Steam Blocking Tutorial – Taking It To The Next Level

Are you a blocker?  I never used to be personally, but I couldn’t figure out what my projects were missing.  I mean – I followed patterns correctly, matched gauge, and executed all the steps, but my finished projects just seemed to lack that extra oomph, ya know what I mean?

Until I discovered steam blocking…. and my whole world changed!!!  I had heard of traditional blocking where you dampen your item and pin it out into the desired shape and let dry…  but seriously….  Ain’t nobody got time for that (or the space, right!), especially with those larger items.  With steam blocking, it is SO MUCH FASTER and only takes up a small amount of space.

You don’t even need any special equipment…..  All you need is an iron with steam capability and an ironing board.  Heck, an ironing board isn’t even mandatory, lol!  you could just lay your item on any flat surface that wouldn’t be damaged by steam.

Lay your project on your ironing board with wrong side up, and make sure your iron is filled with water.  Turn your iron to the hottest setting.  On my iron, that’s Linen.

 

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Wrong side up on the ironing board…  Notice how the edging is warped and rippled instead of laying flat.

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Water reservoir full and set on highest heat setting

When your iron gets hot and you can see/hear steam coming out, hover your iron as close to the project as you can get without touching the iron to the project.  (well, if your fiber can take the heat of the iron itself – like maybe cotton – you can touch the project, but I find I don’t need to.)  Let the steam penetrate the fiber as your move your iron back and forth S.L.O.W.L.Y.  I’d recommend small sections at a time.

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Look at all that steam!!!

As you saturate each section, set the iron aside and position the fibers where you want them.  Then grab the iron and move on to the next section, and the next, and the next… until you’ve covered the whole project.

Wanna know the real beauty of this?  You don’t have to hang it to dry or pin it or anything of the sort!  With steaming, the fibers dry really quickly, and usually by the time I finish, each section, the one before it is dry.

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Before steaming – all rumpled and wavy

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After steaming -oh so smooth!

Here’s a quick down & dirty video so you can see it in action:

Thanks for watching, and happy blocking!

XOXO – Shelley

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SKYSCRAPER FINGERLESS GLOVES KAL – PART 3

Can you believe it’s time for the last installment of the KAL?!?!?!  It seems like it has passed very quickly for me, and I hope you all have enjoyed it so far!

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL

 

R51-54   Repeat R11-12

R55   Repeat R11

R56-60   Repeat R1

Finishing

BO in pattern, leaving long tail for sewing. Lay glove flat, lay your hand on top, and place plastic pins to mark the top and bottom of the thumb opening. Use yarn needle and long tail to mattress stitch from the bottom edge to the bottom pin. Then repeat for the seam at the top of the glove. Weave in all ends. Block if desired.

All that’s left now is to repeat the pattern for your second glove!

If you are just learning to knit and need a helping hand, feel free to join our Learning to Knit in 2017 Facebook group.  There are lots of experienced knitters in there willing to offer support and guidance!  You can share pics of your Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves or anything else you’re knitting  – we’d love to see them!

If you’d like to follow my imagination and stay up to date on new patterns, sales, and fun special events, please follow me on Facebook at The Blue Star Boutique.  If you complete any of my patterns, I’d love for you to share your creativity on my page!

Be sure to tune in here, same bat channel, next Monday, same bat time, for 3rd and final installation of our Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL!

If you’ve missed Part 1, you can find it here.  Part 2 is here.

P.S. – Again I just want to say thank you for participating in my very first KAL!  If you have any suggestions or requests for a future KAL or CAL project, please don’t hesitate to either comment below or reach out to me on Facebook!

Next week the entire add-free PDF pattern will be available for purchase on Ravelry.

XOXO – Shelley

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL – Part 2

Happy Monday everyone!  It’s time for the 2nd installment of the KAL!  Are you ready???

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL

 

We have a big chunk to go through this week, but no worries!  You can do it!

R18   (k6, p9, k7) across, turn

R19   Repeat R11

R20   Repeat R18

R21 – 26   Repeat R11-12

R27   Repeat R11

R28   (p5, k11, p6) across, turn

R29   Repeat R11

R30   Repeat R28

R31-50   Repeat R11 – 30 again

If you are just learning to knit and need a helping hand, feel free to join our Learning to Knit in 2017 Facebook group.  There are lots of experienced knitters in there willing to offer support and guidance!  You can share pics of your Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves or anything else you’re knitting  – we’d love to see them!

If you’d like to follow my imagination and stay up to date on new patterns, sales, and fun special events, please follow me on Facebook at The Blue Star Boutique.  If you complete any of my patterns, I’d love for you to share your creativity on my page!

Be sure to tune in here, same bat channel, next Monday, same bat time, for 3rd and final installation of our Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL!

If you’ve missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Fellow Designer Spotlight – Ambassador Crochet

Another designer that I admire and enjoy working with is Kristine Mullen of Ambassador Crochet.  She was so kind enough to chat with me so that you all could get to know her too!

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TBSB:  Hi, Kristine!  Tell my readers a little about yourself.

Kristine:  I am a homeschooling mom of 6 (1 boy, 5 girls). Hubby and I have been married for almost 17 years and we live on a little lake in CT. I have 5 daughters who dance so I spend a lot of hours at the dance studio.

TBSB:  At what age did you learn to crochet, and who taught you?

Kristine:  My mother taught me to crochet when I was 5, but I didn’t pick my hooks back up until I was in my 20’s and pregnant with my first daughter.

TBSB:  When did you start designing?

Kristine:  In 2007… I started designing 10+ years ago when a good friend of mine had a preemie, and I couldn’t find a pattern I liked. (Back then there were much less pattern options online). So I set out to design my own and fell in love with the design process.

TBSB:  What a special gift that must have been!  I am so glad we have so many more options for pattern resources now! What are your favorite things to design?

Kristine:  My new favorite is sweaters, but I have a long time favorite of baby blankets. Maybe that’s because that’s where my designing started.

TBSB:  Where do you find your inspiration?

Kristine:  I don’t have just one place. Usually it’s a person, though.  I either know someone’s style, or I search their baby registry for ideas. Then I will try to find a stitch or yarn that might fit in with that person’s favorite things.

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Copyright Kristine Mullen, Ambassador Crochet

This is Kristine’s Oakley Fringe Cowl – I love the simplicity yet detailed look the fringe gives, don’t you?  Click here to get the pattern!

TBSB:  With regard to crochet hooks, are you on Team Bates or Team Boye?

Kristine:  Honestly, I’m Team Tulip, but if I could only use Bates or Boye, I’d choose Bates hands down.

TBSB:  You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever tried a Tulip hook, but you’re not the first person that I’ve heard on Team Tulip.  What is your favorite yarn weight/brand to work with?

Kristine:  I have always worked with #4 – I Love This Yarn! is my favorite – but lately I have been loving the look I can create with #3 DK/light worsted yarns.

TBSB:  I think we are twinsies!  Hobby Lobby’s ILTY is my favorite worsted weight acrylic too!  And I have recently fallen in love with Lion Brand Mandala which is a DK weight…. it is my new fave!

TBSB:  Is there a stitch or technique you would like to learn?

Kristine:  I have only dabbled in Broomstick lace but would love to have more practice at it because it can create beautiful openwork patterns.

TBSB:  What is your favorite tool in your yarny toolbox?

Kristine:  Hmmm, probably my I or J hook. I’m pretty simple.

TBSB:  What is your most popular pattern?

Kristine:  My American Flag afghan (click here to view it on Ravelry)

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Copyright Kristine Mullen, Ambassador Crochet

TBSB:  Where can readers go to see your work?

Kristine:  I have my own website/blog, which can be viewed here.  My patterns are hosted for sale on Ravelry (click here to view Kristine’s Ravelry shop) as well as on Etsy (click here to view Kristine’s Etsy shop.)

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Copyright Kristine Mullen, Ambassador Crochet

I really enjoy the textures and stitches that Kristine selects to create her designs.  She has a great attention to detail, which is definitely shown in her Play Ball Sports Fan Set.  (click here to buy it on Ravelry.)
Be sure to check out Kristine’s shop…  And tell her I sent you!

XOXO

Off the Cuff Mittens – Crochet Charity Drive

It is time for the fall round of the Crochet Charity Drive, and this time we’re doing mittens!  By participating in the drive, you’ll have access to 10 different mitten patterns that you can use to minister to those in need.

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I have the pleasure of being the 2nd designer this round, so if you’d like to see last week’s pattern from Blackstone Designs, click here.

Off the Cuff Crochet Mittens

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Below you’ll find the complete pattern for the Off the Cuff Mittens.  However if you’d like to purchase the add-free pattern in a printable PDF format, please click here to visit my Ravelry shop.

Skill level:  Easy/Intermediate
Yarn weight:    #4 worsted weight
Yarn in sample:  Red Heat Super Saver
Amount of Yarn Needed –  1 skein
Hook size:  I (5.5mm)
Gauge:  8 sc and 9 rows = 2”
Additional materials:  yarn needle
Finished size:   3 ½” wide (not counting thumb) by 9” tall
Notes: Beginning chs do not count as a stitch in this pattern.

Abbreviations:
beg – beginning
BPdc – back post double crochet
ch – chain
FPdc – front post double crochet
lps – loops
rem – remaining
rep – repeat
RS – right side
sc – single crochet
sc2tog – single crochet 2 together
slst2tog – slip stitch 2 together
sk – skip
sl st – slip stitch
st – stitch
WS – wrong side

Cuff (same for both mittens)
Ch 28, slst to 1st ch to join

R1 ch1, sc around, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R2 ch2, FPdc around joining sc from previous row, BPdc around next sc, *FPdc around next sc, BPdc around next sc, rep from * around, slst to 1st FPdc to join (28)
R3 ch2, FPdc around joining FPdc from previous row, BPdc around next BPdc, *FPdc around next FPdc, BPdc around next BPdc, rep from * around, slst to 1st FPdc to join (28)
R4-5 Repeat R3
R6 ch1, sc around, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R7 Repeat R6

Left Mitten

R8 ch1, sc in same st and next 3 scs, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R9 ch1, sc around to end, (DO NOT JOIN) fasten off (28)
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R10 Repeat R9
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R11 ch1, sc in same st and next 3 scs, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, (DO NOT JOIN) fasten off (28)
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R12-13 Repeat R9
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R14 ch1, sc in same st and next 4 scs, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc,  *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, (DO NOT JOIN) fasten off (28)
R15-16 Repeat R9
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R17 ch1, sc in same st and next 4 scs, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R18-19 Repeat R6 from cuff
R20 Repeat R17
R21-22 Repeat R6 from cuff
R23 Repeat R17
R24-25 Repeat R6 from cuff
R26 ch1, sc in same st and next 5 scs, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R27-28 Repeat R6 from cuff
R29 Repeat R26
R30-31 Repeat R6 from cuff
R32 ch1, sc2tog over same st and next st, sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next 2 sts, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc in next 3 sts, *sc2tog over next 2 sts, repeat from * once more, sc in remaining sts, slst to 1st sc2tog to join (24)
R33-34 Repeat R6 from cuff
R35 Repeat R32
R36 ch1, sc2tog over same st and next st, sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next 9 sts, *sc2tog over next 2 sts, repeat from * once more, sc in remaining sts, slst to 1st sc2tog to join (20)
R37 Repeat R6 from cuff
R38 ch1, sc2tog over same st and next st, sc in next st, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, (sc2tog over next 2 sts) twice, sc in next 4 sts, sc2tog over last 2 sts, slst to 1st sc2tog to join (16)
R39 Repeat R6 from cuff

Fasten off leaving long tail.  Use yarn needle to weave long tail through remaining stitches and cinch tight.

Thumb (same for both mittens)

Join yarn in bottom edge of thumb opening.  Do not join rounds, thumb will be worked in spiral pattern.

R1 ch1, evenly work 20 sc around opening (20)
R2 sc in next 8 sts, slst in next 4 sts, sc in last 8 sts
R3 sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next 6 sts, slst in next 4 sts, sc in next 6 sts, sc2tog over next 2 sts
R4 sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc over next 5 sts, slst over next st, slst2tog over next 2 sts, slst over next st, sc over next 5 sts, sc2tog over last 2 sts
R5 sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next 3 sts, slst in next 5 sts, sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog over next 2 sts
R6 sc in all sts around
R7 sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next 11 sts
R8-13 sc in all sts around
R14 sc2tog around (6)
Slst in next st, and fasten off leaving long tail.  Use yarn needle to weave long tail through remaining stitches and cinch tight.

Right Mitten

Work cuff the same as for left mitten.

R8 ch1, sc in same st and next 16 sts, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc,  repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R9 ch1, sc around to end, (DO NOT JOIN) fasten off (28)
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R10 Repeat R9
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R11 ch1, sc in same st and next 16 sts, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, (DO NOT JOIN) fasten off (28)
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R12-13 Repeat R9
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R14 ch1, sc in same st and next 17 sts, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, (DO NOT JOIN) fasten off (28)
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R15-16 Repeat R9
Join yarn in 1st sc of round just worked
R17 ch1, sc in same st and next 17 sts, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * once more, sc around remaining sts, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R18 ch1, sc in all sts around, slst to 1st sc to join (28)
R19 Repeat R18
R20 Repeat R17
R21-22 Repeat R18
R23 Repeat R17
R24-25 Repeat R18
R26 ch1, s sc in same st and next 18 sts, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * twice more, sc around remaining sts, slst to 1st sc to join (24)
R27-28 Repeat R18
R29 Repeat R26
R30-31 Repeat R18
R32 ch1, sc2tog over same st and next st, sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next 9 sts, *sc2tog over next 2 sts, repeat from * once more, *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * twice more, sc in remaining sts, slst to 1st sc2tog to join (24)
R33-34 Repeat R18
R35 Repeat R26
R36 ch1, sc2tog over same st and next st, sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next 9 sts, *sc2tog over next 2 sts, repeat from * once more, sc in remaining sts, slst to 1st sc2tog to join (20)
R37 Repeat R18
R38 ch1, sc2tog over same st and next st, sc in next 6 st, (sc2tog over next 2 sts) twice *sc in next sc, FPdc around FPdc from 3 rows below, sk sc behind the FPdc, repeat from * twice more, sc2tog over last 2 sts, slst to 1st sc2tog to join (16)
R39 Repeat R18

Fasten off leaving long tail.  Use yarn needle to weave long tail through remaining stitches and cinch tight.  Work thumb the same as for the left mitten.

Finishing

Weave in all remaining ends.

 

As always, I would love to see your projects!  Please feel free to upload your project to Ravelry, and link it to the pattern!

Happy Crocheting!

Create That Wish List & What’s on Mine

happy-holidays

I absolutely ADORE the Christmas season – not necessarily for the commercial influences, but more for the fact that it brings joy to my soul when I get to spend time with those that I love.  The decorations, the smells of Christmas cookies, and candy canes instantly takes me to my happy place!  I mean – if I was physically able to skip around, spinning and twirling while singing Christmas carols, I would totally do it!  However, I am a staunch believer that stores should not be putting out Christmas goods in July.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even think we should see any trace of Saint Nick until the day after Thanksgiving.  Every holiday should have its own space in our hearts and minds, and Labor Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day & Thanksgiving should not be overshadowed.   Before you freak out on me, I do realize that I am in the minority here, LOL!

With all that being said, though… it is NEVER, and I do mean NEVER, too soon to start making your holiday wish list!  I mean, I actually think we should all maintain a running list of goods and trinkets we are ogling, coveting, or otherwise drooling over – that way if someone wants to surprise you any time of the year, the integrity of said surprise is protected by not having to keep asking “what do you want for ________ occasion.”  That makes sense, right?  Right?  C’mon, you know I’m right!

Santa-Wish-List

 

I think Amazon is the PERFECT way to do just that!  Not only do they have access to nearly everything under the sun, their Wish List feature allows you to create unlimited lists for every member of your family or even for yourself under different categories (home, car, crafts, clothing, etc).  Even the gift giver decides to purchase the item elsewhere, there is still a central, up to date location to sneakily discover your secret heart’s desires.

 

christmas-wishlist

If you have a crafty person in your life who doesn’t have a wish list, I’m gonna help you out here.  By sharing what’s on my wish list, hopefully that will give you some ideas – and honestly if your loved one doesn’t like your gift, I promise you it won’t go to waste… just message me for my address 🙂

  1. Yarn Swift – I really want this super sweet floor model, but not only do I not have any place to store it, I doubt Santa’s pockets are that deep this year, LOL.  But I really love the fact that it has a turn handle!  And now that I think about it, I’m SURE I can make room for it.

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  2. A Second Yarn Swift – you might be wondering why I’d need 2… well, when I’m dyeing yarn in a self-striping pattern, it needs to be rewound into a longer hank.  And believe me when I tell you that although it CAN be done by hand, it is excruciating on the back and shoulders.  SO I need to put the blank hank (haha!  that rhymed! kinda like “Grape Ape”… an old cartoon from my childhood… anyone? Bueler?) on one swift and wind onto the other.  And since I can GUARANTEE you if I won’t get one of those gorgeous floor models, I’m not going to get two.  So I found these much cheaper models that clamp to a table on Amazon.  Even though it doesn’t have a crank handle, for that price, I can seriously have 2… or 3… or 4!

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  3. Rubber Finger Grips – I’m not super picky about the brand – I just need something to protect my dadgum fingertips when doing a marathon knitting session.  Here’s the link to find these on Amazon – although they don’t have much of a selection.

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  4. Chiaogoo Red Lace Steel Circular Knitting Needles – I have several pairs in various cable lengths, but they are all size 0-1, maybe even a 2.  I’d really like to get some in larger sizes… to me these are the cadillacs of knitting needles!

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  5. Circular Needle Storage Case – of course with all those new needles, I’m gonna need this fancy new case to store them in!

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Now, I do have boatloads more stuff on my list, LOL…. but like I said, Santa is on a real tight budget this year, and we would much rather have Santa focus on the grand babies this year!  But hey – I wouldn’t argue if an elf went out of his way to surprise me with something fun, LOL!  And since I have a current wish list, he will have plenty of ideas to choose from.

So make sure to create your list.  Whether you write it on paper, draw it on the wall, tattoo it on your arm…  go start your list now!  And if you see Santa, show him what I’m wishing for 🙂

XOXOXO

 

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL – Part 1

It is time!  It is time!  It is time!!!!  It’s time for our very 1st Knit Along (KAL)!!!  SQUEEEEEEE!!!!  (can you tell I am excited?!?!?!)

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL

Let’s get started on week 1, shall we?

Yarn needed:  Approx 200 yards #4 ww yarn
Needles:  Size 6 (4.00mm)
Additional materials:  yarn needle and plastic pins
Notes:  These are worked as a flat square and then seemed together

CO 44, leaving long tail for sewing

R1-10      (k2, p2)  across, turn

R11         k across, turn

R12         (p5, k1, p9, k1, p6) across, turn

R13-16    Repeat R11-12

R17          Repeat R11

If you are just learning to knit and need a helping hand, feel free to join our Learning to Knit in 2017 Facebook group.  There are lots of experienced knitters in there willing to offer support and guidance!  You can share pics of your Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves or anything else you’re knitting  – we’d love to see them!

If you’d like to follow my imagination and stay up to date on new patterns, sales, and fun special events, please follow me on Facebook at The Blue Star Boutique.  If you complete any of my patterns, I’d love for you to share your creativity on my page!

Be sure to tune in here, same bat channel, next Monday, same bat time, for installation #2 of our Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL!

 

Fellow Designer Spotlight – Butterfly Dreams

Y’all know how much I love creating and designing patterns – but I also love working up items from other designers’ patterns, especially when they are well thought out and well written.  I have had the pleasure of working with several fellow designers, and each week I am going to introduce you to them.  I know you’ll love them as much as I do!

The first to be featured is Betty Lewis from Butterfly Dreams.

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TBSB:  Hi, Betty!  Tell my readers a little about yourself.

Betty:  I am a widow who enjoys spending quality time with family, friends, and my 3 kiddos! I am the proud mother of 3 – a daughter, 29; a son, 20, who is currently a Junior at Indiana University; a son, 7, who is currently a 2nd grader in the Life Skills program (he is special needs).  We enjoy a ‘quiet’ lifestyle, vastly enjoy the outdoors, and love to have family friendly ‘competitions’ between myself and the two boys. Our greatest passion is doing for others, as is evidenced by the multiple charities that we regularly donate to.

TBSB:  At what age did you learn to knit and/or crochet, and who taught you?

Betty:  I learned to knit at the age of 3.5 and crochet at age 4. My Grandma taught me both.

TBSB:  When did you start designing?

Betty:   I have been designing crochet patterns since I was 7 years old! My Grandma always got a good chuckle at my ‘antics’. I would question absolutely everything about a pattern (why do it this way, wouldn’t this work better, if it were me…..); one day she told me to just design my own pattern. Although she said it in jest I took it literally. That was the day that my whole crochet world opened up!!! I have tons of designs that will never be published, but occasionally I do pull one of the designs and test/publish it. I started to write/design for publication 2 years ago.  I still design some things that do not get published. Typically I will ‘sit’ on a new design anywhere from a couple weeks to several months before I will have it tested. Each design has to ‘wait’ for its ‘time’ before publication.

TBSB:  What a treasure is must be to have spent that kind of special time with your grandmother – both learning the crafts  and for your grandmother to nurture your creative spirit!  What are your favorite things to design?

Betty:  Everything, lol. I thoroughly enjoy designing all items! When I am inspired to create it truly does not matter what the item is.

TBSB:  Where do you find your inspiration?

Betty:  I find inspiration from many sources! However, I tend to publish designs that are inspired from my own personal experiences throughout life. This can come from a memory, special occasion, new experience or acquaintance, or just everyday life. My boys are very involved in my design process and are my biggest critics.  The oldest is my sounding board for aesthetics, while the youngest loves to pick various stitches! We have basic stitches written on cards, we put them into a bowl, he will randomly pull 1 – 4 cards, it is then up to me to combine those stitches into a stitch pattern.

TBSB:  I find that so endearing that your boys are such an integral part of your design process!  I cannot wait until my granddaughters are old enough to contribute for me too!

TBSB:  With regard to crochet hooks, are you on Team Bates or Team Boye?

Betty:  Between the two, Boye!!!! I own all sizes in both with lots of duplicates (I’m always misplacing a hook), but I very seldom willingly pick up a Bates as I much prefer a tapered hook. My absolute favorite hooks are my Furls Odyssey hooks! They have great balance, are ergonomic, and above all feature the tapered hook design.

TBSB:  What are your favorite knitting needles?

Betty:  Although I am very proficient at knitting, I don’t knit much these days.  When I do knit, I much prefer bamboo needles over all others.  I do not have a ‘favorite’ brand of needles though.

TBSB:  What is your favorite yarn weight/brand to work with?

Betty:  I love yarn of all varieties and weights and enjoy working with a variety!! I am a bit biased when it comes to creating for personal use or orders and will typically default to my own line of fibers. (Shelley here – I gotta interject! Betty’s fibers are GAWGEOUS!  Check them out on her Facebook group dedicated to fibers) However, when designing for publication I try to use yarns that are readily available and economical to most.  I have a tendency to lean towards Vanna’s Choice, Deborah Norville’s line, and Michael’s Loops and Threads line for this. I also absolutely love the cake yarns of all varieties.

TBSB:  Is there a stitch or technique you would like to learn?

Betty:   I have not found a stitch that I couldn’t work (yet, lol). However, I am very intrigued with Broomstick Lace!! Sadly, this stitch/technique more often than not defeats me. I find myself periodically going back to it and searching for a way that will allow me to repeatedly create it with uniform tension!

TBSB:  What is your favorite tool in your yarny toolbox?

Betty:  I have a tiny little awl that I use to ‘lift’ stitches when sewing on appliques (or facial/body parts). The awl allows me to get into the stitch and pick up only one strand to sew onto. This creates a clean backside with the added bonus of absolutely no indention on the front side.

TBSB:  What is your most popular pattern?

Betty:  Singled Out Messy Bun/Ponytail/Closed Beanie (click here to view the pattern on Ravelry)

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copyright Butterfly Dreams

TBSB:  Where can readers go to see your work?

Betty:  My patters are featured in my Ravelry shop (click here to check out Betty’s designs).  I also have a community group on Facebook called Butterfly Dreams Crochet & Crafts and a group dedicated to my hand-dyed fibers – it’s called Butterfly Dreams Fibers.

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copyright Butterfly Dreams

I have to say that Betty is one of the most creative designers I’ve worked with, and I am impressed by her adventurous spirit and drive to incorporate multi media into her work.

I am a sucker for almost anything owl, and Betty’s Whooty Owl Snuggle Sack is definitely on my ever growing list of items I must make!

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copyright Butterfly Dreams

Be sure to check out Betty’s Ravelry store and her Facebook groups…  And tell her I sent you!

XOXO

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL – the 411!

Hello hello hello, everybody!!  It’s been a challenging summer in my personal life, so I had to take a short hiatus.  But we have made some changes, and I’m back in action!  To celebrate, I’m hosting my very first knit along (KAL).

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL

 

Each week, you’ll find the details for each section here on my blog, and I’ll be providing support and answering questions in the Learning to Knit in 2017 group on Facebook.  So if you haven’t joined that group, feel free to join us there!  Once the KAL is completed, the  pattern, complete with additional size and tutorial features, will be available in my Ravelry shop.

The KAL officially kicks off on Monday October 23rd, but to give you a head start, I’m publishing the supply list now 🙂

SUPPLIES

1 skein worsted weight yarn
size 6 (4.00mm) knitting needles
yarn needle

This KAL project is suitable for anyone who knows the knit and purl stitches and is a wonderful stocking stuffer gift!

I hope you’ll join us!

Razzle Dazzle Dolly – Crochet Charity Drive

If you’re not familiar with the Crochet Charity Drive, you gotta check it out!  Over a dozen designers are bringing you some really fun free toy patterns that you can use to donate to those in need!

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It is my pleasure to have a 2nd toy pattern during this drive, and I’ve decided to offer my Razzle Dazzle Dolly!

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Skill level:  Easy

Yarn weight:      #4 Worsted                 

Yarn in sample:  leftovers from Caron Cakes in Jelly Roll and Cherry Chip

Amount of Yarn Needed

Hook size:  F

Gauge:  Not important!  Isn’t that great?

Additional materials:  stitch marker, yarn needle for weaving in ends, embroidery thread, embroidery needle, poly fil stuffing

Finished size:    6-8″

Notes: Face is worked in spiral, so use a stitch marker to keep track of rows.  There are lots of options for personalizing the dollies!  Short hair, long hair, different faces on each side – the possibilities are endless!

Abbreviations: beg – beginning
ch – chain
lps – loops
rem – remaining
rep – repeat
sc – single crochet
sc2tog – single crochet 2 together
sk – skip
sl st – slip stitch
st – stitch

Face

R1 Using MC, work 10 sc in circle (10)

R2 2sc in all sts around (20)

R3 *2sc in next st, sc in next st, rep from * around (30)

R4 *2sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts, rep from * around (40)

R5 *2sc in next st, sc in next 3 sts, rep from * around (50)

R6 *2sc in next st, sc in next 4 sts, rep from * around (60)

R7 *2sc in next st, sc in next 5 sts, rep from * around (70)

R8 *2sc in next st, sc in next 6 sts, rep from * around (80)

R9 *2sc in next st, sc in next 7 sts, rep from * around (90)

R10 *2sc in next st, sc in next 8 sts, rep from * around and fasten off (100)

Body

Join body color in left sc of any 2sc on face.

R1 ch1, sc in same st and next 9 sts, turn (10)

R2 ch1, 2sc in same st, sc across to last st, 2sc in last st, turn (12)

R3 ch1, sc in all sts across, turn (12)

R4-13 Rep R2-R3, increasing st count by 2 on each even row

R14-19 Rep R3, do not fasten off after R19 (22)

Right Foot

R1 ch1, sc in same st and next 7 sts, turn (8)

For short leg, go directly to R2.  For longer leg, work 4 more repeats of R1 before going to R2

R2 ch1, sc2tog over 1st 2 sts, sc across to last 2 st, sc2tog over last 2 sts, turn (6)

R3 Rep R2, fasten off (4)

Left Foot

Join yarn in 7th st to left of last st in Right Foot R1, then repeat the instructions for Left Foot.

Repeat the instructions for the face and body once more so that you have 2 pieces – one for the front and one for the back.

Joining Front and Back

With WS together, sc through both layers all the way around to last 2”.  Stuff your doll, and then continue with sc to close.

Arms

Cut 12 lengths of yarn about 10” long for each arm.  Fold yarn in half and use a cow hitch knot to secure in seam.  Braid to desired length, and tie knot in end to secure.  Trim ends and repeat for other arm.

Hair

Amount and length of hair is completely up to you.  Cut as many strands as you like about twice as long as you want the hair to be.  Use a cow hitch knot to attach strands in groups of 3 across top of doll head.  Untwist the strands and separate the plies for a wavy look, or leave yarn as is for thicker strands.  Trim as desired.

Face

There are lots of options for the face.  You can either sew on buttons, use embroidery thread to embroider a face, use felt, or whatever other method you want.  For extra fun, make another face on the back side for a reversible doll.

Finishing

Weave in all ends.  You can also make a little scarf for your dolly or accessorize however you like!

Here are some dollies that my testers created!

I’d love to see what you create!  Feel free to join The BSB Crafting Community to share pictures, get notifications of new pattern releases, and member-exclusive sales!