Crochet Stitch: Popped V Stitch {crochet pattern, tutorial}

Hi there!
Sometimes I like to play around with different textures and stitches and see what I can come up with.  This one is called the Popped V stitch, and it is a pattern of stitches that you might already be familiar with, but when put together, makes a really neat pattern.

Copyright 2010-2012 LiLu Studios: This Crafting Life, by Lori Steffens. {} Make it, Wear it, Love it, but above all, Share it, don't Sell it!

To begin, start with a foundation chain that is in a multiple of two.

In the third chain from hook, hdc.  Chain one, *hdc dec, chain one* across the row.  Turn, then repeat the first row, making sure that your hdc dec's are done in the chain spaces from the previous row.

How to make the hdc dec:
 YO, insert hook into same st as last st (will be either hdc or hdc dec depending on where you are in the row), YO, pull through, YO and pull through two loops (will leave 2 loops on hook), then sk next st, YO, insert hook into next st, YO, pull through, YO and pull through all four loops on hook.

Note: the chain one in the pattern serves two purposes.  1- it closes off the hdc dec, 2- it provides a place for you to do your stitches in the next row.  Always make sure that when you do your hdc dec, that you are doing them in the ch1 spaces.

Crochet Stitch: Flying Birds {crochet pattern, stitch}

Hello Again!  I'm back today with yet another new stitch for you to try out, and this one is called the Flying Birds stitch.  I call it that because if executed correctly, it forms upside-down V's that look like flying birds!

Copyright 2010-2012 LiLu Studios: This Crafting Life, by Lori Steffens. {} Make it, Wear it, Love it, but above all, Share it, don't Sell it!

Begin with a foundation chain by chaining 30.
Row 1: Sc in second chain from hook, *ch 1, sk next ch, sc* repeat to end, turn.
Row 2: ch2, hdc in next st, *ch1, hdc dec* to end, turn.
Row 3: ch1, *sc, ch1, sk next st* repeat to end, turn

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until your design is finished.

How to make the hdc dec:
 YO, insert hook into same st as last st (will be either hdc or hdc dec depending on where you are in the row), YO, pull through, YO and pull through two loops (will leave 2 loops on hook), then sk next st, YO, insert hook into next st, YO, pull through, YO and pull through all four loops on hook.

Note- In row 2, the stitches are worked into the ch 1 spaces, and in Row 3, the sc's are worked in the top of the hdc dec's.

Thick and Easy 1 hour potholder, Version 1 {crochet pattern}

Everyone has seen these potholders, I'm sure that some of you have received them as gifts even.  The mystery is in how they're made.  They're one piece double thickness potholders, and they are super easy!  I've rarely come across patterns for them, as I think they are one of those kind of "word of mouth" patterns...The kind that you learned from so and so, who learned it from her mom, who learned it from her grandma, so on and so forth, you get the idea.

Well, I've been playing with this pattern for some of my holiday gifting and am here to share it with you!

Thick and Easy 1 Hour Potholder, Version 1


Copyright 2010-2012 LiLu Studios: This Crafting Life, by Lori Steffens. {} Make it, Wear it, Love it, but above all, Share it, don't Sell it!

Size H hook   
Cotton yarn-  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.  Cotton is able to withstand very high heat and will not melt.  It will catch fire if exposed to flame, but it will not melt.  Acrylic yarn will melt when coming into contact with very hot items from the oven and is not to be trusted as an actual useable potholder material.  Acrylic yarn is fine when used for trivets, provided that your dish has cooled slightly prior to being used for it.  I personally used Lily: Peaches and Cream Yarn.  I really like the Peaches and Cream yarn and Sugar and Cream for kitchen items because it gives a thick and durable feel.


{pattern notes}  this pattern is mostly a free form spiraling round pattern.  Do not get hung up on where you are on a row, you can figure out if you are right by laying it as it will go together as shown in the pictures.  You may end your potholder before or after i do, depending on the yarn that you use and the tension of which you crochet.  The important thing is that it meets together as shown in the pictures.
You will not join rounds, instead moving on to sc in the top of the last round directly.

ch 30

Row 1- work 1sc in the 2nd chain, from hook in the back chain only! (see picture)  sc to the end, turn.

Row 2- work 2 sc in what is now the back of the chain, on the opposite side of the last sc of the last row.  work 1 sc in each back chain to the end.(see picture) Add one more sc to last chain.  Do not turn.
*note, piece will begin to curl on ends, and this means you're doing it right.

Round 2- *now rounds will be worked, Row 1 and Row 2 equal the first round. *  sc in back loop of each sc around.

R3-15- sc in back loop of each sc around.

Now while following this pattern, it is advised that once you get to Round 13 or so, you begin laying your piece as it folds naturally.  This way you can see how much of the gap that you need to fill.  Reference the pictures below to see how much difference even just one round can make.  Feel free to add or omit rows as you need to in order to get the seams to line up properly.

Once you're done, you can use any method of seaming that you prefer, but I use a whip stitch with an yarn needle.  If you need ideas or how-to's on seaming, check out this post with nice pictures: How To Seam Crochet

Another note!  Once you understand this pattern, you can make these in any size!  Follow the same formula, but increase your starting chain!  By making it bigger, you can make yourself a bigger potholder!

You can also flip it inside out, and make a different look:

Holiday crafting, Bulk gifts, Part 1: Food in a Jar

Every year I always make a bulk craft that I give to everyone, usually with some variation.  For anyone who has kept up with or looked back upon my blog, you might remember last years crafting, for which I made homemade mini pies, waterless snowglobes and gift bags.  Find the waterless snowglobes here!

This year, I decided to make a variety of different packages, and I won't go into more detail until after the holidays because I don't want to ruin the surprise.  I will, however, share some of the ideas here, but just not tell you what goes with what or whom it is going to. (Can't spoil everything!!)

My goal for crafting this year was that I wanted to make little packages, where everything was related and everything was homemade.  Thus, I thought instantly of my favorite holiday crocheting, Potholders!  They're quick, they're easy and everyone loves them.  (and honestly, who can't use another potholder?)  Then I got to thinking, why stop at just potholders?  I've been hanging on to these patterns for bath mitts, loofahs and washclothes, why not try out one or two of those? 

So now, I'm fleshing out my ideas and I start to search.  I found a total treasure trove at one of my favorite recipe websites,  Here are a couple of links that I loved from that website.

Cookies in a Jar
Soup in a Jar
Drink Mixes in a Jar

After devoting hours (and I mean hours) to finding the ones that sounded good to me, and then letting my daughter make the final decision, making the lists, I was finally ready to begin execution.  I already had the jars at home, along with the majority of the spices that I needed.  I went through all the recipes, calculated how much flour, sugar, and other things I would need, along with the special ingredients I would need to find or substitute for.  I gathered my jars, sanitized my lids and left them to dry while I went to the store.  I ended up spending around $75 getting all the items that I needed, which may sound like a lot, but just wait until you hear how many it made!

I ended up making 3 different soups in a jar, 3 different cookies in a jar, and 4 different drink mixes in a jar.
All said, I made 6 jars of soup mix, 6 jars of cookie mix and 12 jars of drink mixes.  All said, that works out to be about $3 per jar and I have lots of materials left over, either for another crafting venture or for myself.  (Speaking of... perhaps I should make some for myself for a rainy day!)

Of course, my daughter helped, and she had so much fun!  This is a great activity to do with small children, provided that you have a canning funnel (it just makes the job so much easier!)

There are only two things that I consider to be "Must Have" items for this crafting project:
Canning Jars and lids- you can use many different sizes, depending on the recipe.  I use 1 quart for my soups and often times smaller for drink mixes.
Canning Funnel- MUST HAVE!  It just makes everything way easier!

This is probably why my husband runs screaming every time that I say "It's time for holiday crafting!!"

The finished product!

Like I said, I don't want to ruin the surprise for everyone who will be getting one of these gifts, so I'm not going to mention what they are.  After the holiday gifts have been given out, then I will post what kinds I made and how I made them :)

Can I make it?

This time of year I'm filled with thoughts of "can I make it?"  I feel totally overwhelmed between work, holiday crafting and gift finding and purchasing!  So here are my current "can I make it" goals and thoughts!

"Can I make it" Number 1:

So this year, if you haven't noticed, I set a goal of reading 100 books.  I'm getting ever closer to my goal, but with only 26 days left in the year, can I make it??  I'm currently up to 86 books and on my way to finishing my 87th, but that still leaves 13 books with an average of 2 days time to read each one!  I'm not sure I'll make it unless I throw some shorter books into the mix, we'll just have to see!!

"Can I make it" Number 2:

I have about 20 some odd holiday crafting/gift projects that are either in progress or haven't been started!!  These include, custom gloves, blankets, hats and then of course my mass christmas present, which has been started but is in no way close to being done.  This year's theme is "Naughty or Nice"~ I bet you all can't wait to find out what I think you've been, eh?

"Can I make it" Number 3:

I've been on a quest to lose the baby weight this year, and while I've done ok, I haven't made my goal for this year.  I have about 10 lbs that I would like to lose before the holidays... but Can I make it?  This might be the hardest one of them all!

Just another update!

I'm in the hard core Christmas crafting where it's all still SUPER SECRET....  so I can't really divulge much, but let's just say I'm up to my eyeballs in crafts and LOVING it!!  I've got about 10-15 gifts more that I need to finish, and once Christmas passes, I'll be sharing tons!  I've got a lovely little pattern coming up for an earflap hat, one that has been done in many different ways.  I will be sharing it for free just because it's so easy that anyone can do it!  I also plan on trying to do my 30 days of hats (the one that I tried to do last year but life just got in the way) and will be doing those posts in january or February.... so keep your eyes out for those as well!

Also be on the look out for our typical holiday crafting tutorials, this year we'll be making soap, bath salts, cookie and soup mixes in jars and raspberry jelly with raspberries that we saved from our garden this summer!  We also plan on making some custom wrapping paper this year! :)

Whew! Busy Times!

Never did I really think that I would be this busy in October and November!!!  I just shot a wedding a little over a week ago and am still working on editing that and then have two weddings coming up next month!  Not to mention all the halloween crafting!  (There's gonna be a separate post on how I made my daughters costume coming within the next couple of days!)

Christmas Crafting will be our next focus, over the next two months.  Expect to see lots of fun craft tutorials (lots of stuff to do with your kids!) and many fun gifts to be posted!

Is there anything special that you would like to see from LiLu Studios this Christmas season?

How To Crochet Series: Episode 7, Advanced Stitches

Now after you've mastered the Intermediate techniques, the world is really your oyster.  You are ready for almost anything that can be thrown at you and I'm sure that many good things are to come!  Take advantage of the following resources to learn about and discover more interesting crochet techniques!

Here is a list of a ton of stitches for your reference

After trying some intermediate patterns, you might be ready to attempt arigurami, complex afghans, gloves and clothing!

I hope that this tutorial series has helped you get a better grasp for what to do and where to look for more information.  Also, don't be afraid to use your google skills and look up videos on youtube or more help.  It's available out there and you no longer need your mom to teach you how!!!

Enjoy the art of crocheting! :)

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

How To Crochet Series: Episode 6, Intermediate Stitches and Projects

Once you feel like you've mastered the simple stitches, joining, finishing off and working in rows, you might ask yourself what is next?  There's much much more- and some things may seem like they belong in the beginner section... but remember, a beginner in crochet needs to learn how to work flat first, how to do the simple most basic things before moving on to things with dimension, difficult stitches and more confusing patterns.

Crocheting in the Round

The first thing I want to talk about is crocheting in the round.  This essentially means you work in a circular fashion, not usually turning your work at the end of the row, just building up from it.  This is the most common way to make a hat.  Granny squares work in the round, even though they look like they are working in straight lines.
My favorite way to begin working in the round is with the magic ring method.  Here is another link on a different way to do the magic ring.
Here is another way to work in the round:
The Joined Rows Method

Increasing and Decreasing
Some patterns may not make a simple shape and may call for you to add or remove stitches from a row.  You can't just drop it, or make one appear, so what do you do?
How to Increase and Decrease

Intermediate Stitches

Stitching on the Post (otherwise known as Front Post (FP) or Back Post (BP))
Puff Stitch
Popcorn Stitch

you should now be ready to attempt projects such as hats, mittens, pot holders, and granny square or regular intermediate level afghans.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

How To Crochet Series: Episode 5, Finishing off and Joining Together

Now that you've completed your pattern and it tells you to Finish (or Fasten) off, what do you do?
It's very easy, depending on what you are wanting to do.  If you are just finishing off for the end of the pattern, follow this link:
Fastening off
If you are joining a new color or if you ran out of yarn and need to add another ball, follow this link:
Joining a new color or a new ball of yarn 

Of course, there are now those silly little strings left from where you snipped everything, and you need to work those into the piece.  This is called Weaving in the Ends.  There are a couple different ways to do it, if you are joining pieces together, you can either use the ends to join (if you left them long enough) or you can hide the ends under your seams, or you can just use a yarn needle to hide those ends into the piece.  Here are a couple of links on how to use a yarn needle to hide your ends.

Weaving in Ends 1
Weaving in Ends 2

Now lets say that you are working on a larger piece, where you have multiple pieces to fasten together.  You're going to want to figure out what style is best for you to get the appearance that you would like.  Each method produces a varying look that will depend on your color of yarn, and how the pieces are joined together.  There are some ways of joining that create a nice pattern between the motifs, and others that are meant to be hidden.  It's all just a matter of personal preference and how you would like the pieces to join together.  I've included links to all of the varying methods that I know of, and they all include pictures of how the stitches will look when worked together.

Joining Pieces:
I'm sure that if you play around, you can find one that you like!  Do you remember those gauges that you made (or that I hope you made) a couple tutorials ago?  This would be a good thing to practice with these squares.  Take each one and join them with a different type of joining and see which ones you like and which ones you don't!  It also makes a great reference if you label each seam with which style that you did, and then in the future, you can reference it to see which one you like for the project you are currently working on!

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

How To Crochet Series: Episode 4, Reading A Pattern

Every pattern that is published (truly published, like in a book, not just the internet) has to follow yarn standards so that everyone who buys or uses this pattern will be able to read it once having learned just one standard.

US Standard Crochet Abbreviations

UK and US Stitch Term Comparison

Here is my little image of how to read a pattern:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

How To Crochet Series: Episode 3, Picking a Pattern

Now that you know all about the basic stitches, lets cover how you should go about picking your first pattern to start with.  If you like, you could go out and buy a book on crochet and it would walk you through the easy to the harder patterns.  Chances are, however, if you are reading this blog, you have access to the internet, where there are probably millions of free patterns floating around.
The trick is to find a pattern that works for you as a beginner, yet is something that you really enjoy.

I recommend starting with something simple and square or rectangular.  It gives you less shape to worry about, and ultimately, less complex stitches. A great starting point for anyone is a scarf.  They are quick to do and very easy, and make great gifts!

I would recommend staying away from very large projects, such as full size afghans, sweaters, gloves, socks, and arigurami for your first project.  They're very tempting, but it is also easy to get frustrated and give up on something large or complicated if you make it your first project.

How to find a pattern that you like:
I have many resources that I use to find patterns, and most of them are large scale yarn companies or the sister websites of crochet pattern central and knitting pattern central.  They both contain (mostly) well written patterns and pictures to help you out.

My favorite Links:

Crochet Pattern Central
Lion Brand Yarn
Bernat Yarns
Red Heart Yarn

Now, what to do when you get there.... Look for the categories, find one that you want to search and go there, look through the patterns that they have.  Make sure that it says "Easy" or "Beginner" and it is something that doesn't have any complicated stitches to add to it.

I might also recommend that you start with something like my Curly Scarf pattern that was a big hit at christmas the year before last.  :)

Now that you have your pattern, make sure that you have the needle size that it calls for and the yarn that you want to use and you are ready to go!

Stay tuned for our next Episode, How To... Read a Pattern!

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

How To Crochet Series: Episode 2, how to make a gauge

Whenever you are working with a new project, new yarn, or anything, it is usually very helpful to make a gauge.  This lets you know if your stitches are on track and the size that they are supposed to be.  If a pattern says that your gauge should be 4" x 4" after a 10 x 10 stitch count, then it should be.  If you get a gauge that is 5" x 5" it could throw off your whole pattern.  If your gauge is smaller or larger than it is supposed to be, it's not that you are a bad crocheter, it is just that either your yarn is a slightly less (or more) bulky variety than they used in the pattern, or perhaps you crochet looser or tighter than the person who wrote the pattern.

So, on to how to make a gauge.
Example of a square gauge.

The pattern will typically tell you what you are looking for.  This is an excerpt that I pulled from the current pattern that I am working from:

"Rnds 1 and 2 of Motif C = 4 in. (10 cm) BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR GAUGE. When you match the gauge in a pattern, your project will be the size specified in the pattern and the materials specified in the pattern will be sufficient. If it takes you fewer stitches and rows to make a 4 in. [10 cm] square, try using a smaller size hook or needles; if more stitches and rows, try a larger size hook or needles."

Now, this is for a pattern worked in the round, which we haven't gotten to yet, but all the gauges pretty much work the same.

This particular pattern is telling us that if you do the first and second round of the pattern for Motif C, it should equal 4".  It even tells you what to do if it isn't!

Now, if you take the small moment that it takes to make the first two rounds of motif C before you start, then you'll know if your pattern will work and turn out to be the correct size or not.

Here are a couple more examples of gauge guides from other patterns:

  • "Gauge: Each motif measures 4 inches square."  From a granny quilt, where the gauge is even helping you move further along in your pattern.
  • "24 sts = 4”;  13 rows = 4” in Pat St." This one is telling you that 24 stitches across and 13 rows should be equal to a 4" x 4" square.  This one is for a large blanket, and making that four inch sample before you start will ensure a nice piece.
  • "4 sts = 1 inch; row gauge is not important."  With this one, they're telling you that the width is the only thing that matters, not the height.
As you can tell, there are many ways of wording a gauge, but each one explains a great deal about how the project will work up and lay.

Save yourself time in the long run, and make a gauge today!

An extra resource

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

How To Crochet Series: Episode 1, Basic Crochet Stitches and What you NEED {and don't} to get started.

I would like to start out by giving a bit of my history in the world of crocheting.  It was my first real "craft".  My mother taught me how to crochet when I was fairly young, I enjoyed it, but it just wasn't something that I stuck with.  I just don't think my small brain was ready for something like this, and to me, crocheting was something that was equivalent of baby blankets and afghans.  As I got older, I started learning more about myself, and how dedicated I was to making art.  Art in any form is as second nature to me as breathing.  As I got older, I started seeing more and more that crocheting isn't just a craft, it can also be an art form.  They way you work the yarn to be something that is aesthetically pleasing really intrigued me.  Thus, about 4 years ago, I started crocheting again.

After this long being out of the saddle, I wasn't sure exactly where to begin.  I started with a basic package of 6 needles, sizes E, F, G, H, I, and J.  I got two skeins of yarn, one worsted weight and one heavy weight.  I googled stitches and patterns and tutorials and after about 2 weeks, I had about 25 scrapped pieces that I had done and tested and hated and started over.  I taught myself how to do every bit that I have learned, and I've learned almost every single bit from the internet.

One of the main things that I discovered during this learning process, is that there are
1) Many different ways of learning something
2) Many very very good websites, resources and tutorials available on the internet
3) Many very very BAD websites, resources and tutorials available on the internet

So, having said all of that, this episode of our "How-To" series isn't going to be a true tutorial.  Instead, it is going to be more of a list of all the things that you should have to get you started, along with some of the best tutorials that I have found from across the world wide web to help you get started.  I will explain any difficult or other things as I see fit.

Materials you will need to start crocheting:

  • Some various crochet hooks, particularly any sizes from G-J.  I find that as a beginning crocheter, when you begin to practice, you are better off going up a hook size.  Most people tend to hook very tightly when they first start and if you go up a hook size, you'll generally get the gauge that you need.  I will discuss gauges in another episode of our how to series.
  • Two skeins of WORSTED WEIGHT yarn. (any color that you like and would use again)  This is the easiest of all the yarns to learn on and should definitely be your first project.
Where to start:

  • Please...Please...Please... whatever you do.... Do NOT start on a project right away.  Get comfortable with your needles, learn how to gauge, learn the basic stitches and get a feel for how you crochet.  It won't take long to get through this initial learning phase, perhaps a couple of days, and your first piece will be all the better for it.
  • Learn the basic Stitches (see below for a list of tutorials of basic stitches and what you should learn before moving on to a pattern)
  • Make a couple of gauges (in our next installment of crochet how to's)
All right!  We're ready for the learning!!!

Basic Stitches and Crochet Techniques:

How to hold your hook, the first thing you need to know:
The Slip Knot:  The starter for every project ever.
How to make a chain:
Single Crochet, abbreviated as sc:
Half Double Crochet, abbreviated as hdc:
Double Crochet, abbreviated as dc:
Treble (or triple) Crochet, abbreviated as tc:
Slip Stitch, abbreviated as sl st:
    After having viewed the videos or read the lists, practice! Practice while watching them, reading them!  Try making a couple of rows, or just one really long row of stitches, just to get the hang of things.  Once you get your stitches to be pretty well uniform, you're ready for the next step...

    Stay tuned for Episode 2, Everything you needed to know about Gauges, and why they rock.

    Episode 1
    Episode 2
    Episode 3
    Episode 4
    Episode 5
    Episode 6
    Episode 7

    New Products for our Photography Studio!!

     I am so pleased to announce the arrival of new products to our photography Studio!!

    The Keepsake Box.  
    These boxes are GREAT!  This handcrafted Keepsake Box with a concealed magnet for soft closure is great for stylish storage of family heirlooms. Each 5x7 box with a 2 inch inside depth features a wrap-around design with a gorgeous satin finish, giving you a unique presentation as beautiful as the treasures inside.

    Product Details
    • Size - 5x7"
    • Depth - 2"
    • Design Features - 5 drag-and-drop templates
    • Text Options - Front and spine
    • Cover Finish - Satin
    • Closure - Concealed magnet for soft closure
    • Price: $90
     Dry Erase Calendars

    Product Details
    • Sizes 16x12 and 24x18
    • Printed on dry erase material
    • Backed with low tack adhesive
    • Sticks on walls, doors, lockers, refrigerators and more, leaves no residue
    • A dry erase pen is included
    • No minimum quantity
    16" x 12"     $40
    24" x 18"     $50

    Growth Chart

    • Finished size - 13"x48"
    • Measurable height up to 5'
    • Printed on premium Photo-Tex material
    • Back with low-tack adhesive
    • Sticks on walls, doors, and more
    • Apply and remove as often as you like
    Price: $50, choose 1 or choose 3 images

    Halloween Crafting, Day 2

    We read about these great little shrunken heads that you can make from apples on the Martha Stewart website: Find it here!  They were so much fun to make! Lily really enjoyed drawing the faces on the apples with pencil- my camera batteries were dead or I would have recorded the fun we had!  A note if you want to try it, however- make sure that you cover and soak the apple well in the juice.  These pictures were taken about a week after we carved them and you can see that they're molding a bit in places where we didn't let it soak enough.  They have a great texture and are a wonderful addition to our dining room table!

    Halloween Crafting, Day 1, Decoupage and painted Halloween Jar Candles

    So I was talking to a friend and fellow blogger, Robyn the other day about how she inspired one of our halloween crafts with her cute little spider jar, going on asking her if she'd seen it and going on about what we did and I come home, look on my page list and realize that I hadn't posted it yet!  I'm a total dork....  So here it is, Robyn, inspired by Part 1 and Part 2 of her Halloween crafts:

    Decoupage and painted Halloween Jar Candles

    So I'm not really going to post a tutorial, it's pretty easy to see what I've done.  I've worked with mod podge and just regular tissue paper, let my daughter rip it apart and then stick it onto the jars.  Then we cut some construction paper and glued it on the outside!  Voila!  We did it in two parts so Lily got to work on it all day- she was thrilled!!