work in progress: black and white crochet

jakigu.com | black and white crochet motifs

Last Friday night, I grabbed my hook to quickly whip up a test black and white crochet spiral for a collaboration project I am considering. While I was working on the swirl, another black and white circle idea popped up in my mind. So, I made it – and while doing so, like bubbles, another two ideas popped up in my head. By Sunday night I had 16 different black and white motifs. And then I noticed I had been storing all these circles in a black and white polka dot basket. Clearly, there’s a theme going on; wouldn’t you say?

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crochet gift guide 2018

jakigu.com | crochet gift guide 2018

Twinkling lights, chocolate treats, and glitter everywhere – all clear signs Christmas is near. As my son says, the most magical time of the year is here!

You may be like my mother-in-law, and have your presents bought and wrapped since September. But if you are more like me, a last-minute gift maker, you might appreciate a little inspiration. To help you out, I lined up some of my most favorite crochet projects into a versatile crochet gift guide. They represent a mix of my original designs, both free and paid. Read on for links and an exclusive 50% coupon code for everything in my pattern shop.

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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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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.

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.