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Welcome Friends! Please be patient while I add more info. I have SO much to share with you. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Bohemian Style Purse

Bohemian Style Purse
Free Pattern by
Mary Jane Hall

This Bohemian Style Shoulderbag (see pattern below) is another one of the patterns I created for Hobby Lobby a few years ago. These  were given as a free pattern to customers, hoping they would purchase the Hobby Lobby yarn I used to create the design. Really, you could use just about any yarn to make this purse, but keep in mind,  if you are a beginner, using a smaller weight yarn than this bulky yarn I used would make a smaller purse. Or if you want a larger bag than this, you could use extra bulky yarn or even work the pattern with 2 strands of yarn together.

This is a super easy beginner pattern, and the tassels make it fun! Actually it reminds me of the purses from the 70's. Or if you want to make it look more like a colorful "Hippie Bag", it would be cool to crochet each row (or round) in a different vibrant color!

I probably would not have chosen a fuzzy yarn for this, but I had to come up with designs using  yarns Hobby Lobby headquarters sent me. Most of the yarn they sent was furry or fuzzy. I figured they wanted to showcase yarns that weren't selling as well.

I did 7 designs for their tear sheets and at one time Hobby Lobby had all the free patterns online, but they no longer have those posted. So that's why I am adding the free pattern here. The bag is worked in the round, having less seams to sew. Hopefully you will
be able to print this pattern. 

This pattern is copyrighted, so please do not sell the pattern. You are welcome to sell your projects made from this pattern.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Difference Between Crochet and Knitting

I have been wanting to do a post on this, but I found this article that is pretty good. I am not positive and am still researching, but I believe there are more crocheters now than there are knitters. I know how to knit, but I like crocheting so much better than knitting. It's just more fun and faster to me! I'm sure everyone is different though. I learned to crochet before I learned to knit when I was 18. One thing about it was I noticed it's much easier to find your stitch in crochet than knitting if you drop a stitch. And I like that! I love the look of knitting  but also love the look of crochet lace. It's so much fun and addicting!

While I'm still researching, in the meantime you might want to read this article at The Spruce Crafts. If you have anything to add you think might be helpful please let me know.

The Spruce Crafts:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Flower Motif Scarf and Hat - Free Pattern

Flower Motif  Scarf and Hat 
Free Pattern by 
Mary Jane Hall

This scarf and Hat set is one of the patterns I created for Hobby Lobby a few years ago after they contacted me about doing designs to appear on their "tear sheets" in all 900 of their stores.  This was such an honor! These  were given as a free pattern to customers, hoping they would purchase the Hobby Lobby yarn I used to create the design.

I was kind of limited as to my creativity, because they would pick out the yarn and send it to me, saying to use those yarns to design something. Most of the yarn they sent was furry or fuzzy. I figured they wanted to showcase yarns that weren't selling as well.

I did 7 designs for their tear sheets and at one time Hobby Lobby had all the free patterns online, but they no longer have those posted. So that's why I am adding the free pattern here.  It is basically 6-petal flowers, connected together to form a scarf or hat with an edging in a different color. Hopefully you will
be able to print it out. As soon as I can, I will try to post a better picture. I want to say thank you to Alyssa Denen for modeling this for me. 

This pattern is copyrighted, so please do not sell the pattern, but you are welcome to sell your projects made from this pattern.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Crochet Curlique Projects

My "Candy Colored Bracelet" - this Fun Pattern is in the Book, Positively Crochet! - A Book with 50 Crochet Patterns. What A Bargin! Available on Amazon and EBay
I think one of the most unique and fun crochet stitches ever is the crochet curlique. Some people call it a spiral. I have a curlique scarf pattern in 2 of my Kooler Design/Leisure Arts booklets. The first one is Crochet Young and Trendy, published in June 2005. An editor at Leisure Arts told me later that booklet "sailed across the charts that first year". Then in 2015 they did a 2nd printing of that same booklet and titled it Crochet Fashions, but with a different project on the front cover. (A red poncho). This stitch is especially fun for a beginner! I love the fun curlique bracelet with the crochet balls and beads shown above in that first picture. Scroll down to see more curlique projects.

Working The Curlique
The way to work the spiral is to make a chain about 4"- 5" long, adding an inch or two to the length, and when you turn to work the first row, put 2 sc in the second chain from hook, and in each remaining chain across. It will magically start to curl on its on. If you want it to be even curlier, put 3 sc in each stitch instead of 2. You can do the same using all hdc or working dc into the chain. But only work 1 row and then end it off. Your hook size will also determine how tight or loose the curlique will be. If you've never done this, you should try making a curlique now. I promise, you'll be hooked! And I'm sure you can come up with projects of your own. 

Curlique Hair Tie
by Mary Jane Hall

I made the curlique hair ornament with a round stretchy hair thingy. You know what they are! These are cute to wear with a ponytail. 

Another fun, quick project using the curlique would be to make it into a key chain. When a beginner is learning to crochet, I think it is imperative that they have an actual project to work on, rather than sending them home to make a long chain. They will get more excited to be making quick projects they can make for themselves or as a gift for others. This will keep them motivated.

Curlique Key Chain
By Mary Jane Hall

All Curls Scarf
By Mary Jane Hall
Pattern is in Crochet Young and Trendy and Crochet Fashions
(Available on eBay and Amazon)

All Curls Scarf
by Mary Jane Hall

Friday, November 22, 2019

Pimento Cheese Spread for Sandwiches

Southern Pimento Cheese
For Sandwiches

This is another one of those recipes I grew up eating in the south and I absolutely love it! I have never, ever seen anyone bring Pimento Cheese Sandwiches to a gathering of any kind here in Ohio in the 40+ years I have lived here. I am the only one who has fixed it and nobody even knows what it is!

I discovered several years ago that there is a brand called Prices that my grocery store, Kroger,  sells and it's actually pretty good. I even found pimento cheese spread at Aldi recently and it was just as good as the Prices brand. But homemade is much better. I was looking for recipes on Pinterest and many of them added all kinds of spices, but I just love the simple pimento cheese spread my mama fixed. And btw, my mama never used sugar in hers, but I like it in this spread.

Can you tell I miss the south? I do fix southern food at home all the time, but sometimes I feel lonely when many people up here don't even know what grits, okra, black eyed peas, hoe cakes, red beans and rice or pimento cheese is. And of course, these are only a few of the southern foods I love.

Pimento Cheese Spread - great as a dip or spread on crackers for your holiday party! Delicious!

This recipe makes enough spread for about 12 whole sandwiches. What I'm showing above in the small container was what was left over after making 9 sandwiches. You  can also use it as a dip or spread on crackers.

9-12 sandwiches

2 cups Colby cheese, grated (it's better if you buy the chunk and grate it yourself, otherwise it will be too dry because of the flour or corn starch they coat it with)

1 cup original Velveeta cheese, grated

1 - 4 oz jar, diced pimentos, undrained (Note: this is the larger of the small glass jars you will find in the aisle with canned vegetables at Kroger. The pimentos (in the glass jar) are usually on the top shelf, near the canned mushrooms)

½ cup (or more) Hellman's mayonnaise or Dukes GF mayo, (more or less - sorry I didnt measure it!)

6 oz cream cheese, softened

2 - 3 teaspoons sugar or to taste

Optional: 1-2 tablespoons grated sweet Vidalia onion. I like it better without onion but sometimes it's nice for a change.

Mix all ingredients together and spread on bread for sandwiches to serve immediately, or you can put it in a container and place in the refrigerate for later.

I hope you enjoy this!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sweet Potato Coconut Casserole - Gluten Free

Gluten Free Sweet Potato 
Coconut Casserole 
Many years ago (in the 80's) I wanted to find a special sweet potato casserole, because I never was crazy about the candied sweet potatoes my mom fixed with toasted marshmallows on top. I don't know why I didn't like that. Maybe it's because they were canned? So I set out for a search in my collection of cookbooks. Please understand, this was before the internet and before Pinterest where you can go to find any recipes you want in a matter of seconds!

I found 3 recipes that sounded good, but I did what I usually do and took ingredients that appealed to me from all 3 recipes and came up with my own. I came up with the most decedent, delicious sweet potato casserole and called it  "Sweet Potato Pie Casserole". It was absolutely deliscious and everyone lovel it, but there was one problem. It was more like a dessert than a side dish! So most people wanted it as their dessert. (Even me)

Then my youngest son, Tracy, grew up and married the sweetest  daughter in law, Ashley, who's from the south too. She's from Nashville, where I have family roots.  One year she brought her own sweet potato casserole to our family holiday dinner and we love it. I did tweak her recipe a little. I cut way down on the sugar and also added a small can of crushed pineapple. This ingredient would be optional, but believe me it adds a little bit of sweetness which is great, considering I cut down on the sugar.

You CAN use the canned sweet potatoes and I've done it that way. It is ok, but much better with the fresh ones. My family is crazy about this dish, but I noticed they didn't really want the leftovers when I used the canned. They usually fight over who gets the last of it! I didn't eat the leftovers either when I used the canned potatoes. The secret to a good sweet potato casserole is the fresh ones. You can peel and cook them in water or bake them, peeling off the skins. This recipe is special because of the coconut and crushed pineapple. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that it's gluten free because I left out the flour that was in the original topping ingredients. I didn't miss it at all!
I hope you try it! If you do, please let me know what you think.

Sweet Potato Casserole
with Coconut

Main Ingredients
3 lg sweet potatoes (cooked and mashed) OR 1 lg can sweet potatoes (about 4-5 cups mashed) Fresh sweet potatoes make this taste so much better. It's worth the extra work.
½ cup milk
½ cup melted butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup coconut
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (this is not in Ashley's original recipe, but I put it in because I saw it in a recipe on TV and it is delicious-a touch of sweet since there's not a ton of sugar in the potatoes.

½ cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Dash of salt

Mix all of  the main ingredients together with a mixer and put in a casserole dish.
Then mix topping ingredients and spread over the top.
Bake in 350ยบ oven for 30 minutes.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Yarn Substitutions

I ran across this website by accident and knew I had to share it. Maybe you already know about it and I am the one who's been in the dark about it! But this is fantastic and I'm so excited to find it!

Art Yarns
Beaded Silk
$64 -Hank
How many times have you had a pattern you are dying to make, but are so disappointed when you find out the yarn has been discontinued? Or maybe that yarn is too expensive for you, which is often the case, and you just need to find a less expensive yarn that you can afford. There are thousands of yarns out there and sometimes you don't know where to even begin looking for a yarn that is comparable.

Malabrigo Rasta
$22 - Hank
Since I am a designer and have been since 2005, of course
some of the yarns I've used or suggested yarns are discontinued and are no place to be found on this planet. People write and ask me once in a while if I know of a yarn they can substitute for one of my patterns. Most of the time I don't have a problem finding a good substitute for them, since it's part of my job to be familiar with yarns.  But if they ask if a particular yarn they want to use is a good substitute and it's a yarn I'm not familiar with, this can be difficult and very frustrating.

WIP Yarn-$26

 I found this website by accident and wanted to make sure I share it with you. I am amazed at all the work that was put into this. I was looking up a Yarn Bee yarn from Hobby Lobby that has gorgeous colors and since that particular yarn was discontinued, this website, called YarnSub (link below) came up in that search. I did not even know that yarn had been discontinued.

There were yarns that said 99% match, down to 90% match, but they suggested at least 20 different yarns! I am so impressed! What a great tool to have. Click on the link below. I hope this is helpful! Note: Scroll down below the website link for a little more info.

Yarn Substitution

My Cap Sleeve Top, which is my most popular design/pattern of all time from my book, Crochet That Fits, calls for a dk weight yarn and I suspected it may be discontinued, so I just now looked it up on that website.
Nashua Grand
The yarn I chose for that is gorgeous and I first saw it at TNNA in Columbus, when it was brand new. This yarn, Nashua Handknits Grand Opera, is just too beautiful, but the book doesn't show how truly beautiful it is, because there's a tiny metallic thread running through it. By the way, I give yarn substitutions in that book since I know everyone can't afford a high end yarn from a local yarn shop.
Indeed, I found out it is discontinued and several yarn substitutions came up, but it also says this:
"We're only showing yarns that contain metallic thread.  If you like, you can widen the search to include yarns without metallic thread."

So see, they've got you covered no matter what! I am so impressed!