free crochet pattern preview: beaded pendant

In January, I published a long list of projects I’d like to tackle and share with you this year. And while I have not been able to check items off the list as often or as quickly as I’d hoped, I did manage to accomplish quite a bit. From four new crochet patterns I added to my store, to sharing tips and tricks on working with jute, to publishing two crochet basics posts (one devoted to waistcoat stitch, the other to adjustable loop), I know I shouldn’t complain.

However, it has been painfully obvious that despite my best intentions, I am yet to share a free crochet pattern with you this year!

Well, let’s fix that, shall we?

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how to crochet: waistcoat stitch

Ah, the waistcoat stitch. The crochet version of the knitted stockinette stitch. A.k.a. the knit stitch. Or the “v” stitch. Or, if we wanted to get more technical, the center crochet stitch, or the split single crochet.

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? However intimidating some of these names may be, though, don’t let them fool you into thinking waistcoat stitch is complicated.

I like to think of waistcoat stitch as humble single crochet’s flamboyant twin. If you know how to work a single crochet, you know how to crochet the waistcoat stitch. That is because the latter is finished exactly the same way as the former. The striking difference in their final looks depends solely on hook placement. Before we exactly pinpoint where to insert the hook – and where the hook should exit on the back side – let’s have a look at a typical waistcoat stitch up close.

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pattern preview: wine bottle koozies

I’m putting finishing touches on two new crochet patterns, just in time for the upcoming gift giving season. These adorable wine bottle koozies work up quick, and – dare I say – they are quite unique in the world of handmade crochet gifts.

Aren’t they just perfect? Seriously. Don’t tell me you can’t think of at least 5 people who’d be over the moon if you brought them a bottle of wine in one of these beauties.

If you want to get a head start – and save up to 75% – on these, read on. The patterns are available for pre-order and I’ve listed the materials needed below!

Crochet Wine Bottle Koozies / Cozies by jakigu.com

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pattern preview: crochet picture frame

Let me introduce you to the first design in the series of crochet patterns for beginners: crochet picture frame with picots, available as part of an exclusive crochet picture frame collection here, at jakigu.com, or though my Etsy shop.

Its petals with picots remind me of a daffodil. Or the rays of the still sleepy sun on a spring morning. One way or another, this bright and happy crochet frame makes my heart dance and smile.

Crochet picture frame pattern and beginner crochet guide by jakigu.com

You may ask, “Jana, what exactly do you mean when you say ‘crochet patterns for beginners?'”

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learn to crochet: adjustable magic loop

jakigu.com | learn to crochet | adjustable loop

Adjustable magic loop comes in handy whenever your work starts as a crocheted circle and you do not desire a visible hole in the middle. Examples of such work include coasters, placemats, hats, doilies, rugs, or basket bases. In fact, I use this technique to start all of of my baskets.

In essence, adjustable magic loop allows you to comfortably crochet any number of stitches into a sliding loop rather than into a chain stitch, which is the alternative of starting crochet circles. At the end of the round, you simply tighten the sliding loop to close the gap, creating a center with a barely there or completely invisible hole.

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crocheting with jute: tips and tricks

If you follow my blog, you know how much I love crocheting with jute. Jute and cotton are my two most favorite fibers to work with. And if Pinterest is any indication, I am not the only one who likes the look of a basket made in a combination of these materials.

Jute is a natural fiber, derived from the jute plant. To learn about the jute plant itself, and where and how it’s grown, have a look at this Encyclopaedia Britannica entry. For additional information about jute, its environmental impact  and its various practical applications, I recommend this short article from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Christine sums up the magic that is jute perfectly on Instagram:

Jute…an ancient material made from the Corchorus plant which grows with only rainwater and little to no need for fertiliser or pesticides. It also grows quickly and produces an abundant harvest. Best of all it is biodegradable so we can rest easy that should your lovely jute basket ever reach the end of it’s useful life, it can happily return to the earth without causing any harm, just put it on the compost heap!

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pattern preview: crochet handbag

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already noticed a crochet handbag or two on my timeline. They are colorful, quick and easy to make, an oh-so-versatile. A perfect handmade gift idea!

The pattern for this lovely crochet clutch with bias flap is available in my jakigu.com store as well as in my Etsy shop. Leave a comment if you’d like me to send you a 50% off coupon code.

The sky’s the limit to the number of uses for these handy accessories. Pencil case? Perfect size. Cosmetics bag? Absolutely! An actual handbag for a night out? Oh, you bet! Book cover, journal cover, e-reader cover? Check, check, check.

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things to make and do in 2018

My mind is filled with countless crochet ideas, and my fingers are busy hooking the yarn as fast as they can; yet I seem to be barely making a dent in my ever-growing project to-do list.

Once again I find myself wishing a day had 48 hours. At least.

Though I have been designing crochet patterns for a while, realizing how much work goes into turning a simple crochet idea into a high-quality crochet pattern can still pretty much paralyze me at times. Coming up with the design – even if it takes 10 versions – is the easiest part. It’s the post-production that seems to demand way more of my time than I ever calculate for it. Taking photos, editing them, writing captions; reading and proofreading; pattern testing; social media and marketing – none of which has to do with crocheting.

Of course, I could take the easy way out and throw some brief instructions in crochet shorthand onto two pages of a Microsoft Word document and call it a pattern, but that’s not me. I don’t take shortcuts. And producing high-quality patterns and pictorials that are concise but don’t leave anything out takes time. A lot of time.

So, while I take, edit, and caption a thousand pictures, what are some of the crochet ideas and projects you can be looking forward to?

(You may want to Save this post on Pinterest for future reference as I will add links to the listed projects and patterns as I finish them. Of course, you can also follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook to get updates on everything else I might be up to. Fear not – I will not blow up your feed. I use social media sparingly and responsibly.)

Learn to Crochet Series

First and foremost, I am considering launching a Learn to Crochet series of free video tutorials and easy to follow pictorials right here on jakigu.com, focusing on techniques and stitches one needs to be familiar with in order to complete my designs.

Crochet techniques

Crochet tips and tricks

Crochet stitches

  • Chain and slip stitches
  • Single crochet worked three ways (a “v” single crochet; an “x ” single crochet; and waistcoat stitch, also known as center single crochet or knit stitch)

Free Crochet Projects

You will get to practice these techniques and stitches on some pretty neat crochet projects:

I will add projects to this list on an ongoing basis – I literally have about 3 dozen ideas I’d love to share with you.

Crochet ideas and projects you can make today

UPDATE: All crochet patterns I worked on this spring are now available. See below for information and how to get them.

A series of crochet baskets with geometric designs.

Sometimes, crochet ideas pop up in my head and immediately my hands work them into tangible functional crochet art. Other crochet ideas, on the other hand, are born much more slowly. On my long quest to find the perfect method to create the sturdiest, most durable crochet basket, I discovered that my favorite coiled crochet technique executed in waistcoat stitch yield incredible results. Baskets crocheted this way are almost as sturdy as wicker baskets, and even more durable.

To date, I designed two crochet baskets and two wine bottle carriers using this method. Links to all are at the bottom of this section.

With the first design, a basket with grey chevron detail, I am breaking away from offering a set of 3 stacking basket sizes with each pattern. For the sake of simplicity, baskets with geometric designs will come in single-size patterns.

Geometric Crochet Basket, detailed crochet pattern and guide by jakigu.com

It’s funny. The longer I look at this pink band of triangles, the more I realize that how much the negative space white chevron within it matches the chevron pattern on the grey basket. It must have happened subconsciously. Nevertheless – or perhaps more so – I love the final effect. Simple & minimal geometric accent. Perfect. (Oh, and I couldn’t resits taking a ton of pictures when my Christmas cactus bloomed in March. How awesome is the the fact that the pink highlight of its flower is the exact same hue as Sugar n’ Cream in Rose Pink?)

Crochet Basket or Planter with pink geometric detail | triangle chevron basket by jakigu.com

You can add all waistcoat stitch baskets and bag patterns to your cart right now by clicking the Add to Cart buttons on the images below. Alternatively, you can find these designs in my Etsy shop.

Crochet picture frames pattern collection

To dust off some of my early designs, I am in the process of developing a pattern collection of crochet picture frames. The collection will contain 5 or 6 designs, each in two sizes. It will be an ideal quick-and-easy crochet pattern suitable for experienced crocheters and complete beginners alike, as the pattern will contain complete step-by-step photo directions.

UPDATE: The collection is now available at jakigu.com. Click on the Shop now button below to add it to your cart right now.

A set of crochet photo frames and chubby crochet vessels | jakigu.com

Baby teether/rattle

Believe it or not, I don’t really crochet much for others. Perhaps I am surrounded by people who care too little about crochet. And I am absolutely fine with that. I understand that way too many people associate crochet with those horrid granny square blankets of the ’70s worked in neon-colored acrylic yarn that is so crunchy it sends goosebumpy shivers down your spine when you accidentally squish it. That kind of trauma is hard to overcome.

This baby toy is an exception. I made it for my nephew when he was born, with more love and passion than anything else I had ever made (well, perhaps except the toy I made for my son when he was a baby). My sister is a minimalist, prefers natural materials – and was going to move abroad within months after her son’s birth. She needed something light and small. This toy was a perfect solution. She and baby W both fell in love with the toy – it’s traveled with baby W across 3 continents. And my sister doesn’t mind – because it is machine washable!

I cannot believe my nephew is two now. That’s a sobering reminder that writing the pattern for this high-contrast baby teether has been on my to-do list for more than 2 years. I hope to cross it off later this year. A written pattern is now available by clicking below, or via my Etsy shop.

High Contrast Baby Toy | jakigu.com crochet pattern

Triangle jute and cotton basket

These baskets are a perfect addition to all the other baskets in Jute and Cotton Series. They can be used individually (they fit so beautifully in shelf corners) or together for compartmentalized storage. I must thank my husband for some seriously brilliant feedback regarding using them in groupings, and I can wait to share the pictures and an awesomely detailed pattern.

Crochet ideas and projects currently in the making

Journal covers and clutches

Aside from crochet baskets, nothing makes me as excited as designing new and unique “bags.” Honestly, I don’t know what to call them as they can be anything: notebook or journal covers, pencil cases, cosmetic bags, book covers, catch-all pouches, or even handbags or clutches. Or phone and tablet covers. So versatile, yet so simple. Design ideas for at least a dozen bags float restlessly in my mind at the moment. So far, I have , and I hope to share them all with you eventually, but for now here are the few I have managed to photograph.

Bold crochet clutch - handbag - journal cover
Colorblock crochet clutch by jakigu.com / crochet journal cover / crochet bag

Whew. And that’s not even close to all that’s been on my mind. But at least you get an idea.

Wish me luck.

And as always, if any of my paid patterns catch your eye, let me know in comments below. I’d be happy to send you a link and a 50% off coupon code as soon as they are published!

Pssst! Don’t forget to Save this post on Pinterest. Consider it jakigu.com project index for 2018. I will be constantly updating it with links to free patterns and tutorials as I complete them throughout the year. I promise, you will want to come back!

May your 2018 be filled with love, joy, and laughter.

pattern preview: stacking crochet baskets with handles

Let me introduce you to the newest crochet pattern available here at jakigu.com and in my Etsy shop. This is the second pattern in the Coiled Crochet Series. As I wrote before, coiled crochet is my absolutely favorite technique to make crocheted baskets. If you don’t know the first thing about coiled crochet, then this pattern would be a great place to start. You’ll learn the basics – all the while making a set of pretty awesome baskets.

Crochet baskets with handles - a DIY crochet project for beginners

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