It has been a while since I last posted; life has kept us very busy from struggling with health issues as I have been for the past week (some unknown illness with increasing symptoms that tha VA can’t seem to figure out, almost 2 years of sickness and frustration) to getting back into a homeschooling routine, taking care of the house and farm (always trying to learn more about homesteading, self-sufficiency and rabbit ranching), and then their was the County Fair which kept us really busy this year; you can read about that experience (and see all of our entries) HERE at www.4dfarmandrabbitry.wordpress.com.
Aside from that I have been occupied with filling orders and making new items for Handmade & Homespun itself. After placing an ad in Top of the Rock’s most recent program, I was contacted by a local boutique to do some custom crochet designs for the equestrian set of all things.
***TANGENT: My friend Peggy from www.porkchoptuesday.wordpress.com is a member of TOTR, a Choral group from Little Rock.***
***PLUG: If you are in the North Little Rock Area on Thursday,October 11th, visit the “Harmony Bazaar” at McCain Mall, 3929 McCain Blvd. North Little Rock, AR 72116, hosted by Top of the Rock Chorus. Shop 10 specialty vendors from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Special performance by Top of the Rock Chorus. No admission fee. All welcome. Located on the street level of McCain Mall in the food court area. Happy shopping!***
While I know a bit about various livestock and farm animals, and have learned a great deal about rabbits over the past year as we began to breed them, horses are not an animal I am very knowledgeable about. Admittedly their size and my lack of knowledge make me a tad bit frightened of them but crocheted horses don’t have the same effect.
Along with a herd of horses I have also crocheted a herd of rabbits (yes, they are called the same thing). Lonoke’s mascot is the Jackrabbit; with homecoming at the end of this week I was asked to crochet some Jackrabbit pins for an alumness to give as gifts to her classmates (if only I could get our 4D Bunnies to multiply as quickly as I can crochet these little guys; we have learned that rabbits don’t really procreate like, well, rabbits). And then for fun I recently crocheted several animal hats. I guess I have crocheted a veritable yarn menagerie. Check out my zoo below.
“And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good”. Genesis 1:25
Before we get caught up in handicrafts for fair and craft show season we are going to have a GIVEAWAY.
Who doesn't like to win free stuff? Especially a unique, handcrafted, gift item?
The prize for this giveaway is this one of a kind, crocheted, rabbit scarf.
Though definitely unnecessary during this summer heatwave, this quaint garment will keep you cozy and warm once old man winter starts to bluster.
As I’ve said many times before I am not capable nor am I interested in reinventing the wheel, l will augment it to fit my needs and I may even spruce it up from time to time and that is what I have done with the traditional Granny Star to serve as the Mug Rugs (coasters) to the Mug Hugs (coffee cup cozies) I made as thank you gifts for one of our national Senators and another for our district Congressman.
The Granny Star is a simple motif once you get the hand of it. There are numerous patterns and tutorials to be found on the web that one can use to learn to crochet them like THIS one from The Royal Sisters; their tutorial is succinct and articulate, easy to follow and the pictures are excellent. I use this as the basis when I crochet a granny square but I make alterations to the pattern to suit me.
First I like to use the Adjustable Ring as opposed to the traditional chain and join ring; I prefer there to be no hole in the center of my stars.
Other than the adjustable ring I follow the first two rounds of the Royal Sister’s pattern.
My third round differs as follows:
R3 ch: 1 and sc in the space between the last 3 dc cluster of R2 and the first 3 dc cluster of R2, *hdc, 2 dc, trbl, Adjacent Treble, trbl, 2 dc, hdc all in ch 3 space, sc in the next spece between 3 dc clusters from R2, repeat from *4 times replacing the last sc with a slip stitch to the first sc of the round.
*NOTE: The Adjacent Stitch (I used Treble) from Whole Lot of Craft’s Chromium Star Blanket (one of my favorite patterns) makes the round a bit less gappy and helps to make the points a bit more pointy; you could opt for another trbl here if you want.
And I finish off with a fourth round.
R4: ch 1 sc in the slip, sc in the next 4 stitches, *sc, dc, sc all in the augmented trbl, sc in each of the next 9 stitches, repeat from *4 times, sc, dc, sc all in the last augmented trbl, sc in final 4 stichs, jn with slp to 1st sc of round.
All of this makes a star that has defined angles and points without the need for blocking; I like coasters that can be thrown in the laundry and come out of the dryer usable and pattern pretty much ensures that happens. When making this motif to use as the Mug Rug to my Mug Hug I use a G hook and worsted weight cotton.
Of course, as with other motifs there is a plethora of things you can do with granny stars; use as a coaster, an applique, add a ribbon and a hanger and you have an ornament, string several together for a starry bunting, use thinner yarn or thread to make smaller stars for magnets, or to embellish hair ties, add some jewelry findings and you have a pair of earrings. The possibilities are endless. So have fun and be creative.
I planned to make this bunting as a way to use the star that I crocheted in order to write down the instructions for the way I make granny stars; since I was in between projects I thought it would be fun because these stars are just so much fun to make. This is a great stash busting project. I used a G hook and worsted weight yarn.
“And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars“. Genesis 1:16
If you are a crocheter then you know of this wonderful, invaluable web resource called Crochet Pattern Central, it is a sort of online library of free crochet patterns; there are patterns for almost anything you can imagine. I used CPC almost exclusively when I first learned to crochet, almost 9 years ago (coincidentally that would be how long CPC has been around, see info below). I have since used it repeatedly for inspiration.
The site Mistress, Rachel Geller, describes CPC as a “labor of love”.
From the site “… Crochet Pattern Central–an often updated online directory featuring precisely 18,430 links to free crochet patterns and tutorials. Choose from 90+ categories, including clothing, afghans, doilies, baby items, bags and totes, potholders, toys, stuffed animals (including amigurumi), and so much more” .
“… Crochet Pattern Central has had over ten million unique visitors and a mention in a 2005 issue of the widely popular Interweave Press Crochet magazine since its debut in December 2003.”
I was long ago counted as one of the over “10 million unique users” and as of this past Saturday I am counted among the ranks of the “18, 430 links to free patterns”, having submitted my, Mug Hug (Coffee Cup Cozy), pattern (the very first pattern I have ever written out to share with someone else) to CPC.
HERE is the link to the CPC ‘s Cozies page, where the link to my pattern can be found, titled Oh My Stars! Mug Hug & Rug, same as my blog post. The rug (coaster) part of the pattern isn’t there yet because I have not taken the time to write it out; as I said in the original blog post, writing crochet patterns is tedious, you must give meticulous instructions so that the person using the pattern can fashion the item they are expecting. If you miss explaining even one stitch you can confuse the pattern and exasperate the crafter which is why I have been reluctant to write and share a pattern until now; this is also the reason I have not yet written the rug pattern. I do hope to get to it soon.
Admittedly, neither the coaster or the cozy are masterful design creations. I wasn’t trying to make a piece of art or even reinvent the wheel, I was simply hoping to provide other crocheters with a straight forward pattern to make this practacle set, offering some of the techniques I have learned which have enabled me to make the thing exactly as I wanted it to look and needed it to function for me. In that vein, I hope this pattern will be helpful to others.
All of that said, I am THRILLED, TICKLED PINK, ELATED even, to see my pattern on CPC! Many thanks to Rachel for her efforts in providing us crocheters (knitters, check out Knitting Pattern Central) with this enormous selection of patterns as well as including my pattern therein; which, for this old farm gal, is really big time.
Happy Hooking to y’all and God Bless!!!
“The Lord bless you and keep you;the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace”. Numbers 6:24-26
While I thoroughly enjoy crafting and would love it if I could do so a great deal more frequently than I do, other endeavors and, well, life in general preclude me from so doing.
After having taken the time to write my first ever, complete crochet pattern, and compose an accompanying BLOG POST a few days ago, I had to turn my attentions to focus elsewhere on our homestead. The second heat wave to hit us here in Arkansas this summer has kept us busy tending to the rabbits numerous times a day in an attempt to keep them cool.
You can read about our rabbitry and various other aspects of our farm (the other things we do besides crafting ) at
where we chronicle our life as southern, suburban homesteaders, homeschoolers, and rabbitiers attempting to live each day, in every way to the glory of the Lord.
Handmade & Homespun comes under the umbrella of 4D Farm and Rabbitry as it is part of our homesteading/self-sufficiency endeavor. H&H is a way to use more of our gifts and talents to be productive and independent as well as try to supplement our income. As a SAHM and Home-Educator I obviously earn no salary (though as such I am paid in dividends far more precious than money) and living on only one income, plus the burden of paying for our school resources while still obligated to pay taxes for the public school system we don’t use, can definitely be challenging, especially in this economy. But I digress.
So, in order that we are a burden on no one, we attempt to sell our wares, barter and trade when possible and raise, grow, and make the majority of what we need right here at home. Of course doing so makes for an extremely busy day and often leaves little time for leisurely pursuits, and even though crafting is part of our business, it often takes a back seat to more time sensitive and pressing issues; like the care of rabbits and the education of boys.
It seems that the Good Lord is offering us a reprieve from the heat today (it is in the high 80s as opposed to the low 100s-HALLELUJAH!!!) which means the rabbits will require far less attention, that and the facts that I have: 1) a huge crock pot of pinto beans cooking, 2) cornmeal soaking for cornbread , 3) hardworking boys that did their chores without grumbling, complaining, or bickering, means that I have a relatively free afternoon which I hope to utilize on a craft project I have been waiting to try. With that as my goal I will bide you Adieu and will hope to have a crafty blog post to share in the very near future.
“… and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody”. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Though I have been crocheting for approximately 9 years, I have never shared with anyone, a pattern that I have written. I have created a large number of patterns but they are usually as Mozart said of his score when Emanuel Schikaneder asked where it was, “Here. It’s all right here in my noodle. The rest is just scribbling. Bibbling and scribbling, scribbling and bibbling” (Amadeus). Some times I jot down a note in a sort of short hand that only I understand because writing out full patterns is actually very tedious; you must be meticulous in your directions so that others can turn out the exact item they are expecting. I might make an annotation such as ”shape appropriately”, I know exactly what this means but attempting to convey that in a written form to someone else means I will have to write at least a paragraph worth of instructions as well as provide photos. Anyway, I decided I would sit down and write a simple pattern for an easy, functional project but before I share I am going to tell a story; so grab a cup of coffee, sit back and put your feet up while I regal you with my tale.
I have always been better at communicating serious matters in written form rather than verbally (well, except when it comes to crochet patterns) and though God has definitely had me to be more bold and extroverted over the past few years (that’s a story all in itself) I still write more eloquently than I speak (sort of a Moses complex, reference Exodus 4). Over the years I have used the power of the pen or more aptly the command of the keyboard (Command – KeyBoard, that’s punny) to voice my opinions in the political arena, after all the United States as a Democratic Republic is a government by the people for the people so we need to make our opinions/concerns known to those who represent us.
Most of the time I receive a pat answer, via e-mail, thanking me for my input and assuring me that said official is working to do what they feel is right for the constituency in regard to said matter. Well, I have been pleasantly surprised this year as I have received numerous return e-mails actually addressed to me specifically, answering direct questions that deal with very specific concerns. Further, I have received an actual letter from a Senator and a Congressman AND to top it all off I was called by a junior staffer from said Senator’s DC office wherein I was asked for more details about a specific matter I had repeatedly contacted the Senator about. I was pretty amazed by all of that. For once I really felt as if I was seeing politicians do the job for which they were elected and since both men have upheld what they assured me they would do (what I know is the morally and constitutionally right thing(s) to do) I thought I should say thank you to them for their efforts.
As an avid crocheter I could do nothing less than fashion them something out of yarn but what was I going to make? Of course it had to be red, white, and blue I mean you can’t pass up that cliché. I figured it should be something practacle and so I made these:
Everyone drinks a hot beverage out of a mug at some point (coffee, tea, cocoa, etc.) so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the Mug Hug & Rug/Coffee Cup Cozy & Coaster. Once completed I enclosed the gifts with my correspondence thanking each gentleman for their efforts on behalf of the people and assuring them of my continued support and prayers. I hope they enjoy these tokens of my esteem and I hope to enjoy a country where the legislation that each of these men is working on/voting for comes to pass. Regardless, God is sovereign, I am His and all will work to His Glory.
Can I get and AMEN?!?
Have you finished your cup of coffee yet, because that is the end of my story and you are going to need your mug as a model for this project. Below you will find my pattern for the Mug Hug that I sent to my national representatives.
Mug Hug (Coffee Cup Cozy)
1 Ball Worsted Weight Cotton Yarn (e.g. Sugar ‘n Cream, Peaches and Cream, Lion Cotton – naturally absorbs heat, protects hands against burns)
H Hook (I Hook optional)
1, 1″ Button
Blunt Nose needle for weaving in ends
Moss Stitch or Augmented Seed Stich Pattern: Foundation is a multiple of 2 chain stitches plus (+) 1. R1: Sc in the 2nd chain from the hook, dc in next stitch, *sc in next stitch, dc in next stitch, continue from * across row, ch 1 and turn. R2, *Sc in first st, dc in next stitch, continue from * across row. You are making an sc in the dcs and dcs in the scs of the previous row. Each row will ALWAYS begin with an sc and end with a dc.
***I like this pattern stitch a great deal as it breaks up the traditional lines that are characteristic of standard crochet stitches; it is easy, versatile and “handsome”. Makes attractive dishcloths, hats, scarves, and blankets.***
Foundation: Chain 35 loosely ***When crocheting my foundation chain I use a hook 1 size larger than the pattern calls for to help keep the starting and finishing ends the same size as the start edge tends to be tighter, thus shorter than the edge of the final row otherwise.***
*Note: When I crochet into my foundation chain I place my stitches in the back ridge of the chain, it makes the foundation edge more closely resemble the edge from the last row of the piece. For an illustration of this technique presented by www.crochetcabana.com click HERE and follow instructions for Method 2. ***If you are going to do the Optional Edging (see bottom of pattern) the standard Methods 1 or 3 will give you more room to accommodate the Reverse Single Crochet Stitch.***
R1: Sc in the 2nd chain from the hook, *dc in the next sitch, sc in the next stitch, continue from * across, ch 1 and turn (34 stitches)
R2: Crochet pattern across but do not ch and turn at the end of the 34 stitches rather chain 7
R3: Turn and sc in 2nd chain from hook, dc in next stitch, sc in the 3rd chain, dc in 4th chain, sc in 5th chain, dc in 6th chain (you are back to the main body of the project) and continue in pattern to the end of the row, chain 1 and turn (40 stitches)
R4: Repeat R1 pattern across row (40 stitches), chain 1 and turn
R5: Repeat R4
R6: Repeat pattern for 36 stitches (36th stitch should be an sc) chain 2, skip 2, sc in next stitch, dc in last stitch (button-hole made), chain 1 and turn
R7: Sc in fist stitch, dc in next stitch, 1 sc and 1 dc both in chain 2 space, continue pattern across row, chain 1 and turn
R8: Crochet pattern across row for 34 stitches (you should end on a dc), ch 1 and turn
R9: Crochet pattern across row, fasten off (*do not fasten off if you choose optional edging-see below)
Optional Edging: Reverse Single Crochet (aka: Crab/Rope Stitch) evenly around edge. *Note: to Crab Stitch around outside corners, crab in corner stitch, chain 1, crab in same corner stitch. For inside corners simple crab stitch one time in the corner. For a Reverse Single Crochet video tutorial from Kim Guzman (www.kimguzman.com) click HERE.
Finishing: Weave in ends and sew button to center of the wider of the two ends.
*Note: This fits our 11 and 1/2″ mugs beautifully but is a bit big on our 10 and 1/2″ mugs; try crocheting with a smaller hook or using fewer stitches to start with (remember the pattern is a multiple of 2 chain stitches plus 1 stitch (turning chain) so begin with 33 stitches rather than 35 for a smaller Hug.
Well, there you have it, my very first attempt at sharing my own written pattern. Leave me a comment if you try it; let me know if you need help or find errors. In the future I will share my interpretation of the classic Granny Star (Mug Rug/Coaster/Motif), which is a revision of the standard pattern that decreases skewing of the star in one direction while ensuring pointer points without blocking. I hope to blog about this soon so check back frequently to aquire the information.
*UPDATE: HERE is the link to my Granny Star Interpretation.
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended”. Romans 13:3