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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!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Purse Lover's Scarf

Purse Lover's Scarf by
Marry Jane Hall
I don't think I've met many women or girls who aren't crazy about purses. Call them whatever you want - purse, bag, tote, carry-all, hand bag, market bag, fanny pack, back pack, clutch purse or pocketbook, as my father in law used to say. There are 1,000's of different designs out there for all kinds of bags and new ones cropping up everyday. One thing for sure is that I don't think purses will ever go out of style. How would we carry all our personal items? Purses are just as much for style or a fashion statement as they are as a necessity.

Since purses are so popular with females of all ages, I had the idea to showcase some small applique purses to apply to a scarf. The true purse collector really loves this scarf! You could add the appliques to many other projects as well.

The appliques are not difficult to mak

The scarf itself is a nice crochet stitch pattern used a # 4, medium worsted weight yarn, accented with a # 3 cotton thread. I've always loved to mix and match yarns, which makes a project interesting. I used an even smaller crochet thread for the purse appliques. If you've never made a crochet thread project, please don't let this scare you! I went over 40 years of my life without ever attempting to make something out of thread. But with my special Opti light, it's so much easier than I thought to see the small stitches. If you have trouble seeing your stitches, then one of these lights can be life changing and well worth the investment. I think my floor lamp was around $100 a few years ago, and places like JoAnn Fabrics have sales on them once in a while.

If you are interested in this pattern, it is in my book, Positively Crochet, still available on Amazon and other online stores.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Big Mac Casserole

Delicious Big Mac Casserole

I looked at several different recipes on Pinterest for this casserole. One I saw didn't have biscuits on top. So if you're trying to eat low carb, that's good, but since I was making it for growing boys, I wasn't worried about the biscuits. They absolutely loved it and are already asking me to make it again sometime. I took ingredients from 2 different recipes, so thought I'd better write it down in case I can't remember next time which ingredients I used tonight.

Big Mac Casserole

Big Mac Casserole
serves 6

Note: Before you start anything, make the special sauce (recipe below) because you'll need to put 1-2 Tbsp of it in the meat mixture.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Meat Mixture
1½-2 lbs lean ground beef
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp or mild)
½-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp dried onion flakes (Or fresh chopped sweet onion)
1 tsp dried garlic 
1Tbsp of the Special sauce below
See other ingredients below. I listed them in sections.

Cook the ground beef & drain the grease. Add dried onion, dried garlic, ½ cup cheddar cheese, 1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce & 1 Tbsp of the Special sauce. Save the other 1½ cups of cheddar cheese & the mozzarella to put on top of the meat mixture after its in the casserole dish.

Other ingredients not in the meat or the sauce
Sliced hamburger dill pickles (to go under the biscuits before it is cooked)
1 can biscuits (I bought the flaky biscuits at Aldi, about the size of Grands. I bought flaky in case I needed to take some apart to put on all the top of the casserole. I ended up doing that, because there weren't enough to go over the entire top.
 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Shredded lettuce
Chopped sweet Vidalia onion

Special Sauce
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard
2 tsps sweet pickle relish
1 tsp  Worcestershire sauce

Mix up the sauce & add 1 tablespoon to the meat mixture, reserving the rest to put on top of the lettuce after the casserole is done.

After cooking the ground beef and adding ingredients stated above (minus 1½ cheddar cheese and mozzarella), put the beef mixture in a casserole dish that is larger than 9"x9", but maybe not as large as a  9"x13". I used a Corning ware oval white casserole dish. If you don't have a dish smaller than a 13x9, then go ahead and use that one. The meat mixture and cheese will just be more spread out. If you use only 1 lb of ground beef and have less people than 6 to feed, go ahead and use a 9"x9" pan.
After you have put the meat mixture in the casserole dish, put the rest of the cheese (1½ cup cheddar and mozzarella) on top of that  and spread out. 
Place sliced dill pickles all over top of the cheese. Now put biscuits all over the top of the pickles, pulling some of the biscuits apart to make sure all the pickles are covered. 
Place sesame seeds on top of biscuits.

Cook at 350º for 20-25 minutes. The biscuits weren't quite done after 20 minutes, so I cooked it longer. If you need to cook it longer than 25 minutes to make sure the center biscuits aren't gummy inside, make sure the top doesn't get too brown. I actually think I had the oven  at 360º instead of 350.

When ready to serve, place some chopped lettuce and chopped sweet onion on a plate. Drizzle some special sauce on top of that. Then with a big spatula, put some of the casserole on top of the lettuce. 
We also drizzled special sauce over the top of the biscuit. 
This is so good!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

What Is Considered Copying A Design? A Conversation

Dolce and Gabbana crochet design shown in In Style magazine

I've known Natalia of Outstanding Crochet for a few years and I was her mentor (at her request) to help her get published. She has gorgeous designs and someone you wouldn't think needed a mentor. By all means, she did not need a mentor but just someone to help guide her in the process of getting a pattern published. I gave her contacts and info on getting published. Not long after that, she sent a design to the Crochet A Day Calender and not only was her design accepted, but she won the grand prize of $1,000 as the overall best design that year! I wasn't surprised. Then she had a skirt design accepted for a new Vintage Crochet magazine. Of course she was excited they choose her design but afterwards she said she'd never submit again because she put way too much work into that skirt (with thread) to be paid such a little amount.  That's another conversation on whether it is worth it or not. One reason is that it helps you get known quicker, but that subject is for another blog post.

Natalia (Natasha on Facebook) of Outstanding Crochet  is from the Ukraine, but is currently living in Pennsylvania (USA) with her husband and son. We have learned from each other so I consider her to be my mentor too! She's one of the sweetest, most talented designers I know.
She and I were talking about a crochet dress and jacket that a major fashion designer (Dolce and Gabbana) showed on the runway. I sent her the picture of it from my latest issue of "In Style" magazine and commented on how they are showing more and more crochet in magazines. (like the 60's and 70's). That particular magazine had 3 separate pages of crochet items. She told me another crochet designer she knows said they copied her design, which started this conversation. Here's what I told her.

Mary Jane:
When I was in a 4 hour class at Chain Link years ago with a lawyer, (Ms Brown) one of the things they said is that you can't copyright a stitch pattern, but you can copyright a garment or anything else made with that stitch pattern. (Like the stitches in stitch pattern books, for example the shell st, bobble st, or triple crochet st). In 2006, I searched everywhere for months for a crochet houndstooth stitch pattern. I looked all over the internet and every crochet book I could find. I have over 600 crochet books and magazines (many vintage) and a houndstooth stitch could not be found anywhere. I did find one called that in a vintage book, but it was not the same and did not look like the knitted houndstooth stitch. I even asked older known crochet designers in their 70's and 80's and they said that stitch did not exist. So I worked really hard and came up with the crochet Houndstooth stitch. Then I made a barrel bag with it that was published in a Crochet Today! Magazine. I also designed a scarf with the stitch for my book, Crochet That Fits. I'd never seen it before. After that I started seeing designers designing projects with it everywhere. It would have been nice for me to get credit, but I've never seen or heard anyone mention my name. Even though that bothered me a little, I remember from that class with the lawyer we can't copyright a stitch or stitch pattern. If that major runway designer who's design was in the magazine just used the granny square she came up with, it's ok even though it might bother her. But if they made a whole outfit or garment with the unique granny squares, that looks exactly like hers, that's illegal. Was it the granny square they copied or was the outfit identical?

Yes, it looked the same.
So, if you design a garment and a stitch for it, it’s copyrighted. If another designer use this stitch, but make a different garment, it’s legal?

Mary Jane:
Yes, if I understand you correctly.
For example, if you created the very first ever shell stitch, star stitch, popcorn stitch or any other stitch and you design a garment with it, you're garment design is copyrighted. But not the stitch. Just the way you put the garment together (your written patten).
But anyone else can use one of those stitches to make a different garment and that's ok and their garment is copyrighted too. Is this what you understood me to say?
That's why you can buy those stitch pattern books, because anyone can do what they want to with them, no matter who came up with the stitches.

Yes, that's what I meant. Thank you!

Mary Jane:
Something else we learned is that you can look at a design and love the way it's shaped or put together and if you come up with a totally different stitch, you can call it yours. People don't have a copyright on a shape either. An example would be your doily bag that I loved and wanted to do something similar. (The one you tested and stitched up for the book when I thought I wasn't going to meet my deadline).
Every stitch is different bc it's a different doily, and I didn't put those ties with the balls on the ends (which I love!) I did put one rose on the front of mine and a couple of leaves but I made up my own pattern for those. Your purse has several roses (different sizes) and several leaves. Some people may look at mine and say I copied yours, and yes, I copied the idea (because I loved it) but every stitch is different. Usually if I get an idea from another design I do it so you can't tell it inspired me and they're so different. I don't want people to think I copied, but I know what's legal.

When I did my first ever designs (Leisure Arts books with Kooler Designs), I wanted to make a crochet scarf that I had seen in knit at Old Navy. That was back in November, 2004. I had already made it and wanted to include it in one of those books. The editor contacted their lawyer about it and they said it was perfectly legal because every stitch was different. (crochet instead of knit). I even did it in the same colors! It looks exactly like the knit version, but I would never do that again, even though I copied the idea and not the stitches. I was inexperienced, but the publisher and lawyer was ok with it.

I've had people copy one of my designs before and it looked identical. They even used the exact same stitch, but changed the number of stitches on a row and thought they could call it theirs. Now that's not right!
Another girl made several of my Little Black dresses in different colors and sold them on etsy as her own design. That infuriated me. I tried contacting her several times but she never wrote back. I asked her if she would state in her listing my name as the designer, but she never did and she kept ignoring me. The only thing she did different is that she did the dresses in different colors (not black) and she put a strip of an edging (bought at a fabric store) across the front of the high waist. You can't do a design in a different color and call it your own. You'd be surprised at how many people do that and think it's ok.

Mary Jane's Halls dress design in Crochet That Fits, that an etsy seller was selling as her own design, without mentioning my name

This is that dress I was talking about (Little Black Dress design with my Graduated Stitch Method of doing shaped crochet garments without increases or decreases). Now that method is copyrighted as my ideas that I created it, but it doesn't mean other people can't use the method to come up with other things, but this dress is my exact design. I even came up with new stitches, such as the half triple crochet and half double treble crochet to work as a "bridge" between the dc and tr, just like the hdc is a bridge between the sc and dc. Even though I came up with those sts (it made sense to me), those stitches aren't copyrighted, but it would be nice if people gave me credit, just like with the Houndstooth check st. Back when I was doing that book, I contracted Margaret Hubert who's been writing crochet and knit books since 1979 and Rita Weis, (a publisher and designer in her 80's), and they both said they'd never seen those stitches anywhere or even heard of them. But of course, anyone can use those stitches.

Yes, that’s disturbing! I am not surprised though, it happens a lot. In cases like that one should never contact another person directly. If she responded, you could have later used it in a law case against her. So when you see things like that, you should send cease or desist letter.
On  the other hand, when you are successful, people will copy you. It’s a part of it, and you should be like an elephant, moving forward, not paying attention to small dogs, barking at you. It’s all very energy consuming, so let them be. It’s my Moto, not an advice 🤣😉.

Mary Jane:
That is good advice Natalia. (Elephant and barking dogs) It used to bother me, but not as much now. Remember that lady on Instagram who had your design and I told you about it? I found some of my designs she posted too (without my name) and I didn't even say anything to her. She couldn't really add my name as the designer because she had several designs on 1 page. Or several designs in one post that you scroll to see them. But one thing is that she has a top of mine from the newest book with the WHOLE written pattern posted too! (a picture of the pattern pages).
I did find out  when one lady from a crochet blog did an interview with me on a Podcast, the publisher allowed her to post that as a free pattern, so I'm sure that's where the lady on Instagram got it.
On the cease and desist letter, I've never done that yet, but other designers have talked about it. My publisher has done things like that and I bet the person who copied takes it more seriously when a publisher gets involved. In the past sometimes I reported it and sometimes I didn't.

Well, when I see a picture of my design, I usually do nothing if it has my watermark. When I see my picture without a watermark, or with some charts they think that match my pattern, I don’t engaged with the person, but I report the post and they take it down. In a case like this she didn’t have a right to post the pattern of course. I would just report it to Instagram.

Mary Jane:
(Note to Readers) I told another designer last year about Natalia telling me I should add a watermark and that designer said she doesn't do watermarks because people are going to copy anyway, even with a watermark.
But now, after talking to Natalia again and being more active on Instagram, I've decided I am going to start putting my watermark (logo) so people still know it's my design if they decide to post my pictures without my name as the designer.

For more information on what is involved in copying a pattern, go to this website. They have much more info.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, but sharing what I know about copyright laws concerning crochet patterns. If you need to know more, please get advice from someone who is certified. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Emoji Coffee Sleeve II - Free Crochet Pattern

This Emoji Coffee Sleeve pattern is made different than the first one. The Smily faced one uses hdc stitches and has a Picot border, but this one is all sc rows, making it easier than the first one. It does not have the picot border. 

Coffee Sleeve with Laughing Emoji Patch - Free Crochet Pattern by Mary Jane Hall

I have at least 22 patterns for Coffee Sleeves and Coffee Cozies that I want to share with you. They will be free and all I ask is that you do not sell my patterns. If you share them please make sure you give me credit as the designer.  It's perfectly fine if you want to make any of my patterns and sell the item.
The written patterns are not very long and these should be a perfect project for a beginner.  I let other things get in the way of posting these patterns but I promise I will try to add one every few days.
Coffee Sleeves can also be considered a Coffee Cozy as far as the name, but the Sleeve is more like something you put on a paper cup such as one from Starbucks or McDonalds. You slip it on at the bottom of the paper cup.
But if you want a cozy for a mug, that's a little different. You can't put a Coffee Sleeve on a mug that has a handle. So I have different patterns for what I call a "Mug Cozy".
This pattern is a Coffee Sleeve that slips on the bottom of a paper coffee cup.

Light Teal Coffee Sleeve with Emoji Patch

Hook Size
US- G/6
UK - 8
Metric - 4.00mm

Red Heart Soft Yarn
Color - teal or any other #4 worsted weight yarn. If using a thicker yarn you will have less stitches in each round. If using thinner yarn you will have more stitches in each round.
Emoji Patch or Applique (can be bought at Hobby Lobby or ordered from eBay, etsy or Amazon)
Starbucks paper cup

Note: if sleeve is too loose after the first round or 2, you may have to chain less at the beginning (28 instead of 30) or you can use a smaller hook. 

All rows are sc (single crochet)
You will need to slip the Sleeve onto the cup after the second row to see how it fits. You may crochet tighter or loser than I do so that's why you need to try it on. This is easy enough for a beginner and it's not difficult to tighten up your stitches or use a smaller hook if the cozy is too loose on the cup. It's better to make it a little tight, because it will probably stretch from use.

Chain 28
Round 1: Sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain to the end - 27 sc
Being careful not to twist chain, slip stitch into first stitch forming a ring. Do not turn. You will continue working in the round.
Note: put the sleeve on the cup to make sure it's not too loose. Do this after every coupler of rows.
Rounds 2-11: sc in first sc of round and in each sc around, slip stitch to first sc - 27 sc
Note: by the end of the 2nd or 3rd round you should be able to keep working without joining with a slip stitch.
After last round, end off, making sure the yarn is long enough to weave in.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Emoji Coffee Sleeve 1 - Free Crochet Pattern

This is a cute, quick little crochet project for a beginner! It would be a nice gift. You can find patches (or appliques) at craft stores or places like eBay, etsy and Amazon. The possibilities are endless!

Smily Face Emoji Coffee Sleeve with Picor Edging- free pattern by Mary Jane Hall

Hook Size (for pink hdc rnds)
US- H/8
UK - 6
Metric - 5.00
Hook Size (for black picot edging)
Us - B/1
UK - 13
Metric - 2.25

(A) Impecable Loops and Threads Yarn by Michael's
Color - Rich Orchid, color # 01404, or any other #4 worsted weight yarn. If using a thicker yarn you will have less stitches in each round. If using thinner yarn you will have more stitches in each round.
(B) Black Picot Trim - #3 crochet cotton thread by Aunt Lydias

Smiley Face patch (or applique). Link to several patches on eBay. You can also find patches at craft stores like Hobby Lobby.
Starbucks paper coffee cup

Picot- ch 2,  sl st in first chain

Note: if sleeve is too loose after the first round or 2, you may have to chain less at the beginning (28 instead of 30) or you can use a smaller hook. 

Chain 30, being careful not to twist chain, join with slip stitch to first chain. Do not turn work. 
Rnd 1: hdc in same sp as join, and in each chain around, slip stitch to first hdc. 
Rnd 2: hdc in same space as join and in each hdc around,  join to first hdc with sl st. Put piece onto paper coffee cup to see if it will be too tight or too lose. If not, continue. It's better to be a little tight than loose, because it will stretch with use.
Rnds 2-9: continue working hdc rounds, putting sleeve on cup after every few rows, making sure it's not too loose. By the 2nd or 3rd rnd  you can continue to work rows without joining the end of each rnd. Just work right over top of the last join. Doing it this way with make it looks much better because it will be seamless. 
After rnd 9, end off yarn. 

Picot Edging
Attach black thread to any hdc with slip knot. Chain 1, sc in first hdc, work Picot, (see above); continue working (sc, Picot) in each remaining hdc, join with sl st to first sc, end off yarn and repeat this on other edge. 
Weave in ends. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Fringed Leg Warmers - Free Crochet Pattern

I just can't believe I have not posted the pattern for these Fringed Leg Warmers before now. I designed them years ago and they were published in Crochet! Magazine in 2006. But they are very stylish today, since you see fringe everywhere!

Fringed Leg Warmers by
Mary Jane Hall

The publisher put the pattern on the web, free to the public, but it disappeared, so I am going to post it here. The pattern is a beginner level. 

The free pattern is below.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Purse with Bows - Free Crochet Pattern

This little girl's purse pattern was published in the crochet calender called Calender A Day. I'm sharing it here with you as a free pattern. It's a quick, simple and easy beginner pattern.  I'm sorry to say though, that the yarn I used is no longer available. It was a JoAnn Fabrics yarn that was so cool! Almost rubbery! So it did have some texture to it and was more like a bulky yarn. You could use any yarn you want to, but the thicker the yarn, the larger the purse will be. You could even double your yarn.

Purse with Bows
Free crochet pattern by
Mary Jane Hall


Finished Size - 5¼" x 4¼"

JoAnn Sensations Oceania yarn in Primary or any other # 6 super bulky yarn
Crochet hook size Yarn needle
Approx. 2/3 yd 1” wide yellow satin ribbon
2 sc and 2 rows = 1 1/8”
Row 1: Ch 13, sc in 2nd ch from hook, and in each ch across, ch 1, turn – 12 sc
Row 2: Sc in each sc across, ch 1, turn, do not end off – 12 sc
Sides – worked in rnds

Rnd 1: Work scs around entire edge of bottom piece, increasing 2 sc on each end, and
only 1 sc in each corner, do not turn – 28 sc
Cont working in rnds without joining until piece is 4 1/2” tall, end off and weave in all
loose ends.
Attach yarn to fold at side edge, ch 28, attach to other side at fold. Tie ribbon into 2
bows, and sew to purse with sewing needle and thread.