Truffula Tree Yarnbomb

Truffula Yarnbomb - Expectation vs Reality

Truffula Tree Yarnbomb - Expectation vs RealityAfter months of fussing over it and scoping locations, I finally put up my Lorax inspired Truffula Tree Yarnbomb at our local library.  This was the biggest yarnbomb I’ve done by myself, so of course, there were a lot of opportunities to learn lessons.

I thought I was prepared…

Truffula Tree Yarnbomb - Expectation vs Reality

After I convinced this kiddo they weren’t pillows, I bordered each piece with wire so they would have some stability and I could put each component of the Truffula Tree up with black zip ties (I took 50, just to be safe).  Since I just got a new (yard sale) bike, I thought my best plan was to put what I could in my basket and cycle over to the library. I had planned out the order in advance on my living room floor and took a picture to refer to at the fence.  I even wrote “PrOBP” on my hand so I’d get the order right, and I tied a snip of yarn to each trunk that matched the appropriate top so I could keep them in order as well.

I thought it made the most sense to do this one on a Saturday night so I could admire it Sunday before the library reopened on Monday (and potentially decided to cut it down.  around).  A little after 8:30, I started for the library.

Beware of nebby neighbors…

I parked my bike and start unpacking.  The fence was brightened by a nearby streetlight, and I was glad I didn’t need the headlamp I packed.  I quickly knelt down to put up the first trunk.  Almost instantly, stinky mud soaked through my jeans.  When I got to the second trunk, I realized that in my excitement I forgot about the identifying yarn I put on the trunks to keep things in order.  Shoot.

On the fly I reordered them and kept zipping. I was deciding on how twisty and bendy to make the trunks when I saw a figure across the street.  I could make out a middle-aged woman tapping her foot and looking toward the corner.  I don’t think it was just paranoia, but I assumed she was waiting for the cops – there was just something about the way she was standing.  I tried to work a little faster, not because I could finish before they arrived, but I hoped I would have enough up to show them it was cool (I don’t think I have a very good handle on how law enforcement works).  In my haste, the bends on the stems weren’t quite what I planned.

I occasionally kept tabs on the woman behind me, and eventually I see her walking toward me with a guy and a dog.  Of course – that wasn’t the “waiting for the police” stance, that’s the “Where the heck is my slow-poke husband?” stance (I know it well).  I immediately say “hi,” and their faces soften. They are just the friendliest folks, and I pull out the tree tops and show them my plan, and we have a nice little chat about yarnbombing and libraries and crochet in general.  I think I won them over a bit, and they were relieved that I wasn’t some crazy vandal (even though I kinda am, but whatever). I was trying to work and talk, which increased the general wonkiness.

The moment I realized I am short…

crochet bike seat - hijennybrown.com

I’m 5’6″, which is above average for a woman, but not nearly tall enough for this project.  The treetops were over my head, and after a few stretches, I realized I couldn’t pull a zip tie without a boost. I leaned my bike against the fence, climbed up on the pedals, and reached as high as I could. I thought about standing on the seat, but I imagined I would be found unconscious the next morning, surrounded by yarn and zip ties, pinned beneath my yard sale bike.  Plus I didn’t want to ruin my new crocheted cover (made of Hello Kitty t-shirt yarn).  I really had to stretch for the blue one, but I still got it to a semi-circular shape.

Is there a hardware store nearby…

Truffula Tree Yarnbomb - Expectation vs Reality

I was convinced that 50 zip ties would be plenty, but I realized quickly that it wasn’t going to cut it.  Luckily I had packed a few extra clear ones, which I really didn’t want to use, that allowed me to finish.  Honestly, I probably could have used 10-20 more ties to fix the Truffula Tree trunks, but at this point I was beat and didn’t think I could make it to Lowe’s and back.

Why you shouldn’t bike at night…

Truffula Tree Yarnbomb - Expectation vs Reality
photo by @fcollected

I stepped back to admire my work and see a text from Craft Husband, wondering if I’m still alive.  That’s when I see that it’s after 10.  I look around for any trash and hop on my bike.  I’m zipping along when I see a police car, about a block ahead, accelerating toward me.  I assumed (why?) he was coming for me, so I turned onto a side street into a winding development that I never made it through.  I kept hearing a dog bark, and I couldn’t tell if it was getting closer or farther away.  I made turn after turn but the occasional street signs said I was still on the same road.  Eventually I gave up, got a hold on my exhausted paranoia, and headed back.

Now I just had to bike through the park, which was pitch black.  Thank goodness for that headlamp! I  cannot imagine what I looked like on the bike, breathing heavy, covered in mud, with a big light on my head… but I don’t really care.  I finally made it home and got out of those stinky jeans as soon as possible.

Was it worth it?

Truffula Tree Yarnbomb - Expectation vs Reality
photo by @fcollected

Um, yeah!  It was great to see the kids interacting with the trees, and for all the trouble and mistakes, I like how they turned out.  It’s given me the confidence to start on another big project.  And it seems the library really likes them.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Personalized Crochet Blanket

Personalized Ripple Blanket - Hi, Jenny Brown

Personalized Crochet Blanket - Hi, Jenny BrownWhen Erin asked for a ripple blanket to match the pillows she made for her living room, I was happy to oblige.  I love the colors in the pillows, and I’m always happy to crochet a ripple blanket – especially one with so much gray. (Does loving gray yarn make me weird?)

Personalized Crochet Blanket - Hi, Jenny BrownThe kiddos love curling up with it, but I felt like someone was being left out…Charlie, the dinosaur.

Personalized Crochet Blanket - Hi, Jenny Brown

Charlie is named after the baby in the old viral video “Charlie bit my finger.”  Babes loves it because it involves his two favorite things: brother-on-brother violence and evil laughing. Charlie the dino gets really aggressive when being held by an adult, and he always rushes to the nearest kiddo to nip at their fingers–but we love him anyway.  I used every bit of the big blanket leftovers to make him a cover, then personalized it with a “C” from my Uppercase Alphabet Pattern.  I pinned it to the corner, added a little backstitch, and voila!

Personalized Crochet Blanket - Hi, Jenny Brown

It was really fun to see the kids’ reactions, and I think a blanket like this would also be a sweet handmade addition to a store bought toy (can you imagine giving a doll with her own precious blanket?) If you’d like to try it on a larger scale, I think this would be great for a graduation blanket (with a 2015) or a dorm-room blanket (with 3 initials so no roommates dare borrow it).

Personalized Crochet Blanket - Hi, Jenny Brown

I know that some of you (Hi, Mom!) are wondering how the back looks with the letters added, and it’s not bad at all.  I have to admit I wasn’t taking the back into consideration at all while backstitching this guy on.  If you don’t want anything showing, you could sew the letter on with the same color as the background, which would add a really cute contrast detail.

Who would you make a personalized crochet blanket for?  Let me know in the comments or send me a message via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – “C” is also for “Cat.”

Personalized Crochet Blanket - Hi, Jenny Brown

PPS – Photos of the boys by Erin Markan.  Thanks, Erin!

April Showers bring Crochet Flowers

Crochet Cherry Blossoms - Hi, Jenny Brown

Cherry Blossom Crochet Flowers - Hi, Jenny BrownI thought we could all use an excuse to stop and smell the crochet flowers.  These blossoms are for an upcoming collaborative installation by yarnbombers NaomiRAG and Caustic Wear (does it add to the mystery when I don’t use their real names?) They’re the two creative folks behind the crocus installation this winter.

Although Erin’s just learned how to crochet, she’s been whipping up ripples and granny squares and circles, and she made all the light pink flowers in these pictures.  I’d like to say it’s because she has an amazing, talented, beautiful, humble teacher, but I think she might just have a natural talent for it.  Mark my words, she’s gonna surpass me.

Cherry Blossom Crochet Flowers - Hi, Jenny BrownBut don’t worry – when she’s not crocheting, Erin still has time to take plenty of photos.  (You can see more of her awesome snaps on Instagram: @fcollected).  I love how she made it look like the kids happened upon a fairy wonderland sprinkled with tiny pink blossoms… even though it’s just the park near our house.  Since we all have insane allergies right now, this may be the last flowers we sniff for a while.

 

Cherry Blossom Crochet Flowers - Hi, Jenny Brown

 

Cherry Blossom Crochet Flowers - Hi, Jenny Brown

 

Cherry Blossom Crochet Flowers - Hi, Jenny BrownCherry Blossom Crochet Flowers - Hi, Jenny Brown

If you’d like to make your own crochet flowers for the Sakura Yarnbomb, there’s still time!  You can find the easy-to-follow pattern on the Caustic Wear blog.  The deadline is May 22nd, but they work up really quickly.  The only rule is that they need to be pink, so you can be as creative as you like with your embellishments and yarn choices.  You can see some examples of what folks around the world have done with their flowers in the #sakurayarnbomb feed.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Knitting Group Egos

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

There are few things better than a good knitting group (I know I’m a crocheter, but the truth is that most of the groups I’ve been in have been knitting groups with a small crochet contingent).  It’s great to look forward to sitting around with other stitchers and doing the thing you all love (especially with my last group, which met in the best bar ever).  Of course, that many intelligent, talented, and opinionated folks in one room, creating some of the most beautiful needlework the word has ever seen, means a few may be playing with a slightly inflated ego.  That’s why  I can’t get this McSweeney’s piece “There Are No Egos in Our Knitting Group” by Jeremy Blackman out of my head!  It reminds me of so many moments of judgment in knitting and crochet meet-ups, stitch ‘n’ bitch groups, yarn stores, and overpriced classes where I’ve encountered the infamous knitting group ego. Below are my flawed remembrances of these meanies.

And don’t forget – if you can’t figure out who in your knitting group has the biggest ego, it’s probably you.Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

“I can’t show you how to do this because of the way you knit, so you’ll have to figure it out.” – The woman I was paying for group knitting lessons at a local yarn shop

Erin: [Holding up two balls of yarn] “What about these two colors together?”
Me: [Making puking face] “Why would you do that to me?”

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

“Oh, you do that kind of stuff? I prefer the really big yarnbombs, like cars and things like that.” – A lady at my old knitting group who probably didn’t think I would take this as a personal affront

“I can see your stitches here, here, and here.” – Me, pointing out someone’s visible joining like a total jerk.  Honest, it was a joke!

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

“So you’re looking for *cheap* yarn?”– Yarn shop worker, when I said I was allergic to wool

New Knitter: [Showing her first FO] “You can take a look at it to see if there are any mistakes.”
Me: “Oh no, it looks great.  It’s really good.  Oh, I mean, well, obviously you have a twisted stitch here and some issues here…” 

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

Me: [to a new group of knitters & hookers I was trying to impress] “I’m a pretty fast crocheter.”
Erin: “I always thought you were really slow.  It takes her forever…”

“You can leave it, but I would tear it out. Oh look over there! [start frogging]” -Me, to nearly everyone I’ve taught to crochet, most recently to a teenager.  I shared this with my mom, and she said these folks will thank me because their next project will be right — so now you know where I get it.

Egos come out in every knitting group. Mean comments I've heard (and said) at knitting groups - Hi, Jenny Brown

“Why would you make that?” – My mom, when presented with anything I’m working on

“Please don’t buy that stupid, ugly baby yarn that you like.” – Me to my mom when she asked my opinion on yarn for her next project

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

I hope no one is surprised that the majority of the meanness here is mine, but as someone said to me at last week’s meetup “You’re really not that mean.” High praise indeed.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – want to share the mean things I (or other folks) have said to you?  Share in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.  I’d love to help you come up with some good comebacks!

Tips and Tricks for Double Strand Crochet

Double Strand Crochet Tips and Tricks - Hi, Jenny Brown

Double Strand Crochet Tips and Tricks - Hi, Jenny BrownI’ve been working hard on a secret yarn-bomb project that involves a lot of different yarns and techniques (that will hopefully all come together in a beautifully cohesive display, right?), and one of my favorite is double strand crochet.

Double Strand Crochet Techniques - Hi, Jenny BrownDouble strand crochet is the same as regular crochet, but you’ll be holding two strands straight in your non-dominant hand instead of just one.  As you work each stitch, be sure you have equal tension on both strands and are pulling both strands through each loop.  The technique is simple, but it may take some time to perfect the tension and check for mistakes.

Common mistakes people make with Double Strand Crochet

  • Tangling Yarn – Keeping one ball on each side of you, like this cutie, will reduce the opportunities for knots and tangles

Double Strand Crochet - Hi, Jenny Brown

  • Using a hook that’s too small – Working with a hook that isn’t big enough will crush your yarn and really put a stain on your hooking hand.  Try a couple different hook sizes to find the perfect look.
  • Dropping one strand – When you drop a strand for part of a stitch, you’ll be tempted to continue the stitch with both strands and pretend this little incident never happened.  Don’t do it!  You’ll totally see that wonky weak part every time you look at your piece.
  • Not keeping even tension – If you have one strand looser than the other, you’ll get bumpy loops all over the place.  Not cute.
  • Forgetting to Rest – The increased thickness of the yarn will make hands tired, so be nice and give yourself a break here and there.

Benefits of Double Strand Crochet

  • Create a stronger fabric – double strand crochet is perfect for items that need a little extra body, including baskets, potholders, or cozies (like the one I made for my Kitchen Aid mixer, because why not?)
  • Add extra color and dimension – When Erin and I got up close and personal with NaomiRAG’s work, we realized she used double strand crochet to give her pieces more color and depth. It’s the perfect alternative to tapestry crochet, and I’m sure you’ll agree the end result is totally amazing.
Crochet Double Strand - Hi, Jenny Brown
Photo by Erin Markan – Piece by NaomiRAG
  • Make novelty yarns easier to handle – Novelty yarns catch a lot of flack, but there are times when nothing else will do… like, say, when you need to make a giant muppet-esque orange circle. It is really difficult to see previous stitches in the funkiest novelty yarns, so adding a plain yarn (in a similar color if you don’t want it to show) will allow you to count your stitches easily and place those increases in the perfect place.

Double Stranding with Novelty Yarn - Hi, Jenny Brown

  •  Calm a crazy yarn – If you’ve got a loud, variegated yarn in your stash that you totally hate, try double-stranding with a coordinating or neutral yarn.  You’ll calm that ugly right down.

Why you should really, really, really make a swatch first

You might not know how two yarns will work with each other, so it’s best to do a quick swatch to see how they’ll interact and if you like the effect. Also, this is a great time to try different hook sizes to find out which will look best.  If you’re using a novelty yarn, you may also want to vary your stitches – taller stitches look much better with fun fur because it gives the yarn more room to puff out.

But the main reason you should really, really, really make a swatch first is that double strand crochet is a total pain to frog. With double strand crochet, the two yarns will pull out side-by-side, and you’ll have a heck of a time getting them neatly and knotlessly separated.  (If you have a Craft Husband handy, you can ask him to pull one strand while you pull the other and each roll the yarn back into a ball.)

How to double strand using crochet couching

Crochet Couching - Hi, Jenny Brown

Some yarns look great with regular double stranding, but if you’re using a novelty yarn with special bits and bobs (like this puff ball yarn), then you’ll want to try this technique.  (Please keep in mind – I think I made up this term.  If you know the real name, please let me know – but I thought it was similar to it’s embroidery cousin, and I’ve been watching a lot of British Sewing Bee lately.)

  1. Complete the chain and first row of your piece with the main yarn as you normally would
  2. Hold the novelty and main yarn in your non-dominant hand as you would for regular double strand crochet
  3. Begin next row by crocheting main yarn over novelty yarn (like when you’re doing tapestry crochet) until you get to a puff ball
  4. Push puff ball to right side of piece (this will happen naturally when you’re working on the right side)
  5. Chain 1, skip 1, and sc in the next sc to secure puff ball
  6. Pull novelty yarn slightly to ensure there are no loose loops
  7. Repeat to end
  8. In next row, continue in the same way, single crocheting in ch spaces when necessary

Double Strand Alternative – Surface Crochet

Surface Crochet - Hi, Jenny Brown

If you’re having trouble holding two strands at once but still want to have a multi-strand effect, try surface crochet.

  1. Keep yarn at back of piece. Push hook down through first space.
  2. Pull up loop and pull yarn gently to tighten loop on hook, if necessary.
  3. Continue by inserting hook into next space, pulling up loop, and pulling yarn gently to tighten loop on hook, if necessary.

You can crochet into the surface crochet stitches as you would any chain to add height.

Surface Crochet with tall stitches - Hi, Jenny Brown

If you have any questions about double strand crochet, leave them in the comments below or come talk to me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Why You Need A Craft Husband

Craft Husband Crocheting - HiJennyBrown

Last night I showed Stretch an instagram from a popular crocheter and speculated that she was now single.  “Do you think she needs a Craft Husband?” he asked.

Before I could retort, our friend (who claims to read this blog – hi, Liar!) said: “What’s a Craft Husband?”

Why every crafter need a Craft Husband - Hi, Jenny Brown

What what? A Craft Husband (Wife / Boyfriend / Girlfriend / Friendo ) is your crafty partner in crime who is required to love you even if you do leave pins on the floor and tiny yarn snips in every crevice.  So basically, the best person ever.

Craft Husband Crocheting - HiJennyBrown

A Craft Husband has just enough craft knowledge to be dangerous

Craft Husband can tell the difference between knitting and crochet, the instances when you should use Red Heart, and the identity of quite a few yarn blogs and bloggers (although after last night’s incident, I may ask him to spend a little less time getting to know bloggers). He’s also better at picking the right item from a craft store than a grocery store.

Craft Husband - Hi, Jenny Brown

A Craft Husband will go with your to craft events

And they’ll actually enjoy it!

Craft Husbands can reach the things you can only point at - Hi, Jenny Brown

A Craft Husband is a helpful planner

If you’re looking for your own Craft Husband, might I suggest finding a tall, architect type?  Stretch (hence the name) is the best at reaching all the high places I can only point to.  He knows how to make yarnbombs structurally sound(ish).  Oh, and he’s darn good at picking colors. I mean, it might not be the best color scheme, but he can actually decide on a yarn and take it to the register in under 30 minutes.  How does he do that?

Craft Husband - HiJennyBrown

A Craft Husband thinks outside the craft

While all that craft knowledge is great, it’s also good to have someone to think outside what you think is even possible with yarn.  He doesn’t know all the craft’s limitations, so he can think freely of new ideas and techniques. This occasionally backfires because he doesn’t know how much time making takes, so he’ll join me in the delusion that I can crochet anything in 24 hours.

Why you definitely need a craft husband - Hi, Jenny Brown

A Craft Husband proudly wears the things you make

Finding someone who will love your handmade gifts isn’t that difficult, true, but Craft Husband will tell folks immediately they’re handmade, who made them, and why they are special.  There’s nothing better than having someone you love explain cables to a stranger or discuss the never-ending nightmare that is seaming.

Why you need a Craft Husband - Hi, Jenny BrownA Craft Husband allows you to carry double the stuff

If you think that’s nothing, you’re not doing enough projects (or enough damage at the craft store)

Happy Birthday Banner - HiJennyBrown

That’s probably a little too much praise to heap on a Craft Husband, but it is his birthday today: the big 4-0! Thanks, Craft Husband, for all you do and for all you will do (Did I tell you Erin and I are working on a 7 foot yarn bomb?  We’re gonna need a tall guy).

Bye,
Jenny Brown

5 Common Crochet Mistakes: Fix it or Forget it?

fix uneven ends - hijennybrown.com

I make the most crochet mistakes when I’m a) in a hurry or b) sick, and lucky for me, both conditions are true this week!  It inspired me to share with you 5 common crochet mistakes and tips to help you locate and fix the problem or ignore it completely.

My chain is too tight - hijennybrown.com

1. I can’t get the hook in the starting chain

FIX IT: As a founding member of the Tight Crocheters Club, I know it’s hard to just relax and go with the flow on your starting chain, but seriously, you gotta chill.  Frog the original chain and try making even, looser chains.  If your chains are too tight or sloppy, chain with a hook one size larger than the one required for the pattern, then use the smaller (original) hook for your first row.

FORGET IT: If size doesn’t matter (say for a yarnbomb or applique project), use a hook one size smaller than the one you used for the chain to complete your first row.  Better yet, you can always summon your angriest thoughts and drill that hook into the starting chain whether it likes it or not.  Why does your sister only call when she wants something?  Why hasn’t your husband taken out the recycling already?  Why are your favorite yarns always being discontinued? Use that anger for good!

what to do when your hat is too small - hijennybrown.com

2. This hat is too big/small

FIX IT: I know you’re tempted to tell yourself that your mother-in-law won’t mind having her head continually squeezed during every wear, but she really will – plus, she’ll tell you about it every chance she gets.  If you haven’t yet woven in your ends, measure the final hat and try it on (if it’s for someone with a similar head size).  Mark any ill-fitting places with safety pins and take notes on the row and location.  Then remove all the pins, frog that bad boy, and make a perfect hat.

FORGET IT: If you’ve already woven in the ends, wash and block the hat to see if it can be pulled to a better size/shape.  If it still won’t work, send it to an organization that accepts new, handmade hats.  If it’s too big/small for any human, look around your downtown for statues with a shrunken or inflated cranium.

fix uneven ends - hijennybrown.com

3. My edges are a disgrace

FIX IT: There are plenty of reasons why the edge of your rows look like garbage, and I’m guilty of every one.  You may be missing the last stitch of each row, forgetting your turning chain, failing to skip the first stitch if you’re doing double crochet, and on and on.  The best way to figure it out is to count each row and see if you are adding or subtracting stitches.

FORGET IT: If it’s not too terrible, add an edging to cover everything up.  If it’s just ridiculous, consider your frenemy’s Christmas present finished ahead of schedule.

fixing crochet circles - hijennybrown.com

4. My circle is not…circular

FIX IT: If your circle wobbles or turns in on itself, you may have too many or too few stitches in each row.  Check your pattern to ensure you are increasing correctly, and try a smaller hook for ruffling circles and a larger hook for turning in circles. If you’re not following a pattern, try increasing or decreasing the number or stitches in your starting round or try a larger (dc instead of sc) or smaller (sc instead of dc) stitch for each round.

FORGET IT: You might be able to do a row of even decreases or increases around, or simply a row without increases, to get your circle back on track.  Or maybe you can just squish it down with your hand until it’s flat-ish.

Weaving in Ends - hijennybrown.com

5. I hate weaving in ends

FIX IT: Beautifully woven-in ends will make your finished project look polished and will ensure it lasts a long time.  Try weaving in your ends as you go (and remember to have a long enough tail so ends remain secure).  You may also want to splurge for some cute bent tip darning needles that make weaving in a lot easier.  Maybe you need pretty glass needles from Moving Mud (are you listening, Craft Husband?)

FORGET IT: Don’t bother and pretend it’s intermittent fringe.

Bye and Happy NyQuilling,
Jenny Brown

Some photos courtesy Erin of Folks Collected.  Thanks, Erin!

NJ Makers Day Yarn Bomb

Makers Gonna Make - HiJennyBrown.com

makers gonna make yarnbomb - hijennybrown.comSaturday was our state’s inaugural Maker Day, so of course I had to celebrate by crocheting this NJ Makers Day Yarn Bomb.

Mr. A and Yarn Bomb - HiJennyBrown.com

Some folks thought it should have been hung closer to the playground (so visiting it would coincide with a turn on the swings), but I like it on the chain link fence (over the ugly piece of wood holding that metal sign on).

crochet scissors - hijennybrown.com

I only had a day to get it done, so I wanted to make something small inspired by my favorite craft supplies (and Taylor Swift, of course).  The scissors are based on Howie of WooWork’s “Snippy” crochet scissors.  Howie is one of the first “cool” crocheters I found online, and his scissors have been in the back of my head since 2009.  I used his “recipe” for the scissors and as the base for a bigger pair.  I nestled them into what you would technically call a “chain 15 space” on the black background.

Yarn Bomb Ruler - hijennybrown.com

I knew I wanted the ruler to be at least close to accurate, but I didn’t realize how many little black hashes that would require.  Some lines are straighter than others, but hopefully the people of New Jersey will forgive my inconsistencies.  I made the ruler waaaay bigger than required for the space so I could fold it over onto itself (mimicking the way I improperly store my real rulers).

pin close-up on Makers Yarnbomb- HiJennyBrown.com

The pins were 100% Mr. A’s idea, using pinkies-purple for the heads and some stashed Tahki Stacy Charles “Stella” for the points.  A little pricey for yarn bombing, but I love the shine.  I used the same yarn for the needle, which unfortunately is a bit hidden.

Makers Gonna Make - HiJennyBrown.com

The letters, of course, are from my Uppercase and Lowercase Alphabet Multipack.  I used random colors of newer and vintage crochet thread, then sewed them to the background.  If I had more time, I would have been a little more intentional and careful, but I just attached them with a quick running stitch. One of the cool features of the updated pattern is a guide with suggested hook sizes for every type of yarn, plus techniques for attaching letters to your finished projects.

wire-edge of Makers Gonna Make YarnBomb - HiJennyBrown.com

One of my favorite yarnbombing tricks is to add a wire border, something I figured out while making the giant heart.  Mr. A thought it needed more green, so I held the wire along the edge of the black and single-crocheted over it.  It gives the piece enough structure that you can attach it to a fence or other surface with nothing more than a zip tie in each corner.  It probably could have used a little more reshaping, but we had to get this guy done in time to get on to the other NJ Makers Day events.

Yarn Bomb Crew - HiJennyBrown.com Bye,
Jenny Brown

*Photos by Erin Markan of Folks Collected

St. Patrick’s Day: Crochet T-shirt Yarn Koozie

J Crochet Koozie - hijennybrown.com

J Crochet Koozie - hijennybrown.comI’ve been looking for a good excuse to give t-shirt yarn a try, and lucky for me, Promo Analyzer sent me a whole box of goodies…

promo box - hijennybrown.com…including a t-shirt perfect for cutting up.

tshirt yarn - hijennybrown.com

I used this tutorial by Upcycled Stuff  to cut the shirt, and here’s where I should mention the things I did wrong.  #1. I used a shirt with a seam. In my defense, that’s the shirt I was given, and I kinda like the look of the raveled edges poking through.  If you don’t, you know what to do.

cutting tshirt - hijennybrown.com

#2. I still haven’t bought a new rotary cutter, even though that pink one will occasionally pop its wheel.  (I close my eyes every time I retract it, as if that will save me.)

tshirt yarn - hijennybrown.com

#2. during the last step, where you pull the yarn to hide the cut edges, I may have been a little too aggressive and created some extra ends to weave in, and you know how I love that.  t-shirt yarn koozie - hijennybrown.com

Because I was making the coozie to fit a specific water bottle, I made a chain a stitch smaller than the circumference of the bottle, then I worked in the round using single crochets until I ran out of yarn.  Of course, I had to applique a quick “J” to mark it as mine using the Uppercase Alphabet pattern.  It’s the perfect touch to keep your St. Patrick’s Day Guinness out of the hands of your grabby CH.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,
Jenny Brown

PS – here’s a sneak peek at the other goodness I created (including a cute shamrock from B. Hooked’s pattern). 

Promo Analyzer recraft - hijennybrown.comThe full deets will be on promoanalyzer.com soon! 

Photos by Erin Markan of Folks Collected

Celebrating 1,000 Crochet Patterns Sold

It’s official – Hi, Jenny Brown has sold 1,000 Crochet Patterns on Etsy, Ravelry, and Craftsy.  Thank you so much to all the customers, supporters, and helpers who made this milestone possible! So how does one celebrate 1,000 patterns sold? 1. Throw snowballs at an unsuspecting Craft Husband… Luckily, the day after the 1,000th pattern was sold, the sun shone on our snow-covered NJ backyard and the thermometer rose slightly above the usual 32 degrees.  We ran outside to enjoy the balmy weather and found a mild-mannered target for our pent-up blizzard rage….sorry, Craft Husband!

Celebrating 1,000 patterns sold with snowballs - HiJennyBrownYou might think we’re evil, but check out the peanut gallery enjoying the naughtiness without getting their hands wet! You can watch us torture CH further here.

2. Make something good even better… In anticipation of this awesome milestone, I’ve been working day and night (sorry for the 3 a.m. tweets!) updating the Uppercase Alphabet, Lowercase Alphabet, Numbers & Punctuation, and Crochet Bannerama patterns.  Every pattern now includes new instructions on sewing motif pieces to any crochet project and a sizing guide, with plenty of measurements and estimates, that helps you pick the best yarn, gauge, and hook for your next project. Hi #5 - hijennybrown.com

for example: boucle bulky weight (#5) yarn   

3. Get Creative with the Coupon Codes I’m excited about the new changes and will be offering the updated patterns at 20% off until midnight Sunday, March 15.  So if you’re ready to pick-up the new and improved pattern, just use the coupon code “woohoo20” on Etsy or Ravelry. 4. Give everyone a present… While I was working on the pattern update, I also created a free sample of the Uppercase Alphabet pattern that let’s you preview the new layout and get hooked on crocheting letters (does that make me sound like a dealer?). Free HI Pattern - hijennybrown If you want to get a taste (I can’t stop), just join the Hi, Jenny Brown Email Awesomeness List.  You’ll get a weekly update from me plus a link to the free Crochet “HI” Pattern.  And I’ll give a free Bannerama pattern (a superpack of every pattern I’ve designed) to anyone who recreates that cover collage with their newly crocheted “HI.”  Gold nailpolish not required.  5. Say Thanks (over and over) Thanks again, y’all!  When I started selling patterns, I never expected to sell 1, and here we are 1,000 patterns later.  I know it’s cool to act like it’s no big deal when people buy what you make…but it is a big deal to me.  I love you guys!

Bye, Jenny Brown

All photos by Erin Markan of Folks Collected.  Thanks, Erin!