At the moment, it seems to me like Halloween is far in the distant future. In my neighborhood, the weather is now a little cooler than it was last month — but that doesn’t mean it’s chilly here, by any means. The slight temperature drop around here just means that it’s now tolerably hot outside, instead of being unbearably hot.
Weather aside, a look at the calendar reminds me that fall is fast approaching, and that Halloween is less than 2 short months away. Halloween falls on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 this year. For crafters and do-it-yourselfers who celebrate Halloween, the time has come to plan for Halloween projects, Halloween parties, and handmade Halloween costumes.
With that in mind, I’ve begun collecting patterns for, and links to, knitted and crocheted Halloween projects and ideas.
27 Skull Patterns to Knit and Crochet — So far, this page of skull and skeleton patterns is one of the most comprehensive pattern hubs on our website. I’ve posted links to every free knitted or crocheted skull pattern I could find on the Internet, and I also posted some links to some pay-for patterns as well. I hope you’ll find this list helpful if you want to make a Halloween project featuring a skull or skeleton motif.
This list is in its infancy, and I plan to update it with bunches more patterns as I discover them. If you’re a crochet or knitting pattern designer who has recently posted a new Halloween pattern, I invite you to let me know about it by email. I’d love to share bunches more quality patterns with my readers here.
Here’s a fun limerick I wrote awhile back in celebration of joining crochet motifs as you go:
Piles of projects have ends that are loose.
Their numbers, I’d like to reduce.
So I’ve learned to join as I go.
Although it is slow,
There’s no longer any excuse.
Once you learn how to do join-as-you-go crochet motifs, you’ll love how you won’t have to weave in zillions of loose ends when you’ve finished your projects. It’s definitely a technique worth learning.
Check out Continuous Crochet and Seamless Crochet, two books by Kristin Omdahl that explore the join-as-you-go technique in depth. In my opinion, Seamless Crochet is the go-to reference on this topic. I had a hard time wrapping my head around how to turn any crochet motif pattern into a join-as-you-go pattern until I read this book. Continuous Crochet is a follow-up to that book featuring even more amazing, up-to-date clothing and accessory patterns that require minimal finishing.
I’ll be the first to admit that skulls aren’t really my thing. Even so, I thought of bunches of different reasons a person might want to crochet or knit some skull motifs.
Know any punk rockers, skateboarders and / or goth fans? If so, skull appliques could be useful for accenting projects you make for them; you could add ’em to plain hats, fingerless gloves, etc, to give the project an “edgier” look.
Wear them to horror movies and / or rock concerts.
For those of you who celebrate Halloween, skulls make great Halloween decorations.
They’re also useful additions to handmade Halloween costumes.
Use ’em on any occasion that involves pirates, or dressing up as pirates.
You can use skull appliques to mark any dangerous item in your home. This may sound a little silly, but it would be a good visual reminder to be cautious in the presence of that dangerous item.
I used some of my skull appliques as embellishments in a scrapbook.
They would make creepy additions to hair pins, headbands and hair clips.
Additionally, we’ve found patterns where skulls are featured in just about every kind of configuration you could think of, and they are used for embellishing everything from blankets to garlands.
If these ideas sound appealing to you, I invite you to visit our list of 27 skull patterns to crochet and knit. Most of these patterns are free and easily accessible on the Internet. Drop by anytime and check ’em out.
In 1997, I paid more than $16,000 for the classes that resulted in my degree in textile design. That was actually a bargain compared to what many other students pay for a design school education — especially these days. I was able to earn that degree in only 9 months since I already had a Bachelor’s degree and didn’t need to take any of the foundational courses like Art 101. Hmmm. Well, considering it was only 9 months worth of classes, maybe it wasn’t a bargain at all. That’s debatable. $16,000 is a lot of money to spend on classes, no matter how you slice it. But as to whether or not it was worth it, that particular debate isn’t the topic of today’s blog post.
Why I’m telling you all this: Today, more than 20 years later, I’m still a textile designer. And today I’m going to share with you a couple of the most important takeaways from my design school education on the topic of color. If you aren’t inclined to pay whatever the going rate is for a design school degree, now you’ll at least have access to several of the most important things I learned after having paid my $16,000. Here are 3 of my $16,000 secrets for knitting and crocheting with color:
Secret #1: Flower Centers Should Visually Pop Out From the Flower Petals
I see a lot of knitters and crocheters making a big mistake when they choose the colors for their floral projects. They pick colors that match each other too closely for the flower centers and flower petals. This works FANTASTIC when you’re choosing a skirt and a blouse to wear — but it makes for boring flowers.
Instead, choose a color for your flower center that’s much bolder than the color you use for your flower petals.
Secret #2: You Can Make Any 2 Colors Match Each Other
I didn’t actually learn this secret in design school. I learned it on the job shortly afterward. (One of my design school classmates helped me get the job). I was working as a textile print colorist. As the newest member of the team, I was typically assigned to work on the weirdest, oddest projects for the company’s least important clients. What fun!
Except, it did turn out to be fun. I learned a TON in the process. And, through trial and error, I figured out that you can make any 2 colors match each other. It was necessary for me to learn this, because I was forced to work with my clients’ color palettes — and they came up with some bizarre color palettes.
So here’s the secret: In any computer program that has a gradient function, you take color #1 and color #2, and you plop them into a blank document. Then you create a gradient between the 2 colors. Then you use the color picker to choose the most interesting-looking color that’s somewhere in between the 2 shades you’re trying to coordinate. Use all 3 of these colors in your finished design. Usually, you’ll want to use the gradient color or one of the other 2 colors as the main color, and then you’ll use the other 2 colors as accents.
When you’re knitting or crocheting, there’s one obvious step missing here: You need to translate these colors to yarn colors. The key is to work with a yarn that has a massive color palette. Cascade 220 is the yarn I recommend. Red Heart Super Saver is also an option, although I don’t personally recommend crocheting with acrylic. You might not be able to find exact matches in these yarns for the colors you’ve selected, but their color palettes are large and significant enough that you’ll most likely be able to find workable options.
I bet you’d like to see some examples of this, wouldn’t you? OK. I don’t have any ready at the moment, but I’ll work on putting them together for you soon. You’re invited to subscribe to my newsletter, if you don’t already, to keep up with my upcoming posts and projects.
Secret #3: When You Create a Color Palette for a New Design Collection, ALWAYS Consider Including a Green.
This is a tip that will likely prove to be more helpful to knit and crochet pattern designers who create complete collections rather than single designs — but if you do happen to create collections, I hope this tip will help you.
Green is one of the most important accent colors to consider including in a color palette — and this holds true for both fashion and home furnishings. For starters, it’s hard to create appealing floral designs without green — and many of the top selling textile designs in both fashion and home decor are florals.
Even if you aren’t working on a floral, if a colorway you’re designing somehow seems wrong, injecting a small amount of green into the design can often improve it.
Along with that tip is another important one: Not all greens are created equal. A pale celery green usually beats a vivid emerald green — although right now, vivid emerald green is totally on-trend, so use it to your heart’s content if it’s a color that appeals to you and otherwise works well in your designs.
(Temporarily FREE) Color Theory Classes
Creativelive is my favorite website — and they have some upcoming color theory classes scheduled to stream for free. These are classes you would ordinarily have to pay a bundle for; so if you’re interested in watching them, it’s worth it to RSVP for the classes and note them on your calendar so you can tune in when the free broadcast is available. I haven’t actually watched these particular classes yet. I’ve RSVP’ed for the free broadcasts and I do hope to catch them when they air.
If you’re interested in taking these classes, I suggest clicking the “RSVP” button at the top right hand side of the screen on the class information page to reserve your spot. Once you’ve RSVPed, you’ll get a confirmation email, and they will also send you a reminder before the class begins (assuming you opt in to receive emails). You’ll also have to register for Creativelive (if you haven’t already).
My Favorite Books About Knitting and Crocheting With Color
Crochet Kaleidoscope is almost like 2 books in one; it’s part color theory manual and part crochet pattern book. I own other books on the topic of crochet motif patterns, but this one is my new favorite; it has inspired me to crochet bunches of projects, and there are dozens more patterns from the book I still want to try. You can see photos of some of the projects I made in my book review of Crochet Kaleidoscope.
If you don’t know how to do Fair Isle knitting / stranded colorwork knitting, this book will not only teach you how to do it; the book will also give you some fun and useful colorwork patterns to try as well as some instructions for outstanding finished projects to work on.
This colorful book is super-duper creative. Read it if you want to learn how to design your own colorful knitted panels; or you can also knit the SPECTACULAR examples shown in the book exactly as is. The authors explore lots of fun themes and motifs — floral designs, animal patterns, rock and roll themes, and others. This is one of the most inspiring knitting books I own. It includes designs for the whole family — ladies, gentlemen and children — and includes a broad range of projects including sweaters, socks and more.
So there you have it: Those are my $16,000 secrets for knitting and crocheting with color, along with a list of some of my favorite color resources. I hope you find this information helpful when you choose colors for your knitting and crochet projects in the future.
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.
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?
I enjoy savoring a cup of organic herbal tea and a sweet treat with my family — perhaps some fruit, a bowl of yogurt or a freshly baked treat. What I don’t love: burning my fingers on a hot teapot or teacup. Between all the cooking and baking we do and our newly instituted afternoon tea time tradition, the potholders I crochet get bunches of use around our place.
We recently moved several times, and we couldn’t take everything (truthfully, we couldn’t take much of anything) with us. Our old potholders were left behind when we made the transition — so I’ve been crocheting new ones. I’m super proud of how they’re turning out. If you’d enjoy crocheting some of your own lovely new potholders for tea time, dinnertime or any time, I think you’ll be excited to get your hands on the patterns I’ve been using. Want to take a peek at a couple of my new favorites?
The Sunny Daisy Crochet Potholder
To create the golden daisy-themed crochet potholder you see pictured here, I used two different octagon motifs from Sandra Eng’s amazing new book called Crochet Kaleidoscope, published by Interweave:
Motif #98 — motif #98 is an 8-pointed star motif with a crochet flower in the center. If you choose a golden-yellow yarn for the center of the flower and a white yarn for the flower petals, the way I did here, the flower resembles a daisy. Of course, you could customize your potholders by choosing any yarn colors that match your tea set, your dinnerware, your bakeware, your kitchen or your dining room décor. I used Cascade 220 wool yarns to crochet this potholder.
As far as crochet flower patterns go, this daisy is a really easy one; it isn’t complicated at all. There are lots of other ways you could use it besides just making potholders. You could incorporate the same design into a crochet daisy blanket, a doily or lots of other sorts of projects.
Motif #97 — motif #97 is an octagon shape with another polygonal shape in the center. This polygon could be interpreted as a sun or a star. I’m choosing to think of it as a sun for this particular design.
After crocheting these two motifs, I whip stitched them together to create a double-thick potholder that’s extra protective (no more burnt fingers!). Then I added a simple shell stitch edging around the outside, placing 2 shells comprised of 5 double crochet stitches on each of the potholder’s 8 sides (these are alternated with slip stitches). In the same round, I also added a hanging loop comprised of 15 chain stitches.
The finishing touch is a round of surface crochet slip stitches worked in white yarn in the spot where the white ground of the potholder touches the golden yellow edging. It’s interesting to me that this looks quite a bit like a round potholder or crochet mandala after adding the edging — although you can tell it’s an octagon shape if you look carefully (especially at the back).
If you do all your stitching carefully, the potholder turns out totally reversible — with a daisy or other flower on the front and a sun or star on the back.
I’m working on trying bunches of other variations on this design using other colors and perhaps (we’ll see) other edgings and other details. I’ll be excited to share information about how they turn out.
Vintage Potholder From Crochet Loom Blooms by Haafner Linssen
Crochet Loom Blooms is one of my new favorite craft books. The patterns in the book are simply beautiful! One of the patterns is called “Vintage Potholder”. I crocheted a modification of this design, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it turned out. Take a look!
Isn’t it gorgeous? I LOVE IT!
The Crochet Loom Blooms book is simply amazing. It’s filled with patterns and instructions for making lovely flowers using a flower loom and then finishing them with crochet work. The technique works well for making potholders, blankets, throws, shawls, wraps, doilies and bunches of other projects. This flower loom technique is a fun and interesting way to mix things up a little and keep your crochet from getting repetitive or boring. If you want to learn a new craft without introducing a huge learning curve, this is definitely the way to go; I found the flower loom technique to be intuitive and easy to understand — especially since the author of the book, Haafner Linssen, has provided such clear and helpful instructions for the technique.
Don’t worry if fancy floral potholders aren’t your thing; there are zillions of other crochet potholder patterns available in a dazzling variety of different design styles. If you want basic potholders, textured potholders, striped potholders, snowflake potholders, Christmas potholders or just about any other type of potholders imaginable, you’ll find excellent pattern suggestions on our page of knit and crochet potholder patterns. Many, but not all, of the patterns we’ve suggested on that page are free patterns.
Find More Flower Loom Crochet Resources
If the flower loom crochet technique interests you, we invite you to check out our page on the topic. You’ll find information about some of the flower looms and pattern books that are currently available.
The latest issue of Crochet! magazine (Defining Crochet) is now available, and the theme of this issue is “26 Modern-Day Bohemian Chic Projects!” The issue includes a diverse grouping of projects that includes women’s clothing, a sporty hat, a unique and unusual purse, a baby dress and headband set, a matching unicorn lovey and rattle for babies, jewelry, 3 blankets and a couple of pillows. Here are some of the highlights:
Women’s Clothing Patterns Included in the Summer 2018 Issue of Crochet! Magazine:
The cover photo shows you a carefree, on-trend peekaboo top crocheted using a lacy stitch pattern. Some of the other clothing patterns in this issue are as follows:
Circle All That Apply Crochet Jacket Pattern
Easy Top-Down Crochet Macchiato Sweater Pattern
Lahaina Crochet Top Pattern
Golden Crochet Mesh Cardigan Pattern
Summer Swag Tee-Shirt Pattern
One-Piece Crochet Wrap Vest Pattern
Maya Vest Crochet Pattern
Keep It Simple Shawl Pattern
Jade Isles Shawl Pattern
Crochet Blanket Patterns Included in the Summer 2018 Issue of Crochet! Magazine:
Blanket Surprise — A Crochet Blanket Pattern That’s Easy Enough for Total Beginners
On a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being the easiest, the team of Annie’s assigned this blanket a skill level rating of 1. To look at it, you’d never guess it’s such an easy pattern, would you? The design looks fresh, sophisticated, complex and lovely.
Part of the appeal comes from the eye-catching colorway in the suggested yarn for the project. The interesting puckered stitch pattern adds even more interest to the three-dimensional appearance of the blanket. This pattern looks much harder than it really is; the stitch is actually super-duper simple to crochet.
Mandala Granny Afghan
This insanely colorful blanket is comprised of blocks that could be either granny squares or mandalas, depending how you look at it.
Bold Boho Mini Throw
This round throw is embellished with colorful pompoms.
Jewelry Crochet Patterns Included in the Summer 2018 Issue of Crochet! Magazine:
If you enjoy crocheting jewelry, I bet you’ll LOVE the Summer 2018 issue of Crochet! magazine. There are several GORGEOUS jewelry projects that all look like they’d be both interesting to work on and lovely to wear:
Beachy Tassel Crochet Necklace Pattern
If you make this casual tassel necklace, you’re likely to get a lot of use out of it during the summer months. It pairs well with everything from sundresses to t-shirts and jeans.
Dreamer’s Geometry Crochet Mandala Earrings
Turkish Crochet Bracelets and Watch Band
There are several different ways you can get your hands on Crochet! magazine:
Click here to subscribe to Crochet! magazine at Amazon (both print subscriptions and Kindle reader subscriptions are available). As of the time of this posting, the Summer 2018 issue is the current issue; I just got mine in the mail a few days ago. Be aware that your subscription will most likely start with the most current edition of the magazine at the time you subscribe.
Would you like to learn how to knit socks? If so, perhaps you’ll be excited to learn about a free broadcast of Vickie Howell’s class called Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks at Creativelive. The free broadcast of this sock knitting class will take place on November 9-10, 2017. My understanding of the situation is that, if you want access to the free broadcast, you’ll have to RSVP for the class before it starts to air on November 9th. Tip: After you click through to the course description page, look up at the top right-hand side of your monitor for the black button that says “RSVP”. (There’s also a blue button that says “Buy” if you prefer to just buy the class and watch it immediately.)
I RSVP’ed for the class and am looking forward to it. 🙂 I hope you’ll have a chance to check it out, too.
This isn’t usually a free class; the regular class price is $29. So getting in on the free broadcast is actually a really good deal. If for some reason you miss the free broadcast, or any part of it, you’ll be able to access the class at its regular price any time afterwards.
To knit socks, you’ll need sock yarn and appropriate knitting needles. Most people knit socks using sets of double-pointed sock knitting needles. I’m pretty sure it’s also possible to knit socks using a circular knitting needle that has an ultra-short cord length — if you can find a needle that’s the right size.
Where to Find Spectacular Sock Knitting Patterns
Denise Samson included 4 excellent sock patterns in her book called The Cable Knitter’s Guide published by Trafalgar Square Books. The sock patterns are as follows:
Cozy Slippers — These are gorgeous cabled slipper socks that look like they’d be worth the effort — they are that pretty. If you knit gifts for loved ones, the slippers would be an extra-special gift.
Socks With Reversible Cables — These slouchy socks have cabled cuffs that you can pull up or fold down. The cables look the same on either side, so there’s no need to worry about hiding a “wrong” side.
Maj’s Ankle Socks — These elegant lace ankle socks feature a lovely cabled design.
Tormrod’s Stockings — These intricate cabled knee socks are guy-friendly; the author designed them for her significant other to wear on his camping trips and ski trips.
The socks aren’t the only fantastic patterns in the book; this book is actually sort of like a cable stitch dictionary that also offers you finished patterns for trying out the cables. There are also excellent patterns for blankets, sweaters and bunches more accessories.
I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit socks. When I was a teenager, I invested the money in buying a lovely set of bamboo double-pointed needles; but I couldn’t figure out how to use them despite having looked at several books and magazine articles on the topic of sock knitting. I made an honest effort to learn how to knit socks, but without someone to show me the finer points, it wasn’t long before I lost interest. There were too many other amazing projects to work on. I decided to invest my efforts in knitting sweaters and hats, and I never actually returned to sock knitting.
When I was traveling in Europe a few years ago, I bought a circular knitting needle that I think (hope) will work for knitting socks. I’m thinking it will be preferable to dealing with bunches of individual double-pointed needles. Having never successfully knit socks with any type of knitting needles, the jury is out on whether I will be able to do this. We’ll see!
I’ll be pulling my circular and double-pointed knitting needles out of the closet and tuning in to Vickie Howell’s sock knitting class on November 9th to see if I can finally learn how to knit socks. Here’s hoping I’ll have more success this time around than I have in the past — and here’s hoping you’ll join me and learn how to knit socks, too!