Crochet Baby Blanket With Flower embellishments

Yellow crochet baby blanket with three white flowers in each corner and a simple white border.

 I originally planned to publish a pattern for this blanket. Then I was crunched for time and didn’t design my own crochet flowers. Then I decided a tutorial aimed at helping you design your own baby blanket would be more helpful anyway.

The blanket I made is fairly simple. It is yellow with a white border and three crochet flowers in each corner. They are small five petal flowers that I learned how to make from this blog post.

The first thing you need to do to make your own blanket is to figure out your gauge in the stitch pattern you want. I chose to use a plain single crochet background so I made a swatch of about 20 single crochet stitches and worked even until I had about 4 inches of fabric. My gauge ended up being 10 stitches per 4 inches. It really doesn’t come out that even very often. I wanted the blanket to be about 36” including the border. Allowing an inch for the border on each side it would need to be 34” so with my gauge of 10 stitches per 4 inches, I would need 85 stitches. Simple enough. Then I just continued working row upon row of single crochet until the blanket was square. I added a border of 4 single crochet rows in white. I was going for a classic and clean effect but you could use any kind of border you wanted. A lace border would be really pretty. There are a couple of things to note when working a crochet border in the round. You need to work three stitches into each corner stitch/ this makes the corners square. Another thing to remember is when you get to the end of the round you join the stitch you just finished to the first stitch of the round with a slip stitch. Then you chain 1 for single crochet and turn the work to start the next round.


Closeup of white crochet flowers in the corner of a yellow baby blanket. Also shows a white border.


I added 12 flowers to my blanket. They were small and I put 3 in each corner. You can use as few or as many flowers as you want. It would even be nice to use just one large flower or none at all. Be creative and experiment.

The yarn I used was Bernat Softee Baby in Lemon and White. I double stranded the yarn and needed 4 balls of Lemon and 1 ball of white. You can make a baby blanket as thick or thin as you want it. Just figure out your gauge and how many stitches you need.

This is the baby blanket I made for my cousin who is due any day now. Her first two children wore holes in their baby blankets so I’m hoping this one holds up a little longer. One thing I know is that it will be very well loved.

JKnit Knitting Project Assistant for IPhone

I recently invested in an IPhone. It has been amazing to be able to use every feature of a phone. I haven’t been able to do that since I lost my sight ten years ago. But, rather than gushing on all the wonderful things I can do with the phone, I’ll just tell you about one app I found.

JKnit is a knitting assistant app. It costs $5.99 so I was very hesitant to try it out. Luckily for me it works perfectly with voiceover. The app allows you to keep track of your projects by the piece and by the row. You can use the online web portal to input all your project directions along with the row numbers they affect. Then you sync the app and all the information transfers to the phone. JKnit has a built in row counter and each time you get to a row it shows the directions for that row.

I’ve really enjoyed having an easy row counter. I turned off screen lock within the app so all I have to do is position voiceover to the counter plus button and sinply double tap each time I start a row. It will keep your place on multiple projects and it’s just so easy.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about JKnit. As a blind knitter it’s even more helpful since it allows me to have an accessible version of the pattern wherever I am. It’s true that I can also read online and text versions of patterns with the IPhone but having one integrated with a row counter is even better. The online web portal is also easy to use. Copy and paste your individual pattern instructions and you’re ready to go. I highly recommend it and the price is well worth it.

Here are some links to more information on JKnit:

JKnit Knitting Project Assistant App

JKnit User Guide

Ravelry Group for JKnit App Users

Direct Link to JKnit in the ITunes Store

Spinning Time

The good news is spinning is taking a lot longer. The bad news is spinning is taking a lot longer.

The part I like about spinning taking longer is that I’m getting better at it. The singles I’m spinning are a lot thinner and more consistent. When I ply the two singles together it will probably be somewhere between a sport and worsted weight yarn. Much better than my first yarn which was bulky with very large slubs that look like little worm cocoons. The other good thing about it is that I’m not going through roving at such a fast pace. After I went through the first 16oz. in less than a week I was getting worried. Roving isn’t much cheaper than yarn and at that rate I wasn’t going to be able to afford to spin very much. This was very disappointing since I was having a great time doing it. Luckily for me, my spinning has improved and it’s taken me a couple of weeks of serious spinning time to finish my current 16oz. project.

This leads me to the bad part. It turns out I can spend a lot of time spinning. Enough time, in fact, that I’ve managed to make the muscles in my right hand sore. I’ve done this with knitting but I didn’t really see how it could happen with spinning. Last week I went to a spinning get together. I want to call it a sit and spin but that conjures up way to many funny images. Anyway, I rode with another spinner and she actually wasn’t spinning because she had done too much over the weekend and her wrists were hurting from it. Now I understand. It seems that any repetitive motion, no matter how minor, can cause stress and pain. I know it’s obvious but it’s so easy to forget when you’re having fun.

I had to take a couple of days off from spinning but now my hand is all better and I can get back to it. I’ll be sure to let you know how my latest yarn turns out after I get it plyed.

Back to work on a UFO

I began working on this sweater for my mother about a year ago. I was in the mood to make something for her but before I got very far on it, I went into baby knitting mode. The baby was due in October and I spent all summer making baby blankets and little diaper soakers. It’s taken a while but I’ve finally found the time to get back with it. Better late than never, though.

The pattern is from Drops and is a cardigan style. It has 2×2 ribbing on the sides and sleeves with diagonal ribbing on the front halves and the back. In the back, the diagonal ribbing makes a V shape and comes to a point well below the waist. The front angles up just a little to the button band. The sleeves are either half or three quarter length. I haven’t gotten that far yet and I’m sure you could adjust them to be whatever you wanted. Overall I think it’s going to be a very pretty jacket when I’m done.

I’m using Knitpicks Gloss sock yarn in a dark blue. It’s a fingering weight yarn and has a nice sheen to it. It’s 70 percent wool and 30 percent silk. I needed size 3 needles to get gauge so it’s still going to be a while before my Mom gets her sweater. Hopefully it will be done by this fall. She’s still very happy to know I’m working on it again.

Learn to Crochet

Knowing how to crochet can be a great thing for knitters as well as those who have never picked up a ball of yarn. Even if you’re not planning to crochet a lot, it can be used for borders on knitted items, embellishments, ties for bags and other little things. If you really get adventurous, you can do a whole project with crochet. There are some wonderful afghan patterns out there.

I recently did a few posts on the basics of crochet. It’s worth taking the time to learn. I wanted to list all the posts together in one place so here they are in the order you would need them to learn how to crochet. I hope you find them helpful.

The Art of Crochet – An article on my personal experiences with crochet as well as some highlights on the history of crochet.

Slip Knot Tutorial – A slip knot is the first step in both crochet and knitting.

Chain Stitch Tutorial – The chain stitch is used to make the foundation row in crochet.

Single Crochet Tutorial – The single crochet is the most basic stitch in crochet.

More Crochet Stitches – A short explanation of the most used crochet stitches.

finally Spinning

I’ve been interested in learning to spin for a while. A couple of years ago I bought a drop spindle, some roving and an instructional book online. I knew you held on to the spindle and dropped it while it spun to create the yarn. I couldn’t think of any reason a blind person wouldn’t be able to manage it. I missed one obvious point. The drop spindle falls toward the floor while it’s spinning and a totally blind person isn’t going to have any way of knowing when it is getting close to the floor. If you touch the spindle to find out where it is, you’re going to disrupt the spinning. If it hits the floor, it will lose the twist you’ve built up in your yarn. There might be a work around for this but I had one other problem when learning to spin with a drop spindle; I had no idea how to draft the roving. I tried to find instructions online but nothing made any sense without being able to see the videos. No one I know knew how to spin so I was on my own. Granted, I could have solved this problem by asking someone sighted to help me learn by watching the videos and explaining, but with the other problem of the spindle hitting the floor, I was discouraged. The drop spindle and the roving have sat in a box along with the instruction book since then. I’ve had vague intentions to scan the book but I didn’t think it would explain how a blind person could keep the spindle from hitting the floor so I never got around to it.

Flash forward to the present when a fellow blindstitcher mentions on the list that she’s selling her spinning wheel. Add to that the facts that she lives less than an hour from me and I’ve been harboring this wish to be able to spin, and you have one happy woman. I am the new owner of a Louet S51 double treadle. Louet wheels are supposed to be great to learn on. That specific model has been discontinued but the nice thing about Louet is that most of their wheels have interchangeable parts. If I ever need more bobbins or a different kind of flyer, it won’t be a problem.

I had no illusions that I could learn to use the spinning wheel on my own like I tried to do with the drop spindle. This was much more involved. I did some research online with the idea that I was going to need to drive about 45 minutes and take lessons at a yarn store. Luckily for me, I found out otherwise. It turns out there is a wonderful woman who lives in my county and gives private lessons. On top of this she used to be a special education teacher so she understands the nature of disabilities and is more likely to be able to explain things to a blind person. Out of curiosity, I did some asking around at the next Knitwits get together. Not surprisingly, she’s a member of the knitting guild I just joined) it’s not a very big town after all). They also sang her praises and said she would be a wonderful spinning teacher. All of these things seemed to come together in such a way that it felt like I was meant to learn to spin at this point in my life.

I’ve had one spinning lesson so far with two more to come later this week. I think it went fairly well. From the things she said, I’m doing just as well as the average sighted person. The hardest thing at the moment is trying to do four different things at once. There are a couple of issues with spinning as a blind person but they all seem manageable. One is making sure the wheel is going in the right direction. It has to be able to spin both ways because you spin the yarn one direction and ply it together in another. I will have to feel the wheel each time I start to make sure it’s right. The other issue that comes to mind is making sure the yarn stays on the hooks of the flyer. It looks like the problems that are coming up are simple and can be solved by doing a quick checklist before I start treadling.

What I’ve learned so far in all my spinning adventures is that it’s better to learn from an actual person. I know this isn’t always possible but sometimes it’s necessary. With that being said, I’m happy to answer any questions about spinning as a blind person.

Now that I know more about drafting I might get the drop spindle out and try it again. I’ll let you know if I can make it work. I think I’ll spend some time mastering the spinning wheel first, though.

Here is a directory of spinning terms and what they mean just in case you want to know.

more Basic Crochet Stitches

All the basic crochet stitches are a variation of the single crochet stitch. The only difference is when and how often you yarn over. You also pull your hook through different numbers of loops. I’ll explain the basic idea behind each stitch. See this post for a detailed description of how to do a single crochet stitch.

Half double Crochet


The half double is the same as a single except there is an extra yarn over before you insert the hook into the next stitch. The half double is exactly half way between a single and a double in height. To work a half double, you yarn over, insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull your yarn through so you’ll have three loops on the hook, yarn over and pull through all three loops on the hook. You should end with one loop remaining on the hook. .

Double Crochet


The double crochet stitch is twice as tall as a single crochet stitch. To make a double, yarn over and insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull the yarn through so you’ll have three loops on the hook, yarn over and pull the yarn through only two of the loops on the hook, yarn over one more time and pull the yarn through the last two loops on the hook. You’ll want to use your right fingertip to control which loops get worked and which ones stay on the hook. By holding the loops that aren’t going to be worked with your finger, it makes it easier to work only the ones you need.

Triple Crochet


The triple crochet stitch is one of the more difficult stitches for me to work. Luckily, it doesn’t come up very often. To work a triple crochet stitch, yarn over twice and insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull the yarn through. There will be a total of four loops on the hook. Yarn over and pull the yarn through only the first two loops. There will be three loops on the hook. Yarn over and pull through the first two loops on the hook. Now you should have two loops remaining. Yarn over one more time and pull through the last two loops on the hook. You should be left with only one loop on the hook. To simplify that a little, you would yarn over twice, insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull through. Now you’ll yarn over and pull through only two stitches a total of three times to complete the triple crochet stitch.

Slip Stitch


The slip stitch is used to connect your rounds as well as being used in some more complicated stitches. To make a slip stitch, insert your hook in the next stitch, yarn over and pull the yarn through all the loops on the hook. You will most likely only be doing this stitch when there is only one loop on your hook to start so you’ll be pulling the yarn through the next stitch and the loop on the hook all at one time.

Spend some time practicing these stitches along with the single crochet. The half double and double will be used a lot more often than the triple so if the triple is too awkward, don’t worry about it very much. There are a lot of other stitches in crochet but they all use these few stitches in different combinations. Once you feel fairly comfortable with the hook, find a simple pattern and get going with your first crochet project. They can be a lot of fun.

For a list of crochet pattern abbreviations, as well as some free patterns, see the Purple Kitty Website.

Also be sure to check out Crochet Pattern Central for a directory of free patterns.

Crochet Tutorial: Single Crochet Stitch

In crochet, there is one basic stitch called the single crochet stitch. Variations of this stitch include the half double, double and triple stitches. Once you can do the single crochet stitch, it will be easy to learn the other stitches.

Keep in mind as you read this tutorial that it will make more sense with yarn and crochet hook in hand. These instructions also assume that you are holding your crochet hook in your right hand. I am left handed and still hold the crochet hook in my right hand. If you do hold your crochet hook in your left hand, you can reverse these directions. The basic steps will still be the same whichever hand you use.

Working Single Crochet Stitches Into The Foundation Row


  1. Chain 11. Remember not to count the slip knot or the loop on the hook. There will be 11 completed chain stitches between the slip knot and the loop on the hook.
  2. The chain will have a flat side with two strands of yarn facing you while a third strand of yarn makes a bump on the back. You want to work into the chain with the top strand from the front and the bump on the back both above the hook. From the front, insert the crochet hook into the second chain from the hook so that there are two strands above the hook and one strand below. When counting chain stitches from the hook, don’t count the loop on the hook. There will be one skipped chain stitch between the one you put your hook in and the loop on the hook.
  3. Make sure you are holding the chain with your left thumb and fore finger. The working strand of yarn should go over the top of your left fore finger and go under your left middle finger. When you insert the hook into the chain, it should go underneath that strand of yarn. Now pull the hook back toward you, making sure to catch the strand of yarn as you pull the hook back and through the chain. You should have two loops on the hook.
  4. Let go of the work and wrap the yarn around the hook. The strand should go away from you, up behind the hook, over the top and back down in front of the hook but still behind the work. When you’re done making the yarn over, you should return to holding the work just as you did in step 3. Pull the strand of yarn through the two loops on the hook. Turning the hook so that it is facing the spot where your loops meet the work will help you draw it through without getting hung up. You have made your first single crochet and should have one loop on the hook.


Continue steps 2 through 4 in each chain stitch. It is easier to feel the next chain by finding the bump on the back. From right to left on the back you will feel the vertical strand of the stitch you just completed, the knot where the chain you just put a stitch in meets the next chain and then the bump of the next chain. You’ll want to hold your fingers where the bump is and try to get the crochet hook inserted as in step 2. Don’t worry about it too much if you can only get the hook under the top strand for now. This isn’t the most important part of learning to crochet and I don’t want this to frustrate you too much.

Working A Regular Row Of Single Crochet Stitches


  1. When you get to the end of the chain, you should have worked 10 single crochet stitches. Yarn over and pull through the loop on the hook. This is called the turning chain. With single crochet, you always chain one and then turn. After you turn your work, the crochet hook with the loop on it will be to the far right with your work to the left. The same row you just worked will still be at the top of your piece.
  2. Now you will work another row of 10 single crochets. Don’t count the turning chain. The first single crochet will be worked in the stitch directly at the base of the turning chain. Insert the hook under the two strands at the top of this stitch. Complete the stitch the same as in steps 2 through 4 from above. A short version of steps 2 through 4 are put the hook through, yarn over, pull the yarn through, yarn over again and pull it through the two loops on the hook.  Continue working a single crochet in the top of each single crochet across the row.
  3. When you get to the end of the row do not work into the turning chain. The other crochet stitches skip the stich at the base of the turning chain at the beginning of the row and use the turning chain at the end of the row to work the last stitch. With single crochet, you do not have to do this.

Keep making a new turning chain at the end of the work, turn and make another row. Make as many rows as you like. When you want to tie off your work, simply cut the yarn, yarn over and pull it through the last loop on the hook. Snug it up, weave in your ends and you’re finished.

As you practice, try not to get frustrated. Nothing is perfect the first time you try it. The wonderful thing about yarn is that it’s very forgiving of mistakes. Just pull it out and the mistakes are gone. Try again and again, and eventually you’ll have it down. It’s not as hard as it sounds and before long the whole process will be second nature.

These instructions have been very detailed. For a more concise tutorial or to see pictures, see one of the following links.

Lion Brand Learn To Crochet

Wool Crafting’s How To Crochet Page

Too Much Yarn?

Everyone who crafts with yarn most likely has a stash. Whether it’s only left over bits of yarn from a project or yarn that’s waiting to be made into something wonderful, there must be a stash. Some people could possibly refuse to buy more yarn until they’ve used what they have and throw away all those little bits of leftover yarn. This is a really hard concept for me to grasp. And I honestly can’t imagine throwing yarn away. It’s just not in me. I also love buying yarn for a project. There’s something about beginning a new project; it has so much potential and I just know I’m going to enjoy making it. Top this all off with loving family members buying boxes of yarn for me when they find a good deal at flea markets or yard sales and you have a serious stash problem.

Part of me thinks that I actually have a space problem, not a stash problem at all. I need a whole room for my crafty stuff. A room with built in storage, a large table, a comfy chair and an open window in honor of spring comes to mind. This really isn’t feasible in this house. Just not enough rooms and the husband has his own interests that take up as much space as mine do.

So, now I’m left with the problem of what to do with all this yarn. I can’t have a whole room but I can have a closet. The den closet has nothing but junk in it so I’m taking it over. A few shelves and my storage problem will be solved. I would have already done this but I would much rather be knitting than organizing yarn. I know it’s probably going to take a couple of days, at least, to get all this situated. There are bags of yarn that I bought on sale as well as some UFO’s. There’s yarn on the kitchen table. There’s yarn in the baby’s room. There’s yarn for the baby’s toys on the kitchen bar stool. There’s yarn on the book shelf in the living room. This isn’t even counting the dresser I already have full of yarn. I would say that I probably need to go on a stash diet but I know that’s not going to happen. I’ll just say I can’t buy any more yarn unless it fits in the dresser or the closet. I suppose I need to get to work on the yarn closet instead of just daydreaming about it.

Crochet Tutorial: Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is used to make the foundation chain for most crochet items. There is also a chainless foundation row but we’ll get into that in a later post. Once you can make a basic chain with the crochet hook, you will be well on your way to knowing how to crochet. The chain plus knowing how to do one other stitch. will be enough to make a lot of projects. In fact, all stitches are a variation of only one stitch so you won’t have to learn that much to be crocheting in no time. First, though, we’ve got to get this chain thing down.

These instructions are going to be very detailed (maybe too detailed). When most things get hard to explain, a lot of instructions turn to pictures or illustrations to bridge the gap. This isn’t very helpful for blind people so I’m going to do my best to explain exactly what to do with a crochet hook in as detailed a way as possible.

You will need some yarn and a crochet hook to practice with. You can use whatever size hook you want but larger sizes might be easier to learn with. Also, be sure to use a simple worsted weight yarn.

Holding the Crochet Hook

Most crochet hooks have a flat spot that helps keep the hook pointing in the direction you want it. If your hook doesn’t have one of these, go get one that does. It would be next to impossible for a blind person to learn to crochet without this.

Hold the hook in your right hand. You want to hold it with your whole hand over the top like you would a knife. Not like a pencil or a fork. Hold the crochet hook so that it is parallel with the floor and with the hook end pointing directly to the left. Your right thumb should be on the flat part of the hook with the actual hook part of the crochet hook on the side with your thumb. Now take your right index finger and lay it on top of the crochet hook. It should just barely reach the end of the hook. You will use this finger to control how many loops get worked with each motion of the hook. The flat part of the handle should end up between your thumb and the underside of your middle finger.

Making a Chain Stitch


  1. Make a slip knot with a 6 inch tail. Place the slip knot over the crochet hook and pull it until it fits the shaft of your hook very loosely. The loop should be under your right fingertip about half an inch from the end of the hook. Keep the actual knot on the underside of the crochet hook.
  2. Pick up the strand of yarn going from your slip knot to your ball of yarn with your left hand. You can hold this strand with your thumb and fore finger while the other fingers of your left hand push the tail out of the way. Take your left hand and loop the strand of yarn around the needle from the back. You will move the yarn from under the hook, straight back, up behind the hook, over the top and back to the side closest to your body. Now you will have two loops over the crochet hook. Your slip knot will be the right loop and the yarn you just wrapped around the hook will be on the left. Keep both of these loops about half an inch apart and under your right fingertip. Also be sure to keep the knot from the slip knot on the underside of the crochet hook. With your left thumb and fore finger you will hold both the knot and the strand of yarn so they stay snug.
  3. Now we are going to pull the yarn through our slip knot. take your left hand and pull it away from the crochet hook so there is about an inch between your hand and the hook. Be sure to keep the yarn snug. You should have both the tail from your slip knot and the strand of yarn between your thumb and fore finger. Using your hand to keep the yarn snug, take your left forefinger and move it from behind the yarn to the front and then between the tail and the strand of yarn. From the right you should have your thumb, the tail of yarn, your left fingertip and then the long strand of yarn all held together. It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is so hang in there, you’ll be done in a second. You’re ready to pull the strand of yarn on the left through the slip knot on the right so take your crochet hook and pull it slowly to the right. As you pull the hook should grab the strand of yarn that’s on top of your left fingertip. You may need to turn the hook slightly down toward the floor after it grabs the strand of yarn. This will help the loop to stay on the hook as you pull it through the slip knot. Be sure to hold on to the knot of the slip knot and keep pulling the loop through. Holding the knot taught away from the crochet hook and turning the hook so that it’s facing down toward the knot while you pull the loop through will help keep you from getting the hook caught as it goes through the old loop. After you pull the yarn through, you should have one chain stitch on your crochet hook.


All of these steps will flow together after you do it a time or two. Keep repeating steps 2 and three, substituting the knot from the slip knot you are holding in your left hand with the base of the loop you just completed. Without all the details the steps are just wrap the yarn around the crochet hook from the back and pull it through. Keep pulling new loops through until you have as many chain stitches as you want.


Helpful Tips

  1. If your hook gets hung up on the way through the old loop just do what you need to do to get it out. Find your loop and put the hook back in. Then get it all situated and try again.
  2. When crochet directions say to chain 31, for example, you do not count the slip knot or the loop on the hook, so you will actually physically pull the yarn through 32 times. You will have 31 chain stitches between the hook and the slip knot. This will make more sense when you start to crochet your first row.
  3. Chain loosely so it’s easier to do and so your starting chain isn’t tighter than your work.
  4. You will eventually develop a consistent tension so all your chain stitches will be the same size. I learned to do this without wrapping the yarn around my fingers like I do in knitting. It would be a lot easier if I wrapped when I crochet but it’s hard to change old habits. It might be helpful to try wrapping the yarn around your left fingers in whatever way you like to get the best tension. Not too tight and not too loose.


I hope these directions are helpful and not confusing. Remember that things make more since with yarn and hook in hand. A tutorial on the single crochet stitch will be coming soon.

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