Five Things to Crochet in the Spring: Free Pattern Roundup

What to Crochet in the Spring: Five Free Crochet Patterns

When spring and summer roll around, many yarn-crafters get the blues.  No more Outlander cowls with super-bulky wool.  Bye-bye heavy mittens.  The urgency of making Christmas gifts has long gone, and we’re left wondering: “Now what?”

If you’re like me, you like to knit and crochet what you can use or give in the relatively near future (if not the immediate present).  So, while it is always fine to start a months-long journey into a fair isle cardigan, it might be more fun to work on quick projects that can be used right now, in the spring.

These are five of my favorite milder-weather crochet patterns.  The links to the free patterns are included, along with photos of some of my finished versions.  I am also providing some notes about yarn choice and pattern tips.

Five Free Spring Crochet Patterns:

1.  Crochet Baby Mary Janes

Free Pattern from Whistle & Ivy: Little Dot Mary Janes

Pictured Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Brites in Grape

Baby Mary Janes 1
Crochet Mary Janes Baby Shoes

These little cuties come from the amazing Whistle & Ivy blog.  I opted to make mine without the “dot” detail in the pattern, instead using a vibrant grape color and a basic white button.  Once you get the hang of the teeny tiny shoe pattern, you will be able to whip up pairs of these in no time.  I will say, for me, they ran small.  I went up a hook size to achieve the correct measurement.

Finished product also available in my Etsy shop: Baby Mary Janes

2.  Whale Tissue Box Cover

Free pattern from Moogly: Get Whale Soon Tissue Box Cover

Pictured Yarn: Sensations Everyday Solids in Turquoise (Discontinued)

Alternative Yarn Suggestion: I Love This Yarn in Turquoise

Whale 1
Whale Tissue Box Cover to Crochet

This is such a fun project.  This whale is whimsical and fun for any place in the house, but works especially well in a kids’ bedroom or bathroom.  I thoroughly enjoy many of Moogly’s fabulous patterns, but this is one of my favorites.  I use a tiny bit of black yarn to make the smile, and simple plastic black buttons for the eyes.  The tail was the only slightly challenging aspect of this pattern.  Otherwise, it is simple and fun.

Purchase a finished product here: Whale Tissue Box Cover

3.  Toddler Tutu with Crochet Bodice

Free pattern by Patricia Klonoski available for download on Ravelry: Empire Waist Crochet Tutu Dress

Pictured Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Country Blue

Olivia Tutu 1
Crochet Bodice Toddler Tutu Dress

This tutu dress is great.  I chose not to add the flower, because I opted for wild, multi-colored tulle in the skirt.  It has a tie-back closure, so it can work for a variety of sizes, really.  I thought this would make a perfect first birthday outfit, especially for a photo session.  It would also be really adorable as a flower girl dress, which could be done in all white or the wedding colors.

Purchase a finished tutu here: Crochet and Tulle Tutu Dress

4. Boho Headband

Free pattern from DROPS design: Twined Ivy

Pictured Yarn: Bernat Vickie Howell Cotton-ish in Crimson Twine

Headband 1
Crochet Boho Headband

I didn’t follow the yarn and hook recommendations within the pattern.  I used a light-weight yarn in a cotton blend.  I also used an E or F hook.  Gauge isn’t really important to this headband.  The tie-back closure is cute, and it makes it work for any size.  I think this headband is so fun, especially with the boho trend going on.  It works with an everyday look, and updo, as a festival accessory, or even as a headpiece for a casual boho wedding.

Finished headbands for purchase here: Boho Crochet Headband

5.  Emma Ruffle Washcloth Set

Free Pattern (by yours truly): Emma Washcloth 

Pictured Yarn: Lily Sugar ‘N Cream in Rose Pink, Mod Green, Hot Purple, and Sunshine

IMG_5419
Crochet Dishcloths with Ruffles

I like girly, frilly, feminine things.  Pink and purple are my favorite colors, and I am a sucker for a ruffle.  So, I created this pattern to fit those criteria and brighten up my house a bit.  I like to choose three or four colors and make a set that coordinates.  This makes a really nice gift for a bridal shower, hostess, birthday, mother’s day, etc.  They work up larger, but because they are made with cotton, they’ll shrink once they go through the washer and dryer.

Purchase a complete set here: Emma Washcloth Set

I hope you enjoy making some of these things this Spring.  If you do, I’d love to see your work in the comments.  Also, feel free to share any of your favorite go-to patterns for the Spring season.

-Jeris

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Yarn Weight: Selecting the Correct Yarn for Knitting and Crochet Projects

When I was new to knitting, I was so excited to get started on a project that I just jumped right in.  I didn’t bother to make sure I had the “proper” materials.  I had needles.  I had yarn.  I was good to go.  So, why did my first hat turn out WAY too big?  Why did some of the stitches seem way too tight?  Way too loose?

I began digging a little deeper into the details of the patterns.  First, I saw that I was to use a certain needle size.  Okay.  That is easy enough.  Then, I noticed that there was a specific yarn suggested, along with a number and a weight name (something bizarre, called “worsted weight”).  Then, there was a “gauge” I was supposed to check once I had the right needle size and yarn weight.  My gauge should be roughly the same as the gauge listed on the pattern, and that will ensure the right size and shape of the finished product.

Ah.  Now I knew I needed to slow down and gather all of the right tools in order to successfully create the finished product.  That meant I had to figure out what all of the symbols and numbers on the yarn wrapper meant.  In an effort to make this process easier for any beginning knitters and crocheters, I have provided the following quick “cheat sheet” of sorts.  For now, I am focusing on yarn weight, which is (in my opinion) the first thing to look for on a yarn label.

Yarn Weight

Whenever I begin a project, the first step in selecting the right yarn is looking at the weight.  When working from a pattern, a yarn weight is specified in order for you to obtain the correct gauge, and therefore a correctly-sized project.

There are, as of now, eight yarn weight categories.  They range in number from 0-7, 0 being the smallest, lightest yarn, and 7 being the thickest, bulkiest.  If your pattern indicates a “4” yarn weight, you can almost always choose any yarn, as long as it has a “4” on the yarn wrapper.  The type of yarn will impact that to some degree, as well, but it is important to start with the right weight.

Here are the eight yarn categories, by number and name.  I have also included some of my favorite yarns in some of those weights, just for fun. 🙂

  • 0-Lace
  • 1-Super Fine
  • 2-Fine
  • 3-Light: I like Bernat Softee Baby Ombre
  • 4-Medium: I like Lion Brand Heartland
  • 5-Bulky: I like Lion Brand Homespun
  • 6-Super Bulky: I like Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick
  • 7-Jumbo

Typically, the larger the yarn weight, the larger the knitting needles or crochet hook used.  Larger yarn and needles/hooks work up faster, creating bigger, chunkier stitches.  Smaller needles/hooks and yarn weight create more delicate, tighter stitches.  All the details about each yarn weight, including the yarns that fall into each category type, can be found at the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System page.

Keep in mind that other factors will impact the gauge of your project, including how tightly or loosely you stitch and the material of yarn (such as wool, cotton, etc.).  Once you have a handle on selecting the right yarn weight for your project, you will have more things to consider, including the care instructions and yardage of the yarn, but this will be a good place to start.

Hand-knit newborn baby hat.

Why You Should Learn to Knit (or Crochet)

Why should you learn to knit or crochet when you can just buy a hat or blanket already made, and likely cheaper than the cost of yarn and supplies?  There are actually numerous benefits, both physical and emotional.

I stumbled into the hobby of knitting when I was in grad school.  I was studying English Literature, and I had a lot of work to do, especially while writing my thesis.  I am also prone to stress and anxiety, and I needed an outlet, a way to relieve stress while still feeling productive.  I’ve always liked art and making things, so I decided to try knitting.

At first, I found it overwhelming, and the results were less than fabulous on my first few attempts, but I quickly found it to be a rewarding, ever-evolving source of peace and fulfillment.  Naturally, I had to learn to crochet, as well, which has produced many of the same results.

Without further ado, here are my top reasons to learn knitting or crochet:

1.  It relieves stress.  They have actually done studies on this, like the one found here.  The process of knitting or crochet keeps your hands and your mind busy while producing a tangible result for your efforts.  It is very soothing in that respect.

2.  You can do it (almost) anywhere.  If you’re like me, and you don’t enjoy idle time, knitting and crochet are great hobbies.  They are portable, so you can do them while riding in a car, on a plane (if regulations are followed, of course), or while watching TV.  Unlike other arts, such as painting or quilting, for instance, you can get your creative outlet on the go.

3.  You can make pretty, unique things.  If you get the hang of knitting or crochet, you can make beautiful things with even basic stitches.  You can make yourself a new hat and scarf set, or you can create matching cable-knit sweaters for your children.  Soon, friends and family will be requesting all sorts of items for birthdays and holiday gifts.

4.  It keeps your mind sharpResearch has shown that knitting can actually keep your mind sharp.  Once you have a handle on the knit and purl of it all, you can start creating your own patterns, which only ups the brainpower used during the stitching.

5.  It’s fun.  Last, but certainly not least, knitting is fun.  It is really cool to see something come to be from yarn and two sticks.  You can express your personality in what you make, and it is enjoyable to see what you can create.

So, there is really no reason to hold back.  Pick up a set of needles, a skein of yarn, and get knitting.  If you’re looking for a great place to get started, check out the Lion Brand website‘s tutorials.  They are very helpful.Knit unique items for special occasions.