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Crochet, Knitting, Projects

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.


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.

Crochet, Projects

Crochet Santa Hats: Tis The Season

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you’re experiencing peace this holiday season as you spend time with friends and families to celebrate the birth of Christ. Blessings and a Happy New Year.

I wanted to share a project I’d been working on for a few weeks. While visiting Cleveland to see my friend’s new baby (remember the crochet newborn vest?), I heard plans of a Christmas 10K run and was asked if I could make hats. Not just any hats, though. Santa hats. (said in the Will Ferrell voice: SANTAAA!!!) Seven Santa hats in a few weeks – totally doable.

baby crochet santa hat
Little dude looking adorable in his baby-sized Santa hat

I’d make a hat or two a night and worked up 10 hats total – 7 adult and 3 for the kids. No official pattern, but I made a basic hat shape using two stands of Red Heart and a size K crochet hook. 9 Rounds of red, 3 of white for the brim, and a pom-pom for the tops.

The final products turned out great and I took a couple pics of the hats sitting in my living room in Pittsburgh. When I started getting texts from my friends during race day and seeing pics on Facebook, I realized just how cute they all looked together. They’re a good looking crew (minus Tim, of course).

Crochet Santa HatsFrom what I heard, everyone finished the race and had some great times, despite it being a blustery 34 degrees in Cleveland. Thanks to my friends for letting me be a part of something in Cleveland (felt like I was there, minus the having to exercise part which I count as a win in my book) and for sending some cute pics.

Adult Crochet Santa Hats
The crew at a post-race brunch
crochet santa hat
Husband and wife team, Kim and Jon, looking especially festive as they run

Crocheted Santa Hats

My Three Good Friends: Kim, Tisha and Trisha
My Three Good Friends: Kim, Tisha and Trisha. Miss these ladies!


Crochet, Free Patterns, Projects

Easy & Quick Crochet Cowl Pattern

I wanted to write a pattern for the perfect cowl I could toss on for brisk fall mornings. Not something as intense as the chunky knit cowl pattern I use when it’s snowing, just something that would keep out the whippy morning wind.

Crochet Scarf Pattern
Crochet Scarf Pattern

This easy and quick crochet cowl works up in a snap with bulky yarn and a size N crochet hook. It’s pretty easy and the result is a semi-open weave cowl to top off your I-refuse-to-admit-it’s-winter-so-all-I-will-wear-is-a-cardigan look. (It’s ok, we’ve all been there.) It’s functional without being over the top.


Easy & Quick Crochet Cowl Pattern


  • Size N (10mm) Crochet Hook
  • 1.5 Skeins of Lionbrand Wool-Ease Chunky Thick & Quick (or 150 yards of any “Size 6” – super bulky weight yarn or roving)

Finished Size: 31 inches long; 8 inches wide

Special Stitches

3-DC Cluster: Also known as DC3tog. *YO, insert hook into stitch. YO, pull up a loop. YO, pull through 2 loops. Two loops on hook. * Repeat from * to * twice more until there are four loops on hook. YO, pull through all loops on hook.


Chain 49. Join with slip stitch to form ring. Cowl is worked in the round.

Round 1: Ch 1, sc in each stitch around. Join round with sl st into first ch-1. (49 sc)

Round 2: Ch 2, counts as first DC in 3-DC cluster. DC2tog in same stitch to complete first 3-DC cluster. *Chain 1, skip next stitch. Work 3-DC cluster in next stitch.* Repeat instructions from * to * around for the rest of the round. Join round with sl st into first cluster. (24 clusters)

Round 3: Ch 2, counts as first DC in 3-DC cluster. DC2tog in same stitch to complete first 3-DC cluster. *Chain 1, skip next ch-1 space. Work 3-DC cluster in next st (which is the 3-DC cluster of the previous round).* Repeat instructions from * to * around for the rest of the round. Join round with sl st into first cluster. (24 clusters)

Rounds 4 – 7: Repeat Round 3

Round 8: Ch 1, sc in east stitch around. (49 sc)

Fasten off



Easy Crochet Cowl Pattern
Easy Crochet Cowl Pattern
Crochet, Projects

Crochet Newborn Vest for Titus

My friends (not me) are getting old. Old people have babies. Which means “Fun Aunt Jayna” gets the chance to crochet something tiny!

Newborn Vest for Baby

I visited Cleveland last weekend to see a friend who’d had a baby. She was pregnant when I left and a mom for a second time when I returned. Titus Hudson is adorable. Slept a lot, but can’t blame the kid – he’s only 10 days old.

Hanging out in his new vest.
Hanging out in his new vest.

I crocheted the vest the morning before I drove back. Searched for a pattern to replicate, but when I couldn’t find anything, I created my own design. It was a little tight going on Titus and now I see why people don’t make newborn-sized vests. Not to self: make a sweater next time – kids don’t like things shoved on their heads.

Titus in his crochet vest with "Fun Aunt Jayna"
Titus in his crochet vest with “Fun Aunt Jayna”. He loves it already.

Project Stats:

  • The vest ended up being 16.5-17 inches in circumference
  • No pattern, but I should write one down in the future. Made up of FPDC, SC, DC, and HHDC stitches.
  • Stripes were a happy accident. I was running out of blue yarn and started incorporating other colors. I think they make it look vintage. His parents are urban dwellers (hipsters?) so it works.

Just sharing the latest  project I was working on. Have you made newborn clothing? Any go-to patterns? My favorite is the Baby Sophisticate, a knit baby sweater that I’ve made a few times because of its classic design.


Crochet, Free Patterns, Projects, Uncategorized

Crochet Flower Pattern

Crochet Flower Pattern

Having a go-to crochet flower pattern should be every crocheter’s goal. This crochet flower isn’t fancy, but it works up quickly and is great for adding detail to a project.

Crochet Flower Pattern

It’s a great flower for beginner to learn – I’ve even written out the crochet abbreviations and taken pictures along the way so you know exactly what to do. For the more experienced crocheter, this is a good “base flower” that you can add more petals to (why stop at 5?) or a second layer for added volume.

Crochet Flowers

Crochet Flower Pattern


  • Crochet Hook & Yarn – Any Size! Depends on your project, but this will work up with everything from thread to bulky yarn
  • Flowers below crocheted with a size H (5.0mm) crochet hook and worsted weight yarn (Vanna’s Choice)


Chain 3, slip stitch into first chain to form a ring.

Round 1: Chain 2 (counts as a double crochet). Work 9 more double crochet into the center of the ring (10 DC total). Join to top of chain 2 with a slip stitch.

Round 2: Chain 3 + 1 (counts as chain-3 space plus 1 single crochet). Skip 1 stitch, single crochet in next stitch. *Chain 3, skip 1 stitch. Single crochet in next stitch.* Repeat instructions from * to * around two more times. Chain 3, skip next stitch. Single crochet into first chain-3 space to join Round 2. (5, chain-3 spaces).

Round 3: Work 4 double crochet and one single crochet into first chain-3 space. First petal complete. Into next chain-3 space, work [1 single crochet, 5 double crochet, 1 single crochet]. Repeat for next 3 patterns. Slip stitch to first single crochet to join.

Fasten off.

Crochet Pattern
Round 2 after Chain 3 + 1, Skip next stitch, single crochet, chain 3
At the end of Round 2. Join last chain-3 with a single crochet into the first chain-3 space.
At the end of Round 3, after 4 petals have been made.
At the end of Round 3, after 4 petals have been made.
Crochet Flower
Finished Crochet Flower!

Crochet Flowers Pattern



Knit the Bridge Pittsburgh: The Final Project

View of the yarn-bombed Andy Warhol bridge, as taken from the North Shore walkway
View of the yarn-bombed Andy Warhol bridge, as taken from the North Shore walkway

If you live in the tri-state area or have read one of my old posts, you probably know about “Knit the Bridge”–the largest yarn bombing in the US.  The community project got lots of coverage, a write-up by the Huffington Post along with local news coverage.

Nothing brings a community together quite like a yarn-covered bridge.

I was part of the “knit-in” two Sundays ago when the installation was first taking place. The Knit the Bridge group made a Facebook plea for more black railings and the hookers answered. About 20 people gathered in a tent at the base of the bridge to knit and crochet a couple more feet of fabric in the last hours before the installation.

Finishing black railings in the Knitting & Crocheting tent at Knit the Bridge, Sunday, August 11th

This past Sunday, August 25th, was the official “Knit the Bridge Community Celebration“. The bridge was closed to vehicles as booths with artists, crafters, free yoga and food vendors filled the center lanes. People of the community were invited to come downtown to check out the bridge first-hand and celebrate the history-making yarn installation. It was great to be part of such a positive event made me proud to live in the city of Pittsburgh.

Here are some close-up pics of the panels–some of them being installed a few weeks ago–as well as the finished project. The aptly covered bridge is the Andy Warhol or 7th street bridge on the North Shore of Pittsburgh – right by the Pirate’s home of PNC Park.  The installation will be up until early September (the 4th?) so if you’re heading to a game or walking through the Cultural District in the next couple days, be sure to check it out. To learn more about Knit the Bridge, check them out here.

Volunteers installing hand-made knit and crochet panels
Volunteers installing hand-made knit and crochet panels
One of my favorite panels. Crocheters, are you not impressed by this cool design?!
One of my favorite panels. Crocheters, are you not impressed by this cool design?!
Shot of the installed panels during the Community Celebration.
Shot of the installed panels during the Community Celebration.

Nantucket Yarn

Last month, I went on a self-created cross country tour. It began in Pittsburgh, stopped in Indianapolis, then continued onto St. Louis. From there, it spent two days celebrating a wedding in Washington, Missouri. Then back to Pittsburgh and a flight to Boston. Once landed, a drive to the Cape then a ferry to Nantucket, MA.

In Nantucket, we admired houses with their weather gray wood and white trim. We went to the beach. We slept and ate and check out the shops. One in particular caught my attention. It’s called Flock; a yarn store in Nantucket.

Never one to turn down local, hand-spun wool I purchased this beautiful skein:

75 yards of Chunky, 100% Nantucket Wool yarn
75 yards of Chunky, 100% Nantucket Wool yarn

I’m not sure what I’ll make, but I’m leaning towards a chunky Aran hat. Maybe something like this… Any recommendations?



Especially love that this yarn was made from sleep that live on the 14 miles long, 3.5 miles wide island of Nantucket. Happy to support a great cause. For more info about the Nantucket Conservation, you can check out their website.


Crochet, Pictor Granny Square, Projects

Crochet Granny Square Picot Afghan – Part II

grannyblanketIn March, I shared the beginning of the granny square/picot flower blanket. Since then, the blanket has grown from just 5 squares to 18 beautiful rainbow squares, including a large 8-rounder. Each little square is 4 x 4 rounds of granny, but the larger square takes up twice that, so 8 rounds–or the size of two squares.

Non-coincidentally, the  release of Arrested Development, Season 4 has seem to cause an exponential growth  in my available crochet time. I am enjoying quiet nights at home with this project and Netflix.

Progress pictures for those wandering how the blanket is growing. I’m planning to have a couple more squares added by the end of the week.



Crochet, Projects

Knit the Bridge Pittsburgh


Two of my good friends sent me info on Knit the Bridge – Pittsburgh while I was in Cleveland (thanks, Hannah and Amanda!). I thought it was the coolest concept and wanted to participate, but I wasn’t in Pittsburgh. Until 3 weeks ago.  Now living within the city limits of the ‘Burgh (and being a library card holder in Allegheny County – yay!), I finally felt I could show some crochet love for my hometown.

You might be asking yourself, what is “Knit the Bridge?”  Stop and think what it might be about. It is literally knitting a cover for a bridge. More specifically, the Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh.  A project like this is called “yarn bombing” and it’s where crocheters and knitters cover public items–statues, parking meters, trees, a bridge– in crocheted/knitted panels.

Here’s a definition from KTB’s website:

What is Knit the Bridge, Pittsburgh?

Knit the Bridge is a vision for a grassroots, community-led arts project that would bring the many diverse communities of Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania together to create a large-scale, aesthetically stunning, fiberarts installation on a bridge in downtown Pittsburgh.

Two years ago, I came across a yarn bombing of Fred Rodgers in Pittsburgh sporting his classic red sweater. Yarn bombing is a quirky way to introduce more people to fiberarts and sometimes raise awareness for specific projects or foundations.

One of the reasons I really like this Knit the Bridge project is because they recycle the panels once the installation is over. They’ll wash and donate the yarn panels (which can be sewn into blankets) to local shelters, nursing homes, and other organizations.  Very cool!

I signed up to crochet a railing which is 105 inches x 9 inches.  I got out my I hook and some bright pink, orange, and yellow acrylic yarn until I read this requirement for panels: “Yarn: Please use black acrylic yarn only.”  Not as fun as I originally planned, ha, but I guess all black railing covers are fine, too. Everyone’s got to play her part.

No picture of my WIP, but it’s just a black strip of crochet, so I’ve taken the liberty of recreating it in Microsoft Paint:

My work in progress panel for Knit the Bridge. **Digital representation created in Paint.
**Not actual photo – Digital representation

You can read more about KTB – Pittsburgh here.  If you’d like to be part of the project, it’s not too late!  Panels are due Saturday, June 1st and range in size from 17″ x 17″ (partial panel) to 34″ x 72″ (full panel).  You can register to make a panel here at the Knit the Bridge website.


Yarn Treats

Red Yarn
Yarn overlooking Downtown Cleveland

This past weekend, I visited Ann Arbor, Michigan. We stayed at a quaint little bed and breakfast in Ypsilanti and had a great weekend exploring the city. While walking down Main Street, we came across Busy Hands, this little yarn store tucked in the back of a tiny shopping center. Never being one to ignore a yarn store, I went inside.

I walked away, $50 lighter, but 3 skeins happier.

I splurged and purchased some lovely yarn by Malabrigo.  A skein of “Rios” in the color 850 Archangel  caught my eye. I bought a skein, deciding to make myself a treat (as any crocheter will know, it’s a rare day when you crochet something for yourself).

I finished a lovely small cowl yesterday.  Free pattern is “Cardiff Cowl” by Lion Brand.  I made 10 rounds on one side, 7 on the other until I ran out of yarn (pattern calls for you to work off both sides of the foundation chain so the edges of the cowl are scalloped).  Here’s a quick shot I snapped of me heading off to work, wearing the cowl. Forgive the selfie, cell-phone pic at 7am. 🙂

crochet cowl

Rios: Pure Merino Superwash; 210 yards; Made in Peru.

Red Yarn

crochet yarn

Crochet, Pictor Granny Square, Projects

The Beginning: Crochet Granny Square Picot Afghan


Spring keeps trying to make its way to Cleveland, such a brave little guy.  Persistently optimistic, yet unsuccessful.  The weekend was 72 degrees and blissfully sunny, while today saw snow flurries and temperatures below freezing.  I couldn’t think of a better way to help lure the warm weather to stay than crocheting another cheery afghan.

It’ll belong to the same family as the ripple blanket from a few months ago and the hexagon afghan I finished in 2011.   I was commissioned with creating this rainbow granny square based off Attic 24’s lively design.

Project Details: 

Debbie Bliss Yarn

Crochet Hook - Custom

Debbie Bliss Cashermino Yarn

Beyond the lively play of colors (and getting to use my fantastic new hooks), what makes this afghan great is that it’s not your typical granny square blanket.  The center of each square starts with an 8-petal picot flower (chain 3 picot) and 4 leaves peaking out the sides that replace the center round of the “typical” granny.

I started the pattern this past weekend and have 5 squares to show for my work.  I’m already in love.  The colors, joining each square as I go, and the slightly raised flower-centers have the potential to make this afghan a unique, brimming-with-life, custom treat.  I’ll share pictures as the afghan grows so you can monitor my progress along with me.

Also, I am currently seeking volunteers to help me sew in the infinite number of ends that are a result of  the numerous color changes.  Serious inquiries only. 🙂


Picot Granny Square

Granny Square Flower

Crochet, Free Patterns

Crochet Shamrock Pattern (Free)

crochet shamrock patternSt. Patty’s day is quickly approaching.  Which means: Shamrock Shakes at McDonald’s (yum!), a free crochet pattern for you (yes!), as well as celebrating my older brother’s birthday (yay!).  Brother Bill was born almost 26 years ago on this famously Irish holiday and for some reason, my parents felt an obligation to pay homage to the motherland, though we are very much German and Ukrainian.  I get my pale skin honestly.  And so was born William Brian… But I’ve always wondered – Is “Brian” Irish? Ha, apparently it made sense at the time.

Enough of the family history – onto the pattern!

Crochet Shamrock Pattern

Finished size – about 4 inches from stem to top.  Adjust your hook size to make a smaller or larger clover.


  • Crochet hook size H (5.0mm)
  • Worsted Weight Yarn

Crochet Pattern

Make a beginning loop by using a slip stitch or the magic ring method.  The shamrock’s petals will be worked into this center ring.

Petal 1: * Chain 4 (counts as Ch 3 + first sc), Work 3 treble crochet into center ring.  Chain 3, single crochet into ring.*

Repeat instructions for Petal 1 twice more to make 3 petals, or 4 if you’re feeling lucky!

Stem: After working petals, chain 4.  Work 4 slip stitch in chains just made, working back towards the petals.  Join with a slip stitch to last sc of final petal.

Fasten off.

Crochet Shamrock Pattern (Free)

Each St. Patrick’s Day when we were younger, my mom used to throw green-themed St. Patty’s Day parties for Brother Bill.  Poor guy – always had mint chocolate chip ice cream, shiny green garland, and treatbags filled with shamrock-covered pencils and any other holiday items Oriental Trading happened to carry.  If only I had thought to make this pattern sooner, I’m sure my mom would have somehow worked crocheted shamrocks into the decor!

Hope you enjoy the pattern.  I could see these being used for garland, a pin, or be adorable sewn onto a headband for some Irish spirit. Best of luck and happiness to you!

large crochet shamrock pattern