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Crafty Resolutions – Final Stretch!!

 

It’s the final few days of our January Crafty Resolution Challenge!!  The challenge was to complete at least ONE new project each week!  How did everyone do!?!?!?

So far this month, I have completed way more than I expected!!

My first project was a tie for my cousin:

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My other projects included a headband for me (of which I ended up making 4 different sizes):

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and a beard hat for my 10 year old son:

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These were all fun projects that I intend on posting more about in the future.  First, I have to finish writing down how I IMPROVED them after making them the first go around 🙂

Head over to our Facebook Fan Page to share your projects you worked on this month!!  Can’t wait to see them!!

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February is almost here!!

So there are only about two weeks left in our Crafty Resolutions challenge!!  That’s two more projects to complete before the end of the month!  How are you coming in your challenge?

I wanted to go ahead and announce our challenge for February.  Each week your challenge is to do a different stitch.

The first week of February, the challenge is to do a project only using a single crochet stitch.

The second week of February, a double crochet stitch.

The third week of February, a triple crochet stitch.

And finally, the fourth week of February, the specialty stitch of your choice!  This could be a tunisian stitch (my new personal fave), a broom stitch, starburst, etc, etc!!  I’ll be posting options throughout the month!

I encourage everyone to keep posting pictures on our Facebook page so that we can see all your great projects!  How much fun will it be to look back at the end of the year and see how many projects we’ve accomplished!!

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A little history…

I got my start with crochet back when I was 9 years old.  My babysitter at the time taught me the basic chain stitch and my mom taught me the rest.  Over the years I would pick it up every now and then, but it wasn’t until I had my children (now 11, 10, and 5) that I really started crocheting. 

When I first started crocheting, my projects included dishcloths, hot pads, and blankets.  Straight back and forth.  It’s easy.

However, I started getting bored with the same things over and over again. 

About 6 years ago, I started crocheting more and more.  I taught myself how to follow patterns…it came with a LOT of frogging and starting over (For you newbies…frogging just means pulling out stitches).  I taught myself how to keep my edges straight.  How to work in the round. I learned to work out my gauge…doing my best to keep the stitches as even as possible.

The last few years, I would crochet only in the fall and right before Christmas, cramming as many hours on my hook as possible to get gifts cranked out. 

Now, I’ve made a commitment to myself to stick with it throughout the year.  To do what I love and be happy…all while creating cute things to bring joy to me and to other people.

I look forward to sharing this joy through this blog and also through The Hook Up community.

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Sock Monkey Hat and Stuffed Monkey

A lot of people have asked me to post the pattern for the Sock Monkey Hat and Stuffed Animal I made a while back.  I WISH I could claim credit for this cute project, but I found it on the Red Heart Yarn website.

The hat is a simple project that is worked in the round.  The monkey is a bit more intricate, but most people should be able to figure it out as it is worked in a spiral.  Use your stitch markers to keep track of your rows!!

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Here’s the original post for the pattern.

I used Red Heart Saver Yarn for the brown.  For the white and maroon I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn to provide a softer yarn on the baby’s face.  

Also, my gauge tends to be a bit looser so the hat turned out to be a bit too big for a newborn’s head.  Check your gauge prior to starting the hat if you tend to have a looser or tighter stitch.  Thankfully, the hat will be able to be grown into so I wasn’t too worried about it 🙂

I hope you enjoy the pattern!  Feel free to comment if you have any questions!!

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Q&A Saturday!!

The Hook Up Fan Jen Rodgers asked, “If you had never read/used a pattern and wanted to start, what kind of project would you recommend?”

This is a great question, because we have a lot of people reading who are beginners on our Crafty Resolution Challenge!! I would suggest starting with Video Tutorials on YouTube, or finding someone who is willing to take some time to sit down and teach you.

If you already know the basics, then you can start simple back and forth projects.

Simple projects include dishcloths, scarves, lap blankets, etc.  Anything that is a basic square or rectangle.  I would NOT suggest you start with hats or other projects that have you working in the round.

Starting with a basic square will allow you to learn what the stitches look and feel like.  This will also allow you to learn how to turn by stitching in to the previous row’s turn stitch.  This trick is vital to keeping your rows even.  Here’s how:

Most beginners get to the end of a row and think they have run out of room.  This is why counting stitches is so important.  Don’t worry, once you get the hang of crocheting, you won’t have to count as much…you’ll start seeing patterns and your inner mathematician will get excited…lol.

To keep the row straight you need to be sure and stitch into the hole that is easy to see, but you also need to stitch into the top of the turning chain.  In this picture, you will see what the end of a row looks like:

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Once you stitch there, you do your turning chain to go to the next row and you turn.

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At the start of the row, it is important to be sure you place your first stitch correctly.  Instead of crocheting into the first hole, you’re going to stitch into the 2nd hole.

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This makes sure your stitches line up and you don’t increase the number of stitches.  The first turning stitch is often counted as a stitch in most patterns.  If it isn’t, the writer of the pattern will usually say so.

Follow this method for every row and you are sure to get nice straight edges all the way up the project.  No more blankets that are skinnier at the top!

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Just because you are a beginner, doesn’t mean your projects can’t look great!  Pay close attention to detail at the start and you’ll be a natural in no time.  I’ve been crocheting since I was 9…I won’t say how long that’s been, because then I feel really old, BUT…I can say, that I still enjoy doing very simple patterns, mainly because they look so clean and precise.  You can even up the WOW factor by using some extra fun yarn, super soft yarn, or even organic cotton yarn for those dishcloths.  Sometimes the pattern is the backdrop to some great yarn!

Here are some easy patterns, that you’re sure to love!!

http://www.craftyrie.com/2012/11/free-pattern-crochet-easy-peasy.html

http://stitch11.com/simple-and-practical-dish-cloth/

http://brookeanndove.blogspot.com/2010/11/infinity-scarf-pattern.html

http://www.examiner.com/article/easy-one-skein-scarf-to-crochet

http://crochet.about.com/od/babypatterns/a/fast-easy-crochet-baby-blanket-for-beginners.htm

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/easy-cat-cage-nubby-blanket