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  • Crocheting a Curvy and Colorful Cowl

    I finished my Martha Cowl from Crochet Scarves and Cowls by Karen Ratto-Whooley!

    Martha Cowl

    I love wearing cowls, and I love making them, and I love giving them as gifts.  I'm not sure who I'll give this to, but I think it matches the personalities of plenty of women I know.  This cowl is a winner!

    Martha Cowls

    This took a little less than a skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable Ombres, and I was able to work a few extra rows for added height.  This will such a warm and fluffy present to wear, and I'm really happy with how the textured rows look.  The pattern calls for working some rows in the back loops and I always love how that changes the look of crocheted fabric so drastically.

    Martha Cowls

    I'm looking forward to building up my gift stash during the next few slow months, and I want to have lots of beautiful and warm cowls for the birthdays and holidays in the year ahead.  I feel like I'm off to a great start with this cowl!

    Crochet Cowl as Gift

  • Arm Knitting

    If you can’t laugh at yourself then you are doing something wrong. I have laughed so hard at myself trying to Arm Knit over the last couple of days. I have been knitting for almost twenty years. Trying to get my brain to shift gears from knitting needles to my arm was slightly awkward. I am left handed so I cast on backwards holding my knitting needle in my left hand and my yarn in the right, mirror image to how right handed knitters cast on. I have watched a couple videos on how to arm knit. I have dropped stitches and had my yarn going in the wrong direction a couple of times. The third time was the charm! I finished my Arm Knitting project and it didn't take very long to knit up.

    I used a kit from Leisure Arts called Learn to Arm Knit with Instruction Book. I found it very helpful. However, I didn't use the yarn in the kit; I used a bulky acrylic yarn. The first two tries I used just one yarn and it was too thin. On the third time it went better, I decided to double up on the yarn. As I finished, I noticed I should have used three or four strands. I also turned it once before I sewed the ends together to make an infinity cowl.

    Infinity Cowl Infinity Cowl


  • Infinity Cowl | Quick Styles For You

    This week I crocheted the Infinity Cowl from Quick Styles For You.

    The yarn I used was Lion Brand's Homespun Thick and Quick. The colors were Tudor, and Painted Desert. This yarn is so soft! My favorite color was the darker one, Painted Desert.
    If you have ever tried to crochet with homespun yarn, you know the struggle. The pattern calls for 10mm crochet hook. I used the 9mm purple Knook from the Knook Beginner Set for Kids. The shape of the hook made the yarn easier to deal with.
    Here are some photos!


    Infinity Cowl Infinity Cowl Infinity Cowl Infinity Cowl Infinity Cowl Infinity CowlInfinity CowlInfinity CowlInfinity Cowl
    Thanks for reading!

    Stay Crafty!


  • Crocheting the Quick and Easy Twist Cowl: Now in Color!

    I love crocheting the Quick and Easy Twist pattern from Crochet Cowls.  Actually, I love crocheting every pattern I've tried from Crochet Cowls.  But the Quick and Easy Twist is really, incredibly, super fun and fantastic. 

    I've been trying to clear out some of my stash this summer (after a few frenzied incidents led to me nearly doubling it), and when I laid out my partial skeins of Lion Brand Thick & Quick, I knew these blues would look beautiful together. I love them.

    Cobalt, Navy, and Sky Blue.

    This is an incredibly quick project. The body is two rows worked flat over and over until your work measures the recommended length and then you twist the crocheted fabric and seam your ends together!

    Or, if you like, you can make it little shorter or even a lot longer. Regardless of its length, it probably won't take long to reach whatever length you choose because this is super bulky yarn crocheted with an N hook!  A simple pattern, big yarn, and a big hook?  This is some genuine fluffy crocheting.

    And that's some genuine fluffy knitting I did in that blanket for my youngest sister's wedding present. She's a bright colors kind of person. I like that about her.

    This sort of pattern is the perfect project for me to enjoy before or after tackling a pattern that is for something large, complicated, or just uses really lightweight yarn.  I love bulkier projects, and I love the look of this cowl.  I don't understand a lot about fashion, but this seems like a nice bold accessory to add to an outfit.  I gave my first version of this cowl to my sister last year, and she said it became her favorite accessory throughout the winter to dress up her 'casual new mom' outfits.

    And I made this cowl for our younger sister because she likes blue (and looks great in it!). So now she has a very, very blue cowl.  She always wears my cowls and scarves during the chillier months, and now I hope this cowl turns into one of her favorites.  It's certainly one of my favorite cowls to make!

  • Knitting the Tempting Texture Cowl Pattern

    I made the Tempting Texture cowl from Knit Cowls and it's just so lovely! 

    I tend to call it the Waves of Texture pattern in my head because the wiggly lines of purl stitches made me think of waves on the ocean.  This took a couple of months to make, with plenty of breaks in between knitting sessions.  It's not an especially difficult pattern--there were just lots of stitches making up lots and lots of rows. Okay, really it was only 136 stitches.  But it felt like so many more stitches making up so many rows.

    Knit rows and purl rows and knit rows with increases and decreases that made up all these lovely waves!

    Speaking of waves, I threw in the two rows of gray because I thought I would run out of blue yarn and because I thought it would create an effect of caps on waves.  I'm not quite sure it worked how I wanted, but it's still a very pretty cowl and I don't think the color changes look too out-of-place.

    I used Cascade's Alpaca Lana D'Oro, and this pattern used up one skein and probably half of another one in the blue.  That's around 330 yards of worsted weight yarn. And I only used a negligible amount of the gray.  That's pretty great for a cowl so large and squishy!  The yarn is a 50/50 mix of alpaca and wool.  It's warm.  It's soft.  It's super springy.....and stretchy.

    This cowl practically bounces when you put it on and arrange it around.  It's almost bulky because of its size, but it drapes up against you really well.  It's not super-scrunched up, but it doesn't quite lay flat either.  It will keep you warm, and it will look beautiful as an accessory.

    I gave this to my mother as a gift and she loved it.  It looks nice with just a shirt, but can still be tucked into a coat for practical warmth.  If you're as focused as I am (meaning that you and I are not all that focused sometimes), now would be a great time to cast on this project if you want to wear the cowl this fall.  But!  If you're an actual focused person, you could probably make one of these in time to wear this for the last few chilly days of spring.  Anything's possible.

    This post was originally published on July 30, 2013.  I wanted to repost it because I just love this cowl and wanted another chance to show it off and talk about it a bit more.  Happy weekend!

  • A Cowl to Crochet Again (and Again and Again!)

    After yesterday's post, I started thinking about my crafting tendencies.  In crafting, and in everything really, I am a creature of habit.  I wear outfits like uniforms--weekend outfit, work outfit, date outfit (ha).  I will listen to the same CD for months on end.  And if I find a pattern I like, I will make it as many times as I think is reasonable until I've had enough.  And then, after an appropriate waiting period, I'll make it again!  The Shells with a Twist Cowl from Crochet Cowls has my number. 


    The first time I made it, I loved it.  I wound up keeping this for myself, and I feel so warm and cute every time I wear it.  I used some worsted weight wool-alpaca blend yarn and it's so soft and warm and glorious.

    The next time I made it, my pink-loving sister got a wonderful birthday present.  She wears hers for warmth and style as well.  I crocheted this in a sport weight yarn, but it's wool.  So it's still incredibly warm, and I still used an H hook.  An H hook is apparently my default hook for nearly every project.

    I used the same lightweight yarn in a bright red color for a friend's birthday present.  She squealed and did a weird flailing thing with her hands when she saw this.

    I know this sounds insufferable, but her reaction is what I was partly hoping for and partly expecting.  I think this pattern is so pretty!  And I think everyone else should think so too!  I mean, I keep making this pattern because I enjoy it.  But I keep writing about it because I want to talk about it a lot and I want you to look at it and think about it and try it.  I'm pretty sure it could improve your life. 

    I know most people have gift stashes, but I'm not sure about favorite pattern stashes.  I'm sure some of you have certain baby bootees or dishcloths that you can churn out at a moment's notice or build up a secret arsenal with because they're so perfect for any lucky recipient.  I think the Shells with a Twist cowl is my absolute favorite fall-back pattern.  It's just so great!

     Which is why I'm really happy that I dug this out of my craft corner.

    I'm going to finish this up and it's going to be beautiful and I'm going to enjoy repeating those same two rows over and over until I have another lovely cowl to show for it.  The repetition is meditative and the result is beautiful.  It's perfect!

    Every single time.

  • Christmas Gift Guide: Pattern Books for Yarn Crafters

    Do you have yarn crafters in your life?  I hope you do.  Yarn crafters make excellent knitted or crocheted things and give them to the special people in their lives.  They're talented and kind, and always smell really nice and have the best jokes.  Or so I tell myself because I'm a yarn crafter.

    We're also smart!  And attractive!  And humble!

    Anywayyyyyy, something yarn crafters like receiving as gifts even more than yarn is pattern books.  Think about it: patterns can be used more than once, always come in the right amount, and no one is ever, ever allergic to them.  If you want to make a yarn crafter happy but aren't sure about what yarn to buy him/her, then patterns are the way to go!

    Here are some of my favorites:

    Crochet Cowls.

     I know I've talked about this pretty recently, but I wanted to recommend this pattern book one more time because these patterns are so fantastic.  They're lovely finished products, and really fun to make!

    Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.

    Hats are so fun to knit.  They're easy, portable projects and well, hats.  I love hats!  And I'm wondering why I've never made the pattern on the cover. It's beyond adorable.

    Hats and Diaper Covers

    And Hats and Diaper Covers 2

    Oh my goodness.  If your yarn crafter person has any small people at all to love (or just enjoys the odd bit of charity crocheting), then please give him/her some silly little hats to crochet.  Who doesn't want to make a giraffe hat?  Or a frog hat or a ladybug hat or a bear hat or a puppy dog hat?  Because I've tried each of those and been completely and ridiculously in love with my own handiwork when I was done.  Seriously.  Such fun patterns!

    Hats and Scarves.  I have to confess that I haven't made any of the patterns in this.  But I can recommend it as a gift because I keep looking in here and it's killing me that I haven't had time to crochet any of these patterns.  These look fan-freaking-tastic.  See?

    One day I will make that hat in the bottom left corner for myself and I will enjoy a wonderful and warm day, you guys.  I can't wait.  Really, I'm incredibly eager to make this.  I've been dreaming about making a new hat for myself lately.

    The Knook Value Pack

    Do you know someone who's interested in trying out Knooking?  Or maybe you know a crafter who's up for anything?  The Knook Value Pack would be a really exciting and fun gift!  Throw in a pattern book like Simple Scarves Made with the Knook, Dishcloths Made with the Knook, or--just to be incredibly straightforward--Learn to Knook, and TA DA!  You have a great gift!

    Okay.  I don't know whether this last suggestion is a good idea or not.  Dishcloth patterns.  I'm just linking to the search results page for dishcloth pattern books on so you can browse and use your own discretion.  There are so many wonderful knit and crochet dishcloth patterns out there that you can make for just about any occasion.  Downside: someone might think you think they should clean up their house more often because sometimes little things like eating and cleaning and going into work don't seem that important when you're trying to finish up a project.  Proceed with caution.  When in doubt, go with Dishcloth Dresses because those have a decorative function.  And they're really fun.

    Or just go with yarn.  We'll figure out something to do with it, I assure you.

  • Christmas Gift Guide: My Favorite Crochet Cowls

    It's December!  Your Christmas gift stash is probably not as adequate as you originally thought!  You need quick patterns! You need gift ideas!  I'm going to pretend like I can help!

    My gift suggestion for everyone is nearly always either a knitted hat (we are SO going to talk about this later!) or a crocheted cowl.  I was thinking about crochet cowls already because they're pretty perfect.  A good double crochet stitch takes up so much space that you'll have a ready-to-wear item in next to no time, cowls are incredibly fashionable and pretty, and there are approximately a million good designs out there.  Here are four that I've already tried out.  They're all from Crochet Cowls, which is a great pattern book.  I was looking at some of the patterns I haven't tried yet when I realized I could definitely talk at ridiculous length about the patterns I have worked up because I'm pretty dadgummed enthused about crochet cowls in general, and in the patterns in Crochet Cowls.

    The first pattern from Crochet Cowls that I tried was the Quick & Easy Button-Up.  Actually, I think this is the first crochet cowl pattern I ever tried, period. 

    This was an absolute winner.  It calls for a skein of Lion Brand Amazing, but I think this would look lovely in a solid.  I think it looks best in some kind of gradient or striping yarn, but a solid would work also.

    You also get to pick out a couple of cute buttons to dress it up a bit without the fussing around with buttonholes.  The whole pattern is shells, so the entire one-skein wonder is practically buttonholes!  Really attractive and stylish buttonholes.

    Depending on your speed and skill, you could finish this in an evening or two.  I am assuming your evenings do not involve toddlers.  Even if you do have life things beyond knitting and crocheting, this would be an ideal quick project and an incredibly lovely gift.

    An officially super fast and really lovely cowl pattern is the Quick and Easy Twist.  It takes two skeins of Lion Brand's Thick & Quick yarn.  I wish I'd done this in that tweedy brown colorway.  You know the one.  This would look amazing.  Or in some mustard yellow.  Or in any color, because it certainly doesn't look bad in this off-white yarn.  

    This is worked flat and then stitched up.  I think it took up part of my weekend to make.  I was in no real hurry, and I think my hands move more slowly in the summer.  That's not how it normally works, but it's difficult to manipulate yarn into cold-weather creations when you're distracted by heat advisories.  Even so, this cowl was quick and easy.  Duh.  Titles don't lie.

    There's also the Short and Sweet Cowl.  I'm not sure why it took me as long as it did to make, but whatever. The extra bit of time was well worth it to make such a thick and scrunchy cowl.  I'm not sure if we can say "scrunchy" in this context.  I'm going it for it, guys.  This cowl fits too closely to be doubled, but it drapes and folds in a nice layering sort of way and it is incredibly extra super warm.  It calls for bulky yarn.  Not SUPER bulky, but you know....chunky.  Husky. Voluptuous.  Full-bodied.  You get a mostly bulky cowl from it. 

    I am, as always, sorry about my face.

    Plus, please look at this stitch pattern.  I love it.

    And lastly, the Shells with a Twist Cowl

    It's not quite as quick as the others, but it still doesn't take very much time to crochet to be so long.  It's the same two rows over and over and I have yet to get tired of it.  I also apparently never get tired of talking about it, either.  I make no apologies.  This cowl makes me look tall.

    It can be worn doubled (maybe tripled?).

    I've made it in worsted weight yarn and in sport weight yarn.  It looks fine either way. Better than fine.  Glorious.

    You absolutely need this in your gift stash.  This is another cowl that's worked flat and twisted before stitching your ends together, but I guess there's no reason not to just weave in your ends and call it a beautiful scarf.

    Man, I want to make another one of these just thinking about it.

    So to recap:  you should make a cowl.  You will be happy. Your recipient will be happy.  My face is odd.  Crochet Cowls is a national treasure.  You can't go wrong with shells. 

    Happy hooking!

  • Crazy for Crocheted Cowls: Shells with a Twist, Part 2

    Remember when I crocheted the Shells with a Twist cowl?

    Remember when I loved it and I thought it was a great pattern that wore beautifully and I would make a few more of these?

    I meant it.

    My gift stash just got a lot more vibrant.

    I really meant it.

    I found some yarn on sale in my yarn store's 'adoption center' (which lets you feel good about picking up even more yarn to give it a good home) and went a little crazy.  But!  I clearly don't care!  I love the colors!  The yardage is perfect for this project--exactly 2 skeins (300 yards) will get you your 54 inches--and the wool is light and fluffy and beautiful.

    I made the pink cowl for a birthday present for my pink-loving sister, who is 25 for the third time and very pleased with her present.  And the red yarn is all crocheted up into a cowl.  I just need to sew the ends together and find the right wearer for it.

    The blue is nearly two-thirds finished and I'm rethinking that whole 'putting it in the gift stash' lunacy I suffered from earlier.  It may stay with me forever.  Just look at it!


    And the purple?

    Soon, my darlings. Soon.

    I just reread over this post for grammatical errors and discovered a whole lot of crazy instead.

    Guess what? Still don't care!  Have you been paying attention?!  Sale yarn!  Vibrant colors!  Gift stash!  Cowls!

    Join me, won't you?  It's happy here.  We have sale yarn and plans and it's going to be great.*

    *Said every completely sensible yarncrafter ever.

  • Waves of Texture

    I finally finished it! 
    I've been working on the Tempting Texture cowl pattern from Knit Cowls off and on since the beginning of June.   It's not an especially difficult pattern--there were just lots (136, but it felt like more) stitches making up lots and lots of rows.


    Knit rows, and purl rows, and knit rows with increases and decreases to make these waves.


    And speaking of waves, I threw in the two rows of gray because I thought I would run out of blue yarn and because I thought it would create an effect of caps on waves.  I'm not quite sure it worked how I wanted, but it's still a very pretty cowl and I don't think the color changes look too out-of-place.


    By the way, the yarn I used is Cascade's Alpaca Lana D'Oro.  I used up one skein and probably half of another one in the blue, which is around 330 yards.  I only used a negligible amount of the gray.  The yarn is a 50/50 mix of alpaca and wool.  It's warm.  It's soft.  It's super springy.....and stretchy.


    This cowl practically bounces when you put it on and arrange it around.  It's almost bulky because of its size, but it drapes up against you really well.  It's not super-scrunched up, but it doesn't quite lay flat either.


    I guess it adds texture to your torso.  Which might not be the tempting texture the pattern name alludes to, but I don't think you can have too much texture anyway.  This cowl is lovely.

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