“Big Boy” Crochet Banner

Big Boy Crochet Banner - HiJennyBrown.com

Big Boy Crochet Banner - HiJennyBrown.comLately, our once little William has been insisting that he is a grown up.  He drinks “coffee” (water in a coffee cup). He plays video games (or at least yells at the controller).  He even works from home (by doing little chores).  And although his “grown-up” life is totally full, there’s nothing he’d rather do than ride that big yellow school bus with the rest of the kiddos and go to class (but only if it’s OK for mommy to sit right beside him).

Big Boy Crochet Banner - HiJennyBrown.com

Poor little William.  All the other kids are doing “First Day of School” photo shoots, and he’s left in the dust.

Big Boy Crochet Banner - HiJennyBrown.com

So, I decided to make him a little crochet banner that celebrated him, school or not.

Big Boy Crochet Banner - HiJennyBrown.com

It’s really easy to personalize this pattern with fun colors and a cute cord.  I used a simple white cord wrapped with leftover bright blue yarn to make sure everything coordinated. (You can make your own banner with the pattern here).

Big Boy Crochet Banner - HiJennyBrown.com

William loved seeing his name in “sho-shay” (his word for “crochet”).  It’s the perfect present for the summer months, when you just can’t make your favorite kiddos cute hats and blankets and mittens.

Big Boy Crochet Banner - HiJennyBrown.com

What’s your suggestion for cute little kids who aren’t quite ready for school?  Tell me in the comments or share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – Photos by Erin Markan of Folks Collected – thanks, Erin!

Crochet Baby Photo Prop Banner

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

As you may have seen in my newsletter or instagram, my sister had twins!  Emma and Owen were a little early, but they started eating and growing and thriving right away. I mean, can you handle the cuteness?

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

Of course, I want to crochet EVERYTHING for them, so I started with personalized Crochet Garlands.  I thought it would make the perfect crochet baby photo prop. The original pattern is for a larger banner, but I wanted to make something a little smaller for these tiny cuties. I used crochet thread instead of worsted yarn, and I think they turned out great.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

Making the banner was super easy (scroll down for tips for making your own), but taking the kiddos’ pictures was not.  My sister – who took all the pictures in this post – had a few challenges.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

First, after 8+ months of sharing space in close quarters, Owen and Emma like having plenty of personal space.  They even get a little combative about sharing a pic with each other.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

Which leads to – surprise! – some serious tears. (If seeing these sweet darlings cry upsets you, look at their synchronized leg lifts and have a giggle).

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

So then it was time to try some single shots…. first, Ms. Emma, who before the prop was giving full-on blue steel.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

But add the prop and you might as well forget it.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

And her brother is no better.  He’s feeling his look, but he is not feeling that crooked banner.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

Luckily, the banners are something their mama can use in a future photo shoot when they’re feeling a little more cooperative, or just as a sweet nursery decoration.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

While the pattern instructions are written for worsted weight yarn, it’s easy to modify it for crochet thread.  Just use a size 7/ 1.65mm hook for the flags and a 10 / 1.30mm hook for the letters.  For Emma’s banner, that’s the only change that I made to the pattern.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

If you’d like to make a banner more like Owen’s (no scalloped edge), it’s easy to modify the pattern.  Follow all instructions up to the trim.  Then, ch 41, starting at left of last flag with wrong side facing (for this banner, “n” would be first.): place hook underneath first pair of back loops. Pull yarn through back loops, yarn over, and pull yarn through both loops on hook. Then we deviate from the instructions.  Ch 21, then slide hook underneath the last pair of loops, yarn over, and pull yarn through both loops on hook.  You’ll continue with the instructions except when you reach a flag, then repeating single crocheting through first and last loops with 21 chains in between.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

When you reach the end of the banner, you will be working in the back of the chain.  Dc in the third chain from hook and every chain or sc to the end.  When you reach the other end, ch 1, turn, and sc in each dc.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

Fold flags in half, ensuring the last row of single crochets is facing the front of the banner.  Then, starting with the first flag, insert needle through first pair of loops below the trim.

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

Pull yarn through, then insert hook, in the opposite direction, through the next set of loops.  Continue until you reach the other side of the flag with the last pair of loops just below the trim.  (I used a contrasting thread, but you should use the same thread as the flag).

crochet photo prop - hijennybrown

And there you have it!  I hope you’ll make these for your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighbors, customers – whoever! And please share them using the hashtag #hijennybrown

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – Always be cautious when using a photo prop with a child – especially an infant.  Always have a “helper” to watch baby as you snap pictures. Never leave a prop with an unattended infant.  If using your banner for decoration, do not place it in or on a crib/ playpen.  Be sure it is fully secured and completely out of reach. 

Crochet Heart Garland

candy and sweet crochet heart garland - hijennybrown.com

candy and sweet crochet heart garland - hijennybrown.comI’m a big fan of Twinkie Chan’s blog and patterns.  If the name doesn’t ring a bell, I’m sure you’ve seen her food-inspired crochet items featured in numerous magazines, books, and websites. She recently released a video tutorial for a conversation heart crochet garland, and I knew I had to make one.

make a personalized crochet heart garland - hijennybrown.comWhile she used cut-out felt to add a message to her crochet hearts, I thought I’d step it up a notch and use crocheted letters.  You can find Twinkie’s video tutorial here, and written pattern here.

Make a Heart Garland with Lion Brand BonBons - hijennybrown.comShe used worsted weight yarn, but I thought this project was a great opportunity to use up my stockpile of Lion Brand Bonbons for a smaller crochet heart garland.  I made a few hearts from the glitter set, but the bright, solid color acrylic yarn is a little thicker and better mimics the colors of conversation hearts. I used a “D” hook to crochet the hearts.

personalize a crochet heart garland - hijennybrown.com

You can add the letters before or after adding the string for hanging (I used a “D” hook and thin, “soft” worsted yarn for the string.  You have to crochet pretty tight, but the resulting string is strong and looks great with the small hearts).

Sweet personalized crochet heart garland - hijennybrown.com

Lowercase letters fit best on these tiny hearts. I used crochet thread and a 1.65 mm (7) hook to make the letters.  Because I was using thin, vintage thread (gotta work that stash), I double-stranded, but I also tried it with #10 crochet thread and it fit perfectly.

Add crochet characters to other pieces - HiJennyBrown.comPin your letters into place and then using a yarn needle and the running stitch, fasten character to heart. Then just weave in the ends. For this worsted weight heart, you can use anything from crochet thread to a sport weight or DK weight yarn (here, I used leftover Bonbons yarn on a cotton-acrylic worsted weight heart).  If you’re worried about the back, you can always crochet a second heart and join together, wrong sides facing.

sweet heart crochet garland - hijennybrown.com

And there you go – a very sweet Valentine’s Day decoration!

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – OK, one more sweetheart for you:

 

Sweet Heart - photo by Erin Markan on hijennybrown.com
Photos by Erin Markan – Thanks, Erin!

2014: A Little Too Good

Professional Building Hearts-HiJennyBrown

2015, I don’t want to give you a complex or anything, but you’re going to have a lot to live up to cause 2014 kinda killed it.  I mean, seriously:

I casually talked to some famous people

Judge John Hodgman Show - via maximumfun.org Jenny - Creative Live with Michelle Ward

No bigs, just John Hodgman & Jesse Thorn on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast and Michelle Ward during her Creative Live class in San Francisco (I also met Creative Live fan-girl favorite JKO, FYI).

Hi, Jenny Brown won an award for crochet photography (thanks to our amazing photographer Erin Markan) from Crochet Concupiscence. Thanks, Kathryn!

awesome blog award - crochet concupiscence

Our crew moved to New Jersey and have yet to get a spray tan (or meet a person with one, btw) and enjoyed being just a train ride away from NYC.

Etsy Craft Party - Hi, Jenny Brown

I released a New Pattern: Crochet Bannerama

Crochet Bannerama by Hi, Jenny Brown- 3 Pattern Multipack for crochet garland, banner, and bunting that you can personalize

and two free crochet project that use my letter, number, & punctuation patterns:

Teacher Gift Crochet Cup Cuff Project PatternLast Day First Day Back to School Crochet Reversible Photo Prop

One of my yarn bombs survived in the wild for 3 months (confirmed by Richelle of the Red Scorpio in November and by Jenna of Promo Analyzer in mid-December) and counting

hello yarnbomb front hi jenny brownrepost of redscorpios photo on hijennybrown.com

Hello Yarn Bomb - picture by Jenna of promoanalyzer.com

and I made a couple other cool yarnbombs (with help from Erin & Craft Husband).

Stop Collaborate & Listen yarnbombyarn bomb - barber pole crochet yarnbomb

and a giant heart with the folks of Ohio Valley Handmade

Professional Building Hearts-HiJennyBrown
All We Need Is Love - Yarnbomb

I kinda killed it with school crafts

lego necklace - hijennybrown.com 10-30-2014, Trunk or Treat, Minecraft Car - hijennybrown.com

 

I gave some pretty good advice

You Know What You Should Make - Hi, Jenny Brown

 

10 tips to help kids love crochet - Hi, Jenny BrownI had so much fun with Hooking for Good: donating 9 items to organizations throughout the country, donating $1 from every sale to Action Against Hunger, and giving away amazing items by Kari Chapin, Ann Espo of OpportuKnits, artist and podcaster Heather Saulsbury, and Adri of Moon Star Adri to you awesome folks.

Hooking for Good Crochet and Knit Donations - hijennybrown.com

And I LOVED seeing your FOs made with my motif patterns and project ideas!

A photo posted by Jacqui J (@yarnosaurusrex) on

 

Plus, I was humble all year long.

I also met so many amazing makers, artists, crocheters,  coaches, and enthusiasts this year, and I want to thank you all for your kindness and support.  Please forgive me for not mentioning you individually because inevitably I will leave out the most sensitive person, and I don’t want anyone to feel bad on the New Year’s!

See you next year,
Jenny Brown

Hooking for Good – The Wrap-Up Show

Hooking for Good Crochet and Knit Donations - hijennybrown.com

Hooking for Good Crochet and Knit Donations - hijennybrown.com

It’s the season of giving, and I used my crochet hook and a few other crafty weapons to to give back a little beginning this November. So how did we celebrate Hooking for Good?

Handmade Donations: I love donating handmade items, so I made one (almost) every week. Each project was so easy that you can do it to!

My donations:

Hi, Jenny Brown - scarves for craft hope

plastic crochet mat - trial - hijennybrown.com

  • 1 blanket to our local animal shelter

crochet blanket - hijennybrown

pompomcloseup - hijennybrown.com

Knit Hat - HiJennyBrown.com

Hi, Jenny Brown - knit mittens for donation

Hi, Jenny Brown - crochet ripple blanket for Binky Patrol

Giveaways: You’ve been good all year and deserve a little something! I gave away a handmade item, book, or pattern each Tuesday through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Items were donated by artist Heather Saulsbury of Creatively Happy, author Kari Chapin, knitter Ann Espo of OpportuKnits, and jewelry designer Adri Westlake of Moon Star Adri.

Week 6 Giveaway – The book Feltlicious donated by Kari Chapin won by Michaela! Congrats, Micheala!

congrats

Week 5 GiveawayCrochet Bannerama Superpack by Hi, Jenny Brown won by Brandy! Congrats, Brandy!

Our giveaway winner - Brandy

Week 4 Giveaway – Armwarmers by Ann Espo of OpportuKnits won by Melissa W. Congrats, Melissa!

winner - hijennybrown.com

Week 3 Giveaway – A Step Back in Time digital package by artist and podcaster Heather Saulsbury won by Carina. Congrats, Carina!

Congrats, Carina-hijennybrown.com
Week 2 Giveaway – Earrings by Adri of Moon Star Adri won by Sarah W. Congrats, Sarah!

congrats, Sarah - earrings by Moon Star Adri

Week 1 Giveaway – Crochet Cowl by Hi, Jenny Brown (that’s me!) won by Kelly K. Congrats, Kelly!Congrats, Kelly!

Monetary Donations: I promised to donate $1 for every item I sold on Etsy, Ravelry, and Craftsy to Action Against Hunger, an organization that provides nutrition assistance, clean water, and emergency services around the world. I’ve already sent $51 and will make another payment on Dec. 31. Thank you to everyone who made this contribution possible!

This project has been absolutely amazing for me, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to make and donate all these things! Thank you again to everyone who donated something for our giveaways; to my favorite award-winning photographer Erin Markan for helping with logistics, photos, and ideas; to Craft Husband who donated the postage and hours in the Post Office line to send out prizes and donations, and to all of you who commented, made items, or shared a kind word. I really appreciate you all!

Bye,
Jenny Brown

 

Hooking for Good: Make Your Presents Known

Crochet Ornaments

It’s the time of year when all crafters start to really stress: Oh my goodness, I forgot about so-and-so, and I will totally need to make them a present because they’ll be making one for me.  Oy vey, I forgot about that nephew, who I promised a crocheted blanket back in July.  Holy guacamole, how am I ever going to finish 12 pairs of fingerless gloves for the cousins on top of everything else?

My secret is to just buy things from Etsy: same great homemade feel, none of the work.  Or, I give most people nothing.  I know, it’s terrible – but I have a huge extended family, and I’d rather rotate my focus to a few people annually, so I can make them something special, rather than make one throw-away gift per person.  This year I’m so focused on making things for strangers that I’m pretty sure I won’t be making any presents for my family and friends.  Think I can get away with saying “My presence is your present?”

No matter what your gift-giving strategy is this year, here are a few projects from the HiJB archives that would make fun and quick presents.

hello banner from crochet bannerama - Hi Jenny Brown, Banner Beach Photos251

Quick Crochet Cowl – I wore the one from this tutorial during our Crochet Bannerama photoshoot.  So cozy!

lego necklace - hijennybrown.com

Lego Necklace – we made these for Liam’s birthday party, but they’d be great holiday gifts for a crowd.

Crochet Ornament - hijennybrown.com

Crochet Personalized Ornaments – Who doesn’t love a personalized gift?  Some glue, a little crochet thread, a cheap store-bought frame, and you’re all done.

And if you need a gift for your favorite crafters – why not send them some crochet-inspired postcards?

holiday postcards - hijennybrown.com

Or this unique banner pattern?

Crochet Bannerama - Hi, Jenny Brown

Or visit the shops who donated for our giveaways this season!  Thanks to Creatively Happy One, Moon Star Adri, and Opportuknits, Kari Chapin!

winner - hijennybrown.com

Today’s winner gets a present today, too!  Melissa W. was our randomly selected winner and will receive a pair of adult and a pair of child armwarmers.  Ann Espo donated this amazing prize – thanks Ann!  Her goal is to grow her business so she can begin to hire women transitioning back to their families and communities after incarceration.  If you’d like to support her or see more of her wonderful designs, visit opportuknits.etsy.com.

See you Friday where I admit I’m cheating on my crochet with….KNITTING!

Bye,
Jenny Brown

All We Need is Love

crochet heart yarnbomb - photo by Jennifer Hastings Schunn

Don’t adjust your resolution – it’s supposed to be pixelated!

2-9-2014 Professional Building Hearts-9827
Photo courtesy of Erin Markan

Last year my local craft group, Ohio Valley Handmade, made over 100 hearts to hang on a downtown historic building as part of the “All We Need Is Love” campaign sponsored by the Ohio Valley Young Preservationist.  At that time, the building was for sale, and it’s no wonder the building sold soon after.  I mean, we are that good.

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Photo courtesy of Erin Markan

This year we decided to decorate our tall, dark, and handsome friend once more.  We reused all the old hearts and also made 1 new one – It just happened to be over 4 feet tall.

2-9-2014 Professional Building Hearts-9864
Photo courtesy of Erin Markan

The pattern is from Issue 29 of Mollie Makes, my official favorite magazine.  It was easy to make, as it’s all granny squares, but the seaming was a total B.  Maybe I just hate seaming.

What made it a lot easier was A) We all worked together to make the squares ( and if you look closely, you’ll see a few knitted squares), which is always nice B) Craft Husband wove in all ends – begrudgingly, and C) I had a definite drop-dead date.

ends
Looking good, Craft Husband (and yes, we often craft in bed)

I single-crocheted over 18 gauge wire for the border to ensure it would hang properly.  I was so worried about curled up edges.  I also tied in a few dowel rods so we could hang it with fishing line from the window.  Craft Husband said I didn’t tie my ends tight enough, but it was so insanely cold that day that I’m surprised I tied a knot at all.  It seriously took an entire day for my hands and feet to feel better.  Never let it be said that I don’t suffer for my craft.

Jennifer Hastings Schunn 2
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hastings Schunn

I also made a banner using my Uppercase Alphabet Pattern, and I think it all turned out great (if I do say so myself).

2-9-2014 Professional Building Hearts-9871
Get it – Sight? Web Site? 8-bit?  OK, maybe only I think that’s funny.

2-9-2014 Professional Building Hearts-9855
Photos courtesy of Erin Markan

I can’t say enough to thank the beautiful ladies who helped decorate our building,

jacqui
Photo courtesy of Jacqui Jantzen

the owner who kindly let us inside and profusely complimented our work,

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Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hastings Schunn

and Craft Husband whose technical know-how made it all possible.

Jennifer Hastings Schunn
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hastings Schunn

I’m still riding the high of this great installation.  Love is definitely in the air!

Bye,
Jenny Brown