Yo, VIP – Let’s Hook It

Stop Collaborate & Listen yarnbomb

I am always amazed at the beautiful hats, blankets, and banners y’all make with my patterns.  It is some seriously cute stuff, and I am so wowed by each of you!

But say you’re addicted to putting your crochet outside…  Will they work for that too?

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YEP!

Oh, and by the way: If you weren’t a child of the 90s, or you just want to relive the magic – enjoy! Thanks to youtube user emimusic for this flashback.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rog8ou-ZepE?rel=0]

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Wool you be mine?

Wool you be mine crochet - hijennybrown.com

Oh my goodness, friendos: where has this month gone?  I mean, I know I’ve spent a lot of time holed up with nothing but a crochet hook and a bag of Willy Wonka Heartbreakers, but I didn’t realize so much time had passed.

Maybe, like me, you’ve been in a bit of a vortex.  Maybe you forgot Valentine’s day is coming…and maybe you’re afraid you’ll have to be some super sappy, overly sentimental cards at the drug store on the way to your knit/crochet meet-up.

But fear not!  Have I got the valentines for you:

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Whaddaya think?  Craft Husband and I were feeling a little punny, and we thought these craft-inspired phrases would be perfect for some valentines for grownups that had the flavor of the small, cardboard Valentines of our youth.  All the letters were crocheted using my upper and lowercase patterns, then sewn to this pladish (new word) black & white fleece and accented with some cute crochet hearts.

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I was planning to use grey corduroy for the background, but Erin (who did all the photography – thanks!) forced me to dig in my stash for this jem.  I think she was totally right, but so much for the pillows I was planning… oh well.  Who needs pillows when you can have Valentines!

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We also made cute little seals after we scanned a crochet heart placed on a fabric swatch.  Have you ever tried scanning anything you’ve crocheted?  I was sort of amazed at how great it turned out.

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Craft Husband made all the envelopes using a folding board he bought on sale at the local crafts store.  They’re a thin, light grey paper that just screams “shove me into a heart-covered shoebox with a tiny slit cut in the top.”

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So, if you’re hoping to hand out some precious valentines this year, head over to Etsy(Go now, and you can use the coupon code “heartshapedbox” to save 10%.  But hurry – it expires Sunday at midnight!)

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Let’s Make Some Ornaments!

Personalized Crochet Ornament - hijennybrown.com

Are you in that pre-Christmas crazytown where you realize you will never get everything that needs to be done in the way you want it to be done before the shipping cut-off/ boarding last call / in-law visit / Christmas morning?

Take a deep breath.  It’s going to be OK.  And if it’s not, there will be candy.

Crochet ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Maybe what you need is to cut out a little time to make a few cute ornaments for the folks you really love the most.  You know how crochet makes you feel so much better!

But first, you’re going to need some stuff:

  • Wooden or Porcelain frame ornaments (I used porcelain because it was on sale)
  • Crochet thread  – at least two colors
  • Craft paint (optional)
  • Craft Glue
  • Glitter
  • Size B crochet hook and size 7 crochet hook
  • E6000 or hot glue & glue gun
  • toothpick
  • scissors

Please read all the direction before starting (I sound like such a boring teacher) because there are a few caveats. 

Step 1 – Adorn your frame: Remove the ribbon and tag from your ornament.  If you would like your ornament to be painted, here’s your chance, but I was OK with keeping it white because I had some pretty white glitter.  Let paint dry before applying a thin, even layer of craft glue and a ton of glitter.

Crochet Ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Step 2 – Make a background: While the frames dry, crochet a back for them.  I used a B hook and rows of HDC (half-double crochet) to make a piece just about two stitches larger than the opening on each side.  How many rows and stitches you need to do will depend on your ornament, thread, and tension, so just have fun with it.  Remember that all your edges will be hidden on the back, so no one will see it except your snoop of a brother-in-law.  For the oval, you’ll have to be a little more creative by using increases and decreases, so go with the rectangle opening if you’re not used to winging it.  And if you’re not up for any of that, just cut a piece of fabric or burlap a bit larger than the opening.

Crochet Ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Step 3 – Crochet a little cuteness: You will need a character to be the center of your ornament.  Might I suggest a letter, number, or punctuation mark from the Hi, Jenny Brown motif patterns available on Etsy or Ravelry?  But don’t feel like you have to use those.  You could use a tiny granny square, or a heart, or a star, or a squiggly chain.  Whatever you choose, pin it to your background and then place the (hopefully dry) frame on top – is it going to fit?  (If you are using the letter and number motifs, wide letters like “M” and “W” will probably not fit, and others will be a tight squeeze – so crochet tightly with the 7 hook.)   If it doesn’t fit, you may have to re-crochet using a smaller hook or thinner yarn, or go with something different all together.  But don’t throw the one that doesn’t fit away – we’ll have a project for that in a later post.

Crochet Ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Step 4 – Sew your character to the background: Use any stitch you like to firmly adhere your character to the background.  I use the chain stitch because it reminds me of crochet, but it takes longer than using a normal straight stitch.  I would avoid using fabric glue on something so delicate, because it could gunk up and show.

Step 5 – Get your glue on: I use E600, but I know there are some hot glue devotees out there, and I don’t want to keep you from your third-degree burns.  Put a thin layer of glue around the opening on the back of your ornament.  Lay your piece onto the glue backside up, and use a toothpick to press the edges into the glue.  If you are using hot glue, you’re going to have to be precise and quick about this.  If you are using E6 (as Craft Husband and I like to call it), you will have a little bit more time to arrange it nicely, but remember that is not supposed to come in contact with your skin.  The toothpick is your friend.

Crochet Ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Step 6 – Chain a hanger: While your glue is drying, crochet a chain – I did 75 stitches using a size 7 hook because I like how tight it looks, but you can use your 1 hook and fewer stitches.  Tie the two ends together to form a loop. Once your glue is dry, use your smallest hook to pull the hanger, knot side first, from the back through to the front of ornament, leaving about half of the hanger at the back.

Crochet Ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Grab the other end with your hook and pull it through the loop in the front to tighten. Gently adjust so your knot is in the back.  You can weave that end in, secure it with a drop of glue, or just be cool with the fact that it’s at the back.

Crochet Ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Once everything is dry, you’re all done.  Great job! You deserve a cookie.

Crochet Ornaments - Hi, Jenny Brown

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Worst Model Ever

Hi, Jenny Brown reject photos

You may have noticed some new photos here, in my Etsy shop, on my FB page and elsewhere on the internets thanks to my friend Erin. I really can’t stress enough the importance of making a photographer friend (college kids – get thee to the school newspaper and befriend everyone! These are the folks who will be taking your pictures and writing your press releases/resumes for years to come).

Poor Erin took around 800 pictures and was awesome at picking locations and concepts.  Unfortunately, she has been saddled with a terrible model for over 10 years, and I’m not getting any better.  Don’t believe me?  Let the pics speak for themselves.

Here, the poor woman asks me to change my facial expression.

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I think I’m catching on…

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Of course, at any point where she might get shot, I dissolve into ridiculous laughter…

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…or come up with the best ideas ever.

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Worth it, right?

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And would it kill me to stay in the frame?

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Lucky for her, there were plenty of opportunities to exclude my face entirely.

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Despite my bad behavior, Erin captured a ton of great pictures I’ll be using all around these here internets.  Thanks, E!

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Bye,
Jenny Brown

Bar Cozy

crochet bar cozy - hijennybrown.com

The bar where I crochet (eh, drink while holding a hook) on Wednesday nights is now a little cozier. Annie, who runs the place, and Paige, fellow crochet lover and long-time friend of Annie’s (and short-time friend of mine) hatched an idea to cover the place in yarn. The two of them used leftover yarn to make a ton of pieces, while I got stuck on two little pieces.

One, a nice little sign with the bar’s name (using my letter and number patterns) and adding “W”s to the cozies Paige made from my Knit the Bridge leftovers.

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And Two: my hamburger panel.  Remember him?

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I also made one panel with orange and blue granny squares.  It’s the one that sticks out like a sore thumb!  The color scheme Annie chose was decidedly fall, but bright colors and I have a love affair that can transcend any suggestion.

While looking for a clear shot of that panel, I realized that you really needed to see this picture instead.  I feel like CH seems pretty safe here, but Annie’s barely visible hand, cupped over her mouth, seems to suggest otherwise.

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Maybe she forgot he’s a professional at craft-related stretching.

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Things went quickly, except for my slow seaming.  I was so slow, in fact, that a ladybug landed on me and had no plans to leave.  Can you tell that I a) put a hat on my hair while it was still wet that morning and b) am not extremely thrilled with having wildlife take up residence on my glasses?

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And here it is, all cozy for the winter.  Stay warm, little Warsaw!

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Bye,
Jenny Brown

Crochet Social Media Buttons

crochet social media buttons - hijennybrown.com

I don’t know if other pattern designers feel this way – but I spend a lot of time making patterns and not a lot making things from them. Once the testing phase is over, they go on the shelf.

But every once in a while a perfect opportunity to use them comes up. Look to the right – great opportunity, right? Who doesn’t want custom social media buttons?

I made the letters using cotton yarn (that I had salvaged from another project) and the backgrounds from some Loops & Threads Yarn Gang yarn. As I mentioned when I made the Magic Hats, this yarn is so bright and comes in so many colors. Plus, I already have it, so bonus. (Here’s a secret – I call my yarn stash my “Local Yarn Store.” Embarrassing, right?)

I improvised the background square, but for details on how to make a square like this (with increases in each corner), watch this great video by Crochet Geek.  I sewed the letters on using a chain stitch (the embroidery kind, not the crochet kind), but any type of join would do.

Hopefully this inspires me to use my patterns more often. A header, perhaps?

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Photos by Erin Markan.  Thanks, Erin!