Monday, September 30

new series ~ monday, funday :: vol III

Hi :)

As mentioned in the title of this post, I've decided to do a new series called:

 photo mondayfunday_zps3d2b177e.jpg

'Monday, Funday' will be posts where I share free crochet patterns, knitting patterns, sewing tutorials, DIYs, and recipes.

Today's Monday, Funday is just in time for this nice cool Autumn weather we're having...
The 'Effortless Cowl' is a great beginner crochet scarf pattern. Make one soon or pin it on Pinterest for a future project!

Liz of Crochet in Color has a lot of great patterns in her side bar as well. Check them out!

See you tomorrow!!

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Friday, September 27

boredom + knitting news

Hi :)

So, the other day my grandpa sent me an email with pictures of animals in clothes and I thought it was the cutest/funniest thing. To me, animals in clothes will always be amusing.
I went and did my own search (just because, why not?) and here some of the photos I found:

I've always wanted a ferret :)


Ok, so I know a lot of people think hairless cats are creepy, but I think that's what makes them cute :) Plus, look at those adorable sweaters!

Oh. My. Gosh.

And because sloths are SO adorable, here is a little video of a baby sloth getting a skin treatment and then getting wrapped in a onesie.

Ok, so for the knitting news...
I have been practicing a lot lately. In fact, I haven't crocheted in about 2 weeks. I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed with learning how to knit.

I found a group on Ravelry called 'Instagram-Along-Ers' (through a post from someone I follow on Instagram). Have you heard of it? Are you a member?
Well they're going to be starting a KAL (knit along) on October 1st!

These were the 2 project choices: (left) the Stockholm Scarf and (right) the Metalouse shawl.
I voted for the Stockholm Scarf and I'm so happy that it won the majority of votes.

I've never done a knit along (obviously) or a crochet along (CAL) so I'm only guessing how it works... I REALLY want to join in on this one because the project is gorgeous and I've had it on my 'want to make' list for a few months now.

Why am I telling you this? Well, if you are a knitter or you know someone who is and are interested in joining, now is the time! It starts October 1st and since that is 4 days from now (holy crap, it's gonna be October already?!!), that gives you a couple of days to gather everything you'll need.

Both patterns are free so you can always make them another time, I just thought I'd share since I'm super excited about it lol I'll be posting progress pictures as well, here on the blog and since I have no projects shared in my Ravelry profile, I'll be sharing there (which I'm assuming is what you do when you join a KAL or CAL?)

SO, with that said, I'll be getting myself ready for this knit along this weekend. I can't wait to start!!!

What are your plans for this weekend?

See you Monday, friend :)

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Thursday, September 26

playing catch up :: vol II

Hi :)

I follow a lot of blogs (via Bloglovin') and I haven't had a chance to go on there lately to get caught up... I logged in today and it said I had 295 unread posts. O_O

So, it's time for another blog catch up sesh! Here are a few things/posts I loved:

How great are these 2 videos that Kaelah from Little Chief Honeybee shared in her Things I Love Thursday post? She always finds such rad things!

How exciting is it that Vickie Howell has come out with a self striping yarn? I mean look how great those color combos are! Her other lines [Sheep(ish) and Cotton(ish)] have gorgeous saturated colors and I can't wait to get my hands on this new yarn of hers!

I love doilies! They are just so pretty to me :) Sandra of Cherry Heart recently posted all about her doily obsession with tons of beautiful pictures and links to all the patterns she used. I will definitely be making some of these for myself. She also has some great tutorials!

How cute and ridiculous is this match up? *sigh* Des Hommes et des Chatons knows how to cheer a girl up that's for sure! lol

Amanda of Little Lady Little City shared this super cute GIF in her Friday Fancies post and it pretty much sums up what I love about fall... PIE!!!

That's it for now. I'll share another catch up session with you guys again soon! If you haven't done it yet, check out the list of blogs I follow here, or click on the links I've included in this post!

See you tomorrow!

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Wednesday, September 25

crochet 101 :: read a written pattern

Crochet 101 is a series of crochet tutorials where I will teach you how to complete the basic stitches needed to crochet.

Hi :) 

So far, in Crochet 101, we have learned how to:

Only one more lesson to go before we can start our first project...
Let's keep going!

Lesson 22:
Patterns can either be written or use symbols in a chart form.Written crochet patterns can be hard to understand when you are first starting out because most patterns are written in short-hand.

I have never learned how to interpret patterns that have symbols only, so today we will be learning how to read a written pattern, learn the abbreviations of stitches and how to have it all make sense so we can actually make something!

**In this tutorial, I will be providing tips that helped me when I was first learning to crochet. Since I taught myself through YouTube and a combination of online tutorials, I will be sharing what worked for me. I am in no way and expert crocheter, however, I enjoy it very much and I believe I have enough experience to share with you. 

•Write down/print out a key of crochet abbreviations•
When I first began crocheting from a written pattern, I found it helpful to have a list of crochet abbreviations written down/printed out and by my side as I worked through a pattern. This helped me get used to the abbreviations in the patterns I was reading and I found that I needed to look up the abbreviations less and less. Plus it saves you from going back to the beginning of a pattern where it lists the abbreviations (if the pattern lists them) every time you forget what something means and you won't lose your place in the pattern.

•Read over the pattern before you start•
This will not only let you know what materials you will need for the pattern, but it will also give you an idea of what you will be doing stitch wise and technique wise. Pre-reading over the pattern will also let you know whether or not it is a well written pattern (does it make sense?). A lot of patterns online that are free are written by someone who does not have a lot of experience writing patterns or has not had the pattern tested by others before they publish it, so it could be full of mistakes. This will save you lots of frustration and tears. (Trust me on this one!) As you become more comfortable with stitches and how things are supposed to look, you may be able to interpret what is supposed to be done in a poorly written pattern.

•Note any special stitches that are in a pattern•
This helped me when I first started doing more advanced patterns. I really wanted to challenge myself as a crocheter so I did a lot of intermediate patterns when I first started out. It helped me to write down any special stitches and abbreviations for those stitches so that I wouldn't have to look up how to do it every time it showed up in the pattern.

•Keep a notepad and Post-it notes close by
I like to keep a notebook or notepad close by when working new patterns so that if I make an adjustment or change something in the pattern, I can use my notes when I work the pattern in the future.
I also keep a notepad handy to write down the hook and yarn information I'm using for a pattern. A lot of the patterns I have worked, I have never used the yarns they have listed for the pattern, so writing this information down is helpful for the future (if I have to stop for any reason or if I run out of yarn). I just look up what I used or am using and I'll be able to continue on with my project.
You don't have to do this, but I like to use a Post-it to help me keep my place in a pattern. That way if I have to stop and put the project down for a bit, I'll know where to pick back up.

Have fun•
Relax. When you're super tense about first starting out, it makes crochet no fun and I don't want you to feel discouraged and give up. Practice makes perfect!

Okay, now let's get started!

Firstly, here is a chart of crochet abbreviations and their meanings:
(chart made by me, terms found via Crafty Yarn Council)

I know it seems like a lot of terms to learn, but not all of them will be used in one pattern. The best way I can explain why patterns are written this way, is to think of patterns as short hand directions. If the pattern was written out word for word, some patterns would be like 50 pages long. Imagine doing that pattern. No thanks!
(Some of the stitches and terms, I plan on doing a future tutorial for, but if you need to learn them now, YouTube is a great place to start.)

I also want to share with you that US (American) and UK (English) have different meaning for certain terms. Below I've included a chart to show the different meanings:



Rounds or Rows?
If you are working a flat piece, or a piece that is crocheted in rows, your pattern will have directions for each row; I.E.: Row 1... And you will turn your work at the end of each row (like I have showed in the stitch tutorials).
If you are working a piece in the round, your pattern will have directions for each round; I.E.: Rnd 1: or Round 1... And you will be joining each round, working on one side of the piece only.
At the end of every row or round, some patterns provide the stitch count (the number of stitches you should have at the end of that row/round) so that you can keep track and make sure you are doing it right.

Some patterns have repeats. This is also another way of keeping a pattern as short as possible (besides the abbreviations). The symbols used to show that there is a repeat may very depending on who wrote the pattern, but if the pattern is written well, it will have a key provided to show you what symbols mean 'repeat'.

Patterns may use parenthesis (...), brackets [...], or asterisks *...* around stitches that are supposed to be repeated, and then following these symbols, will be the number of times this series of stitches needs to be repeated. In this case, you should do the stitches written in between the symbols however many times the pattern says before moving on to the next part. Sometimes the pattern will just say 'across' or 'to end' after the symbols, in which case you would keep repeating this stitch sequence to the end of the row or round. It may also say 'to last # stitches', and in that instance, you would repeat the sequence of stitches until the number of stitches listed are left and continue on with the pattern directions.

Here is an example of this:
(sc2tog, sc in next st) 3 times, 2 sc in next st.
So, the breakdown of this line is as follows:
single crochet 2 stitches together, then single crochet in the next stitch, then single crochet the next 2 stitches together, then single crochet in the next stitch, then single crochet the next 2 stitches together, then single crochet in the next stitch, then make 2 single crochet stitches in the next stitch.

Do you see how that can get long? 3 lines of instructions compacted into 1 line. Much better.

Putting it together:
Here is a sample round:
Rnd 5: (2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 sts) 6 times - (30 sts)
Now this looks pretty confusing for someone just starting out, but when you break down each piece of the pattern line, it is less daunting. Here it is broken down:
Rnd 5: This is the fifth round of your pattern.
2 sc in next st: Make 2 single crochet stitches in the next stitch, both in the same stitch.
sc in next 3 sts: Make 1 single crochet in each of the next 3 stitches.
(...) 6 times: Repeat the stitch sequence in the parenthesis 6 times.
- (30 sts): At the end of round 5, you should have 30 stitches.

(You can also go here and here for great posts on how to read written patterns if you are a little confused from this post.)

Try looking up some beginner patterns and just read over them, even if you don't plan to make the item, reading over the patterns will be great practice for when you're ready to start something!

I recommend using Pinterest or AllFreeCrochet for some beginner patterns. I learned from these places, and from watching a bunch of YouTube videos so if you want some suggestions for places to go, I'd be happy to help :)

That's all for this week's crochet lessons. I hope they were helpful!
As always, if you have any questions, just ask!

See you tomorrow, friend :)

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Tuesday, September 24

crochet 101 :: read a yarn label

Crochet 101 is a series of crochet tutorials where I will teach you how to complete the basic stitches needed to crochet.

Hi :) 

So far, in Crochet 101, we have learned how to:

• Make a slip knot
• Chain stitch
• Slip stitch (part II)
• Single crochet (part II)
• Half double crochet (part II)
Double crochet (part II)
• Treble crochet (part II)
Crochet in the back loop (part II)
Crochet in the front loop (part II)
Switch colors (part II)
Fasten off and weave in ends
Begin crochet in the round


You have made it through the stitches and techniques part of this series!

Now on to the next lesson!

Lesson 21:

Yarn labels have a lot of information packed on them. But what do all the symbols mean? Let's find out!

You will need:

Pictured above is the label on a skein of  RedHeart Soft yarn that I have waiting to be worked up into a cozy scarf. 

So what do we know by first glance?

If we take a look at the label, we can see that it is made by the RedHeart company and that it is the "Soft" yarn line. (Shown with the turquoise box in the picture above.) 

Turning the yarn over forwards:
We see that this yarn is made in the USA (pink box).
We see there is no die lot (turquoise box). - I'll explain why this is important information in a second.
We see how much yarn is in this skein (purple box). - This label shows how much yarn there is in ounces, grams, yards, and meters. Sometimes a label will only show yards and meters or it will show ounces and grams, so depending on your pattern, you might have to figure out how many skeins you will need based on this information. If you are a math wizard, then you will be able to guess how many yards or meters are equal to the ounces or grams of a skein (or vice versa). Me, I just estimate based on how big the skein looks. And I keep my receipt, that way I can exchange or return whatever I don't use.
We see any extra info the company might want to share (gray box). - Some yarn labels include a free pattern on the back of their label or a link to patterns that use that yarn. In this case, they also share where you can follow them on social media sites.

Turning the yarn over forwards:
•Again, we see that this yarn is made in the USA (pink box). - This time it tells us that this particular yarn is made in the USA, but it is made with imported fibers.
•We see an address (gray box). - This address is provided for anyone that wants to write in regarding this yarn.
We see what this label is made of (turquoise box).
•We see where the imported parts of this yarn come from (purple box).

Turning the yarn over forwards:
We see all the information that has to do with the color (purple box and pink box) and the batch (turquoise box) of this yarn. - The color is pretty self explanatory. The information in the pink box also has to do with the color. If you look online for this color, you would look up the name (white) and/or the color number, which in this case is 4601.
Since this yarn does not have a dye lot, it tells us what the batch number is and what time the skein was made. I would try to find another skein from the same batch if I could (since there is no dye lot number to match) that way the yarns are as close to one another as possible. Dye lot is important when you are purchasing more than one skein of a certain color because not all skeins are exactly the same. I've learned from experience that this is something that can't be overlooked. 

And finally, turning the yarn over forwards once more:
We see (again) that there is no dye lot for this skein (pink box).
•We see what weight the yarn is (gray boxes). - I will include a chart for this below.
We see what needles and what hook are recommended for this yarn and also how many stitches you should get in each 4 x 4 inch/10 x 10 cm section of your project (purple box). - In this case, they suggest using 5mm/8US knitting needles, which will give you 17 stitches across by 23 rows to equal a 4 x 4 inch/10 x 10 cm section; or a 5.5mm/I-9 crochet hook, which will give you 12 single crochet stitches across by 15 rows to equal a 4 x 4 inch/10 x 10 cm section.
Of course you can use whatever needles or hook you want, but it will change the gauge of whatever you are making. Be sure to make a small sample swatch so that you can see how the yarn will work up (especially important if you are making a piece of clothing!)
We see the care instructions for this yarn (turquoise box). - This is important if what you're making is expected to be washed. I will include a chart for what these symbols mean below.

So, as you can see, there is a lot of information included on a yarn label, but it is all useful information. Not all labels will include everything that this label does, but there should be main information available.

Below is a chart that I found (can't find the source) that lists the different weights that yarn comes in, what type of yarn category the yarn falls in, how many crochet stitches (couldn't find knitting) you should get to measure 4 inches, and what the recommended hook size is for that yarn.
You can find more yarn weight information here.

Also, this cute picture may or may not help you remember yarn weights...
And here is a chart that shows what the care symbols on the label mean.
There are tons more that you can see here.

If I have left anything out, or if you have any questions about this topic, please let me know!
Come back tomorrow to learn how to read written crochet patterns!

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Monday, September 23

monday, funday :: vol II

Hi :)

I hope you had a great weekend!
Have you been practicing any of the crochet lessons? How is that going?

I thought I'd share a pretty easy pattern again today (not mine). I'm thinking that Monday's might be for sharing patterns from other amazing crocheters if I have no WIPs to share. What do you think of this idea?

So here it is:


Everyone loves a good cup cozy :) This pattern is pretty easy too, so you could make a bunch of these in 1 afternoon if you wanted. BAM! Instant Christmas presents! ;)

Let me know if you make one!

See you tomorrow for this week's crochet lesson!!!

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Friday, September 20

shows I miss :: part 2

Hi :)

Yesterday I shared with you a few shows I'm looking forward to coming back this fall.
Today I'm sharing the rest of the list:
Season 4 airs: Monday, September 23rd 8/9c (NBC)

I enjoy this show more than American Idol (sorry, not sorry). I'm glad the original judges are coming back this season.

Season 15 airs: Tuesday, October 8th 8/7c (NBC)

So, I'm not super big into dieting and thinking that 'thin is in' or anything like that, but I'm super nosy and I like shows that get all up in people's business. Plus I feel like when I'm ready to start a fit journey or if I ever decide, "Hey, I want to start working out" I'll know what works and what the hell I'm doing. Plus their transformations are super dramatic sometimes.


Oh. My. Gosh. Do you remember when I first mentioned my love for this show? I think maybe the network got a lot of angry emails about this show not being on last year so they're bringing it back this year! I haven't told hubby yet... He will be so happy! I just have to keep looking on the website to find the actual air date I guess lol

I watch a lot of other reality tv shows, but some of them are airing now so I can't really miss them, and some I need to catch up because I missed the whole last season's episodes.

What shows are you looking forward to seeing this fall?

I'm not sure what the plan is for this weekend. If the weather is going to be cold, I'll most likely be sitting on my couch crocheting, knitting or reading. And I'll for sure be programming my DVR box to record these series' so I don't miss anything!!

See you Monday, friend.

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Thursday, September 19

shows I miss :: part 1

Hi :)

I love this time of year! Not only because it is finally cooling down and that makes for good yarny crafting weather, but because all of the best shows are coming back!!

Here are a few that I can not wait to start watching again:
Criminal Minds
Season 9 airs: Wednesday, September 25th 9/8c (CBS)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Las Vegas)
Season 15(?) airs: Wednesday, September 25th 10/9c (CBS)

Season 3 airs: Sunday, September 29th 9/8c (ABC)

Season 3 airs: Friday, October 25th 9/8c (NBC) 

These shows are SO amazing!
They're also introducing 2 new shows that I want to see:
all about ONCE in wonderland
Season 1 airs: Thursday, October 10th 9/8c (ABC)

Season 1 airs: Friday, October 25th 10/9c (NBC)

Do you watch any of these shows?
What shows are you looking forward to coming back?

Come back tomorrow to see part 2 of this list! :)

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