Ombre yarns create a sophisticated tone by gradually changing the shading of one main color from light to dark or dark to light. While the fiber artist can create his or her own designs by laying out the hues of a single main color, several manufacturers have created yarns with this gradual shading that allow you to get the effect without the cutting and joining. This is an attractive feature of the self-striping yarns, but the ombre yarns stick with one main color.
Without realizing I have been creating pieces with the ombre effect for years. My favorites are the whites to greys to dark grey or black. Sweet Rolls by Premier yarns offers several color combinations. I love to use this yarn for my mismatched fingerless gloves pictured below. The rolls are 100% acrylic and contain about 245 yarnds.
Scarfie by Lion Brand is a large loose skein that mixes color with shades of grey and black. The resulting project is dramatic and cozy. There is enough yarn to complete an entire scarf. The fiber content is 80% acrylic and 20% wool.
For my last post for 2017, I have been working on projects using the Red Heart Super Ombre. This is a worsted weight yarn (4) that I crochet with size H or I hook. While this yarn is not as soft as the other yarns, it is quite economical. For this article I have tried a denim blue combo, a skein that went from whites to dark greys, a coral shaded skein, and another with peach to rust.. So far my favorite is the denim blue like tones.To soften the yarn I will be hand-washing the garments in shampoo and soaking them in hair conditioner before gently washing and drying in the washing machine and dryer.
I am always challenged to finish a skein without leaving small bits and pieces. I am proud to say that I used every bit of the grey ombre yarn, down to the last inch. I started with the Andie scarf that is crocheted the long way. The basic design is two rows of double crochet followed by a row with open spaces. My finished scarf measured 56 inches x 8 inches. (https://megmadewithlove.com/blog-2/2017/12/7/free-crochet-pattern-for-the-andie-scarf) I had enough to make a pair of mismatched crocheted gloves. Usually I use an H hook to make these gloves. This time I experimented with a J hook. I adjusted the numbers,and the gloves worked up well. However, I still like the H hook best.
With the last bit, I crocheted the face of a owl animal hat.
The rust to light coral poncho evolved from two panels. I ended up using the same row sequence as I had on the scarf. I crocheted two panels and stitched them together. Then I crocheted a border and finished with a crocheted ribbing at the collar bone.The matching hat will make a cozy appealing outfit for a 3-4 year old. The generous skein is so large that I still had enough left to make a pair of child's fingerless gloves.The pattern includes directions for toddler, child, and men. Please note that I altered the directions for the toddler as I felt that the shape was too large for most toddlers that I know. The designer made a wider glove for a toddler than the child. Instead, I took the narrower child number of stitches and the directions for the length of the toddler. The pattern is easy to execute and makes attractive gloves for the littlest hands. (http://two-cs.blogspot.com/2013/03/simple-fingerless-gloves-for-whole.html)
I dedicated the pink to coral shaded skein to making a cap sleeved cardigan sized to fit an infant. I followed the pattern on You Tube, from WoolyWondersCrochet, but was unable to find a set of written directions. The piece pictured below would fit a 3 month old infant. Two rows of a star stitch band add interest. Another You Tube video (also by WoolyWonderCrochet) explains "How to crochet a chunky star stitch cardigan." This pattern is made entirely of star stitches. After completing the infant cardigan, there was enough yarn left to make a puppet and decorative accents for a stuffed animals. Now that I have practiced the star stitch, I am eager to make a piece large enough to fit my granddaughter for spring.
My favorite project with this Super Saver Ombre yarn is a 5 button denim crocheted cardigan with flower buttons. The
2T size will fit my granddaughter for next winter. I have been searching for this type of cardigan pattern for a while, but most of the free patterns for crocheted cardigans come in small infant sizes. The piece made up easily, and I like the proportions. Since the yarn was in an ombre denim, I made the buttonholes gender neutral rather than just girls. If the piece is handed down, the buttons can easily be replaced for a boy. I know that I will crochet another sweater with this pattern, though not necessarily in ombre tones. (https://allfreecrochet.com/Sweaters-and-Ponchos/Fun-Time-Cardigan-Red-Heart-Yarns)
Have you tried any new yarns recently? Which is your favorite? What were you inspired to make?
2017 has been a truly glorious year in my crochet world: both on giving as well as on receiving ends. As the year comes to an end, I need to thank the individuals, groups, and powers that be for my joy, serenity, health, prosperity, and creativity (though not necessarily in that order). In a nation deeply divided with strong feelings on both sides, I want to find the common threads that join us. Lucky for me and others in our crochet and fiber communities, our art brings us together to share, to praise, to learn. I do not refer to the gifts I mention lightly. There are too many wonderful people who are doing without, and all of the people and circumstances that we take for granted can be gone in the blink of an eye.
When I sat down to write this tribute and retrospective, I brainstormed with lists, circles, and arrows as I changed the order over and over. Finally I decided to begin writing with general and large themes and groups and to end with with treasured friends and family. Writing this article has helped me to find value in the commonplace as well as joy in special people and moments. As you read, I hope that I would find you nodding your heads in agreement as you think about people and other facets of life that bring you joy.
Wherever I go, my bag of yarn, hooks and other tools goes with me. I love the colors, the textures, the stitches, and the designs. I adore the infinite possibilities. I am fascinated by the fact that a crochet hook and creativity can transform a skein of yarn into a piece that is useful, cozy, or intricate. I am never bored, and I can usually out-wait most difficult and time-wasting situations with my crochet in my hands.
My "road Trip set is featured below.
Thank you to my readers of my blog at lilcreates.com. This post marks my 50th article, and many of you have stuck with me from the beginning. Still we have made progress to reach over 30.000 page views and over 17,000 individual readers. Your readership is a tonic to me, and I continue to seek new ways to inform you while entertaining you about crocheting.
Throughout the year, I have experimented with many pieces. Working with textures used two different types of yarn to create a unique scarf. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lilliansblog/working-with-textures) My blanket with holes was the first in a series of Granny Stitch baby blankets that produced a cozy, yet breatheable wrap. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/blankets-with-holes) However, my hats and gloves are my favorites.
This year was the year of the pompom. What fun I had accenting my pieces with yarn and faux fur additions. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/energize-your-crocheted-beanies-with-a-playful-pompom) I have just begun a line of animal hats that will be ready for next year's winter season. Also, I was thrilled to gift my messy bun hats to this attractive trio of my nieces, Adina and Sabra, and my son's girlfriend, K. C.
Fingerless gloves that make a fashion statement and allow the wearer flexibility have been a source of endless creativity. My signature mismatched coordinated gloves (especially the grey ones) quickly sell out at any fair. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/fingerless-gloves-mismatched-coordinated-hand-warmers) I am still working on a pdf pattern that I will offer for sale. Rustic gloves inspired by the Outlander TV series sparked a lot of interest.(http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/rustic-crocheted-fingerless-gloves) There was even a line of children's gloves. I am considering a line of mommy and me gloves. One customer was able to find a pair of mismatched mauve adult gloves that matched a pair for her daughter.
Thank you to the administrators for the various Facebook and Pinterest Boards who work so hard to provide a platform for their fellow artists. Sometimes the different groups' rules can be conflicting and confusing. Sometimes I mess up. The plus for all of us is that you establish and maintain a platform that unites fiber artists all over the world.
Thank you to fellow fiber bloggers who have braved the way and continue to expand the world of crochet though their creativity and workmanship.
Thank you to the many manufacturers of yarn, small and large, who provide us with so many different materials to explore crochet. No matter what your price point, there is a material to use. Thank you to the various megastores and online outlets. However, I really want to make a special shout out to the independent yarn store. My local shop is The Yarn Barn in Woodbridge, Connecticut. These are the places that you go to to get that special quality yarn. They provide know-how, advice, and instruction.
I am thankful for all of the places where I can crochet without distraction. Once bored, I now welcome road trips. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-and-knitting-on-the-road) I am comfortable at the kitchen table or in a recliner watching tv with my husband. Unfortunately, movies with subtitles do not work here. In spring and summer, I am thrilled to sit on the back deck with the wonderful world my husband created around me. The yard has been the subject of several articles and is the backdrop for many blog photos. I just love sitting out there and crocheting. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/a-view-from-the-garden) Whether it is at home or on a trip, crocheting in the outdoors has an almost spiritual feel about it. Besides. when I take the straight and easier path to the summit or trail's end, I do not mind waiting for my family of explorers who have spent an hour rock climbing.
Thank you to Threads of Love. My local chapter is based at Yale-New Haven Hospital through Congregation Or Shalom. Through this organization I am able to give back to the community as I crochet child blankets and shawls to cancer patients and other seriously ill individuals. Our projects have reached people in Connecticut and throughout the United States.
Thank you to Curtiss Woodworking from Prospect, Connecticut. You delivered our kitchen in time for Thanksgiving. The kitchen was beautiful, and we were able to roast our turkey in time to host 21 people. The kitchen was the star of the celebration. While this exciting and tense transformation was going on, I was able to squirrel away in my bedroom with my crochet supplies. Many wonderful projects were completed while I stayed home during the remodeling.
Thank you to my many friends who have encouraged me in my art. You have read my blogs, purchased my pieces, and sat at craft fairs when I have sold my wares. Thank you to Ellen who bought hats and gloves for all of her family last year. Thank you to Wendy for bringing an animal hat to her grand son. Thank you to Phyllis who consented to model her birthday shawl in one of my blogs. Thank you to Kris who has been supportive of all my fiber projects and all things relating to my granddaughter. Thank you to my sister-in-law, Cheryl, and my friend, Tema for your constant readership and encouragement.(http:www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-against-the-clock)
i have saved family for last for they are so dear to my heart. You are all special, and make my life full. My son, Jeff, your warmth and humor keep me on my toes and help me look at the world from a different perspective. Thank you for your interest and pride in my work. It is wonderful to know that your friends enjoy my crocheted gifts for their children. A family gathering is not complete without my grandsons who are intelligent, kind, and who appreciate all that is done for them. When I witness their discussions with their dad, I feel that I am reliving history. You guys are so supportive of the younger kids.
Thank you to my daughter, Robin, my original model. When you go "shopping" in my stores of completed items for your daughter, I know that I will see them come to life. Thank you for planning wonderful family adventures like your Dad's birthday feast at Zohara. Thank you for being such a wonderful mother,wife, and daughter and for making us such important part of our granddaughter's life.
Thank you to my son-in-law, Gabe. There would not be a blog if we had not launched it one cold day last February. Thank you for the continued tech and writing advice and for being my literary soundboard. You are a great husband, a caring son-in-law, and a wonderful dad to your daughter.
Thank you to my granddaughter, the little miracle who has filled our hearts with love and laughter. You are my most inspiring model. May we always clap hands together with each milestone and step you take. You are the inspiration for so many of my posts. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/what-makes-a-lovey-loveable ) Thank you for modeling the animal hats even though you do not like to have anything on your head. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-animal-and-characgter-hats) I know that for many readers, this blog post is to be mainly about crochet, but for those interested in seeing year one in my projects, I have a written a retrospective of your first year of life through knitted sweaters. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/a-little-girl-grows-up-a-year-in-sweaters)
Best wishes to all of you for a Glorious Holiday Season and an Wonderful New Year!
It is almost a year now that I held a small miracle in my arms and whispered messages of love.
After years of effort, surgeries, and hopes and dreams that were almost gone, my daughter, Robin, gave birth to a lovely little girl. Our granddaughter was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and big enough to open the hearts of an ecstatic family. Throughout the year her mom and dad have taken so much joy in watching her grow and thrive. My husband and I are blessed with living nearby so that we can see her several times a week. With each new accomplishment and infectious smile, we clap along with our littlest sweetheart. Now she is approaching her first birthday. When I was looking for a way to share this glorious year with my readers, my son-in-law, Gabe suggested that I mark milestones as:
A Little Girl Grows Up: A Year in Sweaters.
Our little one wore this cardigan home from the hospital and for the next couple of months. It was a 0-3 Sidar basic cardigan pattern made with DK (3) yarn n size 3 and 6 needles. The sweater was big when our granddaughter wore it home. A couple of months later, it fit just right. Pattern is a printed pamphlet that is out of print, but I am looking for a similar style to share in the future.
When I found out that the baby-to-be was a girl, I was quite busy.
The white sweater with animal buttons was one of the sweaters from my sale inventory. The textured yarn was soft and squishy. It went with all of the 3-6 month outfits in my granddaughter's wardrobe. I had made this sweater a year before to sell at craft fairs. Robin could pick anything out of my inventory. The only proviso was that the baby had to wear it at one time or another. Robin liked this piece a lot, and she frequently dressed her daughter in this sweater.
Pink and purple were lovely colors, but Robin insisted that I dress her daughter in gender neural colors as well. This light aqua piece was a favorite. I tried a more complicated pattern, but adapted the directions to show off two mini cables on both fronts and two cables down each sleeve.
This sweater made gram-gram (me), mother, and baby smile. It was featured in my knitted favorites article and is sized 3-6 months. http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/favorite-knitting-patterns. I love the concept and will try adapting a pattern with worsted weight yarn to the design.
I knitted the grey bamboo sweater in French style years before my granddaughter was born. When Robin found it in my inventory box, I had even forgotten it was there. Robin and Gave love the sophisticated detail and the fine, soft texture of the bamboo yarn. After the holidays, I will try to find the pattern in my binders. I think it merits recreating in a larger size. This sweater was a 9 month old infant.
Everyone who meets my granddaughter falls in love with her infectious smile and shouts of pure joy. This sweater was featured in my Purple Passion issue. http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheters-and-knitters-indulge-your--passion-for-purple
Babies need to keep warm in brisk autumn weather. When Robin retrieved this self-striping bulky knit, we knew it would keep her daughter nice and toasty.
Self striping grey tone yarns get a pop of color from bright red heart buttons. The basic sweater pattern was published in Creature Comforts by Amy Bahrt through Sixth and Spring Books in 2005.
Writing this retrospective has been pure joy. I got to smile and relive my granddaughter's life in such a personal way. I still have a few larger sweaters left in my box, but now I have to start planning for next year's 24 month or 2 T styles. I have been inspired to create a book for my daughter and son-in-law with this year's photos. I hope that you have enjoyed traveling with me through my granddaughter's first year.
My first bunch of animal hats were so enchanting that I could not resist trying out the many patterns and pictures from print and interest sources. Like the hats from my last posting, they were based on several basic hat styles: plain beanie, ribbed beanie, and beanie with ear flaps. The charm and unique appearance come from the add-ons. Basic hat design and other information can be in last week's post. http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-animal-and-character-hats
Teddy hats are among my favorites. I will definitely crochet this critter in a variety of designs and color combinations.
Owl photos and patterns are an an abundant source of inspiration. Two of my favorites are:
While the faces can be crocheted in a solid color, I like to crochet the ears and the top third in one color and the rest of the hat in a complementary or contrasting color. I repeat the top color in the bottom cuff or trim. The many different eye patterns change the expression. I know that I will be making more of these playful critters in the months to come.for instructions and design, see:
The sock monkey hat is quite versatile. The traditional colors are gender neutral. I posted that hat in last week's article. However with clever substitution and of stripes and facial tones, you can make a cheerful hat that is specific for a boy or girl.
The original design was crafted by www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/11/crochet-sock-monkey. The designer is Sarah. I have also seen this scheme as a bunny hat.
The panda has a universal appeal. I delivered my first panda to a smiling grandmother yesterday. Since I had not thought to photograph first, I was faced with making another for this article. My hat featured a beanie with a crocheted rib. It is a paid pattern. https://crochetdreamz.blogspot.com/2016/10/panda-animal-hat-crochet-pattern.html#.WixxvktrxGx The hat can also be made with ear flaps. http://littleyarnfriends.com/post/76229526287/crochet-pattern
My hippo hat has a purple face with pink accents ,just like the picture from One and Two company. The pattern comes in 3 sizes from infant to child. Instructions and photos make this piece easy to execute.
I found this hat on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/710302172450986866/
I almost sold the penguin last night to the friend who ordered the panda. However when we looked at the beanie, I thought it was too small for the infant boy. The hat was made from a general beanie design. See posts from last week for info. I combined a variety of eyes with a beak to crochet the face. I made a few small hats this week so that I could try out the designs. I will make a larger penguin and hippo for next year's fairs. If I get my act together, I will try an online store while the weather is still cold.
This is my first kitty hat from my cat hat collection. The hat can also be made with ear flaps.
The zebra hat has the most personality. the pink accents with the black and white stripes are sure to appeal to any young girl. The mohawk hair and crocheted features made this piece quite time consuming, but it was time well spent. This is another design by Repeat Crafter Me. The designer, Sarah, is generous to share her free pattern with fellow crocheters. www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/06/crochet-zebra-hat-pattern
A customer who had previously ordered a crocheted baby blanket fell in love with the teddy hats. She ordered the red teddy model from the previous post for her now 8 month old granddaughter. For her older sister, I transposed the colors so that there was a white background with red and black features. I delivered the hats today, in time to wrap and send for the holidays. By the way, she fell in love with the zebra, and so I let her trade the white teddy hat for tthe zebra. Good will is worth it. She is a repeat customer. I am sure that I will sell this hat, and I will probably make another red hat to sell with the white hat as a pair.
Today after I delivered my hats, I squeezed in a visit with my granddaughter. My daughter got to go to the gym. My husband, Bert and I got to play with our little one. Another bonus is that I worked in another modeling session.
Keep on the lookout for additional members of my animal and character hat family. In the next few weeks, I will definitely add to my teddy bears and cats. I want to try a rabbit and a dinosaur. The owl and monkey hats will look great in different color combinations.
Inspiration comes from many sources. I made the first bright red animal hat to accompany a set of mittens attached with a string. My son requested the mittens on behalf of his best friend's one year old son. However, when I finished the mittens, I felt that I really needed a hat to accompany them. Should the hat have a pom pom, a stripe, or an animal face? My son's girlfriend settled the issue with her vote for an animal face. This cheery little piece was the final result. Although the hat was meant for a boy, I had my 11 month granddaughter model it so I could get an idea of size. Size was perfect Okay, cute as a button. So now I needed another hat for her.
How do I get from 2 hats to a collection? Customers at this year's holiday fairs were attracted to the knitted animal hats that I had created several years ago. Out of the 30 hats I had about 5 left, and I was hoping to sell them on sale at my booth. The colors weren't quite right for a sale, but the faces attracted so many people that they stopped to look at the many other items i displayed on my table. I wondered if I offered brighter colors and fresher designs if I would attract many new potential customers. While I have finished this year's fairs, I can still experiment with color, design, and character features. The crocheted hats take less time to complete than the knitted ones. Also, instead of felt, I would crochet the eyes, nose and other details.
Most of my blog postings start with inspiration and move on to research. What designs were featured on favorite blog postings? Facebook, and Pinterest? As I scrolled through the many photos of attractive, colorful, and appealing hats, I noticed that the hats generally fell into two categories: My original plan was to embellish beanies with a variety of ears, noses, eyes, and mouths. However, many of the newer hats were based on a hat with ear flaps and braided or crocheted ties. Once you master the basic hat style, all you have to do add the features that will make the impression of your chosen animal or character.
When I crochet a beanie, I generally use a half double crochet stitch or a double crochet stitch. I no longer follow a pattern. I use a measurement chart to get the correct dimensions. I start with a magic circle and build to crochet rounds until I reach the desired crown diameter for the age and size. Then i stop increasing and crochet additional rounds until I am about an inch short of the designated height. One alternative is to switch to a hook one size smaller and crochet several rounds before finishing off. Another finishing style is to use alternating front and back double crochet post stitches for several rows.This gives a ribbing effect.
Useful sites for basic beanies include:
To make a hat with ear flaps, you will be following the basic beanie design before making the triangle ear flap on the first ear. Then follow the same directions for the second ear. Choose a contrasting or coordinating color yarn to single crochet along the bottom including the ear flaps. Many styles show braided ties that extend from the corner of the ear flaps. I prefer to use 2-3 thickness of yarn to crochet the tie. A tassel at the end is optional.
Although the following link is for the polar bear hat, the basic hat design will will work for any of the ear flap animal hats.
Type in link or copy and paste.
The monkey hat follows a similar construction and can be adapted to any color combination.
How do you vary your animal hat?
Ears: oval ears for dog, pointed ears for cat, round ears for bear, floppy ears for bunny
Eyes: large round eyes for owl, patched eye for dog, heart eye for any animal, button eyes
Nose: two round circles with triangle nose in between, crocheted oval nose, tiny pompoms
Mouth: rounded rectangle with red line for sock monkey, stitched smile for a variety of animals
Other: flowers, hair bows bowties, curls, braids, stars, buttons
I have had so much fun with this initial bunch of hats that I will continue with a new batch for my next post. Please share your designs and creations. It is glorious to crochet pieces that make everyone smile.
By the way, which hat should I give to my granddaughter?