Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Doily 2013

by M. J. Joachim
One of my crochet goals for this year is to make at least one doily per month. I used to make doilies all the time; it’s something I truly enjoy doing, especially when I see the end result.
January’s doily is a simple pattern using chain and v-stitches for most of it. It measures approximately 24 inches around, 6 inches across the top. I used steel hook size 7.165 mm and taupe, size 10 crochet thread. The stitches are very tiny. You can use a bigger hook and any color thread you want, though I’m not sure how the ruffle will be affected if you change the size of your hook.
Beginning v-stitch:  Chain 4 + 1 dc
V-stitch:  1 dc + chain 1 + 1 dc
Foundation:  Chain 9, single crochet in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across.
Step 1:  Chain 1, single crochet in each loop on the other side of foundation chain. Join with slip stitch to 1st sc.

Step 2:  Chain 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in same place; make 2 dc in each stitch around. Join with slip stitch to top chain of 1st dc

Step 3:  Slip stitch in space between next 2 stitches, prior to next dc in previous round; chain 4 (counts as 1 dc + chain 1), dc in same space
From this point on, our pattern will consist of making v-stitches and chain one spaces, until doily is size you want it to be.
Step 4:  Skip next 2 dc; make 1 v-stitch in space after it – the one between stitches
[Repeat Step 4 around, joining with slip stitch to 3rd chain of 1st chain 4]
Step 5:  Slip stitch into next chain 1 space. Make beginning v-stitch in same place; make v-stitch in center of each v-stitch around; join with slip stitch to 3rd chain of 1st chain 4

Step 6:  Slip stitch into center of next v-stitch; make v stitch (+chain 1) in center of each v-stitch around; join with slip stitch to 3rd chain of 1st chain 4
Step 7: Slip stitch into center of next v-stitch; make v-stitch in center of each v-stitch and in each chain 1 space around; join with slip stitch to 3rd chain of 1st chain 4
Step 8:  Repeat Step 6
Step 9:  Repeat Step 7
Step 10:  Repeat Step 5
Step 11:  Repeat Step 6
Step 12:  Repeat Step 5
Step 13:  Repeat Step 6
Step 14:  Make edging – slip stitch into next chain 1 space (center of 1st v-stitch in round), chain 1; make {1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc} in same place. Make same sequence in center of each v-stitch around
Finish off. Weave in loose ends. Lightly steam to relax stitches, shaping ruffles as you do so.
That’s all for now. Until next time, happy crocheting!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Crochet Bead Stopper for Clothes Hangers

by M. J. Joachim

Step 1:  Thread a yarn needle with a ball of yarn. Leave a very long tail. Sew through center and around bead, as many times as you possibly can. Make it extremely tight, until your needle simply can’t go through the center even one more time.

Step 2:  Tie a knot with the loose end. Make your knot large and keep it as close as possible to the top of your bead.

Step 3:  Place bead on tip of hanger and secure, with knot at very tip of hanger.

Step 4:  Pull knot tail down toward hanger, so you can crochet around it. Pull it tightly, which helps pull the bead more tightly over the tip of your hanger.

Step 5:  Single crochet around hanger. Join and finish off, when you get all the way around. Weave in loose ends.
Until next time, happy crocheting!
M. J. 
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 28, 2013

Combining Yarn Crafts 012813

by M. J. Joachim
I decided to get a little bit uber creative today and ended up combining a few different yarn crafts together. This is by no means a tried and tested pattern. Rather, it is a simple swatch – the result of my experimentation.
It is with great enthusiasm and encouragement that I suggest you pick up your yarn crafting skills and mix & match as you see fit. The possibilities for patterns are endless, and the results…well, who knows? You might end up with a very unique and fabulous masterpiece!

Step 1:  Begin with a foundation chain (+1 more chain)
Step 2:  Single crochet in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across
Step 3:  Chain 3 (counts as 1st dc), turn
Step 4:  Double crochet in each stitch across, turn
Step 5:  Make this row Tunisian crochet cast on stitches

Step 6:  Turn and knit this row with knitting needles – insert knitting needle behind afghan hook (as if it were another knitting needle), move stitches to knitting needle

Step 7:  Knit this row
Step 8:  Transfer stitches to afghan hook, just like you did with knitting needle

Step 9: Cast off Tunisian style – first 1 loop, then 2 loops at a time, until 1 loop remains on hook
Step 10:  Chain 3 (counts as 1st dc), double crochet across row
Step 11:  Chain 1 (counts as 1st sc), single crochet across row
Repeat each row in sequence (Steps 2 – 11) for pattern.
Until next time, happy crocheting!

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Recycling Old Yarn

by M. J. Joachim
I’m taking the plunge today…diving in and unraveling an ancient project that turned out completely horrible. It was an experiment during some of my earliest crochet days – one where I combined 3 strands of yarn and used one of those mombo crochet hooks. You know? The kind you’re supposed to use with very thick yarn or fabric.
So today I started unraveling and winding up balls of yarn. Yea, this might turn into a weekend project that goes all the way into next week. However, when all is said and done, I will have recycled some perfectly good yarn. I will also feel liberated and happy, having finally gotten rid of that ugly project and made way to turn it into something useful. (Check out the new broad leaf pattern listed in website updates. I've already put some of this recycled yarn to good use!)
How about you? Do you have a crochet project hidden away and stored in a cupboard, closet or box somewhere? One you can’t quite part with, but wonder why you ever made too? Take my advice on this one. Recycle that old project into new and usable yarn for future projects. It feels good, and it’s bound to make you smile.
Until next time, happy crocheting!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 25, 2013

Long Green Leaf Crochet Tutorial 012513

by M. J. Joachim

You will need a 6+ inch piece of pipe cleaner and some leaf colored yarn or thread for this pattern.
Make a slip knot in your yarn and place it on the end of your pipe cleaner

Insert hook; single crochet around pipe cleaner, down the entire length of it

Working in front loop only, single crochet in each stitch, all the way around your entire leaf

You will work in front loop on one side, cross over and work in front loop on other side

Chain 3 and slip stitch into 1st single crochet of round. Finish off.

Pull chain 3 up, and insert end of pipe cleaner through it, to form a point.

Weave in loose ends.
That's all for now, kind followers. 
Happy Friday and happy crocheting!
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I don't usually do this, but after what I just saw, I think it's important to get the word out...

In the interest of public safety, and hoping this message gets shared far and wide, I wrote a post regarding Internet safety and posted it on my Effectively Human blog. 

Please, take the time to read and share the article. One of the things I learned is that these predators literally monitor hundreds of victims simultaneously. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

Here's a link to the article:  Webcam Peeping Toms - A Public Service Announcement

Wishing you safety on the Internet,

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License, A. Savin, Moscow love padlocks

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Old Sheet Rag Rug – WIP Wednesday

by M. J. Joachim
Well once I got started…

Pile of old sheets

Torn into strips

Chain stitched by hand (no hook needed)

Add new strips like so

Fold over to secure

Make one very long chain using multiple sheets

Begin with one end

Wrap to form center of rug

Spiral to shape rug

Use short sheet strips to tie rug together

Steam rug to relax stitches

I simply had to finish it!
Until next time, happy crocheting everyone!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blog News and Updates

I’ve been playing, dear people, as you may have noticed by all the new tabs up at the top of the blog. Oh, but that’s not all. No, that is not all. I also had a little fun changing the background on our site – hopefully it will be a little easier on the eyes this way. Please check it out and share a comment or two here regarding your thoughts on the new look.
In the process of organizing our crochet posts yesterday, I noticed a few areas that need more tutorials, so I added two new triangle motifs today, and will continue adding to areas with limited choices, so you can enjoy an exciting variety of stitches, motifs and projects to choose from, for all your crochet needs.
I still need to go through and sort all the article sections. This update is a work in progress. I also need to add a few more site tabs, to make it easier to browse stitches and patterns over there. If you notice changes – like today, I changed the background on the site 3 times in a row (sure hope no one thought they were seeing things), please don’t be alarmed. It’s more than likely only me, fiddling with things behind the scenes.
I can’t thank you enough for being such wonderful followers of Lots of Crochet Stitches! What I can do is continue making improvements for you, so that your visits here will always be as pleasing to you, as they are to me.
Until next time, kind followers, I wish you every good thing!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 18, 2013

Long Tail Straight Stitch Crochet Technique

by M. J. Joachim
Sometimes it’s nice to use loose ends to decorate crochet patterns, rather than weaving them in or hiding them all the time. All that is required is a very long tail, or at least one long enough for your purposes.
The long tail straight stitch technique is easy enough to make.
Step 1:  Pull tail in front of work and crochet in stitch as required
Step 2:  Move tail to back of work, and crochet in stitch as required.
By continuously alternating your tail from the front to the back of your work, you create a straight stitch design, much as if you were using a needle and yarn, to weave over and under your fabric. This all inclusive method allows you to do it, while you’re making your pattern.

Notice pink yarn at bottom of pic, using this technique

In fact, you may want to anchor a tail, just for this purpose. Then you can stitch over and under the tail, making all sorts of patterns. Incidentally, this is a great way to use up old yarn. Experiment with different pattern designs, writing them down and taking pictures as you work.

Sure, you could use all those old scraps for small motifs that may or may not be turned into a gigantic patchwork afghan someday. But you could also use them to experiment with your creativity, and design like you never thought possible.
Until next time, happy crocheting!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Crochet Tips and Advice with a Hint of Blog News

You may have noticed all the new Recent Website Posts listed in the left side margin. I have been busy, it's true. Along with adding pages to our site, I’ve been designing and writing up future blog posts for this year’s A – Z Blogging Challenge. You may have noticed the new A – Z badge I posted a short time ago, under the Recent Website Posts. I’ve got something very special in mind this year, and it’s allowing me to exercise my creative, artsy side with crochet like never before.

Onto the task at hand – sharing a few tried and true crochet tips with you…

1. Metal crochet hooks usually last forever and are easier on your yarn than wooden crochet hooks, which can splinter and fray the yarn after extended use. Metal hooks also help you keep your stitches more even and consistent.
2. Working in rounds usually means you never have to turn the fabric, making it easier to create accurate stitch counts. If you struggle with counting stitches when making rows, try making motifs (in the round) and joining them together, for better accuracy.
3. Weave over loose ends as you work. Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be joining motifs, adding trims or edges etc., leave loose ends to be crocheted over, so you can avoid weaving them in later.
4. When joining motifs, lay them out the way you want to join them first. Then, take a picture that you can refer to as you work.
5. Provide yourself with a wonderful work place – one where you can focus on your crochet, keeping it pristine and accurate. Work sitting up, with good posture and a table in front of you to hold all your supplies. This simple step can drastically improve the quality of your work.
Until next time, happy crocheting!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit:  Stock.xchng ID 1247534

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winkle Picot Stitch

by M. J. Joachim
Foundation:  Make a multiple of 3 chain (+ 6 more chain stitches)
Step 1:  Single crochet in 6th chain from hook
Step 2:  Single crochet in 2nd chain from hook; chain 3, single crochet in next chain
[Repeat Step 2 across foundation chain, ending with chain 2 and 1 half double crochet  (instead of chain 3 + sc) in last chain.]

Step 3:  Chain 4, turn; single crochet in 1st chain 2 space
Step 4:  Make {1 sc, chain 3, 1 sc} in next chain 3 space
[Repeat Step 4 to end of row, making {1 sc, chain 2, 1 hdc} in last chain 3 loop.]
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for pattern.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 11, 2013

Crocheted Hearts from Bindu

We have our very first heart from yesterday’s challenge! And with it, we have a granny square heart, from the pattern I posted recently on our website.
I’ve been steadily watching my friend, Bindu, making a new crocheted hat this week. Such a cute brim on the finished product, covered in crocheted hearts!
Then I spied some of her artwork – neat idea to add a crocheted heart as a special effect.
Bindu keeps herself very busy. She has a delightful shop on Etsy, full of some very cute crochet designs. Hats, hair scrunchies, crocheted baby blankets, coaster sets…you name it, you’ll likely find it or something else you can’t live without at Bindu Designs on Etsy!

I couldn’t be more thrilled that Bindu took the challenge of turning our clover into a brand new heart for Valentine’s Day, and it’s positively wonderful to see the granny square heart she made, following my pattern!
Thank you, Bindu! Thank you very much for making me smile so big today!
M. J.
Photo Credits:  Bindu from Bindu Blogs
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Heart Patterns “R” Us

by M. J. Joachim
Do you see what I see?
Time to practice a few of those Heart Making Basic Guidelines!
Take this Simple Clover Motif and turn it into a heart for Valentine’s Day.
Then, when you’re completely satisfied with your creation, send me a picture, links (if you posted your pattern online), a tutorial I can try for myself and use as a guest post right here on this blog…etc. etc.
The email addy is:
The subject of your email should read:  clover heart creation
This is so exciting and I simply can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Meanwhile…
I’ll be making my own clover heart creation and posting the pattern on our Lots of Crochet Stitches website.
Best to all! Happy crocheting everyone!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Heart Making Basics

by M. J. Joachim
Shaping Hearts
One of the first things I do when making hearts is visualize their shape clearly in my mind. Sometimes I look at motifs (any shape or design), and see if they can reasonably be turned into a heart, either by themselves or by joining 2 or more of them together.
This takes some fiddling with the layout at times – I might have to match corners at irregular points or leave open spaces in the pattern.
To make rounded edges on hearts using square or sharp edge motifs, I gradually shape the rounded edge, by decreasing the actual corners or eliminating them altogether. I do this by decreasing stitches or using only 1 stitch in each stitch. After a couple of rounds, the corners soften and lose their sharp edges.
Alternately, when working the bottom point of the heart, I make a corner. Sometimes this is 3 stitches, surrounded by the single stitches forming the rest of the heart. Other times it might be a shell stitch, or an actual corner itself, like a granny square corner (3 dc, chain 2, 3 dc).
Decorating Hearts
Once I’ve made a heart, anything goes! I can weave ribbon through it, add beads, join smaller motifs on top, or all of the above. I can use chain overlay stitches to write names and make special valentines out of my hearts and let my creativity run wild, as I enjoy deciding how each heart will become its own special project.
Materials & Purposes for Hearts
I make my hearts out of various yarns and crochet threads. They are made in all shapes and sizes. Large cotton hearts can be used as dishcloths and kitchen towels. Smaller hearts can be added to newly crocheted hats, turned into magnets, baby mobiles and coaster sets. Fuzzy hearts can be joined and turned into arm and leg warmers. Dainty hearts can be added to bobby pins and used as hair decorations.
Crocheted hearts are lots of fun to make and display. The one pictured will be a new Valentine decoration. I added one of my Christmas star motifs to the center, and then sewed a seashell bead on top. Of course, you can add a flower, beads or anything your heart desires J The pattern for this one can be found here: Granny Square Heart. Please be sure to check it out and let me know what you think.
That’s all for now, kind followers.
Until next time, happy crocheting!
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rounded Edge Triangle Heart 010813

by M. J. Joachim
Around the second week of January, I usually start getting creative with my heart patterns. The first pattern I worked on today is a bit complicated, so I’m testing it out again before adding it to our website, hopefully by tomorrow. Be sure to look at the list of recent website additions, listed in the left-hand margin of this blog, for your convenience.
Blame it on my stubborn streak, but I was determined to give you all a heart pattern today. Here’s what I came up with.
Rounded Edge Triangle Heart Instructions
Uses 2 colors: Color A & Color B
Begin by making 1 Rounded Edge Triangle Motif in Color A.
Step 1:  (Using Color B) With right side up, join yarn over stitches in center of round 1, between 2 lobes on motif; slip stitch to first chain 3 space; single crochet in 1st chain 3 space

Step 2:  Chain 3, single crochet in next chain 3 space
[Repeat Step 2 through 6th chain 3 space of 2nd lobe.]

Step 3:  In 7th chain 3 loop (which will be the bottom of your heart), make shell {1 sc, 1 hdc, 2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc}; single crochet in next chain 3 loop

Step 4:  Chain 3, single crochet in next chain 3 loop
[Repeat Step 4 around, making 1 sc in last chain 3 loop and slip stitching where Color B was joined.]
Step 5:  Slip stitch to 1st chain 3 loop; make 3 single crochet stitches in each chain 3 loop, until you reach bottom of heart, stopping with 3 sc in last chain 3 space, prior to shell at bottom

Step 6:  Chain 3, make shell in center triple crochet at bottom of heart; chain 3
Step 7:  Make 3 single crochet stitches in each chain 3 space around to beginning of round. Join with slip stitch to 1st stitch in round.

Step 8:  {Read through this step before you begin it.} Chain 1, single crochet in each sc around; make 3 sc in each bottom chain 3 space; make 1 picot (chain 3, slip stitch in 1st chain) after you single crochet in triple crochet of previous round (bottom point of heart); after finishing each single crochet around, make final slip stitch and finish off.
Weave in loose ends. Use a clothing steamer to relax stitches.
That’s all for now, kind followers. Until next time, happy crocheting J
M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved