Evelyn Cowl - A FREE Pattern!

Today I have the great pleasure of announcing my first-ever Free Crochet Pattern!

Broomstick Lace!

Keep up with my New Years Resolution of learning Broomstick Lace!

Pleiades Shawl - Interweave Crochet Accessories 2012

Have you ever had a secret you wish wasn't a secret? That's how I always feel about my designs that are in the transit period between acceptance and publication!

Free Crochet Snowflakes

Snowflakes, Snowflakes, Snowflakes!! I'm seeing snowflakes in my sleep we have so much snow. So, what's a girl to do? Why......crochet snowflakes of course..

February 28, 2013

BABY WEEK!!

Hey Everyone!!

I feel like I have slacked to no end this week. Maybe part of me was just worn out...I haven't even had my laptop on since I blogged on Monday!

Yesterday was the big day! We got to see sweet little Baby Wales on a computer screen! This is what we saw


That little face is so sweet! Our baby is a little wiggle worm. Both the ultrasound tech and the perinatal doctor that saw us commented on how much the baby moved! The doctor called it a runner as he was trying to view the heart. The great news is, we have a structurally sound baby!

This is my favorite picture that was printed out for us :) I feel so blessed to have gotten to have a 4-D ultrasound and have such amazing 3-D pictures!

We are not finding out the gender of the baby until tomorrow night at a little Gender Reveal party at my parents house! Today I am taking a envelope with the ultrasound picture saying if it is a boy or a girl to a bakery here in town. Tomorrow I am picking up cupcakes that are filled with either pink or blue frosting! We will be biting into our cupcakes around 7 o'clock...I CAN'T WAIT!


Hurray for half way there! Taking pictures of my bump is still scary. I don't look that big until I'm looking at a camera!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

February 25, 2013

Looking Back: Granny Square Crocheted Vest

Hey Everyone!

This weekend I spent some time working on cleaning out Baby's nursery. There is still a LONG way to go, but I have uncovered some really interesting things in the process!

You may or may not know that I am the ripe young age of 20. I've been crocheting since I was 5 years old...so there are many many years of projects that I may or may not still have :) This crocheted vest I pulled out of a box represents the first BIG project I ever completed!

I still remember the Christmas (but not the exact age) when I got this awesome little crochet book and some pretty yarn from my Dad. I know I still have it somewhere...I am sure I will stumble across it in my continued  nursery cleaning-out.


Anyways, this crochet book was written specifically for pre-teen girls. As a 7 or 8 year old, this was just up my alley! The book was filled with super cute and easy projects, like hair scrunchies and shoe laces, and it worked up to making a this granny square vest and an afghan. I believe I made almost every project in the book...except the afghan. I started it and got a chronic case of boredom :)


When I look at projects like this and their imperfections...it makes me realize how much I have always loved crochet and how dedicated I was to completing a project. Sure, I used ivory instead of white in some places. And there are loose threads hanging out all over the project. But I can remember being so frustrated by this piece and how proud I was to finish it!

Do you have any projects like this that you want to share too? Come join me on the Crochet Collection Facebook page! I would have to see pictures of what you have created in the past, and what you are creating today!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

February 21, 2013

Aslan's Corner

Well Hi There!



Let me introduce myself. I am Aslan, as in, Aslan the Lion from The Chronicles of Narnia. I came to live in this exotic place called the Wales Apartment about 3 months ago, and I find it to be a very lovely place. My mom, Chelsea, has lots of toys for me to play with! My favorite is this big ball that smells like some kind of furry and exotic animal. Mom likes to play with me when I try and take that toy away to play with! (Note from Chelsea - This "toy" is also known as my Misti Alpaca!!!)

Since I have moved in with my folks, I have tried to exhibit my best gentleman behavior. I don't jump up on the table or the counter tops, even when there is delicious smelling food up there. However...I did slip up this week and steal some of Mom's yogurt. She was looking, too.

I generally spend my days sleeping in one of my two favorite spots. I used to favor sleeping under the amazingly big tree that Mom and Dad brought into the house and loaded up with toys for me. But since that was taken away, my favorite spot is their bed and right in front of the stairs. It is so exciting to watch the stairs and make sure that my Mom is safe while she's upstairs.

Life is good here. And I intend to keep you all up to date on my happenings.

Aslan

February 20, 2013

Crochet Cup Cozy Tutorial

Hey Everyone!

This morning as I was thinking about what I should blog about today I decided it would be fun to put together a little crochet cup cozy tutorial for y'all! Well, 6 hours later I finally finished it! No joke ;) I should become a better planner!



So, I had a lot of fun with this tutorial. I am typically a 9-5 coffee drinker...an IV couldn't give me enough of the good stuff! Well, after I found out I was expecting, coffee consumption rapidly came to a slow and I picked up other hot drinks instead. The moral of the story basically is that I go through at least one coffee mug a day.

This being the case, I have been seeing so many awesome patterns for crochet cup cozy's out there. I thought it would be fun to put a little tutorial together to show you how to make your very own custom crochet cup cozy!

What you will need:


Yarn! I started off with 4 different colors, but only used in 3 in my finished sample. Scraps work out fantastically for this project! I used a size H/5mm hook for my cozy and worsted weight yarns. You can use whatever suits your fancy! You will also need 1 button.


I chose this mug because I love it. Dustin has a matching Mr. mug with reversed colors. We got the set as a belated wedding present from my Mother-in-law, and we use them all of the time!


Next, I took the measurement around the middle of the mug. To be perfectly honest, it felt good to measure something that wasn't how much my waistline has expanded ;) Not that it's a bad thing. We can measure the mugs waist instead.


Ok, here is the part where I kind of screwed up the first time around (hence the unplanned extra hour of work I created for myself!). I used a foundation single crochet for my first row, and forgot that the stitch pattern I wanted to use doesn't stretch one bit. It actually shrinks down your original foundation chain or foundation single crochet. I started out with 8 inches and had nearly finished my first cozy before I realized that my length had shrank to 7.5 inches! Moral of the story, chain or foundation single crochet to a measurement that is either exactly as wide as your mug or 1/2 inch shorter. Any smaller and you won't be fitting around your mug!


You will be fastening off after you have your proper number of stitches! It doesn't really matter whether or not you have an odd or even number of stitches for this stitch pattern you will be using.


Next, you will be joining your second color with a slip stitch into the first stitch of the foundation on the right side of your work.



Chain 1, and single crochet into the same stitch you joined into, chain 1, skip the next stitch, single crochet into the next stitch, chain 1, etc. to the end of your row. If you come to the end of your row and still have an extra stitch, single crochet into that stitch as well.




Once you have reached the end of your first row, you will fasten off.


Join with your third color the way you did in the previous row, and this row you will single crochet into the chain-1 spaces and chain 1 and skip the single crochet stitches.


As you can see, this is the cozy I made that actually fit my mug :) My color patterning went like this:
Row 1 - Red
Row 2 - Purple
Row 3 - Green
Row 4 - Red
Row 5-7 - Purple
Row 8 - Red
Row 9 - Green
Row 10 - Purple
Row 11 - Red

You can do any color pattern that you like though!


I made enough rows to make my cozy as long as the inside measurement of my cozy handles. You will be adding a trim around the bottom and top, the extra length will be perfect for your mug!


Flip your cozy bottom up, and along the bottom of your cozy, join your yarn as you did for each row close to the upper left hand side. Single crochet into each chain space and chain 1 between the single crochets.


Chain 3, and then continue in the single crochet, chain 1 pattern stitch across the rest of the bottom of the cozy.


Slip stitch into the first single crochet to join. At this point, you may use a reverse single crochet row or a standard single crochet row to complete the edging.


Next, you will turn your work right side up and act like you are adding an extra row to the top. When you have reached the edge of your work, chain 18 (or however many it takes to bridge the gap between your sides and create a button loop).


Remove your hook and insert it so the wrong side of your chain is facing you.


Insert your hook into the last single crochet in your row.


Complete your reverse single crochet. Reverse single crochet in each stitch across. Or, you may attach your loop with a slip stitch and fasten off, then go back and add one more row of standard single crochet. It's up to you!




Now comes the fun part! Grab your awesome button (I just pulled something out of my vintage button stash. I recommend using something bigger than this!) and attach it in the corner on the opposite side of your button  loop.


And Voila! You have made your own perfectly custom crochet cup cozy! Hopefully all of my directions make sense, I'm definitely much more of a straightforward pattern writer, I'm not used to writing "recipes" like this!

After I used my cozy on a hot mug, since I used wool or wool blend fibers, it definitely blocked itself out a bit. I like it a lot, and maybe I'll make a matching french press cozy one of these days!

I hope you have enjoyed my crochet cup cozy tutorial! Let me know if there are any other tutorials you'd like to see me put together in the future!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

February 19, 2013

Easy Crochet Flowers

Hey Everyone!

I know today it doesn't feel like it here in Wisconsin, but Spring is right around the corner! Supposedly it's supposed to come earlier...Mr. Groundhog, were you sure? :)

In honor of our soon arriving Spring, I wanted to post some links for easy crochet flowers today! I've been trying to come up with some fun ideas for stocking my new Etsy shop, and flowers never seem to go out of style! Colors may change from season to season, but flowers are always in and they go so well on many things. Whether you are looking to embellish a skirt or make a sweet little flower for a baby hat, I have lots of patterns for easy crochet flowers here for you!

Flowers That Won't Wilt - An awesome big brooch style flower! And the pattern is in English and Norwegian.

Flower Accent Pattern
Flower Accent - This pattern is really great if you want to have different color flowers for one item throughout the year!

Summer's Gone

Flower Brooch - Lovely! You will have to scroll down a little bit to find the pattern. She also teaches a bit about diagram reading in the making of this flower. If you have never tried crocheting from a diagram and are a visual person, you may get some great use from this!

Flower Shower
Flower Shower - I really adore all of these flowers! They all come together in one paid pattern on Ravelry :)

Flower Hair Clip Pattern
Flower Hair Clip Pattern - These are SO cute! And they look so easy! I want to go make some right now!

Flower Applique Pattern - I think these flowers are so lovely! You have to have a Free Patons Pattern Library account to be able to access that pattern, fyi


Posy Blossoms
Posy Blossoms - These flowers are so very sweet! 

Rose Bouquet - These flowers are lovely as well :)

I hope that some of these flowers have helped inspire you out of a late-winter slump. I know that I've started getting into one...and being pregnant doesn't help one bit!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

February 18, 2013

Inspired: Vintage Patterns

Hey Everyone!

Today I'm going to share with you one of my most beloved sources of inspiration — vintage patterns!

I will admit that I'm a bit of a vintage crochet pattern hoarder enthusiast. My personal belief is that it's impossible to have too many ;) On the other hand...my still messy office-that-should-be-getting-turned-into-a-nursery begs to differ though.

Back in the day I worked at the library I was fortunate enough to have a boss who's mother was an avid crafter. She had a subscription to workbasket magazine for YEARS and kept all of the issues! When the time came for them to move into senior living, my boss asked if I had any interest in all of the issues. Oh, did I! Those little periodicals have such a warm place in my heart.


Whenever I need a little bit of design inspiration, all I need to do is pull out a few issues to page through, and inspiration never fails to hit me like a bolt of lightening! I am working on a whole bunch of design proposals this week. My goal is to send out 2 or 3 ideas to 3 magazines in the next 2 weeks! Pulling together proposals has never been one of my favorite things. But I'll let you know a little secret...I am beginning to love it.

And on top of the inspiration...who doesn't love reading the advertising in pieces like this!


Putting proposals together is one thing that allows me to have a big time of drawing on my creative juices. It feels good just getting everything I want to get out of my head...well...out. I still loath the sketching part of the process...but I love the rest! The whole writing what I envision thing has been challenging to me as well, but I feel like blogging has really been helping me with my creative expression.


That lovely edging was today's inspiration. I worked on making a fabric inspired by the edging for a while this morning...but the gauge wasn't right. I was using a worsted weight yarn and a H hook. I definitely need to size up my hook or use a lighter weight yarn. So I'll begin anew tomorrow!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

February 15, 2013

Happy (Late) Valentine's Day!

Hey Everyone!

Happy Valentine's day a little late from Aslan! He enjoyed wearing his cute crocheted heart collar yesterday!



Yeah...I've been slacking the last few days! I have good reasons though, and I intend to show you them!

Wednesday, Dustin had the day off so we went up to Madison for our midwife appointment! We were in and out super quick and got to hear the very pleasant sound of our babies heartbeat! Woohoo!

And, since it is Valentine's week, Wednesday turned into our Valentine's Day. After the appointment, we went out to have lunch at Chili's. We decided on having a $20 meal combo that included a shared appetizer and two entrees. We got this outstanding onion ring and jalapeno appetizer. I wasn't 100% sure how I would feel about it when we ordered it, but the minute that I dipped my first jalapeno into the ranch dipping sauce, I was in heaven. YUM! I'd eat that again any day!

After the fantastic app came our yummy entrees. Dustin had the impressive chicken fajitas that come to your table on the awesome cast iron plate sizzling to high heaven. I dare say he enjoyed making fajita after fajita. I had one...it was scrumptious!


I on the other hand, had a difficult time deciding on whether I should order the honey chipotle chicken tender things or the chipotle alfredo chicken. I ended up choosing the alfredo. And while it was yummy, I think I would have enjoyed the chicken tender things more :) Next time I know!

After enjoying that incredibly filling lunch, we sauntered over to Starbucks to kill off some time until our movie show time. While we were there, Dustin gave me part of my Valentine's day gift...


Which we promptly opened and started eating ;) This was our second valentine's day together. Last year, this is the bag of chocolate I got:



This year's theme was quality over quantity :)

I enjoyed my chocolate with a tall coffee while Dustin enjoyed his with Passion fruit iced tea lemonaide. After 2 o'clock we got buy one get one free vanilla spice lattes. YUM! If you haven't tried their vanilla spice latte but are familiar with most starbucks drinks, it's kind of like a cinnamon dolce latte, except it has cardamon instead of cinnamon. They are tasty! (and no, I'm not paid to say that. I wish I were!)

At 4:20 we saw the movie Identity Thief on the big screen! I enjoyed the movie a lot...and that's all I will say. If you like R rated comedies, you'll (probably) like this movie!

Next comes supper. Oh, supper. YUM. Dustin and I are going to make it a tradition to visit this restaurant, Kennedy Manor, every year on Valentines day. Last year we went there and the food was just spectacular. I had their sardinian style pork and Dustin had their spinach mushroom risotto. This year, I ate their lemon salmon. The first moment I put a flake of salmon on my tongue I died and went to heaven. It was absolutely spectacularly delicious! Not to mention that the green beans and red potatoes on my plate tasted like they were fresh out of a garden. I get goose bumps just thinking about this food.


Dustin had their chicken dinner, and it was really spectacular as well. I have a feeling that there isn't one dish that isn't worth drooling over on their menu. Someday we will be able to afford their prime rib steak ;)

We ended our day out having amazing hot chocolates at Forever Yogurt. I had Reeses PB Cup and Dustin had Nutella. We decided that the peanut butter one was brighter and the Hazelnut one was mellower and how well they matched our personalities. So we have new nicknames ;) Will they stick? Who knows. But we did decide that baby is our little Walnut ;)

How did you celebrate your Valentine's Day? Do you have any long standing traditions too? Ours aren't "longstanding" yet, but someday they will be!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

February 12, 2013

Inspired: Lifestyle Blogging

Hey Everyone!

Before I delve into my land of inspiration, I want to take a moment to introduce you to the little fuzzy creature that I spend more time with than anyone these days!


Meet Aslan, the Lion Kitty! I know I made a post referencing him a few weeks ago, but he has never been properly introduced here on the blog!

We adopted Aslan back in October, along with a female cat who we named Esperanza. Unfortunately, Esper suffered from renal kidney failure only weeks after bringing her into our homes and is now in kitty heaven. So now we are left with this big fluffy blessing of a cat who is excessively well behaved! His one downfall - He doesn't like cuddling in excess of 1 minute, and has a fierce love of play biting (it doesn't feel like play biting to me!). I feel like I completely and totally get this cat one minute...and the next he is sprinting past me up the stairs in a tizzy. Gotta love cats!

Aslan loves to sleep at his lookout perch at the top of the steps and in our bed when we aren't in it. He is going to have his own column here on the blog every week now!

Now, back to our feature presentation!


I don't know about you, but I am assuming that there are a few blogs that you follow. Maybe some of them you just are interested in the content and that is enough to keep you going from day to day or week to week. But sometimes, you run across that special blog. The one where you feel this instant connection to the blogger - like a one way bosom friend connection shared by Anne Shirley and Diana Barry in "Anne of Green Gables." Well friends, I've found my Diana. Except for the fact that she doesn't know I exist ;)

I stumbled upon The Handmade Home while I was going to school last semester. I spent so many hours on pinterest while I worked in my lab...food pins were my arch nemesis during my early first trimester! One day though, I found "The Font Snob's Favorite Free Fonts" on pinterest, and decided that the tagline was compelling enough for me to check out what this self-proclaimed font critic had to say. Well...one post lead to another...and another...and another. Ashley ("The Font Snob") made me feel like she was telling me everything that I needed to hear at that point in my life. She had just started a blog series called "The Lazy Gal's Survival Guide" and everything she wrote was music to my ears. Things are just things. HA! So easily said. It's another thing to commit to putting the purse that you bought yourself when you were 12 just because it was so pretty into the goodwill box. What if your sister would think it's just as cool? Or what if it comes back into style in a few years when....yeah. You get the picture.

Finding The Handmade Home and becoming a regular reader has really inspired me to also work harder on my method of communication. Anyone can write a blog post...but Ashley made me realize that when you can connect to the writer on their own level and find yourself smiling and laughing along with the writer, that blogging is so much more enjoyable on many different levels! I feel like Ashley could be my best friend, that I know her little pet peeves and secrets and it makes me want to chit chat back to her...I love it!

The point of this blog post is - I, Chelsea Wales, am going to strive to become a better writer to make you, my reader, LOVE reading this blog every day! My only condition to you, my dear reader, is that you tell me if you enjoy reading it or not, and maybe some constructive criticism :)

Do you follow any blogs that make you feel like you are walking parallel lives with the blogger? I'd love to hear about them! I'm always looking for some new inspiration. And I hope that you take a minute to stop by The Handmade Home!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

February 08, 2013

It's Friday!

Hey Everyone!

Baby bump time!


I took this last Friday already! I meant to share it...but I guess I just forgot. Let's blame my very active pregnancy brain ;) I can't believe the first 4 months are over already! We have a midwife appointment coming up this next week on Wednesday, and are celebrating Valentines day a day early :) Last Valentines day I ended up getting terribly sick so Dustin and I postponed our plans til the day after. I don't think we will ever go out for dinner the day of...I like empty restaurants ;) ANYWAY, getting off my rabbit trail, I can't wait to hear the baby's heartbeat again! 2 weeks from the dr. appointment we have our anatomy ultrasound and are really hoping that baby will be compliant and let us find out if it is a boy or a girl! I'll be honest and say I'd be really happy with a little boy. My friend I see on Friday's has a 7 month old little guy and he is the SWEETEST! But...I'd be happy with a girl too!

In crochet news, I have to say I accomplished a whole lot this week! I finished the shawl that has been a brain child on the back burner since April, and designed my first pair of boot cuffs! I also took a big leap on my Etsy shop and decided to gradually start selling made to order items!


I know I shared this picture on Wednesday...but I'm so proud of this shawl. This is probably the biggest pattern I've ever written in my life so it intimidates me a little bit. But I'm so excited to get this pattern fully produced! The feeling I had when un-pinning it and seeing the lace stay exactly how I'd pinned it was the most fantastic thing. This shawl is definitely my yarn baby right now :)

My other proud moment this week was the boot cuffs I designed! I've never personally worn boot cuffs because the only boots I could afford were too small to fit around my ginormous former-athlete calves. But, I love boot cuffs nonetheless and I hope other people like mine! If I had boots that fit me I'd definitely wear them :)


When I write the pattern I'd like to have this be a short version then have a longer verison with another repeat or two of the diamond patterning. I also think that it would be nice to make a few different sizes for different sized calves. I wouldn't be able to wear this size if I had high boots!

I definitely have my pattern writing work cut out for me this weekend and next week! I also have a pair of fingerless mitts that need writing up...3 patterns produced in February wouldn't be a bad thing, right? :)

What are you crocheting this weekend? Maybe you're finishing some WIPs or starting something new? I am tinkering with the idea of making another boot cuff or two... :) Dustin and I are also going to the big Badger basketball game tomorrow with his boss and his boss' wife! We are playing against Michigan state who is apparently ranking number 1 right now. Go Badgers!

Happy Crocheting! (and Happy Weekend!)
Chelsea

February 06, 2013

Productive Days!

Hi Everyone!

The last few days I've been pretty busy around these parts!

Yesterday I went to visit my family. My mom and I always have some project or another planned when I come over to their house, and this time I was commissioned to take a new head shot for her! Mom is an amazing Christian music artist and has been writing inspirational songs for the last few years. One of my favorite moments of her musical career is when she and my dad sang a duet she wrote for my wedding. Priceless moment. If you want to hear the song though, you have to watch my wedding on YouTube. The track itself is still in production :)

Anyways, here is the picture we ended up settling on


Seriously, you would NEVER think my mom looks old enough to have a married daughter and a grandbaby on the way! Well...that's my opinion anyway.

The other fun and exciting thing that I did yesterday was finish up a new version of my Genevieve Infinity Scarf!


I used Cascade Pacific Chunky yarn in the Green Seas colorway, and only made 40 rows instead of the 76 recommended in the pattern. I LOVE how it turned out, and the yarn is absolutely luxurious. Plus - It is machine washable! If you would love to become the proud owner and daily wearer of this cowl, please check out my Etsy shop!

Speaking of my Etsy shop, I recently decided that I will be selling finished products in my shop! I'm currently working on putting together what I will be selling, but most products will be Made to Order, and I will take special orders on any pattern that I have currently published! If you have any suggestions of things I should offer for Spring, please let me know! I always have a hard time figuring out what I should crochet around spring and summer...I love crocheting my fall and winter things!

And in other pattern developments...today I wet blocked a shawl for the first time ever! There are probably upwards of 150+ T-Pins in the shawl at the moment, and I have a very raw index finger from pushing them into my carpet a few times too many. I have heard countless times how people really enjoy wet blocking their shawls and I can really see why now! After letting my shawl sit and relax in hot water for well over 2 hours, seeing it stretch into the incredible lace I knew it could be is so rewarding. I worked on this design for well over a year and it is my baby ♥ I can't wait to finish writing the pattern to put it out there for testers!


That's all I've got for you guys today! I have to get a move on and start getting our supper ready. I think I'm making a chicken pizza tonight. I've got 1-1/2 cooked chickens in my fridge and mozzarella cheese to use up, and pizza just sounds downright delicious. Yum!

Happy Crocheting!
Chelsea

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