Sea Spray Square

So this blanket came about because I had a lot of scrap yarn (as usual). I used all blues and neutrals, and alternated stripes of back loop half doubles with stripes of the Sea Spray Square.

Here’s the free pattern for the Sea Spray Square:

Start with a magic circle

Round 1: ch2 (counts as 1st hdc), 11 more hdc in circle, tighten circle and sl st to ch2 to join

Round 2: Join in any stitch with a standing dc, ch1, *dc in next st, ch1, rep from * 10 more Xs, sl st to standing dc

Round 3: Join in any ch sp with standing sc, 2sc in same sp, 3sc in each of next 11 ch sp, sl st to standing sc

Round 4: Join in any st with standing dc, dc in next 2 st, ch1, *dc in next 3 st, ch1, rep from * 10 more Xs, sl st to standing dc

Round 5: Join in any ch sp with standing sc, sc in same sp, ch4, *2sc in next ch sp, ch 4, rep from * 10 more Xs, sl st to standing sc

Round 6: Join in 1st sc of any pair with sl st, ch1, *sc2tog over both sc, (hdc, dc, htrc, dc, hdc) in ch4 sp, rep from * 11 more Xs, sl st to 1st sc2tog

Round 7: *Fphdc around any sc2tog, ch2, sk 2 st, sc in htrc, sk 2 st, repeat from * 11 more Xs, sl st to 1st fphdc

Round 8: Join in any ch2 sp with standing dc, 2 more dc in same sp, ch 2, *3dc in next ch sp, 3hdc in next ch sp, 3sc in each of next 2 ch sp, 3hdc in next ch sp, 3dc in next ch sp, ch2, rep from * 3 more Xs, sl st to standing dc

Round 9: Join in any corner ch 2 sp with standing tr, (2tr, ch2, 3 tr) in same corner. Now you will be working in sp bet groups of 3 st. *3dc, 3hdc, 3sc, 3hdc, 3dc, (3tr, ch3, 3tr) in corner, rep from * 3 more Xs omitting last corner, sl st to standing tr

Phoenix CAL

This beauty is from a Crochet ALong (or CAL) written by Hooked on Sunshine’s Vanessa Smith. I was lucky enough to discover it while the CAL was still running and I was able to quickly catch up because I cheated and used self striping yarn and magic knots rather than changing colors every round and weaving in over 200 loose ends. (I had 2 ends – one in the beginning and one in the end. I seriously love the magic knot so much!).

The yarn that I used was Lionbrand’s Mandala yarn in “wizard,” and I used less than 9 cakes to make an afghan that nicely covers my full sized bed.

The Phoenix pattern is $5 now on Ravelry and it is definitely well worth it! All the stitches are explained fully in the prelude to the pattern and the pictures are quite helpful as well. The Phoenix has interesting textures and attractive designs to spare – all without being too difficult. I love this afghan soooo much and have already started another Phoenix using different colors.

Update: I ended up doing three more Phoenix’s. Love love love!!! You have to try this pattern – it’s really so much fun.

The Magic Knot

The Magic Knot is a method of joining yarn very securely without having to weave in ends.

I had seen this technique around the internet for quite some time, but for some reason waited until just recently to try it. Verdict: It’s actually very easy and useful and I should have given it a chance long ago!

What you have to do is line up about ten inches from the end of the working yarn parallel to about ten inches of the new yarn. Tie a loose single knot with the working yarn above the new yarn and then tie a loose single knot with the new yarn below the working yarn. (One must be above and one must be below.) Then tighten the single knots slightly and pull the long ends away from each other.

You will end up with a tiny, secure knot joining the old yarn with the new. Trim the ends as closely as you can and keep crocheting or knitting the yarn as normal.

(This method of joining will leave a very small bump in your work which may or may not be noticeable depending on the stitches.)

I find that the Magic Knot is ideal when you are working without changing colors or for when you want to change colors randomly. However, it would not work well when you want a new color for a new row or round because you would need to predict on exactly what stitch your old yarn would end and your new yarn would start.

On the whole, I wish I had tried the Magic Knot sooner. It would have been ideal to use in these virus shawls instead of weaving in ends.

The first two are made with self-striping yarn and the last one is all one color so I could have used the Magic Knot on all of them and it would have been super secure and virtually unnoticeable. Oh well, at least I know about it now and I will certainly use it a lot in the future.

Light Up Crochet Hook

Here is my new light up crochet hook. Whoever thought of this was so smart! I can now easily crochet dark colors in my low light living room at night. No squinting! I got it from Amazon and I’m so glad I did. The handle is ergonomic and padded and the hooks are interchangeable. You plug it into a usb to charge. It charges really fast and the charge lasts for many hours. It has two brightness settings, but I always use the really bright one. Seriously, if you ever crochet in anything but really bright sunlight or with light colors GET ONE OF THESE. That is all. 😘

Entrelac Crochet Baby Blanket

They call this Entrelac crochet, Tunisian crochet, or the Afghan stitch and you do it with the long crochet hook. (The word Entrelac actually refers to the diamond pattern as well as the hook.) This was my first project using the long hook and I will say that I enjoyed it…mostly.

Tunisian hook next to my regular H hook

The difference between regular crochet and Tunisian crochet is that with Tunisian crochet you start by pulling up a loop for each stitch in the row and keeping all the loops on the hook until you get to the end of the row. Then you pull through each loop on your way back to complete the row. This makes a very thick and pretty fabric.

I used a YouTube tutorial on the Red Heart Yarns channel called How to Entrelac Crochet. The tutorial is done by The Crochet Crowd’s Mikey and is very easy to follow. In the video he uses a regular crochet hook and his squares are seven stitches by seven rows. Because he never has more than seven loops on his hook at one time, he is able to use a regular crochet hook.

For my little blanket I did fifteen rows of fifteen stitches for each of my squares. This meant that I had to have fifteen loops on my hook at one time so I used the long Tunisian hook pictured above that I borrowed from my mother-in-law. The blanket is started in the center and worked in an around-the-world pattern, attaching each new square as it is made. When I decided it was big enough I filled in the sides with the black triangles (that was in the tutorial too) and did a little border that incorporated the three colors of the blanket.

It was fun to learn a new type of crochet and the fabric is very cool because it doesn’t have holes like you’re used to seeing in regular crochet. It’s also a nice way to do squares because you don’t have to sew or crochet them all together at the end.

Tunisian crochet does seem to take a lot longer to make a small blanket than regular crochet. I guess this is because the fabric is more dense. It uses more yarn per square inch than regular crochet, also because of the density of the fabric. Tunisian fabric has a tendency to curl up on you, but once you attach squares on the sides they pull it straight again.