design process · DIY wardrobe · free pattern · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern · one skein wonder · pattern

Lace Beret, A Free Knitting Pattern

Happy Friday, Knitters!

Red Heart Yarns is offering my lovely lace beret design as a free pattern download! It’s sized for adult Small and Medium: 20 (22)” head circumference.

2017-06-02

The skill level on this pretty beret is intermediate because the stitch counts change on certain rows when working the lace, so keep that in mind if you try out the pattern. The beret uses Red Heart’s With Love yarn, which is a plump and soft 100% acrylic yarn. Since it’s not wool, this could be a summertime or winter hat.

Check it out on Ravelry for more details.

2017-06-02 (2)

Thanks for visiting me today. I hope you are having fun making whatever you are making! Leave me a comment to tell me about it.

Yours In Stitches,

Sara

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design process · free pattern · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern

My First Aran Sweater

Hi Knitters!

Last summer while sipping coffee at a play date, a dear friend of mine asked me a question. “Do you think you could knit an Aran sweater?”

How that little question changed my life as a designer and as a knitter!

I hesitated as I thought. “I don’t know.” I said. “I…think I could…”

The unspoken end of that sentence was “if I were good enough” or “if I weren’t too scared to try” or “if I could see it through” but as she waited for a reply, I skipped past  my automatic self-doubt and thought, “maybe I could.”

Maybe I could!

I had never attempted an Aran, had knit cables just a handful of times, and had never worked with more than one cable pattern at a time.

Our mommy conversations moved on, but I was still thinking about Arans.

Later as we packed our kiddos up in their car seats, I brought up the Aran sweater again. I found out that she especially loved Arans because she had lived in Ireland. She had loved it there and wished to bring home one of the amazing Aran sweaters she had seen, but never bought one because they were quite expensive.

I said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to make one, maybe I could do it as a design challenge for myself…it would probably take me a long time, but if I got through it and made one, would you like to have it?” She was very excited and said she would pay me, of course.

She is a rare gem who values handmade, and is willing to pay for it. I was grateful but declined the offer because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my creative life, it’s that payment = pressure. And pursuing creative passions under pressure can cramp the creativity and kill the passion. She kindly kept insisting, so we left it undecided.

Weeks went by.

I had Arans on my mind and worked to clear my plate of other projects, ordered some cream-colored yarn, and began doing research in earnest.

I used Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting, borrowed from my local library, as my tutor and started working on the design.

Dover Publications

At first, I puzzled over the hundreds of different cable patterns I found in stitch dictionaries and on Pinterest. How would I choose? What look was I going for? I studied many Aran sweaters, and decided I liked the strong look of a wide center panel. After a couple of false starts and struggling to swatch tricky but beautiful cables, I realized something important for all design and maybe for my life: I didn’t have to make it so difficult for it be beautiful.

Now on the lookout for simple cables, I landed on three that I had passed by in my earlier searches. I liked them and they were easy, so I adjusted two of them to mirror one another, and sequenced them to create seven panels across the front and back of the sweater.

Here is the chart I created in Excel for a single repeat of the front/back body.

Miss Clare’s Aran Sweater: single repeat of back and front body pieces (excluding neck shaping)

Chart Keys

If you look closely at the chart, you’ll see that the entire sweater is made up of knits, purls, 6-cross cables and 8-cross cables. It’s the strategic placement of the cables to create the central horn cable, the plaits, and the twists that gives intricacy to the entire sweater.

I was tickled pink by the fact that the cables coordinated with one another in 4-row and 8-row repeats. This also simplified the puzzle of remembering which cables to work on which row. Once I had my sea legs, the cables told me what to do next. Well, they didn’t start talking or anything, but I could just look and see what should happen next.

That said, I did mis-cross a cable early on, but I caught the mistake before too many rows got away from me, and was able to fix it.

Setting out on uncharted waters…with my trusty knitting chart and Little Sweater Girl nearby!

I worked on this project for about 6 weeks finishing in mid-November. Once the knitting was done, those separate sweater pieces sat on my dining room table for nearly a week.

Because I was scared.

Totally cowed.

Terrified is not too strong a word.

of Finishing.

In the past, I felt triumph and heartbreak at completing the knitting and virtually ruining the finished product because of sloppy seaming.

But as before when the designing got hard, I was spurred into action by thinking of my friend and her excitement over the sweater. I just had to get over it and make it for her.

Finally plucked up my courage and committed the sweater pieces to the laundry tub for a wash.
View of the sweater in process, being blocked and sewn together.
Thar she blows! My First Aran design and knit.
Proud designer selfie.
My lovely friend, Miss Clare, wearing the sweater for holiday, 2016.

What a great experience it turned out to be. What a confidence-building adventure. What a reward to see my friend wearing and loving her sweater that she told me reminds her of one of the happiest times in her life. Thank you for asking, Miss Clare.

So when’s the last time you thought, “maybe I could…

If you think maybe you could, you should!

For the love of trying, and learning, and making your dreams come true however big or small they may be, you should.

In Stitches,

Sara


p.s. If you would like to use my charts to make an Aran, leave me a comment and I can share some more details like a chart for neck shaping and my sleeve pattern. You should also check out the Alice Starmore book, Aran Knitting.

business · design process · free pattern · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern · pattern · tutorial

Red Heart Yarns: Fantastic Ripple Scarf

Hi Knitting Friends,

My needles were clicking fast back in January, and now I can share this fun freelance knitting pattern I designed for Red Heart Yarns: the Fantastic Ripple Scarf!

photo credit: redheart.com

 

photo credit: redheart.com

The scarf is a single repeat of traditional Old Shale lace, edged with garter stitch, and the coolest thing about it is that Marly Bird will actually teach you how to knit the lace in a video tutorial she did for Red Heart!

I hope you enjoy this free knitting pattern!

Yours in Stitches,

Sara

book talk · crochet · free pattern · giveaway · pattern

Crochetville Blog Tour: Shawl Talk, Free Pattern & Book Giveaway

Update: 4/1/2016: The book giveaway is now closed. Congratulations, Rubra! Thanks to all who participated!

Update: 4/3/2016: Bellamy shawl pattern is back to its normal price of $5.99.

Chugga chugga CHOO CHOO!

sara.kay.hartmann.crochet.express.ticket

Welcome to my stop on Crochetville’s NatCroMo blog tour. My name is Sara Kay Hartmann and I am a crochet designer and the author of Poetic Crochet: 20 Shawls Inspired by Classic Poems.

PC cover image

Have you ever made a crocheted shawl? There is no project I enjoy more. Shawls are luxurious and beautiful. Even though they look exquisite, they aren’t difficult to make. The same kind of stitches you already use to make baby blankets or potholders can be worked to make shawls that will last a lifetime and add a little romance to your wardrobe.

How I Got Started Making Shawls

I was a relatively new crocheter, and spent a lot of time online admiring the work of other crochet artists. I am a passionate knitter as well, and often read about the process of knitting and blocking lace shawls. I thought making lace was too hard for me, and my finished projects never seemed to look like what I saw in pictures–crisp openwork, ethereal fabrics, and elegant styles. I learned that with the help of wet-blocking and steam-blocking techniques, even simple stitches took on new life and achieved a more polished look.

Bellamy A

Wearing Crocheted Shawls

Even though we are modern folk who no longer lose our amethyst brooches in the lace of our country shawls (Marilla Cuthbert, anyone?), I advocate the wearing and enjoyment of shawls–the lacier the better. But how to wear a shawl without feeling stuck in the 19th century?

It’s all about the wrap. Shawls look stunning when swirled about the neck and top of the shoulders, allowing the arms to move freely. Unexpected. Chic. Almost urban, with a little of that European flair for using scarves and wraps as wardrobe-enhancing accessories. Cowls are all the rage these days and most shawls can be worn cowl-style to great effect. That said, if you are comfortable rocking the full-body wrap, you should go for it and look amazing doing it. Ponchos, ruanas, kimonos and shawls have been coming back in a big way so it’s our time, shawl-makers!

Aurelie5

Odette Shawl 3

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Freebies & Giveaways

Now for the good stuff…I have a couple fun things to share with you in honor of National Crochet Month!

♥ ♥ ♥ To celebrate National Crochet Month, the Bellamy Shawl is free for this week only! The pdf file is available here: this giveaway is now closed.

Bellamy Blog Tour

♥ ♥ ♥ I am doing a giveaway of a signed copy of Poetic Crochet. To enter, just leave a comment on this post! On March 31st I will do a random drawing from the commenters and the lucky winner will receive a free copy of Poetic Crochet plus the bonus material shawl pattern–if you have purchased Poetic Crochet, let me know so I can send you your PDF free pattern!

Thank you for stopping with me on Crochetville’s blog tour, I hope you’ll leave comments to enter the book drawing, enjoy the freebie, and try making a shawl!

♥ Sara

 

 

 

chitchat · crochet · crochet pattern · free pattern · one skein wonder · pattern

In the Press: Perfectly Pink Headband

Hi Crocheters,

Update 3/4/2017:

This pattern has been out for over one year, so I can now offer it to you free! Enjoy.

Free PDF Pattern Download: perfectly-pink-headband

I Like Crochet Magazine published a fun little design of mine in their February 2016 issue–the Perfectly Pink Headband!

If you’ve never worked with crochet post stitches, this is an easy design to get you started. I love the woven texture, and it’s pink for Valentine’s Day of course. Also, it’s a one-skein wonder making it a great stash-buster project.

Perfectly-Pink-Headband

Happy Stitching,

Sara Kay

crochet · free pattern · pattern · tutorial · Uncategorized

Last-Minute Granny Square Gifts: 6 Charming Projects Made from 1 or 2 Granny Squares

I was hard at work on an everlasting blanket of colorful crocheted granny squares when I realized I barely had enough for a crib-size baby blanket.

I couldn’t bear the thought of making 3-12 times as many squares to get the size I wanted and having to stitch them all together.

You know what I needed?

Instant gratification.

crochet

I started playing around with the squares I had to see what I could make with them as they were.

It was fun and yielded some ideas for this little series of gifts you can make from just 1 or 2 squares plus some extra yarn for the seaming and small details.

YARN, HOOK, & TOOLS

I used Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton! yarn in many, many colors and a size F (3.75 mm) crochet hook to make each of my squares. The Clover Amour crochet hook set is my go-to for every project but any old hook will work, of course!

Various other tools include a yarn needle, scissors, spray starch, fabric steamer, the odd button, a smidgen of sewing thread, headband elastic, wings, prayers, etc.

Please note that all of these tools are optional except the yarn needle and scissors.

NOTES

  • I finished each project with a gentle steaming to polish the stitches and make corners lie flat and smooth instead of curling. And a little spray starch wouldn’t go amiss on items like mug mats and tiny envelopes! I don’t usually starch items for wearing.
  • If you are new to granny squares, check out this link for help learning to make grannies. My grannies were made with 2-chain corners and 1-ch between each set of 3 dc along the sides. I changed colors for each round, and simply attached my yarn at any corner to get started.
  • Try to work over yarn tails whenever possible to cut down on the number of tails you need to weave in at the end.

One-Square Gifts

Tiny Envelope

Use this little pouch for giving gift cards, keeping love notes or holding business cards!

Materials:

  • 1 7-round granny square
  • button
  • sewing thread

Instructions:

Lay one 7-round granny square out  as a diamond with RS up. Fold lower three corners into center and crochet or sew seams to close. Turn right side out. Sew on a button at the bottom front of the envelope, fold top point down using the top corner eyelet as the buttonhole. Stuff with a love note and give!

Mug Mat

This little charmer is just a 5-round granny surrounded by a single round of single crochet. Give one as a mug mat or 4-8 as a coaster set!

Materials

1 5-round granny square (more if you want to make a coaster set gift)

Instructions:

Join contrast yarn at corner and work 3 sc in the corner, and 1 sc in each st; rep 3 times more around granny. Join with slip stitch and fasten off. Break yarn and weave in yarn tail.

mug mat

Bows, Bows, Bows!

Adorn a headband, a gift, a hat, or ear warmer with these sweet bows.

Materials:

1 4-round granny square

Instructions:

Pinch one 4-round granny square neatly in the center (adjust the pinch to make the bow folds even. Tie a length of about 20″ contrast color yarn into a square knot at the back of the granny to hold the bow shape with 10″ tails. Now wrap each tail around the bow center 8-10 times to reinforce and cover the gather, tie another knot at the back to hold the yarn wraps. Weave in both tails.

Other ideas: decorate gifts, make Christmas tree ornaments, baby bow ties, sew onto brooches or hot-glue onto hair clips. Try with smaller grannies to make them even more twee!

Two-Square Gifts

Arm Warmers

These colorful mitts will keep your mitts warm this winter. They are nice for texting, but for warmth you can also wear them over those cheap, stretchy $1 gloves to fancy them up a bit and extend the cuffs. Hate that chill that creeps in between my coat cuffs and short gloves, don’t you?

Materials

  • 2 8-round granny squares (I chose to make my 8th round in the same color yarn though my squares did not match)
  • Extra matching yarn to extend the cuff edge and sew up seams.

Instructions:

With RS facing, fold granny square so that 2 opposite edges line up and sew a seam from bottom for 4th ch-sp opening. Fasten off and break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. From the opposite (top) end, sew a seam to the 2nd ch-sp opening. Fasten off and break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Weave in yarn ends. Turn RS out.

Rnd 1: Join yarn at bottom edge seam and pull up a loop. Work hdc in seam and each st or ch-sp around cuff, join rnd with a sl st.

Rnd 2-3: Ch 2, *hdc betw next 2 sts; rep from * around.

Fasten off. Break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Weave in yarn ends. Steam lightly to finish.

Repeat for second arm warmer.

Fancy Gift Bag/Trinket Pouch

Fill this colorful little drawstring bag with marbles, candy, special soaps or any small gift.

Materials

  • 2 7-round granny squares
  • Extra yarn for seaming, making bag top, and braiding drawstrings

Instructions:

Lay 2 squares out with RS facing, lined up evenly. Sew or crochet a seam around 3 edges, leaving the 4th edges open to form the mouth of the pouch. Fasten off, break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Turn pouch right side out. Join extra yarn at a side seam and crochet one granny round around the mouth of the pouch as follows:

Edge Round: Ch 3, dc in next ch-sp, *ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-sp; rep from * to other seam, work 1 dc in last ch-sp, 1 dc in seam, 1 dc in next ch-sp; rep from * across other side. Join with a sl st to close round.

Braid drawstrings (make 2)

Cut 3 lengths of 20.” Tie a knot at one end and make a 12″ braid. Pinch to hold braid in position and tie another knot. Trim knotted ends evenly.

Thread both drawstrings in 2nd row of eyelets and tie to close pouch.

Pixie Bonnet

Sizes: Baby (Toddler, Child)

Note: The sizing is quite free for this design. The size shown was made for a toddler but modeled on a 4-month old baby.

She’s cute, isn’t she?

Yes, I am her mother.

Materials:

  • 2 7-round (8-round, 10-round) granny squares
  • Extra yarn for seaming and colorful braided ties
  • Optional adornment such as a bow, flower, or other doo-dad. Doo-dad is a technical term.

Lay grannies out lined up evenly with right sides facing. Sew a seam along 2 adjacent edges, fasten off, break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Turn bonnet right side out and join yarn at a seam corner.

Edge Round: Work granny row (3 dc in each ch-sp, ch 1 betw dc shells) along 4 open edges and join rnd with a sl st to close.

Make chin straps:

Cut 2 30″ lengths of yarn in 3 different colors (6 lengths of yarn total).

Thread yarns through chin corners of bonnet and pull until even. Create 3 sections of 2 strands each. Mix the colors as you like. Work a 7 (8, 10)” braid and tie off in a knot. Trim knotted yarn neatly. Repeat  for opposite chin strap.

Finishing

Weave in all yarn ends. Push the top corner seam outward for maximum pointiness–the more point, the more pixie. Steam lightly.

Decorate with optional adornment. Put on the nearest child and take adorable, winter-wonderland type Instagram photos.

I hope you enjoyed this series of gift ideas. Let me know! #lastminutegrannysquaregifts

Happy Stitching,

Sara Kay

free pattern · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern · one skein wonder · pattern

Mabel Mitts

Hi Knitters,

The Mabel Mitts are made in a plush lace rib that will keep you texting, stitching, and cozy all the while.

mabel

They are worked flat and seamed at the inside wrist leaving a thumb hole. You’ll pick up thumb stitches and work an easy-peasy gusset–so easy we should really just call it a tube–because it has no shaping whatsoever.mabel2

Cute and practical, these mitts work up in a snap of your fingers.

mabel snap

They also make nice gifts for friends you deem worthy of knitted lace.

The pattern includes a chart and written instructions so you can choose your own adventure!mabel8

 

 

Free PDF Pattern Download: mabel-mitts

In Stitches,

Sara Kay