Saint Patrick’s Day Coffee Sleeve

St Patricks Day Coffee Sleeve

When it comes to coffee, I enjoy my Bibo Coffee. The other thing I enjoy just as much is dressing up my coffee cups with a cute sleeve. I try to coordinate them with the season or an upcoming holiday – I made one for Christmas and a couple for Valentine’s Day. So of course, I had to make one for Saint Patrick’s Day.

All of my sleeves start off with simple rows of half double crochet stitches worked in the round with increases every other row. Despite making several sleeves, I still need to adjust the stitch count a bit since they end up being a bit big every time. Once I have a ‘pattern’ that works, though, I promise to share it as a free pattern. In the meantime, I’ll refer you over to All About Ami’s coffee sleeve pattern. To make the shamrock, I used Skip to My Lou’s pattern. I had to use less stitches on the stem so that the entire shamrock would fit on the sleeve. For the coffee sleeve, I used Red Heart Super Saver yarns in Paddy Green and Soft White. For the shamrock, I used Vanna’s Choice Baby yarn in Sweet Pea.

Because coffee sleeves work up so fast, you’ll be able to make one just in time to enjoy on March 17th.

To make sure you get notifications of new posts, including an upcoming one with the basic coffee sleeve pattern I’ve promised, sign up using the ‘Follow’ option on the right hand bar.

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Wine Glass Cozy Pattern

Wine Cozy/Coasters

I’m very excited to be able to share this pattern with you. In my previous post, I’m in Love with the Shell Stitch, I showed you a wine glass coaster/cozy that I designed and stitched up all on my own! Today, I’ll be sharing the pattern.

But first: for anyone who may not be familiar with what a shell stitch is, the shell stitch (also known as the ‘fan stitch’) consists of multiple stitches being crocheted into the same stitch. Because you have multiple stitches sharing the same space, you end up with a cluster that resembles a shell, or a fan. In my pattern, I use two different size shells, a 5 double crochet shell and a 3 double crochet shell.

I like the idea of two colors in each cozy, each base (the first six rows) has its own unique color but the top part with the shells (rows seven and eight) are the same with all cozies. The same top color helps create a uniform look among all the cozies but the distinct base shows through the stem and allows for just enough distinction to help everyone keep track of their wine glass.
Wine Cozy Teal and Plum Base

Stitches Used:
sl st = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet

Supplies Used:
Size H hook
Weight 4 Worsted Weight yarn (two different colors if you want the base to have its own color)
Needle for weaving ends

Special Notes:
A 5 double crochet shell will be denoted as 5dcsh; a 3 double crochet shell will be denoted as 3dcsh.
The ‘chain 1’ at the start of the first seven rows will not count as the first stitch of each row; but it will for rows 8 and 9.

Instructions:
Row 1: form a magic circle, chain 1, 6 sc in magic circle. Join with sl st to first sc and pull end to close circle. (6)
Row 2: chain 1. 2 sc in each sc. (12)
Row 3: chain 1. (1 sc, 2 sc), repeat to end. Join with sl st to first sc. (18)
Row 4: chain 1. (1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc), repeat to end. Join with sl st to first sc. (24)
Row 5: chain 1. (1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc), repeat to end. Join with sl st to first sc. (30)
Row 6: chain 1. (1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc), repeat to end. Join with sl st to first sc. (36)
Row 7: chain 1. Sc in each stitch through the back loops only. (36)
With B working in back loops
Row 8: chain 1, counts as first sc. (Skip two stitches, 5dcsh, skip 2 stitches, 1 sc.), repeat 4 more times. Skip two stitches, 5dcsh, skip 2 stitches, join with a slip stitch to starting sc. (6 shell clusters, 6 sc)
Two 5dcsh
Row 9: chain 2, counts as first dc. Dc in same joining stitch. (Skip two stitches, sl st in next stitch, skip two stitches, 3dcsh in next stitch), repeat 4 more times. Skip two stitches, sl st in next stitch, skip two stitches, 1 dc in same stitch as first dc. Join with a sl st to first dc. Cut tail and weave in ends.

This is my first attempt at writing a pattern so please let me know if any of the instructions seem out of sorts.

Sharing is caring but stealing is not nice. Feel free to make dozens for yourself or to gift but please give me credit by including the link back to my pattern if you pin or share online.

Happy New Year!

It is now 2014 here in my beautiful Reno, Nevada. So with that: Happy New Year!

Thanks for exploring the land of crochet with me this past year. You have all been wonderful, thanks for helping me feel welcome in this huge blogosphere. I love crochet and I love our community as well. It’s my goal to keep sharing my passion with you all in this coming year.

For 2014, I hope that you’re bitten by the crochet bug often. I wish that 2014 sees many wonderful projects on your hooks – and completed ones off your hooks. May your yarn stash be plentiful and colorful. May your “WIP’s” and “PhD’s” be a source of pride and not stress.

Let’s make 2014 great, fellow crocheters!

How to Find Free Crochet Patterns

My sister-in-law has taken to crochet and I couldn’t be happier! Being a novice, she asked me for advice on where she can find patterns. Personally, I don’t recommend that a beginner buy patterns. If you’re a beginner, I recommend you work with free patterns because it will allow you to see which stitches are going to be used (do you recognize the stitches used?). You’ll also get a chance to read the instructions (do they make sense to you?). Lastly, you’ll get an idea of which supplies you’ll need (do you have the right size hook? Do you have enough yarn?). Plus, if you’re barely starting out, use your money to build up your hook collection or yarn stash first. 🙂

So where can one find free patterns? Thanks to modern-day technology and the abundance of information, free patterns abound! Here are a few of my favorite hunting grounds…

Online Directories:

  • Crochet Pattern Central. I have lost track of how many hours (yes, hours) I have spent on this Crochet Pattern Central’s online directory. Projects are sorted by categories to help make your search a little easier. Ultimately, you’ll be able to link to the page where the pattern is housed. The only downfall is that you only have the name of the pattern to go off of, so you might spend some time clicking on multiple links before you find something that’s close to what you’re looking for.
  • All Free Crochet. Similar to Crochet Pattern Central, All Free Crochet has patterns sorted by categories. Once you’re in a category, you can sort alphabetically, or by most/least recently added. Plus, you’re able to see a picture of the project in the results. Another great thing, is that this website offers a “Tutorials” link which is always helpful for beginners.
  • Craftsy.com and Ravelry.com. Online social networking communities are great places for fiber artists to collectively share their patterns. Some patterns might come with a small fee but there are plenty of free patterns available as well. On Craftsy, you can sort by craft type (so, crochet); then you can sort by difficulty. If you do an additional sort by lowest price, the free patterns will be listed first.  On Ravelry, you’ll have to create an account before you’re able to search for patterns.craftsy screen shot 122013

Yarn Brands
Many yarn companies, have their own websites and host their own free patterns. My favorites include those by Red Heart, Lion Brand, and Yarnspirations.com. The last one is a unique one because it’s the collective home for yarn brands Bernat, Caron, Patons, and Lily Sugar ‘n Cream. The great thing about Red Heart and Lion Brand is that they also have apps you can download so you can search for patterns from your smart phone device.

Youtube
One of the great things about searching for patterns on Youtube, is that many designers will post videos to show you how to crochet a project – great for the many of us who are visual learners. Two of my favorites include Maggie Weldon’s channel and Crochet Geek by Teresa Richardson.

Fellow Bloggers
There are so many of us out there and a lot of us like to share what we do and will gladly offer free patterns. google searchSearching through Ravelry, Craftsy, and even Pinterest, you’ll find that a lot of those patterns are offered by fellow bloggers. Another way to find them and their free patterns is by doing a Google search; no, really, just Google them. A search such as “free crochet pattern baby booties” will give you many results, most of which will lead you to a blogger’s page.

Where are your favorite places to search for free patterns?

I’m in Love with the Shell Stitch

I probably first used the shell stitch when I was pregnant with my boy – I made him a pair of mittens and a coordinating sweater. Yet, I want to say that I first fell in love with the shell stitch when I came upon Crochet Dynamite’s Shell Stitch Business Card Holder. I needed something small and cute that I could use to keep my preferred customer cards – primarily, my Bibo Coffee Co. punch card. This pattern was perfect! Inspired, I put my own spin on Crochet Dynamite’s pattern for my very own card holder. Shell Stitch Card Holder

Then last week, while browsing through Pinterest, I found a pin to The Diplomatic Wife’s Wine Glass Cozies. A coaster and a cozy in one? Brilliant! However, I wanted a cozy that could show a little bit of flair without being over the top. I couldn’t help myself and went with a shell stitch. The bottom (the coaster part) is single crochet in the round so that the shell stitch is really only on the visible (top) part of the cozy.IMG_7856

Then, in an encore presentation, the shell stitch came up again over Christmas holiday with my in-laws. I had a skein of Sheep(ish) by Vicki Howell that had been begging me for over a year to turn it into something beautiful. So I decided to make a hat for my eldest niece. Even though I start with double crochet stitches in the round for the crown and end in single crochet stitches for the brim, the shell stitch is definitely the star of the show. Girl's Shell Stitch Hat

And so my love affair is sealed as I’m sure it won’t be the last time this stitch appears in one of my creations. Do you have a special stitch (be it basket, crocodile, bobble, or other) that you find yourself drawn to more than others?

Knitting with a Crochet Hook…Kinda (Part 2)

In my previous post, I showed you what I was able to create with a knook. Here is a summary of my experience using a knook for the first time…

IMG_7490[1]

Practice Swatch

In the beginning:
– The foundation chains are stitched the same as with regular crochet.
– The first row is worked a lot like tunisian crochet. You insert the hook, yarn over, and pull up a loop; repeat until the last chain. The instruction booklet and video tutorials make it a point to caution you about not doing a crochet yarn over since a knook yarn over is different. This especially becomes important when you do the knit and purl stitches.
– I have having a very difficult time getting the stitches to look even. I realized that this was also my problem when using regular knitting needles. So I did a swatch to practice the stitches. Once I was more confident with holding the knook and thread, I went back to the cozy pattern.

During:
– I tend to crochet with aluminum hooks so the feel of the wooden knook was a little odd to me. The knook wasn’t sliding well between stitches. Then I remembered a trick I had read: run the hook through your hair, as close to your scalp as possible. The natural oils in your hair are supposed to help – and wouldn’t you know, it did!
– One of my “a-ha” moment revolved around how I hold the instrument. When crocheting, I hold the hook like a pencil. Yet when knitting, I hold the needle like I would a knife. This further helped me understand why I was having such a difficult time getting even tension with my stitches. Somehow, having this realization helped me gain more confidence in my knooking. To humor myself, I tried to hold the knook like I do a hook and it felt awkward.
hold-crochet-hook-1_1-800X800hold-crochet-hook-1_2-800X800

In the end:
Let’s start with the pluses…
– I enjoyed using my knook. I found it a lot easier to control the yarn with one hand and let my other one do the stitches (like crochet) without having to coordinate the use of both of my hand to complete a stitch (like in knitting).
– You can’t tell the difference between a product that was knitted and was that one knook-ed.
– I still love crochet very much and will more than likely keep preferring it over knitting. At least now, I feel that I have a “cheater” method if I happen to fall in love with a knitting project.
– Leisure Arts, the creators of the Knook, have great instructional videos on YouTube. When the written instructions got a little fuzzy, I was able to go online and find the tutorial video to go along.
And the minuses…
– I wish there was a way to purchase different size knooks without having to purchase an entire kit. Perhaps if we help spread the word about the knook, Leisure Arts will sell individual knooks and not just kits? 🙂
– If you’re not careful, you will lose stitches and if you don’t have a good grasp of the basics of knitting, you will be in a world of hurt trying to pick up your stitches. With this in mind, if you do wish to purchase a kit, I would recommend you spend a little more and get the Knook Expanded Beginner Kit. Not only will you get more hooks but you’ll also get chord clips and those alone will be a lifesaver.

Do any of you have experience using a Knook? If so, what kind of projects have you completed with it?

Photo Credit: Crochet Hook Holding by Boys Can Crochet.

Knitting with a Crochet Hook…Kinda (Part 1)

I’m not going to lie, when it comes to the age-old crochet vs. knit question, I have stood very firmly with the crochet camp. I mean, my blog is “In the Land of Crochet” after all. Yet, I’m also not one of those crocheters that subscribes into knitting-bashing. I have [unsuccessfully] tried knitting way too many times to not have appreciation for those who can master the craft. Because I’m stubborn determined, I have not sworn off knitting entirely and have vowed time and time again that I will get the hang of it. All the while, every attempt has never been pretty.

In my last attempt at knitting, I found out that there were two different styles of knitting — the continental method and the American method. This Youtube video by Liat Gat shows the difference between the two styles. This discovery was huge because being crochet-Knook Setdominant, continental made absolute sense! I tried a few stitches and success…mostly – but success nonetheless. Even though I had better control of the yarn, I was still having trouble “catching” the yarn to complete the stitch. “If only the knitting needle had a hook then I wouldn’t keep losing these stitches,” I thought. Imagine my surprise when I heard about the Knook from Leisure Arts. An even better surprise was finding it at my local Joann store and being able to score a deal on it!

Picture Credit: Simply Notable

Picture Credit: Simply Notable

I’ve had my Knook kit since this summer but had never gotten around to using it. Then a couple weeks ago, a friend let me know about this adorable mug cozy that she came across. “Noemi, I thought of you. Make me one?…” her message read – it was a picture of a cute mug cozy. Although Simply Notable’s Button Up Your Cup cozy was just too adorable to pass up, there was one teensy, tiny, baby hiccup of a detail. It was a knitting project. But wait- could this be a job for my Knook needle!?

Here is my finished product having used the Knook…

Finished Product

Finished Product

Stay tuned for “Knitting with a Crochet Hook…Kinda (Part 2)” where I give a summary of my first experience using the Knook.