Sunday, July 31, 2011

Double Crochet Cotton Candy Slippers

Yes. Double Crochet Candy Slippers

I can't believe I still have that Retro Yarn I bought in Mexico. It's been 5 months already and I still have tons of it. I don't know why I thought it'd be a great idea to have a bag of yarn that would never run out. I mean, I am running out of things to do with it! Then I had a great idea and that was to make slippers for everyone. Unfortunately I don't have photos of every pair I've made but my friend Rubi, who lives in Mexico, sent me a few pictures of the ones I made for her. And the reason why I made these for her is:
Her hair!

These slippers are a tweaked version of Lisa Gutierrez's Mary Janes. They're tweaked because I got the instructions wrong when transcribing them to my notebook. So I sat down every night before bed to crochet doing it all wrong.  It's too late to begin the right pattern all over again though, I already memorized wrong instructions so I decided to continue crocheting them like this.

Also, I don't think I'm comfortable in shoes with straps, so I have my own version without the button and the chain across. Now they remind me of my old ballerina shoes (I used to be a dancer as I grew up).

If anyone is interested in a pattern of this version, hit me up in a comment and I will work on a post for you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Light Box DIY

OK, so it is not a perfect shoot. I've seen better. This was the first shoot I made with my DIY Light Box. DIY means Do It Yourself. It means, I didn't really buy a light box for photos but I made my own with stuff I had around the house. I didn't come up with the idea but I found it at the Make Zine Blog and I thought it was a must share with the world out there, since some of you might want to give it a try if you have shops or if you ever need to make a catalog.

So, what do you need to make your own Light Box? Visit this post by Natalie Zee Drieu! It's super easy!

This is obviously not going to make you shoot the greatest photos but it is going to help a lot. I often do a quick edit with Photoshop or Picasa (it's free) and I get nice results.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Retro Waves, The Handbag

This baby has been featured all over ETSY lately. It surprised me one night when I opened my e-mail and I saw a bunch of notifications of people faving my shop and my bag. Then, obviously, I started sending thank you notes to each person and asking them where did they come across the Retro Waves Handbag. To my surprise it was featured in the crochet section. It made me really happy that everyone that I wrote a thank you note, sent a message back to say how lovely my shop or my bags are. It lightened up my day.

This handbag is another member of the Audio Waves Collection. It was worth the experiment with the Retro Yarn, because I didn't really think it was going to come out this cute. I used some acrylic handles and hand sewn a pale peachy lining previously stamped with my logo.

I really wished I could make these bags all the time, because they are the cutest things ever. Unfortunately they take forever to crochet and put together, and that makes them expensive. I definitely need to start buying yarn at wholesale prices and hook it up nonstop. Still, I think, I'd have to price them a bit higher than regular handbags. 

Don't forget that I am offering a 25% off everything in my shop right now when becoming a follower to this blog. Just click on the banner to the right. Or go here for more information.

Thank you very much for stopping by!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Pom Poms

Who said pom poms are a winter thing? because she was wrong.

I've been having a lot of fun making pom poms lately, I just couldn't wait til the winter time to wear them on my head. I'm experimenting a lot with them. I foresee a new collection in the near future. Stay tuned and visit the shop often!

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Treble Shrug PATTERN

A few words
Hello everyone! ~ I come here with a not so new pattern. I've been working on it for like 3 months but I kept postponing the day that it must see the light. This is mainly because I'm an undecided person and I was unsure about selling it or sharing it. So I decided to post it here instead of asking for money. Not that I don't need the money, because I'm a freelancer. I do like five big things with my life (I'm a writer and a musician and I illustrate and whatnot). But I don't see money all the time coming out of them and that's why I have to keep myself active in different projects. So anyways, I do need some cash but what the heck. If anyone wants to donate a dollar or two, I'll leave a PayPal button somewhere in this blog.

I realized how helpful and inspiring my blog has been for some people lately and well, I want to keep it like that. So, as a token of appreciation for liking my patterns (and ♥ them in Ravelry), I will be posting more and more patterns for beginners. But you will have to promise to be patient, because I'm working in a book, a zine, an ETSY shop and writing for a magazine. 

So here, the Treble Shrug - Crochet Pattern in American English. (I know for some of us in the south, wearing a shrug when it's 100 degrees out there it's equal to being nuts, but hey, there are others with better luck having beautiful summers in places where people actually do yearn for this time of year). And guess what? It's been tested by Lisa Gutierrez of Good Knits. (See photo below).

IMPORTANT: This written pattern, includes copyrighted pictures that you are not allowed to copy, use or distribute AT ALL. You are, of course, allowed to sell your accessory made with help of this pattern, but you are not allowed to sell or copy-paste my work.

I used medium weight yarn (my Retro Yarn) in one color but, as you can see on Lisa's picture above, she used 2 strands of the same color and it looks awesome too. Aprox 200 mts of each one. Crochet hooks 9mm and 6.5mm. Scissors. Patience.
Skills - Basic knowledge of
Basic Crochet stitches: Chain, Slip Stitch, Single Crochet and Treble Crochet. If you're unsure about them, go to my Crochet Friday Series page and check the videos of each stitch, practice for a few days and then come back to try.
Finished size 
Sleeve 37 cm long, Back 44 cm wide and 17 cm deep.
This shrug is made of two identical sleeve tubes, crocheted with two strands of yarn.
Abbreviations and additional explanations
If you're visual (like me) and not very familiar with written patterns you might need to know what a few things mean. First, all stitches are abbreviated. Example: Stitch is St, Chain is Ch, Treble Crochet is Tr, Slip Stitch is SlSt, Round (for working in rounds) is R, Single Crochet is Sc. Second, when you read "1Tr into top of next Tr" it means, work 1 Treble Crochet into top of Treble Crochet of previous row. Or, "Skip (1Tr, 1Ch)" means, leave the next Treble Crochet and the Chain next to it alone and work in the next stitch or in whatever the pattern says. If you're not familiar with written patterns, read this introduction about Understanding Written Patterns: Abbreviations and Terms.

Work a foundation ring: Using a 9mm hook and two strands of yarn (different colors), Ch36 and join with SlSt to form a ring.

R1: Ch1, 1SC into every Ch to end, join with SlSt into first Ch.

R2: Ch5. [(Skip 1 St) work 1Tr + Ch1] (See photo #1 below) repeat to end, joining with SlSt into the 4th Ch of the initial Ch5. Ch5. (See photo #2 below)

Photo #1 (I know it's a different yarn but somehow I misplaced the right pic, so I'm using this)
Photo 2

R3: [1Tr into top of next Tr, Ch1] and repeat to end. Join again with a SlSt into the 4th Ch of the initial Ch5. Ch5.

R4-R11: Repeat R3. In last R, DO NOT end with a Ch5.

Here is when you have to make sure you have the sleeve length desired. I've made other versions of this shrug adding a couple of extra rounds to make the sleeve longer. It looks better if it falls a bit beyond the elbow but it's up to you.

Armhole Shaping

Row1: (SlSt into first Ch, SlSt into next Tr) x 4 (see the orange arrow in the picture). Ch5, Skip (Ch1, 1Tr, Ch1), 1Tr into top of the Tr of row below.

Continued Row 1:
(Ch1, 1Tr into top of next Tr) x 11. Ch1, Skip (Ch1, 1Tr), 1Tr into next Tr. Turn your work, we're no longer working in rounds.

Row2: Ch5, Skip (Ch1, 1Tr, Ch1). [1Tr into top of next Tr, Ch1] x 7. Skip (Ch1, 1Tr, Ch1). 1Tr into top of next Tr. Turn

Row3: Ch5, Skip Ch1, [1Tr into next Tr, Ch1] to end, making 1Tr into 2nd Ch of row below.

Rows 4-7: Repeat Row 3. Fasten Off (only for the first sleeve tube, for the second one don't fasten off cause we're going to attach both sleeves by Slip Stitching them together.

Slip stitching them together could be hard because the hook is big and you will need patience to be able to get your hook through the right stitch. So put both sleeve tubes against each other with the inside facing you, so when you stitch them into one piece, the seam is facing your back, not the outside of the shrug. This makes it more discrete. Here's a shot of where to start Slip Stitching:

The hook is pointing to the corner stitch where you have to begin.
This is how it looks when the SlSt'ing is done:

You can here, either fasten off or continue using the same strand of yarn to SingleCrochet around the edges of  the shrug, considering every space that you find in the edging as a place to stitch. There's no official count of SCs on here, since the edge varies when you reach the armholes. When you get to the stitch were you began your edge of SCs, join with a SlSt. You can also make a 2nd row, I picked another yarn and used a 6.5 mm hook for this, cause I want it to be tighter. Here it is:

I wanted to add details to the end of the sleeves too, so I thought of doing some clusters. I'll come next Crochet Friday Series with an explanation of Clusters. Since I ran out of yarn right after finishing the clusters in one sleeve and this is the Retro Yarn I got in Mexico, I couldn't do it on the other sleeve. I don't really mind since symmetry is not the most important thing in the world. Nothing created by nature is 100% symmetric. What a great excuse.

I thought of attaching a close up of how the Treble Crochet Stitch looks like in this pattern. I love the net effect that it gives to this shrug. This is, I think, the best accessory to wear when going to the movie theater, since they always have the AC on and I am always freezing. So, I suppose I don't have to wait until the fall to start wearing this one.

The sleeves are a lot shorter, I just wanted to show you the stitch.

Click on photos to enlarge and see details

In collaboration with:

I want to keep these patterns free of charge, but if you feel like giving something back, it's greatly appreciated!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Borders [Facts + Tutorials]

Borders are one big key when it comes to giving your crochet works a personal touch. I wanted to compile a few facts and tutorials if you feel like experimenting / practicing your skills. I am more a fan of the Afghan Borders than the Lace Edging if you ask me. Of course Lace Edgings are beyond gorgeous but I don't have the sight or the patience for lace work, so I stick with what I can do which is big hooks, thick yarn, colorwork and basic shapes.

This is an example of a beautiful crochet edging done with lace:

Here's one amazing afghan edging work with yarn, by Ellen Bloom (click here to see her blog):

I feel like starting a new afghan already. I'm still on time, only 6 months ahead for when I will be actually able to cuddle in it. Besides, my cat has stolen my favorite granny throw (I need a new one without fur):

On a side note, I fixed the colors of this photo using the Summer Haze action
for photoshop by Lisa Gutierrez of GoodKnits.
I found a great note on facts about crochet borders at the Crochet Cabana site. I think it's GREAT information and I am inviting you to get over there and read it. Why? It's super useful. I didn't want to copy-paste, I am not into stealing someone else's work. It is 11 points to introduce you to an easy experience on making edges. Click here to be safely taken over there. The site includes patterns for borders but not tutorials, so if it isn't steady ground for you yet, stick to this post.

I am only compiling for you the best video tutorials I found online. I do not own the right for these videos, although they are public and the embedding option is available. I greatly appreciate the time that these users take to make their videos and upload them. If you have any questions about what you see, refer to their youtube channel and post comments over there.


These two go a little fast, don't let that intimidate you. If you know how to work the stitches, try to focus on how to do the shape instead of trying to figure how she does each stitch so fast.

I hope that was helpful! Have fun with the hook!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Piano Neck Purse - Crochet Photo tutorial

I am going to keep publishing crochet patterns as long as I have a computer, internet connection, a hook and a couple of hands! I love Crochet Patterns for Beginners because there's more people wanting to learn to crochet than experts looking for free patterns at random blogs like mine. Also, there is just way too much satisfaction when you learn to make your own accessories, clothes, whatever you can make. You have your brain and your hands and we all have time for what we like, so if you can do it, what are you waiting for? Stop consuming and begin producing!

I made this small purse (5x6") thinking of something to put my phone and my money in if I wanted to go out without having to carry a huge bag (think of the heat of summer time in Texas!). Plus, hang it from your neck if you ride a bike! You can add a button or magnetic clips inside, don't limit your imagination. Why a Piano? I love pianos. I am a musician, I took a few piano lessons when I was little but later I switched to string instruments and, well, a piano is not as affordable as a guitar but that didn't change how much I love the vibrations that piano keys emit when played. ~ 

I had published this pattern in Spanish before so it was time to share with the English readers too. Ready? Reminder: all my patterns in this blog are written in American English.

You'll need:

  • Black, white and optional color yarn (I used Pale Rose by Berroco Weekend) preferably #3 or #4 Ply (if you want to keep the same dimensions 5x6" or you can use bigger yarn for bigger purse if it is your desire). At least 50 mt of your base color (Pale Rose) and 25 mt of each black and white. If you have scraps I'd recommend you to use only those that are same ply. Better if they're the same brand.
  • Hook. I used a 4 mm. Find a match for your type of yarn.
  • Scissors.

Stitches you need to be able to work:

  • Chain Stitch 
  • Single Crochet Stitch
  • Slip Stitch
  • You'll learn how to do Long Single Crochet (sometimes called Extended)
Not sure how to work them? Check out my Crochet Friday Series for posts with videos.

I abbreviate like this: St - Stitch, Ch - Chain, SC - Single Crochet, SlSt - Slip Stitch, R# - Round or Row, LSC# - Long Single Crochet in the Row # (I will explain this one as we advance, it's pretty easy, don't sweat); CO - Color Optional (my Pale Rose), CB - Color Black, CW - Color White.

Written instructions begin here!

With your CO, work 21 Ch. In the second Ch from your hook begin SC all the way (20 SC) back to your beginning point. Ch1 and turn your work.

R2: SC 20, Ch1 and turn.
R3: SC 20, Ch1 and turn.
R4: SC 20, with a strand of CW work 1Ch (see photo below). Then turn.

R5-R9: SC 20, Ch1 and turn.
R10: SC 20, with a strand of CB work 1Ch (see photo below, this is your second color change). Then turn.

Before starting with R11 I shall explain how to make the Long Single Crochet stitches. It is very simple, it's a regular Single Crochet but it has to be stitched in a row below, not in the row we are at right now. For example:

In the picture above I numerated the rows. We will be working LSC in the 4th row for this piano pattern, so that will be abbreviated LSC#4. As you see I made the first SC of the row, where the piano keys begin. The trick to the LSC is this: when pulling the yarn through the loop in the 4th row and finishing the stitch you have to keep the yarn pretty loose or you'll get a cinched stitch. Look at the pattern:

That's: (1SC, 1LSC#4) x 3
R11: (1SC, 1LSC#4) x3, 1SC, (1SC, 1LSC#4) x2, 1SC, (1SC, 1LSC#4) x3, 2SC. Ch1 and turn.

Note for all those out there making fun of us, crocheters: we probably do more math, than you do, in our spare time.

If you're not sure of how it's done, follow each part of R11 with this picture:

Above, from right to left: A group of 3 (1SC + 1LSC#4), 1SC, a group of 2 (1SC + 1LSC#4), 1 SC, another group of 3 (1SC + 1LSC#4), 2SC. Ch1 and turn. 
R12: SC 20, with CO make 1Ch and turn. Here you made a 2nd row of black and now you must switch to your base color, my Pale Rose. 

R13-R23: SC 20, Ch1 and turn.

R24: SC 20 and fasten off. It should look like this:

Yes, the strand showing where you started is not at your right, but left, we finished in the opposite side. If you don't feel comfortable with that, just add another row of CO before fastening off.
Now, I want you to be able to recognize what's the right and the wrong side of your crochet, since we are going to have to make a second piece, just like this one above, and Single-Crochet them together. We must pay attention to what's the right side of the crocheted fabric, since the piano keys (long single crochet stitch) look different on each side:

Above: I like to call this my right side, the side I want to be showed. Why? because the strands of yarn are tighter and give the look I want for the key. 

Below: This is my wrong side, the side I want facing the inside of the purse. I don't like how the strands of yarn form a V. This is something almost impossible to avoid, due to the dynamic of the stitch.

If you genuinely don't care about this, don't even listen to me. I ♥ perfection. I am a little-big neurotic in that sense. Here are both panels: 

How to stitch them together?

Single Crochet is the answer. Stitching them together. Here you have 2 options. You can put wrong sides facing each other and stitch the edges with SC and it would look like the bag I show in this pattern. OR, if you want to give more depth to the inside of the bag, put right sides facing each other and stitch the edges and when you're done, pull the bag inside out. For this tutorial I am going to do the first option, wrong sides facing each other. I like the finish of the edges for this little purse. 

Start again with a slipknot in your hook. Ch2. On the very first stitch available of the top left side of your panels work 1SlSt. In the same stitch work 1SC and continue SC all around the edges of the purse. When you get to the end of each side remember to make a corner. Corners are (1SC, Ch1, 1SC) in the same corner stitch.

When you get to the end of your right side of the panels, work as many chains you wish (base this on the length you want for your strap). See:

At the end of your chain strap, work 1 SlSt in each of the 2 Ch where you started. Work 1 SlSt as well on into top of next St:

Joining with a SlSt the Chain Strap with the beginning at the top left side of the panels
Now fasten off and weave in ends. If you don't know how to, check out this post for specific instructions: Finishing techniques.

This pattern is Public Domain
BUT not MY photos.
You can share (copy, distribute, transmit) this work
and tweak (make changes) it.
A simple link to this post will do it, do not copy paste and put your name under or you will remember me saying this every  time you bite your tongue, hit your bare toes with furniture corners or run out of milk when you crave for cereal. Karma will get you. 

I want to keep my patterns free of charge, but if you feel like giving something back, it's greatly appreciated.