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GABMAL Update

The short version of this post: I’ve decided to cancel the weekly schedule for GABMAL pattern releases.

The long version?

Today is World Mental Health Day. Many of you know that I live with General Anxiety Disorder–I’ve written about this in the past. It’s neither good nor bad…it’s just the way my brain is wired.

I was officially diagnosed with GAD in late 2018, but my anxious days go back much further. Personally, I find crocheting and knitting to be incredibly relaxing and a wonderful source of stress release, and my crafting time works wonders to manage my anxiety.

Unfortunately, it can also be a source of anxiety.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that I have started to feel apathetic about some of my current long-term projects, including the Geek Alphabet Blanket Make Along. It’s not that I’ve lost my knitting mojo (my kojo?)–I still very much enjoy working on this project! I think this apathy, and the growing anxiety I’m feeling, is more related to trying to hold myself to a strict timeline for this project.

I’ve decided to cancel the weekly schedule of posts for the GABMAL pattern releases.

This means that this project has been “demoted” if you will from GABMAL to simply GAB–it is no longer a Make Along.

Over the next several days, I’ll be posting all of the charts for the squares on the main GABMAL page. You can download the charts soon. I’ll also be updating that page to reflect the schedule cancellation and “demotion” of this project. When my squares are finished–which will hopefully be in April–I’ll post a tutorial on how to join them (I’m still trying to figure out how I want to do that…).

Rest assured, I am not giving up on this blanket! I am more than halfway through the G for Gondor square, and I am head-over-heels in love with how it is turning out!

There’s only a couple more months to the year, and I want to make sure that I can still pick up my hooks and needles with joy, not stress. To that end, I doubt there will be any more Make Along projects in 2019.

However, I know how excited I can get about new projects, so I anticipate there might be a tiny Make Along scheduled in the early new year…

If you’ve read all the way to the end of this post, gold star for you, friend! I appreciate your understanding. I hope that all of you are able to leave stress behind when picking up your knitting needles and crochet hooks!

Mini Bernie Sanders Amigurumi

Happy 2021, fam!

As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from this site for a while now. Back in December, I announced on my Facebook page that I was going to take a break from social media and from the blog for a while. I needed some time to focus on my mental health.

I’m still working some things out (we’re all works in progress, right?), but as soon as I started seeing all of the Bernie/mittens memes after the inauguration, I knew I had to “come out of retirement” as it were just so that I could make my own Bernie doll.

Now, I’m not a major Bernie fan, but I do see value in a lot of his work. But those memes, right? So funny! Here are some of my favorites:

Of course, I had to add Bernie (or “Brrrnie” as I like to call him) to my collection of mini amigurumi. I wrote up the pattern as I went, so I figured I’d tidy it up and share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy this FREE pattern!

Before we get to crocheting, I encourage you to consider making a donation to Meals On Wheels, an organization near and dear to Human Bernie’s (and Mini Bernie’s) heart. Every penny helps!

Skill Level: Easy +


Materials List

Tools & Supplies Needed

  • Size D/3.25mm hook
  • Two 6mm plastic safety eyes
  • 1 skein (there will be leftovers!) of worsted-weight yarn in the following colors: beige (skin tone), dark green, black, white, brown, tan
  • A small amount of #10 white crochet thread
  • Polyester fiberfill stuffing (available at most craft stores)
  • Yarn needle
  • Sewing needle
  • Scissors
  • Baby blue felt
  • Optional: grey yarn for embroidering glasses OR wire and wire tools for shaping wire glasses (I used 16 gauge jewelry wire)

Stitch Guide

You will need to know a few different types of stitches in order to make these dolls. Below is a guide to help you with the abbreviations of the terms and stitches used in these doll patterns (written in US terms).

sl st = slip stitch

ch = chain

sc = single crochet

hdc = half-double crochet

inc = increase

dec = decrease


Mini Bernie Sanders Amigurumi Pattern

Head

Rnd 1) In beige, make a Magic Circle. Ch 1 and work 6 sc in the center of the Magic Circle. Join to the beginning sc of the round and ch 1. (6)

Rnd 2) *sc inc* x 6. Join and ch 1. (12)

Rnd 3) *sc inc, sc* x 6. Join and ch 1. (18)

Rnds 4-7) 18 sc. Join and ch 1. (18)

Insert the eyes into the 8th and 12th stitches of round 5, so that there are 3 sc stitches between the eyes.

Rnd 8) *sc dec, sc* x 6. Join and ch 1. (12)

Carefully stuff the head, but do not overstuff!

Rnd 9) *sc dec* x 6. Join and ch 1. (6)

Rnd 10) 6 sc. Change to dark green and cut the beige yarn. Join and ch 1. (6)

Torso

Rnd 11) In dark green, *sc inc* x 6. Join and ch 1. (12)

Rnd 12) *sc inc, 3 sc* x 3. Join and ch 1. (15)

Rnds 13-15) 15 sc. Change to black and cut the dark green yarn. Join and fasten off, leaving a tail long enough for weaving. (15)

Insert some stuffing into your doll’s torso, but leave room for you to work the stitches for the beginning of the legs–you can also stuff what’s left of the torso when you stuff your doll’s legs!

Leg #1

Insert your hook into the BLO of the back center-most stitch of round 15 of the body. With black, ch 1.

Rnd 1) 8 sc. Join to the 1st sc of the round and ch 1. (8)

Rnd 2) In BOTH LOOPS, 8 sc. Join and ch 1. (8)

Rnd 3) 8 sc. Join and ch 1. (8)

Insert some stuffing into your doll’s leg.

Rnd 4) *sc dec* x 4. Join and fasten off, leaving a tail long enough for weaving.

Leg #2

Insert your hook into the BLO of the 8th sc of round 15 of the body (this is the same stitch in which you worked the last sc of rnd 1 of leg #1). With black, ch 1.

Rnd 1) 8 sc. Join to the 1st sc of the round and ch 1. (8)

Rnd 2) In BOTH LOOPS, 8 sc. Join and ch 1. (8)

Rnd 3) 8 sc. Join and ch 1. (8)

Insert some stuffing into your doll’s leg.

Rnd 4) *sc dec* x 4. Join and fasten off, leaving a tail long enough for weaving.

Finishing the Legs

After you’ve made your doll’s legs, you’ll probably notice a small gap between them where they should be joined. Use the tail ends of your yarn and a yarn needle to stitch any opening between the legs closed. Weave in ends.

If you see any opening at the base of the doll’s feet, you can use the tail ends of your yarn and a yarn needle to stitch that opening closed as well, then weave in your ends.

Arms (Make 2)

Insert your hook into the back center-most stitch of round 15 of the body. With black, ch 1.

Rnd 1) In white, make a Magic Circle. Ch 1 and work 8 sc in the center of the Magic Circle. Change to brown. Join to the beginning sc of the round and ch 1. (8)

Rnd 2) In brown, 8 sc. Join and ch 1. (8)

Rnd 3) *sc dec, sc* x 2, sc dec. Change to dark green. Join and ch 1. (5)

Rnd 4) In dark green, 5 sc. Join and ch 1. (5)

Rnd 5) 5 sc. Join and ch 1. (5)

Rnd 6) 5 sc. Join and fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. (5)

Weave in all ends of your doll’s arms by pulling them through the length of the arm, then trim. Do this for all of the tail ends for the arms EXCEPT for the long tails that you left for sewing.

Using the long tail that’s left, sew the opening at the top (“shoulder”) of the doll’s arm shut so that it is basically sewn flat across. Then sewn the arms to round 11 of the doll’s body so that the now flat part of the doll’s arm lays nice and flat against the doll’s body. Repeat for the second arm.

To finish, cut a strand of tan yarn and stitch small “v” shapes onto the gloved hands of the doll.

Hair

Rnd 1) In white, ch 10. Starting in the 2nd chain space from the hook, work 8 sc, 3 sc in last chain. Working along the other side of the chain, work 7 sc, 2 sc in last chain space. Join and ch 1. (20)

Rnd 2) 3 sc in first st, sc inc, sc, sc dec, sc, sc dec, sc, sc inc, 3 sc in next st, sc inc, 7 sc, sc inc. Join and ch 1. (26)

Rnd 3) 2 dc inc, 3 hdc, hdc3tog, 3 hdc, hdc inc, sc, 9 sl st, sc, hdc inc. Join and ch 1.

You will now work the “flyaway” bits of hair along the top. We’ll call this “row 4” of the hair piece as it’s not quite a round, but rather a short row worked across the top.

The flyaways consist of three small chains. After making each flyaway chain in the directions below, remember to join with a sl st to rnd 3 of the main hair piece before beginning the next chain.

Row 4) 5 sl st, [ch 2, sl st into 2nd chain space from the hook (makes first chain)], sl st into next st of rnd 3, [ch 5, sl st into 2nd chain space from the hook, 3 sl st (makes second chain)], sl st into next st of rnd 3, [ch 2, sl st into 2nd chain space from the hook (makes third chain)], sl st into next st of rnd 3, 9 sl st. Fasten off.

Jacket “Hood”

You will now make a “hood”. I put it in quotes because it doesn’t function as a hood, but it looks like a jacket hood when not pulled over the wearer’s head.

Row 1) In dark green, ch 18. Starting in the 2nd chain space from the hook, work 3 sl st, 2 sc, sc inc, hdc, dc inc, dc, dc inc, hdc, sc inc, 2 sc, 3 sl st. Fasten off. (21)

Finishing

To finish your mini Bernie, sew the hair onto the doll’s head.

Sew the jacket hood onto the doll. Tip: I sewed my Bernie’s hood onto the doll just at the front, leaving the majority of the hood free-hanging. I feel it gives the hood a more realistic look, as opposed to stitching it on completely. Do whatever you think looks best!

Use grey yarn to stitch rectangular glasses frames onto your doll. If you like, you can try using jewelry wire to shape wire frames! I used 16 gauge jewelry wire and some small needle nose pliers (also available in the jewelry-making section of the craft store). To attach them to the doll’s head, I carefully bent the ends of the glasses (the part that would go over the ear) inward, then literally shoved them into the side of his head. For extra security, I took a strand of beige yarn, twisted the fibers, and separated it into a half-strand. Then I used this half-strand to carefully sew the nose bridge of the glasses onto the face. They’re not perfect, but I think I did pretty good for my first pair of wire glasses!

To make the face mask, cut a small rectangle of light blue felt. Use a couple strands of #10 crochet thread in white and a sewing needle to carefully stitch the mask onto the doll. Tip: pull the tail ends of the crochet thread through the doll’s head all the way to the back of the head, coming out on the other side of the head in the middle of the main hair piece. Knot each side together, then weave the rest of the ends through the hair piece.

Lastly, weave in all ends and trim any excess yarn.

Like this pattern? Great! I’m so happy to offer this pattern to the crochet community for free. If you’d like, please consider making a donation to Meals On Wheels. Every little bit helps people in need.

Yarn Color Comparison Chart

As crafters, we all know the benefits of completing a project using a single brand of yarn: consistency, consistency, consistency! Using the same line of yarn for a project ensures that your fibers have the same content make-up (100% acrylic or a 50/50 cotton & bamboo combo, for example). It also means that the thickness or weight of yarn used for your project will be the same throughout the entire finished object.

But let’s get real for a second: sometimes the yarn you’re using just doesn’t come in enough colors, or at least not in the colors you need.

I’ve found this to be especially true when making amigurui. Sometimes, it’s just necessary to mix and match yarns in order to get the effect you want!

To help you out, I’ve created a handy little chart that compares yarn colors across seven different lines of yarn:

  • Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (includes colors from Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Choice Multi yarns)
  • Caron Simply Soft (includes colors from Simply Soft, Soft Collection, Brites, or Heathers yarns)
  • Loops & Thread Impeccable
  • Red Heart Super Saver
  • Red Heart With Love
  • Red Heart Soft
  • Stylecraft Special DK
    • Note: this is the only yarn included in the chart that is a DK yarn, not a worsted-weight yarn. I’ve included it here because I often want to compare SSDK colors with LBVC’s colors when making graphghans–sometimes I make them with the DK yarn, sometimes with the worsted-weight yarn!

Click Here to Download the Yarn Color Comparison Chart

This chart also groups like colors together. For example, there is an entire page of skin tone colored yarns, which is very helpful when making dolls! There are also pages that compare hair colors (also helpful when making dolls) and pages that compare whole families of colors (whites/greys, pinks/reds, purples, blues, and greens).

The purpose of this chart is to help take the guesswork out of comparing similar yarns.

Note: it is entirely possible that some of these colors have been discontinued or are no longer available. I will try to keep this chart up to date, but as you can imagine that is quite an undertaking. When in doubt, I encourage you to look up the specific yarn online.

New Decade, New Goals

Recap: 2015-2019

With 2020 just around the corner, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about just how much my life has changed in the last few years.

In 2015, I officially started this blog, which was known until recently as Two Hearts Crochet. We started off small with some pretty cute Disney Princess patterns and my first ever graphghan, the Whovian Blanket, and we have grown so much since then!

In the years that followed, we made a bunch of other neat, nerdy projects like the Star Trek amigurumi dolls and the Marine Life Blanket. I learned some new techniques like tapestry crochet (used in the Marauder’s Scarf) and filet crochet (used in the Kraken Shawl, Dragon Shawl, and Nessie Wrap). But one of my favorite makes of all time was definitely the Solar System Blanket and all of the nerdy appliqués that I made at the beginning of 2018!

One of my most exciting highlights of the last few years was making the decision to finally turn this blog into a real, licensed business, which I did in September 2017. Since that time, I’ve been working hard to become more active on pattern sites like Etsy and Ravelry, and that’s encouraged me to create some fun new designs like my husband’s favorite, the Hedgehog Pillow!

In the fall of 2018, I launched my most ambitious crochet resource ever: the Graphghan Boot Camp ecourse. I’m so pleased that this course has helped so many people take the leap into learning how to make and design their own custom graphghans! To this day, GBC is the one crochet-related project that I am proudest of.

2019 has been a slower year compared to the last few. One of the biggest accomplishments of this past year was the rebrand from Two Hearts Crochet to Yarn Geek Makes, which I believe better fits the spirit of this site.

Another major achievement is my recent foray into double-knitting! I’ve been wanting to learn how to double-knit for several years now, but I finally decided to take the dive and learn. As a result, I’m piecing together my baby’s first blanket, the Geek Alphabet Blanket, and I’m really pleased with how it’s coming along so far!

I’ve learned a lot these last few years about myself, my craft, and my mental health, and I plan on taking those lessons with me as we dive into the new year. This brings me to…

My 2020 Goals

This new year is bringing so many wonderful changes into my life, but I am determined to stay connected to this blog and to my readers in the months to come. Running this blog and working with all of you brings so much joy into my life!

New Year’s resolutions are always hard to keep, but I’ve decided to list mine here for posterity. Let’s keep each other on track, yeah?

Goal #1: Be Kinder

My main goal is to simply be kinder: kinder to others, and especially kinder to myself. This includes things like not beating myself up for putting a WIP in time out.

It also means that I will try not to be upset with myself if I can’t check everything off of my to-do list. I’ll take every checked-off item as its own accomplishment and (here’s the kicker) not view the unchecked items as failures.

This goal is first on my list particularly because it’s one I’ve had a hard time with over the last several years. I have been open about my struggles with anxiety over the last couple of years (especially this last year), and I believe that sticking to this goal is going to be very beneficial for my mental health.

Chris Olson GIF

Goal #2: Think Smaller

By smaller, I mean less complicated. I’ve realized that I have a tendency to over-complicate things, to dream big and want to tackle all the shiny new projects. In an effort to be kinder to myself (RE: Goal #1), I’m going to try not be quite so ambitious when it comes to planning up projects.

This also means that none of my planned projects for 2020 are likely to be graphghans…sorry!

burnt out GIF by Space Jam

Goal #3: Fewer Projects

Lastly, my third goal is to try and stick to just one project per month in 2020 (except for June, which I have completely given myself as a freebie to help welcome baby Mikkelborg into the family). Similar to goal #2, I tend to try and cram too many projects into the year, and it results in an infeasible workload. This leads to incredible amounts of stress, fatigue, and a major loss of crafty mojo.

I haven’t yet planned out my 2020 projects, but I hope to soon! (I actually just bought a new giant wall calendar to help me out with this…hooray for organization!) I do have a couple of baby projects planned, excluding the remaining squares of my Geek Alphabet Blanket, but otherwise this year is a blank slate.

Another thing I hope to do this year is to introduce a new size amigurumi pattern, something a bit larger than my mini amigurumi series, hopefully measuring approximately 8″ tall. The larger doll size will allow for more detailed work on faces and clothing, and it’ll be a nice change from the mini amis!

ser davos jon snow GIF by BuzzFeed

What are your goals for 2020?

Nothing helps you meet your goals like a supportive group of people to help keep you accountable, so let’s share. Leave a comment and tell me some of your goals for this new year!

Supportive Cheer GIF

My Best WIP

I’m sure you’ve probably noticed, but I haven’t really been around very much these last few months. Progress on my Geek Alphabet Blanket has been non-existent since September, and I’m sad to say that I haven’t really picked up my hooks or needles in months.

Even though I haven’t been very active in the Yarn Geek community or with fiber arts in general, I’m excited to tell you about my newest Work In Progress.

At the end of September, I found out that we are going to have a baby!

Happy Ice Cream GIF by Shay Mitchell

These last few months have been rough (hence my disappearance from the blogosphere), but they have been so rewarding. As I move into my second trimester, I am beginning to feel a bit more like myself.

I am now 16 weeks pregnant, and aside from fighting off a yucky cold, I find myself with more energy! I’ve even picked up my knitting needles again and have resumed progress on my Geek Alphabet Blanket–which, as you could probably guess, will be my baby’s first handmade blanket.

And good news at that: even after months of absence, I haven’t forgotten how to double-knit! I’ve got nearly 10 squares down, 16 to go (plus the center banner..shhh…)!

I am working on my H for Harry Potter square, and I just love how it is turning out. Only 10 more rows, and them I’ll be moving on to I for Impala (and maybe a Supernatural marathon).

My husband and I are very excited, and we can’t wait to meet our little sweet potato in June! I’ve also got a handful of baby nerd-themed projects whirling around my brain that I’m sure will make an appearance on the blog sometime this summer.

Even though I’m feeling better, I may still be a bit distant from the blog over the next year as I learn to balance my time with these new priorities. If you don’t hear from me, that’s why!

I’d like to send a major THANK YOU to all of you wonderful readers for your understanding. You have helped make the last four months much less stressful. You guys rock!

E is for…Excalibur!

When I was making the initial plans for this blanket, I watched my way through the BBC sci-fi series Merlin. I instantly fell in love! I knew that I had to integrate some aspect of this series into my blanket, so I decided to make the letter E square E for Excalibur!

I’m really happy with how this square has turned out, and I hope you like it too!

This week’s square uses Stylecraft Special DK yarn in the colors Claret and Silver.

For more information about the MAL, click here.

If you are new to double-knitting, check out our Knitting for Newbies video tutorial series! These videos will teach you everything you need to know to get started with double-knitting, including how to cast on, how to double-knit, how to work color changes in double-knitting, and lots more!

Note: There is a problem with some of the K4N videos cutting off at about 15 minutes. I am working to get this resolved. Apologies!

Want to crochet these squares instead of double-knit? No problem! Click here for more information on working these graphs in single crochet vs. double-knitting.

Ready to get started?

Click here to download the graph for our E for Excalibur square.


D is for…Dalek!

To help hold you over until the next season premiere of Doctor Who, I’ve made this week’s square D for Dalek! Now you can make your own Skaro resident for your Geek Alphabet Blanket!

This week’s square uses Stylecraft Special DK yarn in the colors Black and Gold, but you could really use any Dalek-like colors for this one!

For more information about the MAL, click here.

If you are new to double-knitting, check out our Knitting for Newbies video tutorial series! These videos will teach you everything you need to know to get started with double-knitting, including how to cast on, how to double-knit, how to work color changes in double-knitting, and lots more!

Note: There is a problem with some of the K4N videos cutting off at about 15 minutes. I am working to get this resolved. Apologies!

Want to crochet these squares instead of double-knit? No problem! Click here for more information on working these graphs in single crochet vs. double-knitting.

Ready to get started?

Click here to download the graph for our D for Dalek square.


C is for…The Crown!

This week, we’re making the C for The Crown square! This square features a representation of the Imperial State Crown as worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II, portrayed thus far by Claire Foy (soon to be portrayed by Olivia Colman) in the Netflix original series The Crown. For this square, we’ll use Stylecraft Special DK yarn in the colors Mustard and Royal.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how much I would like the design of this square when I was just a few rows in. However, after reaching the halfway point, my fears were completely put to rest and it is now one of my favorite things I have ever made!

This square is completely reversible (not all of the GABMAL squares are). I honestly can’t decide if I like the background in Royal or Mustard…what do you think?

For more information about the MAL, click here.

If you are new to double-knitting, check out our Knitting for Newbies video tutorial series! These videos will teach you everything you need to know to get started with double-knitting, including how to cast on, how to double-knit, how to work color changes in double-knitting, and lots more!

Note: There is a problem with some of the K4N videos cutting off at about 15 minutes. I am working to get this resolved. Apologies!

Want to crochet these squares instead of double-knit? No problem! Click here for more information on working these graphs in single crochet vs. double-knitting.

Ready to get started?

Click here to download the graph for our C for The Crown square.


B is for…Borg!

On this day in 1966, Star Trek: The Original Series first premiered on television. I’d like to claim that this is the real reason the Borg square for GAMBAL is being shared today, but alas, this was purely a coincidence!

This week, we’re making the B for Borg square! This square features the Borg logo/symbol and uses Stylecraft Special DK yarn in the colors Grass Green and Silver.

Being a major Trekkie, I’m pretty pleased with how this square turned out!

For more information about the MAL, click here.

If you are new to double-knitting, check out our Knitting for Newbies video tutorial series! These videos will teach you everything you need to know to get started with double-knitting, including how to cast on, how to double-knit, how to work color changes in double-knitting, and lots more!

Note: There is a problem with some of the K4N videos cutting off at about 15 minutes. I am working to get this resolved. Apologies!

Want to crochet these squares instead of double-knit? No problem! Click here for more information on working these graphs in single crochet vs. double-knitting.

Ready to get started?

Click here to download the graphs for our B for Borg square.


A is for…Avengers!

Welcome to week 1 of the Geek Alphabet Blanket Make Along! Over the next 28 weeks, we’ll be making geek-themed squares for our very own Geek Alphabet Blanket. For more information about the MAL, click here.

This week, we’re making the A for Avengers square! This square features the Avengers logo design and uses Stylecraft Special DK yarn in the colors Lipstick and White.

This is a great square to start with if you’re new to double-knitting as the design isn’t super challenging, and it’s a very satisfying design to watch come together!

If you are new to double-knitting, check out our Knitting for Newbies video tutorial series! These videos will teach you everything you need to know to get started with double-knitting, including how to cast on, how to double-knit, how to work color changes in double-knitting, and lots more!

Want to crochet these squares instead of double-knit? No problem! Click here for more information on working these graphs in single crochet vs. double-knitting.

Ready to get started?

Click here to download the graphs for our A for Avengers square.


The Best of Geek

Happy #geekprideday, fam!

To celebrate this supreme day of geeky glory, I wanted to share with you my 5 favorite geeky patterns, most of which are available here at Two Hearts Crochet for FREE!

Ready to get started? Grab your hooks/wands/sonic screwdrivers and let’s go!


5. Nerdy Cardi

The Nerdy Cardi definitely makes it into my top 5 favorite geeky patterns. Made with Lion Brand 24/7 cotton yarn, it’s super comfy and so much fun to wear! I particularly love the Deathly Hallows symbol and the Hufflepuff badger that make up the backs of these cardigans (that’s right–two different designs!)…it’s just subtle enough to display my love for the Harry Potter universe without having to shout it from the owlery!

This pattern can be easily customized and made with pretty much any yarn you wish, making it an easy favorite for this list!

4. TARDIS Cowl

I’ll be honest, I don’t wear cowls very often, but I absolutely adore this one! That gorgeous blue yarn really pops against the black background, and since it’s made by using tapestry crochet techniques, there are hardly any yarn tails to weave in once you’re finished!

When worn, it’s another fine example of geek incognito, by which I mean it’s a subtle nod to your love of all things Time Lord. It’s also quite cozy and lightweight, making it a perfect addition to your fall wardrobe!

3. Star Trek Amigurumi Dolls

No list of geeky crochet patterns would be complete without miniature Star Trek dolls! This is a growing set (hoping to add some of the crew of Discovery soon!), featuring the major characters from Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. I haven’t seen Star Trek: Enterprise yet, but I’m sure I’ll be adding the crew of Enterprise NX-01 to the group when I do!

My favorite thing about these dolls is that the (mostly) all use the same basic pattern. They’re quick to work up and easy to customize, so if you don’t see your favorite character here, you can probably mix and match the patterns to make that character yourself!

2. Kraken Shawl

Okay, so this one is not a free pattern, but I couldn’t write up this list without including one of my favorite geeky patterns of all time! The Kraken Shawl was the first filet crochet shawl I’d ever made, and I instantly fell in love with it. In fact, it’s the flagship pattern of my mythological creatures wearable pattern series, which also includes a Dragon Shawl and a Nessie wrap! I love absolutely everything about this pattern, from the drowsy ocean-colored yarn down to the fluid tassels! And while this particular pattern isn’t available for free on my blog, I do offer a free tutorial on how to make your own custom tassels!

1. Solar System Blanket

My favorite geeky pattern is, without a doubt, the Solar System Blanket that I made in early 2018. I made this as a gift to my husband’s aunt, an avid lover of all things outer space, but I find myself wishing I had one for myself! Naturally, the planets and orbits on this blanket are not to scale, but the unique shape of this blanket and its out-of-this-world appliques make it quite possibly my favorite pattern of all time!

Not only can you position the planets in any way you choose, but you can also add other fun space- or sci-fi-themed appliques to this blanket. For this blanket, I chose to add Earth’s moon, the International Space Station, Voyager-1, and a space shuttle. I also designed applique patterns for the Death Star, the TARDIS, and the USS Enterprise!


So there you have it, my top 5 favorite geeky crochet patterns. It was so hard to narrow down the list from all of my other patterns (after all, almost all of them are geek-related!), but it’s a list I’m pretty proud of! If you’d like to see more, I highly encourage you to take a look at my complete pattern library–there are lots more geeky patterns to enjoy!

So tell me, what are your favorite geeky crochet patterns? Leave a comment below and let’s share the geeky goodness!

Guest Post: How to Join Crocheted Pieces by Sewing, written by Helen Spencer

I have a tendency to stick with what I’m good at: cooking the same recipes, rocking the same half-dozen outfits year-round, re-watching the tv shows I already know by heart… It’s not a bad thing, but I’ve noticed that I definitely don’t step out of my comfort zone as often as I probably should.

This also applies to my crochet projects! If you’ve taken a look at my pattern library, you’ve probably noticed that the bulk of my patterns are for amigurumi and graphghans. No matter how many times I try to branch out, I always come back to those types of patterns.

I’ve just finished the last square of yet another graphghan, and I’m just about ready to start joining my many squares together. I usually use slip stitch or single crochet to join my squares, but I’ve been wondering if it’s time to try something different…

Right on cue, I recently got a proposal for a guest post from Helen Spencer, writer and crafter behind the Hello Sewing website. She offered to write up a post for us about some different methods of hand-sewing that can be used for joining crocheted and/or knitted pieces together. Talk about good timing, right?

In this post, Helen discusses three different hand-sewing techniques that you can try out on your next graphghan project. You can read more about these techniques in her post below!


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Guest Post: How to Join Crocheted Pieces by Sewing

By Helen Spencer, Hello Sewing

Back before computers and internet found their way into most households, people usually used to have hobbies that were both interesting and useful. Everyone likes to keep their mind occupied and if you happen to create something pretty and unique while doing so, in my book you’ve hit the jackpot. And what kind of activity, besides sewing of course, combines fun, challenge, creativity and usefulness into one? I’ll tell you what activity does that. Sewing’s baby brother and sister, knitting and crocheting.

My grandmother was a professional knitter and used to make knitted sweaters, vests, hats and socks in a flash. She would sit on the couch, turn on the TV and without even looking at her hands, make socks in about a half an hour, I kid you not. Seeing her knit was like seeing an eagle in the sky, she was made for it. Naturally, I wanted to become like her in that aspect so I asked her to teach me about knitting as well as crocheting. Of course, she loved the idea and she shared her knowledge to me with joy.

After that, I started helping her from time to time by joining the knitted items. I knew that fusing those two would turn out amazing but honestly, it ended up even better than I expected. I guess that art and art put together make an even better kind of art. Like music and wine!

Jokes aside, I’m here today to share what I know and to show you how to mix sewing and crocheting into one by joining crocheted pieces by sewing. While many crocheters are wary of sewing, seams can be an important part of your project’s construction. They provide structure and help it to keep its shape, so it is important to know how to do the basic hand sewing stitches. Having said that, here are my top favorite techniques for doing just that.

Technique #1: Back Stitch

This technique or stitch type is used for areas that shouldn’t be bulky or where you have curved seams. This is a strong stitch so you don’t need to worry about it falling apart. Now let’s see how you can make one.

With this stitch, right sides are together and you first insert the needle two stitches ahead after which you return it one stitch back. Put simply, you fashion an elastic stitch by working your seaming yarn in circular motion. Don’t forget to pull on the thread every now and then so that you straighten out all uneven sections and bulks.

Technique #2: Invisible Stitch

Also known as the mattress stitch, this technique is used when you want to connect two vertical stockinette knits. However, it can also be used for connecting garter stitches to other garter stitches, vertical stitches to horizontal stitches and so on and so forth. Time for the creation process explanation.

You make this stitch by taking the seaming yarn and running it through two bars of knit on the first piece and then two bars on the second piece. After that, go through the same hole on the first piece and go back to the second piece, again going through two bars but this time a bit higher up of course. Then run the yarn through two bars on the first piece, not the same hole this time but instead go a bit higher like with the second piece. Continue in this fashion until the end. Here is a short video to see the technique in action:

Technique #3: Catch Stitch

This one is a bit different when compared to the first two because you don’t go from right to left nor down to up. You go left to right. This stitch allows a lot of stretching but it also prevents fraying or similar damage from occurring.

Overlap the edges of the two pieces you’ll be joining. Then run your thread through two bars of knit on the upper piece. Then move a bit to the right and run the thread through two bars on the lower piece. After that go right once and run the thread through two bars on the upper piece again. Continue in this zig zag motion until you finish, that’s it.

I’m not going to ask you if you like these sewing techniques. I’m not going to repeat why you need to learn to sew. But I’ll ask which of the techniques will you use first?

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Many thanks to Helen for her handy guest post! If you’d like to learn more, I highly encourage you to take a look at her website. She’s got lots of great tutorials, tips and projects posted there that might just tickle your fancy!

You can also follow Helen and Hello Sewing on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Tell me: which one of these techniques do you want to try most? Personally, I’m very intrigued by the back stitch method!


Crafty nerd? Let’s collab!

I had a wonderful time collaborating with Helen, and I want to work with you too! If you are interested in being a guest contributor here at Two Hearts Crochet, or if you’d like me to put together a guest post for your blog, please contact me. Let’s make something nerdy together!

 

Starting Fresh

Earlier this month, the Craft Yarn Council began their Stitch Away Stress campaign, which this year focuses on self-care and how we use yarn crafts to improve our lives.

Some of my readers may recall that I’ve talked a bit about self-care and specifically anxiety in the past. I’ve been living with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for much of my life, though I’ve only recently been formally diagnosed (fear of doctors, delayed diagnosis–you get the gist). Personally, I find that working with yarn can be incredibly helpful in managing my anxiety, particularly when I can feel an attack brewing.

And I’m not alone. According to the CYC’s recent survey, 41.9% of those surveyed said that they often feel stressed or overwhelmed, and 19% of all survey participants said that overthinking (GAD, anyone?) causes them the most amount of stress.

Stay with me here, because I’m a big data nerd.

50.6% of participants said they feel stressed or overwhelmed before starting self-care activities (such as crocheting, knitting, exercise, reading, etc.), and 69.8% indicated that they feel relaxed after finishing those self-care activities.

And here’s the biggie: 95.3% of all who were surveyed said that they think self-care is important.

So, what are some of your favorite ways (besides crocheting and knitting, of course) to practice self-care? Here’s a few of mine:

Take a Shower

For so many people living with anxiety and depression, simple acts of taking care of yourself can be a real struggle. Things like getting out of bed, taking a shower, or even just brushing your teeth can be really, really hard. If you’re struggling with these things, I feel you.

If possible, I try to hop into a nice hot shower whenever I feel an anxiety attack coming on. There’s just something about the hot water that I find extremely soothing. I stay in there for as long as I need–usually about as long as the hot water holds out, which is a pretty long time at our house.

I usually find that once I step out of the shower, I feel more relaxed. Other basic care tasks also seem a bit easier to handle, too, like moisturizing or trimming my finger nails.

Aromatherapy can help, too. I recently switched to a lavender-scented body wash, and the scent is so relaxing! Lavender might not help everyone, so it’s important to remember that if lavender isn’t right for you, there are lots of other scented lotions, oils and soaps that you might find relaxing or invigorating.

Light a Candle

Again, lavender is my go-to scent. I love candles, but lavender is the only scented candle I keep in stock. All of my other candles are unscented (usually strong scents give me a headache), but I always have lavender on hand, just in case.

Whenever I have an exceptionally long or stressful day, I light my lavender candle and curl up somewhere comfy and quiet. Sometimes it’s not quite as effective as a long hot shower, but between the scent and the ambiance, it often does wonders to soothe my anxious self.

Dog Snuggles
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Of course, this really only helps if you have a dog (or other loving pet), or if someone you know will let you snuggle their dog.

My husband and I recently adopted our adorable pupper Bosco, and I’m amazed by how intuitive he is about my emotional state. This dog is usually a crazy ball of energy, but whenever I’m having a rough day he snuggles up to me on the couch and doesn’t move from my side until he’s sure I’m feeling better. He is the snuggliest dog I’ve ever met. In fact, his favorite things are going for walks, chasing the laser pointer, and snuggling with his closest human.

(Side note: he looks concerned in pretty much every photo I take of him, but he’s the happiest pup I know!)

Science has shown that having a pet helps cultivate emotional well-being. You can read more about that here, but any pet owner would agree that having a little fur-ball running around gives you something else to focus on, bringing your attention away from any negative or anxious thoughts.

I can 100% attest to this. My husband is an agricultural technician, which means he spends a lot of hours driving around the inland northwest in all sorts of weather conditions to meet his clients. I worry about him a lot when he’s gone (especially when it gets late or the weather has been particularly bad). Having Bosco around to snuggle and play with helps me spend more time focusing on good things, distracting me from all of the worst-case scenarios that pop into my head.

Start Something New

Whether it’s a new book, a new crochet project, or a new tv show, getting a fresh start on something feels so invigorating. New projects/books/hobbies bring plenty of exciting energy into our lives, and sometimes you just need to stop what you were working on before and just start fresh.

I find that this particularly applies to my crochet work. At the moment, I’m working on two major projects. They’re both going well, and I like switching between them, but I feel like they’ve lost their spark.

Some call this losing your “crojo”, I call it a product of my anxiety and depression. Starting with a blank slate, doing something new and exciting, can actually be incredibly soothing.

After some reflection these last few days, I’ve realized that I have a bunch of minor hobbies that I usually return to every time I feel like I need to change it up. These include trying new recipes, jumping into fully invested research of random topics like ancient Egyptian mythology, and learning new languages (I’m learning French, Norwegian, and Klingon on the side these days).

I’ve found that returning to these interests of mine don’t lessen my love of crochet–in fact, they often help me refresh my mind and look at my projects in new ways. Taking a break from my regular hobbies and activities actually rejuvenates my love for them.

To that end, I’ve decided to take a fresh start with my Instagram feed. I’ve been unhappy with my approach to it for a long time now–it was messy, unorganized, and only fueled my anxiety further.

If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, please do! You can find me at @yarngeekmakes. There isn’t exactly much there at the moment, but I promise there will be soon.

I’m looking forward to this fresh start and I hope this post inspires you to take a time out for yourself and practice some self-care! I’ll be working to #stitchawaystress by starting a new crochet project later today. Photos will be posted to Instagram soon!

In the meantime, comment below and tell me how you practice self-care!

National Crochet Month Giveaway: Yarn Bobbin System from KnotInTexas

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We’re about two-thirds of the way through with March (it’s sure flying by fast, isn’t it?), which means National Crochet Month is two-thirds of the way over!

Not to worry though, because I’ve got something special for you that I know you’re going to love.

Continuing our National Crochet Month celebration, I’ve joined forces with Brooke, the very talented crafter behind KnotInTexas, who has generously offered to give away one of her amazing yarn bobbin systems to one of our lucky readers!

Let’s talk a little bit about Brooke’s bobbin system and why I think it’s one of the best.

KnotInTexas’ Yarn Bobbin System

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Image credit: KnotInTexas

The yarn bobbin system from KnotInTexas is handmade and designed to help make managing all of those pesky bobbins used in making graphghans so much easier.

For starters, this organizer supports 13 wooden pegs which can be easily moved around the wooden base as needed. This means you’ll be able to easily fix any yarn tangles that might happen…and let’s be real, there’s always tangles!

These pegs hold a bunch of yarn, so you can load them up as you see fit. Because the pegs are 6 inches long, you can fit a bunch of yarn on there. If you end up needing more space around a certain peg, you can also remove the peg(s) next to it and load up even more yarn!

I think my favorite thing about this bobbin organizer isn’t that the pegs are movable, but that each peg has its own clear plastic sleeve, which enables the bobbin to move freely around the wooden peg as you pull on the yarn. This makes for snag-free, headache-free use of your yarn, giving you more time (and, let’s face it, emotional energy) to focus on your graphghan.

Brooke is sending me one of her yarn bobbin systems to try out, so expect a full review (and lots of pictures!) in the near future!

In the meantime, we’re giving you a chance to win one of these beautiful organizers for yourself! Scroll further down the page for more info on how to enter this giveaway!

And, if you just can’t wait for the giveaway to end, you can order your very own yarn bobbin system from KnotInTexas by clicking here!

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Image credit: KnotInTexas

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Image credit: KnotInTexas

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Image credit: KnotInTexas


PATTERN GIVEAWAY DETAILS

To celebrate National Crochet Month, I’ve partnered with Brooke to give one lucky winner their very own yarn bobbin system! Click on the link below to visit the official Rafflecopter giveaway form and follow the steps to enter the giveaway for your chance to win.

To enter, you’ll need to follow both Two Hearts Crochet and KnotInTexas on Facebook. There are plenty of other options you can choose from to enter and gain more entry points too, so be sure to check out those options on the Rafflecopter giveaway form!

This giveaway will close at 12am (midnight) PDT on Wednesday, March 27th.

The lucky winner be chosen on that day and will be announced on Facebook and alerted via email.

Update as of 3/28/19: Our giveaway has ended and our winner has been chosen. Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, friends!

If you’re looking for some last-minute Halloween projects, I’ve got you covered! I am pleased to share with you my latest creations: a mini mummy amigurumi and a mini Frankenstein’s monster amigurumi!

These dolls are about 4″ tall each and are super cute. Plus, they go great with both the Sanderson Sisters amis from Hocus Pocus and my mini vampire amigurumi, don’t you think?

If you want to add a little witch to your collection, you can also take a look at my Elphaba and Glinda amigurumi patterns!

All of these doll patterns are pretty quick to work up and are wonderful for using scraps of yarn! I hope they bring a little bit more spooky and joy to your life.

Stay safe tonight, and Happy Halloween!

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