Tag Archives: Free Patterns

Thread Heads

I… Love…Threadwork…

Chant with me…I …. LOVE…Threadwork…

What?

I know, I know modern crocheters shy away from thread…why oh why I’ll never know. For me thread is the quintessential medium in which to crochet.  It’s just counting people, so much of beautiful thread work is just a series of negative spaces created by chains at repeated intervals. Don’t fear the steel hooks (we need more cowbell)…

Beautiful and quickly made ornaments and appliques can be easily achieved with so little effort! Don’t let people fool you, it’s not hard, it’s just a matter of paying attention to your counting! So, why not make some snowflakes or flowers? If you don’t like thread, MANY sock yarns will work up beautifully too!

Let me inspire you with some of the thread work I’ve found on Ravelry…and may this inspire you to dust off those little hooks, grabe some size 10 thread, and have jingly and merry crochet time 😀

Click on the pretty pictures to get to the pattern pages on Ravelry 😀

By CLF member KidMay using a Patons pattern

These cute stars were made by catsmum on Ravelry, the pattern (click on photo to get there) is by Julie A. Buldoc for JPF Crochet Club.  Love MUCH!

SHINY!!! SPARKLEY! Now that's what I'm talking about!!

 I love the glass ornament covers! WOWSIES…and they aren’t as difficult to make as they look…the fabulous use of negative spaces involves really long chains, that’s it folks…COUNTING…I know you can do this!! This lovely pattern was designed by Susan M. Allen, click the pretty picture to get to the pattern download on Ravelry.com!

Pretty Angels, flat even 😀

These angels are just too dainty 😀 Click the photo to get to the project page on Ravelry.com. Designed by Pascilla Hewitt, this pattern is free via a direct PDF download on the project page on Ravelry!

I just thought they were too sweet…
Stunning cameo effect…

In the words of Molly from the musical Annie, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!” This is such a beautiful keepsake ornament! It’s worth EVERY penny of the $5.00 price tag! Click on the photo to go to the pattern download page on Ravelry.com. Designed by Sue Pendleton. I have to say I am in love with this beautiful piece!

Now, if you have trouble crocheting with thread because of the small hook shaft, take a few pointers:
A) Loooooseeeeennnnnnn up! No death grips…that leads to injuries, trust me. Just think about how you hold your knife or pencil, you don’t death grip those do you? (I dunno maybe you do, so lighten up!)
B) If you can’t seem to lighten your grip there are several things you can do.
     1) Get foamy hook covers that help with ergonomics
     2) Get the egg shaped hook handles that you can put over your steel hooks.
C) Don’t be afraid of thread at all…and get this, you can make the same kinds of ornaments in sock yarn 😀 I usually use a C or D hook, and crochet tightly 😀
Don’t be afraid of thread, it doesn’t bite!! It’s fun…it’s fast…and it’s pretty 😀 (Well unless you’re making a bedspread or a table cloth, but that’s another story!!)
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Let the Pre-Winter Crochet Week Begin!

Gwen Blakely Kinser presents Chris Krauss with the CLF Crochet Friendly LYS Certificate!

I can’t think of a better way of kicking off this week than by sharing some fun and great news!!

Gwen Blakely Kinser, known to many as the founder of the Crochet Guild of America or humbly as Crochet Queen on her blog and as “Crochetkween” on Ravelry,honored her local yarn store, with a CLF Crochet Friendly Certificate! High praise indeed for an LYS!

Fuzzy Wuzzy, owned by Chris Krauss, in Arlington Heights, Illinois must be something pretty darned crochet friendly for our beloved Crochet Highness to dub them crochet friendly! If you’re in that neck of the woods, stop by and say hi, pick up some yarn and some hooks and tell them THANKS from the CLF!!

Do you have a favorite LYS, one that is crochet friendly?

What is that? LYS = Local Yarn Store

 What IS crochet friendly?

Well, we’ve come up with a criteria over many discussions:

  • Is inviting to those who use hooks (or not derisive, we’ll take that they are nice to you)
  • Offers supplies for crocheters
  • Sells books/patterns/magazines for crochet lovers
  • Offers crochet classes
  • Encourages crochet

In order to further encourage Local Yarn Stores, which are small local businesses who need local support, we have created a way for we who crochet and spend our hard earned $$ in their store to thank them for believing in the hooks! (Hey who doesn’t like a certificate now and then?) You can download this certificate for free, and present it to your local yarn store! Don’t forget to fill in the name of the yarn store and sign it as a CLF member!! (We suggest printing on photo paper, it’s all shiny and cool looking.)

 In our opinion it’s the perfect gift for the yarn store that has everything this sparkley light-filled  season!

Speaking of lights and sparkle…

If you’ve read my whiny facebook status, you’ll know I’ve been under the weather, yesterday I finally had the energy to put hook and yarn in hand and play a bit. With an H hook and some Jelly yarn I created fun little LED light covers for my LED Christmas Lights… I want to stress they are LED meaning they don’t produce the heat a normal lightbulb does, so PLEASE if you make these little light decorations use them responsibly…

Now here’s the fun part…Any Jelly Yarn will do! I used

Pink Peppermint (Glows in the Dark) Fine

H  Hook (you could use a smaller hook if you want, I play with my tension, so maybe a G is what you’ll have to use…)

It’s easy peasy!

 To begin: Ch 4, join into circle with slip stitch

Rnd 1:  DC 12 into circle

Bind off, weave in ends. 

Do the next one 😀

You can purchase Jelly Yarn from their website! It’s too cool not to try this stuff out 😀

My son thinks they’re really cool, and since he’s 14, he knows cool…

More Bazaar Ideas…

Yes, bazaar, not bizarre but you never know, coming from me it may end up being about both! The Facebook Page is really active, and I completely appreciate everyone’s comments, it really gives me lots of good blogging fodder.

We had an interesting mix of comments from the last blog post which lead me to want to address a few things before diving into some bazaar item ideas 😀

So in the order I am thinking of and not in preference:

`

1)   $5.00 an hour is pretty cheap for labor. Yeah it is, and I actually do charge more for my own labor than that, but the last post was directed to people who a) haven’t considered charging time and or b) undersell their labor. A step up is a step up.

2) $5.00 an hour is pretty expense, who will buy it? Um…no it’s not expensive. What is the national minimum wage? So you’re telling me that it’s more valuable to work at a burger joint than it is to crochet something? Not saying working at a burger joint is a bad thing at all, just trying to get you to think about it…Do you want fries with that? People buy things they think are valuable.

3) Only other crafters get it…. Yes, that is true, only other crafters really will “GET” how much time it took to make what you make, or the skill involved. But no one really gets how the car engine in their vehicle works unless they are a mechanic, but they still buy cars don’t they? How many people buy jewelry, do you really “get” what it takes to cut a gem well? How about baked goods, a lot of people still buy cakes and cupcakes, I mean some people spend at least $3.00 on a cupcake, I know I can bake a dozen of them for that price, but when I buy a cupcake, I’m paying for the utilities/labor of the store/bakery too…right? Ok, well charge your time. Don’t qualify it, don’t apologise for it, just charge it because you know you’re worth it and voila!

4) What if someone is selling theirs cheaper? No one will buy mine… Not true. I was speaking to a friend of mine who sells crocheted hand towels and dishcloths at holiday bazaars. She was remarking to me how she felt guilty for someone buying her stuff that cost a little more and how people remarked that her stuff was “nicer”. Well ya see? She didn’t think it was nicer than the other persons at the bazaar, but since she charged more, she made more sales. It’s not like she was breaking anyone’s bank either.

5) I don’t want to sell mine I like gifting mine. Cool! You don’t have to sell your work. The post was for those who do want to or do sell their work. Stay posted for posts on holiday gift giving. Gifting is valuable too!

So those are the top five I felt I needed to address from the get go…It’s a matter of value. Think of it this way, do you really value yourself? Do you sell yourself short? I think maybe some of you do, I know I do sometimes. I feel weird about charging for my work, it took a long time for me to feel comfortable asking a fair price, and even though I now gratefully recieve it, I still feel wierd taking the money; I just don’t let it stop me.

Not everyone can do what you do…Seriously, crochet may be easy FOR YOU but it is not easy for everyone else. Some people have zero desire to crochet, they would rather buy something from you. Other people have tried for years and failed (much like me with the sticks, I appreciate the work though, just not good at it), there are those who can but don’t want to do what you are doing and value you that, or there are those who want to learn or are learning but don’t have your skill set. And here’s the real kicker, both you and I could make the same thing, with the same hook, and the same pattern, and the same yarn and guess what? They would be different. They would be unique, why? Because we have different “hands”, we all have a signature to our stitch work 😀

So ‘nough said, if you ARE going to charge for it, charge a decent price… (Because we hurt ourselves when we don’t!)

Ok…We’ve discussed price, now lets talk about merchandising!!

First of all, merchandising for those not in the know, is a key component to doing well in any kind of retail sales. In real terms it’s how you set up your table or booth. It doesn’t take a lot of expensive fixtures to make an attractive display, it does take some thought and a good eye certainly helps.

I learned to merchandise from the display team at Meyer & Franks Department store in Portland, Or when I was in high school. Those guys took me under their wing and I learned lots of fun tips and tricks to making display magic happen!

So for the holiday bazaar here’s some great, simple and affordable things you can do!

1) Make sure the table is covered fully, with a cloth that drapes to the floor. No one wants to see your feet under the table, or your bags, boxes etc. (Some bazaars and shows include table draping)… You can use white, or black, or blue, try to avoid neon colors. Off white is my personal favorite, often there are fluorescent lights and real white doesn’t do well in that kind of lighting.

2) If you are selling garments, hats, scarves and slippers, make sure some are displayed up right. You don’t need mannequin heads, but if you have them SWEET!! If you don’t have them use plastic bags or newspaper/tissue paper to fill them out so people can have a good idea of what they look like. For scarves you can cover pop bottles with fabric, or a pretty canvas bag and drape the scarves around them. Slippers can be stuffed to show how they wear.

3) Have your most affordable items in easy reach, with a sign showing how affordable they are! PINS $5 on a shoebox covered in wrapping paper, holding the pins is a great way to show that off! It draws people to your table!

4) Use 3-D to your advantage. Even if you only have a table space you can make 3-D displays. Use boxes of all sizes to make various heights on your table, you can put them under the cloth for an easy fix, or you can wrap up those shipping boxes you get in pretty wrapping paper and use them to help display!

5) MAKE SURE YOUR PRICES ARE LABELED CLEARLY ON THE ITEMS. People rarely ask how much something costs. If you have a special deal make sure it’s posted well, such as Hats $30 Scarves $20  Hat/Scarf Set Only $40 Remember that’s just a suggestion of a deal not the pricing!

6) You are your biggest display item. WEAR what you make. Wear the hat/scarf set, have the slippers on, or have your helpers wear them. I used to have my kids dress up in my stuff and walk around the room 😀 Make sure you are clean and presentable, that you have your personal items out of the way. Make sure you have someone else to help watch the booth, so you can go eat lunch AWAY from the table, and take potty breaks. Do NOT make it hard to get to your table, and make yourself accessable!! Don’t just sit like a lump and read a book, engage your customers. Ask them how they are doing, if they are having fun, if they have found any cool things at the bazaar, ask if you can be of help, and for the love of all that is fuzzy be working on a cool project so you can answer questions. DO NOT EVER PUT YOURSELF OR YOUR WORK DOWN…DO NOT EVER PUT OTHER VENDORS DOWN…

Now for another cool project for the holiday season that’s rather simple, and can be dressed up in a million ways…Coffee Cup Sleeves/Cozies…

Here’s a cute and simple pattern I found on Ravlery by Jennifer Kaye, and I made sure the link wasn’t malicious!! Here’s where you find the pattern!

At what price?

Since I started the CLF blog I have written many a post about value and crochet. That we must not ask for comparison to find crochet to be of value, that we must accept that what we do takes skill, time and practice, and that what we make does have an intrinsic value, one that can indeed be reflected in a price tag.

With Holiday Bazaar Season (HBS) upon us, many a crochet enthusiast will take to the holiday bazaars of local churches, community groups, and big shows. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS FUZZY DO NOT…and I repeat…DO NOT UNDERSELL YOUR WORK!!

Recently I posted a simple equation on the CLF Facebook page that read: Materials + Time x Skill = $$

Let me repeat that in big bold print…

In case you didn’t hear me the first few times…let me repeat this again…

So here are some general rules to follow:

1) Remember what you pay for materials. If you buy a skein of yarn for $6.00 and it has 200yds, the item you make uses 100 yards, the material cost is $3.00. If you took 2hrs to make a  hat and you sell it for $4.00 you are NOT making a profit. $3.00 recoups the material. Make sure you RECOUP your materials.

2)Time is valuable. Especially in today’s fast paced world, time is PRECIOUS, your time is VALUABLE. If you spend 2hrs on a  hat and you spent $3 on the materials and you only charge $4.00, $3.00 covers the materials and you just made FIFTY CENTS an hour. Really?  You are not a SWEATSHOP…You are WORTH more than that… So, you’ll mostly likely never charge for your time what you are REALLY worth, but hey at least go for $5.00 an hour, it’s better than .50 cents. So we’re now up to $13 for the hat.

3) SKILL…what you do is a SKILL. I don’t care if you just learned or if you have done this all your life. I don’t want to hear that you aren’t an expert, I don’t want to hear, “Oh it’s just what I do…” Yes, you do it, and yes it takes skill, and if you are really good at it, and you know it, then BY GUM CHARGE FOR IT!!!  So the same hat, done in crochet cables or basket weave, that takes skill right? We have established the minimum charge on time is $5.00 an hour, you with me? And so let’s go back to the $13, obviously too cheap for the cabled hat right? I’d add on another $10-20 in a lower market, in an upper scale market I’d add up to $30.

What about a plain hdc hat? Heck I’d still charge $15-20 for it 😀

BUT WHO WOULD BUY ANYTHING THAT EXPENSIVE.

Go to a department store, look at the crappily made hats and see what they sell for…$25. Not even cabled or basket weave, not even hand made, handmade goes for the same price, and made in a sweatshop.

So have a sign, that shows a) you are LOCAL b) you make it yourself c) put a picture of your children or dogs or cats and say all proceeds feed these guys (yes, use humor)…

When I first started selling at bazaars I sold myself short too, and guess what? I hardly sold a thing…my skill level? It was the same as it is now…So, what changed? I started to charge more. Then I got custom orders and students.

So here’s a refresher…

Items that really can sell at bazaars include:

  • Rosette pins (make Irish Crocheted Roses and affix to safety pins or jewelry pins) sell for $5-10 a pin.
  • Wash cloths and tea towels, sell by the set of 2 for $5-8
  • Hats/Scarf Set. What really worked for me was selling the set for $25 and the hat/scarf separate for $18 ea. (OOOOh they saved money).
  • Wrist warmers and cuffs
  • Fingerless gloves
  • ORNAMENTS
  • Wine Bottle covers
  • Dolls/toys
  • Baby things

Use good, washable materials for garments, hats etc…

Trust me this just might work…

Oh and before you go check out this holiday idea!!

These are too cute!  Christmas Lights Dishcloth & Potholders!! By Linda Bohrn…. Sadly the pattern link goes to a website with malware. I have contacted the designer via Ravelry to inform her.

This hat Sets Our Picot Free!

 

This is a fabulous hat! Made by CLF Member Rubyshoecreations using the Lattice Hat pattern from Rheatheylia. I love the surface crochet lattices, and saw some other versions of the hat on Ravelry.com as well. With fall approaching I ask you, can we make enough hats? No, no we cannot. Hats are fabulous accessories and in my un-humble opinion you can never have too many of them!

Congratulations Rubyshoecreations, you are hereby awarded the CLF Set My Picot Free award for making a fabulous hat!

I would also like to remind all of our readers to go to the CLF Website to sign up for the retreat! We’re getting close to the deadline for the early bird special to expire! Only $75 for a four-day retreat folks! We’ve got a yarn tasting planned for Monday October 18, Guest Speakers in the evenings, activities in the afternoons including a Dye Workshop specifically with crochet in mind, as well as morning classes that you must pre-register for!

You can get your buddies together to room in the warm and cozy cabins, and we’ve got so much fun planned, it will be a true CLF experience! Liberating, Community Building and Crochet like you have never crocheted before!

We bid (Inter) National Crochet Month Au Revoir…

But, not adieu!  March has come and gone oh so quickly! (Inter)Natcromo has been a wild and wooly time on the CLF message board, on Ravelry for the Crochet Party, and the tweets have been fabulous! (You can follow the CLF on Twitter, CrochetLibFront )

I know many of us were inspired to crochet more, or expand our crochet skills. I found myself crocheting at break neck speed, I’ve done three blankets, some unique squares for the local LYS, and a baby hat, currently I am having an adventure with plarn. Yes, plarn. I’m making easter baskets out of the billions of shopping bags I have at home, that I am so sick of stuffing into drawers, even when I remember to reuse them as shopping bags they multiply. I’ve invented a fun little design to make my very eco-conscious teens some pretty cool baskets out of this plarn, and that is my contribution to Natcromo.

I’ll feature the free form stylings that the partiers on Ravelry.com have been hard at hooking through out the month of March. If you missed out on the party, never fear they have the instructions for the Free Form Game up for posterity, give it a try!! It’s so much fun.

The Flamies went exceedingly well, with 30% more voting than last year! Amazing, thousands of votes!! Thank you for participating, and thanks to the nominees for their gracious participation! I look forward to announcing the winners on Getting Loopy on April 19th, 2010!

What did you do for Natcromo? Did you learn a new crochet skill? Did you crank out the gifts? Are you ready for Christmas already? Never mind, don’t answer that, I don’t know that I’m quite ready to hear from folks that organized!

CLF NEWS: 2010 Crochet Awards Nominees for Best Designer Children’s Wear & Accessories

So, I won’t repeat myself this time, I promise. I will say something new! The races have really heated up, there is a tie for the best pattern book (won’t say which books are tied), there is a tie in a designer category, and for best hooks by a corporation my goodness that’s a hot race! (Anyone remember last year? Remember it was separated by one vote? Keep that in mind.), oh and for most Crochet Friendly Yarn Company? Phew, that’s a tight race. So if you have strong opinons on any of those topics make your voice count, make your vote count and vote today or tomorrow or up until March 22, 2010!

One of the things I love most about the Flamie Awards is how they empower not only our designers, which of course was a part of the plan! Yet, one of the best things, is that we the crochet public (which frankly the designers belong to) are able to succinctly say what we like and want in our designs, patterns, and how we are served. Instead of railing against the machine, we are proactively awarding that of which we approve. That my friends is golden!

So without further ado or soap boxing by yours truly, lets get on to the nominees for Best Designer 2009, Children’s Wear (Accessories & Toys as well).

June Gilbank for her collection of amigurumi

Kim Guzman for her collection of children’s wear patterns for various publishers

Alla Koval for her original children’s wear  that she creates for sale

Sandy Powers for her collection of infant and children’s designs

Dee Stanziano for her collection of children’s designs