Free Waves Stitch Pattern + Cowl Tutorial!

One of my favorite stitches is the wave stitch. So, when Maddie asked for a scarf for fall, I knew right where to turn!

First, I pulled out a SpaceCadet Rainbow Mini-Skein Bundle and let Maddie choose the colors she wanted.

Rainbow Mini skeins for FreshStitches from SpaceCadet

(Since each mini-skein is 70 yards, I needed less than 3 to make a baby cowl… but one set would more than make an adult one!) Maddie is really into red, so she selected the red, pink and orange.

Psst… do you want this amazing bundle for yourself? Use the code RAINBOW to get 20% off the mini-skein bundle! Coupon valid until October 31, 2016.

Then, I grabbed a hook and started crocheting! With this fingering weight yarn, I used a C hook.
free crochet cowl tutorial
The result is lovely and drapey… and Maddie loves it!

Let me give you the pattern!

The Waves Pattern

In this pattern, sl= slip stitch, sc= single crochet, dc= double crochet, hdc= half double crochet, tr= treble crochet.
Free Crochet cowl tutorial
With A, ch 30.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across. (29)
Row 2: With A, ch 1, turn, sc in next sc, * sc in next sc, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts, tr in next 3 sts, dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 2 sts. Repeat from * once. (29)
Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st. (29)
Row 4: With B, Ch 4 (counts as tr), turn. * Tr in next st, dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 3 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts, tr in next 2 sts. Repeat from * once.
Row 5: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st. (29)
Repeat rows 2-5 until piece measures desired length (circumference of the cowl) and fasten off and sew ends together!

Free Waves cowl pattern

I used this pattern to make a cowl, but you can also use this pattern (repeating rows 2-5 until piece measures 5.5″ long) and add with other blocks to make a sampler cowl!
freshstitches sampler cowl

Visit this blog post for a granny square pattern!

What are you going to make?

So… you have the pattern for the waves stitch and a coupon so you can grab an amazing bundle of yarn… what are you waiting for to get started? I can’t wait to hear about what you make!

Sylvester – a free embroidery pattern

Sylvester - a free embroidery pattern from Shiny Happy World

Meet Sylvester. (A free embroidery pattern for you to stitch up!)

He’s a groovy monster who drives a groovy car.

He’s so proud of his car that he drives it everywhere – even when he only has to go a block or two.

Jo informs me that this is a bird – not a monster. I told her that any bird big enough and smart enough to drive a car is totally a monster. Big birds (but not Big Bird, of course) scare me. :-)

This is a very easy embroidery pattern – great for beginners because it only uses a few easy stitches. The pattern has links to videos teaching all of them. 🙂

You can stitch him on anything you can get in a hoop – a T-shirt, a towel, a pillow. You can even frame your finished picture in its hoop! He’d look great hanging on the wall of a kid’s bedroom – and you can customize the colors to anything you like.

Sylvester - a free embroidery pattern from Shiny Happy World

You can do it! Download the free embroidery pattern here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Holiday Roundup: Free Printable Gift Tags!

Have you wrapped all of your Christmas presents yet?

In case you haven’t, I thought I’d do a little roundup of cute holiday gift tags… all free printables!
gift tag

These are in no particular order… but they’re all adorable!

I’ve listed the source for each cute collection of gift tags underneath… so, visit the maker’s site to download. (and maybe leave them a comment to thank them for creating such awesomeness!)

by Nina Seven of We Love to Illustrate

by Bee of We Love to Illustrate

by Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive

by Rebecca

by Grace at Design*Sponge

by Emily at The Black Apple

from Domestifluff

by Stacey from FreshStitches (that’s me!)

Aren’t they all so cute?

Enjoy! And happy present-wrapping!

Crochet Mike the Monster from Monsters University!

Crochet Mike the Monster

I love monsters. And I love crocheting monsters. So, when I found out that Disney was looking for bloggers to write tutorials for crafts based on Monsters University, I nearly fell out of my chair.

Monsters-University banner

My love for monsters must have poured through the computer screen… because here I am, sharing my super-awesome crochet tutorial with you!

This tutorial is celebrating the release of Monsters University (in a Blu-ray combo pack) tomorrow! Hooray!

How do you pick just one monster?

I’ll confess. It was really hard to pick a monster from Monsters University to turn into crochet-form. The movie is just so darn chock-full of adorable and creative monsters!

Characters from Monsters University

I was tempted by Squishy (the multi-eyed cutie with a knit sweater!) and Terry & Terry (the double-headed duo)… what great shapes!

But in the end… I had to go with familiar and loveable Mike.

movies-monsters-university-character-art-4

You can crochet your own Mike!

Crochet Mike the Monster

To crochet Mike, you’ll need:

  • 2 colors of worsted weight yarn: green (250 yards) and white (15 yards)
  • Size H (5.0mm) crochet hook
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Small amounts of felt: black, white, grey and blue
  • Craft glue (one that works for fabrics)

Once you have your supplies gathered, download now.

The pattern download will take you step-by-step through the stitches you’ll need to bring Mike to life… too many for just one blog post!

Crocheted fingers

One of the things I love about Monsters University is how lifelike the animation is… and I didn’t want to lose any of that detail in the crochet version. That’s why I made sure to give Mike separate fingers and toes!

It’s a little extra crocheting… but I hope you love the results!

Add the details…

Once you’ve finished crocheting the pieces, you’ll need to decide which expression you’re going to give to Mike… during the course of the movie, you’ll notice that he sports quite a few!

mike-and-sulley-monster-university-wallpaper-wide

I decided to give Mike the wide grin (with retainer!) that’s featured on the cover of the DVD:

felt mouth

To make Mike’s mouth, use your pieces of felt and cut out the shapes you’ll need. First, cut a smile (or frown) from the black felt. Next, cut bumps (for teeth) from the white.

Here’s a trick: you don’t need to cut the teeth to fit the mouth perfectly. Just cut the top ridges for the teeth, then glue in place on the black mouth. Notice how, in my photo below, the white is hanging off the side of the black:

shaping a felt mouth

Once the glue dries, trim the excess white, and you’ll have a perfect mouth! A simple line of grey makes the retainer.

Since you’ve used yarn to make Mike, a craft glue will hold the smile in place:

mike1

Isn’t he so cute?

More accessory ideas

I’m a real sucker for the University-wear sported in the movie!

mike-wazowski-monsters-university-18119-1920x1080

How cute would your crocheted Mike look with a knitted blue and white scarf? Or an MU pennant made from felt? Use your imagination!

You can also get super-creative and make multiple expressions… and attach them to Mike with use hook and loop tape! He’ll be a toy with many emotions!

Are you going to get crocheting?

I had so much fun watching Monsters University and crocheting a Mike… I see more monsters in my future.

I hope you absolutely love this free pattern download as much as I do!

Helpful Links

Be sure to share the cutie monster you crochet!

Disclosure: This is a compensated post from Disney and Blueprint Social. I received a copy of Monsters University. All opinions are my own. I received permission to create a pattern using the likeness of Mike.

5 Social Media Tips for Building your Brand (for Designers)

I’m excited about today’s blog post… it’s a guest post written by the fabulous ladies at The Wool Wide Web!

Wool-wide-web-logo3

In case you haven’t heard, The Wool Wide Web is a marketing firm, focused solely on the yarn industry. Today, they’ve written up some tips for designers for using social media effectively… AND they’ll chat about their designer’s database. Keep reading!

Social Media Tips for Building your Design Brand

5 Social Media Tips for Building your Brand

1. Be yourself. Don’t try to be perfect, and don’t try to be someone else. Your readers will appreciate your authenticity.

2. Connect with others in the industry. This can mean commenting and reposting posts on social media, collaborative pattern projects, guest blog posts, and so much more.

3. Utilize social media apps efficiently. Working from home means you need to be more organized and disciplined with your limited time. Try using Yarndealer.com, Hootsuite, Tweet Deck, or other apps to pre-schedule posts and manage multiple channels so you can work efficiently.

4. Find your brand. If you can have a consistent style, photography, and pattern writing style people will be able to recognize your original designs before they even read your name. This takes time and a lot of thought and practice to achieve, but have no fear, you can do it!

5. Share your creative process. People love to understand where the ideas come from, and telling the story behind your designs can help people to connect to your pattern and you.

Join the Designer’s Database!

The majority of our clients are yarn companies and large yarn retailers. We found that our clients were seeking help in finding designers to work with for pattern support, because we all know that patterns sell yarn. We also heard from designers that sometimes it’s difficult to make the right connections with companies that share the same aesthetic. Thus the Designer Database was born! We offer this as a free service to designers to help them connect to our clients.

connect people

How does it work?

A client will tell us that they are looking for pattern support. We try to find out what type of arrangement they would be comfortable with, their budget, the goal of the desired patterns, and the style and type of patterns they would like. Then we contact designers who we think would fit those qualifications, and facilitate a collaboration between the yarn company and the designer. We are matchmakers!

Why is this better than just contacting yarn companies directly?

You may already have connections with yarn companies, and that’s fantastic! We’re here to help designers and companies to make new relationships. We’ve heard from companies that they don’t know how to go about finding designers, and so we originally started this service for them. We also see this as an opportunity to improve our industry, and efficiency for designers. As a designer you might not get a response to an email inquiry, or your style might not fit the type of patterns that the company supports. The Wool Wide Web is here to do the legwork for you, so that you can get busy with creating beautiful patterns.

matchmaker

Sounds great, sign me up!

If you’d like to be included in The Wool Wide Web Designer Database fill out this survey so that we can get all the information we need from you. We also send out a quarterly newsletter with news on companies that are offering yarn support and successful matches we’ve made.

And while we’re here, we’d also love to share some of our social media expertise with you! As a knit/crochet designer it’s important that you not only market your patterns, but market yourself as well. Stacey is a great example of this. She’s done an amazing job of connecting with her readers and customers, and creating a community through her crochet toys.

Free downloadable tags for your amigurumi!

My free holiday gift tags were such a hit that I’ve made some more!

If you’re a reader of this blog, you’ll know that I allow animals to be sold from my patterns, I just ask that you mention that it’s a FreshStitches design. To make it easier… I’ve made tags that include the info!

For your downloading and printing pleasure, I introduce to you… the amigurumi tag collection!
ree download gift tags for amigurumi crochet

Making some amigurumi? You’ll want to download these adorable tags!

I designed these tags specifically for your cutie stuffed animals… and even included a few tips for display!

Once you download and print the tags, you’ll want to fill out the tag with all the crucial info. Check out my example:

example tag for your amigurumi

The tag easily folds in half… and is ready to adorn your cutie!

Enjoy!

Pledge to Ten (minutes, that is…)

We all know that most New Year’s Resolutions fail. Do you know why? They’re too grand… too lofty. And they often seem impossible.

So here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to set a practical crochet goal, and dedicate 10 minutes a day to reaching it. You have ten minutes a day, right?

And I’m going to give you a handy worksheet to use. Sounds do-able, huh?

Set realistic expectations, and remove roadblocks

If you’ve never knit before, then you’re probably not going to knit your first sweater this month. (Sorry if I’m the one who had to burst your bubble on that one).

But, there’s good news… the needle arts (knitting, crocheting, sewing) are all about putting in practice. I can pretty much guarantee you that if you practice in a consistent way (even if it’s not for huge blocks of time), you’ll get better.

help for reaching your crochet goals mantra

So, step one: pick a realistic goal that you think you can accomplish in a month.

Okay, onto step two (and I think this bit is really important!). You’re going to remove any possible roadblocks that you can think of that might come in between you and your goal. How many times have you sat down, ready to work on a project… only to discover that you don’t have the right hook?

The best way to guarantee success is to solve all of your roadblocks in advance. Before you begin working on your goal, gather all your materials and tools. This means downloading your pattern, getting your supplies, and even bookmarking resources that you might need. Then, when you need help… you won’t be slowed down. You’re prepared.

The Worksheet

easy crochet goals worksheet download

Now… here’s your helpful worksheet. Go ahead and download the pdf version.

Notice that there are 4 weeks, with 6 boxes each. Can you commit to spending 10 minutes a day, 6 days a week, to working towards your goal?

And if you find a little spare time… buy all means, keep going!

What’s important is that you consistently spend a little bit of time working towards your goal.

Let’s have a peek at an example:

goal setting for crochet, help

Look at how I came up with a list of concrete and helpful steps that will remove roadblocks and help me reach my goal. Nothing crazy… just little things that will help make the goal easier.

What’s your goal?

Notice this worksheet isn’t about setting your goals for all of 2013… it’s about picking one thing that you’d like to do within a month. Easy. No pressure.

If you’re feeling daring, you can print out 12 worksheets, one for each month. But, that’s optional! Start with the first month, and see how you go!

Crocheting should be fun, right?

Tell me about what you’re going to start with… I’m excited to hear your goals!

Yarn Bombing + Free Crochet Flower Pattern!

Did you know that this week is World Wide Knit in Public week? To kick off the week, my LYS had a yarn-bombing event to decorate the parking meters and trees in front of the shop.

Want to know what makes a yarn-bombing party ROCK (besides kettle corn)? Adorable crocheted flowers! I’ll share some easy patterns for crocheted flowers with you… they’re so easy, even newbie crocheters were making their own!

Easy Crochet Flower

New to crocheting? Want to make a cute flower that’s easy to sew on to any project? This flower’s the one! Grab any yarn and an (approximately) appropriate sized hook, and you’re good to go!

Check out this video for a quickie lesson on Single Crochet.

When you’re done, fasten off and add the flower to whatever you’d like!

Dangling Crochet Flower

Want a flower that will hang from the trees? (A yarn-bombing essential) Modify your easy flower pattern just a little…

Then use the chain to attach/hang your flower as you please!

Deluxe Crochet Flower

Ready for a flower with a little more pizzaz? Give this two-layer flower a try!

We had a fabulous time knitting and crocheting and decorating our surroundings in celebration of World Wide Knit in Public Week!

The best part was releasing a whole bunch of new crocheters into the world..

With these easy flower patterns, you can be a crocheter, too!

A Crocheter's Guide to Pattern Reading- free download

Do you know how to crochet, but feel like patterns are a foreign language? You’re not alone!

Many of us crocheters learn how to do the stitches from a family member or friend, and don’t learn to read the patterns until much later. And it’s true, reading a pattern can be scary… but well worth learning how! Once you can read a pattern, you’ll be able to make anything!

I teach a class called ‘Pattern reading for Crocheter’s’, and since I want all crocheters to be able to read patterns… I’m sharing the ‘helpful hints’ page from the class with everybody!

Click here to download this page as a pdf (much better resolution)!

Of course, I know this hints page isn’t a substitute for the full class… but I’m hoping that it’ll help you with a few tricky parts about pattern reading!

And of course… feel free to post any questions you have in the comments section- maybe it’ll become a future blog post topic!

Free printable gift tags!

The holidays are fast approaching… and what better way to top off your handmade creations than with a cute gift tag? I’ve made 4 adorable gift tags for you to print that would go perfectly on your amigurumi, or anything else handmade!

To grab these gift tags, just right-click the image above and “save as”. Then, print the tags and fill in the information (like I did at left)… and spread the holiday love!

On the back, you can jot down some information about the yarn you used and care instructions. For example, on my stuffed animals, I usually write, made with 100% wool, spot clean with cold water (because I like using wool yarn for my amigurumi). Giving this information to the recipient will ensure that they’ll take proper care of your carefully-crafted creation!

Happy holidays!