Amazon Banner

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Star Crochet Pattern

Back in the Summer, I made a pair of little Star Earrings.  They were sweet, and pretty. I priced them at $6.00 for the pair, They never sold.

I had one or two people ask for the pattern, and in every sort of excitement, quickly wrote it up. I took some pictures, crammed them onto the page, and posted the pattern on my E-Store page.  I priced the pattern at $2.00  It never sold.

I buried it in a file on my computer.  In December, I pulled it out, and sent it to a friend to look at.  She made several, in WW yarn and used them as ornaments on her tree.

I looked at the pattern again the other day, and decided I would re-write it, someday, and try again. Then today, I decided  that I would rather offer it here, and ask people to share with me their ideas for using these simple little stars.

These are so fun to make, and once you have made one, they take less than 10 minutes to make.

Star Earring (Pattern Created June 9, 2013, By Becky Dirlam of Grammy’s Creations)


#10 Cotton

Size 5 Steel hook

2mm Pearl Bead

Earring Post Kit

Pattern Notes

This seems silly to even mention, but, before you start with these, Wash your
hands. The cotton grabs the oil and any dirt on your fingers, and will not let it go.

This Star is crochet from the center, and as you build the points, you may think it
would be easier with a bigger starting loop, or a magic ring. I do not recommend
this, as you need the Nest created by the starting ring to cradle the center Bead. (I
used a Pearl, as I was thinking Wedding Jewelry, but any bead will work.) You may
find you need to give each stitch a pull as you complete them, to bunch the bases
up tight. The goal is to have the center open enough to hold the bead, but not so
loose as to let it drop through.

The Pattern:

Chain 3, join to form ring.

First Point:

Chain 3, DC into the center loop X4. Pull a long loop, and drop it from hook. Insert
hook into top chain of beginning chain, catch the loop from the double, and pull it
through the chain, On the back side. Snug it up, chain 1 to lock it, making this
chain as tight as possible, chain 1 for spacing.

2nd and all remaining points:

5 DC into center ring. Keep your stitches tight. Draw a long loop at the top of 5th
dc. Drop hook, and insert it in the first DC of the set. (Be sure you are using the
EYE of the stitch, and not the top loops.) As before, catch the loop left at the top
of the DC, and pull it through the Eye of the first DC. Pull it snug, so that the two
outside stitches connect in back, forcing a point. Chain 1, tight to lock it, chain 1
for spacing.

After you complete the 5th point, chain 1, and join with a ss to the chain behind
the star.

Add Bead (for most applications you may stop here, or after adding the bead)

Now that the Star is completed, Draw a large loop, and remove the hook. It is
time to sew in your bead. Using a needle that fits easily through the bead, run
your thread through the bulk of one arm of the star, through the bead, and into
the other arm of the Star. Repeat several times, to really secure the bead. Trim
the thread.

Preparing the Base for Earring: 

Looking at the Backside of your Star. There is a nice circle formed by the spacing
chains, and you could fill the gap with Hot Glue, and shove the Earring into it. I
prefer to Finish this, so I have a platform to rest everything on. I hate to have Glue
eak through the threads and show on the front of my Stars.

Using your hook, Insert it under the spacing chain and pull through a loop, insert
into the next space, pull up a loop, yarn over, and pull through 3 loops on hook.
Repeat with the next 2 spaces, and then with the last space, and the first space.
Cut thread, and pull it through last loop to secure.

Use your hook to tuck thread to the inside, under decrease stitches.

Apply Hot glue to base, position Earring Set to the puddle of glue. Hold to secure.

You can use an X-Acto Knife to remove excess glue if needed.

I would be happy to see any and all creations made with this pattern.

If you want to try this with Worsted Weight Yarn, I recommend a J hook, your star will be about 2 inches across.  You would be fine stopping the process at the bead for most applications.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I don't have time for that.

You just found the most adorable pattern, and bought it.
Flipping it open, a quick glance,
Okay great,
Yarn, Check,
Hook, Check,
Pattern, Check,
Sitting in your favorite chair, hooking your heart out in less than ten minutes, right?

Yup, guilty, done it.  I guess it is okay, if it is an Afghan, or perhaps a potholder, but what if that is a Skirt Pattern, and the yarn is a Silk Blend? Still Okay?  What do you do when, 35 rounds into it, you discover that it is too snug.  Are you on the designers Facebook Page ripping them a new one?
It is very likely that you will be ripping out those 35 rounds.

If, in the case of an elastic waist skirt, you measure the waist, to determine size, you will never be able to get it on over your hips. But lets say you read that part of the pattern, and did measure the right body part, It is still too snug. it just won't go on, no matter how you wiggle your hiney and hop up and down.  It is likely that you did not confirm gauge before getting started.

I am stunned to hear from people that they don't know how, or do not bother.  It can make or break you.  The one that blows me away are the people who truly believe it takes too long.

How long did it take to make those 35 rounds, and rip them out, and then remake them?

Lets Make a gauge swatch, It will only take a few minutes, and you will have the experience. You will see exactly why it matters. I am willing to bet, my gauge will not be the same as yours. But I wrote the pattern, and you want it to fit.

Chain 27, using an I hook, and Red Heart Super Saver. DC in the 3rd chain from the hook, and in each ch across. *Ch2, and turn. DC Across Row.*  Repeat * to* for a total of 12 rows.

Now lets grab a tape, and count.

The overall measurements do not matter, but just to set the stage, this swatch is 7 inches tall, and 8 and 1/2 inches wide.

We will be counting the stitches in a 4 inch square, inside the swatch.

I always choose an inch mark inside, in this case, the 10, so we will count the stitches to 14 to get our 4 inches.
You can count that there are 12 DC in my 4 inches.

Now we will be counting the rows, again beginning at the 10 inch line, to the 14.
You will see there are 7 and 1/2 rows.
The gauge of this swatch is 12 DC X 7 1/2 rows = 4 inches  What is the gauge of your swatch.

Now lets assume you are crocheting one of my patterns.  Will your item be the same size as mine?

You used the same size hook, and the same yarn. What is different?  Our tension. the amount of pressure we use when forming the stitches themselves.  Are you right, or am I?  Well, neither, or both, but I wrote the pattern using my gauge and tension. If you want to copy it, you will have to find the hook size that allows your stitches to be the same size as mine.

Taking a few minutes to create the gauge swatch, and measuring a four inch square, inside the swatch will save you a significant amount of work.
Using the interior of the swatch is going to give you accurate "how you work" numbers. Starting chains, and turning chains are almost always different form your "just do it" work.

When  checking your gauge against a pattern, look for the gauge listed in the pattern. Let's say it is 12 DC X 7 1/2 rows = 4 inches with an I hook, and Red Heart Super Saver.

You would start to create your swatch with a chain of 20. (12 stitches, + 6 +2 for the turning chain)
You would make your swatch at least 10 rows tall, so that there is a row above, and one below the rows you would expect to have in your swatch.

I hope this makes sense to you, and that you will find the time well spent the next time you pull out a pattern that has been waiting for you. Whether it is one of mine, or one you find elsewhere in the industry, check your gauge, because I can tell you, I don't have time to rip out 35 rounds.

Until Next time,


Saturday, January 25, 2014

I want to buy a Dragon

To make 3 entries in one day is not my norm.

While watching television this evening, I saw an ad, and went to the website to look it over. It is an item I have toyed with for quite some time.

I shared my find in a facebook group, and was surprised at how quickly it was scooped up by a member.

I want this. It will add a new dimension to my world. here on the blog, and  in my pattern writing. I see so many ways that it will be good.

I want this.  I do not have the money.  how can I make this work?

Oh, sure.  I have set a sale in my Ravelry store, I have set up a slae. Buy one pattern, get the second at 50% off.  This is just a sale, no codes are needed.  This sale will expire at 11:59pm EST Monday.

I really want this program, it is wonderful.
you should check it out  infact, HERE is the link to look at it.

Did I tell you I want this?

Visit my Ravelry Store, choose 2 patterns, get the second at a 50% discount, and help me out, cuz, in case you missed it, I want this!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Progress Update, With a Little Help From My Friends

I Did It!
I sent off my first pattern proposal.  It was no where near as daunting to do as I thought it would be.
In order to be fair, the concept was already created, and a first sample had been constructed. A great deal of the preliminary work was done.
When the Email arrived, with the details of what the focus of the publication would be, there was no question in my mind that this item would correspond.
I cannot take all the initiative credit either. I shot emails and facebook messages off to a few of my friends, asking if they had pointers and tips to share. It was wonderful to get the encouragement from others who have done it.
It could be several weeks before I know anything, Which is tough to keep in mind. I am a person who likes to have things keep moving on a steady track. Oh, another opportunity to learn.

For those looking to take this step, start by determining which publication appeals to you.  If you create fancy thread bedspreads, you will want to be looking at magazines that cater to those items, you would not want to devote your time and energy submitting to "Slippers R US"  (obviously fictitious. but get's the point across) If the publication offers things you make, or you enjoy, it is likely the readers of it will like the things you create.  Birds of a feather sort of logic here.

The next step would be to notify them, by Email, or First Class Mail that you would like to have the executive calender, and project proposal sent to you.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to read these, top to bottom, at least once, maybe three times.  get a feel for what they are planning to focus on in the issue. Do you have it in you to do?  What are the deadlines? Can you meet them? Depending upon when you send the request for these, the deadlines may be past. It is fuel for you. What is the next issue? What is the weather like then, What sort of things are you looking at that time of year. It is a tool, and if you received it, you know you are on the mailing list for the next one.

Quality pictures, you are asking them to devote space in their world to your creation. If the picture is blurry, has a cluttered background, or has no defined object, it is not likely that they will bother reading the entire entry.  You want to shine here. You want your item to be the one that has them talking. Your pictures are your voice, as you wont be sitting in that room as they go through them. Take the time to really put effort into the photos. You do not need to hire a photographer, You need to send your best.

There is more, there is always more, I will continue to learn, as this really has my attention. I desire it. Desire is a motivator for me. What is your motivator? Will you be ready?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Are You Ready?

Are you amped?

Do you have your yarn ready?  Virtually any yarn will work as your Primary. Specialty yarn is my subject. A secondary yarn is required. 

Will you be here, ready to go Saturday Morning?

Can you manage the large lofty hook, or will you be requesting the modified hook size? I will be using a 9mm, N sized set. Traditional hook, and a double ended Tunisian hook.

I am working on last minute details, so that this will be fun for all.  

As of yet, I haven't heard anyone say they are participating, I would love to know.

My tester completed hers in just a few hours, This is a wearable item, In the right yarn, It will be wonderful through Spring.

CAL  Crochet along
Saturday. January 25th 2014 - Reveal first step  9AM EST, additional info disclosed as needed.
Friday. January 31st 2014 sometime during the day, The final steps will be revealed. 
Saturday February 1, I will begin to post all pics offered on this  blog for a contest.  Prize to be disclosed on February 1, 2014, along with all the rules of the contest.

Stay tuned, there will be more.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Should I? I think I might

Are we ready?

I keep visiting a pattern idea, and wanting to go big, because the idea, and the way it works up, is amazing. With this platform, I feel it is time.  In honor of Valentines Day, which falls on a Friday this year, And In honor of being able to, I am going to give away my pattern. I want to do it early enough that you have plenty of time to complete it to wear that night. Do you have plans? Hitting the dance floor? A Nice Dinner? Out, or staying in?

For this you will need a ball of something cool, A novelty yarn perhaps, Something you saw on sale that was an impulse, but it now sits in your stash because upon further looking at it, you have no idea how to use it.  I am not referring to the Sashay, or Net yarns, They will not work for this project. I will be using this product for mine.

did you catch the yardage there, it isn't going to take a lot of this, so it will not be a budget breaker.

See how the yarn is really skinny, Like a #2,  and then has the glittery fluffy spots?  I know knitters have little issue with this, but for Crochet artists, it can be a bit more of a challenge. It is a #4, but No, No it isn't.

You can use a WW yarn that has a color that just grabs you, or your tried and true favorite. It really does not matter. Be daring, or be sedate.

You will need another yarn, it can be something you hate, or something you adore, it does not have to match, or look good with your subject yarn, but you will need  an equal amount of what you choose to use. It should be an easy work with WW yarn. Not another Novelty product.

You will also need 2 crochet hooks for this project. A lofty pair. 1 standard crochet hook, 1 double ended Tunisian hook, of the same size.  Did you catch that?  Double ended!   I will be using an N, or 9.00mm  sized set of hooks.
The pattern will be easy to adjust, so if you are completely unable to work with the large hooks, choose what is comfortable for you, and comment here with the size you selected. I will respond with a modified starting chain for you. You need to understand that your stitches will be smaller, tighter, and will use more yarn with the smaller hook size.

Alright, Let's spend this next few days promoting this, share the link, pass the word. There are buttons to share on facebook, Google +, Pintrest and all the social networking sites. Please use them. all of them.  I would love to see the numbers jump up there.  I will reveal the patterns first look on Saturday, January 25, unless I have a real strong calling for it sooner. (that would mean a huge surge in traffic, and comments, letting me know you are ready) Are you ready? Lets Make it happen.

See you soon

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A New Year and A New Direction

A New Year and A New Direction

I have a goal. In the year 2014, want to write a crochet pattern to be published in a Crochet Magazine. 
I have a pattern concept in mind, I can see it in my mind. I know the yarn I want to use, I can feel the fabric as it falls off the hook. It is soft and flexible, and yet does not fall limp. It will be scrumptious, and very desirable. Of this I have no doubt.
In order to achieve this, I have research to do. Some is clear, Which Publications accept pattern contributions from ‘unknown” designers? What are the requirements of the patterns being submitted? How are patterns submitted? 
It would seem there are a multiple of questions to be answered, and if you want to follow along as I go through this process, I would be tickled to share the journey with you. Please take just a minute to let me know you are here. If there is something you think I am missing, PLEASE share with me. We learn something new every day, and you may just be my teacher today.

A gift for you

A Gift for you

That is what the card said.
I was so eager to open the package. I recognized the senders name, and address, but I had not ordered anything yet. She had a hook I wanted, but I had asked her to hold it for me until the 6th. had she sent it anyway, knowing that I would pay her on the 6th?  In my mind, I am eager, and yet thinking I need to caution her, sometimes my world does not work the way I want it to.  This is what I found inside the package. It is the hook, but not an extension of credit from Tera. A gift from another friend. Completely unexpected. My eyes stung just a bit.
I grabbed it, with enough surprise in my action that my cat ran off, (Sorry Bear) I felt the tool like I was afraid of it, and wanted to ingest it at the same time. I could tell it was going to take some getting used to, It is remarkably light weight. Like holing solid air. I could also tell it would need a bit of smoothing. Instead of grabbing the 200 grit sand paper, I went for the cotton yarn I was building a bib with. I formed a slip knot, and put it on the hook as if to hook a chain. My husband looked at me in amazement while I  ran this loop up and down the length of the hook. He has watched me do odd things in the past, but this struck him as particularly bizarre. Before long, I was giddy. The hook picked up a shine, like freshly buffed shoes, and felt undeniably smooth. A few minutes later, I was perched on the porch giving this new toy a trial run. Because of the blunt head, I chose to work a swatch in the Linen Stitch. ( just learned the name of this one, I had always called it Mile-A- Minute) {another post, for another day} 
It took a few minutes to get things rolling smoothly. there is a natural burr, right behind the head of the hook that wants to catch, and stop the rapid flow of the stitch. I will be spending more time working with Cotton yarn, and then thread to ease that little area into submission. It improved dramatically in just the few minutes I worked on the swatch.Image
While I originally planned on doing a quick little “Thank You” to the sender, and the creator of this wonderful Cotton hook, it has in fairness become a review. So let’s make it a fair review.
I will start by saying, I LOVE IT
This type hook is not for everyone.Think of Olivander’s Wands, and how they chose their owner. This is exactly like that.  It requires an investment. Before you purchase the hook, take the time to look at them. If a hook has a visual interest, but an odd angle, ask Tera to post a photo of her holding the hook. Does it look like a fit you can work with? Once you have it home, then the TIME element will become obvious. The cotton stalk it is carved from will yield to it’s user, but. It will take time to ease into a fit.
 5 years ago, I would not have appreciated it. I was in a place where, out of the box, I wanted instant gratification. If that is you, Stick with commercially made aluminum or plastic hooks.
Ready to see, feel and work with a custom designed hook, created from an amazingly resilient renewable resource? visit Tera at  Trifles and Treasures 

A day of shared warmth

A day of shared warmth

My Mom suffers from Dementia. A bold, out of no where statement, that seems to have no foundation. A very “true to life” occurrence.
It is all to often the way we are given information. A shot, hard and fast, in the head, the gut or the Arse. It is just there. Deal with it!
I do not have as much contact with my mom as I would like, Most of the time she has no idea who I am. I hate the idea that I might be the cause of fear, confusion and her own frailties eating at her.  Between Christmas and New Years, I took a chance that another family member might be there. I called, and had a 30 minute conversation with her.  She knew me, recognized my voice and was delighted to ask about where I was living, how the kids and grand kids are. She asked really good questions, and was really engaged. Then she asked them all again. She asked for my mailing address, I gave it, One line at a time, and waited as she recited it back, as if she were writing it down. She forgot the write it down part.  It was a few minutes later, she asked for the address. I acknowledged that we had started that, and asked her to read back what she had, so I could finish giving it to her.  She didn’t have paper. I reminded her where she keeps the pad, and waited for her to be ready to write it down. This went back and forth, with her finially being able to read my address back to me. I was wondering what else to try and talk about, or end the call when she asked me,  ’What recipe did you want? Remind me Honey, you understand how hard this is”  My eyes glazed over, and I was blinking faster than I knew how to cope. I had not asked for a recipe, She had wanted to have the address. In that moment, I said the first thing that came to mind, “Grace’s Scotties” was the reply. She gulped, and told me that Grace is her cousin, but  It was just a couple seconds before she was saying something unrelated.
I heard my Nephew’s dog barking in the background, and then additional voices, so the chance to end the call with out hardship presented itself. I took it, knowing that we had shared one of those rare “Warm Moments’. I was in tears as we hung up the phone.
I was thinking about the disease process, the years we had wasted wishing the other was something other than who we are. I was just feeling melancholy and sad. I was thinking of my older Brother who loved Graces Scotties more than any other human being I knew. Dave passed away about a year ago. I was just SAD. I also decided that I wanted that recipe.   I would have to ask my other brother to dig it out for me.  Not an easy task, as he had all the patients in the world for Mom’s issues, but not for hunting through years worth of clutter, trying not to find something.
Fast forward to this morning. I wanted to make bread. a great way to warm up the house, create wonderful smells, and work my hands with the kneading process. I scrounged through four card files, I could not locate the one I wanted. But I found
Front side of the 3X5 card
Back Side of the card. All the instructions. LOL, I think, based on Mom’s hand, I have likely had this about 25 years.
I use an Ice Cream Scoop to get nice sized cookies, without getting my hands in it (Thanks Martha Stewart)
the card says Sugar, but I add 1/4 tsp ground Cloves to my Sugar. It gives a special touch to my Oatmeal cookies.
put the bottom of the glass in the cookie dough, so it has moisture on the bottom, then into the sugar
Smash the cookie to about 3/8 inch thick.  If you forget to dip it in the sugar between cookies, you get this
Check Your oven temp. You want these to go into a Hot oven, they get a crisp-ish crust, but the interior is very moist
Watch them, the edges will get beautiful brown, and then, if you are occupied with other things, they may burn, or
fall victim to a child lured in by the “What’s that Smell?” question
The girls want me to make them again tomorrow, so they can help next time.
If you make them, Please come tell me your thoughts. Thanks for visiting, you can click the button on the bottom, so you follow me. Who knows what the next post might be about. Maybe more on the published pattern pursuit.

Sundays Down Under

So many Options

So many Options

I have continued delving into the world of “Publishing” Crochet Patterns
A quick Google Search revealed a multitude of Articles, some Blog Posts, with vague wording that held little meat, and some that were pretty good reads.  I enjoyed the articles that had meat to them. The ones that actually gave information relevant to the process. I hope I can offer tangible information here, I do not want to offer a page that has a bunch of words, but no value.
I read this article with interest, Even though it is 5 years old, I did not discover outdated information.
This posting gave an interesting perspective, and I actually pondered some of the author’s words more than once. I will say as a disclaimer, she is not a designer, and yet I found the thought put into this article really provoking. A sort of “grab you by the belt and hold you up” read.
The most straight forward information came from the publications themselves.  I am looking really closely at two different publications.  I also have a yarn company in my site-line.
I have also moved forward, all be it ever so slowly, to the pattern development phase, I like where it is going, I have a road ahead of me. It isn’t paved, but for now, I am not stomping in mud puddles, or tripping over rocks.

It is so easy

It is so easy

I have been testing crochet patterns for a fair amount of time. It took me a while to gain confidence. There is a process. The comfort with admitting I didn’t get it, Knowing (or hoping) that offering suggestions on things that might make it easier to understand, or what I thought would improve the pattern, would be appreciated. It has all taken time. Over this period, I have developed a great relationship with several designers; When I see them call out for testers, I try to get in the mix. I really enjoy the process, and have a lot of fun with it.  I have learned so much, I am actually excited to be able to give back to the community that has been so welcoming and helpful.
I am currently working a test with one of those designers. She sent me the pattern as a rough draft (her words, not mine)  Of course, I read it through, looking for the typo’s, and then collected my supplies.  Half way through the first round, I shot her an Email, offering the suggestions that made sense to me. Today, I decided that I would put those ideas into a tutorial, and offer it to any and all.
It is not rocket science, it is just an easy way to step up the finish look of any project crocheted in the round, by starting it a bit differently. This is what I call Reverse Join.   Reverse Join tutorial.  (link opens in a pdf)
I truly love the way this works,  I have not seen this in a pattern written by anyone else.  Please understand, It may be out there, Someone may have employed this technique, I am saying it has not been in a pattern I have worked.
I have thoughts on adding more of these little hints and tricks as time goes along. Please add me to the blogs you follow, so you will be notified when I post more of them.
Have a great day

Look, Look and See

Look, Look and See
Oh how I love what I do.  I am new at this end of the Crochet World,  I find myself feeling a bit lost looking at all the different ideas to share with my readers. A columnist of sorts, with an open scope. The options of topic are endless.Common thread in all the help groups for writing, Keep your readers entertained, and provide quality content.  Not always an easy feat.  Today my friends, it was as easy as looking at my Facebook news feed.
Starting today, When I see something that is just too cute, or really has an edge to it, I will share it here on my new category.  Have an item you want me to feature, well, I need to know about it, so message me.
Kim Guzman, a very well known designer, has released  my first     “FAN-tabulous Find.”
Isn’t this Darling?
This little sweater, sized to fit 9 to 24 month children is so perfect for a boy.  The lines are chunky, and yet still soft. The color she chose is stellar. Not too cold, not too hard, and yet in no way feminine.
Personally, I am not a fan of seams, I have difficulty keeping my fabric edges consistent. That is a me thing. This pattern does not appear to offer much difficulty, due to the shaping. When I read through it, I was pleased to see detail, and complexity made easy to digest and work into a wonderful Functional garment
versicolor5_zps5d4898cc For A BOY
It is common to find patterns for unisex hats, Sweaters, tops dresses and so many accessories for little girls,  but to see detail, shaping and style of this caliber for a boy is rare.
Should we top it off already?  Kim is offering this as a free pattern.
I really could go on and on about the pattern, and the designer, but I know you want the link so you can judge for yourself. Here you go, and if you would please, tell her I sent you.   Versicolor Pull Over
Want to be sure you see all my offerings? sign up for email alerts, WordPress makes it easy,
See you soon
Oh yeah, the legal stuff again, Kim authorized the use of her copyrighted pictures for this posting. Ask before you display others work.  It just keeps the “hooker police” from poking you.

Moving Day

Have you ever felt as though you were getting settled, beginning to get acclimated to the environment, just to discover the main goal cannot be obtained from your current location? 


I started the year with a set of goals.   Starting my blog, building an audience, developing relationships, and sharing the journey toward professionally publishing crochet patterns. (in addition to self published sale and free patterns)

I posted 8 entries in my old home, and actually felt as if I were getting the idea, only to find out that the site could not support my long term goals. Time to move, before I accumulate an abundance of things I would have to leave behind. Stories, Pictures and fun stuff, but the most important, the people, those that are interested in the  information I share.  

I do not know if I can move my content, that is a question I will be finding the answer to. 

Please, update your information, so you can find me. The best way is to follow me, with my posts going directly to your mail box.

Let's make this work.