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Colorblock Stripes Blanket

Colorblock Stripes Blanket

Granny squares are the first crochet motif that many of us learn to make. They’re made entirely of double crochets, so you can focus on the construction and not worry about what stitch is next.

And because you begin in the center with just a few chains, it’s more manageable than a long row of them. Once you understand how and when the corners are made, it’s fun and easy to start playing with color and layout.

Colorblock Stripes Blanket

For the Colorblock Stripes Blanket, we chose 6 colors of Spud & Chloe Sweater: 5 contrast colors and 1 main color. There are five squares of each contrast color. Every square is finished with a round of the main color, which is also used for the final border.

We arranged the colors in rows instead of staggering them for a more modern look. Even in rows you can play with their order. We went formal – blues on one side, greens on the other, and yellow in the middle.

The result is fresh and playful. Perfect for a baby – of any age!

SQUARES AND STRIPES BLANKET

SIZE
One size, 29 inches square.

MATERIALS
Spud & Chloe Sweater, 2 skeins of ice cream (main color), 1 skein each of turtle, grass, firefly, splash and waterslide (contrast colors).
Size G hook

ABBREVIATIONS
ch chain
dc double crochet
sl st slip stitch
st stitch
ch 1 sp chain 1 space
ch 2 sp chain 2 space

NOTE
Work over ends whenever possible to make finishing easier.

MOTIF PATTERN
Ch 4, join with sl st to first ch to form ring.

Round 1: Ch3, 2 dc in ring. Ch2, *3dc in ring, ch3. Repeat from * 2 times more. Ch2, sl st in top of ch3.

Round 2: Sl st in the first 2 dc’s and in the first ch 2 lp. Ch3, 2 dc in ch 2 sp, ch2, work 3 dc in same sp. Work the following 3 times (Ch1, work 3 dc, ch2, 3 dc in next ch 2 sp.) Ch1, join with sl st to top of ch 3.

Round 3: Sl st in the first 2 dc’s and in the first ch2 sp. Ch3, 2 dc in ch 2 sp, ch2, work 3 dc in same sp. Ch1, work 3 dc in next ch1 sp. Ch1. Work the following 3 times (Work 3 dc, ch2, 3 dc in next ch 2 sp. Ch 1, work 3 dc in next ch1-sp. Ch1.) Join with sl st to top of ch3.

Round 4: rep round 3.

Instructions
Make 5 motifs with each color. Rounds 1-3 are made with the contrast color, round 4 is made in the main color.

Assembly
Using the main color, attach motifs of the same color into strips by holding right sides together and slip stitching through outermost loop on each piece. Then attach strips in the same manner.

Border
With the main color, join yarn in a corner and work 3 rounds of single crochet.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

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Winter Classes

Happy New Year! I hope the last days of 2013 were filled with warmth, good cheer and lots of wool. If you’re anything like me, you knit a LOT but there were still some projects you never quite got to knit! Maybe you were reticent to try a new technique on your own, or weren’t able to make the time to get started. Either way, there are projects you love just waiting to be knit!

classes

Let’s change that in 2014! Make time for yourself and your knitting and join us for a class this winter. We’re making sweaters, socks, mittens and cowls. We’re crocheting, cabling and knitting on double points! It’s all happening right here at Loop, surrounded by cozy, colorful yarn with other adventurous crafty souls! Sounds like a good way to spend a chilly winter night, doesn’t it? I think so too!

To register for a class, please call 215-893-9939 or stop by the shop! See you soon!

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AmiguruME Giveaway!

UPDATE, 9/29/13: The winner of the giveaway is Sarah M. who said she’d make a doll of her sister. Thank you all for entering! I enjoyed reading your thoughtful, heartwarming, funny, and creative comments.

AmiguruME

Yesterday I received a copy of AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People by Allison Hoffman. Her name was new to me, but she’s got lots of fans including Conan O’Brien and Pee Wee Herman.

It’s easy to see why – Hoffman crochets these fantastic amigurumi dolls that look like people, often celebrities. In AmiguruME, her new book, she shows you how to make all types of people. The book’s like an a la carte menu – you pick the face and head shape, body shape, legs and feet, hair, clothes, everything you need to make a doll of someone you know or a character you want to create.

The book starts at the very beginning, showing you how to crochet and the techniques you’ll need for the dolls. There are lots of good pictures and clear directions. The dolls would be great birthday or holiday gifts.

Leave a comment below telling me who you’d make a doll of. I’ll choose one entry at random and the winner will receive a copy of AmiguruME. Enter your comment by the end of Saturday, September 28, 2013; I’ll announce the winner on Sunday, September 29, 2013.

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Crochet Living

Crochet Living Cover

Crochet is on my mind this spring. When I saw Crochet Living by Nicki Trench for Debbie Bliss, I knew I wanted it for the shop. Among its 11 designs are blankets, doilies, a table runner, a beret, garland and a poncho. All made with beautiful combinations of crochet stitches and motifs, and all with lots of wonderful colors.

The yarns used in the patterns range from sport to worsted in weight. Milla Mia’s Naturally Soft Merino, Blue Sky’s Skinny Cotton, and Spud & Chloe’s Sweater yarns – a sport weight, a DK, and a worsted weight, respectively – would be great for these projects.

We’re offering several crochet classes this month where you’ll learn what you need to know to make most of these projects. So if they entice you like they did me, then please call 215-893-9939 or stop in to sign up.

Happy crocheting!

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May Crochet Classes

We’ve had requests for crochet classes lately, so I’ll be teaching 3 this month. Each of the classes is offered on the weekend and during the week. I hope one of them fits your schedule!

Learn to Crochet

$28 for one 2-hour session; materials included.
prerequisites: none

Saturday, May 11: 10am to 12noon
Wednesday, May 15: 6 to 8pm

Granny Square Blanket

This introduction to crochet will give you the basics of a new craft – or a quick refresher! Learn to chain, single, half-double, and double crochet. Yarn and hook are included in the class fee.

Granny Squares and Crochet Motifs

$20 for one 2-hour session
prerequisites: ability to chain, single, and double crochet

Saturday, May 18: 10am to 12noon
Wednesday, May 22: 6 to 8pm

Churchmouse One Big Granny

One Big Granny Square Throw and Afghan Pattern

Motifs like granny squares that are worked in rounds are the building blocks of blankets, afghans, and even garments. Learn to crochet in rounds, to change colors and to weave in ends. If there’s time, we’ll cover attaching motifs too.

supplies: two or three colors of smooth worsted weight yarn and a size F hook.

Crocheted Baskets

$20 for one 2-hour session
prerequisites: ability to chain, single, and double crochet

Saturday, May 25: 10am to 12noon
Wednesday, May 29: 6 to 8pm

Churchmouse Baskets

Crocheted Baskets Pattern

Crocheted baskets are beautiful, practical, and make great gifts! We’ll crochet a small round basket in class with a pattern that you can adjust for different size baskets.

supplies: 200-300 yards of worsted or chunky yarn and hooks two and three sizes smaller than recommended.

Call us at 215-893-9939 or stop in to register. We have lots of fun knitting classes starting this month, and remember we have sewing classes too. So much to learn and make!

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Works in Progress

Lately I’ve been working on an average of 5 projects at a time. That’s a small number for me. At times, I’ve had as many as 12 to 15 projects going. I’m only counting active projects – not UFOs (unfinished objects) sitting in bags.

There are times – rare though they may be – that I focus on a single project. It’s a wonderful feeling, having a project that so completely engages me, but I can’t make it happen. I don’t know why some projects fly off the needles, while others require breaks to get excited about them again.

I don’t worry about having a lot of projects going at once. Even though I merged my hobby and work lives, I still view knitting and crocheting as recreational activities. To keep it fun and from feeling like work, I let myself work on what I’m in the mood for, without guilt.

MY CURRENT ACTIVE PROJECTS

Girasole
Jared Flood's Girasole blanket in Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn.

Pattern: Girasole by Jared Flood.
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Hayloft

I rarely knit lace. It requires row-by-row attention and, honestly, I get distracted and make mistakes. But the other day I came across the Girasole pattern, which I’ve always loved, and there was some Loft in the color Hayloft leftover from the Arrowhead Mittens that Elizabeth knit for the shop, and I decided to cast on and see where it went.

Surprisingly, I’m loving it. Maybe it’s the alignment of the stars, maybe it’s the weather – I don’t know – but I haven’t put it down since I cast on. I just began the fourth chart this morning.

Granny Square Blanket
Granny Square Blanket in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light yarn.

Pattern: Granny Square Blanket
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light

I’ve been working on this blanket for a while now. A friend stopped in with the beginnings of a granny square blanket and in typical crafter fashion, I wanted to make one too.

My friend selected maybe 7 or 8 colors and was using a different one for each round. I decided to use just one color at a time. I started with some Windowpane that was leftover from another project (are you seeing a trend here) then went to Cousteau, Grasshopper, and now Baltic. With the exception of the Windowpane, each band is one whole skein.

The last time I measured, the blanket was about 28 inches square. I’m really not sure yet how big I’ll make it.

Two-at-a-Time Socks
Cuffs of Melissa Morgan-Oakes's Classic Socks

Pattern: The Classic Sock from 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Yarn: Black Bunny Fibers BFL Tight Twist in color Currency

I took Melissa’s 2-at-a-Time Socks class when she was here last month and cast on for these socks that night. Carol had brought in all this beautiful yarn she’d dyed and the greens in Currency were just calling my name.

I’ve been working on the 1×1 ribbed cuff and getting used to managing the yarn – I’m knitting from just one ball – so it’s been a little slow going. I expect I’ll pick up speed once I work on it some more.

Green Tea
Noro Shiraito and Rowan Kidsilk Haze yarns

Pattern: Green Tea
Yarn: Noro Shiraito and Rowan Kidsilk Haze

Shiraito is a new yarn from Noro. It’s 45% cashmere, 45% angora, and 10% wool. It feels fantastic. Every time I pass it in the shop, I stop, feel, and stare and the gorgeous colors.

Once I chose my colorway – purples/limes – paired it with a ball of Kidsilk Haze, and sat down to figure out what to make.

So, here’s what I’m doing. Because it’s not done, I obviously can’t show you what’ll look like or tell you the final dimensions. But in case you want to join in…

You’ll need 1 ball of each yarn.

CO 3 sts with Shiraito.

With Shiraito,
Row 1: K3.
Row 2: K1, kfb (knit front and back of the same stitch), k to end.

With Kidsilk Haze,
Row 3: Knit.
Row 4: Purl.

Rep these four rows. Don’t cut the yarn, just carry the one not in use along the side.

At first I thought I’d continue this way until half the Shiraito was used. Then, I’d begin decreasing on Row 2, replacing kfb with k2tog. Now I’m thinking I’ll just keep repeating these four rows and see how wide it gets at the end. We’ll see.

WHAT’S IN YOUR PROJECT BAG?

So that’s my current WIPs (works in progress). What are you working on?