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  The dude in the "man shawl" or "dude wrap" is my is my handsome. husband, Bert. The last time I crocheted and wrote an an article about the man shawl or blanket scarf, the piece attracted more readers than any other I had published to that date.  In fact, I am thrilled that readers are still drawn to the article that I wrote more than 18 months ago.(Http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/mens-crocheted-shawl-or-blanket-scarf) It takes a special kind of guy who is willing to take risks to wear the dude wrap as a fashion statement.  My smiling husband was willing to model, however, I don't see him willingly wearing the blanket scarf as an accessory.  Instead, I am happy to donate the man shawl to my Threads of Love Group. 
The crocheters and knitters from Threads of Love create shawls and baby blankets for patients with cancer and other severe medical conditions at Yale New Haven Hospital.  We get ample donations of women's shawls and baby or children's blankets, but relatively few pieces for men. These shawls are 70 inches long and about 20-22 inches wide.  They take a long time to produce and require several extra size skeins of yarn.  When our group leader handed me handed me a bonus skein of bulky, Royal Blue,  Big Twist yarn (615 yards) and an accompanying skein of Brights and Black (447 yards), I decided to undertake the project.  Little did I know that I would have to buy an extra skein of each so that I would be able to finish the piece.  I probably used about 1/3 of the second set of skeins.  Luckily I was able to find the same colors since it was Joanne's house yarn.
I now had two decisions to make.  1) What stitch should I use? 2) How should I incorporate the solid and varied yarn in a shawl that was suitable for a man?  I did not want a fussy stitch, and a regular half double or double crochet was too simple.  The "V stitch" would provide just enough interest and texture.  Readers who are not familiar with this stitch can find directions in a tutorial, "Crocheting the Basic V-Stitch" by Amy Solovay on The Spruce Crafts website. A helpful video is Easy Tutorial by Hopeful Honey:  "How to Crochet the Double Crochet Stitch"  To crochet a shawl with a V-Stitch, you need an even number of stitches. The V- stitch pattern is achieved by crocheting Double Crochet- Chain 1, Double Crochet in a single space.  In the following lines, the V is made in the chain 1 space. The stitches line up to create a pleasing texture.
To crochet a men's shawl with chunky yarn, 26 inches wide, I began with a 76 stitch foundation chain. To decrease the width, reduce the chain size.  Just make sure to have an even number of stitches.

My color sequence continued as follows:
Royal Blue 14 rows 
To change colors, leave 2 loops on the hook of the last stitch.  Use the contrasting yarn to complete the stitch before making a 3 stitch chain to begin the new row. Leave a 4 inch tail of the old color (to weave in later). Clip off old color. Knot with new color and continue.  The knot will not show when you weave in the ends and crochet a final trim around the shawl.
Brights and Black 2 rows
Royal Blue 2 rows
Brights and Black 2 rows
Royal Blue 4 rows
Brights and Black 4 rows
Royal Blue 4 rows
Brights and Black 4 rows
Royal Blue 6 rows
Brights and Black 6 rows
Royal Blue 6 rows
Brights and Black 6 rows
Royal Blue 6 rows
Brights and Black 16 rows   At 8 rows you will have completed one half of the shawl.  After you complete the other 8 rows, you will be reversing the color sequence.
Royal Blue 6 rows
Brights and Black 6 rows
Royal Blue 6 rows
Brights and Black 6 rows
Royal Blue 6 rows
Brights and Black 4 rows
Royal Blue 4 rows
Brights and Black 4 rows
Royal Blue 4 rows
Brights and Black 2 rows
Royal Blue 2 rows
Brights and Black 2 rows
Royal Blue 14 rows.  Fasten off.

The project was 70 inches long.

Finally, I wove in the ends.   There were many ends, and I really dislike this process. However, the final product was looking good, and I only had to complete the trim of this gorgeous shawl.  I used a Half Double Crochet Stitch to provide a neat and stable finish.  I like to start and finish in the middle of one of the short ends.  Be sure to make 3 stitches in each corner so that the piece lays flat.

At our next meeting, I will be sewing in our Threads of Love Label, making a gift pack, and inserting a message of caring, hope, and healing.  Lots of love went into each stitch. 
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Hi Folks! I'm back!  During the winter months our family welcomed a new grandchild. She is an active adorable bundle who is growing so fast that she is already too big for the newborn sweaters I made her.  We mourned the loss of a beloved sister-in-law, Cheryl.  I will miss her terribly, She was a gracious women who was one of my biggest supporters. My husband and I battled never-ending  colds from December through February.  A week in mild Florida climate helped our spirits and improved our physical conditions.  After consistent posting for two years, I just hit a writer's block During the winter months I have been crocheting and knitting up a storm,  but I was not able to translate these creative efforts into a blog posting.  Spring is just around the corner, but there are still several inches of snow in our back yard, and my husband is getting in his last cross-country skiing.  I set aside my to-do list, put away my IPad games, and hid my yarn projects.  This is it.  I am not aiming for perfection, I just have to start my writing motor going again.

Several weeks ago, I found a versatile, comfortable beanie pattern that is suitable for both men and women. The beanie is crocheted  with worsted weight yarn and is stitched from the top down. The crown is crocheted with double crochet stitches.  The sides and brim call for alternating front post double crochet alternated with back post double crochet.  For  specific directions, see:   The Lakeside Beanie is designed by Chellie Plummer of 5 Knots North.  It can be located on Ravelry or on the 5 knots North website as a free download. 
While the basic construction is simple, it is easy to alter the design with color blocking, and button decorations. After crocheting the basic hat,  I tried a 2 color block with a red crown and a wide black band.  For my third hat, I crocheted the crown in grey and used white and red for the color blocked band.
My favorite is the hat with the grey crown and the black and white striped sides.
This versatile patterns offers so many options. The hat is generally featured in solid colors for men.I have enjoyed playing with solids and stripes.   I crocheted the hat with both a H hook as instructed and an I hook for a looser fit.  Although the hat was originally designed for a man, the hat crocheted with a H hook was a bit snug for the two men who tried it on for me. I found this hat comfortable for me.  I wear an average women's size hat.  The hats I made with the I hook were slouchier.
I have one more hat project left for this winter. My oldest grandson likes to wear black.  I am thinking of a crocheting a hat with a black crown with one narrow grey and one narrow black stripe at the bottom.   He wants it subtle, but I need to add some creative interest.

I hope you enjoy this stylish, comfortable hat pattern.  Please post your hats and suggestions.
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I am so excited to be back blogging after a couple of months of many activities.  Traveling, celebrations, family dinners, and preparing for holiday fairs  were engaging, but distracting.  I did manage to to do quite a bit of crocheting and knitting, but these projects were not new or educational for my blog.  When my daughter asked me to crochet a few more short sleeved cardigans for my granddaughter, I thought I might have the right content.  Several months ago I had fashioned a couple of these sweaters, but alas my granddaughter had outgrown one of them, and the other was not to be found.  These short sleeved sweaters work so well for my little one.  They keep her core warm, but allow her the freedom that long sleeves don't.  My daughter even uses them for naps or at night since my granddaughter kicks off the covers and wakes up when she is cold.
Several months ago, I crocheted 2 versions of a Chevron Spring Baby Cardigan in  solid blue as well as in a two colored dusty pink and white.  As my our little girl is growing up, I knew I had to made the sweater bigger.  The largest size for the pattern was in 24 month with a 20 inch chest and an 11 inch length.  To enlarge the sweater I went up a hook size from H to I and added a couple of rows to the length.  The sweater was crocheted in pink, her favorite color.  The link is https://www.crochetforyoublog.com/2018/03/crochevron-spring-baby-cardigan.
Sweet Abby's Baby Sweater, published by Red Heart was crocheted in  aqua with a white trim.  The top was stitched in double crochet and the bottom was done in a 3 double crochet shell.  White shells separated the bodice from the bottom. As i was running short of the aqua, I added a couple or rows of white to the bottom.  As with the pink sweater I used a larger hook so that my two year old would be able to wear the sweater beyond the 24 month size.  The sweater was created without any seams. I was delighted that she agreed to pose and waved to show that she was in the sync with me.  I located the pattern on Pinterest.  Red Heart suggests using the Baby Hugs LIght, but I prefer the worsted (#4, ) for warmth.The Red Heart pattern number is LW5022, and the free pattern is an easy download.
The third pattern that I tried out will probably be used next year as it is a size 4.The Easy Way Down Crochet Cardigan (Crochet) was created by Yarnspirations. As the authors suggested it was crocheted with a varigated yarn. The top yoke was crocheted in a double crochet with V stitches to provide increases. The one piece yoke is divded into front, sleeve, back, sleeve, and front sections.  Since I found the instructions for the lower body confusing, I substituted my own version of a shell stitch. The bottom is crocheted in one piece. I crocheted around the entire edge for the trim.  Three stitches were placed in each corner.  A placket was stitched the length of the bodice to provide button holes and opposite rows.The authors provide a diagram to show how the cardigan should be constructed. 
I found two additional short sleeve cardigans that I am tempted to try with our new granddaughter who is expected before the end of December.  The Crochet Girls Short Cardigan (http://justcrochetblog/crochet-girls-short-cardigan) is crocheted in #3 DK or Light Worsted.  It is a lacy piece designed for 6 to 12 months. The Crochet LiLDarlin Baby Cardigan Pattern in multiple sizes goes from newborn to 24 months.  This Granny Stitch creation can be crocheted in solid or two toned styles.(https://www.crochetforyoublog.com/2016/09/crochet-lil-darlin-baby-cardigan-in-multiple-sizes)

When I started these projects, I never dreamed that these sweaters would get so much use.  I hope that my readers enjoy these sweaters as much as I have crocheting them.
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The rich browns hues of autumn draw me in. Just give me a luscious skein of dark brown or rust, and I am driven to create a set of fall accessories to accent my wardrobe.  A ball of varied shades of green, gold, brown, rust, or beige calls out to me, and before long I have completed a shawl to drape over a sweater or jacket.  I am keeping to my promise, and I will take the time to coordinate these pieces and wear them when I venture out from my cozy cocoon or mingle with friends. They are too exciting to leave in a drawer, and they will represent my new style.  If I spend so much of my week with my hooks and needles, my passion should be represented in my new look.
The open weave of the Lydia Shawl by Denise Crawford can be downloaded as a free pattern from Ravelry.  I have crocheted this pattern before , but it was a perfect medium for the exciting pallette of colors in Lion Brand's Landscape in the Rain forest color view.  This worsted weight  (#4) yarn is luscious and works up easily.  After the initial set up, the triangle pattern is basically two alternating pattern lines.  The first is mainly double crochet. The second is a triple crochet chain 1 sequence.  The designer suggested an H hook, but I was more comfortable with an J hook. I can wear the shawl  clasped in front with a broach or tied on the side  over one shoulder. The piece took three skeins of  yarn.
My hat and fingerless glove set helped me to master the bubble stitch. The Crochet Gradient Beanie Hat Puff Stitch, posted on Pinterest, delivers the hat pattern in video form.  There is no verbal audio, but written instructions appear on the screen from time to time. The video shows how to execute the puff stitch as you make the hat. Lion Brand's Heartland (worsted weight #4) in Sequoia color view gave me a rich dark brown and that was highlighted by a tawny lighter hue.  The hat was comfortable and fit perfectly.
To create the matching bubble stitch fingerless gloves, I had to improvise and adapt my pattern for mismatched  fingerless glove pattern. These directions are general.  I plan to make a step by step pattern in the near future, and will write down my procedures at each stopping point. I started with a cuff, chaining 14 stitches with a H hook. Crocheting half double crochet stitches into the second stitch from the hook gave me a 12 stitch wide cuff.  in each succeeding row I crocheted into the back stitch of each chain.  When the piece was large enough to fit around my wrist, I crocheted my ends together to make a circle. To create a base for the puff stitches, I crocheted 21 HDC stitches into the cuff. When I completed the foundation row, I chained 3 and began my first puff stitch.  After a couple of experimental tries, I found that 14 puff stitches gave me a snug , but comfortable sizing for my hand.  I crocheted 6 rows of puff stitches before making my thumb hole.  While my mismatched glove with 3 stitch cluster stitches could tolerate a vertical thumbhole, the puff stitch glove needed a horizontal thumb hole.  I chained 9 stitches and skipped two puffs before crocheting a puff stitch into the space between the next two stitches . I continued stitching around until I came to the chain and created two puff stitches on the  chain  before continuing onto the body of the glove.I made three more rows of puff stitch and transitioned into the final trim. Since I like the glove to fit more tightly around the upper fingers, I switched to a G hook to crochet 3 rows of HDC (Half Double Crochet). Then I repeated the process for a second glove.  I placed the gloves so that the thumb holes faced one another.  Then I sewed a decorative button to the top of each hand. 

As I repeat the process from  this posting, I will be able to execute exact directions that can be replicated by my readers. Then I will post them in this blog and on Ravelry.In the meantime, I lookf orward to wearing my stylish autumn accessories.
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-The pattern calls out to you and says your name.In addition, there is a suggested yarn, that the independent yarn store has in stock.(The Yarn Barn, Woodbridge, Connecticut)  Nirvana!  I can see myself knitting the piece and can even imagine how it will look the baby or child who will wear my work.  I am an avid knitter and crocheter, who enjoys searching Pinterest and Ravelry for free patterns, but when I see a purchased pattern that I can take home with me right away, I am taken.  The pattern in question had been tested.  There was a diagram showing how the knitted pieces would look.  Best yet, there was a full range of sizes so that I could make the pattern for a new granddaughter to be born in December as well as a 21 month old who wears anything that I can make. 

The pattern was designed to go with Baby Blossom DK by Hayfield (#4841).  The yarn featured bands of color in varying shades of one color.   Inaddition, one of the bands featured snips of pink and green that worked out to look like like  blossoms when knitted.    I bought a peachy apricot for the younger baby and grey tones for the toddler. I used a 3 1/4mm for the ribbing and a 4mm for the body and sleeves. Although I usually knit with worsted (#4), this DK (#3) yarn worked up easily and quickly.  The pattern could be knitted with a round neck or a V-neck.  I chose the round neck for the new infant and the V-neck for the toddler.
I made the infant style first.  As I began knitting I surprised to see that I would knit the body and sleeves first and add bottom, front, and neck trim when the pieces were sewn together.  The only exception was the sleeves.  I began with the rib here and knitted the rest of the sleeve.  While most, baby sweaters seem to have a i knit-1purl rib, this sweater called for a 2 knit-2purl rib.  I liked the way this rib gave slightly ruffled look to the piece.  I will be attending the baby shower in November, and I will be proud to include this sweater and hat with the rest of my presents. I added a roll knit cap to go with the sweater.  It is seamless and is worked on doubled pointed needles.
My granddaughter was pleased to wear her gray tone sweater. The grays will go well with any outfit.  Besides the DK weight is just right for wearing indoors on a chilly day.  She can also wear it under a jacket or in the car without the bulk of a heavy jacket. 
My next projects are worsted weight hooded cardigans for this sweet girl and for my new step-granddaughter.  My needles and hooks are always clicking.  It is a pleasure to have such wonderful children to make sweaters for.
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It is good to be back at blogging again.  After 18 months of consistent posting I found myself, traveling, preparing for the Jewish New Year, babysitting, and engaged in obsessive preparation for the fall Holiday craft season.Despite all of the activity, I found myself with a large collection of new inventory. In the past my creativity and production were partnered with interesting and informative articles.  However, for the last few weeks I was unable to put down my hooks to write and share with my Lilcreates audience. 

On Tuesday I delivered my latest  specialty doll from my ANNA line to my synagogue for their Comedy Night Silent Auction.  I laid her out and wrapped her in a large transparent gift bag  secured with white and silver ribbons.  This doll was truly a labor of love.  I had made a few ethnic dolls, but since this little lady was going to the synagogue, I decided to accessorize her with fittings for a girl who was experiencing her Bat Mitzvah.  The dolls in my ANNA line are made with acrylic yarns and stand about 17 inches tall.  They all have names beginning with "A." These creations were inspired by my mother ,Anna.  With each new addition, I keep her in my heart and mind.  My niece named Adina, is a mother with a daughter of her own.  Who ever wins the bid on this doll will rename her make her her own.  For now this creation will always be with me as Adina.  Her design and creation were a journey.  When we arrived at our destination, it was hard to let her go.
My ANNA dolls follow the same basic pattern that I wrote about in an earlier post.
http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/all-dolled-up-designing-and-crocheting-a-line-of-dolls-for-little-girls
I have made a few changes that make her neater and eliminate a few steps. I plan on editing the pattern to include these revisions.
*Instead of adding a crocheted pair of panties, I crocheted the entire body in the same contrast color for the dress,  The top part of the legs was crocheted in this same color. 
*To fashion the dress,  I crocheted the last few rows of the body in the facial tone to create a neckline. For the arms, I crocheted the first 6 rows with the flesh, facial tone.for the hands.  Then I switched to the dress color for the remainder of the arm.  When both arms were attached to the body, the bodice part of the dress was precise, and I did not need an additional layer.  As with the previous dolls, I began the skirt by crocheting a line of single crochet right from the doll's waistline.   While the rest of the doll is done in single crochet, I use a double crochet with strategic increases to make the skirt.
To create and complete my doll on time, I had to crochet the basic body, head, arms, and legs before, we left for our vacation on Cape Cod.  The tasks that remained were the crocheted face, the dress skirt, the accessories, and the doll's mane of hair.  I find the crocheted eyes to be one of the most challenging parts of every dolls.  It usually takes me several tries to get the eyes to be the correct size, spacing on the face, and focus with an appealing expression.  This detail took me most of one evening.

After I finished the skirt, I set out to make the yamulke (hat)  and tallit (prayer shawl).  I did not have a specific pattern, but I worked with the doll to get the dimensions correct.  The yamulke was crocheted from a magic circle as I used single crochet and made increases and added rows until the crown was the right size for the doll's head.  Then I crocheted a couple of rows with the same number of stitches so that the curve of the yamulke would sit on head.  I used the same hairclips that many adults use to keep their caps in place.  The main color for the yamulke was white, and I used stripes of the dress blue with some silver threads to spruce it up.

The prayer shawl was basically a rectangle that draped the figure.  At the end I added another pearl heart button that I had used on the dress bodice and sleeves.  I overlapped the bottom pieces so that the prayer shawl did not fall off the doll.


The mane of hair is the signature feature of my ANNA Dolls.I usually use Lion Brand Homespun for the hair.  Its soft and crinkly texture makes my dolls unique. Despite the fact that we were on vacation, my husband was willing to scout out a Joanne's or Michael's store to get the supplies I needed.  Alas, a realistic shade of brown in Homespun was not available.  We scanned the shelves and found 3 possible choices.  I ultimately decided on 2 skeins of Unforgettable. Designing and executing the head of hair is a painstaking and time consuming job.  Each strand is cut and secured individually to the doll's head. I usually start by making a running stitch around the area for hair.  I have to decide where to place the hair on the forehead and how the hair will fall on the sides.  When I am finished I easily remove these loose threads.  With each succeeding doll, I have learned some tips to make the hair more realistic and to cut down waste.  I generally start with strands that are 12 inches long for the first row on the back of the neck.  When the strand is folded in half to knot onto the doll's head, it generally falls to the middle of the back. However, as I go up the head, I add about half an inch to the strands so that they will lie at about the same length at the bottom.With this technique, I had less wastage than when I used to make all of the strands 14 inches.  When the hair was done, I only had to clip some ends a bit to get a pleasing look.
My Adina doll was almost complete, but I needed one small detail to complete her.  I wanted a small Star of David necklace that would be just the right accessory to complete her look.  We searched craft and jewelry stores on the Cape.  We scanned the internet.  We found a few of these pendants, but they wee way to expensive for a doll.  Finally Goody Beads proved to be my salvation.  The 3/16 inch charms were $1.00, but were on sale for 40 cents.  I ordered 30 as I did not want to go through this process again with future custom orders.  The beads were $12, and the express mailing was $13.  The package arrived on the morning I was to take my doll to the synagogue.  I loved this tiny accent, and the pursuit was worth the effort.

The story is not over.  The silent auction will take place on Saturday.  Everyone who has seen this special doll has admired her.  However, the retail price is $75 with a minimum bid of $45.  Hopefully,  some thoughtful mother, grandparent, friend will want to buy this wonderful gift for a special young lady in their lives.

I took the opportunity to advertise my ANNA dolls as a custom order and left a descriptive letter with business cards so that any future patrons could order dolls with specific hair color, costume, or special interest.  In September, I completed a special order for mom with an adopted Chinese daughter who was an avid ice skater.  I will keep all of you posted.  Please think positive thoughts.


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With the Holiday Fair season approaching I was determined to crochet critters that would entice potential customers to
take a second look, pick one up, and purchase on impulse.  I have many attractive dolls and animals in my inventory, but I am looking for the wow factor.  What kind of doll or animal will call out to a child, mom, or grandparent? What kind f creature is easy to replicate?  The bodies are easy, it is the face that will draw a potential customer in . At present I am focused on teddy bears, cats, and bunnies?  However, I will probably elaborate on the basic pattern to make an appealing dog.
An 8 to 10 inch animal fits into a backpack or diaper bag.  It is easy for a toddler to tuck under his or her arm as he or she walks around the house.  Children and toddlers form attachment to the animals and frequently want to take them to sleep. They are small enough not to present a health hazard.  If I want to keep a stock of animals for sale, I have to keep them away from my granddaughter.  She is quick to hug one and adopt it as one of her "babies."
Although I have  worked with a few body types, for this holiday season I am sticking to patterns where I legs and body are crocheted into one piece. Then I attach the head.   I have experimented with several head types, and I find that a slightly bigger head makes a better cuddler. i like to change colors in the middle of the body. so that the bear, cat, or bunny appears to be wearing a shirt.  Sometimes I crochet the arms in the same color as the shirt.  At others times, I crochet the arms the same color as the body and head. A bow or flower fixed at the neck hides some of the stitches used for attaching the head.
For a 7 inch animal, like the teddy below, I refer to :  https://amigurumi.today/free-crochet-animal-patterns/?nonamp=1.  I substitute a G hook (4.00mm) for the 2-3 and use worsted weight yarn. The pattern shows rabbits, cats, teddy bears.  There is also a scarf to wrap around the neck for accessorize the stuffie.
For a slightly larger and huskier 8-10 inch animal, I refer to A Soft Kitty Amigurumi from Amigurumi Toys.(https://amigurum.com/2017/10/soft-kitty-amigurumi-pattern.html)  I substituted worsted yarn that I had on hand for the plush yarn pictured.The face and crocheted tail shows that this kitty is ready to purr.
The PlushBunny in Dress Amigurumi by Amigurumi Toys can be found on Pinterest.an orange dress. It features a blush bunny in a orange dress. The floppy ears and crocheted features should delight any child.  The legs of this bunny are made separately and sewn to the body,  The feet in the contrasting orange are slightly larger than my other bunnies so that it looks like the rabbit is wearing shoes.    This doll is made with worsted yarn with a G (4mm) hook and measures 10 inches.
The design for the green and white bunny pictured above came  an article I published in the spring.  The link for the East Bunny Amigurumi by Craft Passion is :http//www.craftpassion.com/easter-bunny-amigurumi/2/
The Friendly Halloween Teddy Bear was extended by starting with 7 stitches for the magic circle for each leg instead of the 6 stitches in the smaller versions. I also added another round to the crown circle for the head before continuing with my big head critter. I added a few rows to the body and to the arms and legs as well.  There is no specific pattern for this teddy as I filled in as I went along.

I am really engaged with these amigurumi and can could continue making animals and writing without end.After working on figures and faces for some time now, I have finally found a few that work for me.  Please let me know which animal is your favorite.  I would love to see your interpretations of these patterns.
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I love the look of a shawl created with waves and motion, but I am often frustrated in my attempts to recreate the sequence of stitches and lines need to produce a precise rhythmic pattern.  Somehow the shapes never seem to line up to become a precise sequence of waves or ripples.  However when I found the free pattern at my local AC Moore store, I felt that I would be able to achieve my style.  The two line repeat enabled me to portray a stacked shell stitch separated by lines of double crochet.  My count was right, and the beautiful pattern lined up correctly.  The Pattern was designed by Premier Yarns to highlight their Everyday DK Colors. The design is also available as a free downloadable pattern (https://www.premier yarns.com/collections/free-patterns/products/stacked-shells) In researching this pattern I was delighted to find that Premier Yarns had created many lovely designs that were easy to access.  As I look for projects to make a dent in my stash, this resource should prove valuable in the future.
I worked the pattern in a solid ivory worsted with a H hook instead of the three tone double crochet and G hook called for in the pattern. In this way I was able to showcase the stitch details instead of focusing on the colors. Also, the heavier yarn allowed me to create a warmer wrap for the cooler Autumn temperatures. I found that I needed exactly 1 double and 1 single skein of Studio Classic by Nicole (A.C. Moore's house yarn) for a total of 1116 yards to complete this warm comforting wrap.  If I were to add the optional tassels I would have to purchase additional yarn.  However, the shawl is reasonably heavy already, and the tassels might be just too much.  If I crochet the shawl with a lighter yarn as intended by the designer, I would incorporate the accent tassels.  When I fixed a scarf pin to the shawl, I found that the wrap stayed put, and left my hands free.
This is the first time that I started a shawl from the middle and worked toward the outer ends.  When I finished the first side, I had a perfect wavy line.  Then I picked up the stitches on the straight side and continued until I had crocheted an equal number or rows.  When this was done I had a perfect wavy edge on the opposite side as well. I prefer working across with fewer stitches (73) instead of the long way with 200-300 stitches.  Stitch count becomes much easier.    Since both sides had to be the same size and number of rows), I truly engaged in an active game of yarn chicken and completed my shawl with a few yards to spare.
This year I have promised myself that I will actually wear my knitted and crocheted pieces.  I am looking forward to wearing this interesting and stylish shawl as the weather gets cooler.  The neutral ivory color will complement most of the clothes in my wardrobe.
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I had just enough time to photograph my latest "blanket with holes" before wrapping it and mailing the order to California as a new baby present.  When my BFF ordered the gift she gave me carte blanche to use any color combos or style for the present.  If you are a frequent reader, you will remember the 3 color rose, purple and white blanket I finished a few weeks ago.  I enjoyed changing the line patterns to create a new style using the familiar Extended Granny Square Design. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-blankets-with-holes-playing-with-color-and-line-patterns).  Many crocheters like to change from solid color blocks, but do not want to risk making a mistake with color and line placement.  Since I was so delighted with my finished blanket, I wrote out the sequence to share with you.  Now I set myself another challenge:  integrating four colors into a pleasing and exciting blanket for a male infant. 
I created with the same materials and hook as I had for the previous blanket.  My hook was a J (6.00mm).  I used worsted yarns that were on the thicker end of the #4 spectrum.  The yarns used in this blanket were Big Twist Yarns, the house yarns form Joanne's Fabric and Crafts.  I also like Studio Classic by Nicole,the house yarn from A.C.Moore.  Baby Hugs from Red Heart works well.  However, you should feel free to crochet with any yarn than will yield a soft, plushy blanket with your selected colors.  As with my last blanket, I chose 2 solids  and a white for contrast. The light blue,navy, and white were set off with a multi-colored yarn (light blue, grey,and navy) that added dimension to the design.  Of course, you may select any four colors for male, female, and neutral that fit your baby's color scheme.
I wanted the finished blanket to be a square with a size measurement between 32inches to 36 inches.  Using my last blanket as a guide, i knew that I would have to narrow the bands if I were include all four colors.  With a general design in mind, I began, hoping that my sequence would be eye-catching and have the right proportions.  If I miscalculated, I was prepared to frog.  Luckily, I made the correct estimates, and the final blanket was 34 inches square.  In fact, this dynamic blanket was my best yet.





Colors: 
A=             Light Blue
B=             Multicolored Light Blue, Gray, and Navy
C=             White
D=             Navy

Sequence:
Rows 1-6:         A
Rows 7-8:         B
Row 9:               C
Row 10:             B
Rows 11-15:     C
Rows 16-18:     D
Rows 19-0:       B
Row 21:             C
Row 22:             B
Row 23-27:       C
Row 28-30        D
Row 31:             B
Row 32:             D
Trim Row in D. Crochet a row of Half Double Crochet (HDC) around the blanket.  Make sure to crochet 3 stitches in each corner so that the corners lay smooth.

I really liked using one color that was so much deeper than the others (navy) in this 4 color blanket to create such a dramatic effect.  With these two designs under my belt, I am confident that I will bring in additional orders.  I would love to see how you interpret these designs with colors of your choosing.  Please post your finished projects or leave a comment with your color choices.  Happy crocheting!
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The Pete The Cat series by James Dean is a favorite with the preschool and pre-preschool set, and my granddaughter just loves the books.  When I was introduced to Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons I became an instant groupie.  I can't seem to get the refrain out of my head:  "My Buttons, My buttons, my four groovy buttons...".. We follow Pete who just loves the buttons on his sweater as they pop off one by one.  Pete keeps his spirits up as he does simple subtraction while he loses all of the buttons on his sweater. However, there is one button that he will never lose:  his belly button. 

Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes builds on math skills and supports character decisions involving friendship and forgiveness.  I plan to get Pete the Cat:  I Love My white Shoes.  This book was the first of the series and walks Pete through many colors with another delightful song.


Pete the Cat is interesting and special, and I was lucky to find,a pattern for making a doll for my granddaughter that would go along with her books.  Pete the Cat Amigurumi Pattern by Kristel K can be found on Ravelry.  You can also go to the website:  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pete-the-cat-amigurumi-pattern.  Pete is made with dark blue worsted yarn and a g (4.00mm) hook. The designer uses felt for the eyes and nose.  However, I crocheted mine.  Pete wears one red sneaker with a white sole and one blue sneaker with a white sole.  I added a yellow vest instead of the long sleeved shirt for more contrast and sewed on 4 one inch groovy buttons. There is no pattern for my vest.  I just eye-balled it and crocheted and measured against the cat as I went along.   The downloaded pattern directions and photos guide the crocheter and are easy to understand.  I was happy with the finished project, and my granddaughter found him to be quite appealing.  At 19 months, her language skills are blossoming.  When she announced "Read Cat!" what else could I do?


Another source for Pete the Cat doll patterns can be found  from Sarah on the Repeat Crafter Me Website.  The designer was thrilled that the books helped her son with his language skills and was motivated to design her own version of Pete the Cat.  See: www.repeatcrafterme.com/2012/06/pete-cat-crochet-doll-html.

I am  on the lookout for another interesting character that will bring the reading process alive for my granddaughter.  Pete was easy to crochet had a dynamite personality for a doll.  Readers, do you have any suggestions?
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