Monday, November 30, 2009

Speaking of Granny Squares


Here’s a project that I just love. I think I may have told you that I like to take sweaters that someone else is tired of and add crochet and make them new again. In Houston last year, I did a little presentation on “Tired Sweaters.”

Anyway, when I found this little shrug, I thought of my sister and how I thought it would look good on her. Since the sweater needed a little something crocheted on it, I decided to add some granny squares to the bottom. Then it just started building from there. The squares ended up coming out past the fronts of the sweater, and I decided to add some smaller granny squares up both fronts. Then I poked-a-hole-in the sweater all the way around and then attached the granny squares by crocheting back and forth from the sweater to the square. Then I added a shell stitch all the way around to tie it all together. It was kind of like putting a puzzle together, and I love to put puzzles together. Of course, I had to use some of my sister’s favorite colors, and I think she loves it, too. The yarn and thread that I used was DMC Senso and Aunt Lydia’s size 10 crochet thread.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Knee Deep in Granny Squares

Granny Squares and Vannas Choice

Aren’t granny squares fun? I love all the different patterns out now, but I will always be faithful to the basic granny square. It’s so simple and pretty much a no-brainer. I am knee deep into granny squares right now. I’m in a granny square swap, and I am having so much fun. I joined in the granny square swap and was a little scared, especially since each of us had to choose a color group that we preferred. Seven women and one man are in our swap. Three of us chose Winter colors, two of us chose Autumn colors, two of us chose Summer colors, and one doesn’t care. It was really hard at first. I had to crochet with colors that were not something that I would normally crochet with. Now it’s easy, and I just simply pick up the colors and crochet. I’ve been using a lot of Vanna’s Choice yarn. Currently, I’m a little behind and need to play catch up, so that’s why I’m knee deep in granny squares. It’s been lots of fun getting to know the other people and to see their works of art in crochet.

50 Fabulous Crochet Squares

By the way, Leisure Arts has published a really cool book of 50 granny squares by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. Check it out in Crochet Soiree’s store.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Free Pattern Friday: Heart of the Home Crochet Pattern

Heart Home Free Pattern

Well, since I have been practicing with my Simplicity Rotary Cutting Machine, here’s another crochet with fabric pattern for all of you. Maybe with this pattern, I’ll have luck with completing the coaster. It would be instant gratification. I think I’ll use some of my Amy Butler fabrics. Tell me about the fabrics you like to use in your crocheted fabric or does it matter?

Heart of Home Fabric Cutting

Look at me practicing my fabric cutting!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and Crochet

Every year, my mom vows that this year will be her last year of having Thanksgiving at her house. She tried it one year, but her grandchildren complained so loudly that it just wasn’t Thanksgiving without going to Grandma Kingery’s house, that she hasn’t tried it since. I know my mom will continue to cook the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy as long as she can. Of course, everyone else brings something. I think I’ve mentioned that we have a very large family, and there are usually at least fifty people off and on at her house throughout Thanksgiving Day. As for my mom, she always says, “The more the merrier.”


Last year, Sarah (one of my many nieces and two of her sister-in-laws, I guess they are my niece-in-laws) thought they would like to learn to crochet. And, of course, I’m always ready to teach someone as I always have my trunk yarn with me, and I always have extra hooks, just in case. Before two hours were up, all of them had learned to crochet, and two of them had decided that they were going to make hats. So I showed them how to crochet in the round and increase. The other one was content to crochet back and forth for a while longer. I’ll make sure I ask them this year if they are still crocheting, I can hardly wait. Everyone have a great Thanksgiving and be safe.

I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting

And if you’re looking for a great book for teaching yourself or someone else to crochet, check out—I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting. You can get it at the Soiree Store.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Surprise in Sacks from Quilt Show in Houston

Me and Simplicity Sacks

I know you all have been wondering what was in my sacks from the Quilt Show in Houston. Well….I had a few minutes and finally took this out of the box.
Rotary Cutting Machine
The Simplicity Rotary Cutting Machine

This is the coolest gadget. You can make strips of fabric from 3/8" up to 2-3/4". The really cool thing about it is the blades are not sharp, and you can use the Rotary Cutting Machine for paper, too. It also comes with a perforated blade and makes a pinking sheered edge to your fabric or paper. The folks from Simplicity warned me that it takes some practice, and I can see where it will take some patience on my part. I should know from my crochet experience that old saying “Practice Make Perfect” is true. Well, I need some more practice. So I’ll keep practicing and talk to you later because this is addictive.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Flower Scarf Project

Flower Scarf

When I first started teaching crochet at the yarn shop “Twist”, I kept petting all the yarn. I’m really attracted to the cottons and cotton blends. I love all the color choices, and the yarn this scarf is made from was no exception. This yarn kept calling to me every time I walked by it. The yarn is from Berroco, and it’s called “Love It”. It is 58% cotton, 38% Acrylic, and 4% Polyester, so it has a little bit of a stretch to it.

I kept looking at this yarn and thinking that with crochet anything you make takes quite a bit, and this yarn only has 120 yds in each skein. Usually, when I want to try out a new yarn, I just make a scarf. So that is what I decided to do.

I picked the skein that had some turquoise in it and just started making doubles back and forth. What I love about this type of variegated yarn is that you never know what color is going to end up where. I think I’ve said before that double crochets are mindless for me, and that’s why I chose that stitch, plus I was thinking that I could teach this in one of my classes if it was simple enough.

I really didn’t set out to write the directions for this scarf, but when I decided to add flowers to each end, Shelly (the owner of the yarn shop) loved it so much that she told me I needed to hold a class and offer the pattern. So that’s what I did and taught a small group of women to crochet this scarf. I had fun making it, designing it, writing the directions, and teaching it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Look What My Mom Gave Me

Mom Kitchen Pot Holders

My mom told me that she had something for me last weekend. Little did I know that she had the very same pot holders that I was talking to you about the other day when we featured the “Kitchen Drawers” designs for Free Pattern Friday. My mom had saved the pot holders from my Aunt Erma and Grandma Kingery and gave them to me. I almost cried when I saw them.

My mom said, “You might want some of them or might not want any of them.”

“Are you kidding me, Mom? I want all of them, and I’ll cherish them forever.”

If these pot holders could talk, I’m sure they could tell a good yarn. Ha! Ha! There’s even a pair of little drawers kind of like the free Friday pattern.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Free Pattern Friday: Mitten Time Crochet Pattern

Mittens Free Pattern

When I saw the crochet pattern for these mittens, I thought of instant gratification, and I had been wanting to try my hand (no pun intended) at making a pair for a long time. Plus, I had one skein of this funky striped medium weight acrylic yarn that I hoped would be enough to make them from. I’m glad that I have short hands, or I wouldn’t have had enough. So make sure you go by the pattern and get the recommended amount of yarn.

My Mitten

It was so much fun watching the hand form and the bobbles were so easy. There are no seams, and the only time you have to thread a yarn needle is to gather up the thumb end and weave in the ends. I know some of you don’t use a needle to weave in ends.

I think you’ll have fun making these for all the members of your family. There are sizes for a child and adult. I can hardly wait to start another pair, and I can’t wait to see what colors you come up with.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guess What I Found

When I was looking for my Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt, I found these:

Granny Squares

These were made from more of that Lion Brand Cotton-Ease yarn. I think this is the last of the things that I made with that yarn. I still can’t find the quilt though. I’m trying to figure out how I could lose my grandma’s quilt when I just saw it not too long ago. It has to be here somewhere. Maybe under some of that stash yarn? I’ll let you know when I find it.

Does anybody else out there do things like this? I put things away and think that I’ll remember where I put them, and I’ll go to look for them and not be able to find them. I think I’m losing my mind sometimes. Oh well, have to get back to my crocheting and thinking about where I put that quilt.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sneak Peek

Handwritten directions

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been able to complete any of the Free Pattern Friday projects like I had been. There is a reason. I have been working on projects for a book that Leisure Arts wants to publish. I have been given the approval to share a little bit about the book with all of you. I am working on a deadline now and all the projects and handwritten directions are complete.


Here’s a little sneak peek, but I can’t give it all away yet. The target release date will be Spring 2010. I am so excited and can hardly wait.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Break from Crochet

Last Saturday was just another typical Saturday at my house. I had planned to have a working day all day. I needed to concentrate on writing instructions for the book that I’m submitting to Leisure Arts. My husband, bless his heart, he had the day off, and he had plans to run some errands and go to my mom and dad’s house to work on my car.

Time seems to stand still for him until other people move in the house. Anyway I went to get in the shower, but Joshua was getting up and had to be at rehearsal in thirty minutes, so I reluctantly headed for my ironing pile to iron a few pieces while waiting for the shower. Then the doorbell rang, and my husband went to the door to find Megan (one of Joshua’s friends). She came in and realized that she had just locked her purse with her keys in it in the car. So now my husband is on the move to help try and unlock her car door.

Joshuas Friend Megan

Megan is one of the girls that I’ve taught to crochet, and she loves to crochet when she has the time and told me that it helps her relax. I offered to get her a hook and yarn to pass the time, but they were already late for rehearsal, and no, my husband wasn’t successful in opening the car door. Megan’s mother had to come over and rescue her purse and keys which she left with me as Joshua and Megan had to leave in our car. My husband was off to fix my car, and I was left to take my shower and leave to go to my great niece's (Baby Ava's) first birthday party. I didn’t get my crochet instructions typed up, but there’s always tomorrow.

I Can't Believe DVD

I Cant Believe Kit

Oh, and by the way, if you have a beginner who wants to learn to crochet, take a look at the I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting DVD or even the whole I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting Kit to get started. You can find them in the Crochet Soiree store.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Susan the Die Hard Knitter's Favorite Crochet Stitch

Susan the Die Hard Knitter Part 2

Rosina and I arrived at Twist as they were opening. We were greeted by Susan, and I asked her how she had been doing. She said that she had been working all week as Shelly had been really sick.

Susan shared with me that she had been crocheting lots of scarves and couldn’t seem to stop crocheting doubles. She said that she knows that she could graduate and go to another stitch, but while she is working some extended hours, she only has the strength when she gets home to make doubles.

Susan has made about fifteen scarves, and I think she’s going to give some to charity. She says that crocheting seems easy for her when she is too tired to do anything else. We have another one hooked. (Ha! Ha!) I understand how she feels about doubles because doubles are easy for me, too. Tell me about the stitches that are mindless for you.

Triple Cover

Sample Stitches Cover

Cable Stitches Cover

And, just in case you are ready to move beyond double crochets, check out these three books from the queen of stitches designer Darla Sims: Triple Play Pattern Stitches, 63 Sampler Stitches to Crochet, and 63 Cable Stitches. I think you might like them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Free Pattern Friday: Heart Afghan and Pillow Crochet Pattern

Heart Afghan and Pillow

For this week’s Free Pattern Friday, I picked this Heart Afghan and Pillow crochet pattern because I wanted to try something new—the afghan stitch.

Afghan Hooks

When I found these hooks with one end like a knitting needle in a box of goodies someone gave me, I didn’t know what they were used for. That was back when I kept to myself and stayed at home and crocheted. All I knew was what I had been taught and learned on my own. Then I started going public with my crochet and ventured into a yarn shop and started hanging out with people that liked the same things that I liked, and I learned about different techniques and crochet stitches. That was when I found out what these hooks were used for. I’ve never had a chance to learn the afghan stitch, and here’s my chance to learn with this free pattern.


This is really fun, and it reminds me of crochet on the double, except you don’t have two colors, and you don’t turn your work. I love how you can see the squares that will have the cross stitches in them to make the heart pattern.

How many of you have used the afghan stitch, and how do you like it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Great Great Aunt Martha

Aunt Martha

This is a picture of my Great Great Aunt Martha with two of my nieces, my daughter, and my nephew (notice the crocheted booties on my daughter and my nephew?). She was 79 years old in the picture, and she was one of my aunts that inspired me to crochet. (She also tried to teach me to tat, but I didn’t have the patience for that at the time.) She and her husband had no children of their own, so they treated my brothers, sister, and me like their grandchildren. My mom and dad always made sure that they were taken care of when it came to help with their yard work and such. When it was time for Aunt Martha to give up her home and move into the Masonic Home, she allowed all of us to come over to her house and choose some items that we wanted as she couldn’t take a lot with her. This is what I picked out of her things to keep:

Book Doily Thimble

The thimble has a LR engraved on it, and I think it may have been her mother’s; the book has folded up tablet paper in the back with her handwriting on it. There are school lessons and some drawings of stick people with a date of 1911 on them. The doily is especially sentimental to me because it is crocheted.

I had to have been around 16 or 17 when I chose these. I think this aunt had a lot of influence on my collecting crochet, too. Now every time I see a doily that is made with this pattern, I have to purchase it. So far I have three pieces.

When Aunt Martha moved into the Masonic Home, she would join all of the other ladies in craft bazaars and sell her items. I don’t know how many granny square afghans she sold and for a little of nothing. I wish I had one of those afghans. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to settle for one that I make myself. Ha! Ha!

Tell me about the people that influenced you to crochet.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Additions to My Yarn Stash and Project List

Well, I was at my LYS (Twist) the other day, and I was minding my own business just crocheting away on my charity afghan, when out of the corner of my eye I saw this:

Yarn Stash Addition

The LYS owner (Shelly) had put this yarn on sale. I kept glancing at it wondering what I could make from this beautiful yarn. Then it hit me that these are the colors of my Christmas things, and I don’t have a tree skirt. Then, I remembered I just received my Crochet Today magazine in the mail, and it just happened to have a tree skirt pattern in it. (Using one of my favorite pattern stitches!)

Christmas Tree Skirt

The yarn is a combination of cotton, acrylic, and polyester. I think it will hold up very well for my tree skirt. The colors are very light turquoise, light red, and funky olivey green. I love the combination of all of these colors together and had to have all the store had. I told Rosina I would eventually find some use for that old hamper I found on one of my treasure hunts. The yarn is going to live right inside it until I can get to it, but just don’t tell my husband. Ha! Ha!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Buttons and Sewing Baskets

I hate to admit this, but I found eBay. I know it’s been around a long time, but I had never signed up for it or looked for anything on it until my friend Rayma suggested that I search for some things for a secret project that I’m working on. I started bidding on things and winning some and losing some. These are some of the most recent things that I won:



When they came in the mail today, I said, what more can I say? Buttons and baskets; they’re ALMOST as good as crochet. (Notice I said almost?) Ha! Ha!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cool Weather and Fall Crochet

Vegetable Soup

Don’t you just love Fall weather? The leaves are changing colors almost overnight, and the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. Time to start a pot of vegetable soup and get those afghans back out and finish them up.

Chunky Tweed Afghan

That’s what I did last fall when I finished this afghan for my sweet husband. It’s made from Lion Brand Shetland Chunky Tweed yarns of light blue, brown, and tan. The yarn is a blend of acrylic, wool, and vicose. It’s bulky weight, so I thought it would be fast and easy. It was very easy, but not so fast, since I decided to use single crochet and change the color every row. So after a few rows of singles, I switched and added a row of double crochet, too. The fun thing about it was that there was no thinking to it; I just needed to make sure to change the colors every row. I seem to use the afghan more than my husband, but man it is warm, and I could stay under it almost all day in the wintertime.

Tell me about your Fall projects.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Pattern Friday: Kid's Cover-Up Crochet Pattern

Kids Cover Free Pattern

When I saw this Kid's Cover-Up crochet pattern, I thought of our grandson in Oklahoma. Eyan has a new baby brother (Alex) who we have not seen yet, and I think I can have this ready to go when we can break away and go down. The pattern seems to go quite fast as you hold two strands of yarn together and use a size N hook.

Vannas Choice Yarn

I have chosen to use my new wooden hook and Vanna’s Choice Yarn. This yarn is acrylic and easy to take care of. You just throw it in the washer and dryer, plus it’s soft and easy to work with. It slides right through on my new wooden hook. Have fun with it, and I can’t wait to hear what colors and choices of yarn you are going to use.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yarn Shop Hop Adventure

Rosina and Me

If you aren’t familiar with shop hops, here’s how they work. You receive a passport at the first shop and each store owner or helper stamps it, and when you have visited all the shops, you turn it in for a grand prize drawing. There are eight yarn shops that participate in the Yarn Shop Hop. This year was the first year that I had a chance to go, and I really needed to stay at home and work, but if Rosina drove, I could crochet on one of my projects (this was after I found out that I couldn’t take my car because it was not road worthy). I asked Rosina if she could please talk me out of going. Being the good friend that she is, she said “No. Can I go, too? What time do you want to leave?”

I immediately mapquested the trip to see if it would be possible to do it in one day if we visited the two yarn shops in Wichita on Friday evening. By my calculations, we could leave at 7:00 am and return at around 6:00 pm, but we had to stay on track and not veer off of our plans.

Mary and Me

Friday evening, our first stop was Heritage Hut. We visited with Mary Konecny a short time and learned that she offers drop in classes for knit and crochet, plus she offers weaving classes by appointment. She also has a nice selection of DMC Cebilia mercerized cotton crochet thread and, of course, I found some colors that I couldn’t live without.

Shelly and Me

Next stop was Twist, where we met up with Shelly Stilger, the owner. Her store is always hopping with excitement. Since I have never crocheted with the beautiful wood hooks, I decided that I would allow myself an extra special something and picked out a size M hook. (There are some really nice wooden crochet hooks in the Crochet Soiree store, too.) I’m going to try this hook with the fabric that I’m trying to crochet with.

Jerri and Me

On Saturday, we headed out before dawn. Our first stop was in Minneapolis, Kansas, at the Yarn Peddler. Jerri Drummond is a rep for Universal Yarns, and I told her that I had the pleasure of meeting the President of Universal Yarns in Houston at the Quilt market. Of course, I picked up a few more balls of yarn that I needed to add to my stash.

Jeannie and Me

Next stop was Abilene, Kansas, the home of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Shivering Sheep. Here’s the owner Jeannie Price and me. Jeannie has a full time job, too, plus she has the shop open on the weekends. I found some more yarns that I couldn’t live without.

Jane and Me

Carla and Me

Then we were off to Salina, Kansas, and I had to settle for two separate pictures with Jane Alsop and Carla Welsh the owners of Yarns Sold and Told. It was very busy in their beautiful bright shop. I got to visit with Carla for a few minutes, and she told me that they don’t have many crocheters come into their shop, but she’s working on that.

Linda and me

Next stop, Lindsborg, Kansas, better known as “Little Sweden” and home to Lara May’s Cottage and Linda Lungstrom the owner. Her shop is in a little house. It reminded me of a child's play house with a little taller ceilings. By this time, Rosina and I were getting very hungry, so we asked Linda what restaurants were open. Of course, we chose a Mexican restaurant called “Jalisco”. We both had the special, and man it was good.

Debbie and me

Then, we were off and driving to Hutchinson, Kansas, and Debbie Fast’s shop called Yarn. This store is full of fun people and a coffee bar.

Deb Waggoner

She also had Deb Waggoner, a yarn dyer, displaying her works of art.


I also met Mildred in the bathroom. I had to take her picture after she scared the you-know-what out of me.

Julie and Me

Our last stop was in Newton, Kansas, and Julie Miller at the Newton Beadery. We arrived just in time, and I found some hand dyed yarn that I had to add to my stash, and we got our last stamp and turned our passports in for the drawing.

Then, we headed back home, and Rosina dropped me off about 6:30 pm, so we weren’t too far off of our schedule. Next trip out, we want to go to just one shop at a time and visit longer and shop around at some of the neat looking antique stores in each town. What a wonderful day we had! Rosina and I decided that we did deserve a little time away from taking care of everyone else, and we got to take care of ourselves for once. All the yarn shop owners were so nice and are very accepting of crocheters. Thank you to all the owners for allowing us to take pictures with you and all the warm welcomes we received.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Green Bean Snapping

Green Beans

On one of our recent trips to the Farmer’s Market, I couldn’t resist a couple of bags of these green beans. They brought back memories of when I was a child. We had several farm families in our neighborhood, and my mother would buy vegetables from them. She traded services for vegetables, too.

When it was time to harvest green beans, especially, she would tell the farmer’s wives (two that I can remember) that she would can their green beans if they would provide the jars, lids, and rings in trade for green beans for our family. Then, she would bring home the wooden bushel baskets rounded up with green beans for us to snap.

I’m sure I complained about snapping green beans at the time, but all I remember is that it was fun sitting around with my sister and mom snapping green beans. I was flooded with good memories as I snapped this small basket of green beans for my family. I have to go and see my mom and thank her for teaching me to snap green beans. Did anyone else ever snap green beans as a child and do you still snap green beans?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Days of the Farmer's Market

The last weekend in October was the last weekend of the Farmer’s Market here in Wichita. I’m sad that it is ending and our walks in the park will probably come to an end, too. There’s always the mall though. Our last visit to the market was full of fall colors.

Pumpkin and Gourd Display

I just loved the colors of the displays in this booth……

Fall Leaves Tree

And this tree. The trees in my neighborhood are mostly greens and yellows. Of course, my two trees have already lost all of their leaves in the last few days because of all of the wind.

Tell me about your fall season. Are your leaves already gone, too?