Crochet Photo Pattern Tips and Tricks: Working with 8+ Colors at a Time

CPPYarnHack

One of the things those new to crochet photo patterns might have a problem with is figuring out how to easily work with multiple colors at a time. My gray scale patterns use eight colors, and color photo patterns can use a lot more.

How do you work with all of these different yarns and not get the individual strands tangled up? Continue reading …

More Crochet Photo Pattern Tips and Tricks

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Get this ready-to-download crochet photo pattern of Ian Somerhalder HERE.

Now that I’ve finished the lacy crochet tunic which I just HAD to do, I am again working on my crochet photo patterns.

In addition to doing a piece for a good friend who got married last year (yeah, I know, I’m a little late with the gift giving), I am adding more information to this blog to help you create beautiful crochet photo pattern masterpieces.

To that end, I’ve written an article that explains how to determine the finished dimensions of your crochet photo pattern piece in 4 easy steps. Read all about it HERE.

Crochet Symbol Charts Are Easier to Follow Than You Might Think

Image via Wikimedia Commons by WillowW

I call this symbol system the lingua franca of crochet because it allows crochet designers from different language backgrounds to create patterns that everyone can read.

I couldn’t find much on the origins of these symbols other than that the Japanese invented their system (apparently some European countries use a different symbol set) “in the 1960s or earlier” (1) and that their symbols have been standardized by the government in the Textile Engineering Division (L) of the Japan Industrial Standards (2).

US crochet patterns use the Japanese symbols, and the Japanese symbols follow the US system of designating crochet stitches.

An Easy Crochet Wallet Pattern

I used a symbol chart to crochet this wallet.

I used a symbol chart to crochet this wallet.

To give you an idea of how easy these charts are to follow, I decided to crochet this wallet after coming across a video and pattern on Google+ .  The designer is Esperanza Rosas, and her video is in Spanish. Without the chart, it would have been a challenge for me to follow along since I don’t speak the language.

The other great thing about this pattern is that Ms. Rosas includes a photo tutorial as an additional aid in understanding it. If you open the site in Google Chrome, it will translate the Spanish to English. It’s not the best translation in the world, but it does help.

Some Tips to Help You Understand the Chart

Used with permission

Used with permission

These tips should give you a head start in understanding how to crochet the wallet.

  • The wallet is crocheted in “half rounds” (I’m calling them rows after this), starting in the middle of the piece with a foundation chain of 39 chains (cadenas).
  • Each row begins with a chain 2, representing the first half double crochet stitch; so you always know where the beginning of the row is.
  • You start by crocheting down one side of the chain, work the flap stitches as directed, then crochet down the opposite side of the chain. At the end of the row, you chain 2 and turn to start the next row. The wallet expands from the center out. Each row is a different color, so you should have no problems following them.
  • To turn the wallet into a purse, simply add more chains to the foundation chain; the body will be longer, but the width of the piece and the flap remain the same.

The one thing you don’t know unless you understand Spanish is what yarn weight and hook size to use. I used worsted weigh (4) yarn and a G/4 mm hook for this wallet, and it came out rather large (5″ x 6.5″). Next time, I’ll use a lighter weight yarn and a smaller hook. And I will probably line the finished piece. It will make a nice cell phone cozy.

Here’s what my wallet looked like before I folded it and single crocheted the sides.

I love stitch markers!

I love stitch markers!

The stitch markers separate the wallet body from the flap, so I always knew where the body stopped and the flap began.

reading Japanese Patterns Is a Little More Challenging

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I’m working on another crochet pattern, using symbol charts that are part of a Japanese pattern. I’ve had to join a Facebook group to learn how to read this pattern as Japanese patterns are created a lot differently than US patterns. For one thing, they use as few words as possible; most of the pattern information is in the symbol charts and the schematic diagrams.

And unlike US patterns, Japanese patterns include some crochet information in the schematic diagrams. I’m only about half way done with this lovely tunic. When I complete it, I’ll add a photo to this blog post.

UPDATE – 5-31-14

Me and my daughter posing in the finished tunic

Me and my daughter posing in the finished tunic

I finally finished the tunic. It’s a little too big and the yarn I used, Patons Beehive Baby Soft Sport, is way too stretchy. Next time I’ll use a lighter-weight cotton or a cotton blend. My daughter cinched the waist in the back to show how a more fitted silhouette would look.

Japanese Pattern and Crochet Symbol Chart Resources

I have found a couple of English-speaking websites that explain how to read Japanese patterns that you might find helpful:

Pierrot Yarns, a Japanese yarn company, has a nice collection of Japanese patterns that are in English!

The Craft Yarn Council has created a list of crochet symbols that you will find in Japanese and US symbol charts. And CraftyMinx.com has a great series of lessons on reading symbol charts.

And if you really want to get into the nitty gritty of reading crochet symbol charts, check out Dora Ohrenstein’s webinar at Interweave Crochet (aff).

Now that you know a little bit more about symbol charts, do you think you’ll try one?

(1) “Basic International Crochet Symbols & How to Follow a Crochet Schematic Chart,” Sewing Daisies, accessed May 8, 2014, http://www.sewingdaisies.com.au/Patterns/T209C-IntlCrochetSymbols.pdf.
(2) “Japanese pattern reading tutorial: Lesson 3a – Crochet,” dancingbarefoot, accessed May 8, 2014, http://dancingbarefoot.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/tutorial-lesson-3a-crochet/

How I Used Crochet to Turn Uncomfortable Flip Flops into a Walking Delight

Image via Flickr by The Consumerist

Image via Flickr by The Consumerist

Here in Hawaii, flip flops, or slippers as we call them, are the shoes of choice year round. Currently, I have three pairs to wear outside, and one pair for indoors.

Most Hawaiian residents remove their shoes before entering a home, a custom we follow in ours. But I don’t always want to go around barefoot inside and will wear either socks in cool weather or my indoor slippers when it’s warm.

flip flop Soles Made from Yoga Mats?

Flip flops with yoga mat soles

Flip flops with yoga mat soles

On a recent shopping trip with my daughter, I found a pair of slippers that had soles made out of yoga mats! When I tried them on in the store, they were so comfortable that I immediately purchased them.

But when I got them home and started walking in them, I realized that the thin straps and hard thongs that separate the toes made my feet hurt. The one time I went grocery shopping in them, I was limping by the time I got home.

Seems the makers of these slippers spent so much time on the soles they forgot about ensuring the comfort of the straps. But precisely  because the soles were so comfortable, I didn’t want to give them up. How to make them comfortable? Crochet on the straps and thongs to provide a cushion for my sensitive feet.

Creating a Comfortable Crochet Cushion for my flip flops

I used novelty yarn to crochet on these flip flops.

I used novelty yarn to crochet on these flip flops.

I had already crocheted a pair of slippers to wear at a friend’s wedding, so I knew it was something I could do. When I crocheted these slippers, I was in a hurry and decided to let the yarn do the work for me. My daughter said they looked like fuzzy caterpillars!

For my yoga mat slippers, I went for “understated” and chose some camouflage-colored, worsted-weight acrylic yarn I had in my stash and an H/5.00 mm crochet hook. Then it was a simple matter of single crocheting around the first strap, wrapping a layer of yarn around the thong, and single crocheting down the length of the other strap.

My crocheted camo flip flops

My crocheted camo flip flops

However, when I reached the thong, the yarn ball was too fat to slide under the straps which I needed to do in order to wrap the thong in yarn. To solve this problem, I -

  • Unwrapped a long length of yarn from the main ball, making sure I had enough yarn to finish the second strap, and wound it into a small ball.
  • Then I removed my hook from the loop, taking care not to pull it out or stretch it, and wrapped the yarn around the thong, starting at the bottom near the sole and working up to the top.
  • After I finished wrapping the thong, I reinserted my hook in the loop and continued single crocheting the other strap.

It took me all of 30 minutes to crochet on both slippers.

YouTube Preview Image

If you’ve never crocheted on flip flops, this video will show you just how easy it is.

Crocheted Flip Flops in a Multitude of Colors and Textures

Inexpensive flip flops + nice yarn = new shoes!

Inexpensive flip flops + nice yarn = new shoes!

My goal is to purchase some more inexpensive slippers and decorate them in different colors and yarn textures, perhaps even adding flowers and other embellishments.

That’s one of the many advantages of living in a warm weather climate where the dress code is almost always casual; you don’t have to spend a lot of money on shoes!

11 Random Things You May Not Know About Me

Several of my crochet blogging buddies have been publishing articles with a title similar to this one. I’ve enjoyed reading them so much that I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and write one of my own. Plus, I haven’t published anything since the end of March, and I figured this would be a nice change from what I typically write about.

1. I think 13 is a lucky number.

Image via Flickr by Dave Bleasdale

In fact, I was going to call this article, 13 Things You May Not Know About Me, but it was getting to be too long, so I cut back to 11.

The number 13 has gotten so much bad press for so long that I decided during the 90s to start viewing it as a lucky number. In this way, I would banish any triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) that might be lurking in the recesses of my subconscious. And every time 13 falls on a Friday, I know it’s going to be a lucky day for me. After all, there are 13 lunar cycles and Friday is Venus’ day (vendredi in French), making it a day that celebrates women.

2. I majored in linguistics and minored in French in college.

I was one of those students who excelled in language arts in elementary and high school but loathed math and science, despite having a father who was both a mathematician and a scientist. Clearly, those genes skipped my generation.

3. I learned to knit before I learned to crochet.

Image via Flickr by Children’s Bureau Centennial

And I’m pretty sure I was embroidering before that. I learned to crochet as a teenager but continued knitting well into my twenties. But I finally got frustrated with how long it took to knit up a piece, and by my thirties I was hooked on crochet. I still knit from time to time, but only small projects I can finish quickly.

4. I never left the North American continent until I was 57 years old.

The only time I was outside the US was when my parents and I traveled to Montreal, Canada in 1967 for the World’s Fair. Even my daughter went to Jamaica on her senior class trip. I could have chaperoned but I didn’t make it.

However, I made up for my lack of travel in 2007 when I moved 3,000+ miles away to the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the island of Oahu, Hawaii where I now live.

5. I suffered terribly from glossaphobia until my early 40s.

That’s fear of public speaking if you hadn’t already guessed. Yes, I know; it’s the number one fear people suffer from, but I had it bad. It wasn’t until I took a part time job as a basic writing instructor at a community college that I finally moved passed it. Funny thing is, I discovered that I LOVE teaching.

6. I read romance novels.

Image via Flickr by Holly Leighanne

But I came to them late, in the 90s after learning to my shock and dismay that one of my good friends, who has a PhD in linguistics, read them. “What could this intelligent woman possibly see in that drivel?” I thought. I even convinced myself it would be easy to write one and bought a “futuristic” romance novel to read as a first step. I’ve been reading them ever since even though I’ve never gotten around to writing one (a lot harder than I thought).

7. I can read tarot cards and interpret astrological charts.

I have always been fascinated with alternate ways of viewing reality and the so-called new age. In fact, my father once told me he remembered me being interested in astrology when I was in high school.

My interest in the tarot emerged after getting a reading from a “psychic” who used tarot cards in the reading and saw me with a baby! Needless to say, I had no intention of having a baby any time soon, but three months later, I was pregnant and my curiosity in the cards was peaked.

And it was astrology that boosted my confidence in my math skills because I needed a lot of math to calculate the charts by hand (thank goodness software now does all the calculating).

8. I know how to accurately interpret my dreams.

Recalling my dreams has always been easy. In fact, I had lucid dreams as a kid, so I’ve always wanted to know what they mean. Thanks to Gayle Delaney’s interview method of dream interpretation (aff), I’ve gotten pretty good at understanding the information they contain. I kept a dream journal for many years and would really like to get back into the habit of recording my dreams.

9. I know how to cook but I don’t like to.

Image via Flickr by Benimoto

Image via Flickr by Benimoto

Maybe because I had such a temperamental, nit-picking eater to raise, I simply stopped when she finally went off to college. Or it could be that I’m just lazy. Whatever the reason, if I can’t prepare a meal in 15 minutes or less, I probably won’t eat it. But I really want to stop eating so much nuked food and am on the lookout for easy-to-prepare (of course!), healthy meals.

10. I love to walk and dance.

Image via Flickr by Dino ahmed ali

And I need to do a lot more of both the older I get. I used to walk all the time in my 40s and 50s and danced like a fool in my 30s. But I’ve slacked off since reaching “The Big Six Oh.” I keep promising myself I’m going to walk more, so I’ve slowly started walking a few times a week in my neighborhood.

I haven’t found a way to incorporate dancing into my routine yet since I’m pretty much a homebody (the 11th thing you may not know about me) but I haven’t given up looking. A line dancing class would be ideal!

So now you know a bit more about me other than the fact that I love to crochet. If you’d like to get to know more about some other crochet bloggers, check out these links:

Sedie of Yarn Obsession
Corina of Stitch11
Lorene of Cre8tion Crochet
Kim of Wips ‘N Chains
Rebeckah of Rebeckah’s Treasures
Cylinda of Crochet Memories
Celina of Simply Collectible