Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ronda's Butterfly Lotus Mandala

This mandala started it all. 

I was browsing crochet sites when I saw the FMS Hope Mandala project.  I have a cousin and former co-worker who have Fibromyalgia, and both of them have put up purple butterflies on their facebook pages.  As I viewed the mandalas for the project, I wondered where the butterflies were.  I searched Ravelry for butterfly squares or butterfly mandalas.  There are a few, and they are lovely, but the thought struck me that I could make something unique.  

So, I wanted to crochet a mandala with a butterfly at the center.  I double-checked that purple butterflies are representative of fibromyalgia (via google), and they are... but I discovered that butterflies weren't only used for fibromyalgia, but for cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, Down's syndrome, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis... the list goes on... this is what started my butterfly projects and I hope to continue making squares and mandalas until I create something unique for each one. 

Rhonda's Butterfly Lotus Mandala is named after my cousin.  The butterfly is purple for fibromyalgia. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown.  A portion of the sales for this mandala will go to a non-profit dedicated to fibromyalgia research and awareness.  You can purchase the pattern on my Ravelry page.  The pattern includes an extra optional finishing point, is 240 sts in its final round (so it can be squared off with Part 4 of Sophie's Universe), and has been tested by six wonderful Ravelers in the Free Pattern Testers Group.

I hope you enjoy my latest creation!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jennie's Basket of Flowers: A Free 12" Afghan Square Pattern

Jennie was my grandmother.  We lived very close to her when I was a baby, then she moved a four-hour drive away when I was 3 or 4.  She lived in a small single-wide trailer on land she had bought - at first, but I remember the day she got her double-wide trailer.  It arrived in two parts, with plastic covering the open halves.  My father and my Uncle Ron cut open a small window in the plastic and passed me through to check out the rooms.  I was the first one to see two bedrooms and a bathroom in one section of my Grandma's new home. 

I went into the bathroom and remember my dad asking, "What's on the walls?" 

"Mushrooms," I replied. 

"It's supposed to be butterflies," my dad responded. 

Later that day, I remember dancing circles in the family room while my dad, uncle, and grandmother talked around the record player.  I can remember the music that played.  "Giddy-up a oo-boppa-oo-boppa-mamma! Hi-ho, Silver! Away!"  (I still don't know the name of that song!)

Those are my earliest memories of the place I would learn to crochet.

Patience was the first lesson my grandmother taught me when I asked her to teach me crochet.  I asked twice before the summer I was ten, and twice she insisted, wait until the summer. 

I spent many summers with my grandmother.  Sometimes for two or three weeks, sometimes for two months.  We played a lot of Skip-bo, and Dice (which everyone now calls Farkle, though I think our house rules made the game more challenging).  When my dad was there, we'd play Uno.  Though we didn't play Uno much when it was just the two of us, I don't think my grandmother liked it much that he would always finish his hands with a wild draw four. I also played a lot outside, used my imagination, and accompanied my grandmother on outings.  She lived in a quiet place and I cherished it. 

My first crochet piece was a pair of slippers.  First you crochet a long chain of even numbered stitches, then decrease the middle two stitches each row until you have no more stitches and have made a square.  Fold your piece along the diagonal of decreases and slip stitch the two folds together along one side and up the other enough to cover the heel comfortably.  Wear your slipper, folding the point that comes up your shin down and around your ankle.  My sister and I called these "Elf Slippers," because the toes are pointy and the flap is pointy, and we all know elves wear pointy shoes.

After a few pairs of elf slippers and a summer or two later, I crocheted a granny square afghan from my grandmother's scraps and learned to read patterns. 
My first afghan, recently retrieved from storage!

There're at least four squares that need to be repaired, but that doesn't stop this little one from inspecting it.

After that, my older sister was expecting and I began making blankets for my nephews. 

I remember showing my grandmother my first baby blanket.  I had started it before I went to visit her for the summer.  I thought I was crocheting double crochet stitches, but she told me I was doing half double crochet.  She didn't correct me on my stitch placement, though.  I was placing all of my stitches in the back loop only.  Every blanket I made until about four years ago has back loop only stitching!

I think I've been rambling a bit much, so I'll try to get to the point.  My grandmother's place was always my favorite place to visit.  When I stayed for the summer, it was a quiet getaway.  When my family went together, it was quality time we spent on vacation.  Sometimes it was just my parents, sometimes my aunt and uncle came too, and I remember a few rare occasions where everyone gathered at my grandma's house (which is how I imagined it was before she moved away).  Sometimes, we drove to the beach, and those were my first memories of the ocean.  I cherish the thought that my grandmother passed on to me the knowledge of crochet - this wonderful way that I can be creative, expressive, and make something memorable.  And that early memory I shared... important to me in a different way, for all three of those wonderful people are gone from my life now - my grandmother passed 8 1/2 years ago, my Uncle Ron just a year later, and my father this past January.  Writing is another way for me to be creative, expressive, and make something memorable (and I did a lot of it at my grandmother's too).  This post, this square I've created, is in loving memory of my grandmother. 

Jennie's Basket of Flowers: A Free 12" Afghan Square
click here to download this pattern from Ravelry

(If you are having difficulties with the stitches in this pattern or any of my patterns, I recommend watching video tutorials from Moogly.)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ray of Hope Butterfly Mandala

This mandala was spurred into being by the Deramores Blog Competition 2015.  While browsing Look at What I Made, I came across Dedri Uys' prediction for a crochet trend this year.  Sophie's Universe has inspired me to stretch my crochet wings and begin my own creations, so I had to show my support of her prediction.  Dedri mentioned turning Sophie's Garden into creative final pieces but also threw out that any 240-stitch mandala could be squared off using Sophie's Garden. 

All I have to do is make a 240-stitch mandala!

What a rush it was!  I had a goal, an idea, and a deadline.  I didn't take as many pictures of the work in progress as I would have liked, but I did finish it, square it off, and complete my blog entry in support of Dedri.  I went back afterwards to take close-up pictures of different parts of the pattern.

And now I have the pattern of this beautiful, artsy mandala to share.  You can find it in my Ravelry store.

The Ray of Hope Mandala begins with a yellow butterfly.  Yellow is for spina bifida, which occurs in the womb when the spinal column does not close all the way.  A percentage of the sales for this pattern will go toward a non-profit dedicated to helping children with spina bifida.

Since this is a 240-stitch mandala, you can grow it into a square by using Sophie's Garden (Part 4 of Sophie's Universe) by Dedri Uys at Look at What I Made.

This pattern is untested.  If you would like to test this pattern, send me an email.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rainbow Colors

Rainbows have a special place in all our hearts.  We have the iconic Wizard of Oz, we watched as children where "somewhere over the rainbow, dreams really do come true."  We have the legend of the Leprechauns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And, of course, there's the fact that rainbows occur in nature when it's raining.  One of the most spectacular rainbows I ever saw occurred just before sunset, as the rain was lightening up.  The clouds dispersed at the western horizon, and all that golden sunlight was broken up into all the colors of the visible light spectrum in a magnificent reflected arch across the whole sky.  Yup, a clear, bright, double rainbow!

Rainbows bring joy, peace, awe, and hope.  They are the light at the end of a dark storm, like a load being lifted from your shoulders.  It's no wonder that people want to make rainbows.  I've seen so many rainbow patterns since I picked up my hook more earnestly in November, that I have to support Heather Leal's predicted trend for 2015: rainbow colors. 

I went over to a friend's house last weekend.  She had just acquired a couple of afghans her grandmother had made.  One of these afghans was quite colorful... not exactly a rainbow... but from the moment I saw it, I knew it would make the perfect rainbow afghan project.  One side was striped and the other side was checkered - a reversible afghan!  Here's a swatch I made to test out how the pattern might look:
The checkered side

The striped side

Texture of the striped side


There!  A little bit of rainbow joy to brighten your day!

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit for more details.

Large Motifs

Derdi Uys from Look at What I Made predicts that Large Squares, or motifs, with a gazillion colors will be trendy in 2015.  I'm here blogging to support that prediction.  I had planned to make a butterfly mandala after I completed my first square, and when I read about the Deramores Blog Competition, and saw that the fabulous designer of Sophie's Universe (it's 60-75% the source of my inspiration currently) predicted a trend... I just had to show my support. 

Dedri said that crochet motifs will become more colorful and more like works of art.  Knowing how beautiful Sophie's Universe is, and how popular, I believe many crochet artists will step up with new patterns and creations of their work.  Here's my contribution:

I designed (and will soon release the pattern for) a mandala that has 240 stitches in the last row - the perfect number to place the mandala inside Sophie's Garden (or part 4 of the Sophie's Universe CAL).  I chose to use Dedri's pattern to grow my mandala because I've never seen a more beautiful (and artistic!) way to square a circle.  My square is between 28-29" wide on each side,  depending on how much I stretch it.  A few of these squares would make a good sized afghan, or adding smaller squares around the outside, or a larger border, would make a great baby blanket size.  I think large squares will be trendy in 2015 because they can provide so much interest, can offer a lot of texture and detail and you only have to make 6 to have a good-sized afghan.

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit for more details.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Butterflies in the Honeysuckle Garden

I am very excited to debut this pattern.  You can find my pattern at Ravelry.  It's hefty for a 12-inch square, but that's how I got all the beautiful detail in the pattern.  Butterflies, cocoons, flowers... what more could you ask for? 

A Green Butterfly?
This pattern has a green butterfly in the center.  That's because green butterflies stand for Cerebral Palsy Awareness.  A portion (10%) of my sales for this pattern will be donated to a non-profit organization/s that would help spread awareness and/or fund research to aid those affected with CP.  Cerebral Palsy affects the littlest among us - it's usually congenital (occurs at birth), and those affected usually have many other issues that come up along the way.  A lot of my previous crochet has been dedicated to little ones, and here is one way I can continue that trend. 

My work on the Sophie's Universe CAL (on and the 2014 and 2015 Moogly Afghan CAL ( gave inspiration for this project. 

And there's more to come...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Colorful Ombre

Fairly recently I discovered the vast online crochet community, and I signed myself up for a couple of CALs (crochet-a-longs).  I joined the Sophie's Universe CAL (Look at What I Made) a bit late, but it's been a very rewarding experience.  I took some time to browse through the projects on Ravelry, seeing what colors others had chosen to use for the CAL.  One thing stood out to me, every color combination looked good.  I knew I could join this CAL and not be afraid to put my own color take on it.

A few weeks ago, while looking for an update on Sophie's Universe, I learned of the Deramores Blog Competition.  Six designers have predicted crochet trends and I'm here blogging my support for one of these trends: colorful ombre.  I realized that my color progression choice for Sophie was to work with two shades of color separated by a white-yellow shading.  Here's my work in progress:

Sophie's Mandala
I began with shades of purple, then teal petals, and as I continued working the circle, I added in shades of pink and blue.

Growing Outward
I reversed the light-to-dark trend from the mandala and began adding the colors with the darkest shade as I grew outward from Sophie's Garden.  You can see the teal and blue in the following photos.  I'll have shades of purple and then shades of pink in rows to come.

Rainbow Ombre
I like how the Sophie's Universe pattern has brought more life and detail into my color changes.  Having front post stitches worked into prior rows can help make a more graduated effect (the pink in the mandala), or helps the color changes pop (the last rows worked in blue and yellow).  It's exciting to see so much detail in a pattern and I find it's hard to put down my hook!
This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit for more details.