I DID decrease the number of DC stitches in the scallops of the last round. I went from 12 to 8! I had only a few yards of yarn left, so this was a good adjustment! Plus, the round worked up far more quickly. I’m happy to report the vest fit, not only my son, but my cousin’s daughter, as well!

Willow Vest: restful rainbow
Restful Rainbow

Willow Vest: lotus blossom
Lotus Blossom

I’ve added these adjustments to the pattern on Ravelry (willow-web-alt.pdf), putting in the specific directions I used. I would LOVE to have other sizes, but I haven’t been able to find the time to try and work them out, plus I don’t know if it would be possible with this yarn, since it feels more lightweight than worsted. The diameter of the doily, laid flat, is 32″. The bottom of the armholes are about 16″ apart. The tops are 9.5″ apart. Maybe a larger hook would make a larger doily? If someone has a teen they want to make this for, try a 6.5 mm hook! If you want to make it for an adult, you may need to find a thicker yarn and use a 6.5mm or a 7.0mm hook. I would love to see any vests you make!

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Healing Crochet: Fortune’s Shawlette

Fortune's Shawlette

Pattern: Fortune’s Shawlette from Moogly Blog
Yarn: Hawthorne Fingering Kettle Dye Yarn in Slate
Hook: 5.00mm (US H/8)

Hi, guys. Remember me? I want to talk about this shawl and soothing crochet in general.

Stitch patterns like the one in Fortune’s Shawlette create an environment for your mind to relax. After the first few repetitions, you don’t really have to think about it anymore; your hands know what to do. That’s what makes a good comfort shawl pattern–a stitch pattern you don’t have to think about, so you can pray for/about healing. Each stitch is free to transform from an “over, through, over, through” in your mind to a “thank you, God” or any other thought/prayer you need to put out there. I don’t think this was necessarily meant to be a prayer shawl, but it certainly was a great pattern to use as one.

fortune5

fortune4

fortune1

fortune2

Crochet is such a pwoerful tool to use to bring comfort and healing to yourself and others.

Good Reads: Crochet Therapy, review and giveaway

Almost a year ago, I was asked to contribute two patterns to a new book that would combine therapeutic exercises with complementary crochet projects. The idea was literally crochet as therapy. I thought this was a wonderful idea and I couldn’t be more happier with the end result. This beautiful book arrived a few weeks ago and was released in the US, a few days ago.

crochet-therapy-betsan-corkhill

Behold, Crochet Therapy by Betsan Corkhill. First off all, let me brag a little: the mandalas on the cover are my project. I actually crocheted each of those! The photography and styling in this book is phenomenal. Every scene is light, calming, and downright gorgeous. All of the projects compliment each other so well.

Crochet Therapy
This photo is opposite the introduction page.

Let’s get down to the book itself. Betsan Corkhill is a well-being expert with a background in physiotherapy. She combines her medical knowledge with her craftiness and is a champion of the use of fiber arts as a therapeutic tool. The book is comprised of ten exercises, each accompanied by two crochet projects to enhance the benefits for your well-being. The exercises incorporate mindfulness, visualization, relaxation, daydreaming, and motivation. You can start from the beginning, or choose which you need specific help with. Why does crochet (and knitting!) work so well at creating a healthier, calmer, more creative mind?

It’s known that two-handed, coordinated patterns of movement that cross the midline of the body take up a lot of brain capacity. The brain can’t fully focus on two things at a time, so the more absorbing the task, the less capacity it has to pay attention to issues that are detrimental to your well-being.

Crafing will help take your mind off things that are making you anxious, or stressed out in general. I think we can all use a little bit less stress and anxiety, don’t you think?



Crochet Therapy: pillow

Crochet Therapy: pillow2

Crochet Therapy: pillow3

My two projects, the mandalas (seen best on the cover) and a round pillow, are part of the “Calm” chapter. The mandalas are a simple 9-round pattern that is easily memorized. You can take your hook and a bit of your yarn in your bag to crochet one whenever you find yourself in need of a calm few minutes. The pillow emulates rippling water. It’s a simple round construction with a few three-dimensional rounds (like ripples!). It’s crocheted in bulky yarn (I used Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick) and works up very fast. It would make a fantastic calming housewarming gift.

Some of my other favorite projects in the book:

crochet-therapy-10

crochet-therapy-06 crochet-therapy-08

crochet-therapy-07 crochet-therapy-09

I’m swooning over that puff flower quilt!

Overall, I really love Crochet Therapy. It’s a book for every level of crochet, beginner to expert. Even the most seasoned crocheter will get something out of it. I always knew crochet was something to do when I needed to destress and focus, but now I have something I can utilize to help me gain even more benefits from the craft. I highly recommend the book to anyone who would like to learn about how crafting in general can help you be more mindful in your everyday life.

GIVEAWAY
I have an extra copy from the publisher and would LOVE to give it away! Enter with the widget below and a winner will be chosen late Friday night.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Crochet: A Study in Blue

Crochet: Study in Blue

Pattern: Rainbow Ripply Baby Blanket
Size: 33 rounds, plus one round of crab stitch
Hook: 5.5mm (US I/9)
Yarns: Hobby Lobby’s “I Love This Yarn!” in four shades of blue, completely replicated from the wonderful AFwifeCrochetNut, who hit it out of the park, again. Here’s her blanket: Little Boy Blue. I only changed the darkest color. I found a more…greenish(?) teal for that.

Crochet: Study in Blue, full Crochet: Study in Blue, edge

Do you remember my Study in Pink blanket from last year? Well, I loved it so much I HAD to make it in blue. We were blessed to have a cousin expecting a baby and I knew it’d be the perfect blanket. By the way, she delivered a beautiful baby boy, last month! I think he’s grandma’s tenth or eleventh great grandson. Can you believe that out of thirteen or so great grands, only two are girls? Bananas! I don’t complain because I love love love blue.

closer

side

just the blues

crab stitch border

Have you made any baby blankets, lately? Do you find yourself gravitating to the same patterns over and over?

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Crochet: Granny Four Square

granny four square baby blanket

I started and finished this blanket for my cousin’s new baby, waaaaaay back in March. That’s over 4 months ago! If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been on hiatus for a while. How the heck are you?! Any cool projects I should check out? I haven’t had a chance to hit up my blog reader in a while. Is anyone still out there? Say hello in the comments! I would love to get back to sharing my crochet and knitting projects, so I figured this would be a good start.

Granny Four Square, folded

This blanket started with the yarn. I chose 3 shades of pink, 2 shades of blue, a yellow, and white. I used Hobby Lobby’s “I Love This Yarn!” because they have a ton of colors in store and it’s pretty dang soft. After I had my colors in front of me, I used the nifty granny square generator at granny-square-colors.com to get a completely random granny blanket. I kept refreshing until I saw one that I LOVED. I took a screen shot of my result, so I could keep it handy while I worked.

Granny Four Square close-up

Since I was using worsted weight yarn, I used a 6 mm (US 10/J) hook for a looser feel. I was feeling a bit anxious around this time and it was definitely reflected in my yarn tension. The larger hooked helped a lot! As did the crochet work. Interesting enough to keep going, mindless enough to help me relax.

Each square was three rows of each of the six colors, minus white. I used white to make a final round on the squares, employing my favorite granny square join (between the chains, pretty much) until all four were connected. If there is an official name for this join, let me know. You aren’t crocheting into the other square so much as THROUGH it.

Here’s how it went:


When you get to the first corner of the second square’s white round, make a DC cluster into the corner, chain 1, then take your hook completely out of the current chain. Insert it into the corner you want to join to, put the chain back on the hook and THROUGH that space and then simply continue as you were: chain 1 again, and make the next DC corner cluster. Before your next “Ch 1” in the granny square (space between each cluster), you repeat the process of removing your hook from the chain and pulling it through the space you want to connect to. It looks like this:



You continue the final white round, connecting in the chain spaces as needed. When you get to your third square, you have to connect the corner in two squares, but it isn’t that much more difficult than connecting to one. My granny squares have a “Ch 2” corner, but I still chained 1 before taking the hook out for my first join. I brought the chain through one of the squares, chained 1 again, then brought that chain through the other square and chained 1 a final time. This makes it a “Ch 3 corner” but that’s OK for the final rounds.



Attaching the fourth square is just as easy; attach the corner to the square on the right and the square above.

Granny Four Square joined

Granny Four Square edging

Granny Four Square corner

Granny Four Square folded blue

After joining all four squares, I made a round of SC and then a round of 5-DC scallops. This blanket was perfect for people like me who have problems completing projects with a lot of parts, like regular granny square blankets. Four big squares with different color patterns keeps things interesting and is finished before you know it.

Granny Four Square, laid out

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