Forget the New Year/New Me business. In the crochet world, the New Year is not full of resolutions, it’s full of Temperature Blankets.
Like a lot of people, I have started out diligently making one and then put the thing away for good two weeks later when I’ve realized that it’ll be about 8 feet long. I won’t make fun of them, there’s enough of that on social media and in Facebook groups. Not that I don’t want to, mind you, I just feel like all the jabs have been made.
But this. THIS. This is taking temperature blankets to a whole new level. This hooker is doing them not just for daily temperatures, but HOURLY.
I follow her on TikTok. Im going to watch and see if she’s as hardcore as she lets on. Click on her name below. I couldn’t figure out how to embed the video.
This is a cuddly throw I made, using the stitch pattern I posted recently. It’s about 5 feet long. I didn’t block it for extra width because it’s heavy and it hangs. It’s definitely wide enough for one middle aged cat lady to lie back in a recliner, get cozy, and cuddle with her furry entourage.
I used an ombré yarn. I prefer gradients over stripes. To maintain this effect throughout the throw, you’ll have to match the yarn from the new ball to the old ball, when you’re ready to tie the new ball on. This will involve pulling the yarn from the new ball until you get to a colour section that matches. It will also mean winding up those little bits and using them elsewhere in the blanket – or just stash them for granny squares.
3 skeins Red Heart Super Saver Ombré. I used teal. I did buy four skeins but there’s a lot in one skein of this yarn, so I ended up not needing it.
8.0mm Tunisian hook with a long cable.
Darning needle for finishing ends.
Gauge: I didn’t do a gauge swatch. I usually don’t bother for projects like this.
Click above to get the stitch pattern. For a couch throw like I did here, chain 121 (7 pattern repeats plus 2 for selvedge). For something more blanket like, I’d probably do 10 pattern repeats and probably go down in yarn weight to sport instead of worsted. I wouldn’t bother changing the hook.
Work the pattern across 121 stitches until you’ve used up three skeins. I didn’t use the little bits that I cut when I was matching colour gradients. I had the best of intentions, but I just didn’t want to deal with yarn ends. However, it didn’t matter, I still got a decent sized throw, and now I have little balls of yarn for hoarding granny squares.
I did a feather & fan lace pattern for Tunisian crochet about four years ago. I adapted an old knitting pattern I had. I’ve tweaked it, though, since then. It’s not much different than it was. The grand old change I made was to add two stitches to the count, so that there is a selvedge on both ends of the row. This is much neater and tidier and it means that Row One doesn’t start with a decrease.
Why did I do this?
When I adapted the lace pattern to Tunisian crochet, I was trying too hard to keep to the knitting pattern. You can work the first stitch on the needle in knitting, but doing this in Tunisian crochet is just awkward. That beginning truly stank – stunk? It sucked. It was awkward and fiddly, and just ewww.
Please note: I’m trying to do a video. As quiet as we both are, I have realized just how LOUD my wife is, and how much she talks on her phone in the run of a day. Ah, COVID. Almost a year later and everyone is still home. How’s that working out for you?
I should also note that I’m really not good at filming things so I’m apologizing in advance if I move out of the frame.
Pattern Multiple of 17 stitches plus 2, one for a selvedge at either end
Tfs= Tunisian full stitch. This is a stitch picked up between two existing stitches or in the hole created by a yarn over.
YO = wrap the yarn around the hook. This creates an extra stitch and a decorative little eyelet hole in your work.
Remember: The very first loop on your hook is the working loop and isn’t charted as a stitch. So when you make your first decrease, don’t struggle trying to do it with that first loop. Like the TSS at the end of each row, it makes a nice neat selvedge up the side of your work.
Foundation row: Standard TSS forward and return pass
Row 1: *TSS2tog 3 times, (YO, Tss) five times, YO, (TSS2tog) three times* TSS in last stitch. Standard return pass.
Row 2: *TSS in first three stitches, (TFS, TSS) five times, TFS, TSS in last three stitches* Standard return pass. Repeat these two rows until item is desired length. End on Row2, BO in pattern.
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Dry rubbing is similar to dry brushing – a type of exfoliation (dead skin removal) done prior to bathing or spa services, with a natural bristle brush. For those of us with sensitive skin, dry rubbing is a nicer alternative.
This spa cloth is made a little tightly (you will note that it curls in the picture because of this) and done with a textured stitch so that it stimulates the skin.
In my day to day life, I am an esthetician. I recommend exfoliation to clients all the time. It’s a great way to stimulate circulation and lymph flow, while also removing build up of dead skin cells. Treat yourself to this gentle form of exfoliation daily before the shower.
Use the cloth to rub your skin briskly. Start off gently and work towards firm strokes. I like to start with my legs first, then my arms, and face. Finally, I move on to the front and back of my torso. It’s a great morning wake up 🙂
Skill level: advanced beginner
1 skein of dishrag cotton
Multiple of 2, minimum of 6 stitches
Row 1: chain multiple of 2, work standard Tunisian foundation row by pulling up a loop in each chain. Work standard return row: yarn over, pull through one loop on hook, *yarn over, pull through two loops on hook for remaining stitches until one stitch remains on the hook.
Row 2: skip first vertical bar. Insert hook in next 2 vertical bars at same time, yarn over, pull loop through, TSS in first vertical bar of 2-bar groups just formed) across to last vertical bar, TSS in last vertical bar. Work standard return pass
Row 3: skip first vertical bar, TSS in next vertical bar, (insert hook in next 2 vertical bars at same time, yarn over, pull loop through, TSS in first vertical bar of 2-bar groups just formed) across to last 2 vertical bars, TSS in last 2 vertical bars. Work standard return pass.
Repeat rows 2 and 3. Bind off in pattern.
Working in above stitch pattern, work 18 rows. Bind off in pattern. Weave in ends.
This is my portion of the Wonder Blanket CAL!! For those who follow my site, this is not Tunisian Crochet.
I am using an orange solid and a variegated yarn called Folklore by Loops & Threads, but you use whatever colours you want. You can cut the yarn at each colour change or carry it up the side. It’s up to you. Just a reminder that this CAL uses a 5.5mm hook.
With Colour A, work two rows in single crochet.
With Colour B chain 3 (counts as a stitch). Skip next stitch, work double crochet in next stitch. Work double crochet in skipped stitch, crossed doubles formed. Work in pairs like this across.
Next row: chain 1, single crochet across. Don’t forget to work a single crochet into the turning chain.
With Colour A work two more rows of single crochet
With Colour B, work a crossed doubles row followed by a row of single crochet.
Cut yarn and weave in ends. You’re done this portion of the CAL!!
About a year ago, I resolved to do more guest blogging than I currently was, which was zero. In the year that has passed, I have learned a few things. For those of you who also have craft blogs and are thinking about this, here are my insights. Remember, this is entirely my own experience and your mileage may vary.
I built up valuable backlinks. This alone is a good reason to do guest blogging. Backlinks bring traffic, so long as they are relevant and useful. A guest blog about a free Hallowe’en pattern may not do much for your site traffic year round, but come September, it may cause a spike for a few weeks. A tutorial for a popular technique may cause a steady trickle or stream of traffic all year long that may peak in late fall as people start making Christmas presents.
I built relationships. I got to know other crochet bloggers as a result of this experiment. This is probably the most important thing that I took away from my year of guest blogging. For all the hype about SEO and other assorted Internet gobbledegook, relationship building has returned (or perhaps it never left the room) as one of the most effective means of promotion. By guest blogging, I was forced out of my introvert shell and out of my comfort zone. I had to start interacting in Facebook groups and talking to other designers. When things went South in my personal life and I reached out, I realized that these weren’t just bloggers with whom I had contracts, they were colleagues and friends. I have received unsolicited offers of deadline extensions, hooks and yarn, commiseration, and even a couple of offers of lodging if I needed it.
I learned to make viable projects. I like creating artsy-fartsy pretty things with lines and texture. This is great, but not everyone else wants to do that, not everyone has months to work on something, and sometimes those items unintentionally put people off. By paying attention to other crochet bloggers and what was popular, I was able to create Tunisian crochet designs that were instructional, less intimidating, and appealed to a wider range of people.
I learned to step up my game. My layout and format improved. My organization improved. I started to rethink things like photography and photo editing to the extent that I am now saving up for a fancy little camera and investing in a small scale photography studio. I have been teaching myself to use software so that I can make pattern schematics. I am slowly but surely learning more about social media and software apps that will help improve my reach.
I have figured out how to better structure my own blogsite as a result. Since I started guest blogging, my own site has been slowly evolving to accommodate the guest posts. The vast majority of my free patterns are now housed on other websites, with the majority of the tutorial work, technique articles, and my more complex free-form projects residing here with me. At this moment, that is working for me.
I have realized that there is a difference between being an crafter/artist/designer Blogger or an artist/designer/crafter with a blog. There is a huge difference. MASSIVE DIFFERENCE. I am an indie designer with a blog but I am not a Blogger with a capital B. At this point in my life I know I won’t be committing the energy that it takes to become a successful craft blogger. Folks, if you don’t have a blog, you have no idea how much energy these folks put into their sites. The sharing, the creating of graphics, the social media overload – these crafters (mostly mothers of young children) are putting in several hours each day. I want to be a power blogger like some of these other designers I have gotten to know, but other things have to be made priorities first.
I don’t have to sign up for every little thing. This year I said yes to all sorts of opportunities because I didn’t have two clues which ones would work and which ones would flop. I’m still not done saying yes, this will be a perpetually unfolding experience, however, now that I have cut some teeth I have a better idea of where I should be guest blogging. What surprised me was that the ones I wasn’t sure about turned out to be great and the ones I was convinced would drive TONNES! OF! TRAFFIC! did not.
I need to guard against becoming repetitive. When you start hitting creative deadlines, especially when Life Happens, there is a temptation to start constantly drawing on the easiest or fastest things that you know. I have caught myself doing this on a couple of occasions. I have learned that when this happens it is probably because I am overcommitted and I need to pull back. Even when I put out beginner level content, which is what many of my guest blogs are, I still want to put out things that are fun or pretty to look at, or not boring to make.
I’ve learned how to make the most of a few really good posts that I can recycle over and over again. Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers teaches a blogging course that I highly recommend. One thing that I took away from his teaching was instead of churning out blog posts that start to read as contrived because I feel like I have to postsomething, to put out a few quality posts that are relevant to what people want and then exploit the hell out of them. My Sunrise Mandala has turned into just such a post. I created it because I wanted to show how I made a mandala but it turned out to be a great teaching tool for Tunisian entrelac because almost everything you need to know is contained within that one project. I will also link one guest blog to another if they are relevant (because one explains something that is done in another, for example).
For me, guest blogging is a great way to create some exposure for myself. The backlinks keep me on the radar when I’m not doing anything productive with crochet, although my site traffic will still suffer. Guest blogging has also opened me up to the possibilities of experimenting with paid advertising for a year. Now that I know where I get the most traffic, I am going to invest in paid advertising on those sites. I’ve also learned how to look at my site stats, and I’ve been successful at making some predictions based on those numbers. Guest blogging is not something that I would rely solely on, because Internet algorithms can change and make certain strategies useless in a heartbeat, but it is definitely an extremely important aspect of my online presence.
A photo posted by Nicole Cormier (@tunisiancrochetchick) on
Graphs are an excellent way to chart any crochet pattern that can be made with squares. I use graph paper all the time. I struggled with how to display them on my website since I use my phone 99% of the time. I found an app called Colorfy, which is an electronic equivalent to a paper adult colouring book. It contains patterned grids for creating all sorts of different designs.
I was inspired to create this scrapghan (afghan made from scrap yarn and partial skeins) because I love Texas. I do, I heart Texas so very much. I don’t believe it’s possible to go there and not leave your heart behind, but maybe that’s just me. I also know that a lot of people I end up interacting with in the online crochet community are from Texas, so this one’s for you.
This isn’t a beginner pattern. This is an oddly shaped entrelac chart, so you will need to have a good knowledge of creating entrelac. This could also be done as granny squares, too, or the regular crochet C2C box stitch that is all over the Facebook crochet groups.
Crochet entrelac isn’t difficult, but it can be daunting to figure out what direction to work in and confusing as hell when you are first starting out. I am doing most of this blanket using the C2C method, but I am also squeezing in squares in multiple directions. I called this the Badass Texas Scrapper because you’re going to feel like one badass hooker who has tamed one hell of a feisty afghan when you’re done.
If you look at the grid, you will see that there are no triangular shapes. The grid image is like Minecraft Texas because the app does not allow me to change the shape of the graph that I am using. This means that it is all squares.
If you look at the embedded image below, you will note that my blanket has rounded edges and points consistent with the true shape of Texas. Knowledge of entrelac is key, because I have inserted inverted triangles, base triangles, and short rows along certain edges of the blanket to “round out” the state boundaries and create the border. I did this simply on sight, keeping a Google image of a political map of Texas on hand.
I recreated the state flag using various shades of red, white, and blue or variegated yarns with either red, white, or blue predominating colours. There is no rhyme or reason to why a certain shade is in a certain spot.
To keep it simple I worked the whole thing in TSS. I started at El Paso and worked south to Brownsville, switching from blue to red. Then I moved from Odessa up to the Oklahoma border to finish off the blue portion. Then I worked in red straight across to the Louisiana border and up a bit to Arkansas. At this time I’m working on the white portion and moving from Abilene up to Vernon and across/down to Dallas/Fort Worth. I’m breaking it up into chunks because even though the squares are small, this is one bigarsed blanket.
Handy side note: I’m also learning my way around Texas 😀
This is a free grid for you to use to create your own lovely Texas afghan. Feel free to share it but please do not sell the actual graph because it is not yours. You can certainly sell whatever you make. To share, please link back to this page.
Worsted weight yarn. I am using a truckload of Red Heart Super Saver solids and ombres, Comfort solids and prints, as well as Unforgettable. I have it organized in three shopping bags: red, white, and blue.
One square = 6 stitches wide by 6 rows tall in TSS
(You can make your squares as big or as small as you like. Use whatever yarn you like and whatever hook you want)
A photo posted by Nicole Cormier (@tunisiancrochetchick) on
I can not tell you enough how much I love the effect of the Dragonfly Unforgettable yarn with the honeycomb stitch. When I first sampled it, I thought right away “dragon scales!!”. The idea for this shawl percolated in my head for a while before I made it. I knew if I saved it for the longest, coldest part of winter, I’d have something fulfilling to do. Working on this has been my reward every day for over two months. A little here, a little there. It could actually be done quite quickly, but why rush?
I’m not writing down an exact pattern for this. I’ve stopped doing that for some of my entrelac work. Once you know entrelac, it’s not hard to figure out. If you don’t know entrelac, then this project may not be for you. My focus is shifting a bit here since I’ve been guest blogging so much. The guest blogs prefer material oriented to beginners, so I’m going to going to go back to doing my thing over here, which is more advanced.
5 skeins of Red Heart Unforgettable, Dragonfly
6.0mm Tunisian hook
Everything you need to know about entrelac base triangles and squares is covered in my Sunrise Mandala.
This shawl is worked from the top down. It starts with a 140 stitch foundation chain, into which are worked 14 10-stitch base triangles. All entrelac is worked in the honeycomb stitch pattern. At the end of each row the yarn is cut.
Subsequent rows are entrelac squares nested in the valleys formed by the row before. Each row is shorter than the last, until the final row is one square.
The first tier of dragon scales are worked in the front loops of the side stitches. They are 20 stitch base triangles. They are started right at the top edge of the shawl and every two rows of shawl equals 20 stitches. The second tier of dragon scales are worked behind the first tier in the back loops. They are offset by 10 stitches so that the points peek out between the points of the first tier of scales.
The tip of the tail is formed by first making a 10 stitch 6 wedge short row circle that is bound off but not sewn shut.
The bottom V tip of the shawl is eased into the v-shaped opening of the circle and the edges are sewn together. Two large 20 stitch base triangles are worked on either side of the circle in both loops and one central triangle is worked between these two.
“Around the world”, or entrelac in the round, is exactly what it sounds like. You start with one or more squares in the centre and makes rounds that increase by four (if you are working in a square or rectangle) until you feel like you’re done, or you just can’t take it anymore 🙂
For this photo tutorial, I am making a square so I am starting with one small entrelac square in the centre. I will add four corners in round two, and then on round three and subsequent rounds, I will continue to add four corners, but also work on the sides as they get larger.
Worsted weight yarn in three colours
You can use any hook and any yarn. I am using three colours because I am showing the first three rounds. All rounds after that are done just like the third round. I will be making a six stitch/six row square using TSS. You can make your squares any size and use any stitch you want. I have TSS tutorials here.
I’m trying something new with my photo editor, and flipping the photos to show work from the right (I am left handed). If this works for you, let me know and I will keep doing it.
Round One (Centre):
Chain six, and work back and forth in rows of TSS to create a six stitch square.
Bind off row: chain one (mark this if you like) and work a slip stitch bind off across. Cut yarn. Why did I chain one? Because when you bind off, you end up with one slip stitch less than your original number. I need to be able to work into this side of the square so I need six stitches for that, not five. I suggest marking the chain one, simply because it can shrink and get a little tight. This is the only time in a bind off that you need to chain one.
Round Two (Four Corners):
Using your new colour, attach in the chain one corner and chain six. Draw up loops in this chain and draw up an extra loop in the corner where you joined – this connects the first row of your corner square to the centre square. 7 loops on the hook. Instead of working a standard return pass, yarn over and pull through two loops across. This way you reduce your number back to six stitches and not seven.
Work a second row of TSS, picking up a seventh stitch in the next stitch of your central square. Work off as before. Continue like this until you have six rows completed. Work the slip stitch bind off and and join in the same stitch as the sixth row.
Chain six as before, and pivot to next side edge of central square.
Pick up six loops o
n the hook and join in the same stitch in which you just bound off the previous square. Repeat as before, building a six row square that is joined to the central square. Bind off as before. Repeat this for the remaining two squares. Cut the second colour.
Round Three (and all further rounds)
Attach yarn to a corner stitch and work a corner square on the corner square. In this row and all subsequent rows, you will work a corner square on the corner square from the previous round and then you will work other squares in the “valleys” between corners.
After binding off the new corner square, pick up six stitches in the “valley” formed between the two gold squares. Pick up a seventh stitch in the side edge of the next gold square. Work a return pass as established: yarn over, pull through two across. Make a six stitch/six row square in this valley. Because this is Round Three, your next square will be a corner square.
If you were to continue this, and go a fourth round, you would start with a corner square, make two squares in the valleys formed by the squares in the third round, and then make another corner, followed by two more side squares and so on until the round was complete. Each round increases by four.
Continue working corners on corners and sides squares in the valleys between corners. It’s fast, easy, and works up quickly.
I had a really cool sweater necklace. You know the kind….long silver chain with a big charm on the end, just perfect for adding that little extra something to your collection of long winter tunics. The charm in question was a big metal tassel that jingled and shimmied in all the right ways to enchant my fluffy yarn assistant, Smokey. A few days ago he saw fit to relieve me of my tassel and while I was folding towels he reduced it to a little pile of broken chains.
But, I still had the necklace and the metal ring that the tassel was on.
Earlier that week, I’d seen a woman with a necklace full of feathers and I remember thinking “I need to get me some of that” except that I know feathers won’t survive in my house. I’m not even sure that they’ll survive me. It occurred to me that that I should crochet a nice, Tunisian leaf, and then it occurred to me that I had just finished my Unforgettable Infinity Scarf and there was a partial skein of Candied left over.
I worked the leaf into the metal ring, which was about 3/4″ across. A fun thing happened when I did that. because it doesn’t look like a leaf. It looks like a conch shell. I can kinda-sorta flatten it out to be leaf-like, but it goes right back to being a conch shell because of the tightness of the ring.
And here’s how I did it:
1 skein of Red Heart Unforgettable, Candied
3.75mm short Tunisian crochet hook
3/4″ metal ring
long necklace chain.
Take the ring off the chain. Using the hook, make a slip knot and work 10 single crochet around the ring. Do not join. If you’re confused about how to do that, just stick the hook into the center, and draw up a loop around the ring. It’s easy.
Chain one and turn. Work 2 single crochet into each of the 10 single crochet. 20 single crochet. Do not join.
Now begin your leaf/conch:
Work a 20 stitch leaf into the 2o single crochet you just made, using Tunisian crochet. You are making an entrelac base triangle. You will do this in the Tunisian double crochet stitch. Instructions for making this leaf are in other patterns, Unforgettable Lotus Motif (instructions on Tunisian double crochet) and Sunrise Mandala (instructions on creating an entrelac base triangle). This conch is actually one leaf, just like the ones in the lotus pattern. When you are finished, weave in your ends, slip the necklace chain through the ring and wear your statement necklace!!
Jewelry not your thing?
Make my Five Point Star and Short Row Circle motifs to with this little shell. Call the short row circle a sand dollar and the five point motif a starfish. Use them to embellish an existing project or make small, soft toys for someone who is done teething 🙂
Copyright 2015 Nicole Cormier.
You can make and sell items using my patterns but you may not sell the patterns. The patterns are free and traffic helps keep this site going, so please credit and link back to my patterns, do not post the pattern.