September is here. The first official day of fall isn’t until later this month — Monday, September 23, 2019, to be exact. In some areas, the weather is already starting to cool off — and in others, September can be one of the hottest months of the year. But, inevitably, fall is on its way.
For those of us who live in the colder regions, it’s time to give some thought to putting away our lighter bedspreads and coverlets, and getting out the heavy blankets — and maybe even knitting or crocheting some new ones.
If you’re thinking of crocheting some new blankets right now, I have bunches of pattern suggestions you might want to consider.
For starters, Leisure Arts has a brand new crochet blanket pattern book available that is a truly amazing value for the money. It’s called Crochet Afghan Revival. It is a collection of 40+ different designs by talented designers including Melissa Leapman, Tammy Hildebrand, Lisa Gentry and many, many others.
I love the broad variety of different crochet techniques and stitch patterns represented in this book. You’ll find granny square afghans, colorwork afghans, hexagon afghans, chevron afghans, and more. You can find some project photos plus a whole bunch more details in my book review of Crochet Afghan Revival.
If blankets and afghans aren’t what you feel like working on right now, no worries. We have bunches of other project ideas you might enjoy. You’re invited to check out this list of fall patterns to find ideas for crocheting or knitting just about any type of project you might want to get started on making this fall. Happy crafting!
There are bunches of compelling reasons you might want to learn how to crochet corner to corner. For starters, corner-to-corner crochet is one of the hottest craft trends right now. Perhaps you’ve already seen some of the amazing projects people are designing using this technique. Blankets, throws and afghans are some of the most popular corner-to-corner crochet projects, but you can make a wide variety of different projects using this technique. I’ve seen beautiful scarves, pillows, dishcloths and table runners made in corner-to-corner crochet.
What I find most appealing about this technique: It offers you an interesting new way to create colorful pictorial patterns in crochet. In this regard, it has some similarities to the other techniques you can use for crocheting graphic designs:
Cross stitch on crochet
BUT this technique is pretty different from all of those, and it offers some advantages over each of those techniques. For example, I LOVE tapestry crochet, but the fabric can get thick and cumbersome when you’re working with more than 3 colors in the same piece. This is not a worry with corner-to-corner crochet.
I LOVE pictorial filet crochet patterns, but most filet crochet patterns are only one color. It’s also easier to see the picture when you crochet with fine threads and small steel hooks — which can get fiddly. With corner-to-corner crochet you have the option to make your designs either colorful or monochromatic, and the yarns can be as thick or thin as you like without having it adversely affect the visibility of the picture you are crocheting. If you enjoy fiddly projects with fine threads and steel hooks, you can certainly use those materials to create spectacular corner-to-corner crochet projects.
Cross stitch on crochet gives you unlimited options for colors and color placement, but its disadvantage is that it is a really slooooooooow technique. I find corner-to-corner crochet to be much faster.
Pictorial patterns aren’t your only possible design options with corner-to-corner crochet. Even solid-colored projects are interesting to work in this technique. If you want to crochet a diagonal stripe, it’s much more intuitive to do so using corner-to-corner crochet than it is to use tapestry crochet.
So whether you prefer solid-colored projects or colorful ones, either way, this is a technique that is well worth learning. I was really excited to learn about it and am excited to incorporate the technique into my repertoire of crochet skills.
If this sounds like a technique you would like to learn how to do, Sarah Zimmerman is a crochet designer who should definitely be on your radar. Sarah has mastered the corner-to-corner crochet technique — and she can help you learn how to master it, too.
Sarah has teamed up with Annie’s Crafts to create a high-quality video class intended to teach you the basics of corner-to-corner crochet. The practice project for the class is an adorable baby blanket featuring cute animal motifs: a lion, a panda bear, an elephant and a monkey. The animal squares are alternated with solid-colored blocks. This is an ideal design for beginners to the technique. That’s because all those solid blocks give you the perfect opportunity to master the single-color version of the corner-to-corner crochet stitch before you move onto learning how to do the more complex blocks that require color changes.
This practical project also gives you a chance to make something really useful while you perfect your corner-to-corner crochet skills.
You can attend Sarah’s class without ever leaving your house, so it’s about as convenient as you can get. In times past, you had to go out of your way to attend a class of this quality; if you were lucky enough to have an innovative local yarn store in your area, or lucky enough to attend a convention, you’d have been able to. Luckily, now there’s no need to invest in expensive airfare, hotel rooms and convention admission if those things are not in your current budget; Annie’s Crafts has made it easy and affordable to access amazing craft classes from home. While I do recommend attending classes, conventions and workshops in person if you have the opportunity to do so, those are no longer your only options for taking truly outstanding crochet classes.
There used to be two different ways you could access this corner-to-corner crochet class: on DVD, or through Annie’s online portal. The DVD version of the class has apparently now been discontinued (you can click here to check for used copies at Amazon). Either way, you’ll have the opportunity to ask the instructor, Sarah, questions. The video is really clear and helpful, so you’ll probably find that you won’t need to take advantage of this option — but it’s nice to know you do have the option if you need it. If there’s something that just doesn’t seem clear to you when you watch the video, or if you get stuck when you’re working any part of the baby blanket, the class materials include instructions for how to contact Sarah and ask for her help.
Crochet Skill Level Required for This Class: “Confident Beginner”
The team at Annie’s has given this DVD a skill level rating of “confident beginner”. What that means: Your chances for success with this class are best if you have already learned your basic crochet stitches. For this particular project, you’ll want to have a working knowledge of the chain,slip stitch,single crochet and double crochet stitches. This class does not make any attempt to teach you how to crochet starting at the beginning; in this class, Sarah focuses specifically on teaching the corner-to-corner crochet technique. She does, however, teach you several of the other mechanical skills you’ll need to construct and finish a blanket (like how to join your squares together, how to weave in your loose ends, etc).
One thing you have to beware of when you learn new crochet skills online: There are some crochet bloggers out there who are not really all that experienced with crochet. (No, I’m not going to name any names here). I’ve been crocheting for more than 35 years, and when I spend time looking at other crafters’ tutorials and videos, it is painfully obvious to me that there are some bloggers out there who have not put in the time it takes to master the techniques they are attempting to teach you.
This is not a worry with Sarah Zimmerman’s corner-to-corner crochet class. It is obvious to me that Sarah Zimmerman has invested the time it takes to become an expert at the technique she is teaching you. This is one reason you’ll want to consider learning this technique from her class.
I think you’ll find this class especially beneficial if you are not already an experienced crocheter. If you’re a beginner at crochet, I think you will find it helpful to watch Sarah’s way of working — the way she holds her yarn and her hook, and the way she manipulates them to work her crochet stitches, and the speed at which she is able to work because of the way she expertly uses her hands in harmony with each other. If you’re attempting to learn how to crochet by using books, and you’re struggling but not ready to give up yet, my opinion is that this class could really be helpful to you. It gives you a fantastic opportunity to watch an experienced crocheter with the aid of exceptionally helpful camera angles.
In some ways, I think this class is going to be more helpful than even taking an in-person crochet class would be. There are a couple of reasons for this:
There are cultural “personal space” barriers to worry about with a real live instructor. Unless it’s your mom, sister or grandma teaching you how to crochet, you can only comfortably get so close to your instructor. This video has removed those cultural “personal space barriers” and gets your attention focused right on Sarah’s hands in such a way that you don’t even think twice about it; it isn’t an uncomfortable experience at all. Whereas it could be an uncomfortable experience trying to get this close to a crochet instructor in a live class setting, particularly one where there are many students participating and you have to sort of fight for space to see what the instructor is doing.
You don’t have to worry about anyone thinking you are an idiot if you don’t get everything the first time the teacher explains it. Whereas in a live class setting, you might feel uncomfortable asking the instructor to demonstrate another 13 or 56 times, with this class, you can watch any part you need to as many times as you want. Just play it again. And again. And again. As many times as it takes for you to get it right.
Crochet Skills, Techniques, Tips and Tidbits You’ll Learn in This Class
The primary focus of this class, of course, is learning how to do the corner-to-corner crochet technique. There are additional crochet skills and techniques you’ll learn from this video:
How to weave in your loose ends of yarn securely so they will not come undone. This is important!
How to join your blanket squares almost invisibly using the mattress stitch. I personally found it difficult to learn this stitch from written tutorials, and I didn’t really get it until I saw it demonstrated on video. This stitch is really useful to know; if you haven’t already mastered it, I think you will be glad to see Sarah demonstrate it for you. She is an expert at this stitch; her expertise shines through in both her clear and simple explanation and the tidy, even stitches she makes in her demonstration. This stitch is really helpful for any crafter to understand, as you can use it for seaming just about any type of crochet or knitting project that requires one side or piece to be stitched to another. In this class, you’ll be using mattress stitch for joining your crocheted squares to create the finished baby blanket. Long after you’re finished with the class, you’ll be able to continue using it in other ways — perhaps for things like seaming one side of a cowl to the other, sewing up the sides of fingerless gloves or attaching trims to your projects.
How to prep your yarn and keep everything organized. It is obvious that Sarah has put a TON of thought into this, so the insights she shares on this topic are valuable.
How to read a corner-to-corner crochet graph — including a genius tip for how to avoid having to keep re-counting over and over again. If you’ve struggled with understanding C2C graphs before, I think Sarah’s simple and straightforward explanation will clear up the mysteries for you (but if it doesn’t, she is happy to answer your questions if you message her through the online class portal).
How to change colors in corner-to-corner crochet. Sarah demonstrates this for you multiple times throughout the class because it is a technique you’ll use frequently. This is an important skill to master, and you’ll have the benefit of seeing how she does it in several different places throughout the pattern.
How to carry a yarn color up to your working position. This is another exceptionally helpful skill for use on some multicolored corner-to-corner crochet projects. If you don’t already know how to do this, you’ll definitely want to learn this secret; there are many instances in which it will enable you to avoid having to cut your yarn and re-attach it, saving valuable yarn as well as working time and end-weaving time.
When it comes time to finish your project, you might be disappointed if there are areas in your colorwork that look a little messy. Sarah shares a secret for easily fixing the messy-looking areas — without you having to unravel or re-work anything. I think you’re going to love this! (For those of you who’ve worked some of my multicolored crochet patterns in the past, I’ll give you a hint: It IS NOT my usual, totally time consuming method of using surface crochet slip stitches around the messy areas.)
The Best Things About This Class
The video class makes this technique marvelously clear, whereas written tutorials do not generally manage to accomplish the same level of clarity. Before I watched this video, I looked at bunches of different corner-to-corner crochet tutorials — and had a hard time figuring out what exactly I was supposed to be doing. As it turns out, this is technique is easy and logical when you see a human being demonstrating it. However, there are some complexities that are hard to communicate using only written text and pictures.
The videography is exceptional. I had to watch parts of the class again because instead of paying attention to the subject matter, I was busy wondering about how they managed to get the shots so perfectly aimed above Sarah’s hands that it seems you’re looking right down at them. Amazing!
Many crochet videos are shot at awkward angles that don’t allow you to see the instructors hands as clearly as you might like to. That is absolutely not an issue here. You’ll be able to see Sarah’s hands just about as clearly as you can see your own hands when you crochet.
The crochet baby blanket presented in this video is attractive, appealing and worth the time investment, yet easy enough for people who have never crocheted corner-to-corner before.
Sarah is a wonderfully engaging teacher. Her presentation in the video was well-rehearsed enough to be nearly flawless, yet spontaneous enough to be interesting to watch.
Sarah uses clear, precise language throughout the entire one-hour and 21 minute class video presentation. I didn’t catch any factual errors or unclear instructions in my initial screening of this video. There is one bit of errata that the video team at Annie’s clearly corrected right in the online portal — there’s no need to go looking for it online.
I’ve watched hundreds of crochet videos on the Internet; fact checking independently produced craft videos for a media company was also part of a former job description of mine. Thanks to those experiences, I became aware that many of the crochet videos in existence contain unclear instructions, horrendous factual errors, logic errors, math errors, incorrect terminology, mediocre projects, inefficient methods and/or unworkable camera angles. My conclusion has been that a lot of unsuspecting people are wasting a lot of valuable time with crochet videos that are not worth watching. YIKES!
I bring all this up to help you understand how significant it is that this video does not have any such problems.
My opinion: Your time is the most valuable thing you have. If you want to learn new crochet techniques, you’re wise to seek out videos as a fast-track method for achieving the skills you want. It’s one of the quickest, smartest and most efficient methods available to you — but that’s only assuming you start with top-quality videos to watch. When you’re serious about improving your skills, you unfortunately have to be really picky about the videos you learn from. It is all too easy to waste time on second-rate videos that don’t teach you what you really need to know — or worse yet, teach you things that are downright incorrect. While there are some high quality free crochet videos available online, my experience has been that you are likely to waste a lot of time looking for the good ones. That’s time you could be spending on actually learning and improving your crochet skills.
This is a top quality video featuring a professionally designed project and expert instructions — exactly the type of resource you want to invest your time in.
About Sarah Zimmerman, the Class Instructor
Sarah is not only a talented crochet designer; she actually has been formally trained in the art of graphic design.
I highly recommend Sarah Zimmerman’s “Learn Corner-To-Corner Crochet” class from Annie’s Crafts. If you have a desire to learn how to crochet corner-to-corner plus money to spend on improving your crochet skills, this video is a wise use of resources.
Annie’s offers quite a few interesting video classes. I chose this class as the one I wanted to review because corner-to-corner crochet was a technique I found perplexing at first. I’m pretty adept at deciphering cryptic crochet instructions — so I figure that, if I had a hard time understanding this, bunches of you probably would, too. My experience was that it took a HUGE investment of brainpower and deductive reasoning to figure out the corner-to-corner crochet technique just from studying the free photo tutorials that are available online. But once you watch this video, I’m positive that you’ll be empowered with the ability to better understand all the amazing free corner-to-corner tutorials, patterns and resources that crochet designers have been posting — at least, that was the case for me.
Other Crafters’ Testimonials for Sarah Zimmerman’s Corner-to-Corner Crochet Class
I’m not the only crocheter who recommends this class. Here’s what a few other reviewers have posted about it:
“Extremely helpful, instructions are demonstrated beautifully! Would love more classes on a different pattern by Sarah.”
— This quote is from a customer tutorial posted by Kathleen M on August 14, 2017 at the Annie’s website.
“Very well done! Sarah is very easy to follow. I would take another class from her no question.”
— This quote is from a customer tutorial posted by Kathy S on August 11, 2017 at the Annie’s website.
” This is a great class. I love the animal baby blanket, too. Sarah, you do a wonderful job explaining the entire process. I especially liked the color changes.”
— This quote is from a customer tutorial posted by Suzanne M on June 3, 2017 at the Annie’s website.
Where to Buy the Learn to Crochet Corner-to-Corner Class
This class is available for sale at the Annie’s website:
An instantly accessible digital / online version, available through Annie’s online portal — If you’re impatient to get started with learning the corner-to-corner technique as soon as possible, a video class like this one is definitely the way to go. This is also a fantastic option for tiny home and apartment dwellers, college students in dorm rooms or anyone else who doesn’t have a lot of storage space or doesn’t want to accumulate extra clutter.
Pictured here, we have some lovely crochet flower motifs you can make using free patterns on our website. At the top right is a multicolored flower applique. Click here to get the free tutorial and pattern for crocheting the abstract flower pictured in the lower portion of the photo.. The other flower is a slight variation of the multicolored flower applique with some additional freeform crochet stitches added in yellow.
Links to Even More Portable Crochet Motif Patterns for Summer:
Speaking to my fellow Americans — It’s almost July, and that means our July 4, 2019 celebration is coming up soon. Are you ready to take a day off to picnic, party, play and parade like the free-spirited, freedom-loving people that you are?
Maybe picnics and parties are your idea of fun — and maybe they aren’t. Maybe you find it just as enjoyable to relax with a lovely needlework project in hand…Sometimes I do. However you’ll choose to spend the day, here’s hoping your Fourth of July 2019 will be a spectacular one.
Pictured here: red, white and blue striped potholders that make glorious summertime crochet projects — not too time-consuming, and not too hot and heavy for afternoon craft sessions on the veranda.
If you knock out a few of these between now and the Fourth, you can bring ’em with you to whatever potlucks / parties / picnics you’ll be attending. Or maybe just place ’em on your picnic table so nobody burns their hands on the hot-off-the-barbecue dishes that will get passed around.
Some of y’all find holidays motivating; it’s always fun to tie your projects into whatever special day is coming up next. But the truth is, potholders like these are lovely to have on hand year-around. They make great accents for every patriotic holiday: Veteran’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day…and they work for everyday, non-holiday-days as well.
If any of you are outside the USA, you’re invited to make use of this pattern too. If red, white and blue is not the color scheme you have in mind, you are welcome to substitute any other colorway you please.
Do you ever get inspired to crochet or knit, just from looking at pretty materials? I often do. Case in point: I find these rag balls utterly charming. They make me want to pull out my hooks and needles and dive into creating some new projects.
I think these red, white and blue printed rag balls would be smashing if combined in the same project. This would be an ideal color combination for those of you who are fans of Americana designs or country-style decorating.
These colorful rag balls would also make up into charming projects for Fourth of July. I’m imagining sturdy placemats for the picnic table…coasters that look fab, plus protect the table from drippy, icy drinks…potholders to save your hands from those burning-hot-fresh-from-the-barbecue dishes you’ll want to be grilling up this summer…plus fashionable things too — bags, totes,jewelry and more.
Have you ever made a rag ball? Do you want to give it a try? If so, click here for free instructions. They aren’t hard to make at all, just time-consuming. However, it’s well worth the effort if you’re looking to try something a little different than yarn. Or also, if you have a bunch of no-longer-needed linens or textiles accumulating at your place, and you think you’d like to up-cycle them.
There are bunches of different things that you could use your rag balls for:
I don’t think, technically, that sunflowers are spring flowers. As far as I know, in most places they bloom either in late summer or early fall. But that hardly matters to me, since looking at them puts me in a sunny, spring-y mood anyway. Their sunny yellow petals radiate warmth and beauty, and they’re lovely to look at any time of year.
While I haven’t seen any real sunflowers blooming in my neighborhood lately, I’m glad I can enjoy the crocheted version all year around.
Want to make some sunny sunflowers for “planting” in your own environment, or embellishing your craft projects?
These circles are eye-catching, don’t you think? But because of all the colors, they look more complicated than they really are. I crocheted them using self-striping yarn, so I didn’t have to do anything special to make all those interesting color shifts happen. The yarn is responsible for most of the intricacy.
Those are all excellent projects, and they’re satisfying to make. But, if you’ve already made bunches of these sorts of items, why not challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone a little?
If you usually crochet with yarn, perhaps you could try shaking things up a little by attempting to crochet without yarn. This isn’t as preposterous as it sounds; by now, maybe you’ve even noticed that the bracelet pictured is a) crocheted, and b) made without even so much as an inch of yarn. It’s one of the projects featured on our list of wire crochet jewelry patterns.
If you’re a die-hard yarn addict and you have no plans of changing that, no worries, there are plenty of other ways to challenge yourself.
Another possibility: Try a new knitting stitch or crochet stitch. This vintage bullion stitch is an unusual one that combines the Tunisian crochet technique with the bullion stitch you might already be familiar with.
There are many great resources for testing out new stitches. Some of my favorites include the following:
These are just a few of my favorite resources to work with when I want to find a knitting stitch or crochet stitch I haven’t worked with yet. These are also fantastic references for finding some great classic stitches; Alterknit Stitch Dictionary has some really cool Greek keys, and Melissa Leapman’s stitch dictionary has all the basic crochet stitches you might want to look up.
Or perhaps you could branch out and get started working a different sort of projects than the ones you usually make. There are infinite possibilities if you want to fire up your imagination and dream up some project ideas that would get you started in a different-than-usual direction.
So what do you think you’ll try next? I invite your comments, especially if you’re feeling inspired to branch out.
Exquisite finishing touches can make a big difference in distinguishing handcrafted items from their machine-made counterparts.
Fringe is a particularly luxurious finishing touch. It utilizes a great deal of material, and it takes time to maintain it well, so it isn’t for everyone — but if you are able to deal with those challenges, the results can be stunning.
There are a variety of ways to make fringe. If you’d like to finish off a knitting project, crochet project or other craft project using fringe, check out these free fringe patterns, instructions and tutorials, posted at ArtsWithCrafts.com. You’ll find bunches of different ideas to inspire you, including knit and crochet fringe plus fringes made in other craft techniques — suede fringe, beaded fringe and more.
Dress Up These Knitting or Crochet Projects With Fringe:
Scarves: Instead of weaving in your loose ends, incorporate them into knotted tassels or fringe. It’s a time-saver, plus it’s an eye-catching finishing touch.
Throws, Blankets and Afghans: It’s even more of a time-saver when you finish off multicolored blankets and throws using fringe instead of weaving the ends in.
Want to check out my absolute favorite no-end-weaving crochet blanket patterns featuring fringe? If so, take a look at Fair Isle to Crochet by Karen Ratto-Whooley. It’s an affordable pattern booklet featuring 5 different blankets for the whole family — baby blankets, kids’ blankets and full-sized blankets. They’re all colorful designs, but you don’t have to go bonkers weaving in ends, because you use all those ends to create gorgeous fringe that finishes off the blankets beautifully. I think the designer of these patterns is a genius!
Ponchos, Wraps and Shawls: Many knitted and crocheted ponchos just beg to be finished with fringe. Some casual wraps and shawls do, too. The fringe could also go dressy if done carefully; in moderation, beaded fringe is an option for elegant evening shawls. You just have to keep it simple on the beading, since beads are heavy and you don’t want your wrap weighing you down when you’re out on the town.
Purses and Bags: Finishing the lower edge of a bag or purse with fringe gives it a whole different look than you’d have without it. This is an especially interesting option for seamed bags, but there are other options as well. You can easily create an area for anchoring fringe to an un-seamed bag by adding a line of slip stitch in the spot you want your fringe to be; then you work the fringe into the ridge created by the slip stitches.
Fringe isn’t for everyone; if you’re seeking a unique way to finish off a knitted or crocheted item, you might wish to find just the right border, edging or trim that will complement it and make it look extra special.
Edgings for Blankets and Afghans: Borders and edgings are popular finishing touches for blankets and afghans. For projects like these, you usually want to choose an edging or border that includes instructions for turning a corner. Here are a few suggestions for those:
Edgings For Towels, Sheets and Pillowcases: It’s lovely to finish off the lower edges of a towel with a pretty trim or edging. For sheets, I usually only trim one edge. For pillowcases, I usually trim only the outer opening. For these sorts of edgings, I prefer to choose an edging design that does not include a corner. Here are a few suggestions:
These aren’t the only projects that can benefit from edgings. If a project has an edge, you could probably add an edging to it. You could add pretty lace edgings to the lower edges of pants that need lengthening. You could dress up the edges of ankle socks with pretty lace trim. You could even add trim to certain simple open tote bags (ones that don’t close with zippers, so there are upper edges to work with.) I’m sure you know of many other examples where trim would enhance the project significantly.
The pictures above show you just a few of the free trim and edging patterns available online. To see many more possibilities, be sure to visit our page of free knit and crochet edging patterns.
Sandi Rosner’s lovely book called 21 Crocheted Tanks + Tunics gets my vote as one of the most stylish crochet pattern book releases from the last few years. While there have been bunches of truly outstanding pattern books published in the last decade, this one stands out as having a significant number of flattering, wearable designs that were graded in a wide range of sizes. If you wear a size extra-small, 2XL or any size in between, you’ll find projects worth making in this book.
This book is useful in all seasons of the year. In spring and summer time, these tops make great standalone items to pair with shorts, jeans, skirts and khakis. In fall and winter, these tops make excellent layering pieces to wear underneath cardigans, blazers and jackets. Some of them would be suitable to wear to work, and most work well for casual wear, too. They’re all versatile pieces that you’re likely to get a LOT of use out of.