Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Join Squares Seamlessly in Crochet - Whip Stitch Method

Someone in my Facebook crochet group posed a question when she became stalled on her afghan project.  "How exactly do I "sew" those squares together?"  

"Slip Stitch!"
"Single Crochet!"
"Up and  Down Stitch!"

There were dozens of responses in no time, and all of those are great answers.  Each have their unique application, but for a blanket nothing is more simple and seamless than the basic Whip Stitch.  She quickly Googled how to get this done, but then she was left with another great question that no other blog seemed to cover and that is, "How do you tie off?"  That one's a little tougher to explain in words, so I whipped up two little saltines to show what I do and used a contrasting yarn for demonstration.

Usually afghan squares have a right and a wrong side.

You'll want to put the squares together with the right sides facing each other.

Put your needle through both corner stitches and make a shoe lace knot...

...Twice, and pull it tight.

Run your needle through both corner stitches again so your yarn is in the right orientation.

(It always ends up one stitch short on one of the squares if you don't do this.  It took me forever to figure this out and drove me bonkers for years swearing I didn't skip a stitch.)

Bring your needle back over the top and insert it from the same direction through the next set of stitches.

Repeat to the end (the next set of corner stitches).

Bring your needle back through the last stitches to make a loop.

Put your needle through that loop.

Bring the needle back through the loop now made by the working yarn.

Now it should be tied off securely at both ends.

Weave in those ends just like all the others.

The best thing about this method?  The completely seamless appearance!  Here's how it looks on the right side.  No more window pane afghans!

Voila! You're done!  With one pair of squares anyway....

Attach individual squares to make a strip that's the length of the short side of the blanket.  Shorter rows means more stability.  Once all the strips are made, whip stitch the strips together.  

TIP: When you get to where 4 corners meet, whip stitch though both sets of corners, put your needle back through the first set, then back through the second set and continue on as normal.  This will make an "x" type stitch that will keep a hole from appearing there under the weight of the afghan. (This also took me forever to figure out and made me succumb to using a sl st or sc join.)  I can make two more squares demonstrate if you'd like, just let me know in the comments and I'll add it in a little bit.

Like this?  Check out my other photo tutorials here!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

How Crochet Revolutionized Mathematics

I absolutely LOVE Netflix, and I do nothing but work on my business (crochet), play with my son, and have TEDtalks play in the background so I can gain back the IQ I lose talking to someone who has absolutely no idea what it is I'm saying all day long.  Well when this talk came on I was excited to say the least.  PROOF that crochet is the best art ever!  ^.^  And yes I have a very biased opinion.

In this 2009 talk, Margaret Wertheim explains how the method she used to create her crochet coral reef exhibit revolutionized mathematics by being able to model a theory that before was thought to be impossible to model.  To this day crochet and knit are the only possible ways to model this theory, and seeing as you have to have every single stitch open in knitting at all times, crochet is the obvious winner for this honorary ability.  She explains more here:

Now I know it sounds nerdy, but I grew teary eyed when I watched this.  It hit me what a truly amazing feat this is.  This most unique and fabulous of handcrafts allows you to make ANYTHING you can imagine.  It's sculpting with a length of string; and that people is amazing, I don't care who you are!  It reminded me of my most amazingly talented sister who is simply a genius with amigurumi. For example, look at this:

She turned her daughter's drawing into a doll!  (Check out more of her awesome creations here.)  What a powerful ability: to be able to turn a dream into reality.  It's the gift that all artists share with us, but to be a part of this crochet revolution is particularly exhilarating.  Who doesn't want to be a part of history?   It's like when Lewis and Clark set out to map the unknown.  The whole world was abuzz with the idea of discovery and exploring, and that's exactly where the world of crochet is now.  People are discovering and exploring all the crazy and amazing things crochet can accomplish. It's no longer just a knitting alternative, but a truly independent, unique, and inspiring art.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Belated Pride Day!!

Saw this on George Takei's Facebook and just HAD to share it.  More so I could pin it, lol.  Just makes me love Oreos even more! Everyone is entitled to love, and I love everyone.  ^.^

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I'm Back From the Dead!!

Hey everybody!!  I know I've fallen off the face of the planet for a little while, but I have a lot to show for it!!  I've got some great summer items up along with patterns for nearly all of them!  Click on the links and check out my progress!

What I've been spending time on the most though is the soul of my shop.  I've been doing a lot of soul searching into myself and over the past couple of weeks I've finally been able to bring all of my chaos together.  It's just dawned on me that, with this new Etsy shop, I've committed and admitted to being in a completely different era of my life.  A lot of people reference life as being a 3 Act play, and I believe I've officially entered into my second act.

I'm excited and determined, but scared all at the same time.  You know, the same way you felt on your first day at school, then again at your first day of middle school, high school, college, and the working world.  Now I'm actually living the American Dream of owning your own business.  I still can't believe it every time I get an order!  So I sat back and absorbed it all over the last couple of weeks and was finally able to put into perspective why I started my shop in the first place:

Quoted from My About Page

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV and never knew any of my grandparents.  They all passed before I was old enough to remember them, my parents never really spoke about them, and nothing was passed down from them either.  Naturally I gained a curiosity about my past, which in turn grew into a love of all history and traditions, so when my mother offered to teach me to crochet when I was a little girl I jumped on the chance.  And well, I've been an avid and passionate "hooker" ever since!

 I always wanted so badly to have a little piece of the people that made me who I am.  That longing sent me on a mission to make something of great quality that would stand the test of time so my future grandchildren wouldn't be left with the same emptiness.  So I crocheted every chance I got: while walking in between classes, during lectures, on the school bus, and (of course) whenever I got home.  Once I began to make things from patterns, I came to realize why no one else around me shared my passion...  I had put in all that hard work for an outdated piece!  I didn't want to use or wear anything I could find to make, and so I began to design.

At that point I was in the working world crocheting every chance I got: in between phone calls when I was a debt collector, and between customers when I was in retail.  I had even gotten chewed out for trying to make a catalog of my products on company time as my retail customers began to request special gifts from me time to time after seeing my work.

Spending all that time on crocheting left me lonely until I moved to Louisiana, met my husband, and his wonderful Maw Maw.  Her passion was children, and she ran a daycare out of her home for decades.  She crocheted too, and for the first time I had someone to share my passion with!  She was the grandmother I always dreamed about: constantly trying to feed me, never ending hugs and love, and most importantly encouraged me in my craft.  Sadly she had passed, and only days after we discovered we were going to have our first child.

He came quite early, and anyone who brings a preemie home knows it's beyond full-time work.  So home is where I stayed, crocheting all the while and basking in the wonderful time I had to spend with my son.  Then I could hear that strong little old lady's words in the back of my head telling me that if she could make a living doing what she loved from home, so can I.  She is the main inspiration for starting my shop, and in honor of her memory I use the down comforter she passed down to us as the backdrop for all my photos.  It's perfectly befitting of how I remember her now: ever present with her loving warmth, embracing and enhancing every piece I make.

And what an amazing experience this venture has been too! Not only to live a dream, but have the means to devote all my time to a cause I've been passionate about since the beginning: prolonging the life, tradition, and meaning of crochet in a way that everyone can enjoy.

Whether you're buying love-filled heirloom quality products or reminiscing  during the time it takes to pull every little loop yourself, I believe that everyone loves to have that little piece of Maw Maw with them - a Nostalgic Novelty to warm the heart and remember who you are, where you've been, and what you've learned.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fun, Love, and Games!

I had quite an eventful weekend!!  One of my sisters just moved back from Hawaii, and another one came in to visit from Utah!  It was nice to see everyone again, and I got a wonderful gift from my niece for Mother's Day: a crochet rose she made herself!!

Isn't it beautiful?  I'm so glad to see this art being passed on to another generation.  Makes me want to have another baby to see if I can get a daughter to share it with... lol  I also got to go on a little shopping spree at Hobby Lobby the other day.  Ugh, that place is my Disneyland!!  I discovered its wonders when I lived in Louisiana and I just about fainted when I walked into the place.  The only yarn collections I had seen were the sad selections at Walmart and Michael's.  They've got EVERYTHING there, and I mean EVERYTHING!!

Here are some of the great things I picked up:

Ever since I discovered it, I've been curious about needle felting, and so I've finally taken the plunge and got myself a little starter kit, but I haven't been brave enough to touch it yet.  Then I got some great sterling silver necklace supplies to complete my rose jewelry collection.  Some magnets for lamp charms I'm working on and snaps to finish up a nylon clutch I've been putting off for way too long.  And last but not least, some summer sandal supplies!!  I managed to complete some for two of my nieces, and hopefully they can stir some buzz and get my summer line into action.  I also whipped up some matching clips to go with them.

Check it out and tell me what you think:

I still have yet to do a real photo shoot of the hair clip though.  =P  I spent most of my time trying to take pictures of my new personalized filet crochet beach tote, but I'm not sure the pictures display the pattern very well in the first one.  I'm gonna have to re-shoot this one also >.<

I didn't like any of the charts I could find.  So I made up my own. Since it's simple and really didn't take me too long, I'll give it to you guys for free!  I made the grid a little different so it would better reflect how it will look on your finished product, but it still works the same: 3dc for the filled blocks and ch2, dc for the spaces.

Then my husband and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary this weekend.  Doing pretty good for a 15 year age difference ^.^ and I'm looking forward to many more years to come.  Just stayed at home and watched Borat and he let me crochet the whole time! lol, I love my man.  And I love that movie, it was the first time I had seen it all the way through.  So freaking funny!  Then we attended to our daily ritual of combing through Xbox Live to see what's new or on it's way and we pretty much fell out of our chairs with overwhelming excitement.  BORDERLANDS 2 IS COMING!!  We got two Xbox 360s just so we could play the first one together =D  For us, Love = Gaming

Here's the trailer:

wub wub!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Up and Running!!

Ahhh, my first post!  I've been working so hard trying to get my shop up to my standards, and now that I'm at least starting to feel comfortable with my toes in the water it's about time to build up my social structure!  If you haven't already, please join me on Facebook: and Twitter @NNovelties

So what have I been working on?  Well where do I begin!  I've just finished up the patterns for my earrings and other jewelry I have yet to post, but I think I'll end up posting the patterns here for free and just put the beginners kits in my shop.  I have a beach tote completed that I'm waiting to unveil in June for summer, but best of all, I've just started a personalized beaded clutch!!  I'm so excited about this bag, and it'll be just in time for all those graduates who deserve a quality and memorable gift they can keep with them through the rest of their lives!  It's my own original design and I'm crocheting it with size 10 thread, so it'll be a truly intricate piece.

Here's what I have done for the bottom after two days:

I still have a few rows to go, so it's not quite as big as it's going to be, and once the base is done the hard part is over!  I plan on using a larger stitch for the actual body of the purse.  Man are my hands cramped!  

Here's some better detail of these ity bity stitches:

While I build up a wider selection for everyone, come check out what I already have available:

Hope to see you soon!