Crochet Sampler Square Blanket: Square 2, Diamond Blocks

Welcome back to my Crochet Sampler Square blanket project! Did you make Square 1 with me? If not, you can find it here.

Today I have the pattern for the second square for you. It’s called Diamond Blocks, and is quite pretty. You might begin to notice a pattern with today’s square – all of the blocks will begin with a chain of 37 and have a single crochet border of 36 stitches on every side. This will make it easier to sew them all together at the end.

But without further ado, here is the pattern for Diamond Blocks.

sampler blanket square 2

Diamond Blocks

SC=single crochet

DC=double crochet

ch=chain

sk=skip

st=stitch

Shell=(DC, ch 5, DC) in specified st or ch. Shell made.

~*~*~

With a size J hook, ch 37. Switch to a size I hook for the remainder of the square.

Row 1: DC in 4th ch from the hook and in next 3 chs. *sk 2 chs, shell in next ch, sk 2 chs, dc in next 5 chs* repeat across. Ch 3, turn. (ch 3 counts as first DC of following row)

Row 2: DC in next 4 DCs (remember to skip the first one because the ch 3 accounted for it). *ch 2, SC in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, DC in next 5 sts* Repeat across, ch 3 (counts as DC), turn.

Row 3: Sk next DC. *Shell in next st (the middle one of the 5), sk 2, 2 DC in ch-2 sp, DC in SC, 2 DC in ch-2 sp, sk next 2.* Repeat until you have 5 sts left (including the turning ch). In the final 5, sk 2, shell in next, sk 1, DC in top of turning ch. Ch 4 (counts as DC+ch 1), turn.

Row 4: *SC in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, DC in next 5, ch 2* Repeat until the last shell. In the last shell, SC in 3rd ch, ch 1, DC in top of turning ch. Ch 3 (counts as DC), turn.

Row 5: DC in next ch 1-sp and in next next SC, 2 DC in ch-2 sp. *sk 2 DC, shell in next DC (the middle one), sk 2, 2 DC in ch-2 sp, DC in SC, 2 DC in ch-2 sp* Repeat until you get to the last ch-2 sp. At that point, 2 DC into the space, DC in SC, DC into each of the top 2 turning chains.

Repeat Rows 2-5 3 more times, then end on Row 2 (18 total rows).

Border: Join your border color into one corner with a slip stitch. Ch 1, then SC, ch 2, SC into that same corner space. Single crochet around the square making sure you end up with 36 total stitches between the ch-2’s of the corners. On the raw edges (sides), this will be 2 SCs for every DC on the edge.

See you next week for Square 3!

Blessings,

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Crochet Sampler Square Blanket: Square 1, Lattice

Over the next few weeks, I am going to be making a crochet blanket using a series of different stitch patterns, each stitched up into a square. When all of the squares are done (I’m not sure how many yet; probably 24 or 30), I’ll sew them together to make a blanket. I will be sharing my squares, along with their patterns, here. My goal is to release either 1 or 2 patterns per week. I would be delighted to have you stitch along with me! I will be using a variety of 4-weight acrylic yarns (using up what I have on hand, mostly) and a size I crochet hook, but you can use whatever you like. Keep in mind that yarn weight and hook size can change up the size of your squares considerably, so you might want more or fewer depending on how big they turn out. Mine are about 10 inches.

Keep in mind a few things if you decide to crochet with me. First, whatever yarn weight you decide to use at the beginning, keep with that same yarn weight throughout the project. This will help keep your squares fairly uniform. Additionally, use the same hook sizes throughout for the same reason. And finally, use the same yarn fiber throughout. You could probably get away with mixing fibers with similar washing instructions, but it’s best to keep things cohesive just in case. You wouldn’t want to mix acrylic and wool, for example, and forget that you’ve used wool, machine wash the blanket, and end up with severe puckering because the wool has felted while the acrylic did not.

Here is the first square of the series, Lattice.

sampler blanket square 1

Lattice Square Pattern (American crochet terms)

DC=double crochet

SC=single crochet

ch=chain

sk=skip

Using a size J hook, chain 37. Switch to size I hook for the remainder of the square.

Row 1: DC in 4th ch from hook, SC in same ch. *ch 2, sk next 2 chs, work (DC, SC) in next ch* Repeat all the way across the row. Ch 3, turn.

Row 2: In only the DCs, work (DC, SC, ch 2) all the way across. Skip all SCs and ch 2 spaces.

Repeat Row 2 16 more times (total of 18 rows).

BORDER: Join new color yarn in any corner. Ch 1, SC, ch 2, SC in same corner space. SC to get 36 total stitches (including the corner stitches) on each side. In every corner, work SC, ch 2, SC. When you get to the last side, remember that you’ve already worked the final SC; it was the first SC of the border at the beginning. Join to this stitch with a slip stitch.

That’s it for the Lattice Square! I hope you’ll join me next time for Square 2!

Blessings,

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SchoolhouseTeachers.com review (2021)

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew

ST.com review 2021

Once again, I am taking part in the Homeschool Review Crew in 2021. The year is starting now, with a review of the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com!

In case you’re unaware of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, it is the homeschooling curriculum home of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and it is awesome! There is way more on there than I could ever write about in a single post, so I’m going to go over just a little bit of what we’ve been using.

history of hanukkahSince it was the beginning of December when we first got started with this year’s review, I started by doing the History of Hanukkah study with my younger kids (Grasshopper, 8, and Dragonfly, 5). Hanukkah ran from December 11-18 last year, so we did the history study in the week leading up to it. The unit study included an 18-minute video, a 65-slide ebook/powerpoint presentation, a 2-page student comprehension worksheet, and a printable dreidel game. I took a couple of days to read the ebook to the kids and we discussed the content as we went. When we’d finished, they watched the video, and we felt they were ready to celebrate Hanukkah!

Moving forward, I’m super excited to explore the School Boxes for my kids. These are full curricula, designed like the “box sets” you can get from other companies, except they are entirely digital. I’ve never had the ease of a full curriculum for any of my kids (except when we reviewed one last year, but we stopped using it for a variety of reasons), and I really love the idea of not having to piece-meal a curriculum. SchoolhouseTeachers.com has school boxes for all grades, Kindergarten through 12th, and when I say it’s a full curriculum, I really mean it! Check out the topics available:

K school box

K English sample pageAnd that’s just for Kindergarten! Each of those topics has a downloadable teacher’s guide. The guide tells you everything you need in order to teach the subject, from a list of the supplies to a weekly curriculum guide to keep you on track to the specific links for the lessons on the main site that you need to teach the lessons. It really is all-inclusive!

I didn’t look at all of the school boxes, just the ones I needed for my kids (K, 3rd, 9th, and 11th grades), and they are all just as amazing. The 3rd grade box is the same as the Kindergarten box, but it also has “History-classical” as an option. The 9th grade box includes math, literature, writing, spelling, science, traditional and classical history, and art. The 11th grade box includes the same subjects as 9th grade plus geography.

My teens are largely self-sufficient in their schooling when given the proper assignments, so I will be sending these PDFs to their emails (along with my login information so they can access the website) and keeping track of what they’re doing through regular checking in. I am so grateful to have access to these complete curriculum resources!!

But what if you don’t need a full box curriculum? That’s okay too! SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a fantastic place for “filling in the gaps,” which is how we’ve used it in the past. They have hundreds of classes for students of every age, in every subject imaginable. Even if you just want something for a short-term unit study, they have it! You really can’t go wrong with a membership.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is also a fantastic place for printable planners. The main planner available this year is the Smart Mama planner, which includes a interactive budget to help you track household expenses and is otherwise completely customizable. It has the ability to help you make transcripts for your older kids complete with including your digital signature in case you need to send those transcripts off to someone.

Other members-only benefits include the option to get a FREE tote bag (just pay S&H) as well as a free print subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine (as long as your membership stays active).

If you sign up by the end of the month (Jan. 31, 2021), you can get access to every single thing on the site for $139 a year, $16 a month, or $24.95 a quarter (automatically renewing in all cases). It’s normally $224.97 for the annual subscription, so it’s a substantial savings this month.

For more information on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog where you can read an introductory post as well as over 100 reviews (some blogs, some Facebook reviews, and some video reviews).

Blessings,

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Mickey Mouse C2C Blanket

I recently finished my biggest (yarn) project ever! I made this Mickey Mouse blanket for my mom for Christmas using the crochet corner-to-corner (C2C) stitch. There are a variety of ways to do this stitch, and I went with the double-crochet, chain 3 method. This made for an enormous blanket! It ended up being nearly 6×7 FEET! (The pattern is 80×100 pixels.) I used Big Twist yarn from JoAnn. I don’t remember the exact skein counts, but I think I ended up using 7 of the black and 3 of the white. Could’ve been more, though (I know it wasn’t less). I used my Clover Amour size I-9 crochet hook. The pattern is from Pixel Hooker, and it took me about 8 weeks to complete (though it wasn’t my only project the whole time).

mm blanket 1

mm blanket 2

I even used my pompom makers to make some Mickey pompoms for the corners! To do this, I made one big pom and 2 small ones for each corner, then hot glued them together in the shape I wanted.

mm blanket 3

What’s the biggest knit or crochet project you’ve ever made?

Blessings,

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Knit Sweater for Scorpion

I offered to make a sweater for Scorpion a while ago, and finally finished it! 

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The yarn is Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in the color Oatmeal. He wanted a blue sweater, though, so I used Wilton Royal Blue icing color to dye the yarn. 

The pattern is Flax by Tin Can Knits, with a small modification. Instead of knitting the sleeve with a garter panel, I added a cable instead. I let Scorpion choose the cable he wanted from a small sampling. To keep things looking cohesive, I added the same cable to the front and back of his sweater. 

Overall, it turned out quite well!

Do you like to knit cables?

Blessings,

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Crochet Sweater for Bumblebee

I’ve never crocheted a sweater, but I wanted a quick project to give me a break from the big blanket I’m making. (It’s almost done, so I will try to remember to post it next week.) After I made the Ruby dress, Bumblebee (2 years old) really liked it because of the super softness of the yarn. So I went to Michael’s and got another ball of it, but in a more masculine colorway and found a cute pattern. 

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It’s a standard raglan-style cardigan, but what makes it different is that this one has a hood! I thought that was so cute and knew I wanted to make it. The pattern is from Crystal at Bag O Day Crochet on YouTube and was really easy. I was able to make the whole thing in 3 days (starting late at night on Friday and finishing Monday evening), and that included having to completely redo the body because it was a bit too small. The pattern was great though – change the hook size, and the garment is resized; no recalculation needed!

Have you ever crocheted a wearable?

Blessings,

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Tools of the Trade: My Favorite Knitting Needles

I learned to knit almost 5 years ago. (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) My husband gave me the gift of sending me to a class at a LYS (local yarn store) for Valentine’s Day in 2016. I shopped at that same store fairly regularly until they closed last year when the owner moved out of state. Whenever I went in there, the employee who had taught my class always raved over how I’d taken to knitting “like a duck to water.” The cost of the class was small: one pair of knitting needles and one skein of yarn from their shelves. With those purchases, the class was free (there was a $20 fee if you brought your own needles and yarn). So with the help of the employees, I chose a nice pair of size 8 (5.0 mm) knitting needles and a robin’s-egg-blue skein of yarn.

dpns

interchangeableI still have those very same needles today. And all of my needle purchases since then have been the same brand and line. What are they? Knitter’s Pride Dreamz, a polished wood needle with unmatched smoothness and pointy tips. Each size of the Dreamz needles is a different, beautiful color for easy identification. (Ironically, the two sizes I use most often – size 8 and size 10 – are almost the same color and I have to differentiate them by feel.) I was so enamored by my very first pair of needles that I’ve never bothered trying any others. I’ve expanded my collection over the past 5 years – I now have a set of interchangeable circular needles, many sets of single pointed, and many sets of double pointed needles, as well as two pairs of fixed circulars – but I’ve always purchased Dreamz.

circs

Blessings,

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Amazing Names! (CrossTimber review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.

 CrossTimber review

Have you ever explored the meaning of your own name? What about your children’s names? CrossTimber has a variety of products to help you on your way to learning the special messages behind each and every name. I was fortunate to have gotten to select 5 Name Bookmarks, which was perfect because I have 5 children! They were also so generous and allowed each reviewer to choose a name to incorporate into their AmazingName Print Activity Sheets. For these, I chose my almost-11-year-old niece because her birthday was coming up (it’s next week, actually).

The ordering process for the bookmarks was super simple. I did it on my phone (quicker and easier than setting up the computer), and was easily able to find the style choices. They have many, many options from animals (butterflies, safari animals, birds, horses, and more) to outdoors (flowers, sunrises/sunsets, the beach, and more) to people (babies, couples, occupations, music, and more) to spiritual (inspirational, symbols, lighthouses, and more). Once you’ve chosen your image, you get to also choose what kind of quote you want on your bookmark: a Scripture reference, an author quote, a presidential quote, or a character quality quote. If you’d prefer, you have your own custom wording put on the bookmark in place of the quote for an extra charge of just $1 (base price for the bookmarks is $3.99 each, which is very reasonable – that’s about what you’d pay for a bookmark in any bookstore, and those aren’t personalized).

CrossTimber bookmarks

When you order, your names won’t be smudged! But these have my kids’ real names, not their online names.

The best part was going through all the selections with my boys and letting them each choose the design they wanted!

Ballet Boy (17), whose real name is Irish/Celtic, chose a Celtic design with a presidential quote.

Scorpion (14), whose name is Polish, chose a ram with an author quote.

Grasshopper (8), who has a strong Biblical name, chose a tiger with a presidential quote.

Dragonfly (5), with his German name, chose a lighthouse with scripture.

And Bumblebee (2), who has a beautiful Scandinavian name (to match mine and Will’s Scandinavian heritages), got elephants with an author quote. He’s small enough to not need a bookmark, so I chose my favorite animal for his, and I’ve been using it myself! I’ll give it to him one day when he’s older.

The older kids have been using their bookmarks in school books. Grasshopper and Dragonfly have been mostly just looking at theirs a lot (we hung them on the wall for safekeeping until they’re at the point where they need a bookmark). And as I mentioned, I’ve been using Bumblebee’s in the book that I’m reading right now. The bookmarks are a very nice quality. My only issue thus far has been that the plastic coating they put over the top didn’t last very well; with normal use it bubbled and peeled away from the printed paper. It wasn’t that big a deal to just pull it off when this happened, though, and even without it, the bookmarks have held up well. They just don’t have that shiny look anymore.

activity pages 1The activity pages are pretty neat too. When you order, you have a choice to submit any name you like, and you can choose to have the pages printed and mailed to you for $6 or emailed as a downloadable and printable PDF for $3. I thought my niece would think they were pretty cool, maybe a bit silly but still fun because they had her name built in, but I was wholly unprepared for her reaction. When I gave her the envelope and she pulled the pages out, she paused to process what she was looking at. Then she got the biggest grin on her face and said, “This is so cool!” She was visiting us (along with her mom, brother, and sister) at the time, and I gave them to her a little while before they had to leave. She proceeded to spend the rest of the time (30-45 minutes) doing the different activities and raving about how much she loved them. I got the biggest hug when she left!

Overall, CrossTimber is a pretty cool company. I highly recommend their products for a supremely personalized gift! (And by the way, they have many items besides prints – you can get mugs and music boxes too, and they also do stuff besides name meanings. For orders with 3 or more items, they offer discounts, too.)

Check out the Homeschool Review Crew for more reviews. Some of us got bookmarks, some got name cards (like bookmarks, but business card sized), and some got an 8×10 name plaque. All are beautiful! (I reviewed the name plaque a couple of years ago. Feel free to check out that review if you’re interested.)

Blessings,

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