The Twin Beanies

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It turns out that our hike from last week came at just about the perfect timing since we are now having even more rain, wind, cold, mud, and weather that generally invites one to stay indoors for many cups of hot tea, good reads and, of course, yarn!

I just finished making these twin velvet hats for Shira and Tehilla, which marks the end of my stash of velvet yarn – phew! I love the result, but it was sure more difficult than usual to work with, and it has little to no stretch so it requires exact measurements.

Both hats are pretty freeform, worked starting from the brim and bottom up. I did cable twist and alpine stitch on the other.

I hope you are all warm and cozy this winter, and I wish you all a very happy new year of creativity, crafting, and making wonderful memories with your families.

Modified Dragon Scale Crochet Gloves

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The crocodile stitch is one of the most fun crochet techniques I have mastered lately. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quick and easy.

I was determined to learn it because I had my heart set on making a pair of these dragon scale fingerless mittens for a friend who had actually written a book about a mysterious disease that leaves human beings covered in dragon scales – I figured it would be the perfect gift for her book launch. DSC_0347.JPG

I followed this tutorial, but once I got to the wrist part, I did a stretchy ribbed cuff in the round by working single crochets in the back loop only – you can find a tutorial for working stretchy ribbing in the round here. I am now really addicted to making stretchy hat brims and cuffs!

Because I was working with color-changing yarn and no two skeins are exactly the same, there were slight differences between the two mittens, but I was pretty pleased with the dramatic “dragon color” effect.

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And here is the recipient with her newly published book! If you’re into dystopian sci-fi with dragons, deadly disease, and major conspiracies, check out The Dragon Plague by Anna Mantovani.

Soft Shells crochet beret

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Since I’ve ordered plenty of enticingly soft velvet yarn, I couldn’t resist making another cozy beret for these cold rainy days. This one is snugger-fitting than my slouchy beret, although it uses the same amount of yarn – and, what makes me really excited, it’s the first time I actually wrote down a row by row pattern when making an original item, so now I can share it with you all!

Materials: 1 skein velvet yarn

Crochet hook 4mm/ G

Special stitches used: shell; single crochet two together (sc2tog)

Row 1: make foundation circle and work 12 double crochets into it.

Row 2: Work 3 shells across the dc (double crochet) tops. Slip stitch and join.

Row 3: Work two sc (single crochets) into the top of each stitch.

Row 4: Work 6 shells into sc row.

Row 5: Work 2 SC into the top of every second stitch: it would go 1sc, 2SC, 1sc, 2sc… All the way around, slip stitch and join.

Row 6: Work 9 shells into sc row.

Row 7: 1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc in top of same stitch… Repeat all the way around.

Row 8: 12 shells.

Row 9: 3 sc, then 2 sc in top of same stitch, repeat all the way around.

Row 10: 15 shells.

Row 11: 4 sc, 2 sc in top of same stitch, repeat around.

Row 12: 18 shells.

Row 13: Now we’re beginning the decrease. Make 4 sc, then decrease by crocheting two sc together (sc2tog).

Row 14: 15 shells.

Row 15: 3sc, sc2tog, repeat around.

Row 16: 12 shells (or 13 if tension seems too tight).

Row 17: 2sc, sc2tog, repeat.

Row 18: 10-9 shells (adjust for tension).

Row 19: 1 SC, sc2tog… Repeat.

Row 20 onwards: make a few rows of brim in SC, adjusting for desired tightness of fit.

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In the photo: Tehilla (9) modeling the Soft Shells beret for me. It’s adult-sized so it looks a good bit slouchier on her than it does on me.

Chunky crochet hat with stretchy brim

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We’ve finally had some rain, which means long, cozy evenings with lots of yarn! I just finished making this lovely textured hat with a long stretchy brim that can be folded on itself.

It’s really quite similar to my Cozy Cabled Crochet Beanie, except that I made the cabling wider by adding two front post double crochets and alternating the location of the crisscross in each sequence.

I also opted to make the brim with single crochet, rather than slip stitch, in the back loops. It makes for a lighter, less dense texture, uses less yarn, and is less weighty.

Made with yak wool blend and crochet hook number 5.

T-shirt yarn bicolor basket

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This was my first time crocheting a basket with t-shirt yarn, something I have wanted to do for a long time. Here are some insights I came out with:

Pros: I love working with t-shirt yarn! It’s fairly stretchy and slides through the fingers so nicely, with none of the scratchiness of some super bulky yarns or fibers like jute.

It also works up extremely quickly. This little basket here was whipped up in about two hours total. Which brings me to…

Cons: I got a rather smaller basket than I thought I would get. The diameter of the bottom is about the size of a dinner plate. I love little baskets and have a myriad uses for them, but I was kind of hoping for a larger one this time. When I finished, I realized that if I want a larger basket, I would have to spend more on materials than I was willing to.

Tips: This was my first time using the waistcoat stitch, and I think it’s just perfect for baskets. It works up very similarly to single crochet, except that instead of working into the top of the stitch, you insert the hook right into the middle of the little “v” in the previous row. This creates a sturdier texture that is really great for getting the basket to stand up on its own.

I also feel I’ve discovered my favorite yarn proportion for bottom vs. sides: 1\3 yarn for bottom, 2\3 for sides. That is, if you have 3 skeins, use one for the bottom and two for the sides.

I’d love to try making my own t-shirt yarn, but I’m not convinced it would be a good use of my time. If I give it a go, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Alpine stitch little cardigan

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So how am I countering this never-ending heatwave (and the tension in the south of the country)? Naturally, by making cozy and warm things that will come in handy when it’s finally cool and the rain comes and we all go looking for puddles.

I just finished another little cardigan for Hadassah. Once again, I started with a basic open raglan in double crochet and continued with the lovely textured Alpine stitch for the bottom part and sleeves – I used this free tutorial from Heart Hook Home, and by the way, I’m just so grateful to the lovely people who take the time to make video demonstrations of all those interesting stitches that really take crochet to the next level. When I started with crochet, there was no YouTube yet and all I had was my mom and grandma (which was great) and a stack of magazines that were older than I was. So today I’m like a kid in a candy store, with new tutorials, patterns, and ideas available at a click anytime, anywhere.

I do wish I could make the sleeves a bit longer, but I ran out of yarn and decided it would be too much of a hassle to order more. Still, it should be nice and warm.

I worked with worsted weight alpaca yarn blend similar to this one and a crochet hook number 4.

So what next? So many projects planned and some in the making! I will definitely share soon.

Textured toddler crochet pullover

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The following post is sponsored by LoveCrafts, the go-to place for all things yarn

I was reorganizing my closets about a week ago and, to my astonishment, discovered that Hadassah (19 months old) has hardly anything for cooler weather. It was really extremely surprising because generally, the little ones get so many hand-me-downs in great condition that I am forced to weed through them.

Anyway, I realized that I might not have many little sweaters, but I do have lots of yarn and endless fun patterns to try! So I decided to start with an easy thick baby cotton pullover incorporating this fun textured stitch I like to call the hourglass stitch (I have no idea what it’s commonly known as; I found the diagram in one of my vintage Russian magazines, a treasure trove not even Pinterest can compare with).

I started with a basic top-to-bottom open raglan, one of the most useful patterns I know. I knew I couldn’t make a tight pullover because Hadassah hates having her head squeezed through, so I opted for a few buttons at the back.

A shot of the buttons:

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Once I was done with the raglan part, I started working round and round from top to bottom down the body and sleeves. The hourglass diagram is as following:

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I know I’m repeating myself here, but being able to read a diagram is one of my most useful crochet skills ever. Dot = chain, the little t’s are sc, the long lines are dc, and the mushroom-like hooked things represent front post double crochet (I only had to do front post, not back post, because I was working in the round).

Now on to making more cozy cool weather goodies!