Posts Tagged ‘Crochet’

Hints for Making the Mamas and Papas of Cute Crochet World, Part 1 of 3

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Crocheted Mamas and Papas

I’m so glad reader and crocheter Janet S. asked for a little help with the Mamas and Papas of Cute Crochet World. She is using them to decorate crocheted bags.

Complete written instructions for the Mamas and Papas are on pages 137-141. The hair, clothing, arms, and legs are joined as you work. I like to weave in ends as I go.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Begin with the head. It is worked in the round, but it is oval because the stitches on the sides are shorter than the stitches at the top of the head and the chin. The tallest stitch is htr; find directions for htr here.

After you join the first round for the head, the neck is simply the first few stitches of a second round.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mamas and Papas have lots of hairstyles to choose from, with instructions for each on page 140. I’m giving this Mama a Cleopatra hairdo, which starts in the second stitch from the neck. You can see how I skipped the first stitch, and I’ve joined the hair color with a tr.

To join with a tr (instead of a sl st and ch 4), place a slip knot on the hook. Holding the knot in place with the fingers on your hook-holding hand, yo twice, insert the hook, and pull up a loop. Now you have 4 loops on the hook, so finish the stitch just like any tr.

Once you get the hang of beginning a row or round with a stitch (instead of sl st and chain), I think you’ll like it a lot. It looks neater than the sl st and chain at the beginning.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mama has the Cleopatra hair and Papa has a crew cut.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Turn Mama to the wrong side to start the dress. Work the first row into the three stitches of the neck. In the photo above, I have joined the dress color with 4 dc in the first stitch. The next two stitches are marked with arrows.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mama’s rounded sleeves are made with two clusters of 4 tr. The instructions tell you exactly how to do this. In this photo, I am at the top of page 139. I have 5 loops on the hook and I’m ready to yo and pull through all loops to complete the first 4tr-cluster.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

The first row of Papa’s shirt is similar to the first row of Mama’s dress—begin on the wrong side. The green arrow in this photo shows the beginning of the second row, where we make the sleeves. Ch 4 at the beginning of the row, then make a joined-tr. A joined-tr is attached to the chain, and keeps it from gapping.

To make the joined-tr for Papa’s shirt, Yo, draw up a loop in the 3rd ch from hook, draw up a loop in the first st. Now you have 4 loops on the hook, and you can finish this tr just like any other tr.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

End off after the first two rows of the dress or shirt. Weave in ends to get them out of the way. To finish the garments, turn to the wrong side and place the first sts into the sts shown by the green arrows.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

To keep the turning chains in Mama’s dress and Papa’s shirt from creating gaps, use a joined-dc. Instructions for that are on page 17.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

When the dress and shirt are finished, they’ll look like this. We’ll crochet legs and shoes in the next post.

Small and Simple Snowflake: A Free Crochet Pattern

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Small and Simple Snowflake, a free crochet pattern by Suzann Thompson

To round out the previous post about how to make the Snow Globe Doily, here are patterns for the small and tiny snowflakes used in the project.

“Small” is a relative term here. Compared to the Frost Flower snowflakes in the Snow Globe Doily, these flakes are small. But if you crochet them in heavy yarn, they’ll be big.

The smallest thread I used in the doily resulted in a 1 1/4″ diameter Small and Simple Snowflake. The flake shown here on the pink Christmas tree is 4 1/4″ in diameter, made with Lion Brand Lion Cotton (now discontinued, but the company now offers a similar heavy cotton yarn).

Small and Simple Snowflake

Pattern Note: Triple picot = ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook to form first picot, ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook, ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook, sl st in base of first picot.

Ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Round 1 (RS): Sl st into ring, ch 7 (counts as tr and 3 ch), (tr in ring, ch 3) 5 times, join with sl st to 4th st of ch-7 at beg of rnd (6 tr and 6 ch-3 spaces).

Round 2: Ch 1, sc in same st as last sl st of previous rnd, triple picot (see pattern note), sc in same st as first sc of rnd, ch 3, *sc in next tr, triple picot, sc in same tr, ch 3; rep from * 4 times, join with sl st in first sc of rnd (See NOTE below), end off (6 triple picots, 12 sc, and 6 ch-3 spaces).

Weave in ends and block.

Small and Simple Snowflake, a free crochet pattern by Suzann Thompson

Tiny Flake

Ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Round 1: Sl st into ring, ch 2 (counts as hdc), ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, *hdc in ring, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook; rep from * 4 times, join with sl st in 2nd st of ch-2 at beg of rnd (See NOTE below).

 Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

The Small and Simple Snowflake and Tiny Flake are part of this Snow Globe Doily. Learn how to make a doily like this in the previous post. The snow people in this photo have Tiny Flakes around their…feet?

NOTE: For better results, do not join with sl st. Instead cut yarn and needle join. Photo-tutorial for needle-join here.

Make a Snow Globe Doily with Crochet Charm Lace

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Imagine, for a moment, this dream crochet project: you can make it with leftover yarns or new yarns. You can mix yarn weights and textures. The finished piece can be any shape and size. Best of all, you won’t need to make gauge swatches.

Ah, what a lovely dream.

But wait! You can turn the dream into reality with a technique called Crochet Charm Lace. To do it you will need crochet motif patterns, yarn and hooks for crocheting motifs, waste fabric, safety pins, tapestry needle, scissors, and supplies for blocking.

For your first crochet charm lace project, consider making something small, like a scarf or the Snow Globe Doily shown here.

A Quick Summary of How to Make Crochet Charm Lace

  • Cut a fabric template in the shape of your choice. It won’t be part of the finished project.
  • Crochet motifs from one type or many types of yarn, weave in ends and block.
  • Arrange and pin motifs, face down on the fabric template and safety-pin in place.
  • Sew motifs together wherever they touch.
  • Remove safety pins and turn your crochet charm lace piece right-side-up.


For the Snow Globe Doily, you will need:

  1. A selection of white yarns and threads. The yarns in “Snow Globe” range from No. 30 crochet cotton (very fine) to worsted weight yarn, and they represent many different fibers, like cotton, linen, and wool.
  2. One or two icy blue yarns the same size as one or two of the white yarns you chose. To be used as accents and for filler motifs.
  3. A selection of crochet hooks to give a firm gauge with the chosen yarns.
  4. Books:
  5. Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More, “Snow-People” pattern.

    Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights, “Frost Flower” pattern.

    OR any patterns for small and large crocheted snowflakes and snowmen.

  6. Sturdy fabric to make a template in the shape you choose. “Snow Globe” is 16″ in diameter.
  7. Pens, templates (such as a large platter) as needed to make a template with fabric.
  8. Iron, press cloth, ironing surface, pins
  9. Patterns for Filler Motifs (see end of this post) and Small and Simple Snowflakes and Tiny Flakes (see tomorrow’s post)

Make a Fabric Template

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Cut out the desired size and shape of your project from any sturdy fabric. The fabric will not be part of the finished piece, but you need it to create the shape of the Crochet Charm Lace.

For the Snow Globe project, I traced around my largest round platter—about 16″ across—with a ball-point pen, onto leftover cotton twill fabric. Round is nice, but you can cut out a heart or square or whatever. You can even use a piece of clothing as a template.

Choose Motifs

The motifs used in Crochet Charm Lace are stand-alone crocheted motifs. In other words, they are NOT afghan motifs. We are lucky to have quite a few non-afghan motif books on the market, featuring everything from flowers to dachshunds to sea creatures.

I chose motifs from my own books to make the Snow Globe Doily shown here. The “Snow-people” are from Cute Crochet World. The large snowflakes are “Frost Flower” from Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights.

Two or three motif patterns are plenty for a crochet charm lace design. Pick your favorite flower and leaf designs, for instance. Or consider groupings like televisions and stars; oak and maple leaves; or clouds, umbrellas, and rain boots. Find several ideas here.

In addition to the main motifs, you’ll need small motifs to fill in awkward spaces in your crochet charm lace creation. A filler motif can be as simple as one round of single crochet or half-double crochet.

Choose Yarns and Hooks

Here’s a general rule for choosing yarn. If you have many textures and weights of yarn for your crochet charm lace project, keep to one or two colors for the major motifs; on the other hand, if you are using lots of colors, keep to a narrow range of weights and textures.

You are welcome to break this rule.

The filler motifs can blend or contrast. I chose DK weight cotton and wool yarns, No. 10 crochet cotton, an even lighter cotton than that, and even some handspun wool. My light blue filler motifs contrast with the mostly-white snowflakes.

Choose hooks that will give you a firm gauge with the different yarns. Consult the Craft Yarn Council’s yarn and hook chart at and go for the hooks at the smaller end of the scale for each weight of yarn.


Crochet enough motifs to thickly cover your fabric template. I crocheted “Frost Flowers” in several sizes of yarn and thread. The pattern in Crochet Garden includes a “Fancy Flake” option, which I used for a few of the flakes. I used pale blue as an accent in some of the Frost Flowers.

To add variety, I made Small and Simple Snowflakes and Tiny Flakes. I will post the patterns tomorrow.

Finish the Motifs

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Weave in ends and block the motifs.

To block, hold small motifs like these under the tap, squeeze out excess water, hand-stretch and flatten each motif, and press gently using a press cloth to protect the crochet.

When a motif just won’t lie flat, pin it out and let dry.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Arrange and Pin

Arrange motifs right-side-down on the template, with an eye toward distributing color, shape, and size in a pleasing way. Take them right up to the edge of the template. If you have a few large or major motifs, lay them out, more-or-less evenly-spaced across the template. Arrange the other motifs around them, with edges touching wherever possible.

Squeeze in as many motifs as you can, as if you were working a crochet jigsaw puzzle. They won’t all fit perfectly together, which is what results in the lacy effect of Crochet Charm Lace.

You may need to make a few more motifs. Estimate how many and make a list like the one in the photo below.

Do you see spaces that need to be filled, but they’re too small for the regular motifs? Make filler motifs, like my blue sc-circles, to fill those spots.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

In this experimental arrangement for the Snow Globe table mat, I was trying to figure out how many more flakes and filler motifs to crochet. Before pinning the motifs, I turned the pieces face-down.

Arranging motifs will probably take more time than you expect. Feel free to take a break and come back later.

As I arranged and rearranged motifs for the Snow Globe Doily, my daughter said, “Mom, the snow people should be holding hands.”

Her instincts were right, as usual, so I put them closer together with their hands touching. I also felt they would look better if they “stood” on the Tiny Flakes, which seemed more like solid snow.

Act on your thoughts and ideas about placing motifs. If you have a pretty satisfactory arrangement, but want to try something else, photograph the original arrangement first. That way you can recreate it from the photo, if necessary.

When the motifs are exactly the way you want them, pin each one to the template with one or two safety pins.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Sew Motifs Together

Sew motifs together wherever they touch, skimming the tapestry needle under the loops just inside the edges of the motifs (see the photo below). When you tighten the stitch, the motif edges will pull together on the right side (which you can’t see at the moment). The stitch won’t show on the right side.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Note how the sewing stitch catches the loops just inside the edges of the motifs.

For sewing, use the thinnest thread or yarn you crocheted with. For heavier yarns, reduce bulk by splitting 4-ply yarns into two 2-ply strands for sewing.

Sew with yarn that matches the color of one or both motifs you are sewing. You will frequently have to weave in ends, cut the sewing yarn, and start in a new place.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

On the wrong side of the piece (which you see while sewing), small lengths of sewing yarn may show at the edges of some motifs. The stitches will not show on the front.

For many crocheters, stitching is not the most fun. But keep at it. It’s worth it. If you need a morale boost, unpin a finished section of your crochet charm lace project and peek at the right side. I think it will give you incentive to keep going.


At some point, you will finish sewing motifs together. Really. You will.

And here comes the best part! My favorite! Take out the safety pins. This photo captures the moment: pins gone and then…

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Set the fabric template aside.

Imagine a drum roll.

Turn the piece right-side-up. Live the dream.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson


To supplement the instructions for the Frost Flower in Crochet Garden, please look for the photo-tutorial at

Sc Filler Motif

Ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Round 1: Ch 1, 7 or 8 sc into ring, cut yarn, and needle-join (also known as invisible join)–7 or 8 sc.

Crochet this Luxurious Picot Fringe Scarf!

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Picot Fringe Scarf by Suzann Thompson

Interweave Crochet Accessories 2016 brings us another project-packed issue, with a convenient pattern index that shows approximately how much time each project takes to crochet.

Among the more time-consuming—but totally worth it—projects is the Picot Fringe Scarf by me, Suzann Thompson!

Picot Fringe Scarf by Suzann Thompson

A pretty flower-lattice pattern makes the body of the scarf, while each strand of fringe includes six sets of picots. The subtly shaded yarn, Dream in Color Smooshy, adds depth to the already unusual and extravagant picot fringe.

The print magazine, Interweave Crochet Accessories 2016, is on newsstands now. Purchase print or digital versions online at

Photos copyright 2016 by Interweave Crochet, Donald Scott, photographer. Used with permission.

Recycling and Yarn and a Fairy Tale

Monday, August 17th, 2015

You never know how things come around and go around, until you can look back. Recycling is totally about things coming around and going around, and here’s what I can tell you about that.

Crochet! magazine with recycling article, Autumn 2015

My family has been into recycling since I was a kid. We started by collecting aluminum cans and selling them for 10 cents a pound. My brothers and I got to split the money.

For a long time, I despaired about old, worn, torn clothing and household textiles. I hated to throw them away, but at some point I had to, because what else could I do? Then my brother Van and his wife Kathy discovered American Textile Recycling Services at a green building event. They told me about it and solved one of my life’s dilemmas.

Since then we’ve recycled lots of textiles with ATRS, including shoes, pillows, old toys, and even fabric scraps and trimmings from my knitting, crochet, and art-making.

And then, yarn made from recycled textiles came to my attention. You can read more about these yarns in the Autumn 2015 issue of Crochet! magazine. The article is “How Recycled Textiles Become New Yarn,” on pages 10-12.

Flax flowers crocheted with Berroco Remix yarn

To write the article, I spoke to Debra, a very friendly and informative person at ATRS. She mentioned the ATRS blog, Our Greener Tomorrow. Maybe I could write a post for the blog at at some point, she said.

I did, and here it is: Suzann Thompson Retells Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Flax”

The flowers are the Rounded Petals version of “Millefiori” from Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers, crocheted with Berroco’s Remix® which is made from recycled post-industrial textiles.

Crochet a Book for Book Lover’s Day!

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Small Crocheted Book Tutorial

Book lovers, this is your special day! Holiday Insights, my go-to site for information on interesting holidays, doesn’t list a founder or group which sponsors Book Lover’s Day. In fact, some controversy exists about the true date of Book Lover’s Day—August 9th or first Saturday of November?

The answer doesn’t matter, because to me, every day is Book Lover’s Day. But I’m glad to have a reason to post a photo-tutorial for the “Little Square Book” on pages 120-121 of Cute Crochet World.

These photos and notes are to supplement the printed instructions.

The pages and covers of the Little Square Book are made with two rounds. In the second round, the corners have a lot of stitches in them. Working between the corners in Rnd 2, you hdc or dc in the next three sts. To do this, you must pull back the corner stitches to reveal the first of the three stitches in which you must place a hdc or dc.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

When the pages are finished and blocked, stack them as follows: back cover wrong side up, 3 pages, right side up, front cover right side up.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

To bind the pages and covers together, place a slip knot on you hook, and insert hook into ch-2 sp at corner of front cover, 3 pages, and back cover, yo (see Photo 2). Draw the yo through all the pages and through the loop on the hook.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Photo 3 shows the hook inserted into each cover and page, ready for the next stitch: insert hook in next dc of front cover, next hdc of each page, and next dc of back cover. Yo and complete a sl st, drawing the yarn far enough up to allow the pages to assume their natural thickness.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

When you are finished with the binding, the book will look like the one in Photo 4.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Now it’s time to crochet the book’s spine. Place the first st into the ch2-sp of the front cover, shown by the yellow arrow at right. Sk the next sl st. Sc into each of the next 7 sl sts shown by the yellow lines. Finally, sc into the ch2-sp at the other end of the front cover. This row is worked only the stitches of the front cover, and the sl sts made when you bound the book.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Here is the first row of the book’s spine, finished.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

The spine is 3 rows of crochet. Bend the spine around the end of the book, then sew in place to the back cover. Weave in ends.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

This book is the perfect journal for the tiny writer. Decorate with beads or embroidery, write on tiny scraps of fabric and sew them to the pages. Enjoy Book Lover’s Day.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

The Little Square Book, with its heart on its cover, visits with books by some of my favorite authors: Barbara G. Walker, Carl Jung, Terry Pratchett, and Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason.

Christmas in July: Make an Ornament from Crochet Garden’s Poinsettia!

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Wild poinsettia in bloom

The native poinsettias have been blooming this month, here in north central Texas, inspiring me to make a little Christmas in July!

Along with a few hints for crocheting the showier, everlasting Poinsettia in Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights, I’ll show you how I turned a crocheted poinsettia into a Christmas ornament.

For a very thorough Poinsettia photo-tutorial, please visit

Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

To make an ornament, you will need:

  • Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights, pages 91-93
  • Aunt Lydia’s No. 10 crochet cotton in your favorite red and green
  • US 4 (steel) (2mm) hook
  • 4″ square of felted wool, 1 each of green and red
  • Beads for flower center
  • Sewing needle, pins, sewing thread in green and red

I designed the Poinsettia to be realistic, so it isn’t symmetrical. That means we have to follow the instructions very carefully and avoid making assumptions. (Yes, me, I’m talking to myself.)

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

When Rnd 2 is finished, you’ll see three small petals (marked with ‘s’ in photo 1). These are like the small petals in the hothouse poinsettias we can buy around Christmas time. The small petals are worked into the hdc sts. The other petals are worked into the ch-spaces. They are supposed to look like red sticks.

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

Rnd 3 is worked around the red sticks of the previous round. First work up the side, placing stitches in the ch-2 space (yellow arrow at right), then the free loops of the chain (yellow dots on the right). Several stitches go into the ch-3 loop at the tip of the petal (pink arrow). Work down the other side of the petal into the stitches (yellow dots at left) and into the ch2-space (other yellow arrow).

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

Photo 3 shows a completed Rnd 3. Every two leaves have a ch-1 space between them. You will crochet into this in the next rnd.

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

For Rnd 4, fold the petals out of the way to the front. Sometimes you will ch 3 behind a petal (yellow arrow in Photo 4). Then you’ll anchor the next petal in the ch-1 space between petals.

Rnd 5 finishes the petals in the outer round. For the ornament, you don’t need to leave a long sewing length of red thread. The leaf is crocheted separately and sewn on.

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

To block the cotton poinsettia, I held it under the running tap, then stretched and pinned each petal to the ironing board, and let dry (photo 5).

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

To make the ornament, pin the poinsettia to green felt, leaving at least a 1/4-inch overlap around the flower.

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

The yellow marks in Photo 7 show how to sew the flower to the felt: sew invisibly (matching sewing thread helps) around the outside first. Gently sew down the sides of the top petals. Take one stitch in the tip of each small petal.

Add beads or other decoration to the center of the flower.

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

Cut excess felt away, leaving about 1/4 inch showing around the edges of the flower. Start by leaving too much felt showing. Cut away tiny slivers of felt until the border around the flower looks good.

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

This is how the ornament looks from the back. Ew, messy! But don’t worry. Use this piece as a pattern to cut a piece red felt. Now, go to “How to Make an Ornament Hanging Loop from Embroidery Floss or Crochet Cotton,” and follow directions for making a hanging loop.

Determine the top of your ornament and sew the hanging loop to the wrong side, with the loop emerging beyond the top edge.

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

Pin or hold green and red felt together, with red in back to hide all those stitches and the end of the hanging loop. With No. 10 crochet cotton, sew the layers together with a whip stitch or a buttonhole stitch (my favorite).

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

 Crocheted Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

The oak trees around here look like they’re celebrating Christmas in July, too. See their bright, round ornaments? Oh. Never mind. They are oak galls.

A Good Day for Mail

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The box on the front porch was from Sterling Publishing. Probably copies of Cute Crochet World in German. I was expecting them at some point. But there was more!

Crochet books in Russian and German

The Russian Crochet Bouquet was a total and happy surprise! Long ago, I took a semester of Russian, but the only thing I remember is pronounced “lyoo-blyoo”–“I love you.” I certainly love crocheters, whatever language they speak!

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

I hope you’re enjoying National Ice Cream Day! Here are some holiday-appropriate treats to crochet from Cute Crochet World. Enjoy!

Crocheted Ice Cream Cone

Crocheted Ice Cream Cone

Crocheted Ice Cream Cone

Shop, See Art, Learn at Quilt! Knit! Stitch!

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Double Bullion crochet workshop

The Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show in Portland OR next month is going to be great fun! I’m looking forward to taking a folk embroidery workshop and shopping at the market.

In addition to lots of three- and six-hour workshops and the retail market, the event includes exhibits of textile artworks. My own TextileFusion exhibit–knitted, embellished quilts–will make its national debut there. Yay!

I’m the crochet teacher, offering these workshops:

  • Full of Bullion (Stitch, That Is). The double bullion picot petal flower above is one of our samples for this class.
  • Pretty Picot-rama
  • What to do with Grandmother’s Doilies
  • Crochet Charm Lace

Please go to for more information and to register.