My cheesy yarnbomb

cheesy yarnbomb

There are yarnbombers who make pretty pieces, those who make political pieces, and those that make just plain crazy pieces… but me – I like mine cheesy.

cheesy yarnbomb - Hi, Jenny Brown

The idea for this cheesy yarnbomb started with a ball of light orange yarn that wasn’t quite right for my project.  For some reason it reminded me of cheese, and I whipped two squares up right away.

I made the granny square background with leftover fringe from my big crochet fail (which meant I had an end to weave every couple inches).  Then I used my number and letter patterns to create the word “Craft” and the “100% real cheesy” signs.  Last I crocheted over wire to make the “couples” cursive (that’s a technique that still needs some work, eh?).

cheesy yarnbomb - Hi, Jenny Brown

My favorite project consultant suggested adding eyes to the cheeses, which I think makes them look so sweet in love.  Originally I planned to melt pieces of plastic together to make custom wrappers, but then Erin reminded me that sandwich bags existed, and luckily, the cheese was a perfect fit. I was fretting about how to sew them to the background, but I tried Super Fabric Glue“, and it held perfectly.

cheesy yarnbomb - Hi, Jenny Brown

By this point I had fallen in love with this cheesy yarnbomb – and I was trying to think of any excuse to keep it forever.  But I knew that wasn’t right.  My knitting group friend KG suggested a local park, so Craft Husband and I checked it out.

cheesy yarnbomb - Hi, Jenny Brown

The park looked beautiful with autumn leaves falling slowly from the branches and crunching underfoot.  We followed the pedestrian bridge across the highway and back before I decided on this landing for the piece.  I love the idea of someone seeing it from the bottom of the ramp and running up to see what it is.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – If you’re hungry for more punny yarnbombs, let me know in the comments below.

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. 

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!

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!

Personalized Crochet Coffee Sleeve

J Coffee Cup Sleeve - HiJennyBrown

One of the great things about going to Michelle Ward’s Creative Live class (besides eating my weight in vegetarian tacos) was meeting some amazing people, including Jen of Jen & Company. Hi, Jen!

Jen asked if I would make her a crochet coffee sleeve and pinned this pattern.  If you watched the class, you know she looks amazing in coral, so this one (recognize the yarn?) should go well with her outfits.

Crochet Coffee Sleeve - HiJennyBrown

That texture is just the best.

Crochet Cup Sleeve - HiJennyBrown

Of course, I couldn’t just make one.  I also made a purple one (recognize that yarn?) with her name in lilac.

Jen Crochet Coffee Sleeve - HiJennyBrown

It was so hard to pack it up – I mean, I’m a Jen…and it felt so good in my hand…and that vintage button…

Crochet Coffee Cup Sleeve - HiJennyBrown

But I packed it up anyway.  I can always make more, right?

Jen Crochet Coffee Cuff - HiJennyBrown

If you’d like to make one, just take your favorite coffee sleeve pattern and crochet up a few letters (if you’re crocheting a long name or word, use crochet thread so you can fit more characters). Pin the letters to the cuff (be sure to leave room for the button) and place it on a dummy cup.  This will ensure the cuff won’t be too tight with your sewn letters.  Then all you need to do is attach them with the running stitches and you’re done.  (If you’re worried about how the wrong side will look, you can add a piece of felt to the back.  But really, nobody is going to look).

J Coffee Cup Sleeve - HiJennyBrown

I hope Jen likes them, and I also hope we’ll have coffee in the same state again, soon.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

 

Photos by Erin Markan of Folks Collected.  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: 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

Introducing: 2014 Crochet Holiday Postcards

holiday postcards - hijennybrown.com

Woo-hoo!  It’s that time of year again – the day I remember (and am constantly reminded) that I’m not getting any younger.  At least they soften the blow with cake. (Little Liam has been talking about “buttercream” all morning – who knew he was a frosting connoisseur?)

Won’t you help me take my mind off sinking deep into my late-30s by talking about something else?  Something I like just a wee bit more?

Ah, yes: Crochet!

holiday postcards - hijennybrown.comEverything’s better with yarn – right? The top-left design is new for this year – I kept dreaming of something woodsy and cozy, and this is what came off the hook:

Hi, Jenny Brown -Merry Christmas Post CardThe original crochet piece was photographed by Erin, my awesome partner in crime.  Doesn’t it make you want to sip hot chocolate by a cozy fire?

11-24-2014, Hi Jenny Brown Post Cards31 Hi, Jenny Brown-Postcards

I also brought back the “peace on earth” and “have yourself a merry little christmas” themes that sold out last year because they are just too cute to ignore. They’re a little larger (4 x 6) and thicker (130-lb glossy cardstock, baby) this year.

Oops – almost forgot about the back.  It has a traditional postcard layout with a crochet twist:

Hi, Jenny Brown - Crochet Postcards backIf you’re as excited about these as I am, head over to Etsy and use the coupon code “officially” for 10% off.  (And if you were wondering, yep – I’ll be giving $1 from each pack to Action Against Hunger).

OK, now off to get some of that cake.

Bye,
Jenny Brown