Brenda Stratton Designs

Innovative Crochet Designs Since 1987

March 26, 2017
by Brenda
7 Comments

2017 National Crochet Month

NatCroMo 2017Happy NatCroMo 2017!
In addition to today being my spot on the 2017 NatCroMo Blog Tour, it also marks the fifth consecutive year I’ve been included in this wonderful event, hosted by Crochetville’s own Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka. I’m so proud to be part of it all, and want to thank both Amy and Donna for the opportunities the Blog Tour has provided!

The designers that were already featured this month have been so generous. They’ve offered some great blog posts and amazing patterns. My contribution this time has two parts.

Mocha Latte Coffee Cup Cozy

The first part  introduces my Mocha Latte Coffee Cup Cozy. It’s a short beginner pattern that is quick and easy to make, is customizable, and it tucks neatly into your purse or pocket when you’re on the go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned my fingers on one of those “cute” little paper bands available in coffee shops that are meant to protect your fingers (but don’t). So, this design is born of necessity, and serves as a humble solution to protect my fingers. To download the free pattern, please visit my Free Pattern page.

For the second part, I’ve added a bonus just for this event. To celebrate being a member of Crochetville’s NatCroMo Blog Tour for five consecutive years, I’ve brought back some additional free patterns I’ve offered in the past. The Mocha Latte Coffee Cup Cozy will become a permanent addition to my Free Pattern page, while the remaining patterns will be free until  midnight on Friday, March 31st, 2017. More will be coming in the weeks and months ahead.

ADDITIONAL PATTERNS
The free pattern giveaway for the Grab & Go Tote and the Diagonal Mesh Dishcloth has ended. Thank you to everyone who visited my blog during National Crochet Month 2017. 

Grab & Go Tote

Crochet the Grab & Go Tote to make taking along your iPad, e-reader or other electronic device simple and safe. Toss in a book, your keys or whatever else you might need, and you’re ready to go! It’s a low-cost alternative to some of the commercially available bags than can cost $40, $50, or more! It uses less than 1 skein of #4 acrylic yarn, and a few yards of a scrap yarn for the flower.

 

Diagonal Mesh Dishcloth (in 2 sizes)

Do you love making dishcloths? Many people do but don’t like the bulk that making them with worsted weight cotton yarn results in. My Diagonal Mesh Dishcloth eliminates that problem by using a diagonal (sc, ch-1) pattern. The resulting “holes” are small, but large enough to allow the dishcloth to move easily. Reducing the bulk also helps them dry faster. With this pattern, you can stop increasing and begin decreasing at the end of any row, which allows you to decide what size dishcloth you want. To get you started, the pattern is written in two sizes.

 

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy my free patterns and the rest of the Blog Tour! Be sure to check back soon for more freebies, blog posts, and announcements!

Until next time, keep on crocheting!

October 28, 2016
by Brenda
0 comments

NatCroMo 2017

Have you heard? Crochetville just announced their 5th Annual Designer Blog Tour which will run during National Crochet Month, March 1 – 31, 2017.

Each day, Crochetville will showcase 3 professional crochet designers, so there will be lots of blog posts and surprises along the way. My stop on the tour will be on March 26th. I’ll have a surprise or two of my own, so be sure to look for me! I’ll send out some reminders as the time draws near, and I’ve placed a reminder on my home page which will stay there until the tour is over.

The Crochetville Designer Blog Tour is always a lot of fun, so mark your calendars and check back for all the fun in March 2017!

NatCroMo 2017

April 9, 2016
by Brenda
0 comments

It All Started Out Innocently Enough

My husband, Carl (or the Great Enabler as I like to think of him), and I stopped at Wal-Mart late in the afternoon on April 1st, to drop off a prescription and to pick up a few things. After arriving, I realized I’d left the prescription at home, so we decided to continue on with our shopping and return with said prescription afterward.

Just before checking out, I “just happened” to stop by the yarn aisle to see if there was anything new. The shelves had been pretty bare the last time I was there, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the shelves were well-stocked…and…well…there was a SALE! On Yarn! Continue Reading →

March 6, 2016
by Brenda
0 comments

NatCroMo 2016

Welcome to Day 6 of the NatCroMo Designer Blog Tour! 

BS_Crochet_Express_Ticket

Joining me for the Day 6 blog tour stops is crochet designer Esther Chandler. Please visit her Web site to see what exciting things she has to offer.

Diagonal Mesh DishclothMy contribution to the Designer Blog tour this year is my corner-to-corner Diagonal Mesh Dishcloth, which will remain free through March 31st (see update, below). It is crocheted with size 4 cotton yarn and a size H/8/5mm crochet hook, but the single crochet and chain-one mesh allows for more movement and less bulk than some crochet dishcloth patterns.

I prefer a large dishcloth, but I know some people like one slightly smaller. So, to give you a choice, I’ve designed this one in two sizes. I’m particularly drawn to corner-to-corner patterns for projects like this because I can stop at any point to get the size that is just right for me or to adjust for the amount of yarn I have on hand.

Many thanks to Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka of Crochetville for the opportunity to once again participate in this exciting event. I hope you enjoy crocheting my Diagonal Mesh Dishcloth. Be sure to stay aboard the Crochet Express to catch the rest of NatCroMo 2016. There are a lot more stops along the way!

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who visited my blog during NatCroMo 2016, which is now over. The Diagonal Mesh Dishcloth has been retired from my blog and is no longer available. If you downloaded the pattern before 7:00pm Central time US on March 19, 2016, please note the following correction to Rows 31-57. I’ve highlighted the missing text in red. My apologies for the omission.

Rows 31-57: Ch 1, sc dec in first sc and ch-1, ch 1, [(sc, ch 1) in next ch-1 sp] across to last sp, work sc dec in last ch-1 sp and sc, turn.

January 29, 2016
by Brenda
2 Comments

What I’ve Been Doing

I hope the first month of 2016 has treated you kindly. All is well here. While there hasn’t been much blog activity (ok, none!) since last March, I HAVE, at least, been very busy. So, here is an update on what I’ve been doing.

A few of the hats I knitted for Charity in 2015.

A few of the hats I knitted for charity in 2015.

As I’ve written many times, I enjoy making and donating hats to charity. I wanted to increase my output this year, so, back in August 2015, I invested in both the Addi Professional and Addi King-Size knitting machines by Skacel, which I purchased through Amazon from The Woolery. If you aren’t familiar with these manual knitting machines, they create knitted tubes which are perfect for making hats and scarves. You can view the machines here, along with a video showing how they work.

Additional hats and headbands I knitted for charity in 2015.

Adult and teens hats (top left). Children’s hats (top right). Headbands (below).

From Late August to mid-November, I knitted more than 200 hats, many of which were distributed to local area schools. Some went to a local domestic violence/homeless shelter, and some went to family members. Currently, I’m finishing up a donation to an area NICU unit, and I am also getting a shipment ready to send to Knit for Kids.

Although purchasing these machines was quite an investment, it’s one that I was happy to make. I’ve had so much fun with them, and the idea that I’m helping others gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. It also gives me a great way to use up yarn scraps and yarn that has been discontinued (which I can’t design with).

As much fun as this has been, I had to set my designing aside for a few months while I worked on the donations, but I’m back on track now. With several other design projects underway, I’ll also be part of the NatCroMo 2016 Blog Tour on March 6, 2016.  So, come on, get your ticket to “ride this train.” Crochetville’s 2016 NatCroMo Blog Tour leaves the station on March 1. Don’t miss out!

Crochet_Express_General_Ticket_2a_FB-600x297

All A-B-O-A-R-D the Crochet Express, March 1-31, 2016. Don’t miss out!

Be sure to check back on March 6th for my slot in the tour. I have a surprise for you! Until then, Happy Crocheting!

March 27, 2015
by Brenda
21 Comments

NatCroMo 2015

It’s National Crochet Month 2015!

Welcome to my stop on Crochetville’s 2015 NatCroMo Blog Tour! What a great way to celebrate National Crochet Month and this amazing art that is so near and dear to our hearts. Thank you to Amy and Donna from Crochetville for organizing the tour and allowing me to be a part of it. This is my 3rd year to participate, and it just continues to get better and better each time!

My Wild Irish Rose photo

My Wild Irish Rose

It will come as no great surprise to anyone who is familiar with my work that I am madly in love with flowers in general, but roses in particular. They have been a recurring theme throughout my design career. In the spirit of National Crochet Month to show my appreciation for you, my crocheting friends, and for being fortunate enough to have the job of my dreams, I am pleased to make this time-limited offer of my latest doily design, My Wild Irish Rose. It will remain free on my blog through March 31, 2015.

UPDATE: The NatCroMo Blog Tour 2015 is now over, and the offer for my free doily design, My Wild Irish Rose, has expired.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

There are some exciting new things going on here at Brenda Stratton Designs. All new designs will be announced here FIRST.

And, while we’re thinking about crochet, please consider donating to Halos of  Hope. They are a tremendously worthy cause, and they could really use your help with hat donations. Crochetville is collecting hats for them and will present them later this summer. You can find the hat donation information at Crochetville. If you would like to help, but would rather make a monetary donation, you can donate directly via the Halos of Hope donation page. A small donation goes a long way in sending the hats to the people who need them, and every little bit helps.

If you haven’t already seen it, be sure to check out my latest published design, Afternoon Tea, in the April 2015 issue of Crochet World. You can read more about it in yesterday’s post.

Enjoy the rest of the blog tour, and be sure to check out the other participating NatCroMo designers. There are some awesome designs being offered, so don’t miss out!

Thank you for stopping by!

March 26, 2015
by Brenda
1 Comment

Afternoon Tea

Have you seen the latest issue of Crochet World?

Crochet World

Crochet World, April 2015 Cover. Photo used with permission.

Check out my newest published design, Afternoon Tea, featured in the Lovely Lace section of the April 2015 issue. The five-piece set can double as a charming addition to a quiet afternoon tea or coffee get-together or used as individual doilies. It would also make a nice gift set.

Although I have always loved lace crochet, it wasn’t until 1997 that I took the plunge into designing with thread. By the time I had completed my first doily, I was well and truly in love with it. Since then, I’ve had many designs published, but working with thread is always a special delight.

Afternoon Tea

Crochet World, April 2015 issue. Photo used with permission.

Having a design published in Crochet World is always a little nostalgic for me. I had my very first design published in Crochet World way back in the late 1980s, and its current editor, Carol Alexander, was my design partner for many years until we both ventured into editing.

Do check out the April issue. It has great designs in it by some terrific designers, many of whom I had the distinct honor of working with while editing Hooked on Crochet!, Annie’s Favorite Crochet and Annie’s Hooked on Crochet!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my stop on the 2015 NatCroMo blog tour presented by Crochetville!

 

 

 

March 6, 2015
by Brenda
2 Comments

NatCroMo 2015 and Catching Up

Orange Rose
Whoa… It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter for many of us here in the US and, like most of you, I’m tired of winter and ready for warm sunny days and the color explosion that happens as my flowers begin to make their appearance. Since neither of those things has happened yet, I’ll console myself for now with this photo of one of my roses taken a couple of years ago. It’s one of my favorites!

Catching Up
In my last 2 posts (has it really been so many months ago?), I wrote about the charity challenge I’d been working on for the children in the school my daughter, Liz, works at. I had the hats completed and was waiting for a sunny day to do the photography, but the sun went on vacation while gray skies and cold weather moved into the Midwest a little early this year. With chilly temperatures suddenly upon us, it became more important to get the hats to the children than it was to wait for a sunny day to do photography. So, I sent the hats off to school with Liz sans additional photographs. There were approximately 17 in a variety of styles, enough for every child in her class.

Each child was allowed to choose which hat he or she wanted. Afterward, Liz took photos of the children wearing them. They were so cute! And, they all wrote me thank you notes that really touched my heart. (I’d love to share the photos here, but can’t for the sake of the children’s privacy. I’m sure you understand.) Liz reports back, though, that the children wear their hats to school nearly every day. Yay—mission accomplished! What I put into this project was a little time and a small amount of yarn. What I got out of it was a great deal of satisfaction knowing that all those little ones had something to keep them warm.

NatCroMo 2015
Don’t forget it’s National Crochet Month! Hop on over to Crochetville and join in on their annual blog tour fun! My spot on the tour comes up on March 27th. I’ll have a free pattern for you, so don’t miss it!

August 8, 2014
by Brenda
0 comments

Charity Challenge: Part 2

My progress on the hats for the children at my daughter’s school is coming along nicely (if I do say so myself) with 11 hats completed and another almost finished. With only 3 more needed to meet my goal of 15 hats by September 1st, I should finish easily. Just thinking of all the little heads that will be warmer this winter because of these hats makes me happy.

School Hats 1-4

School Hats worked in a variety of #4 yarns.

Although a succession of  overcast days has made photography difficult, I do have the first 4 photos ready to show you, all of which were made using #4, worsted weight yarn. They are a slight adaptation of the Inauguration Chapeau by Ellen Bloom. It’s a sweet little hat and works up quickly with less than a 4-oz skein of yarn. It’s great to help use up those odd skeins left over from other projects. One of the things I love best about it is that each of the 12 ribs serves as a reminder to increase, so there isn’t much need to count stitches or use stitch markers, making it a perfect project for working in front of TV. In fact, I recommend this pattern for a variety of charity projects, since the pattern is so easily adapted to any size.

Hat #1

Hat #1: Red Heart Strata (discontinued)

I chose not to put the bow on the hats since I don’t know yet whether the recipients will be boys or girls, and not having the bow gives it a little more flexibility. I do confess to putting a flower on one of the hats not yet photographed, though!

I don’t work with variegated yarns often, although I do love them. Watching the color patterns play out is always such fun. I really like the different color combinations that Red Heart Strata offered, too. Even though it is no longer available, you can get similar results with the Red Heart Super Saver variegated yarns.

Hat #2

Hat #2: Lion Brand Jamie 4 (discontinued)

I bought this yarn in Atlanta many years ago and never found just the right place for it before it was discontinued. But, I do love the color, and it would look great on either a little boy or girl. Lion Brand Jamie 4 can also be replaced by Red Heart Super Saver or any other #4 medium weight yarn that will yield a similar gauge.

Hat #3

Hat #3: Red Heart Strata (discontinued)

Here’s another hat worked in Red Heart Strata. I really like the stripes that formed as I switched from double crochet for the body of the hat to single crochet for the brim.

Hat #4

Hat #4: Red Heart Super Soft (discontinued)

The 4th hat is worked in Red Heart Super Soft. I’m sorry to see this yarn line go. The skeins were large and the yarn is soft, but an excellent replacement for this yarn is Red Heart Soft.

Since today was yet another of our overcast days, I’m concentrating for now on finishing the 12th hat and possibly starting another. The rest of the photos will be up as soon as the sun decides to come out of hiding.

 

July 10, 2014
by Brenda
2 Comments

GOT YARN? A Charity Challenge

One of the perks of my job as a designer is being able to work with so many beautiful yarns. But, the point comes where so much accumulates that I run out of room to store it. I reached that point awhile ago. My storage area is bursting at the seams, so it’s time to take control and say goodbye to the older, discontinued yarns I can’t design with.

One of my favorite ways to use up excess yarn is to crochet for charity in my spare time. Over the years, I have donated to worthy causes on regional, national and even global levels. But, over all, I prefer to donate within my own community. I have always lived in the Midwest where it gets extremely cold in the winter, so there is always a need for warm wearables and blankets.

My daughter, Liz, who is a teacher’s aide for grades K-2 at an area elementary school, brought something to my attention a few years ago that really tugs at my heart. I know it isn’t unique to our area, but members of the teaching staff selflessly use their own funds to help supply warm hats and mittens to the little ones who would not otherwise have any. The idea that any child has to suffer for the lack of something so simple breaks my heart, so I help out when I can by making and donating hats to her school. I realize it’s just the tip of the iceberg, but every little bit helps.

My challenge to myself
Our local schools begin their fall sessions next month. I have pledged to donate 15 hats to my daughter’s class to be delivered by Sept. 1st. Why 15? Because that is approximately how many children there will be in her class, and I know I can make and deliver that many hats in this time frame. But, I expect to be able to crochet many more than that, and I will continue making them well into the fall and winter. Liz will distribute the hats to the students in her school who need them.

My challenge to you
If you are so inclined and in a position to do so, my challenge to you is to get involved in a similar way in your own community. Find a need, and fill it. It could be anything from making hats for your local school children (as I am doing), blankets and warm wearables for the homeless, lapghans and shawls for the aged, baby wear and blankets for hospitals, and let’s not forget the many types of shelters, both human and animal! Sometimes, a donation of yarn to a charity group or to a nursing home to help the residents who knit or crochet continue doing the craft they so love is also needed and deeply appreciated.

What I am NOT asking you to do
I am not asking you to send anything to me, personally. I am also not asking you to abandon a favorite charity you already work with. And, finally, I am not asking you to over-extend yourself or your budget. We all have time and budget constraints we must work within, and I completely understand that.

Because I write patterns for a living, it’s often more fun to do my charity work from a pattern someone else has created. When I do, I will post the links for you. And, since I am using only discontinued yarns, I will offer suggestions for similar yarns that will substitute for the ones I use.

And, finally, a sneak peek…as you can see, I already have a head start on the hats I pledged. There will be more photos and information on the pattern and yarns I used in the next post.

Hat Donations: #1