Saturday, January 29, 2011

Manly Sports Lapghan (Illini) [Pattern]

Illini Lapghan
One struggle I've always had with making items for men is that crochet is just not a manly looking craft. many of the stitches are frilly or open - and let's face it, the manly men just don't like it too much. I have successfully been able to make manly scarves, hats, and afghans for male family members and friends, so when my husband was complaining of being a little chilly in the living room, I thought this was a good opportunity to make him a lapghan for his recliner.

The colors he wanted: Illini Blue and Orange.

My final lapghan ended up being 21 stripes long which was long enough to go from his mid-waist and cover his feet, giving him a little extra room for when he lays back in his recliner. Basically - this is a LONG lapghan that covers your lap, legs, and feet. You can make it shorter if you want by simply not doing as many stripes.

Leave it to my husband to want something sports related. I thought about a good pattern that would incorporate both colors and not be too loud or too girly - and this pattern is the answer.

By Cris

Hook Size: J
- 3 skeins Red Heart Super Saver Royal (Color A)
- 2 skeins Red Heart Super Saver Pumpkin (Color B)

Note: The sports fan in your life doesn't have to be an Illini fan to make this lapghan. If he or she likes a different team, just find those two colors and replace Color A with the darker of the 2 colors and make Color B the lighter of the two. Simple as that.

ch = chain
st = stitch
sc = single crochet
hdc = half double crochet
bp-hdc = back post half double crochet

The hook goes into the back of the work for bp-hdc
The difference of a bp-hdc to a regular hdc is that the hdc is done using the top two loops of the stitch below it. The bp-hdc is done by inserting your hook around the back side of the work, around the post of the stitch below, and pulling your yarn through (as illustrated you can see where the needle should be).

The bp-hdc creates a raised "ridge" down the work by pushing the top loops of the stitch forward. All the bp-hdc ridges are on the same side of the lapghan to give an interesting stripe within a stripe texture.

NOTE: A "stripe" is defined as a block of the same color. A single stripe consists of multiple rows of a single color.

Finished size is approximately 31" wide and 52" long. I say "approximately" because gauge is not important and you are encourage to modify the patternnto be exactly the dimensions you need. This is a multiple of 1 pattern so you can add and subtract width as needed to fit your needs.

stripe 1
Ch 126 (or whatever number you feel fits the width needed for your lapghan)

Row 1
sc in 2nd ch from hook
sc in every st until you reach the end

Row 2
ch 2 and turn work
hdc down the row

Row 3
ch 2 and turn work
bp-hdc down the row until you get to the ch 2 (from previous row)
hdc in ch 2 to finish row

Row 4 - 6
ch 2 and turn work
hdc down the row

Row 7
ch 2 and turn work
bp-hdc down the row until you get to the ch 2 (from previous row)
hdc in ch 2 to finish row
Tie off and attach Color B where you tied off

A better view of the raised stitches created by bp-hdc
REGULAR STRIPE (in color opposite of previous stripe)
stripes 2 - 20
Row 1
ch 2 and turn work
hdc down the row

Row 2
ch 2 and turn work
bp-hdc down the row until you get to the ch 2 (from previous row)
hdc in ch 2 to finish row

Row 3 - 5
ch 2 and turn work
hdc down the row

Row 6
ch 2 and turn work
bp-hdc down the row until you get to the ch 2 (from previous row)
hdc in ch 2 to finish row
tie off and attach the other color where you tied off

REPEAT the REGULAR STRIPE row pattern until you reach the length you desire. Using 2 skeins of each color, approximately ____ "regular stripes" (not counting starting stripe) should be able to be completed before doing your finishing stripe. Your regular stripe pattern repetitions will stop with Color B so you can finish the last stripe in the darker color.

stripe 21
Repeat Rows 1-6 of the regular stripe pattern but do not tie off at the end of row 6

Row 7
ch 2 and turn work
hdc down the row

If you do not want to put an edging on your lapghan, you can snip the yarn and tie it off now. Weave in all your ends and your lapghan is done. I prefer to edge practically everything I make so if you are wanting to edge your piece, do not snip the yarn.


edge row - Color A
ch 1 (at the corner) - do not turn the piece
1 sc into the cornr
*sc down the side of the piece
in next corner, put in 2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc*
repeat between * until you make it back to your starting corner.
for the final corner, put 2 sc into the starting st, ch 2 and sl to close
tie off

You can stop the edging after one row or continue on with more rows of sc either alternating colors OR in the darker of the two colors.

1. You can increase the hdc rows between the bp-hdc rows in the stripes to make the overall stripe width wider. If you choose to increase the thickness of the stripes, you have to increase it by 2 more hdc rows at a time. The number of hdc rows between the bp-hdc rows must be an odd number.

2. By making a longer starting chain, you will have a wider lapghan

3. Making a wider and longer lapghan turns it into a very warm afghan for any bed.

4. Add fringe

5. Make your chain length the actual length of the lapghan instead of the width and you will have vertical stripes instead of horizontal (in relation to your lap)

Remember - if you modify the width of the stripes of the lapghan itself, you will need more than the 2 skeins of each color.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scarves for IL Special Olympics

I pledged 5 scarves for the 2011 Special Olympics for Illinois - I have finished 10!

This is just a quick shot of the box I had planned on filling.... and noting that I ended up having to use two boxes. I'm excited to be able to participate in such a wonderful project. Anyone who creates knows that if your output is less than your input (what you make vs. what you send), then you end up with a big mess!

So it is good to be able to create and know that it is going to go for something worthy. Someone will smile when they see a scarf I made.

It's just exciting.

There are still plenty of states that have not met their deadline or their goal - so if you crochet or knit and want to donate your time to create a scarf then follow this link and check out the details. Basics: make a scarf in the designated colors and mail it.

So - this is my contribution for IL. Once I get this semester started and I can see what sort of obligation I need to make to each class, I'll be crocheting some more for other states that are in need.

Scarf Project Link

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Plarn 'n Yarn Pot Scrubber [Pattern]

plarn side of the scrubbie
This pattern requires the use of any worsted weight yarn (acrylic preferably) and plarn. For those of you not familiar, plarn is plastic yarn - created by up-cycling plastic bags. If you don't know how to make plarn, I've created a lovely tutorial that you can view here.

This pattern is for a circle pot scrubber. It is created in two pieces - a yarn side and a plarn side. There is an optional loop for hanging.

The trick with this pot scrubbie is when you join them, make sure "tail sides" are facing eachother (the inside of the scrubbie) and that you pay attention to how they are lining up as you join them.

Plarn 'n Yarn Pot Scrubber
By Cris

Hook Size: K and N
Yarn: 2 or 3 bags made into plarn and ww yarn (acrylic). Any color yarn will work.

ch = chain
sl = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet
st = stitch (normally referring to the top of the stitch below the current row)

Ch 4 using N hook
sl to join into a ring

Row 1
ch 2 (counts as dc), 11 dc into ring, sl in ch 2 to join (12 dc)

Row 2
ch 2 (counts as dc), 1 dc into same st as sl in bottom st, 2 dc in every st around, sl at end to join (24 dc)

Row 3
ch 1 (counts as sc), 2 sc in next st, *1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st* repeat between * around circle (36 sc)
sl in ch to join at end.

Tie off as you would with yarn.

Ch 4 using K hook
sl to join into a ring

Row 1
do not turn
ch 2 (counts as dc), 11 dc into ring, sl in ch to join at the end (12 dc)

Row 2
do not turn
ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same st as sl join, 2 dc in every st around, sl at end to join (24 dc)

Row 3
ch 2 (counts as dc) and turn work over
dc in next st, *2 dc in next st, single dc in next st* repeat between * around circle (36 dc)
sl in end to join

Trim any plarn tails down to about 2 inches. Trim the starting yarn tail down to a couple inches. There is no need to weave these tails in since they will be in the middle of the scrubbie.

Lay the inside of the yarn circle and inside of the plarn circle together (usually where the tails are sticking out). Your circles should be approximately the same size. Both have 36 stitches around the outside of the circle; however, as you go around, you must use sense in matching them up. You may need to put 2 stitches in the same plarn st but different yarn stitches to "catch up" between the size of the yarn stitches and the plarn stitches. Obviously, the plarn stitches are bigger since they used a larger hook.

Hold the circles, faces together, with the plarn towards you.

The yarn is what is being worked as the edging. The plarn should be tied off and not being used as all.

ch 1 (counts as an hdc)
YO and insert your hook into the first st of the plarn circle and the next st of the yarn piece. YO and pull through. YO again and pull through all 3 loops of the hook (this is the hdc).

hdc all the way around the circle (approximately 36 hdc) until the circles are joined together. As I said - pay attention that the circles are lined up. As you go around it will not be a perfect 1 - 1 ratio of plarn st to yarn st. You must watch and adjust as needed.

when finished with hdc's around the circle, sl to join.

(if you want a hanging loop): ch 12, sl in the base of the ch 12 to join. sl in next st to the left.

Tie off and weave in end.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Plastic into Yarn - PLARN!

 Up-cycling (or recycling for simplicity) is important in today's day and age. It is always nice to make something from another item rather than just tossing into a recycle bin and hoping that it's taken care of properly.

This is a video tutorial on how I make plarn - or plastic yarn. Please enjoy and leave a comment. If you like the video - I'd appreciate a "thumb's up" for the effort.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Pointed Granny Scarf [Pattern]

This is a pattern I came up with after attempting to create a granny square scarf for the 2011 Special Olympics Scarf Project.

The colors of this pattern are not important. You can use a different color for every row, two colors, or a single color - the choice is up to you. A softer, worsted weight yarn is preferred although the blend is up to you as well. If you change colors in the pattern, I find it is best to tie off each row and start a new row in on it's own; however, if you are using one color, you can eliminate the need to weave in a lot of ends simply by moving up to the next row instead of tying off. 

There are two versions of this pattern - one has a straight ended point and the other end has a flare to it. This pattern is for the non-flared version. It took me around 2.5 hours to complete.


Pointed Granny Scarf
by Cris

Hook Size: I
Yarn: As described above.

For this write-up, I am using Red Heart Super Saver yarn - 1 skein blue, 1 skein turqua (the official colors of the 2011 Winter Special Olympics)

ch = chain
sl = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
sk = skip
st = stitch (normally referring to the top of the stitch below the current row)

If you want your scarf to be shorter or longer, you will need to decrease or increase the starting chain in multiples of 4.

Ch 172 using dark color (blue)

Row 1:
dc in 4th chain from hook
dc in next st 2 more times (creates 3 dc in a row)

*ch 1, sk st, 3 more dc in next 3 st* (repeat between * until the end of the chain)
ch 1, dc in last stitch of the chain
Cut and tie off the end. You are left with a long string of dc's in clusters of three and 2 "loops" on the ends).

NOTE: Even if you are using the same color, you do want to cut and tie off the end here. You won't have to for future rows, but for this row, it looks nicer if you do.

Row 2:
Showing where to start row 2 and the end loop.
Turn the piece (this means the "tails" from row 1 will be on your right side if you are a rightie)
Put the second color on your hook and attach it to the ch-1 space before the end loop (as illustrated)
ch 2 in the ch-1 space, dc 2 more times in the same ch-1 space
ch 1
*3 dc into the end loop, ch 1* repeat between * 3 times

Repeat the following for all ch-1 spaces: 3dc, ch 1
Repeat the end loop instructions on the other end (3 dc, ch 1 - 4 times)

You will end with a ch before your first dc (the starting ch-2) of the row

Cut and tie off. Turn your work over.

Row 3:
For row 3, you have to understand the loop chain spaces. As you can see in the image, there are 3 from row 2. There will only be 3 for every row except as you increase rows, then you will have chain spaces in between. The chain spaces in between the loop chain spaces will have the regular 3dc, ch1 put into them.

Start your row by hooking into the work at any ch-1 space on the side of the scarf.
ch 2, 2dc, ch 1
*In the next ch-1 space, add 3 dc, ch 1.* (Repeat between the * until you reach loop chain space 1)

Work all three loop chain spaces in this row the same: 2 dc in the loop chain space, ch 1, 2 dc in the same loop chain space, ch 1 (will be done 3 times for each loop chain space).

Continue down to the other end doing 3 dc, ch 1. Repeat the loop chain spaces the same as you did for the first.

Finish the side off with the 3dc, ch 1 until you reach the first cluster you created. sl into the top of the ch2. Cut and tie off.

showing loop chain spaces after row 3
Turn your work.

Row 4:
Put the lighter color on your hook and attach it to any side ch-1 space.

ch 2, dc 2, ch 1

*In next ch-1 space, 3 dc, ch 1* (Repeat until the next space is loop chain space 1)

In loop chain space 1 - 2dc, ch 1, 2dc, ch 1
In next ch-1 space do 3 dc, ch 1
In loop chain space 2 - 2dc, ch 1, 2dc, ch 1
In next ch-1 space do 3 dc, ch 1
In loop chain space 3 - 2 dc, ch 1, 2dc, ch 1

loop chain spaces after row 4
Continue down the side doing 3dc, ch 1 in each ch-1 space until you reach the next loop chain space. Repeat the above sequence around the end of the scarf. Continue down to the starting ch-2. sl into the ch-2, cut and tie off.

Row 5:
Put the darker color back on the hook and attach it to any regular side ch-1 space (not a loop chain space).

ch 2, 2 dc in same ch-1 space, ch 1
In next ch-1 space (if not a loop chain space), 3 dc, ch 1. Repeat 3dc, ch 1 in every ch-1 space until you reach loop chain space 1.

loop chain space 1 - 2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc, ch 1
in next 2 ch-1 spaces - 3dc, ch 1
loop chain space 2 - 5 dc, ch 1
in next 2 ch-1 spaces - 3dc, ch 1
loop chain space 3 - 2dc, ch 1, 2 dc, ch 1

Continue along the side with 3dc, ch 1 until you reach the loop chain space 1 on the other side. Repeat the loop chain space instructions above.

Finish with 3dc, ch 1 until you reach the starting point. sl in the ch 2 that started the row.

Do not cut the yarn or turn the piece (unless you choose to eliminate the edging row)

Row 6 (edging):
ch 1
In the next st, 1 sc
Continue along the entire edge of the scarf with sc in each st and one sc in the ch-1 spaces. The only exceptions to the sc's are that if it is either of the remaining 2 loop chain spaces OR the dc at the very point of the end of the scarf, put 2 sc's in. This helps keep the turn/point of the scarf.

Cut and secure the knot. Weave in all tails.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 Winter Olympics Scarf Project

I genuinely feel that anyone who can should contribute to charity in any way that they can. For a person who crochets or knits, this means you can help make someone's day a little brighter. This could be in the form of crocheting for animal shelters (pet beds, sweaters, toys, etc), homeless shelters (scarves, hats, mittens, afghans, etc), nursing homes (walker/wheelchair bags, lap throws, hats, etc), hospitals (scarves, toys, premie clothes, baby blankets, etc) .... the list goes on and on.

One program that you may not know about is the Special Olympics Scarf Project. The donated scarves are to be created out of very specific yarn colors and similar dimension. The colors this year are Red Heart Super Saver Blue and Red Heart Super Saver Turqua.

I will be donating some scarves to this year's project. I am making them in honor of two people: my cousin Mikey and my childhood friend Lee Ann.

I encourage all who can to visit the website, find a state to sponsor, and pledge at least one scarf. You do not have to be an expert - a simple scarf pattern will do. Each state has a different deadline and number of scarves needed. If your state's deadline has passed or they have received all the scarves they need, please find another state and donate to those athletes. Remember - the scarves are about unity - it doesn't matter what state you donate to... just donate.

Here are some links:
The official website:
The project blog:
The project FB page: