August Guest Blogger – Jackie Ramsdell

Here is my second Guest Blogger! For some reason my it didn’t post in August like I scheduled it to post. So, it’s a couple of days late. But I think it’s well worth it! Jackie has shared some seriously adorable Loveys that she makes up herself and sells. She also sells the patterns for her designs! She was gracious enough to tell us a little bit about how her business came about as well as how she balances her work with her family life!

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Hi my name is Jackie Ramsdell. I am a wife, and a stay at home mom of two beautiful girls. I learned to crochet back in high school for home ec. My homeschool teacher taught me how to make pot holders, and a ripple afghan. The ripple afghan was the first crochet pattern I had ever seen. I was hooked and couldn’t stop making the pot holders and blankets for gifts. Then when I got my first job after high school, I slowed down and then I almost stopped crocheting. But when I found amigurumi toys, I couldn’t get enough I made all sorts of different things for all of my family members. My mom and sister still have the things that I have made.

It wasn’t until after my cousins started having babies, that I started making different kinds of baby blankets and baby clothes. I taught myself how to read crochet patterns to try to make new things. I started getting really serious about crocheting when I found out I was have my first child. Then I started finding more difficult patterns and making harder blankets. After our first daughter was born I started my own business called Blankies By Jackie. It didn’t take me too long after that to figure out that I was able to write my own patterns out of basic shaping techniques. So the thoughts went flying and I created my very first lovey pattern. (see pic below)

I was in love with my own creation. I thought why not try some more and see what I can do. So I made a horse lovey. (see pic below)

Then when I got my first custom order, for a dragon lovey I panicked a little. I took a deep breath and dove in with both feet and this is what came of it. (see pic below)

Life with a husband and two young girls has its challenges, but throw in a from home crochet business and it adds some more. I mainly utilize the time after my girls are in bed for the night to crochet. Sometimes I get lucky and can work during the day, but with two girls under the age of three I don’t get much time while they are awake. I love watching them grow up and I try not to work while they are up. Time is fleeting and they won’t be this little for too long.

I am coming out with some more new designs in the next several months, including a baby blanket with a new stitch I made.

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You can check out Jackie’s super cute creations are by checking out the following links!
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/BlankiesByJackie
Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/BlankiesByJackie
Ravelry: www.ravelry.com/designers/jackie-ramsdell
Twitter: @joyofchrist777

Jackie would love to see your finished projects if you use any of her patterns, so be sure to share your photos!

July Guest Blogger – Annie Ciszak Pazar – Free Knitting Pattern

I have been dabbling with the idea of having guest bloggers write on my blog for some time now. After some thinking & planning I have decided to try to showcase one fellow crafter a month. I put out a feeler on my FB fan page and was lucky to have the wonderful Annie Ciszak Pazar jump on board as my first guest!

Annie and I go way back to our High School Orchestra where she played the String Bass and I played the Viola (It’s pretty much a slightly bigger and deeper toned Violin for those of your who have never heard of it). We also took part in Mr Coppin’s first ever Clay Olympics back in 1999.

Many years went by before our paths crossed again, but when that happened Annie’s work did nothing but wow me! Her creativity, determination and awesomeness is very inspiring! She has her own online personal shop for her handmade jewelry and knitted goods and she has a storefront in Alaska called Bella Boutique. When asked what her shop has in it she simply states, “Almost everything is handmade, the majority locally.” She is a big advocate for anything handmade and the people behind those goods.

Without further ado, here is my first guest blogger with a FREE knitting pattern just for you!

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Annie Ciszak Pazar Owner of Annie’s Arts & Follies & Bella Boutique:

It seems everyone I know is expecting these days, and I have been a busy, busy knitting bee working on blankets for those special people and their soon to arrive new babes. In the past I have worked up some funky fan and feather pieces, but decided to switch it up this time with a little checkerboard action.

This is a super easy pattern requiring knowledge of only 2 stitches (if you can knit, purl, & count to 8, this is for you!), but looks far more complicated (as all knitting patterns do). Now, this is the pattern I loosely followed for this blanket:

Using size 9 32” circular needles, C/O 136 sts
Rows 1-16: sl 1st stitch of each row, k across
R 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27: sl 1, k across
R 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28: sl 1, k7(edge stitches), p8, (k8 , p8 ) 7 times, k 8 (edge stitches)
R 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39: sl 1, k across
R 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40: sl 1, k7, k8, (p8, k8) 7 times, k8
R 41-208: repeat rows 17-40, 7 more times for a total of 8 pattern repeats.
R 209-224: sl 1, knit across
R 225: B/O in K.

Now, I say loosely as I wanted this blanket to be a rectangle and not a square, so I repeated the blocks for a few extra rows – hold it up and see what you like. On the next go ‘round, I would also like to use a smaller needle (I think an 8 would do just fine) and then add another block or two to the width to even it all out. But that’s the beauty of this pattern – it’s so simple that it’s in turn easy to tweak to make your own. I could actually see myself adding several more blocks and making a new blanket for our couch. But that would mean my friends need to take a baby break first!

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You can check out just how awesome Annie and her creations are by checking out the following links!
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Annies-Arts-and-Follies/265865906211
Blog: www.anniecraftypants.com
Instagram: @Msanniepants