Single Granny Square Crochet

My appreciation for handmade started back in grade school. We had a Home Economics course where we learned how to do basic cooking, table setting, sewing, crochet and cross stitch. Sounds really cool, doesn’t it?

Granny squares can be used for a lot of items. They can be used for blankets and throws, scarves, bags and for home accents and decor.

I remember this pattern as my first crochet project. I made a table centerpiece using bright colored scrap yarns that I had. The finished product measured about 12 inches x 12 inches. Now, I am wondering if my mom still has it.

It is a very simple pattern. I did not write it down or had it memorized but it is so simple that crocheting it just naturally flows with its logical design.

Below are the stitches used. If you need some help or a refresher on how to do them, I have the links ready for you.

Pointers: I have included some photos for clarification.

There can be a lot of variations as to changing colors as well. The possibilities with granny squares are endless! Please feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions or issues. You can reach me on social media on contact me through this site.

Interested in trying this one? I would love to see what you come up with! Show me what you’re making.

I hope you enjoy this pattern for years to come. You can get really creative with this one. God bless and happy crocheting!

Basic Two Needle Mittens

After Christmas, I was craving to do a different project than what I had been doing for the past few months. Lucky enough, I found an old pattern from Patons for Mittens and Gloves. I forgot that I had that pattern and I remember, I only did a pair of fingerless gloves out of it years ago. As you know I can not show the pattern here for copyright reasons but I will share with you some pointers that I have learned in making these lovely mittens.

Materials:

  • Pattern: Patons Next Steps Seven Mittens and Gloves 2014
  • Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease | Medium Worsted Weight in Rose Heather
  • Knitting Needles: Takumi Clover US 6, 4.0mm DPNs (double pointed needles)
  • Stitch markers (optional)
  • Stitch counter (optional)

This pattern was worked flat starting from the ribbing to the fingers. The pattern originally calls for 2 sizes of knitting needles. US 5, 3.75mm was supposed to be used for this ribbing. Since I did not have them, I just used US 6, 4.0mm for the whole project which turned out alright as well.

As you can see from the photo above, it was a few rows of ribbing for the cuffs. After the ribbing and a few rows of stockinette stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side), the thumb gusset starts. It is simply increasing for the thumb placement.

Actually, I miscalculated the rows for the thumb. The first photo below shows that. I initially knitted too many rows and it ended up an inch long for my thumb. So I had to frog a few rows and shorten the thumb. The second photo shows the final thumb length and the third shows my right hand on top of it. It is actually a good idea to fit it as you go so you can be as accurate as possible with regards to the fit.

A couple of my favorite details about this project are the beautiful increases and decreases. I just love how seamless they are. On the first photo, it shows the beginning of the thumb gusset. It was a 1-stitch increase and then an increase of 2 stitches on the following rows. The second photo shows the decrease on the top part of the mittens, shaping the fingers. The right side decrease used ssk (slip, slip, knit) which decreases 1 stitch and the left side decreases used k2tog (knit 2 together) which also decreases 1 stitch.

The thumb gusset leaves a small hole but since there is a cast on part on this area, I used the extra yarn to just fill the hole by tightening a few stitches. In my experience, this is pretty common with knitting mittens and gloves.

The pattern was pretty much straightforward. Be prepared for some seam sewing. This pattern is actually in the Ravelry database but upon searching, it is unfortunately out of print. However, you can view this project on my Ravelry page.

What projects are you planning this year? I must admit, my projects helped me tremendously by keeping busy and staying challenged. I am so sorry that this pattern is no longer available. But I think it just inspired me to write a pattern for some mittens or gloves. I promise you, once that is finished, I will share it with all of you.

Happy new year and happy making!

Let Your Light Shine

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and I am sure all of us have different intense emotions regarding 2020.

For me, 2020 was more bitter than sweet. Everyone can relate to how the pandemic affected us globally. I think this year was a big test for all of us with regards to our faith and our character. We were challenged to be patient, more kind and considerate, loving and trusting. We had to deal with difficult decisions and situations with grace and wisdom. Those are not easy. For most of us, those are way out of our comfort zone.

Our downtown square – there is an ice rink in the middle and behind the trees are good hills for sledding.

But I choose to believe that there is always hope. Amidst the darkness, we can be the light. With the gloom and ugliness around us, we can shine.

The moon tonight.. behind birch trees.

Have you noticed how the Christmas lights around us are a bit more illuminating? I guess it depends on our perspective. The fact is, even with the empty town squares and lack of the holiday hustle and bustle, life moves on. We can choose to be the light in the darkness, and bring a bit of joy to the gloominess. Whether it be a random act of kindness, volunteering for a good cause, a smile or an encouragement, will surely impact someone’s day.

To all our frontline and essential workers who continue to sacrifice their safety and time away from their families, we appreciate all of you and we want to thank you for letting your light shine.

Let us all be faithful and strong. I wish you all a blessed new year!

DIY Ice Globes

Merry Christmas everyone! Another week to go and we are saying goodbye to 2020. What a year, huh? This year definitely has been a roller coaster ride. I am thankful for each one of you for supporting our little handmade shop.

If you are located somewhere with freezing temperatures, here is a fun and easy project that you can do to bring some light and decoration to your yard or deck. We had the winter solstice a few days ago and it is a big deal up here in Alaska since it means we are starting to gain back daylight a few minutes each day.

I found these beautiful ice lanterns on Pinterest and decided to try the simplest one. We ended up lining our driveway for Christmas Eve last night. We haven’t been to church lately because of COVID restrictions and we were grateful there were even Christmas Eve services to attend.

There are a lot of different ways to make these ice globes. I admire some of these bloggers who are just so passionate and driven to find the perfect technique. This is my first time trying it out and I am definitely pleased with how they turned out.

Onelittleproject.com has the blog post on how to make these: Ice Luminaries: How to make your own ice lanterns. This approach only uses balloons and battery operated tea lights. It is a fairly cheap project that can actually produce a very satisfying result. I chose Ashland’s Color Changing Flameless Tea Lights and they were a little over $4 for a 4-pc at Michael’s. The balloons were the 15-pc pack from Walmart.

The first step after gathering the materials is to fill the balloons with tap water. The balloon opening should wrap around the faucet’s mouth and you can fill them according to the desired size.

I suggest about 6-8 inches in diameter. It was a good idea that I made extras since a couple of the balloons popped during the freezing process. We had a storm a few days ago and the temperatures went up and down the freezing temp.

My husband found a round can to press the snow with, placed the tea light and then rest the ice globe on top. Since we used the color changing tea lights, these are the effects we got.

It is an easy DIY project and will be fun to do with kids too. Some bloggers suggest putting in food color to achieve colored ice globes. I imagine using the color changing lights will achieve a similar outcome if using food color. There are a lot of other variations to this DIY. I am pretty sure I will try a few others and share them with you here.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the year. Happy holidays everyone!

Thanksgiving Sale 2020

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! There is always something to be thankful for.. and this year is no different. Sure, we have been dealing with a pandemic and restrictions on a global scale, but indeed, there are still things that we can all be thankful for.

I would like all of you to know that I am thankful for all your love and your support to local and small businesses. For that, I am running a 10% sale on all of my listed items on ETSY plus free US shipping on all items too! No codes needed, it will automatically apply at checkout. Thank you for helping us, small business owners, reach our dreams.

You can visit my online store here.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones. God has been faithful. Give thanks.

Mini Trees in Crochet Planters | A Photo Tutorial

So it is officially 41 days before Christmas and I know some of you will agree that it is simply not the same this year. We all know that everyone is coping differently with regards to the pandemic and some are doing better than others. It is a fact though that a lot of people have turned to crafting or DIY projects since we have more time in our hands. I certainly think that this is a good time to explore our creative side.

If you know how to crochet, this is a perfect project for you. If you don’t, you can still make yourself one using a ready made pot or planter, whichever your preference is. The options are endless!

CROCHET PLANTER

To crochet the planter, here are the materials that you need:

  1. Crochet hook, M, 9.00 mm
  2. Super Bulky Yarn 6, 2 colors of your choice
  3. Yarn needle for sewing in the ends
  4. Tape measure

NOTE: It is helpful to measure your work after every round. It is preferred for your planter to have an extra 1/2″ – 3/4″ margin in circumference compared to the styrofoam ball you are using, to also accommodate for the felt that will be used to wrap the foam in.

  1. Round 1: Working with 2 strands of the super bulky yarn, chain 4. Join with a slip stitch on the first chain. Chain 2, yarn over in the chain loop, do 1 hdc (half double crochet) in the loop, chain 1. Do 2 hdc, chain 1. Repeat this 2 more times, join with a slip stitch. Round 1 done. Total: 1 2-ch, 7 hdc
  2. Round 2: To begin round 2, chain 2 and 2 hdc in first chain. Chain1, 2 hdc in each chain after. Round 2 done. Total: 1 2-ch, 14 hdc
  3. Round 3: Round 3 is turning it up to form the planter. This round should have a total of 1 2-ch and 20 hdc. The technique that I found was to do 1 hdc in every hdc and throw an extra hdc after every 3 or 4 hdc’s. A good trick is to gauge and make sure that the planter sides are going straight up. So if the stitches are getting tighter to manage, throw an extra hdc. But keep in mind that this round should have a total of 1 2-ch and 20 hdc.
  4. Round 4: Round 4 will have the similar pattern as round 3, only since you already are at 21 stitches, there is no need to add extra ones. Do 1 hdc on every hdc. Total: 1 2-ch and 20 hdc
  5. Rounds 5-6: For rounds 5 and 6, repeat Round 4. At the end of the round, tuck in with a slip stitch. Cut off yarn.
  6. Round 7-8: For rounds 7 and 8, switch to second color. Repeat Round 4. Slip stitch and fasten off. Weave in ends.
What your planter should look like. Of course, you can modify the color(s) if you want it to be a solid color or two-toned.

PLANTING YOUR MINI TREE

Okay, so now that you have your planter, you are ready for your mini tree. These are the materials that you will need:

MATERIALS:

  1. Crochet Planter or any desired pot/planter, preferably 3 1/2″ bottom circumference, 4″ height
  2. Cardboard rounds, 3″ circumference
  3. Faux greenery of your choice
  4. Glue gun, glue sticks
  5. Basic felt 9″x12″, preferably green
  6. Spanish moss to cover the felt
  7. Styrofoam ball, 2.8 in” circumference (not shown on picture)

PREPARING THE PLANTER AND THE STYROFOAM

[1] Using the glue gun, position your planter by putting glue on the center for the cardboard round.
[2] Once the cardboard is in place, add glue to the center where the foam ball will be.
[3] Position the greenery of your choice on the foam ball by poking a small hole to the center, about 2 inches deep.
[4] On the center of the felt, cut a small opening slightly bigger than the hole on the foam, and then run a slit on one side of the felt.
[5] Apply glue around the hole on the foam ball down to the sides, about 1 – 1 1/2 inches.
[6] Cover the top of foam with the felt, overlapping the slits a couple inches to control the excess felt when inserting the foam into the planter.

PUTTING IN THE STYROFOAM

[1] To put the foam in, you might need to wiggle it’s way inside the planter.
[2] The planter should be snug but a bit stretchy.
[3] This is how it looks like after the foam is in, before tucking in the excess felt.
[4] With felt tucked in on one side.
[5] The planter will look like this while you are tucking in the felt. Adjust and tuck the excess to the bottom corners to make it even.
[6] This is how it should look like with the felt on all sides tucked in.

And this is how the planter should look like with the felt tucked in all sides.
  1. To place your mini tree, apply a generous amount of glue in the prepared hole, and insert the mini tree into position.
  2. Apply more glue on the sides as necessary to secure the mini tree into the foam.
  3. After a few minutes, apply glue all over the exposed felt, including the sides by the inner planter wall.
  4. Gather enough moss to cover the exposed felt, add glue as necessary. Press moss onto the felt surface and onto the sides, tucking some of them in to make the planter full.

And that is it! Voila! You now have your own Mini Tree in Crochet Planter. This is perfect for gifting this Christmas and holiday season, or to decorate your living space. For finished Mini Trees in Crochet Planters, you can visit my Etsy shop and purchase from there.

You are most welcome to give any feedback and please contact me if you have any questions regarding the tutorial and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Happy making!

Handmade Baby Hats and Plaid Pumpkins

Can you believe October is almost over? Even with this pandemic and our usual everyday challenges, life goes on. I am just hoping that everybody is doing well and staying safe during these crazy times.

Staying busy and occupied helps a lot to distract us from today’s limitations. For me, knitting saves me from going insane of boredom. Since winter is here, at least here in Alaska, I created my Christmas handmade line for hats and knitted goods. These are all listed at my ETSY shop. Most of these are kids sizes from newborn to toddler sizes. Feel free to message me if you have any custom size that is not on the listings. Get a head start with your holiday shopping for your loved ones, these are all unique handmade gifts.

Happy making!

Fairbanks Weekend

So last Friday morning, the first thing my husband asked me was “Are you up for driving to Fairbanks for the weekend?” Since this pandemic, we have not been out of Alaska and it is always a refreshing switch to take a road trip for a change of atmosphere. Of course, it took me two seconds to say yes.

Fairbanks is a good 5-6 hour drive from Anchorage. It was a nice, long drive and the sun now rises at around 8:00 AM so we got to see that golden sunrise glow behind the mountains. One thing though, while it was dark still, it was a bit scary driving and being aware of moose and wildlife that can suddenly cross the street or jump on the road. But we made it… and now, I would like to share these views with you.

These were just along the Denali Highway. You can see that the mountains now have snow dusting on them, signaling that snow is due to come any day now. The lowest temperature we came across was 19 degrees Celsius.

Now I should admit that whenever we go to Fairbanks, we cannot not go to the Santa Claus House in North Pole. It is one of my happy places! My favorite is seeing Santa with Mrs Claus and I love browsing through the whole store for Christmas ornaments.

The first four photos were taken back in August, when we visited then. Since I missed the opportunity to post them, I think they are still good to share. While the last two photos were from our visit last week, taken beside my favorite Christmas trees!

On the way back, we stopped at a spot by the Nenana River and took some of these pictures. I recently finished a pattern test call for Kalurah Hudson’s Chai Latte Beanie. Isn’t it lovely? You can find her work on Ravelry and Instagram, @kalurah.

So that was our weekend and it was actually a nice break from all the knitting. I started creating my Christmas line last week in preparation for the upcoming Market Days for Revive Home Market, which is this local shop that I bring my hats to.

My next post will be featuring my Christmas line so watch out for that! Thank you for visiting and don’t forget to follow me on social media for updates, upcoming sales and coupons.

Happy making!

Reed Lakes Hike – August 2020

Last week, I finally had the opportunity to hike Reed Lakes with some amazing ladies. This popular hiking trail around Hatcher’s Pass highlights the lower and upper Reed Lakes which are about a mile apart. You can find more information about this trail on the Alaska.org website.

Reed Lakes Trail Map

From the trailhead, it is a fairly easy hike that follows an old mining road along Reed Creek. The path reminds me of the valleys towards the Symphony-Eagle Lakes, except when you get to the wooden makeshift bridges, there is a switchback up the side of the mountain that leads to a beautiful waterfall. The switchback trail is mainly compressed dirt held with rocks and small boulders which I think is a tremendous help for the soil to not erode. That day, the steep parts of this path was scary to trek on the way down because they were slippery mud. The trail is also filled with blueberry bushes and fireweed, the gorgeous fireweed!

The boulder part is pretty challenging, at least for me. I am certain other people would find it easy but if you have not done a lot of hiking in Alaska, please be warned. They are huge, gigantic boulders that one can easily slip from and get injured. On the other hand, I can also see why this sense of adventure is so worth it. People not only trek these mountains for the scenic view and adrenaline, but also for the experience of it.

After passing the boulders, there is a stream with again, boulders that we had to climb up on. However, as I learned on the way back while it was drizzling, getting in the water instead was better. There were some shallow parts so it was not that bad, as opposed to slipping while trying to get on the boulders which can be pretty disastrous.

At the hill overlooking Lower Reed Lake.

We had our little lunch at the lower lake. It was indescribable! Blues, greens and the light reflection just made it so beautiful and pristine.
At the top of the hill on the way to Upper Reed Lake, there is a beautiful waterfalls off a granite ledge, framed with mountain ridges that look like they were carved into an intricate formation.

It is about another mile up the hill to reach the Upper Reed Lake. When we got there, we snapped a couple of photos and by the time we were heading back, it started drizzling. The setting looked like it was from the movie Lord of the Rings, with the fog and the mist. This hike was definitely in my bucket list and I am so thrilled to say, I was able to check it off! If you ask me right after the hike if I would do it again, it would have be a resounding NO but now that my body has been repaired, I will gladly do it again.

Wishbone Headband by Susann Hummel

  • Project Started: August 3, 2020
  • Project Finished: August 6, 2020

The Wishbone Headband Pattern by Susan Hummel is from a Ravelry Knit-Along group. You can find my Ravelry profile here.

For this project, I used these materials:

  • Yarn: Lion Brand’s Heartland in Yosemite colorway, scrap yarn in contrasting color

  • Knitting needles: Clover Takumi US 6 (4 mm) double pointed needles, 3 needles of which 1 was used as a cable needle

  • Crochet hook: Susan Bates US G6/4 mm

What caught my eye on this project was the main cable, the Seeded Wishbone stitch. Newstitchaday is my go-to website for a pretty wide variety of video tutorials. You can find a tutorial for this beautiful cable stitch here. And as gorgeous as this cable stitch is, I think the simple left and right leaning cable stitches add to its charm.

The pattern itself is a bit complicated for beginners. Yes, the main stitches used are just the basic knit and purl, however, it recommends the provisional cast-on to start off the project. I have never done a provisional cast-on ever so I was so thrilled to try and learn something new. Using the provisional cast-on, together with the kitchener stitch, eliminates having to weave the ends at the end of the project. The cables… oh, you will definitely get lots of practice with this pattern!

It took me a while to finally be satisfied with how Row 1 looks. I had to try the provisional cast-on a few times before getting comfortable with it. However, once I had that established, it was easy enough to follow the rest of the pattern. I find it exciting to work again on a pattern that is not mine and learn some new stitches along the way.

If you are on Ravelry, you should check this Knit-Along pattern. It does not have an ending date so you can work on it whenever you want. There are also plenty of helpful resources to guide you along the way.

Project updates will be posted here as I go. How about you? Have you done the provisional cast-on before?

I finally finished this project and here are the rest of the photos. It was very satisfying considering with the kitchener stitch, it was a different way to bind it off or sewing it together. I really enjoyed that.

What do you think about the Seeded Wishbone Cable Stitch? I would love to hear your input.

The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting – A Book Review

Between knitting, meeting orders, advertising and marketing, it is easy to get lost with the humdrum of it all. I have been meaning to share with you one of my older projects.

With a vast amount of resources online, starting on a new project is quite easy.  From blogs to videos to tutorials, you can find anything that your creativity fancies without much trouble. Once in a while though, I find interesting knitting patterns in books.  I am very fond of knitted accessories and I incorporate these stitches to make small and quick projects such as gloves.

The stitch is called the Twisted Rib II with an Easy skill level. I used two colors just to break the monotony, not that it’s dull. I think the white border gave it more depth and variation, wouldn’t you say?

These gloves were knitted as 2 separate rectangular pieces using flat knitting. To form the fingerless gloves, I sewed the 2 sides and left gaps for the thumbs.

If you like textures and colors in your knitting, check out the book The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting by Margaret Hubert – 2nd Edition. The patterns are for all knitters, with skill levels varying from easy to intermediate to experienced. I especially love this book because I am a visual learner and I like seeing how the stitches are done and comparing them to my work, and with this book’s big, colorful photos, I can do exactly that.

The link above to Margaret’s book is her Amazon page. Check out some of the pretty textures from this book.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I would love to know what stitches you’re working on and pictures would be fun too! You can also visit me on social media and tag me with your pictures!

Full credit for the patterns/stitches used go to the respective author and publishers.

Happy Independence Day!

Every year on the fourth of July, we Americans celebrate our Independence Day. Looking back 244 years ago, the 13 colonies claimed their independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. This historic event eventually led to the formation of the United States.

Our world looks so different now, with this pandemic going on and the different challenges we face in our countries and communities.

But the bottom line stays the same, our founding fathers wanted us to live our lives fully, free from any oppressive force. So we carry on and honor their vision and sacrifice.

Happy 4th everyone! May we all enjoy and celebrate our freedom, not just with fireworks and parties and barbecues, but more than anything with lives lived in honor, respect and love for our country and humankind.