Author Archives: JJCrochet

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival: 2014

Last weekend (March 14 – 16th), I attended the 10th annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival in Cranberry, PA. I’d heard of the festival before, but was never in town to attend. The festival attracted over 70 different booths and some big name teachers. I talked to the coordinator, Barb, and she said there were well over 3,000 attendees. Not too shabby for a knitting festival!

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival

From my perspective, the festival was largely geared towards knitters, but I didn’t mind – it seems to be the preferred craft among fiber artists (don’t worry, crochet, you’ll always be my first love). I’d say about 90% of the classes offered were knitting; only a few were crochet. Vendors also offered knitting patterns and had knitted samples of sweaters, blankets and accessories, but only a few crochet items.

I purchased a two day pass for Friday and Sunday and zipped up to the festival after work on Friday to check things out. I got there for the last two hours and spent the time looking at vendor booths and talking with other crafters.

Neutral Yarn

On Sunday, however, the real fun began.

I’d purposefully signed up for “Borderline Personalities: Knitting on the Edge” for the sole reason that it was taught by my all-time crochet hero, Lily Chin. While Lily is a master crocheter, she’s probably better known for her skills with knitting needles. Meeting her was a DREAM COME TRUE. She’s a feisty 5-foot tall woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She kept the class moving, called out students who were knitting the wrong thing, yet was personable and talked with me at the end.

An exclusive, inside look at what a knitting class looks like (I know you’ve wondered).

Lily doing what Lily does best - teachin' knittin' class.

Lily doing what Lily does best – teachin’ knittin’ class.

The class was 3 hours long and the best $50 I’ve spent in a while.

Lily Chin and Me. I know, RIGHT?! Lily the crochet master Chin.

Selfie with Lily Chin. I know, RIGHT?! Lily ‘the crochet master’ Chin.

I didn’t end up purchasing anything at the festival (I’m on a yarn sanction), though I did pick up a mannequin bust for $55. I envision using it to 1. display scarves rather than begging my roommate to model and 2. taking it to craft shows as part of my display.

The other notable part of the weekend was getting to see two Olympic sweaters from Sochi. One of the few things I love more than the Olympics is knitting, so to see both combined in the sweaters for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies was a dream come true. (I hope my true excitement is coming through – If not, maybe this picture will convey my love for the games.)

20140314_173259

 Opening & Closing Ceremony Knit Sweaters from the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Opening & Closing Ceremony Knit Sweaters from the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Overall, great weekend, even though I didn’t spend much time at the festival. Next year, I’d like to go with other people who knit/crochet because you can only walk around a large hall filled with yarn so many times by yourself before you look creepy. If you get the chance and are in town for next year’s Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Fest, definitely make it a priority to go!

Picot Flower Granny Square – Crochet Pattern + Video

crochet picot granny squareHello, friends! As you might know, I’m currently crocheting another multi-colored afghan, as inspired by Lucy’s design from Attic 24. After requests from fellow crocheters about how to go about making this beautifully unique picot flower granny square, here it is!

I’ve written out instructions and made a video showing how to make the first four rounds of this crochet + picot flower combo. Remember: Lucy’s the designer, I’m merely the interpreter. :)

Materials:

  • Size 3.5mm (E) crochet hook
  • 5 colors yarn, I’m using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmireno

Pattern:

With first color, chain 3, sl st to form ring.

Round 1: Ch 1, Into ring, work 7 more sc. (8sc total)

Round 2: Ch 3, sl st into first ch (first picot). * Working in front loops only, sl st in next stitch. ch 3, sl stitch in previous sl st made (picot).* Work from * to * around until you have eight, ch-3 picots.

Round 3: Change to second color if desired. Ch 1 + 4 (counts as sc + ch 4). Sl st into top of sc to form first picot. *Working in back loops only of Round 1, sc in next stitch. Sc, work Ch 4, sl st in sc (picot). * Work from * to * around until you have four, ch-4 picots.

Round 4: Chang to third color if desired. Ch 2 (counts as first dc). Work 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc into sc in between ch-4 picots from previous round. *3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc into sc between ch-4 picots.* Work from * to * around twice more until you have four corner spaces of 3dc, ch 2, 3dc.

Round 5: Change to fourth color if desired. Ch 2 (counts as first dc. Work 2 dc into same space. Ch 1 *3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc into ch-2 corner space of previous round. Ch 1. Work 3 dc into space in between corners from previous round. * Work from * to * around.

Round 6: (Not pictured in video). Change to fifth color if desired. Ch 2 (counts as first dc. Work 2 dc into same space. Ch 1. *3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc into ch-2 corner space of previous round. Ch 1, 3 dc into next space. Ch 1, 3 dc into next space. * Work from * to * around.

Fasten off.

What are you planning to make with this pattern? Are you also making an afghan or using the square for something else? I’d love to know!

Trying Our Hand at Arm Knitting #Pun

About once a month, my coworkers get together for “Craft Night”. Each girl takes a turn hosting and all from the office are invited. We’ll sometimes work on a joint craft like glitter pumpkins, or sometimes we’ll bring individual projects to make. Wine and cheese are necessities. 

This month, we chose to test our hands (literally) at arm knitting.

Arm Knitting

The inspiration came from Vickie Howell’s project.  The week leading up to Craft Night, Pinterest links were shared and talks of yarn combinations took place on the way to (and sometimes during) meetings.

Arm knitting is relatively new to the craft world and pretty simple to pick up. It’s gained popularity through its instant gratification and short supply list – all you need are your hands and some yarn. The craft uses similar principles as ‘real knitting’, so those familiar with needles will have an easy time grasping the concept. The entire group (Jenna and Dani, we’re looking at you…) made great scarves.

The group learned by watching Vickie’s how-to arm knit video (highly recommended) and by the end of the night (about 45 mins?), each of us had a lovely, hand-knit scarf.

The rockiest parts of the project were getting started, though once we learned how and what to loop and over which hand and when, it all came together. The key, we learned, was all in the yarn. A few strands of super chunky strands made the best scarves.

If you’re thinking about arm knitting, go for it! Call up a couple of friends and learn together. It’s a great wintery night activity to do with a group.

The following day, we wore our scarves to the office after making feeble, though sincere promises the night before, “Of course I’ll wear mine if you wear yours!” Coworkers complimented and boys belittled and we were proud. We, the women of DSG, had conquered arm knitting!

What’s next on the list?

Granny Square Picot Afghan – Part III

The last time I shared a picture of the granny square picot afghan, it was 18 squares big. Such a baby! It’s grown quite considerably in the last couple months (to 76 squares) as I’ve found these cold winter months in PA are great for movie-watching and couch-crocheting.

grannysquareblanket

grannyblanketcrochet

crochet ends

Weaving in ends – my least favorite part, but the finishing touch

crochet flower square

All that’s left to do is make 18 more squares, crochet a couple rows for a border and sew in loose ends, which at 10 ends a square to sew in, it’ll be a task in itself.

Expect a project recap and “hooray, it’s finished” pictures soon!

Crochet Baby Booties/Boots

My friend sent a link from Pinterest, asking if I could  make her daughter a pair of these crochet baby bootiesUm, of course I could. It looked like a great pattern and I had a free Sunday morning so I spent the time crocheting, drinking French press coffee and reading. Could you think of a more perfect time?

Crochet Bootie Pattern

I found some pink yarn and the booties worked up quickly. Barely took any yarn. I made the seize 0-3 month booties and even though my friend’s baby is 6 months old, they were falling off her feet. Maybe I needed to size down? Regardless, they’re adorable and she can always grow into them.

Baby Crochet Booties Pattern

Project Details

  • Pattern (free): Crochet baby booties pattern from Quartered Heart Crochet
  • Crochet Needle: Size E (3.5mm)
  • Yarn: Vanna’s Choice, worsted weight in Light Pink – about 45 yards
  • TIme: 1 hour
  • Favorite part: The functional button closure and scalloped edges
  • Edits: None, followed pretty much as written. Skipped the instructions for the button holes since I always just push the buttons through an open spot in the work – the stitches are loose enough. I did have some trouble making the second shoe turn out like the first. Made two pairs and always had the same problem… had something to do with the decreasing around the toes, but I wasn’t able to fix it completely. Not too noticable, though
  • Make again? For sure! I could see this being a good baby shower gift

Newborn Crochet Booty Pattern

Katniss Vest/Cowl from Catching Fire

They say books are better than movies, and I’d agree. But I’ll be the first to admit:  when reading the Hunger Games trilogy, I never would have dreampt up this knit vest deign Katniss wears in Catching Fire.

katniss-cowl-vest


I was recently commissioned by a friend to make the “Huntress Vest” Katniss wore for a brief second. The part-cowl, part-vest was only in one scene, but crocheters and knitters were quick to draft patterns to replicate the design. Depending on the look you want, you can find free and paid patterns for Katniss’ vest on Etsy and Ravelry,

My friend thought his wife would like this chunky version of the cowl by TwoOfWands.  It was made in my favorite yarn (Lionbrand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick) so I was looking forward to the project. I mean let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to look like Katniss?

Crochet Katniss Vest

Channeling Katniss with a side-braid… Not my best look.

Katniss Cowl Back

Open on the left side; arm hole on the right.

Crochet Katniss Vest

Knit panel over the right shoulder; the rest of the cowl is crocheted.

This pattern is clearly written and was a fun project amidst the many Christmas projects I had going on. It’s 4 parts crochet and 1 part knit; the chunky yarn helps it work up quickly. It’s made in 5 separate pieces which makes the construction a little tricky and since it’s not a normal sweater or vest, I needed a couple tries to piece it together. Does it swoop left then right or right then left?

Project Details: 

  • Pattern ($5): Katniss Cowl by TwoOfWands on Etsy
  • Yarn: 4 skeins of Lionbrand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Grey Marble
  • Needles/Hooks: Size US 19 knitting needles and P and J crochet hooks
  • Size: One size fits all; larger than Katniss’ original cowl
  • Modifications: Used seed stitch for the knit panel instead of the pattern instructions; found I liked it better than the chevron pattern that was called for
  • Favorite part: The wonderfully big cowl neck
  • Odd elements: Working two separate panels for the main “swoop” piece when I thought one would have worked. Also using single crochet to seam the pieces together rather than stitching them with a darning needle. It makes the seams visible which is a ‘look’, but I’m not sure it would have been my first choice.
  • Make again: For sure! Like the pattern and the detailed instructions

Knit Katniss Vest Cowl

During the brief time I had the cowl/vest on to take pictures, I realized just how warm it was. I’m sure my friend’s wife will like it. Down with the Capital… Katniss and Peeta forever.