Monday, March 28, 2011

Crochet Letters/Color Change Tutorial

This tutorial (which I've been promising for awhile) is a crochet tutorial on how to make letters within a piece, along with how to change colors. This is not advanced by any means but you will have to know how to crochet to do this.

The first thing you want to do is have a plan/pattern. I bought graph paper notebook from Wal-mart for under 5$, I'm not sure exactly how much, but it was pretty cheap. Using a pencil, map out on your graph paper what you're wanting to make. Sometimes I draw the actual object I want to create and fill in the squares to resemble that object. Like so:

As you can see, there are a lot of notes on the sheet by the time the project is done. This is what came to be of this design:

With letters, I just start filling in squares until it looks like I want it to. In this case it's the word BABY. Make sure there is equal spacing between letters. For example, make sure the space between the last shaded square of the previous letter and the first shaded square of the next letter are equal, and between all letters. Once you have your plan you can start crocheting.

1. Count the number of squares from the first shaded square to the end of the word. Including all the spaces between the word. Each square counts as one stitch. In the case of BABY there are 34 spaces. Add any number of buffer stitches to both sides. I added 5 stitches to either side of the word BABY equalling 44 stitches altogether.

2. Create your foundation chain. With color A chain, or ch, 44 plus one for a turning chain. Single crochet, Sc, in the second ch from hook and Sc across the foundation chain. 44 sc. Follow whatever rule you're accustom to for turning your work and create two rows total with color A. This, along with the 5 stitches on either side of our word, will make a type of border around the word.

3. Determine which rows are working "backward" and "forward" to make sure you're building your word correctly. In most cases, all even rows are the right way or forward, and all the odd rows are backward. In other words, you're writing forward on the even rows and backward on the odds. This will ensure that you're counting the correct number of spaces and color changes to make your design work.

4. On the third row (the backward row) Sc your buffer stitches to the first color switch to color B. In the last stitch of color A, put the hook through the loop, yarn over or YO, pull through loop. It should look like this.

Then YO with color B pull through both loops of color A on the hook completing the stitch. Color B should be the only color looped on your hook.

5. (Note: if you want to fasten off and weave in all those ends feel free and ignore the steps for twisting and changing colors. Instead just follow the color changing steps located in step 4. Or use that step if you are added one color and dropping the other, weaving all ends when finished.)
Instead of fastening or cutting off color A, hold color A on top of the previous row. You will work color B around color A and crochet in the previous row as normal. This will create a tunnel around the strand of color A. When you are ready to switch colors again, hold the two color strands away from the previous row with B on top and A on bottom. Twist A behind B and continue on stitching with A.

This will keep your stitches consistant with your tension. Place color B on top of the previous row and work around it until you are ready to switch colors.

6. Remember to switch colors in the last step of the stitch of the color before the new color. So with color A, place hook through loop, YO, pull through, move color B behind color A, YO with color B, pull through both loops of color A to complete stitch. Working around previous row and alternate color. If you're moving the colors behind each other when you switch them your yarn will begin to twist together. If it becomes too much, stop and untwist, then continue working.

7. When you get to the end of the row, turn your work in the way you are accustom, still working around color B. Turn work. Wrap color B around to backside of the piece and place on top of previous row. This will create a stripe on the side of your piece.

8. Continue working, counting spaces and color changes. You should start to see progress within a few rows.

That's the wrong side view of the word.
As you continue your counting and stitching your word it design will become clearer. Believe it or not once you have the technical stuff down, lettering and changing colors within a piece becomes easy and fast paced. Once you get the concept of it you'll be doing all sorts of designs!

And here (above) is the finished project! I hope this tutorial helps. If you need anything explained better or have questions, please let me know! I'd also love feedback on it. Here's so more photos:

I used this exact method to make this blanket for little A right after we found out we were pregnant. Along with these for your viewing pleasure!

Until next time!

New Friends and Old Friends

Good morning! Sorry to have taken an unscheduled, untold break from blogging last week. I forgot what the days were and when it dawned on me it was blogday Monday it was too late by Tuesday I didn't have enough energy to write out something I wasn't feeling. So instead of halving it, I wholly didn't do it! I hope you understand!

So much has happened this passed week! I saw a lot of people this week and a half, last Saturday Little A, grandma and I met our second cousin and her mom from Oregon, this Thursday was a playdate with my friend down the street, Friday was an old friend I haven't seen in over a year with her new little one, Saturday was a visit with Grandpa (Little A's), Sunday I went to visit a friend in the next town over, who I missed her baby shower and finally got to formally meet. Then Sunday evening was a family get together. *Deep breathe, sigh* What a busy time, no wonder as I write this (9am) Little A is busy sawing logs still! 7:30a is our normal wake up. But having seen those good friends, old and new, I can reveal to you what I've been waiting to show you! Wait for it...

Here it is! The other quilt I made!

Tonka likes quilts, what can I say?

And crochet blankies! Little A's sweet hand too. That's a pattern of my own making.

And just a recap, though you've seen this one. I unfortunately did not get a picture of the other crochet blanket. But that's ok.

The outside tells us that spring has left us behind for more winter (it snowed again last night!) we've been pretending it's spring. My allergies are running wild and there's a lingering pressure in my head, but if the sun is shining and little A is smiling, it's spring inside at least!

That's a photo I pulled off Google images.
As Easter draws ever closer, I have some big crafty plans! Oh yes! Maybe too big you might ask? Ha! Nah! I've decided to make Little A's Easter dress! I have the fabric and the excitement for it. Have my own pattern in mind and am ready to go for it. I just hope it turns out as good as it looks in my head. But the picture above is what I have in mind but with different fabrics and such. I'm also making something special for Easter baskets, I can't show you! So don't try to make me spill the beans! It has to be a complete surprise! But I'm making two additional ones for my niece and Little A's friend. You're gonna love it too!

Speaking of old friends, Mabel and Little A playing in the shower. So cute! But that tutorial I've been saying is coming, is coming today! It was much harder than I imagined it would be, I had a hard time finding the words to explain what was going on! That and little A kept running off with my yarn! But it's finally done! Next time I won't tell you anything is coming until it's almost done!

Little A and Virginia in the car.
But anyway, I have one more picture to snap for the tutorial and it is all yours!

Until next time!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Things We Want

(Above: Little A eating her first dum-dum)

As many of you know, this passed Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. It's a fasting and abstaining day that is followed by a Mass in which the priest marks the people of the church with the ashes from the previous year's burned palms from Palm Sunday. The ash is placed on the forehead. This is a tangible way to remind us that we come from ash and shall return to ash one day. If you didn't already know that. That marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time for setting aside things that distract us from spiritual growth and prayer.

This year I gave up the biggest distraction for me, Facebook. That's right! I moved the app on my phone to the back page so I wouldn't be tempted, which happens to also be by a rosary app, and everytime I feel the urge to fb I say a prayer or read a passage, or sit down and say the rosary. It's been good so far! But it's only been 4 days. For personal growth I gave up pop and cursing. Only one of those has been accomplished.

Now that you have the back story I can tell you what I mean to tell you. Wednesday, we didn't go to mass because it was being held right at A's bedtime, we got fried shrimp from the local burger joint and all I could think about was a frosty Dr. Pepper to go with it. I'm a sucker for it! Just like a little child I yearn for the things out of my reach. I get cranky and the thought of what I want stomps all other thoughts. The same thing happens when I feel the urge to crochet or quilt and have no time or supplies with me to do so. But this is exactly what God is jealous for. I'm not a religious fanatic, but I am spiritually rooted. God wants our thoughts to be centered around him and The Word and not more on worldly things. Anyway, I know you didn't come reading to get preached to, but just thought I'd share my thoughts.

Speaking of things we want... Thursday little A would not nap in her crib. I had to go in there and lay her on my chest in the recliner we have in there and try to get her to sleep. The eyes told me she wanted to go to sleep but just couldn't. I pulled the red blanket over my head to make a little tent to block out the sun. She fell asleep within five minutes. The whole time we lay there (an hour and a half) my stomach grumbled and protested against the lack of food to bully. All I wanted was a sandwich and an ice tea maybe a little crafting too. But then I looked at her sweet sleeping face with her half open mouth and her slack cheeks and pink eyelids, her button nose, and sweet breath. How a mother's heart yearns for moments like these. I was exactly where I wanted to be. Even if my arm was tingling from the weight of her head in the crook of my arm. I took a picture and sent it to E and he said, "Aw! She just needed her mommy!" And we all know need is great than want.

But this little adventure required a solution. Though I thoroughly enjoyed that tender time together, I know she sleeps better in her crib, so we took a trip to our favorite store... HOBBY LOBBY! I used my best Oprah voice for that, I hope you noticed.

Little A helped me pick out the perfect fabric for her curtains.

Isn't it pretty? I splurged a little on this though, it was a seasonal fabric and not on sale, but it was the one she liked best. I got a dark purple to go behind it too and made them from my own measurements and preferences. The two fabrics were hemmed sides first then bottom. It's a double fold hem on the bottom measuring appr. 2". Then I made the tabs for the top and pinned them between the two fabrics and sewed the tabs and two fabrics together to form like an upside down V. So if you look at the curtain it looks like two curtains but it's just one. It's not pitch black in her room with the curtains drawn but it is very dark. E asked me to make some for the rabbit/spare room too. He must like them. :-)

I am still waiting for my official followers to tell me where to send their little cosmetic bags! They're free to you, no cost of shipping or anything! Just let me know where to send them.

And look! It's your tutorial! Coming later today! I have time because E is at the dentist and I have nothing to do, well not really, nothing that can't wait until tomorrow! So..

Until then!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Please Hurry!...

(Pictured above: Little A enjoying the spring like weather Kansas teased us with) This morning all I could think about was the phrase, "please hurry up spring!" Mostly because I woke up with a scratchy throat and stuffy ears and little A has had a snotty nose the passed three days and coughs every morning due to drainage. E, has had a rough winter too and is sick about every other week with some kind of cold. So, Spring, you're only 13 days away an your good buddy The Groundhog told us you were on your way, please don't be late!

Speaking of please hurry... VoilĂ ! Here it is! One of the boxy pouches I'm making as a gift to you guys for following my blog! Let me tell you, they're cute but they're not perfect, I'm not a professional seamstress! But they are handmade! Just send me an email ( or send me a message on FB and let me know where you want me to send your gifty! And also, thank you for following! :-)

Another VoilĂ ! This is a baby quilt I made at the last minute before a baby shower. It took me 7 1/2- 8 hours to make! It is only 25"x25". We were planning to go to the shower at 2 but little A took her nap from 11:30-1:45 and woke up with a snotty nose, so we didn't want to risk going and giving whatever this might be to anyone else. But it is finished, laundered, and ready to be giving away!

March is national craft month! I do some kind of at least once a day anyway but now I have an extra excuse to give E when he asks me what I'm doing. It's for National Craft Month! Duh! Silly husband! But it also doesn't give me any excuse not to finish my brother's Christmas present. That's Christmas '10 not '11. So that's my goal for this month. Seeing as how there only 50 more rows until it's finished it's a very achievable goal.

I've been quilting a lot more than crocheting recently and I've been missing it. Another of my goals for this craft month is to do some cleaning of my yarn stash, the upstairs closet is full of half used and new skeins of yarn and it's a little embarassing because there is SO MUCH YARN! Everywhere! It's a yarn-catastrophe! You may think I'm joking or exaggerating, but I'm really not. So keep me accountable!

But anyway, I know, I really know!, I've been promising a tutorial for crochet so look for that in the next few days. Because it's really coming! Pinky swear! Until then, enjoy a photo of little A enjoying her first dum-dum sucker.

Until next time!