Wonder Woman’s Blue Dress (DC Superhero Girls)

I went to see Wonder Woman with my dad for Father’s Day, and it was incredible! Or should I say wonderful? 🙂 All bad jokes aside, it surpassed all my expectations. No spoilers here, but I’ll just say it was fantastic to have a female-led superhero movie. It makes me beyond happy to know that little girls will grow up with not only Iron Man and Captain America, but also Wonder Woman.. I’m quite disappointed that Black Widow hasn’t gotten her own movie by now, so props to DC for giving Wonder Woman a chance in the spotlight!

I think Gal Gadot did a fantastic job as Diana, and I can’t believe she filmed part of the movie while five months pregnant. There were so many amazing fight scenes, which are normally my least favorite part, but I actually found myself getting emotional during them – it’s so refreshing to see women onscreen who can defend themselves and don’t need anyone to save them. I later read I was not the only person to cry through the fight scenes.

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I suppose you guys know me well to guess where this is going, especially given the post title! I was delighted to see that Diana wears a variety of outfits throughout the movie, and in the theater I was trying to figure out how to adapt them to crochet. I designed this one for the DC Superhero Girls, which I learned about from my wonderful blogging friend Grace! She wrote a review on DC Superhero Girls Wonder Woman (which you should definitely check out!), and I ended up acquiring a Diana to bring along to the theater. 🙂 The first outfit I made was her gorgeous blue dress – and because she’s Wonder Woman, there’s a sword hidden in the back. 🙂

The most gorgeous dress, and Gal Gadot is ridiculously beautiful. Do a google image search for ‘wonder woman blue dress’ and you’ll see!

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I’ll admit I knew virtually nothing about Wonder Woman before seeing this movie, but now I feel inspired to consume ALL the Wonder Woman movies and comics I can get my hands on. Any suggestions on where to start would be much appreciated!

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Materials

Loops & Threads Woollike in “Denim Blue” (Super Fine, #1 weight)
E (3.5 MM) crochet hook

Notes

  • A note on the yarn: I don’t usually like to use super-fine yarns in my designs, for the simple reason that it takes too long. 😛 But this yarn was the perfect color, it was in my stash, and it’s also super soft. For a yarn that’s called “woollike,” it doesn’t feel itchy at all. I held two strands together for the entire pattern, with the exception of the flowy shoulder thing (like my specific terminology?) So if you preferred, you could use a slightly thicker yarn – I’m not sure exactly what weight it would be. Perhaps fingering weight?
  • Extended double crochet or ex-dc: Yarn over, insert hook into st, YO, pull through (3 loops on hook). YO, pull through 1. (YO, pull through 2 loops) 2x. I have a tutorial on extended stitches here if you’re new to them!

Bodice (make 2)

Bodice is worked in back loops only, except for the last hdc of the row, which is worked through both loops to prevent holes.

Ch 19.

Row 1: Sc in 2nd st from hk and in each st until you reach the last 5. Hdc 5.

Row 2: Ch 2, turn. Hdc 4, sc across until 5 sts remain, sl st 5 (loosely!)

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st until you reach the last 5. Hdc 5.

Row 4-5: Rep rows 2 and 3.

Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing.

Fold the bodice in half as shown and sew the two stitches under the armpit together. Do the same on the other side. Leave the back open (we need to stick a sword in there, after all!), but overlap the front by one row, and sew that closed.

Skirt

Ch 85. (Yes, 85, trust me. I know it seems absurd.)

Row 1: Starting in 2nd ch from hk, sc 40, hdc 4, dc 1, extended dc until the end of the row. (WS)

Row 2 (RS): Ch 3, turn. Extended dc in each ex-dc, dc 1,  hdc 4, sc in back loops of each sc.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc in back loops of each sc, hdc 4, dc 1, extended dc to end of row.

Row 4-11: Repeat Rows 2 and 3.

Row 12: Ch 3, turn. Extended dc in each ex-dc, dc 1, hdc 4, leave remaining 40 sc unworked.

Row 13: Ch 1, turn. Hdc 4, dc 1, extended dc to end of row.

Row 14-22: Repeat last two rows.

Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing. With the RS facing out, whipstitch the ends together, leaving the sc part hanging out.

You’ll have this weird-looking shape before sewing. With Fringe in the background, because that’s how I roll. 🙂

Sash, part 2

This is for the second part of the sash – the first part is the sc portion of the skirt.

Ch 41. Work in back loops throughout, except the last sc of the row – this goes for sc2tog as well.

Row 1: Sc2tog in 2nd and 3rd ch from hk, sc in each st across.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Sk first st, sc in each st across.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st across until 2 sts remain, sc2tog.

Row 4-11: Repeat Rows 2 and 3.

Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing. Sew the slanted end to the end of the ribbed skirt portion, then sew the other end of the sash to the bottom of the bodice.

Flowy Shoulder Thing

I just used one strand of yarn for this, instead of holding 2 together, to make it flowier. But if you’re using a thicker yarn and can’t manage this, no worries!

Make a magic ring, ch 3. 3 dc in ring.

Row 2-3: Ch 3, turn. 2 dc in first st, dc across.

Row 4-13: Ch 3, turn. Dc across.

Row 15: Rep row 2.

Row 16-19: Ch 3, turn. Dc across.

Row 20: Rep row 2.

Row 21: Ch 3, turn. Dc across.

Row 22: Ch 3, turn. Skip first 2 sts, sc in next. Ch 3, sk 1, sc. Ch 3, sk 1, sl st in last st. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Use beginning tail to sew to left shoulder.

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Have any of y’all seen Wonder Woman? If so, what did you think? 😀 As I mentioned before, I’d love any suggestions on how I can further my Wonder Woman education – where does a person start when reading comics? 🙂

Ooh, I just thought of a question: who’s your favorite superhero? Before this, mine was probably Thor (although Black Widow is undeniably fantastic, and I really like Iron Man because he’s my mom’s favorite!) I would totally love to get into this in the comments. 🙂

Hope you all have a fantastic day!

My Final English Project – “Ghosts” Amigurumi

I’m super excited for today’s post! This has been in the works for about a month or so, and I really wanted to share it with you guys. The short story is that I managed to get permission to crochet something for my English 104 final project. But you know me, I can never keep it to a short story…so if you want the long one, keep reading! 🙂

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I don’t really mention “everyday” life here, because it’s not conducive to a happy crochet blog! But a little background: I’m an English major in my first year of college, and one of my classes this term was ENG 104: Intro to Literature. It was a really fascinating class because my teacher taught it with a theme: “Illness Narratives.” This meant we read a bunch of pieces about illnesses, and analyzed not only things like literary devices and authorial intent, but also the perception and portrayal of illnesses in the media. This is something I’ve thought about quite a lot, having mental health problems myself, and it was wonderful to explore it in this class.

One of the assigned “textbooks” was actually a book I had previously read and loved: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. My sister and I love Telgemeier’s graphic novels, and she owns them all and kindly lets me borrow them. Ghosts just came out this year, so I was astonished to see it in the syllabus. Here’s the summary:

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.

 

It’s a really fantastic book and I can’t recommend it enough. For our final project, we had three options: a creative writing project, an art project, or a seven-page literary analysis (!). I opted for the art project, despite the fact I can barely draw a stick figure (much to my chagrin, as I would love to be able to doodle in class without mortifying myself). I can’t draw, but I can crochet… 😀

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My project was about the connection between visible and invisible illnesses, and I used Cat and Maya from Ghosts to illustrate this – Maya has cystic fibrosis, which is a very visible illness because of her breathing tube, while her sister Cat suffers from anxiety, which is a mental illness.

For the art project, we had to do a 2-4 page analytical essay describing how our project related to the course content, and incorporating several texts from the term. After a conference with my teacher, mine turned into 5 pages. 😛 And I decided to upload it here in case any of you were interested in reading it – not that you have to, because it’s kinda long and definitely not about crochet, but perhaps you’re curious. 🙂

The other book I reference in this essay is Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, which is a fascinating read and one I would recommend as well.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in reading: Visible and Invisible Illnesses

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I was really excited to incorporate crochet into my English class – it’s been such a fun term! And my dolls weren’t even close to the best project (not that it’s a competition) – I was really lucky to have such fantastic classmates. I think my next post will include the details on how I made Cat and Maya, because this post is pretty long already. 🙂

Have you guys read any of Raina Telgemeier’s books? I’m not usually a graphic novel person, but I really enjoy her work! And if you do happen to read my essay, I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts – I’m still waiting to get a grade on this one, so fingers crossed, haha. 🙂 Hope you’re all having a wonderful week!

 

 

Crochet Rosary Pattern

Hello lovely followers!

Today I have a different sort of crochet pattern, but one that I’m very happy about. I may have mentioned before that I’m Catholic – I was confirmed when I was fifteen, and my sponsor gave me a beautiful pink rosary as a Confirmation gift.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, a rosary is a string of beads used for counting prayers. Here’s a guide on praying the rosary if you’re curious. 🙂 (I’m certainly not trying to convert anyone to Catholicism, I’m just excited to share this.)

Since then I’ve sort of acquired a small collection of rosaries. 🙂 I love seeing how they can range from delicate beaded ones, like my sponsor/godmother picked out for me, to wooden ones, and everything in between. I even have a rosary bracelet. I really like the repetitive nature of the prayers, as it’s very calming, and I’ve started carrying a rosary around in my backpack to ward off panic attacks. The trouble is that I’m afraid of the fancier ones breaking, as I have quite a lot of stuff in my backpack (last I checked it weighs 20 pounds). So the obvious solution here was, of course, to crochet one. 🙂

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Joan of Arc is my patron saint, or Confirmation saint – the one I chose when I got Confirmed. She’s the patron saint of France, and I am now a French and English double-major. 🙂 Also, am I the only one who really likes small version of books? The Pocket Gospels is the cutest thing. 🙂

There are several patterns for crochet rosaries out there, such as this one, but I wanted to try something different for the beads. Years ago I discovered the “Sparkle & Shine Necklace” by Red Heart, which has a fantastic “bead” pattern for the necklace. It worked perfectly for my purposes. That’s why I don’t want to claim any design credit here; I guess you could think of this as a really big modification to the pattern. 🙂 But I did want to share the modifications I made!

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On the left is the rosary my sponsor gave me. It’s definitely my favorite – pretty and meaningful! 🙂 ❤

Materials

  • Size 10 crochet thread – I used Aunt Lydia’s Bamboo Crochet Thread in coral, I believe. Not positive on the color name. It’s super soft and lovely. I want to experiment with different yarn weights as well – I think thinner would work better.
  • 2.1 MM crochet hook
  • Cross charm for the end – rosaries traditionally have a crucifix. I had some cross charms I got at Michaels a while back, so I used one of those. I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with having a cross rather than a crucifix, just that the latter is generally preferred. I think it’s because it’s helpful to look at a crucifix while you’re praying. I’m still learning. 🙂

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Pattern

I actually don’t want to copy the bead pattern here for fear of plagiarizing, so please check out that necklace pattern to find out how to do the beads. 🙂 When I say “make a bead” in this pattern, I’ll be referring to chaining 2, and doing the hdc stuff as described in the pattern.

I chose to make the Hail Mary and Our Father beads the same size, instead of making the Our Father beads larger.

Ch 5, bead. (So you’re really chaining 7 here – the ch 2 starts the bead.) Ch 4, bead. *Ch 1, bead* 2 times. Ch 4, bead. Ch 5.

Now we’re going to do the triangle that divides the bottom part from the five decades. (I’m not sure what the bottom part, with the cross, is called!) I chose to make this crocheted instead of trying to attach a charm. Again, not sure what that’s called. I need to take a class on rosary vocabulary. 🙂

Row 1: Ch 2. 2 sc in 2nd ch from hk, going under two loops of the chain.

Row 2: Ch 2, turn. 2 sc in each st.

Row 3-4: Ch 1, turn. 2sc in first st, sc across. Ch 5 at the end of Row 4.

Decades:

Bead. *Ch 1, bead* 9 times (so you have 10 beads total). Ch 4, bead, ch 4.

Repeat this four more times, so you have five decades total. The only difference after the last one is that you’ll chain 5 instead of 4. Then sl st to the other side of the triangle. Fasten off, weave in ends, and sew your cross of choice to the starting tail.

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A photo that might help with bead placement.

I know this post is different than usual, but I hope you liked it – I really wanted to share this with y’all! I don’t talk much about religion here because this is a crochet blog, and I don’t want to spark any arguments, but I trust you guys to know I’m not trying to force my religion on anyone. I just get great happiness from sharing my latest projects, and I also happen to really like being Catholic. 🙂 I think there’s space for all religions and philosophies!

I’ll be back soon with more crochet stuff. There are more dolls I can’t wait to show you…and I collaborated with my sister, who’s an extremely talented artist, to design an amigurumi we’re really excited about. I’m still crocheting it, but I already can’t wait to show you. You’ll never guess… 😀

Thank you so much for reading and for all your wonderful comments. You guys are the best. ❤ Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

Updates

Hello lovely followers!

I just wanted to give a quick update to happenings around Once Upon a Yarn. I’ve been remodeling, because I decided it would be nice to have a professional-looking home page for my blog…mostly just to see if I could pull it off. And also because when I give out my blog address to people, I’d like to make a good impression. 🙂 Anyway, you may have been getting weird email updates while I was doing this, and if that’s the case I apologize. All should be well now…and I’m anxious to see what you think!

Also, I made a page for fandomgurumi – thank you for your support and feedback on the idea! I’ll be updating it when I get a chance; I’m really excited about this bit.

Advice? Criticism? I always welcome your thoughts. 🙂

Amigurumi Feyre & Sarah J. Maas Launch Party

Hi friends!

You may remember the Lunar Chronicles dolls I crocheted a while back… two years or so ago, actually. I made them because I was going to the launch party for Winter and I got to meet the author, Marissa Meyer, which was the coolest thing ever! You can see Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter if you’re interested.

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I’m a huge fan of fantasy novels, and I got into the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas about three years ago. When I started reading, her third book was about to release, and now she has EIGHT books published – five in that series, and a trilogy called “A Court of Thorns and Roses” (which is such a pain to say that she, and the fandom, call it ACOTAR). Well, I found out she was coming to my town for the release of the third book in the trilogy, and I immediately started fangirling.

It will probably come as no surprise that I wanted to crochet something for the occasion! Since I made an Iko as a gift for Marissa Meyer, I wanted to crochet a character for Sarah J Maas too. I’m in a fan group for Throne of Glass on Facebook, and they suggested I crochet the main character from ACOTAR, who’s named Feyre. (Weird names, I know, but what do you expect from fantasy? It’s pronounced Fay-ruh. 🙂 )

Disclaimer: I know some people read The Lunar Chronicles at my recommendation, so I want to make it abundantly clear that although SJM books are labeled ‘young adult,’ I would DEFINITELY classify them as ‘adult.’ There’s a reason I didn’t read ACOTAR until I was 18! Both of her series are of the ‘dark and edgy fantasy’ vein…I’ve heard it compared to “Game of Thrones.” Just fair warning so you know what you’re getting into. 🙂

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Well, here she is! Excuse the awful embroidery on her hand, which is supposed to resemble the main character’s tattoo, a sort of flowery/viney thing. My embroidery skills are not up to par. But apart from that, I rather like how she turned out. 🙂

I’m going to do my best to write up the notes on how I made her, because it’s really handy for future reference, and who knows – maybe some of you are ACOTAR fans!

Materials

  • Red Heart Super Saver in Aran for skin
  • Lion Brand Heartland for hair. I don’t remember the color name, but it’s this lovely reddish color – it was hard to find the perfect yarn for her hair!
  •  Loops & Threads Woollike yarn in black for dress, and gray for cape – it’s a #1 weight yarn and is super soft. Not itchy at all.
  • Silvery embroidery floss for detail on top
  • Thin silver shiny thread to hold along with Woollike yarn for the bodice. I bought this in a little spool for about $3 and still have a bunch left.
  • Safety eyes – I painted these with nail polish. Not too thrilled with how they came out, so for future amigurumi dolls I bought safety eyes that you can paint on the back, so they’re still shiny on the front. I can’t wait to show you how they turned out, in a future post!
  • 3 pipe cleaners, 1 per leg and half for each arm
  • G (4.00 MM) crochet hook for doll and hair
  • D (3.25 MM) crochet hook for dress (I’m almost positive this is the hook I used – I forgot to write it down)
  • C (2.75 MM) crochet hook for detail on dress

It’s hilarious how many supplies are required for a tiny amigurumi doll!

The pattern

I used the absolutely wonderful Mini Free Spirit pattern from By Hook, By Hand. It’s by far my favorite doll pattern, and the designer, Beth, is kind enough to provide it for free. I can’t recommend it enough! I took three rows out of the head because for some reason it was turning out oblong for me (same with the Lunar Chronicles dolls) and followed the rest of it to the letter.

The dress was a bit of a challenge. I based it off the cover for A Court of Wings and Ruin, which is the book that was releasing, on which Feyre is wearing her High Lady dress. The fandom seems to be rabid over this dress, and I can see why, it’s gorgeous! Take a gander:

I really like it. Sophisticated and sparkly. A little too edgy for my personal tastes, but then again, I am not a sword-wielding faerie. It’s kind of funny to take such a fierce heroine in her edgy dress and turn her into a chubby little amigurumi doll…but it was a fun challenge!

Feyre’s High Lady Dress

I used 2 strands of black Loops & Threads Woollike yarn held together for this, and stranded some sparkly thread along for some of it. I’ll specify when to do that.

Start with sparkly thread held along.

Round 1: Foundation dc 26, sl st to join.

Round 2: Ch 2 (does not count as a stitch, now and throughout). (Dc 1, inc) 2x, sk next 6 sts. (Inc, dc 1) 3x. Inc, sk next 6 sts. Inc, dc 1, inc. Join with sl st to first dc.

Round 3: Ch 2, dc in each st around, increasing at each armpit. Sl st to join.

Round 4-5: Ch 2, dc in each st around. Sl st to join. Drop sparkly thread at end of Round 5.

Round 6: Ch 2. (Dc 3, inc) around. Sl st to join.

Round 7: Ch 2, dc in each st around, sl st to join.

Round 8: Ch 2. (Dc 4, inc) around. Sl st to join.

Round 9: Repeat Round 7.

Round 10: Ch 2. (Dc 5, inc) around. Sl st to join.

Round 11-14: Repeat Round 7.

Pick up sparkly thread again. Ch 2. Starting in same st, *(dc, ch 1, dc) all in same st, sk next st, rep from * around. Join with sl st to first dc. You’ve added a sparkly V-stitch edging, hurray.

I still need to write down directions for the cape. But for the part at the top, use sparkly embroidery floss and add about 10 stitches of double crochet like you see in the picture. Just trial and error for this bit. 🙂

Hair

My favorite part!

I made the wig cap the same as I did for Cinder. Then I cut pieces of yarn by measuring them out around ACOTAR. =) The yarn was really helpful and it actually un-plied itself while I did this, so I barely had to separate the strands of yarn – it was fantastic! Then I hooked them into the wig cap and ran a hair straightener over it. I also added a part line by making a chain of 10 and hooking yarn strands into either side of the chain, then sewing that onto her head. I trimmed her bangs as well.

And guess what?

Completely unintentionally, she looks a good deal like my favorite TV show character EVER… Fauxlivia from Fringe!

Hehe, fandoms colliding. This made me greatly happy – and now I know how to go about crocheting Fauxlivia! 🙂

The actual event

Like I said, I was planning to give crochet Feyre to Sarah J. Maas when I got my books signed. Well, unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a ticket for the signing line, even though I showed up four hours early – the signing was at 6:30, but apparently people had arrived early in the morning to snag their tickets. There were only 250. I was disappointed, but I perked up when I realized this meant I could keep ami Feyre. I finished her about a month before the signing, so she’d been decorating my bookshelf for quite awhile, and I must confess I grew rather attached to her. So I didn’t get to meet the author, but I got to keep my little crochet companion!

I did manage to snag a copy of the book, though, which was fortunate as they sold out super quickly. There were probably five hundred people there – it was insane! I nearly got trampled trying to get a chair.

This is as close as I got. 😛 Author on the right.

I did still get to see Sarah J. Maas be interviewed, which was super entertaining. Apparently she’s a Hufflepuff, like yours truly – and Thor is her favorite Avenger. Mine too! Maybe I should crochet some Avengers… 🙂

Anyway, I think I will keep crocheting characters and bringing them to book signings… time to see when Marissa Meyer will be in town next, I guess! 😀 I’m actually working on some characters from the 100 right now, you may have seen my progress over on Instagram. So they’ll be making it to the blog in the near future. This post took me forever to write, haha… I think I’m going to make a page for fandom amigurumi. Fandomgurumi, perhaps? 😀 There’s definitely going to be more of them!

Have y’all read any Sarah J. Maas books? Any suggestions on future fandomgurumi adventures? I always love to hear from you! 😀

Crochet A to Z: Zen

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the link at the top of my blog!

Here we are, at the last day of the A to Z Challenge. It’s been a super fun, exhausting month – thank you so so much for joining me on this adventure! Your comments have completely made my day and helped me enjoy blogging again. I can’t thank you enough for all your support and friendship. 😀

I also have to extend thanks to my sister for helping me think of a word for “Z.” If it weren’t for her whipping out the dictionary, we would be talking about zombies or zebras today. For an English major, I really do not have the best command of the English language. 😛

Zen: Japanese, literally ‘meditation,’ from Chinese chán ‘quietude,’ from Sanskrit dhyāna ‘meditation.’

There is certainly a meditative quality to crochet (and knitting, absolutely, but this is “Crochet A to Z” – knitting is way outside my field of ‘expertise.’) I’m no expert on meditation, but I have taken several yoga classes, including one designed specifically for people with anxiety, and have found it to essentially be the clearing of the mind and focusing on one thing in particular. Usually the breath.

So I did a little research to find a better definition than this:

In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. (yogainternational.com)

Crochet is sort of a form of meditation when you focus on the yarn and stitches and don’t let your thoughts go a hundred miles an hour. It’s also a fantastic de-stressor.

There are some stitch patterns in particular that lend themselves well to relaxation and meditation – usually ones without a lot of counting. Although there is certainly a zen quality to more complicated patterns like mandalas, it’s also nice to have something that doesn’t involve a ton of mental labor so you can really focus on the stitches.

I wanted to share a fantastic post from the Interweave Crochet blog that instantly came to mind when I decided to do a post about “Zen” for today. It’s called “Zen and the Art of Stash Diving.” Definitely worth a read! There’s a beautiful lacy scarf pattern in the post that I think of as “Zen Lace,” although I don’t think that’s the actual name. The post encourages you to pick a random ball of yarn from your stash (eyes closed!) and crochet a scarf with it, just focusing on the stitches. A great exercise in meditation of a sort.

Relaxing is next to impossible for a person with two anxiety disorders…but crochet really is quite calming. 😛 I only mention this because I want you to know that if you experience the same things, you’re not alone. I think a lot of people with mental health issues benefit from things like crochet, and I’d be interested to hear your experiences if you feel comfortable sharing! 🙂

Thank you so much for joining me for the A to Z Challenge – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I did. I’ll see you soon for another post, although I certainly won’t be posting with as much frequency…the 26 posts almost destroyed me this month, haha, but it was worth it. 😀 Have a fantastic day!

 

Crochet A to Z: Yarn!

I’ve been waiting for this post all month…it’s by far my favorite! I’m super excited to talk about one of the best parts of crocheting – YARN.

It’s no secret that I absolutely love yarn, as I’m sure many of you do as well! I thought maybe I should start off by giving you a tour of my yarn stash…so I made a video. My stash is a little messy, to put it nicely – organization is not my strong suit – but I never said I was one of those super organized crochet designers. 🙂

I’ve acquired a fair amount of yarn in my time crocheting – yarn stores are a dangerous thing. 🙂 I’d love to hear what your yarn stashes are like!

There’s so much to say about yarn, there’s no way I could ever get to it all in one post. So I thought we could just touch on the various categories, and how you can go about choosing yarn when you start crocheting. 🙂

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A Hobby Lobby store from when I visited family in Michigan this summer – they don’t have Hobby Lobbies in my current state, and I was over the moon to find my favorite brand of yarn again!

Fibers

There are lots of different fibers, like acrylic, cotton, and tons of different kinds of wool. I’m allergic to wool, so I won’t pretend to know anything about it. I’m an acrylic fan, myself, because it’s so easily washable. But I will readily admit it’s not always the nicest yarn – natural fibers can be super soft and amazing! I really wish I could wear wool, but it’s too itchy…if I want to know if something contains wool, I just hold it to my neck or the inside of my wrist and within seconds I can tell, just because my skin is so sensitive. 😛

I really recommend learning to crochet with acrylic yarn. First, it’s the least expensive (in general), so you won’t break the bank and feel guilty about wasting fancy yarn. Second, it’s super easy to find at just about any craft store (like JoAnn’s or Michaels – you probably won’t find acrylic yarn at specialty yarn stores!) Third, it’s smooth and doesn’t split (which means your crochet hook catches on the fibers as you crochet). Once you get the basics, then there’s a whole world of yarn to explore. 😀

I use cotton yarn for dishcloths, but not for much else. Fiber snobs will hate me for cheerfully crocheting with cheap acrylic yarn, but I’m a broke college student who’s allergic to wool. What do you expect? 😛

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Yarn Weights

Some yarns are thinner than others, and you would use different weights for different projects. For example, bulkier yarn is great for blankets, while thin thread-like yarn is good for lacy shawls. The Craft Yarn Council has a standardized way to sort yarn, using little yarn symbols with numbers inside. Click here to visit their website and learn more about that!

Some of the different weights are fingering-weight, sock yarn, DK (double knit), worsted, bulky, super-bulky, and (a new addition as of this year!) jumbo. Some of these weights have more than one name, like worsted/aran weight, and the full list is on their website.

I would recommend learning to crochet with #4 weight yarn, which is worsted. It’s probably the most popular weight, and is a nice medium size for learning. You definitely don’t want to start with too thin of yarn – very frustrating!

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Colors

This is where it gets fun!

I’m not particularly good at putting colors together, so I often bring my sister, who’s a fantastic artist, to the yarn store with me. She has a fantastic eye for color and has helped me with many decisions in the past. But if you don’t have a resident artist at your disposal, you can always scour the Internet for inspiration! I really want to direct you to Lucy of Attic24, if you haven’t already heard of her. Her blog is full of color inspiration. She even sells yarn packs! I received one for my 17th birthday, and you can see a picture of it above. I absolutely love her color arrangements – I would never have thought to put these colors together, but I love the result!

Here’s how they look crocheted into something, if you’re curious. 🙂

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Local Yarn Stores (LYS)

Then the real danger begins… YARN SHOPPING. 😀

Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics are wonderful, but it’s also really fun to explore smaller, specialized yarn shops. The yarn is more expensive, but it’s the kind of stuff you can’t find at chain stores – fancier fibers and the like. Which means I can’t wear it, but I still love visiting my LYS (local yarn store) for inspiration. It’s also really fun to talk with the owners and employees, who are super knowledgeable about yarn-related things…sometimes the stores offer classes, too! I took a knitting class at my LYS and it was super fun.

I mentioned that I went to visit Michigan this summer. (I got to go to my cousin’s wedding, which was super awesome!) When I was there, my grandma took me yarn shopping, and we did some crocheting together – it was a blast! We went to Hobby Lobby, which has my favorite yarn brand ever – “I Love This Yarn.”

Side tangent: this actually led to a hilarious conversation with my aunt, who is a knitter and wanted to know what my favorite brand of yarn is.
Me: I Love This Yarn.
My aunt: I know you do, what kind is it?
Me: It’s I Love This Yarn.
My aunt: (getting frustrated with my lack of help) Yes, but what brand?
Me: (using air quotes to get the point across) The name is “I Love This Yarn.”

Anyway, confusion aside, I really do love this yarn because it’s SUPER SOFT. You know how Red Heart Super Saver has a bad reputation for being kind of scratchy? Well, I Love This Yarn is about the same price, has the same yardage, a HUGE variety of colors, and it is the softest yarn on the face of the earth. It’s ridiculous. And it gets SOFTER when you put it through the washer and dryer. By far my favorite yarn brand! Unfortunately, there are no Hobby Lobbies where I live now, and I don’t like buying yarn online. So it was a huge treat to see a WALL of this yarn. (I realize I seem overly excited in this paragraph. It’s because I am. 😉 )

After we went to Hobby Lobby, my grandma took me to another yarn store, but this was a LYS. I really wish I could remember the name! I was a little unsure about taking pictures inside the store, but I wanted to share it with you all. Just look at this glorious yarn.

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The organization in this picture pleases me greatly ❤

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Side note here: The fiber world seems to be obsessed with “Noro” yarn. It’s absolutely gorgeous, isn’t it? But it feels super scratchy, and I don’t think it’s just because of my wool sensitivity. Sad, because the colors are so pretty!

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My grandma picked out this gorgeous red yarn and commissioned me to make a pair of fingerless gloves for her. Which I was of course delighted to do! 🙂 I don’t get a chance to crochet with this quality of yarn very much (Red Heart Super Saver being my go-to), so this was a treat. (Also, my fingernails look nice for a change in this picture…sigh. :P)

All right, I could keep going on about yarn for ages and ages, but I think I’ll stop here. I would absolutely LOVE to discuss yarn with y’all – what are your favorite brands? Are you a fan of wool? Do you frequent your LYS? Do tell! And I’ll see you tomorrow for the last post in Crochet A to Z – it’s been a fun month! 🙂

Crochet A to Z: X = Single Crochet {How to Read Crochet Charts}

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the link at the top of my blog!

Hello friends! I am super excited to present something for the letter “X” today. I know it’s kind of a long title, and not the greatest, but really how many words starting with X relate to crochet? I’m extremely fortunate that the symbol for single crochet is “X,” so I thought it would be good to talk about crochet charts today!

Crochet charts are something I’m definitely not an expert on. For a while I didn’t even know they existed (I think I’ve said that about a dozen times this month, actually). But they’re just another way to communicate crochet patterns – and the great thing about charts is they’re universal. You know that frustrating moment when you find that PERFECT crochet pattern on Pinterest, but the pattern is in a language you don’t speak? If there’s a chart, there’s no need for that frustration. (Of course, half the time I can’t even track down the original source on Pinterest, but that’s a topic for another day. =) )

I got really bored in French class today and, instead of doodling (because I can’t draw), did a chart for a granny square:

And here’s a crochet chart I drew up for a doll dress pattern (back from when my blog name was Cogaroo Crafts!):

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Excuse the bad iPhone pictures. I don’t have chart-making software. 🙂

It’s basically a bunch of symbols that represent stitches – like a really technical picture, I suppose. The first step is figuring out which symbol is which. There are tons of crochet stitches, therefore tons of symbols too – however, I’ve drawn a really short list of the basic stitch symbols. (US terms)

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Notice the symbol for single crochet can be either a lowercase “T” or, of course, an “X.” 😉 Obviously this is nowhere near an exhaustive list…

Click here to see the complete list of Crochet Chart Symbols on the Craft Yarn Council’s page! 

So then it’s just a matter of looking at the chart and translating the terms. It really just takes practice and a little trial and error – I thought it might be helpful if we went through a couple charts for examples, and I’ll give you the written pattern as well as the chart so you can compare. One tip is to look for the triangle, where you fasten off or start crocheting.

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(Start in the lower left-hand corner for this one!)

The written pattern would read like this (US terms as always):

Row 1: Ch 8. Sc in 2nd ch from hk and in each ch across.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st across.

Row 3: Ch 2, turn. Hdc in each st across.

Row 4: Ch 3, turn. Dc in each st across.

Row 5: Ch 4, turn. Tr in each st across. Fasten off.

Definitely not an exciting pattern, just basic stitches, but I hope you can see how they’re methodically stacked on each other – once you find out where to start (in the lower left hand corner of the picture in this one), just follow the symbols.

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Here’s a chart that would produce a sort of leaf-shape (as you can tell from the title). This is just a one-row pattern, see how the triangles are on the same side? One is for the slipknot and one is for fastening off.

Row 1: Ch 8. Starting in second ch from hk, hdc, dc, 2 tr, hdc, sl st in last st. Fasten off.

It’s also cool how the chart forms a leaf-shape. You can usually tell what the finished crochet will look like just from the chart.

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Here’s a chart for the first round of a granny square! I forgot to draw the triangles on this one, though. But not all charts have triangles to show you where to start and finish off.

Ch 4, sl st into first ch to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 3, 2 dc into ring, ch 3. *3 dc into ring, ch 3* 3x, sl st into top of first ch to join.

I was too lazy to continue this chart, but that’s the first round of a traditional granny square.

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One of my wonderful followers showed me how to make crochet charts in Microsoft Word, and I wanted to share it with you briefly! Thank you so much, Kristen, if you’re reading this. 🙂

Here are two examples. You just use Courier for a font, because every letter is the same width, and find letters that match the symbols. “X,” of course, is easy, and O works for a chain. The chart with T is a half-double crochet example, and I used the number 8 for a chain 2. You can also look under ‘special characters’ to find some that work – there’s actually a symbol for double crochet, believe it or not. So this is a great way to make some charts, especially ones in rows!

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Obviously this just scratches the surface of crochet charts – there’s still so much I want to learn about them! I just wanted to offer a brief explanation in case you’d never encountered them, because they’re so useful. What are your thoughts on crochet charts? Do you like using them? Any tips for reading them/decoding them? 😀

 

 

Crochet A to Z: Weaving in Ends

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the link at the top of my blog!

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Hello friends! Fun times today as we talk about weaving in ends. 😉

Like gauge, weaving in ends is one of those things likely to make most crocheters (and knitters) groan. For projects with a lot of color changes, weaving in ends can be really time-consuming and monotonous, especially if you save it all for the last minute. But unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil – if you don’t properly weave in ends, your hard work is likely to unravel, and that would be a tragedy!

Quick explanation that weaving in ends is how you hide the tails left from the beginning and end of your project. Sometimes you’ll have yarn tails from the middle, too, if you changed colors or ran out of yarn and had to join a new ball. I can’t stress this enough: DON’T cut off the yarn! If you do that, there’s nothing to stop your work from unraveling.

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In the picture above, I’m weaving in the end from a granny square. The basic concept of weaving in ends is that you want to hide the yarn end in the crochet, and then you can trim it off. It can get trickier if you have open-work patterns, such as lace or mesh, because it’s harder to hide the end invisibly. But for solid crochet it’s fairly simple.

Thread the yarn end onto a yarn needle, or tapestry needle (these are needles with a bigger eye so the yarn tail can fit through them). You can get them in metal or plastic, but I prefer metal because they don’t bend, and therefore frustrate me less. I have also never managed to break a metal yarn needle.

Then bury the yarn end in the stitches as shown in the picture. Contrary to the name, you don’t actually have to “weave” back and forth – that makes the stitches more visible.

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Here’s another closeup that I hope will help. When you’ve woven in one direction for awhile, weave back in the other direction to help lock the tail into place.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up for weaving in ends…even if I don’t use them as much as I should!

  • Don’t save them all for the end of a project – weave at the end of each color change! I really should do this. Every time, I promise I’ll weave as I go, but I never do. Learn from my mistakes! 🙂
  • Find a pincushion or bag or something for your yarn needles. I stick mine in a crochet cupcake I made a while back in an effort to keep track of them. Still, I’ve lost dozens of yarn needles – I think there’s a gremlin or goblin or something that exists solely to steal yarn needles and hooks from unsuspecting crocheters.
  • If you’re working in the round, weave in that center tail very securely.
  • When cutting your yarn, or starting a project, leave at least 6 inches of yarn – more is better – to weave in later. It’s very frustrating to try and weave in a too-short tail.
  • Save your yarn scraps to use as stuffing for amigurumi!

Any tips you’ve picked up to make weaving in ends less painful? 🙂 It’s not my favorite part of crochet, but it’s not the worst thing ever – I’d love to hear your thoughts!