5 Things About Me

Photo of Jen, blond curly hair with glasses and wearing a red shirt, smiling for the camera
I meant to do this post last week, but part of it is kind of a big deal, so I’ve been puting it off.

  1. I love color.
    You might not really be able to tell it by my clothes all the time, but I love olor. It’s hard for me to pick a “favorite” and it was even harder for me to decide on my brand colors. The only color I don’t like to work with in crochet is black because it’s hard to see the stitches. (More about that later.)
  2. I love to crochet.
    This one should be obvious from all the things I post about here. I can knit, but I preer crochet. It works up faster and I can do more with it. I know if I practiced knitting as much as I have crochet, I would get to that point to. But when I love the versatility of crochet so much, why?
  3. I love to write.
    I have several books published. And by “several,” I mean 13. Some are onl ebooks, but they still count. I need to get back to more writing. Once upon a time, I thought there was no way I could write nonfiction. Then I had a friend talk me into it. She had to talk hard, too. And now sometimes I find it difficult to get back to fiction because I have so many ideas for nonfction and can write it faster.
  4. I live in Oklahoma.
    I was born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma. It’s a smallish town in south-central Oklahoma. I moved to Tulsa for an internship, to Dallas for a job, and to Eureka Springs because I LOVE that town. But I always come back to Ada. There are many reasons why, but I do love it here too, and it is becoming a more active/artsy town.
  5. I am legally blind.
    And here it is. This is the thing that has had me putting off this post. I can’t drive. I don’t drive. By all medical intents and purposes, I should be totally blind, but I’m not. And I am so very grateful for that. But why is this such a big deal that it would cause me to procrastinate on this post?

It influences how I do things. How I do everything. Including crochet.

I’m going to start including that in my posts. How does my eyesight influence how I crochet? Does it influence the hooks I choose? The yarn I work with? Does it influence how I make my stitches?

The answer to all of these is yes.

My eyesight influences everything about my life in general and crochet specifically. By not mentioning it before now, I feel like I have been doing some of my readers a disservice. I am going to start including tips on how I do things to help others who also have vision problems, whether they are legally blind or have some other visual disturbance.

For that matter, I feel like everyone might be able to benefit from some of what I share.

And I will share more of that.

Meanwhile, what do you want to know about crochet that I might be able to help you with? Your question might be the topic of a future post. If you don’t want to leave the question as a comment, you can send it to me in an email.

Strategies for Instagram Stories

Note: This is not what I normally write about here, but I did it for Oklahoma Bloggers and Influencers on Facebook and I decided to share it here as well. If you’re not sharing your crochet on Instagram, you should. And here are some tips to help.

I’ve heard it since Instagram first implemented the Stories feature; Use stories. Use stories. Use stories. Use stories. On and on and on. But no one ever said how or why. These are some things I’ve learned.

1. Instagram Loves Stories.
I know this sounds obvious, but it’s true. Instagram seems to prefer accounts that uses stories and puts them higher in the feed. I started seeing this trend soon after Stories emerged, so I started paying closer attention. People who regularly post to Stories do show up higher in the feed. They share a variety of things, not just one or two. My point is this: If you don’t currently post to Stories, start doing it today.
2. Behind-the-Scenes
What goes into making your product? Even if your product is your blog, what do you do to get something ready to post? What is your process? People love to see what goes on behind the scenes. They know what your polished, finished product looks like, but how did you get there? It’s understandable that you don’t want to share everything, but there are some things you can share that won’t give away secret projects or things you would rather keep confidential. What are some of those?
3. Promote Your Latest IG/Blog/Video
Sometimes promotions get lost in your feed. You put them in and make the best use of hashtags and get crickets. Share your post to your stories. Block out part/all of the image and encourage people to go to your post to see what it’s about. Or encourage them to go to your bio to get the link to your video/blog. Unfortunately, you don’t get the swipe-up feature unless you have 10,000 followers. Or do you? There is a way around that.
4. Switch to a Creator Account.
Switching from a personal, or even business, account to a creator account gives you a swipe-up feature. Sort of. You can only swipe up to an IGTV video. Take advantage of that and see how it works. Full disclosure: I have switched over to a creator account, but I haven’t done the swipe up test on my own yet. I’ll do that and report back to you.
5. Don’t Forget Hashtags.
Use as many hashtags as you can in your Stories. You don’t have to use the hashtag sticker. Type them in as text. You can shrink them down and hide them behind a sticker or gif and they will still show up in the stories feed that use that particular hashtag.
Those are the best tips/strategies I have found so far for making the most of Instagram Stories. There are more, such as talking about/showing off things that aren’t related to your main topics, but they don’t have as much of an effect on reach/views as the ones above do.

Welcome to 2020

Happy 2020

I wanted to take the time to say Happy New Year.

This month, I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge where I will be posting every day in January. My aim is to re-establish the blogging habit and introduce some changes that will be coming throughout the year.

I will dive in tomorrow, though. Enjoy the day.

Ultimate Blog Challenge banner

5 Quick Gifts to Crochet

There is nothing that can inspire panic in a maker than realizing the calendar says November and you’re behind on your holiday gift-making. I’ve found five patterns that can help relieve some of your panic.

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  1. Vinita Fingerless Mitts – Fingerless Mitts for kids by Banana Moon Studios
  2. Coffee Cozy Sweater Wrap – Free pattern from Sweet Potato 3
  3. One-Skein Crochet Cable Earwarmer/Headband – Free headband from Stitch in Progress.
  4. Malia Boot Cuffs – This free pattern from Little Monkey’s Crochet includes a video tutorial.
  5. Quick 1-Skein Super Bulky Infinity Scarf – Free pattern from Oombawka Designs

I hope these quick patterns will take some of the stress away from some of your holiday gift-making.

Free Pattern: Double-Layer Crochet Beanie

Double-layer crochet beanie in a coral color against a black background
This summer, I went to a family reunion. Before I left the house, I grabbed a ball of yarn and a crochet hook. Of course, I grabbed my favorite size hook – J/10. 

I did this because I had to have my foot propped up, so it served as a conversation starter as well as giving me something to do. When people are up and about, someone sitting down just kind of blends into the background, so doing something seemingly out of the ordinar draws attention. In this case, it was a good thing.

When I got home, I realized that the rectangle I had bee working on was too long for a beanie. So I decided to add a row of an interesting feature (the X stitch that I learned during a pattern test) and then doubled it. That’s how it became the Double-Layer Crochet Beanie.

It’s worked flat and then sewn together, so don’t worry that you can’t do it because you can’t crochet in the round. That’s not necessary for this pattern.

Let’s get started.

Free Pattern: Double Layer  Beanie (Crochet) Pinterest graphic

The Pattern

Materials:

1 skein DK yarn
J/10 crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Pom pom (optional)

Notes:

– Chain 1 at the beginning of the row does not count as a stitch.

– If your chain is tighter than your crochet rows, go up a hook size for the chain and go to the pattern hook starting with row 1.

– Pattern is written for adult size S/M with additions for L/XL.

Abbreviations:

BLO: Back loop only
HDC: Half-double crochet
Rep: repeat
TR – treble (triple) crochet

Special Stitch:

X-stitch: TR – yarn over twice, insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through two loops until one loop is left on your hook. Yarn over twice, insert hook into next stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through two loops; skip a stitch; insert hook into next stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through two loops until one loop is left on your hook; chain one; yarn over, insert hook into front of the x-stitch you’ve started (do not go under the legs of the x), yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through two loops until one loop is left on the hook

Gauge:

15 HDC across x 12 HDC rows = ~4 inches

Instructions:

For all sizes

Ch 74
Row 1: HDC in 2nd ch from hook; HDC across (71 sts)
Row 2: Ch 1, turn, HDC blo in every stitch across
Row 3-28: Rep Row 2
Row 29: Ch 1, turn. X-stitch across (see special stitches above)
Row 30: Ch 1, turn, HDC in every stitch across
Row 31-36: Rep Row 2

For size L/XL only

Rows 37-42: Rep Row 2

For all sizes

Slip stitch edges together. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

You now have a tube. Fold the tube in half over itself. With a tapestry needle, weave yarn in one edge of the tube and draw together. Tie tight. DO NOT fasten off. Repeat with the second edge. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Attach pom pom (optional).

Please do not copy/distribute this pattern without permission. For personal use only. Items made from this pattern may be sold.

I will be adding a premium version of this pattern to my Ravelry shop with photo tutorials soon.