Saturday, December 31, 2016

Circle in a Square Motif Squares #23 & 24

We're just about to 2017!  And I think that 2016 has been hard on a great many of us.  Fortunately, I remember plenty of good things that happened through the year.  I am always grateful to feel like I have a new year to work with, to change and make things different - or better.  Truthfully though, I feel like each day is a gift where we get to start new.  I hope for better things for all of us.  I often feel though that the opportunity for betterment lies in our perspective on what life serves up to us rather than what we actually find on our plates.

As for our pattern for the last two squares of the year, it's a lovely circle in a square motif.  It's a beautiful motif for scarves or shawls, or even a unique sweater or blanket.  Not too tricky, but a fun change from the traditional granny square.


Square #23
Square #24

Pattern

Ch 4, sl st to beginning ch to form ring.
Rnd 1:  Ch 3, make 15 dc in ring, sl st to top of beginning ch to join.  (16 dc, beginning ch-3 counts as dc).
Rnd 2:  Sl st between beginning ch-3 and next dc from previous rnd.  Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch 2), [dc in between next 2 dc, ch 2] 15 times.  Sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch-5 to join.  (16 ch-2 spaces)
Rnd 3:  Sl st in next ch-2 sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp.  [Ch 1, skip next dc, 3 dc in next ch-2 sp] 15 times.  Ch 1, skip next dc, sl st to top of beginning ch to join.  Fasten off and weave in ends. 
Rnd 4:  Join new color in any ch-1 sp, sc in same space.  *[ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next ch-1 sp] 3 times, ch 5 (corner loop made), sc in next ch-1 sp.  Repeat from * 3 times, omitting final sc of last repeat.  Sl st to beginning sc to join.  (12 ch-3 spaces 7 & 4 ch-5 corner spaces)
Rnd 5:   Sl st in next ch-3 sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp, [ch 1, skip next sc, 3 dc in next ch-3 sp] twice, ch 1, [5 dc, ch 2, 5 dc] in next ch-5 sp, *[ch 1, skip next sc, 3 dc in next ch-3 sp] 3 times, ch 1, [5 dc ch 2, 5 dc] in next ch-5 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  Ch 1, skip next sc.  Sl st to top of beginning ch-3 to join.  
Rnd 6:  Sl st in next 2 dc, sl st in ch-1 sp.  Ch 1, sc in same ch-1 sp.  (Ch 3, sc in next ch-1 sp) twice.  *Ch 5, sc in corner ch-2 sp, ch 5, sc in same corner sp.  Ch 5**. (Sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 3) 3 times.  Sc in next ch-1 sp.  Repeat from * 3 times ending last repeat at **.  Sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, sl st to beginning sc to join.  
Rnd 7:  Sl st to next ch-3 sp.  Ch 3, make 2 dc in same ch-3 sp.  Make 3 dc in next ch-3 sp.  *5 dc in next ch-5 sp.  (3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc) in corner ch-5 sp.  5 dc in next ch-5 sp**.  (3 dc in ch-3 sp) 3 times.  Repeat from * 3 times, ending last repeat at **.  Make 3 dc in next ch-3 sp.  Sl st to top of beginning ch-3 to join.
Rnd 8:  Ch 3 (counts as dc), *dc in each dc to corner ch-1 sp.  Dc, ch 1, dc in corner ch-1 sp.  Repeat from * 3 times.  Dc in each remaining dc.  Sl st to top of beginning ch-3 to join.    
Rnd 9:  Repeat row 8.  Fasten off and weave in ends.  

Note on the color variations:  Square #23 is done with one color on the first 3 rounds, and another color for the rest of the rounds.  For square #24, a different color is used for round 1, round 2, and round 3, and the color chosen for round 4 will finish out the motif.

Happy New Year friends!

XOXO - Taralee

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Double Crochet Squares #21 & 22

November has certainly been eventful!  Saying the election season has been interesting would be an understatement.  Plus, my little girl had her first dance recital!  This was a big deal for me too (like last month's piano recital).  We tried ballet with her a couple of years ago, but it just wasn't the right place/atmosphere for her.  I was delighted to find a creative dance class for special needs kids that has truly more than exceeded my expectations.  Plus - Thanksgiving!  Still working on the leftover turkey here, which I think is going to end up in the freezer for later use.  It sure was yummy though!

With November's squares, we are going back to the basics.  And by basics, I mean very basic.  This is a simple double crochet square.  I did add some flowers as embellishment when they were finished, but this is optional.  You could have plain double crochet squares, double crochet squares with multi-color yarn, or use a few yarns and make them striped!  We often don't give this humble stitch enough credit in the crochet world.  I worked up this Amazing One-Stitch Afghan with only chain and double crochet stitches.  This stitch is truly versatile if you put a little creativity into it!  (Be sure to notice the sweet pug photobombing the pic, she follows me everywhere!)
Amazing One-Stitch Afghan taraduff 2016
Double Crochet Square #21

Double Crochet Square #20



Double Crochet Square #22

Double Crochet Square #21

Pattern

Foundation Chain:  Chain 34
Row 1:  Dc in fourth ch from hook and in each ch across.  Turn.
Row 2:  Ch 3 (counts as first dc).  Skip first dc, dc in each remaining stitch to end of row.  (32 dc)
Rows 3-19:  Repeat row 2.

Flower Embellishment
small flower
Begin with magic loop.  Make 8 sc into magic loop.  Sl st to beginning sc to join.
Row 2:  *Ch 2, sl st in next stitch.  Repeat to end of round.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

large flower
Ch 6.  Sl st to beginning ch to join.
Row 1:  Ch 3 (counts as dc).  Make 15 dc in ring. (16 dc)  Sl st to top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Row 3:  *Ch 8.  Skip one stitch, sl st to next stitch.  Repeat from * 7 times.  (8 petals formed)

Row 4:  Ch 1.  Make 12 sc in each ch-8 sp.  Sl st to beginning sc to join.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

To assemble, simply stitch the small flower to the center of the large flower and stitch to your squares.


Enjoy!!!



Monday, October 31, 2016

Italian Motif Squares #19 & 20

My sweet 9 yr old with autism spectrum disorder had her first piano recital last week!  This was a big deal for me.  She did a great job on her piece, and I think she really enjoyed it.  She just started taking lessons about a month and a half ago - so this is all new for us.

I was out with my husband yesterday, and as we were finishing up dinner, we talked about what it's like to be a special needs parent.  We feel separated from most of society.  That may not make much sense if you don't fall into the special needs parent category, but if you do - I expect you will more than understand.  We have different concerns that we deal with on a daily basis.  We often have different responsibilities than the average parent.  There are extra expenses - and often less ability to earn since we are home caring for our child.   The achievements that make us super excited for our children seem insignificant to the parent of typical child.   

My point being - this piano recital, it really was a big deal!  It was such a happy thing for this mommy to witness.  I had wanted to start her in piano lessons years ago - but  the few teachers that I talked to discouraged it - and I knew I couldn't trust just anyone with this little angel.  I was lucky enough to find a teacher who is a trained music therapist and has taught children with autism before.   A most happy moment for us! 

This month's squares come from what is commonly know as an Italian square motif.  It's in the family of granny squares - although not a traditional granny.  It has a lovely cross formed with a strategic placement of puff stitches.  I used it in my sweet nostalgia poncho along the bottom to add some interest to the chevron pattern.  If you look closely in the leaves - you even get to see our sweet little pug named Waddles.  She blends into the scenery quite well!  

Sweet Nostalgia poncho taraduff 2016


Italian Motif Square #19

Italian Motif Square #19


Italian Motif Square #20
Italian Motif Square #20

Pattern  

Begin with magic loop.  Ch 3 (counts as first dc), make 11 dc in ring.  Sl st to top of ch 3 to join.  (12 dc)
Row 2:  Ch 3.  3 strand puff stitch in same stitch as sl st from previous rnd.  Ch 1.  (4 strand puff stitch in next dc, ch 1) twice.  Ch 4. *(4 strand puff stitch in next dc, ch 1) 3 times.  Ch 4.    Repeat from * 2 times.  Sl st to top of first puff stitch to join.  
Row 3:  Sl st in first ch-1 sp.  Ch 3.  3 strand puff stitch in same ch-1 sp, ch 1.   4 strand puff stitch in next ch-1 sp.  Ch 2.  Make 5 dc in ch-4 sp.  Ch 2.  *(4 strand puff stitch in next ch-1 sp, ch 1) twice.  Ch 2.  Make 5 dc in ch-4 sp. Ch 2.    Repeat from * twice.  sl st to top of puff stitch.
Row 4:  Sl st in first ch-1 sp.  Ch 3.  3 strand puff stitch in same ch-1 sp.  *Ch 3.  Skip puff stitch and ch-2 sp, *(dc in dc, ch 1) 2 times.  Dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc ch 1 in next dc.  (dc in dc, ch 1) 2 times.  Ch 2.  Skip ch-2 sp and puff stitch.  **4 strand puff stitch in ch-1 sp.  Repeat from * 3 times ending last repeat at **.  Sl st to top of puff stitch to join.  
Row 5:  Sl st in first ch-3 sp.  Ch 3 (counts as first dc) Make 2 dc in ch-2 sp.  *Dc in next 6 dc.  Make 3 dc in next dc.  Dc in next 6 dc.**  (Make 3 dc in next ch-2 sp) twice.  Repeat from * 3 times ending last repeat at   Make 3 dc in next ch-2 sp.  Sl st to top of beginning ch 3 to join.  
Row 6:  Ch 3.  Dc in each dc, making 3 dc in each corner stitch.  Sl st to top of beginning ch 3 to join.  
Rows 7-9:  Repeat row 6.

Variation:  Use color A for row 1, color B for 2-4, and color C for 5-9.

I hope you all had a lovely October!  I'm afraid I overdid it on the sweets - so I may be paying for it tomorrow LOL!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Popsicle Spike Stitch Squares #17 & 18

September - I don't even know what to say about it.  We had good and exciting things happen, but we also were touched by tragedy and so much sadness....  A friend of one of my children took his own life.  The boy was 15 yrs old.  This has been such a shock to all of us, especially my son.  We have felt powerless to help him as he wades through the grief and confusion of the situation.  We don't know really know why - there are a lot of questions.  And it has made my husband and I as parents hold our kids tighter and try harder to connect with them - to understand what they are struggling with and feeling.  This seemed to come as a total shock for the young man's family.  I pray that they might somehow, somewhere find peace and comfort.

So, getting on with things, this month's squares feature a fun version of a spike stitch.  It's called the popsicle spike stitch.  It reminds me of stained glass when the right colors are used.  It makes a tight, sturdy fabric.  I used it in the Jubilee Christmas Stocking.  We like our Christmas stockings stuffed rather full - so this was the perfect stitch to use.
Jubilee Christmas Stocking taraduff 2016
Popsicle Spike Square #17
Popsicle Spike Square #17
Popsicle Spike Square #18


Popsicle Spike Square #18

Pattern

Color changes:  Work rows 1, 4, 5, 8 & 9 in main color.  All other rows are worked with another color.  In square #17, I used only two yarns, a solid color as the main color and a multi-color self-patterning yarn as the second color.  On square #16, I used a main color and alternated two colors for the other stripes. 

Special Stitch 
Lsc:  Insert hook into next stitch 3 rows below and pull up a loop.  Yo and pull through both loops.

Foundation Ch & Row 1:  Ch 35.  Sc in second ch from hook and in each remaining ch.  (34 sc)  Change colors.  Turn.
Row 2:  Ch 1.  Sc in each stitch across.
Row 3:  Repeat row 2.  Change colors at end of row.
Row 4:  Ch 1.  Sc in first stitch.  *Lsc over next 2 stitches.  Sc in next 4 stitches.  Repeat from * to last 3 stitches.  Lsc over next 2 stitches.  Sc in last stitch.  Turn.
Row 5:  Repeat row 2.  Change colors at end of row.
Rows 6,7:  Repeat row 2.  Change colors and end of row 7.
Row 8:  Ch 1.  Sc in first 4 stitches.  *Lsc over next 2 stitches.  Sc in next 4 stitches.  Repeat from * to end of row.  Turn.
Row 9:  Repeat row 2.  Change colors at end of row.
Row 10 - 49:  Repeat rows 2-9.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bow Tie Squares #15 & 16

This summer truly seemed like a whirlwind going by dotted with vacation, camps, visitors,  and lots of zucchini!  I'm not doing well at keeping up on the zucchini part, but seem to have made it through the rest.  I did find a recipe that my family really likes to use up some of the harvest.  Just in case you need it, here's a link to the yummy zucchini cupcake recipe.  My lunch today was zucchini and snow peas sautéed in bacon drippings.  I've still got so much though, I'll be looking to give some away.  I always hate to see fresh garden produce go to waste.

So, Augusts's squares feature a bow tie stitch pattern.  The base of the square is made of simple single crochet.  Some chain spaces are added in with a single crochet stitching them all together to make the 'bow tie' look.  It's a fun little stitch pattern that can be added to a basic project to change it up a bit.  I put it in these fingerless gloves just on the front side.
Symphony Fingerless Gloves by taraduff 2016
Square #15 Bow Ties
taraduff cal 2016 bow tie square #15
Square #16 Bow Tie Stripe
taraduff cal 2016 bow tie stripe square #16

Pattern

Foundation Ch: Ch 40
Row 1:  Sc in second ch from hook and in each remaining ch.  (39 sc) Turn.
Row 2:  Sc in first 3 sc.  *Ch 7.  Skip next 7 sc.  Sc in next 6 sc.  Repeat from * one time.  Ch 7.  Skip next 7 sc.  Sc in last 3 sc.  Turn.
Row 3:  Sc in first 3 sc.  *Ch 7.  Skip next ch-7 sp.  Sc in next 6 sc.  Repeat from * one time.  Ch 7.  Skip next ch-7 sp.  Sc in last 3 sc.  Turn.
Row 4:  Repeat row 3.
Row 5:  Sc in first 3 sc.  *Ch 3.  Make 1 sc over all 3 ch-7 spaces from previous 3 rows, ch 3 (bow tie made).  Sc in next 6 sc.  Repeat from * one time.  Ch 3.  make 1 sc over all 3 ch-7 spaces from previous 3 rows, ch 3 (bow tie made).  Sc in last 3 sc.  Turn.
Row 6:  Sc in first 3 sc.  *Ch 7.  Skip next bow tie.  Sc in next 6 sc.  Repeat from * one time.  Ch 7, skip next bow tie.  Sc in last 3 sc.  Turn.
Rows 7-38:  Repeat rows 3-6.
Row 39:  Sc in first 3 sc.  *Sc in each ch.  Sc in each sc.  Repeat from * to end of row.  (39 sc)


For striped variation, use 2 colors, referred to as A (black in the photo) and B (gold in the photo) 
Color changes noted below.
A: Foundation Ch, Row 1.
B: Rows 2-4
A: Row 5
B: Row 6
B: Row 39

I hope you've had a lovely summer!  

XOXO
-Taralee

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Triangle Lace Squares #13 & 14


Hi friends!  July has been HOT!  I am grateful for air-conditioning!  I think our sweet little pug is too.   They have a harder time cooling off than most dogs since they have the smushed in noses.  We have to wait until it's later in the evening and has cooled off some to take her out for walks.  It's been a nice addition to our summer though, both Syd and Waddles (the pug) seem to enjoy it.

Add caption


July's squares feature a triangle lace stitch pattern.  This is one of the more unique stitch patterns out of all of the blocks this year.  It's not particularly challenging, but pay close attention to the beginnings and endings of rows 5 & 6.  In the picture below, triangle lace is combined with a basic trellis stitch in the Saffron Lace Infinity Scarf.

Saffron Lace Infinity Scarf designed by taraduff 2016

Square #13 Triangle Lace Square
Square #14 Striped Triangle Lace Square

Pattern

Ch 36.
Row 1:  Sc in second ch from hook and in each remaining ch.  (35 sc) Turn.
Row 2:  Ch 1.  Sc in each sc across.
Row 3:  Repeat row 2.
Row 4:  Ch 1.  Sc in first 2 sc.  *Skip next 3 sc, ch 3, sc in next sc.  Repeat from * until 1 sc remains.  Sc in last sc.  Turn.
Row 5: Ch 2.  Skip first 2 sc.  Sl st in next ch-3 sp.  *Ch 3, dc in next sc, ch 1, work 3 sc around the post of dc just made, sl st in next ch-3 loop.  Repeat from * across to last ch-3 loop.  Ch 3, dc in next sc, work 3 sc around the post of dc just made, sl st in last sc, turn.
Row 6: Ch 4.  *Sc in next ch-3 loop, ch 3.  Repeat from * across.  Make 2 dc in ch-2 sp.  Turn. (Beginning ch 4, 8 sc, 8 ch-3 sp, 2 dc)
Row 7:  Ch 1.  Sc in first 2 dc.  *Ch 3, skip next ch-3 sp, sc in next sc.  Repeat from * across.  Sc in last ch-4 sp.  Turn.
Row 8:  Ch 1.  Sc in first 2 sc.  *Make 3 sc in ch-3 sp, sc in next sc.  Repeat from * to end of row.  Sc in last sc.  (35 sc) Turn.

Repeat rows 2-8 three times.  
Repeat row 2 two times.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

For striped variation, use color A for rows 1-3.  Use color B for rows 4-7.  Use color A for row 8.


XOXO - Taralee

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Granny Squares 11 & 12

Well my friends, June is practically over.  This post is well overdue, but I do have some rather good excuses for being late on this one.

Excuse #1: Family trip to Maui.
My awesome kids on the beach in Maui June 2016
My sweet parents-in-law took their whole family (kids, grandkids, etc) to Maui to celebrate their 50th anniversary.  It was a great time with lots of beaches and much needed relaxation.

 Excuse #2: New puppy.
8 week old pug puppy named Waddles
Would you look at that face?  Well, I never in a million years thought I would be getting a house pet (my mother didn't like them, and admittedly I am not the best housekeeper) - but we did.  After some deliberation with an old friend (my daughter's aide from a few years back when she was in kindergarten - who is now a dog trainer), we concluded to get a family dog.  The intent is to train her as a therapy and service dog for my girl.  She wanders occasionally - and although the family cat does sometimes follow her around the neighborhood, we can train the dog to actually alert us when she is going and help us find her.  I have never owned a dog - so I went to the library last week and checked out a whole stack of books on dogs.  I still don't know what I'm doing, but am happy to report that so far she has gone to the bathroom outside only and doesn't bark or whine much at all.  Beyond that, I have no idea what I am doing.  I think our friend will come to visit sometime next week to give us some tips and instruction on what to do.

Ok, moving on to business!

The basic granny square.  This was truly one of the first things I learned to make when I started crocheting as a child.  My sweet step-grandmother that lived next door taught me to crochet.  I would visit her in the evening (my grandfather had passed on years before, so she was alone) and while she watched her evening soaps (Dallas and Dynasty) I would work on my crochet skills.  We made granny squares out of all of her scraps and odds and ends.  I am definitely fond of granny squares - especially the traditional ones.  Square #11 is the most basic granny square.  You can make it all the same color - or change colors on some of the rounds as is often done.  Square #12 is a definite twist on the traditional granny square, I call it a diagonal granny.  It uses two colors, but instead of switching the colors on certain rounds, it's actually worked back and forth turning at the end of each round if that makes sense.  Below is a picture of one pattern that combines these two squares.  The possibilities are absolutely endless - just check out google or pinterest for half-triangle square quilts for some fantastic inspiration.
Granny Star Afghan by taraduff 2016

Square #11
Square #12 Diagonal Granny


Pattern

Ch 4, sl st to beginning ch to make a ring.
Rnd 1:  Ch 3 (counts as dc in this and all other rnds).  Make 2 dc in ring.  *Ch 3.  Make 3 dc in ring.  Repeat from * 2 times. Ch 1.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 2:  Ch 3.  *Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 3:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 4:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *(Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 5:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *(Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 3 times. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) three times.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 6:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *(Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 4 times. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 4 times.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 7:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *(Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 5 times. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 5 times.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 8:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *(Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 6 times. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 6 times.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.
Rnd 9:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  *(Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 7 times. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Repeat from * 2 times.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) 7 times.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.

Diagonal Two Tone Granny
Note - when changing colors, do not cut previous color, just drop the previous color and pick up the new color.  Turn at the end of each rnd to work the next rnd in the opposite direction.

With A, ch 4, sl st to beginning ch to make a ring.
Rnd 1:  Ch 3 (counts as dc in this and all other rnds).  Make 2 dc in ring.  *Ch 3.  Make 3 dc in ring.  Ch 3.  Switch to color B.  With B, 3 dc in ring, ch 3, 3 dc in ring, ch 1, hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.  Turn to work Rnd 2 in opposite direction.
Rnd 2:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Ch 1, (3 dc, ch 3) in next ch-3 sp.  Pick up color A.  With A, make 3 dc in same ch-3 sp. Ch 1, (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch sp, ch 1.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.  Turn to work Rnd 3 in opposite direction.
Rnd 3: Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp.  Ch 1, (3 dc, ch 3) in next ch-3 sp.  Pick up color B.  With B, make 3 dc in same ch-3 sp. Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp.  Ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.  Turn to work Rnd 4 in opposite direction.
Rnd 4:  Ch 3.  Make 2 dc around post of hdc from previous rnd.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice.  Ch 1, (3 dc, ch 3) in next ch-3 sp.  Pick up color A.  With A, make 3 dc in same ch-3 sp. (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice.  Ch 1.  (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp.  (Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice.  Ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1) in next ch sp.  Hdc in top of beginning ch 3 to join.  Turn to work Rnd 5 in opposite direction.

Continue working in this manner until square measures 10 inches.

I'm just getting an email list going - so if you'd like to sign up for a 20% off discount code for my Etsy shop, visit http://eepurl.com/bYEGUz

Have a lovely 4th of July!

XOXO  - Taralee

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Padded Clusters Squares 9 & 10

It's now May - we're almost halfway through the year already and I can hardly believe it.  I remember as a child thinking that time passed so slowly - but the older I get, the faster it seems to go by.

May's squares feature a stitch pattern called 'padded clusters'.  This is a fantastic stitch with lots of great texture and thickness.  Post stitches are the key in creating this stitch pattern.  It's a great option for anything where you need a thick and sturdy fabric.  Once you get this stitch pattern down, you could try it out in the Bonnie winter hat and Bonnie neckwarmer.
Bonnie Winter Bonnet and Neckwarmer

 Square #9 Padded Clusters (solid)
Padded Clusters square #9

Square #10 Padded Clusters (self-patterning yarn)
Padded Clusters Square #10

 Pattern


Foundation ch & row 1:  Ch 44.  Sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across.  (43 sc)  Turn.
Row 2:  Ch 2 ( counts as hdc now and throughout), skip first stitch, hdc in next stitch.  *Skip next stitch, sc in next stitch.  Skip next stitch,** 3 dc in next stitch.  Repeat from * across, anding last repeat at **.  Hdc in next stitch, hdc in top of turning ch.  Turn.
Row 3:  Ch 2, skip first stitch, hdc in next stitch.  *Make 3 fpdc around the post of next sc,** skip next stitch, sc in next dc.  Skip next stitch.  Repeat from * across, ending last repeat at **.  Hdc in next stitch, hdc in top of turning ch.  Turn.
Row 4:  Ch 2, skip first stitch.  Hdc in next stitch, *skip next stitch, sc in next dc.  Skip next stitch,** make 3 fpdc around the post of next sc.  Repeat from * across, ending last repeat at **.  Hdc in next stitch.  Hdc in top of turning ch.  Turn.
Rows 5-30:  Repeat rows 3 and 4.
Row 31:  Ch 1.  Sc in each stitch across.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

Variation:  On block #10, I simply used a self-patterning yarn following the pattern above.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Simple Crochet Cables Squares 7 & 8

It's been so nice to see the sun shining this month!  Spring always seems to bring new hope and energy for me after the long cold winter months.  I especially love seeing the spring bulbs blooming adding that splendid color to the landscape.  My favorite are tulips!  Sadly though, we have many deer that reside in the area that LOVE tulips - so I have none of my own, but when I pass a garden with a sea of tulips - I always stop to admire them.  I have been enjoying our yellow and white daffodils though, luckily the deer leave those alone. 

The April squares feature a basic cable pattern.  While the stitch pattern consists mainly of single crochet stitches, it is the front post double crochet stitches that are used to create the cable pattern.  This stitch pattern produces a sturdy and solid fabric.  You can see it featured in the Duchess Cabled Towel below.

Duchess Cabled crochet towel by taraduff
Square # 7 Basic Cabled Square
basic cabled square #7
Square #8 Basic Cabled Square (graduated colors)
basic cabled square #8 with graduated colors

Pattern

Note:  When a post stitch is worked in to one of the rows below, the corresponding stitch on the previous row is left unworked and will be behind the stitch just completed.

Foundation ch & row 1:  Ch 36.  Sc in second ch from hook and in each remaining ch.  (35 sc) Turn.
Row 2:  Ch 1.  Sc in each stitch across.  Turn.
Row 3:  Sc in next 4 sc.  *Fpdc around the post of the next sc 2 rows below.  Sc in next stitch.  Fpdc around the post of next sc 2 rows below.  Sc in next 3 stitches.  Repeat from * across, ending with sc in last sc.  Turn.
Row 4:  Repeat row 2.
Row 5:  Sc in next 4 sc.  *Fpdc around the post of the next fpdc 2 rows below.  Sc in next stitch.  Fpdc around the post of next fpdc 2 rows below.  Sc in next 3 stitches.  Repeat from * across, ending with sc in last sc.  Turn.
Row 6:  Repeat row 2.
Row 7:  Sc in next 4 sc.  *Skipping the next fpdc from 2 rows below, fpdc around the post of the next fpdc 2 rows below.  Sc in next stitch.  Fpdc around the post of skipped fpdc 2 rows below (cable cross formed) Sc in next 3 stitches.  Repeat from * across, ending with sc in last sc.  Turn.
Row 8:  Repeat row 2.
Row 9:  Repeat row 5.
Repeat rows 4-9 until block measures 10 inches square.






Variation for graduated colors square: This square is worked in the same manner as the solid square, you just change to a lighter or darker shade of the same color you are working with a few times as you go.  I had 3 shades I wanted to use, so I worked the square about 1/3 of the way and then switched, and then after about 2/3 was finished, I switched to the last color.



Thanks for stopping by!  XOXO
-Taralee


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Picot Shells Crochet Squares 5 & 6


So friends, this is my crochet blog.  It is also an outlet for my musings and epiphanies about life and keeping it real.   So if you're just here for the crochet patterns, feel free to skip down a few paragraphs.  If, however, you'd like some glimpses into my messy and very blessed life, read the post in it's entirety.  I'll love you and be so glad you stopped by either way!

Our oldest son just turned 15.  Kids grow up so fast!  As I watch my children, my younger two in particular, I realize how important it is to be in the moment and enjoy the moment.   My youngest is on the autism spectrum.  She often asks us to 'turn dance music on the speakers' for her.  When her favorite songs come on, she thoroughly feels the music and dances to her heart's content.  It doesn't matter who might be around to watch, she dances like there's no tomorrow!

Now if you don't know, there exists this idea in the autism community that intervention must happen early, and that if the child surpasses a certain age like 5 or 7 yrs - there is no longer any hope for them to get better.  I have come to realize that there is so much wrong with this idea on so many levels.  To parents - it instills panic and urgency, and to the child, it indicates a state of hopelessness and also the idea that they are defective. 

I have been in a such a rush for so many years, never truly being present for the life granted me each day because I had been told that if I didn't do everything soon enough, it would be too late.  Society also would have us believe that our children must fit into this box that is deemed as 'normal'.  Perhaps we should ask why these special children behave and perceive the world differently instead of labeling it as wrong and trying to change it.  Why not try to step into their world to better understand them?  The way we see things is just the way we see them, it's not necessarily right or wrong, it just is. 

We currently run a son-rise program in our home for our daughter.  We look for volunteers to come in and learn to love and interact with our sweet daughter, to reach out and connect with her on her level.  As much as her life is blessed and touched by them, I would say that their lives are equally or more blessed and changed by experiencing her.  I know that mine is.  I missed out on so much while she was younger by being in such a hurry and worrying if I was following the right path to help her in the right ways fast enough.  I was going through some of our old videos recently and was struck with such a longing to go back and shake the girl I saw (me) and tell her to stop and look at those precious babies and enjoy every second of it.  My kids are now 15, 12, and 9 yrs old and I can hardly believe it. 

Now for the crochet part!  Our squares for March feature a picot shells stitch pattern.  It reminds me a bit of the crocodile stitch, although it most definitely is not the crocodile stitch.  This stitch pattern has a delicious texture.  I used it in this classic crochet neckwarmer pattern.
classic crochet neckwarmer pattern
Square #5 - Picot Shells
picot shells square #5
 Square #6 - Picot Shells with center band
picot shells with center band square #6

Pattern

Please note - when working the stitches, the picots from the preceding row should be kept to the back of the fabric.
Special Stitches:
    Picot: Ch 5, sl st in 5th chain from hook

Foundation Ch & Row 1:  Ch 33. (2dc, picot, 2dc) in 6th chain from hook for shell, *skip next 3 ch, (2dc, picot, 2dc) in next ch for shell; repeat from * across to within last 3 ch. Skip next 2 ch, dc in last ch, turn.
Row 2: Ch 3, (counts as dc), 2 dc in first dc *skip next shell, (2dc, pico, 2 dc) between last skipped and next shell; repeat from * across to within last shell, skip next shell. make 3 dc in ch space, turn.
Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as dc), skip first 3 dc, *(2dc, pico, 2 dc) between last skipped dc and next shell, skip next shell; repeat from * across to within last 3 dc, skip next 2 dc, dc in 3rd ch of turning ch. Turn.
Rows 4-21:  Repeat rows 2 & 3.
Row 22:    Ch 2.  hdc in each stitch across, skipping picots.  Fasten off and weave in ends.


Variation with Center band

Center Band
Foundation Chain and Row 1:  With A, ch 32.  Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and in each ch across.  (31 hdc)
Row 2:  Ch 2 (counts as first hdc).  Skip first stitch, hdc in each remaining stitch and in top of turning ch.
Row 3:  Repeat row 2.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

Picot Shells section
Row 1:  With color B, attach yarn to end of row.  Ch 3 (counts as dc), skip 2 hdc,  (2dc, pico, 2 dc) in next stitch.  *Skip next 3 stitches, (2 dc, picot, 2 dc) in next stitch.  Repeat from * to within last 3 stitches.  Skip next 2 stitches, dc in last stitch.  Turn.
Rows 2-8:  Repeat rows 2&3 from picot shells block
Row 9:  Repeat row 22 from picot shells block.  Fasten off and weave in ends.
Repeat picot section on other side of center band.
Optional: Add 3 buttons as shown in the photo.


Much love to you this month crochet friends!  Enjoy your St Paddy's day :-)
Classic Adjustable Neckwarmer in pink


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bobble Stitch Squares 3 & 4

Wow, it's been super cold and the smog has settled in over my little town nestled in Cache Valley.    While it is cold and dreary, a lovely blanket of white covers everything outside.  I like spring the most when everything turns green and bunches of tulips and dandelions grace us, but there is something to enjoy in every season. 

I am feeling much better these days.  I felt like I had one foot in the grave for such a long time without really realizing it.  It's funny how you don't realize how awful you feel until you start to feel better.  I still have a ways to go, but that's part of the journey I suppose.  I am still working on learning to bring much needed balance to my life, but I think that is a challenge many can relate to.

For the month of February, we are crocheting a bobble stitch block.  I kind of love bobble stitches!  There are lots of things that make me happy in crochet - and bobble stitches happen to be one of them.  This block is simple, it's a lot of half double crochet stitches with bobble stitches scattered evenly - giving the fabric a polka-dot effect.  I always loved polka-dots.  Unfortunately my husband does not, so I currently have nothing polka-dotted in my wardrobe.  I should probably remedy that situation....

Here is a peek of a project that I made for my nephew's wedding a few years ago.  The entire blanket features the stitch pattern from this month's blocks.  I added the tunisian crocheted heart with the couple's names and wedding date cross-stitched on to hopefully make it something special for them. 


Customizable Keepsake Afghan 
Square # 3 - Bobble Stitch Solid Square
Square #4 - Bobble Stitch Polka-dot Square

Pattern


Special stitches
bobble:  (Yo, insert hook in indicated st or sp, yo, draw yarn through st and up to level of work) 5 times in same st, yo, draw yarn through 11 loops on hook.

Foundation ch and Row 1:  Ch 34.  Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and in each stitch across. Turn.
Row 2:  Ch 2 (counts as first hdc here and throughout).  Skip first hdc.  Hdc in each stitch across.  Make 1 hdc in top of turning chain. (33 hdc) Turn.
Row 3:  Ch 2.  Skip first hdc.  Hdc in next 3 stitches.  *Ch 1, skip next stitch.  Hdc in next 7 stitches.  Repeat from * until within last 5 stitches.  Ch 1.  Skip next stitch.  Hdc in last 3 stitches.  Hdc in top of turning ch.  Turn.
Row 4: Ch 2.  Skip first hdc.  Hdc in next 3 hdc.  *Bobble (see Special Stitches) in ch-1 sp.  Hdc in next 7 stitches.  Repeat from *to last ch-1 sp.  Bobble in last ch-1 sp.  Hdc in last 3 hdc.  Hdc in top of turning ch.
Rows 5 and 6:  Repeat row 2.
Row 7:  Ch 2.  Skip first hdc.  *Hdc in next 7 stitches.  Ch 1, skip next stitch.  Repeat from * until within last 8 stitches.  Hdc in last 7 stitches.  Hdc in top of turning ch.  Turn.
Row 8:  Ch 2.  Skip first hdc.  *Hdc in next 7 stitches.  Bobble in next ch-1 sp.  Repeat from * until within last 8 stitches.  Hdc in last 7 stitches.  Hdc in top of turning ch.  Turn.
Rows 9 and 10:  Repeat row 2.
Repeat rows 3-10 for pattern.

Variation for polka-dot square: On bobble stitch rows (rows 4 & 8), carry another color along through the row and switch to it for bobble stitches only (then switch back to main color) to make a polka-dot fabric.

I'm sharing one more photo of the stitch pattern in a self-patterning yarn.  It's always interesting for me to see how the same stitch pattern looks when you change up yarn types and colors.


bobble stitch pattern in self-patterning yarn

Remember to share your progress on instagram, twitter, or whatever your preferred social media is!   #taraduff2016cal

Monday, January 25, 2016

Seersucker Crochet Squares #1 & 2

It's an overcast, dreary, cold day today.  Sounds typical for this time of year - at least where I live :-)  If you find yourself somewhere warm and sunny - send some my way!

Ok - so lets get going on these squares, shall we?

We'll start off our afghan with the seersucker squares.  This is a super simple pattern that utilizes basic increases and decreases to create a seersucker effect.  It's a rather unexpected twist for crochet, not something seen too often.  I love unexpected things in crochet - they make life more exciting - in a good way!

Here is the solid version of the square.
seersucker crochet square #1
And here it is striped, using a different color on the increase and decrease rows to accent the ripples created with this stitch pattern.
seersucker crochet square #2
Once you learn the pattern - it's very versatile and makes the fabric super interesting.  I used a self-patterning yarn in the seersucker baby blanket below.  This is an awesome project if you or someone you know has a baby coming in the near future.
seersucker crochet baby blanket

Seersucker Crochet Squares Pattern

Yarn and Gauge Information here

Note:  Turning chains DO NOT count as stitches in this pattern.  Stitch counts at ends of rows do not include the ch 2 or ch 3, only the specified stitches are counted.  

Special stitch:
dc2tog (double crochet 2 together):  Yarn over (YO), insert hook in stitch, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook).  YO hook, pull through 2 loops.  YO hook insert in next st, pull up a loop (4 loops on hook).  YO, pull through 2 loops (3 loops on hook).  YO pull through last 3 loops. 

Foundation Ch & Row 1: Ch 33. Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and each remaining ch. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 2. Hdc in each hdc from previous row. (31 hdc) Turn.
Row 3:  Repeat row 2.
Row 4: Ch 3. Dc in first hdc. Make 2 dc in each remaining hdc. (61 dc) Turn.
Row 5: Ch 2. *Dc2tog in next 2 dc. Repeat from * until one dc remains. Dc in last dc. (31 stitches) Turn.
Row 6: Ch 2. Hdc in each stitch across. (31 hdc). Turn.
Row 7, 8: Repeat row 2.
Rows 9-23: Repeat rows 4-8

For 2 color striped variation:
Rows 4 & 5 use color B.  All other rows use A.

Join the conversation and share your progress on social media #taraduff2016cal


Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 Crochet-A-Long Sampler Afghan Introduction

January brings birthdays for us - one is my sweet baby girl (I know she's 9, but she will always be my baby girl), and the other is my 11 yr old (soon to be 12).  My girlie's b-day was on Saturday.  It's a fine line to walk with a child with autism on their birthday.  How to celebrate in a way that is going to work for them is the dilemma.  Making peer friends is challenging for her - plus all of the hullaballoo of a big party would be a bit much for her.  This year she asked to go to the local trampoline park, and was happy with a cake (which she asks for but never touches), some organic gfcf homemade rice crispy treats (that she happily ate) and opening presents.  One January birthday down and one to go.  My 11 yr old really does enjoy a party, lots of friends, a true birthday cake and ice cream.  So that's in store next week.

Well friends, are you ready to see our crochet-a-long project for 2016?  I'm keeping with the theme of 10 inch squares, so these will be totally interchangeable with the squares from our 2015 project.  

Some folks like sampler afghans, some don't.  I happen to fall into the 'love' sampler afghans category.  I have a pretty large stash of yarn - and love putting it to use.  My parents were the type to pick up yarn whenever they would find it at a yard sale and bring it to me.  So - when they brought me yarn, it was typically by the box, and often pretty random colors and types.  So, instead of purchasing yarn to make sure this project was all matchy matchy, I just pulled various yarns from my stash to use.  One thing I have found, is that as a general rule, a border will go a long way in tying randomness together.  So, while I really did use just whatever I had around for the blocks, I picked one yarn to border all of the blocks with, join them together, and put a final border around the entire thing.  In our 2015 project, the blocks were all whipstitched together at the end.  This one is a join-as-you-go (jaygo) project.  This means that as you add the finishing border to the blocks, you'll actually be joining the blocks in the final round.  If you've never done a jaygo project, it's a great technique to learn!

Here is a photo of my finished afghan, but remember yours will look different depending on the yarn you use!
taraduff 2016 CAL
This afghan is essentially made of only 12 different squares - however, each square has a variation so all 24 squares are different.  Some of the variations are simple color changes and others are a little more complex.  For example, the granny square block on the 4th row down, 3rd block from the left and the granny square block on the bottom right hand corner are the same pattern.  One has color changes in rounds, and the other features the color change on the diagonal.  The exact same stitches produce a very different look with a simple change.  So - we'll be doing one block each month and one variation to that block.

Things you will need:

Yarn:  #4 yarns (worsted) from your stash (some yarns featured in mine are caron simply soft, red heart soft and Deborah Norville Everyday Worsted) For the border, I used 3-4 skeins Caron Simply Soft in Dark Grey Heather

Hook size: US H8/5.00mm (or size needed to obtain gauge)
Gauge:  In double crochet 13 stitches x 10 rows = 4 inches square

This is the only gauge I will give for this project.  Each square is a different stitch pattern, so watch your blocks that they all turn out approximately the same size (10 inches square)

And here's one more pic of the afghan. 

Anywho - the first two blocks are coming soon.  I promise I'll have them posted early next week.