Saturday, January 21, 2012

January 2012 Giveaway Winner

Using the Random Number Generator at, Entry #11 out of 13 valid entries was the winner of the $25.00 BJC Gift Certificate as announced on January 4th here:  Thanks so much for everyone for participating!  Brittney will have until January 28th to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

There were some really good crochet questions posted and I will be answering all of them in my upcoming blog posts.  I will gladly research and answer any questions at any time, but this giveaway gave me a great start!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Its not as easy as Martha says

So, a few weeks before Christmas my lovely cousin (who I NEVER get to see) asked me to make her boyfriend a crochet Christmas stocking in U of M colors.  I thought I would super impress her and asked if she wanted a matching one, and then I further blew her mind by telling her I would totally have it done in time for Christmas!  After realizing I have no patterns for a stocking handy, and deciding I didn't have time to write one, I started my internet scour of great stocking patterns. 

Several Google searches led me to the Martha Stewart craft site.  Let me say before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post that I despise Martha.  Nothing is ever as easy as she says, and it never looks like the picture when your done.  That said, I did indeed click the forbidden link and was directed to an entire slideshow of 13 different stocking ideas

I started looking through them, and came across the Sweater Stocking.  Cute?  Yes.  Functional?  Yes.  Sounded too good to be true already.  In just 6 simple steps (the tutorial is less than 1 printed page) and one simple template, you too can make a sweater stocking!  The first thing I did was confirm with Cousin that a sewn stocking would be ok.  She said yes.  Printed the template and directions, went to the local resale shop and bought a XXL Banana Republic, navy blue sweater for $10.00, then took my goodies home and dusted off the sewing machine. 

This is when the laughter turns to tears.  My first mistake was attempting this while Noah was awake.  I was constantly telling him to stop taking the scissors, don't play with needs, stop unplugging the machine, don't adjust the tension, blah blah blah...  He finally went down for a nap when huge mistake No. 2 occurred:  Overconfidence.  Her simple, "life is but a dream" tutorial made me feel like Martha herself.  I was about to turn a discarded sweater into Holiday Craft Greatness.  NOT!  What I ended up with was a lopsided, frayed disaster.

By this time, its the week before Christmas.  It will never make it from Michigan to Virginia on time, and I'm feeling like a super failure.  I FB my cousin to tell her how utterly sorry I am, and she then tells me its ok.  She event throws a "Damn Martha" in there to make me feel better.  Honestly.  

So where am I at with this project now?  Starting from scratch with some good ole' yarn and a hook.  The moral of this story is, Stick with what you know, save the experiments for less urgent times.  And I should throw another moral in there for good measure:  Its NEVER as easy as Martha says!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Free Crochet Pattern - Tea Time Beanie

Download this pattern in PDF format for free at:

Materials List:
• Medium Worsted Weight Yarn
• Size I and G Hooks
• Stitch Marker
• Yarn Needle for weaving in ends
• Scissors
• Ribbon or Flower for decoration, or leave it plain!

All Sizes, Begin Here:
With I hook, Chain 3

Round 1:
0-3 Months 8dc in 1st chain
3-6 Months 9dc in 1st chain
6-12 Months and Toddlers 10dc in 1st chain
Join to 1st dc with slst and move on to Round 2.

Round 2: Ch 4 (counts as 1st dc and ch1), (dc, ch1) in each stitch around, including the first and last stitch. Join to 3rd ch of beg ch4. This is an increase round. You should have 1 more dc in this round than you started with in Round 1, for example, if you start with 8dc in round one, you should end with 9dc and 9 ch1 spaces at the end of Round 2.

Round 3: Slst in 1st ch1 sp, ch 4 (counts as 1st dc and ch1), dc once more in same ch1 sp. [Dc, ch1, dc] (V-stitch made) in each ch1 space around. Join to 3rd ch of beg ch4.

Round 4: Slst in ch1 sp of 1st V-stitch, ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), (dc, ch1, 2dc, ch1) in same V-stitch. (2dc, ch1, 2dc, ch1) in each V-stitch around, join to top of beg ch3.

Round 5: Slst in next dc, slst into 1st ch1 sp, ch4 (counts as 1st dc and ch1), dc again in same space. V-Stitch (dc, ch1, dc) in each ch1 sp around, join to 3rd ch of beg ch4.

Round 6: Slst in ch1 sp of 1st V-stitch, ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), (dc, ch1, 2dc, ch1) in same V-stitch, skip next V-stitch. *(2dc, ch1, 2dc, ch1) in next V-stitch, skip next V-stitch*, repeat from * around, join to top of beg ch3.

Round 7+:
0-3 Months Repeat rows 5 and 6 one more time each, repeat row 5 one more time
3-6 Months Repeat rows 5 and 6 two mores time each, repeat row 5 one more time
6-12 Months Repeat rows 5 and 6 two mores time each, repeat row 5 one more time
Toddler Repeat rows 5 and 6 three mores time each, repeat row 5 one more time

End Round: Slst in ch1 sp of 1st V-stitch, (dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc) in next v-stitch, *slst in next v-stitch, (dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc) in next v-stitch*, repeat to end, finishing with a slst in 1st slst. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goodbye Etsy, Hello Artfire!

I've been with Etsy for a year now and after fully considering the options, I'm moving shop to ArtFire.  My Etsy shop is deactivated, and I may or may not reopen it.  The kicker is the fees.  For the last 3 months, I have paid more in fees to Etsy than I have actually made.  Etsy charges listing fees, sale fees, and they have made it impossible to get exposure without constantly relisting.  With the added PayPal fees and material costs, I just can't keep up.  Artfire is charging a flat-rate $11.99/month, which is great for me!

Please come over to Blue J Crochet on Artfire and support my new shop!  I know it will take time to build up the same customer base that I had before, but I'm certainly hoping it becomes even more successful than Etsy.  Artfire also makes it easier to make sales, coupons and gift certificates, so I'll be really happy to be able to offer more discounted goodies!

The Giveaway for this month will be changed from my Etsy shop to my Artfire shop, however all of the products are exactly the same and my prices haven't changed, so you can still use the $25.00 Gift Certificate for all of the same stuff you could have found on Etsy.  It will take me a few days to get all of my items relisted but I'm working on it!

Use this for 25% off all patterns at my new ArtFire shop for the next 5 days!  Pass it on to all of your friends and help me kick off to a great start! 

Thanks for your continued support!  I love you guys!
♥ Julie

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1000th Etsy Sale!

"Happy Happy Joy Joy, Happy Happy Joy Joy"!  So, am I old or just immature for singing Ren and Stimpy in celebration of my 1000th Etsy sale?  Either way, I'm so happy!  THANK YOU for helping me reach 1000 sales in just over 1 year!  To celebrate, EVERYTHING is 15% off until Next Friday, the 19th!  This includes custom orders! 

Also, I just joined the Pinterest and I'm really confused, but in a happy kind of way.  I think I feel like my mom did when she joined Facebook the first time.  Anyhow, if anyone wants to be invited in (its a pretty elitist group, lol), just shout at me and I'll send you a link for it.  If you're already on Pinterest, go check out my Etsy shop and start Pinning!  Here's a perfect example of a Pin-worthy pic...

This amazing photograph taken by Valerie Ott Photography
in Kalamazoo, MI.  Check her out at:

The next tutorial coming up this weekend is how to do a Magic Ring so check me out next week for that one!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Valentine Treasury

Its a little early but I just had to do it... haha.  Here is the only (I promise) Valentine's Day Treasury I plan to make:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Free Crochet Pattern - Little Leaf and Flower with Invisible Join Demo

I love simple, beautiful things and these little flowers with leaves are a perfect base for a tiny flower to add to your scrapbook pages, baby booties or hats, or other small-scale creations.  The flower is a blank canvas for beads, sequin, rhinestones, store-bought flower centers or even brads that can be stuck through the center of them.

These tiny patterns also make the perfect project to demonstrate the Invisible Join.  When I first started to crochet I spent hours online downloading patterns, and at the end of every one is said something like "fasten off" with no further explanation as so what the heck I'm supposed to do to secure that loose end.  Finally I stumbled across the invisible join method, but it took me a ton of tries to understand the method because it wasn't explained very well.  I took pictures of each step so hopefully it will be more clear to you than it was for me!
As pictured, Green Sugar and Cream Cotton (4-weight) Yarn
F Hook
This leaf is made in just 1 Round, but I'm breaking it down into several steps to make it easier to follow along
•With your F hook, ch 10
• Sk first ch, slst into 2nd ch, slst in 3rd ch, sc in 4th ch, hdc in 5th ch, dc in 6th and 7th ch, trb in 8th, 9th and 10th ch (first half of leaf finished)
• Working into 10th ch still, make 3sc and 1 trb.  This should turn your leaf so you are now going to start working down the opposite side of the starting ch

• Working over the starting tail, trb in 9th and 8th ch, dc in 7th and 6th ch, hdc in 5th, sc in 4th, slst in 3rd
• Your leaf should now look like the picture below.  Cut your yarn leaving about 6-8 inches of tail.
Invisible Join:
•Thread a darning needle with your ending tail
•Put your needle underneath both loops of the first stitch working from the front of the work, and pulling through the back
 • Take your needle, and put it under the back loop of the last slst you made.  You will be working into the "middle" of the stitch, and pulling the yarn through the back of the work.
•This picture is what the back of your flower should look like
 • Pull the ending tail down into the "vein" of the leaf that runs down the center to tuck it in and hide it
• Cut the tails as close to the leaf as possible.  The picture below shows the back of the leaf (left) and front of the leaf (right).
• The join is completely invisible!  No one will ever be able to tell where the leaf starts or ends!
As pictured, Natural/Cream Sugar and Cream Cotton (4-weight) Yarn
F Hook
This Flower is also made in just 1 Round
• With F Hook, ch 3
Round 1:  Make 8dc in 1st ch, join to first dc, cut yarn leaving about 6-8 inches and pull through.  Your flower should look like the flower below.
Invisible Join:
•Thread a darning needle with your ending tail
•Skip the stitch that you made your final slst in, and put your needle underneath both loops of the next stitch working from the front of the work, and pulling through the back
• Take your needle, and put it under the back loop of the ending slst you made when you joined your circle together.  You will be working into the "middle" of the stitch, and pulling the yarn through the back of the work.
• The picture below shoes what the front of your flower should look like, with the starting and ending tails at the back of the work
•This picture is what the back of your flower should look like
• To finish off the flower, pull your ending tail through the available double crochets toward the center of the flower.  Be careful to keep your needle in between the loops.  You do not want to be bringing the tail to the front of the work, but keeping it hidden in between the front and back.
•Cut your tails off as close to the work as possible.  The pictures below show the back (left) and front (right) of your flower. 
•This is the front of your flower.  Can you tell where we started and ended?  I sure can't. and thats the beauty of the Invisible Join!
Now you're ready to add your flowers to your crochet or scrapbook projects!

(Mary Janes based off of Mamachee's Button Booties pattern)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

As Promised, A Great Giveaway!

I've done giveaways in the past but since this is a fresh-start to my formerly lack-luster blog, I'm going to be making this one extra special.  I have high hopes for this blog, and this year in general.  I'm looking more into how I can become a stay at home mom, and even though that may not be attainable in the near future, the success of my Etsy shop is critical in keeping my growing family in food, clothes and essentials.  It helps pay the bills and keeps us afloat in a sea of endless bills, car repairs and other 'emergencies'.

I'd like to be able to give something back.  I don't only crochet for profit.  Its a great way to express a lot of creativity that I don't have another outlet for, and I love being able to pick of a hook and a wad of string and know that something beautiful can come from it.  With that said, I'll soon be offering Gift Certificates at BJC on Etsy, and the very first one will be given away right here!  Gift Certificates are easy to use, and can be used toward anything in my shop, including ready-to-ship items, patterns, and custom orders! 

Gift Certificate can be used toward any pattern, item or custom order, including sale items.  Instructions for how to redeem the Gift Certificate included with the Gift Certificate.  Not valid at any other Etsy or online Shop.  Must be used within 1 year of purchase/prize date or available funds will be lost.

*UPDATE 1/15/12:  My Shop has moved to Artfire!  Gift Certificate will be for my new ArtFire shop (all the same items and prices as Etsy, just a different name!)

Please tell your friends, families or any new or expecting mommies you might know!  I can make anything for any size but babies and tots are my favorite customers to please!  $25.00 is enough for mary janes and a matching headband, or a ton of patterns, or an owl hat... tons of stuff!

• Become a follower of this blog (1 entry)
• Become a fan of my FB page (1 entry)
• BONUS ENTRY:  Ask me a crochet-related question that I can blog about!  Ever wonder how to do a certain stitch, or have a technical question?  I'd love to be able to answer it if I can!  
IMPORTANT!  For each entry, post it in a separate comment on this blog post.  Multiple entries made in one comment will only count as one entry.

• US and International Guests eligable, but please consider that shipping charges are more for international packages, so the usable value of the Gift Certificate for actual 'stuff' will be less for international customers
• Gift Certificate will be mailed to you with instructions on how to use it

Deadline for Entries is Friday, January 20th.  Winning entry will be selected at random Saturday, January 21st and will be contacted that day.  Winner will have until Saturday, January 28th to reply or a new winner will be choosen January 29th.

See you soon!