How to Back Loop and Front Loop Stitch 

I like to have hand work to do at night.  Since I have finished my baby afghans, I am ready to start another needlework project.   I have noticed that a few of you are joining Polly’s Stardust Melodies CAL @ Every Trick on the Hook.  I love all of the textures she is introducing, so I will definitely be joining in:)

I have a lot of purple yarn just lying around in my stash that I want to get rid of, so purple it is!  I think this afghan is the perfect project for all of these  lone skiens of yarn.  I may need to add more to these, but I don’t want them to match, so that makes it easy!  

The only tricky part of this square is learning the techniques of back loop only stitching BLO, and front loop double crochet FLDC in the previous row.  

Here is how to Back loop Stitch:

  • A regular stitchgoes under the v of a stitch, but a back loop stitch only uses the top part of the v.  I have pointed the arrow to the stitch on the top picture.
  • Place your needle in the center of the v and stitch as usual.  Easy!

By stitching this way, a line of stitches is left on the front.

Here is the Front Loop Double Crochet stitch:

  1. Wrap the yarn around your needle and identify the front stitch that you will be going around.  The arrow in this picture shows the horizontal bar that was left from last rounds back loop stitch,
  2. Place your needle under and through this stitch 
  3. Wrap the thread around your needle.
  4. Work off as a normal double crochet.

Once you get the hang of it, it is so fun to crochet this way.  It adds texture and interest to the finished piece.  It also holds my interest longer.  

Am I the only one who tends to get the doldrums about midway through a project?  This CAL should help solve that problem by making it easy to finish one small afghan square at a time:) 

Here is my first small finished afghan –the Bequine square.  

I just love all of the texture and the directional pattern:). Don’t you?  It sure would be SWEET to have you join along!  

Baby Blessing Set Done

I am expecting two grandsons in just a few weeks. One will be here at the end of this month and one will be here in June.  I have been busily crocheting and sewing away trying to get everything ready.  I can happily say that I am now done:).  Yea!!

I am very pleased with how the afghan turned out. (One family already has a blessing afghan) The cute little holes are just perfect for little fingers to poke through. 

I didn’t have a pattern.  I just alternated rows of  1 row dc and and 1 row 3dc in same st, skip 2 sc,repeat. It was very fast.  After the Tunisian blankets, I was happy for fast:)

I also tackled two boy blessing outfits.  Oh my, oh my, they turned out cute!    I searched online for a ready made outfit that I liked , but I couldn’t find one.  So I searched for patterns.  It took hours, but I finally found a vintage pattern that looked just right.  

It arrived in a tattered envelope, but the pattern was all intact, Butterick 5758.  I redesigned it a little by sewing the shorts and shirt together to eliminate gaps and bulk at the waist.   Isn’t it ADORABLE?!


I was going to make a matching bow tie, but it seemed to detract from the outfit.  I guess I’ll wait and ask the mother’s what they want.  

Sewing from a vintage pattern was a little tricky because the instructions were not as clear as modern patterns, but it was still a fun adventure:). I’m glad I did it..


I am so ready to meet these two SWEET little boys.  They have already stolen my heart, before I have even met them!  

What to do on a Caribbean Cruise

I  had the best week last week:). I was able to spend some time cruising with my son and daughter in law in celebration of their graduations.  Yea!

Our ship left from Galveston, TX.  I like road trips, so we left a couple days early and drove there.  We stopped at the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch along the way.  It was majorly beautiful!

They even have the small jet they call Airforce Half that he used to travel in!  It’s not very big inside.

We wish we had more time to spend there.  If you ever get an opportunity to go here, definitely plan a full morning or afternoon.  

The actual cruise was so fun:). We went to Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel.   Each place was simply beautiful.   We went on the Royal Caribbean Liberty Ship.  

Here is what we did, just in case you ever decide to go and need some ideas of what there is to do:

  • Be sure to go to Diamonds International at all of the ports. There are one or two or three at each of them,   If you go up to any worker and say you would like a charm, they will give you one and a free bracelet!   Each store has a different charm.  It is a fun treasure hunt:)

Roatan, Honduras–   We went to West Bay and hired a boat to take us to see dolphins, starfish, and snorkeling on the coral reef,

  • Dolphins— definitely pass on this unless you pay to get in and actually swim with them.  Our boat just puttered around the outside.  –lame:(
  • Starfish— also a bomb.  Don’t waste your time here.  There is just a bunch of sea grass and sand.  No, no , no!
  • Coral Reef–Snorkeling.  Oh my, oh my, Yes! Yes!   I have been diving in many many places and the clarity of water, the formation of coral, the colors and closeness to the top of the water is spectacular. All you need here is just a snorkel and fins and the beautiful Roatan water.  This is GREAT!!:)

Belize— We prearranged a tour with Major Tom who was the originator of cave tubing and many other tourism sites in Belize. I highly recommend contacting him online and having him organize your shore excursions.   He makes things happen and is so nice!

We went cave tubing  and visited the Mayan ruins.

  • Cave Tubing–  I absolutely love, LOVE this excursion.  We hiked for about 25-30min through the beautiful jungle.  We bought a coconut to drink on the way, but we wish we would not have.  It was awkward to carry the coconut, the tube, and hike.  It was definitely not necessary.  —  The cave was AMAZING with brief moments of illuminating jungle views shining through the darkness. BEAUTIFUL!!  
    Here is a picture from Major Tom’s website
  • Altun-Ha Mayan Ruins—  The ruins are on the opposite side of the city from the caves. It is a long, windy, bumpy ride, but so so worth it.  Major Tom bought us a delicious lunch of chicken and rice to eat in the van along the way.  Yum!  Although, a white tee shirt, greasy chicken, and a bumpy road don’t make the best of combinations, lol:). — The first view of the ruins is somewhat spirtual.  They are large and grand. We had a wonderful time here. We were able to climb to the top of the largest ruin.  It was spectacular!

Cozumel, Mexico—  

  • There is a lot of very good shopping right off of the ship.  The prices were better here than out of the port area. 
  • The main thing to do here is dive and snorkel. I have been here numerous times and have yet to find that great dive spot.   I know they must be there because I have heard others talk about them.  I just haven’t found them.   Next time I go, I am going to rent a 4wheeler and go to the other side of the island and go to the Chakunaab area.  I hear there is great water over there…..if you go there, let me know.  Plus, the drive should be fun:)
  • We walked the Main Street and found a cozy little tide pool area to explore.   It was relaxing, beautiful, and free!  There is something to be said for that right?

Activities on the Ship– The Liberty of the Sea is not Royal Caribbean’s largest boat but it isn’t the smallest either.  It is like a floating city with over 4,000 people aboard!  I like the openness of the ship.   It doesn’t feel tight or claustrophobic.

There are so many things to do on this ship.

  • Rock climbing is always a fun thing to do on the ocean!
  • How about knee boarding on the waves?
  • And I had to use my cake decorating skills at the cupcake decorating class:)!
  • There is also golf, multiple huge slides, kids water park, ice skating, pools, entertainment, and lots and lots of food!  I must say though, I much prefer Carnival cruise line food.  The dinner food was excellent, but the lunch selection here is  all cafeteria style, and very much the same every day.  So if food is your thing, go Carnival.   But the Royal boat itself is much better:)
  • And of course, any road trip or cruise would not be complete without some crochet or hand work:)!   I brought along white yarn to crochet up a baby blessing afghan for my new grandson:)

I’m not using a pattern here. It is just alternating rows of 1 dc in each stitch – row 2 skip two sc, 3dc in next st.    Looking good!

We had a fantastic time.  I just love spending time with my dear, SWEET family.    Now I am home and starting that diet!!!


Tunisian Baby Blankets Done!

I have absolutely loved working on these baby boy blankets. They are both so soft and cuddly:). The last time I posted about these, I was finished with the blue and white one and starting on the gray and variegated one. 

I used a 14″ afghan double ended afghan hook with a knit end stopper on one end to keep the stitches from going off of the opposite end.If you are interested in the Tunisian crochet stitch I used, it can be found here.  It is a simple stitch, but is rather slow. One row is over and back on the hook.

It does take a while, but I love the “magic” of the different colors from one side to the other:)  Can you see how one side is the variegated and the other is more gray?

I ad-libbed a fun border on this gray one as well.  It was done in variegated thread. 

Border— Two rows around of a sc with 3 sc in each corner.  One row of 3dc in one stitch, skip 2sc, 3dc around with a 3dc,ch2,3dc in each corner.  And a last row of sc around 3dc in each corner ch sp.

I love how variegated thread creates a pooling of color all on its own.  It’s also “magic”!

I used a Bernat Baby coordinated blue and gray thread for this beautiful blanket.  My daughter in law picked the colors.  She likes gray and is going to be decorating with an elephant theme.  Cute!

Here are a few more fun shots:)

These blankets are a labor of love for my two new grandsons that are due in May and June.  Now I am off to sewing blessing outfits, a few new diapers, and one more crochet white blessing blanket.   

I know what the month of May looks like:)!!! Babies and baby stuff, yea!!:)

One Blanket Down, One to Go

Happy Friday to you;)!  I have been working on my double ended crochet baby blankets, but I haven’t been blogging about them because, really, they don’t change much while crocheting.  They get bigger, but the stitch is the same.  I am glad to say that blanket #1 is done and I have started blanket #2.  Yea!!I really do like this stitch..  It makes for the softest, two sided blanket.  One side is one color and the other side has more of the accent color.  I added a double yarn border and crocheted the ends to be a bit longer than the sides for an added  bit of length.The only thing I would change about this cute blanket is that I wish I would have added a few more rows so I would not have had to block it.   Quite a bit of the “magic” stretched out of it.  It is still very nice, I just shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to get done.It lays nice and straight and soft though.  I can’t wait to see little baby fingers coming through the holes:)!

For blanket #2, my daughter in law chose gray and variegated blue.  You can see the texture much better without the blocking.

I just love love love it!  Can you see how it is more gray on the underside and variegated on the top?

This is a slower stitch to be sure, but I think it way worth the extra effort.  I have given directions for this stitch here.  Why don’t you make one for a  SWEET little baby that you know?   You will love it:)

Until tomorrow!

Spring Break in the Las Vegas Desert 

I am one of those moms who enjoys being with my kids so much that I will go on two spring breaks just because two kids have different spring break schedules.  Can’t they all just coordinate their schedules?  The bad thing about these spring breaks is that they both go to ASU.  One is in law school and the other is an undergraduate.  And they STILL have different spring breaks!  Ugh!

Oh well, more driving time to crochet on baby blankets:)!This blanket is taking quite a bit longer than I anticipated.  I didn’t remember the double ended crochet stitch going so slowly, but it does.  And I have another one to do…

Oh well, it is worth it.  The blanket has lots of texture and lots of little holes for fingers and toes.  I love how it is different colors on the front and back.  The instructions for this stitch are here if you want them.

The drive through the spring desert was so beautiful.  The flowers were purple, yellow, and orange.  I just love road trips. I especially love springtime in the desert road trips:)!

Last week we did Disneyland.  This week we spent a few days in Las Vegas.  We do Vegas different than probably most everyone.  I did not spend one penny at the casinos.  Not one!  But we did enjoy a few shows. We went to the Blue Man group and the Cirque-Ka

We loved the shows, but especially liked our hikes in Red Rocks Canyon just outside of Las Vegas.  It was beyond beautiful!

We did two small hikes.  One in the Red Rocks area and one to Willow Springs.  Both were easy, short hikes that everyone could enjoy. 

Those red sand stone rocks were beautiful!! We even spotted a caterpillar nest!  I wonder what kind of moth or butterfly they will be?

The hike to the waterfall was shady and cool.  It was only about 1.5 miles of fairly easy trail.

And lastly we spent some time at the Las Vegas Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temple. 

We had a super SWEET trip, but I am definitely ready to stay home for a while!

It’s Baby Blanket Time!! -Double Ended Tunisian Crochet Pattern 

My daughter and my daughter-in-law are both expecting babies:)!  One is due in May and the other in June. Yea!! I love cute little  babies and especially GRAND babies!  They are the best:)!!

I have been waiting to start on baby blankets, quilts, and blessing outfits until we were certain if they would be a boy or a girl.  We are having two boys:). While I would have loved to make a bunch of frilly pink girly things, I enjoy fun blues and cars and trucks.

I really loved the cute blanket I designed for my first grandson.  It is so soft and fluffy.  He sleeps with it every night.  His little fingers go through the holes:).  I gave the instructions on my blog here.

But I don’t want to give the same blanket to my next grandson.  They might get them confused.  Sooooo I am making double ended Tunisian crocheted blankets for these next grandsons.  One will be in blue and the other will be in gray.

Have you ever tried Tunisian crochet?  It feels a little like knitting to me.  The needle is long like a knitting needle and the thread is worked on and off of it.

I really like this little stitch pattern.  An older neighborhood lady introduced it to me several years ago.  I was instantly “hooked”!  Once you get the hang of it, it just works right up.

I especially like how it “magically” makes one side of the project look predominantly one color while on the back it is the coordinating color that is the star.  Fun!!.


Here is the “stitch recipe” if you want to give it a try:

Items needed:

  • 14″ double ended crochet hook
  • 1 knitting end cap 
  • Baby yarn in two colors

Pattern:

  • Place the needle cap on one end.
  • Chain in multiples of three plus one with the free hook end.  I chained 121.
  • Place the needle in the 2nd chain from the hook and pull up a loop.  
  • Do not work off.  You will have two loops on the hook.
  • Place your needle in the next stitch and pull up the loop.  Now you have three loops.  Repeat in all of the remaining stitches.  121 loops on your needle.
  • Row 1- Do not turn. yo and pull through first loop on the hook working it off. *Ch3, pull through the next 3 loops, ch1 to lock, repeat from * across. Work off all of the loops in groups of three.  I think to myself – lock, 1,2,3,pull through….
  • Row 2- Do not turn. Ch1, place needle in the last chain of the previous row pull up a loop.  Now you have two loops on your hook. Repeat in the next two stitches. There will be 4 loops on your hook.  *Skip over the shell. Pull up loops in the next three ch.  repeat from* to the end.
  • Push all of the stitches in to the center. Move the end cap from the one hook to the other hook.
  • Row 3- turn . With the next color work off the first loop, *ch3, pull through the next three loops, ch1 to lock, repeat from * across.
  • Repeat rows 2 & 3 to your desired length.  Do not cut yarn between color changes.  Just leave it hanging and pick it up again at the next color change.
  • To work off- yo, pull through 1 loop, * yo pull through 2 loops, repeat from * working off stitches to the end of the row.  Finish off and cut yarn.

SWEET!!  This pattern is a nice change to the ordinary crochet stitch. I hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think:)