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.

work in progress: coiled crochet & wayuu

Taking crochet basket making to the next level. Staying true to my choice of natural fibers but adding a splash of color to my designs.

I know I repeat myself but I love coiled crochet. Crocheting over a coil makes baskets incredibly sturdy, and therefore durable. Nothing makes me more sad than a crocheted basket that needs to be starched to hold its shape.

The coil in this case is made of two strands of jute, and five strands of cotton. Two of the cotton strands – a white and a rose – are working strands; the other three serve a “padding,”  or placeholder, purpose. In a design with more colors (up to 6 are common), yarn of all the colors used would need to be carried under the stitches. Even though I am only using two colors now, I want to create a universal pattern that would work equally well with 1 or 6 colors with consistent results in regard to size, gauge, and overall design.

A slight departure from my usual coiled crochet technique is evident in the way stitches themselves are executed. Instead of working regular single crochets, I am working the stitches in back loops only to closely mimic the appearance of the crocheted bags made by the Wayuu people in Colombia. Just type “mochila wayuu” in Google image search and be prepared to be blown away by the breathtaking, colorful designs.

Colorful Style and Durability - basket crocheted in Wayuu style over a coil

I deliberately chose the (seemingly) simplest design to play with: working all increases with accent color, and all other stitches in base color. Where the increases are placed changes the design drastically. The purple sunburst design is created by working all purple increases into the second stitch of the previous round’s increase. The rose spiral is the result of working all rose increases into the stitch preceding the previous round’s increase.

Crochet Potholder - Bag Bottom - Basket Base - Crochet over Coil

 

work in progress: mystery crochet project

This crochet project has been on my mind for almost 4 years.

Don’t worry! It does not take that long to finish it. You know how life is. You make a plan, and life makes you change it. Dozen times over.

In fact, this is quite a simple crochet project, requiring only the knowledge of magic circle, slip stitches, and single crochets, and a lot of patience to complete countless hexagons and pentagons.

Yet, in the world of crochet, the finished product will be utterly unique and novel – and when you see what it is, you’ll be just as excited about it as I am.

This picture is your Clue #1. Can you guess what I am working on?

Stay tuned for Clue #2.

work in progress: coiled crochet basket

I am so in love with the basket I am working on right now – I just had to share a snapshot with you!

Worked similarly as traditional coiled baskets, this one is crocheted with cotton and contrast acrylic over jute coil. What an amazing structural strength that jute lends to this basket! If I described my round and square jute and cotton baskets as sturdy, and the lace baskets as firm, this one can only be described as “solid.” Honestly, it feels more like wicker than fabric. On my quest to design the most durable, functional basket, this one might be a dream come true.

What do you think? How would you describe your ideal crochet basket? Is a basket’s ability to keep its shape an important attribute of a crochet design? Would you consider giving a coiled crochet basket a try? Should I start working on a pattern?

 

Coiled Crochet Basket by JaKiGu.

 

work in progress – an update

Oh, moving. Four weeks ago, I moved for the seventeenth time in less than 15 years; and I am not even in the military. My husband and I chose this nomadic life, and enjoyed every aspect and every moment of it. But, we were ready to settle down.

And so this time, we moved our little family into our very own house, and we have no plans to move anywhere anytime soon (and, I secretly dream of never moving anywhere again, ever). Because no matter how many times you go through the process, and how efficient you are at packing your belongings for a move across continents, states, or just down the street, the aftermath never gets easier. Packing is easy. It’s the cleaning, unpacking, and organizing following a move that takes the biggest toll. It requires motivation, determination, and tons of energy. And time. Oh, so much time. And with a curious, clingy toddler in tow, the end is seemingly beyond my reach this time.

I hoped to have two more patterns ready by the end of May. That now seems a little too unrealistic. Especially since, at least in the Jute and Cotton series, I want to make versions of all baskets available in three different sizes to offer a stackable set. That’s a lot of baskets to make, and many lines of instruction to write, check, double check, test, and then check again. My husband laughs and says that I seem to be making baskets just to contain my old baskets.

crochet baskets by JaKiGu

So, patterns for which baskets are coming first, and when?

This lovely lacy design has become my favorite in the Jute and Cotton series and I can’t wait to share it with you – hopefully by the end of June. (Psst: The pattern for this basket is available in my shop. Click on the image below to check it out.)

Jute and Cotton Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

I wouldn’t want to disappoint a long line of eager crocheters patiently waiting for the square version of my very popular round jute and cotton baskets. It shouldn’t be long before this design is available as well. (Psst: It’s already available as well. Click on the image below to see it in my shop.)

Square Jute and Cotton Stacking Crochet Baskets by JaKiGu

And then? There are so many more basket ideas I’ve been toying with and designs for which I want to share with you! In the picture from my workshop (which these days is the windowsill) above, you can see some of them in various stages of completeness: a design that’s complementing the lacy basket; the polka dot baskets; a tall and narrow container that can be hung and serve a myriad of functions inside the house and out; and a basket with rolled rim worked in a double thick stitch that is sturdy yet really soft. And then I’ve been testing a basket worked in a brilliant new stitch that I accidentally invented (or discovered through trial and error while trying to make the square baskets) – this stitch is amazing, and creates the foundation of the sturdiest basket I’ve ever made despite looking quite delicate. Oh, and then there are baskets worked in a variation of the star stitch – they are also quite stiff and their surface features lovely texture.

And that’s just baskets. I have several bracelets, cushions, and floor mats just waiting to be taken more seriously. And then, there is a mammoth of a project I’ve been working on ever since my son was born almost two years ago. It’s nowhere to be finished, but when I finally get my hands on it, it will be magnificent. I’m keeping its identity a secret, and if you guessed it’s a blanket/throw/afgan, you’d be wrong. It’s a design quite rare in the crochet world, and I am so very proud if it. No worries, it will not take you two years to complete.

Oooh, and also, I’ve been dying to start writing free tutorials for my blog. There is so much I have learned about crocheting through my own mistakes, and I’d like to share this knowledge with you.

As you can see, all I need to make this all happen is a little help from a full-time housekeeper and a live-in nanny (and for each day to have 48 hours).

It will happen!

And one last thing.
I sure hope you decide to have a look at my pattern shop right here at jakigu.com. The current sale is pretty sweet!
However, if you prefer to purchase my patterns through my Etsy shop, you’re welcome to use coupon code BLOGZLAVA3 for an instant $3 off any purchase of $6 or more.
Go make something beautiful!

work in progress: square stacking baskets

You asked for it, and I started working on a square version of my round stacking baskets a while ago.

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UPDATE

The pattern for a set of three stacking square baskets in my Jute and Cotton Series is finished and available right here on jakigu.com and in my Etsy shop.

Square Basket - JaKiGu Crochet Pattern

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Square Jute and Cotton Stacking Crochet Baskets by JaKiGu

I didn’t expect how much trickier the process of ‘inventing’ a jute and cotton square basket pattern would be. Especially since my objective was that the design match the round version perfectly.

Square Jute and Cotton Stacking Crochet Baskets by JaKiGu
Despite my initial excitement due to some smaller samples I’d made, it has been a long and trying journey, and I considered giving up. I made and re-made 9 basket versions. There simply wasn’t any to-me-known way to make the corners nice and sharp. It literally felt like I was trying to push a square peg into a round hole.

Square Jute and Cotton Stacking Crochet Baskets by JaKiGu

After a much needed break, with the basket tucked way out of my sight and while working on something completely unrelated, I had an idea. The simplest idea yet. I bet if you watched me from afar, you’d literally see that proverbial light bulb flash above my head.

Square Jute and Cotton Stacking Crochet Baskets by JaKiGu

I immediately tested the technique and it worked like a charm! I’m writing the pattern for all three square stacking baskets so that all of you who were interested in a square version can get crocheting. It might take a little longer as we are moving into our new house this week, but stay tuned! You’ll be the first to know when the pattern’s ready. Until then – check out my store for more home decor crochet ideas.

Square Jute and Cotton Stacking Crochet Baskets by JaKiGu

work in progress: jute and cotton crochet basket

My obsession with jute and cotton continues.

Jute and Cotton Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and to my eye, (almost) anything made with soft brown jute and creamy ecru cotton looks stunning.

Jute and Cotton Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

This basket is a true yin and yang creation.

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UPDATE

And the pattern for this lovely basket (three, actually – it’s another stacking set!) is now finished and available right here on jakigu.com and via Etsy.

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It’s so simple, and still; it’s hard to take one’s eyes off of it. The lacey effect of cotton softens the harsher lines of padding jute cords. The backs of stitches create a beautifully modern, geometric design on the inside of the basket, making the inside just as interesting – if not even more intriguing – than the outside. And despite its delicate appearance, this romantic basket is, in fact, considerably sturdier than my original round jute and cotton baskets. It holds its shape so beautifully one might think it were crocheted over metal hoops.

Jute and Cotton Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

I simply can’t decide what I like more about it: the geometric design on the inside, the symmetrical jute base and trims, or the outer cotton overlay. All these elements are quite unique in the world of crochet baskets.

Jute and Cotton Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

Crochet has potential to be old fashioned. Reminiscent of 70’s basement decor. Stiff as Victorian doilies.

But not this basket. This is not your gramma’s kind of crochet anymore. In this basket, the new and the old melt into something surprisingly contemporary.

Alright. If you can’t tell, I am pretty excited about this basket. But I am ready to stop tooting my own horn. After all, mine might be the only eye to which it looks beautiful. And I’m OK with it.

Still, if you fell in love with this basket as fast and deep as I did, hold on tight. I am already writing a pattern.

Jute and Cotton Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

work in progress: jute squares

Wow! There has been so much unexpected, yet greatly appreciated interest in my last crochet pattern – the Round Jute and Cotton Stacking Baskets. Thank you!

Stacking Baskets Crochet Pattern Designed by JaKiGu

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about expanding my jute and cotton series and creating these baskets in other shapes – but it was never a number one priority for me.

But since so many asked about a pattern for square or rectangular baskets, I decided to answer your call. I have been diligently working on a new pattern – a pattern for a trio of stackable, square jute and cotton baskets.

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UPDATE

The pattern for square jute and cotton stacking baskets is ready! It is available right here on jakigu.com and in my Etsy shop.

These square stacking baskets match perfectly my round jute and cotton stacking baskets. And now, both patterns are available in a bundle on Etsy at a 25% discount!JaKiGu Crochet Pattern Bundle

And, as a reader of JaKiGu blog, you can get the already discounted bundle for less! Use coupon code BLOGDVEZA9 at Etsy checkout for a total of 43.75% OFF! It’s a “buy one and get one for a dollar” kind of deal 😉

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Here’s an update on what I have accomplished so far:

Jute Square Crochet Basket Pattern by JaKiGu 4

I admit, the process is slow. The bottom is a simple square – it’s the sides that require a whole new approach, and a ton of research and work.
Jute Square Crochet Basket Pattern by JaKiGu

There aren’t many existing techniques which would create sharp edges while working in the round. Perhaps there is none. At least I haven’t found it. And I want these baskets to be worked in the round, not only because I want to maintain a uniform look throughout the series, but also because I want to avoid the need to sew the sides together.

Jute Square Crochet Basket Pattern by JaKiGu 3

I’ve been experimenting and experimenting, and then experimenting some more. And I am pretty sure I have created a unique way to crochet beautiful, sharp right corners while working in the round.

Jute Square Crochet Basket Pattern by JaKiGu 2

But you’ll have to wait for an update on the sides a little longer!

Jute Square Crochet Basket Pattern by JaKiGu 5

In the meantime – if you haven’t yet – you can get the pattern for the round baskets in my Etsy shop. It has been receiving rave reviews. It is, after all, more of an instructional booklet than a simple pattern, with 20 pages of tutorials, wonderful photos, tips and suggestions.

Start working on your own collection of these wonderfully minimalist yet visually stunning jute and cotton baskets!

 

work in progress: polka dot basket

A new idea popped up in my mind. A lovely idea.
I started working on a cute crochet basket speckled with polka dots.

Polka Dot Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

Polka dots are made of bobbles in a contrast colour.

Polka Dot Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

Bobbles are nice and fluffy both on the outside and on the inside.

Polka Dot Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

Basket base is quite stiff and helps the basket keep its shape.

Polka Dot Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

Tapestry crochet inspired sides make the sides stand nice and upright, and the reinforcing edge adds a little chubbiness to the basket because it curls inwards just a little bit.

Polka Dot Crochet Basket by JaKiGu

I adore this project and hope to have a pattern for you soon! Until then, have a look at what’s new in my shop and don’t forget to keep in touch on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or right here by subscribing to the JaKiGu blog.

Polka Dot Crochet Basket Collage by JaKiGu