Seahorse Dance

I used to think seahorses were mythical creatures like unicorns. They amaze me! They are so tiny and delicate looking. These seahorses are dancing a love-dance. Maybe the father will carry some babies soon (see, another reason they sound like mythical creatures!).

I often wished I could make my husband do the pregnant part of having our children. I love my babies but I hated pregnancy. I started feeling sick before I knew I was pregnant and it only ended when the baby came out.

My first baby come a month early. I couldn’t sleep one night and suddenly my water broke. It’s common in movies because it’s exciting and dramatic but in real life less than 10% of births begin with the Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM). Preterm PROM (when your waters break before 37 weeks) is even rarer and most statistics say it occurs in 1-2% of births. I was definitely not ready for my baby at 36 weeks but that’s life.

I wrote a bit more about Alice in a post last year:

When I was nearing the end of my 2nd pregnancy I truly had no idea when I would go into labor since I had been so blindsided the first time. I was thankful when I made it past the mark of having an early baby and he came at exactly 39 weeks. Remington was a nice, healthy baby boy: 9 lbs, 3 oz / 4167.38 g.

My third child delayed her entrance. Eleven days after her due date I was induced with Melody. She was inside me for almost 6 weeks longer Alice had been and she had the weight to prove it! Alice was born 6 lbs 13 oz / 3090 g and Melody was 9 lbs 11 oz / 4394.18 g when she was born.

Here’s a way-too-personal photo of my giant pregnant self. I was ready, but Melody wasn’t born for another full month after this photo!

My 3rd pregnancy – Melody stayed in there for another month after this picture!

Anyway, back to the crochet…

I originally drew this pattern to be included in my eBook, “More in the Ocean” but when I was finished I realized I had started with the wrong chart size! All the patterns in that eBook have a chart size of 121 x 121 and this pattern is 161 x 161.

I still wanted six patterns in that eBook so I was forced to try again on the merman pattern. I had pretty much given up on getting him right and was going to put seahorses in the eBook instead. This mistake redeemed itself and now we have “Trident” in the eBook AND this larger baby blanket pattern with seahorses!

Some people have different ideas on what size a baby blanket is anyway. So they may be more pleased with this larger size. Other people are joining the squares together to create an adult-sized blanket and may find it difficult to add this pattern into the mix.

I can’t wait to see your beautiful creations with yarn. My tester, cyncitycrochets, used some pretty neat ombre yarn in this sample. White is used as the Main Color (you can tell because those outside border lines are white). The Wrong Side (WS) looks pretty awesome when you use the interlocking technique – if you use the overlay mosaic technique the WS will be striped.

This pattern, like all of my patterns, comes complete with written instructions and a chart for two techniques: interlocking crochet and overlay mosaic crochet. Choose your favorite technique or challenge yourself and learn a new one! I have a few tutorials on YouTube: www.YouTube.com/c/AshleeBrotzellDesigns

The chart that comes with the mosaic method has X’s to show where the dropped double crochets go.

I hope you enjoyed my little stories and I hope you really love this new pattern! The links to Etsy and Ravelry are both here; if you don’t have a preference I think Ravelry is better (less fees for me, easier to update patterns when needed, nice library to keep things organized, photos of everyone’s projects) but I offer both platforms so you can make your own choice!

Get the Pattern

Chart size 161 x 161

When you meet gauge, this finishes to 40″ x 40″.

Use code “DANCE” to get 30% off this pattern until October 21, 2021. Valid on Etsy and Ravelry.

Summer Direction CAL & August Summary

This post is going to be a mix of personal stuff, a monthly summary, and instructions for how to continue the Summer Direction CAL. You can skip to whatever part you find most interesting.

Personal

Twelve years ago, under a hot summer sun, I said “I do”. Mitch and I got married on his parents’ acreage and most of the guests took home sunburns. We were young and crazy. Now we’re just crazy. 😉

We have had good times and bad times and three babies and many moves and we have grown and changed through it all. I am not going to give you my life’s story today. I’m too busy making crochet patterns! Here’s to many more years! *grab a cup of something and celebrate with me, eh?*

Also, my Anniversary could have been a good excuse to have a sale, but I already had a sale to celebrate my family’s August birthdays and I’m going to have another sale for my birthday in a few days anyway! 😀

August Summary

This month, August 2021, marks 16 months since I began designing. I love it and I wish I had started sooner!

Like every month this year, my first pattern of the month was a gnome. “August Gnome” was the one with all the cherries. There are only a few more months to go until we have a complete blanket! “A Year of Gnomes” has been one of my best sellers. Thank you for the love!

Crocheted by CarolinevdB, overlay mosaic technique

Then I published “Baby Fish“. This pattern was the 6th extra large square (otherwise known as a baby blanket) in my “Baby Ocean & Others” eBook. I am excited to get my next Ocean eBook started! I will have 6 more patterns of this size for you all! They aren’t *baby* designs this time, although some of them are definitely still good as baby gifts. Most of them are designed for the super cool grown-ups, like me, who enjoy ocean art that can be made into a big blanket.

Mosaic crochet version of “Baby Fish”. Made with Retro Stripes from Red Heart.

Next I came out with another big blanket pattern, “Sunflowers and Butterflies”. This is a summer design that I know you all loved – you visited my ravelry page so many times that I got listed in their top 10 list! Thank you!

Interlocking Crochet sample by Semicci. This pattern made it into Ravelry’s top 10!

You may notice in the image above that the pattern listed right above mine was “The Wave 2” by Svetlana Rogatykh. That pattern was part of the Ocean-themed Crochet-Along hosted by CAL-Crochet-Along blog. I contributed two patterns to that CAL. My “Mosaic Coral Strip” was first, and my “Mosaic Sunglasses Strip” was the final part of that blanket! They have 2 more blankets as part of their Friends Around the World 6th Anniversary CAL – check out the details here: https://calcrochetalong.com/2021-friends-around-the-world-cal/

After publishing the FREE “Mosaic Sunglasses Strip” to Ravelry on August 19, 2021 I also put a FREE file in my Facebook Group for the interlocking crochet version of my sunglasses strip!

And then the very next day we started my Summer Direction CAL!

This pattern has YouTube videos for each section for both of the techniques (interlocking and overlay mosaic crochet). And each section’s written line-by-line instructions will be FREE on my website here as well.

We are about 25% of the way through this pattern so far.

You can still get the full pattern and charts on Ravelry or Etsy for 50% off until the end of September by using code “SUMMER2021“.

My 6th published pattern this month was originally published in Crochet Now magazine in issue 68 which came out in the spring. I am very proud to be published like a “real designer”! It feels very validating and a little bit surreal. 😅

Now that I can publish my “Eiffel Tower Wall Hanging” to Ravelry and Etsy I have used my normal template (that is: US terminology, written for both overlay mosaic crochet and interlocking crochet).

You can still get 20% off your purchase of the Eiffel Tower or the Parisian Wall Hangings eBook (which includes three patterns) until 11:59pm CST August 30, 2021 by using code “PARIS20“.

Summer Direction CAL

We began this Crochet-A-Long on August 20, 2021. We created the foundation rows in whichever technique you preferred (interlocking or mosaic) and you also had to decide at that point how wide your project was going to be. You may find it easier to navigate through each section from the landing page for your chosen technique.

I made a single-width sample in both techniques and then a full blanket using the mosaic technique (I used Red Heart Super Saver Stripes, colorway “Retro Stripes” for my Contrasting Color).

We have completed two sections of Chevron A and the first Dark Arrow section so far.

The next section in the Summer Direction CAL is a repeat of Chevron A again. We are now at row 49 but the video and written instructions are going to start with row 5. You may need to put a stitch marker at row 49 to remind you that it counts as row 5.

If you’re using the interlocking technique it’s important to note that you will be starting this section with the Wrong Side (WS) facing you.

Make sure you only do Chevron A once after the Dark Arrows.

August Birthday Sale!

You can probably count on this (a sale in August) being an annual thing – August is a big month of celebration here!

We already celebrated my husband’s birthday. This week will be Melody’s 2nd birthday. And next week will be Alice’s 7th. Plus, the end of the month will be our 12th anniversary!

Hand painted Merino Wool!

I was also celebrating reaching 5000 members in my Facebook group! I gave away a couple patterns and I bought two beautiful skeins of yarn for this too! I mailed the soft merino wool away yesterday – and then bought myself new Retro Stripes yarn today! Am I a yarn addict?

We made Mitch a musical piano cake. His favorite flavour: Butter pecan; from a box mix. I use melted butter instead of oil and milk instead of water. They always come out fabulous and it is quick and easy to do with little kids around.

Alice carefully put sprinkles spelling “Mitch” on top of our piano cake.

Then I made plain buttercream icing. I even forgot to add vanilla flavor! I was so distracted trying to find my black food coloring gel. We have moved twice in the last year so I guess at some point I must have decided it was too old or maybe I actually used it up and just can’t remember. Either way, it isn’t here.

My black piano ended up being a weird blue. Almost purple-black. I can blame it on young kids 🤣 but really it was me being too tired to go out and buy black. I had already gone out for more icing sugar (and then found the bag I was looking for once I returned home).

Melody and Remi took turns decorating this cake made up from the leftover cut out pieces.

I have had a headache for a few days and it really sucks when I can’t make it go away even when something important – like a birthday – comes around. It doesn’t seem smoky outside but the weather station keeps leaving an exclamation mark on my phone warning everyone that the drifting some from the B.C. forest fires can affect people with asthma and other respiratory issues. It might be triggering my headaches too.

Anyway, the plan was to use kit kat bars as the piano keys but when we went to the store they didn’t have the flavor with the white chocolate. So I grabbed something else that was on sale. And I wasn’t sure how much I would need, so I now have 4 leftover chocolate bars in my freezer. That might have been almost-on-purpose. 😬🙈🤣

We didn’t put up any decorations or balloons but we definitely will when the next birthdays come. The kids LOVE having balloons. It really marks the day as special when they wake up and see balloons and streamers.

Daddy’s lap is always going to be big enough for all three kids, right?

Mitch’s favorite gift might have been the fancy coffee beans from his mom. He is a coffee-aholic. He has even convinced me that coffee doesn’t always taste bad (I don’t really do hot drinks at all).

I tried to get a picture of us together but it was blurry and horrible and this picture of my husband looks GOOD 😍

Today I realized that I hadn’t put my patterns on sale for awhile and I decided three birthdays in a month is a good enough reason to celebrate with not only my family here but also my new friends all over the world!

Thank you for encouraging me to keep making patterns. Thank you for making them look beautiful! Thank you for being my new giant circle of worldwide friends!

You can get 30% off everything in my Ravelry store from now until 11:59 pm CST, August 13, 2021 by adding at least TWO PATTERNS TO YOUR CART! No code needed, but you have to pick more than one pattern. I thought about making it three patterns minimum because of the three birthdays but I haven’t done a sale like this before so I figured I would try just two for now.

Everything is included, even the eBooks (which are already heavily discounted)!

And, if you’re an Etsy-only user, you can get the same deal there too! 30% off when you purchase at least TWO PATTERNS, no code needed! Expires August 13, 2022.

Now I am going to get back to crocheting and drawing and hugging my family.

Magazine Dream Come True: Eiffel Tower in Crochet Now

Did you see my post on instagram? I am going to be in a magazine! Hello, dreams-come-true! 🤩😍

Photos courtesy of Practical Publishing

I designed this Eiffel Tower Wall Hanging for their Paris theme – this is what they wrote on their blog: “Welcome that Parisian feeling into your décor with what is possibly the most amazing crochet wall-hanging I’ve ever seen! The Eiffel Tower hanging on the back of my door would certainly make me smile every day!

Crochet Now 68 is on sale from 22nd April in shops across the UK. To find your nearest stockist, visit http://www.seymour.co.uk – or order online from http://www.craftstash.co.uk

You can also purchase a digital edition of the magazine via the PocketMags app.

Me, here in Canada, I am hoping Michael’s will have the magazine 🤷‍♀️

I did also find this link that looks promising: https://www.crochetnow.co.uk/where-to-buy/

This magazine is based in the UK which means they require patterns to be written using UK terms. In a few months, when the rights revert back to me, I will publish this pattern to Ravelry and Etsy in the form that is familiar to me: interlocking crochet and mosaic crochet; in US terminology.

The magazine version has a link to a chart with x’s! Some of you may be really excited for that, I will also be offering the non-x’ed-chart for my interlocking crocheters.

I used Scheepjes Organicon in my magazine sample. The colors are for spring time 🤩 and the softness of the yarn makes me think people will start hugging their wall! I used a 3 mm hook but you may need to adjust that based on your tension.

What do you think about the simple wooden dowel at the top for hanging? I haven’t made many wall hangings before but I think the simplicity of it is really nice.

I am going to crochet it again, using the interlocking crochet technique and bulky weight yarn! I just need to pick colors… 🤔 it should end up being a good size for a single-person blanket.

Anyway, this has been a pretty exciting month for me with my one-year Designaversary, the big giveaway and sale, and then this big magazine announcement! I was also really hoping to announce my next CAL (Crochet-A-Long) but I am still ironing out some details.

Here is a teaser:

MusicCAL: coming soon!

On a personal note, I also *finally* got my 10 year anniversary ring 💍 🤩 This summer will be our 12th anniversary! When we had our 10th we were still renovating the house (that is now sold) and I had literally just had my 3rd baby (making it 3 kids under 5 years old) so a pretty ring wasn’t really a priority.

The MusicCAL is dedicated to my husband. I am so thankful for him. Words are kind of insufficient. He is an amazing man, a loving husband, the best dad, and a super cool musician. 😎

Impromptu family photo

April Gnome: Interlocking and Mosaic Crochet Pattern

This first quarter of 2021 is going by so quickly! You may remember my ebook, “A Year of Gnomes”?

You can grab the ebook on Etsy or Ravelry. I will update it each month with the newest pattern. If you prefer to just get the gnome of the month: find “April Gnome” on Ravelry and Etsy.

Find more squares of this size that you can mix-and-match to create your own blanket!

I have already emailed this pattern to everyone who purchased the ebook on Etsy. And if you bought it on Ravelry you will see an “update available”.

Crocheted using the overlay mosaic method by CarolinevdB

P.s. there is still a small contest going on in my Facebook group, we need 400 comments before the draw will be made – see the post in the announcements!

P.p.s. and it is my Designaversary so make sure you enter the rafflecopter giveaway in my previous blog post. Follow the instructions, I will be checking!

Our Master List of Gnomes

My one-year designer anniversary!

This post should start with a bunch of pictures of my face making surprised, confused, ecstatic, and bewildered looks! HOW did I manage to become a crochet designer and spend an entire year doing this already!?

How come I didn’t do this sooner? How long can I keep doing this? How did I get so many followers and supporters on all my various social media sites? And, why do I have so many social media sites? 😆

At this time last year I was trying to wrap my head around how to create an interlocking crochet pattern. I managed to publish my first pattern to ravelry on April 1, 2020.

I now have 200 patterns published to Ravelry! Quite a few are also on Etsy. Almost all of my patterns are written for interlocking and overlay mosaic; I did try my hand at “regular” crochet patterns too but I don’t find it as enjoyable.

I have met (online) so many kind and creative people this past year. There are over 3000 members in my Facebook group. I have over 1400 followers on Instagram, over 1800 subscribers on my YouTube channel, and I actually don’t know how to check how many of you are subscribed to these blog posts. And I am failing at being regular with the Mailchimp newsletter 😬 but I really appreciate everyone who has shown their support there too!

Honestly, I am so thankful to everyone who has supported me through this first year. I can’t believe how validating and rewarding it has been. So many little dreams-come-true. 🤩

I need to give a special shout-out to David Q. Orth. His pattern, Doctor’s Orders, is what got me hooked. His kindness through this first year has been a breath of fresh air.

My brown and yellow, “Doctor’s Orders” blanket; designed by David Q. Orth

Plus, his designs are amazing and that inspires me to do the best artwork I can. He started designing only a few months before I did and it has been nice to grow beside each other.

I am also very thankful for Kate Dudman! She has been a source of emotional support, an encyclopedia of knowledge and experience, and a fun friend to chat with. She puts a lot of time and effort into her facebook group, Interlocking Crochet World, and it is a great resource for everyone!

I also put my new friend, Neetsey, to work shortly after becoming acquainted. She has helped me with ravelry and other “business” things but is also a good shoulder to cry on. It is really too bad the shoulder is only online, the internet is still lacking the human touch. We will meet someday! And, her little dog too! 😉😆

I credit my new friend, Kimberly Windsor-Johnson, as the kind push that has helped me keep moving forward. Her encouragement and creativity have buoyed me a few times. And, of course, I needed another virtual shoulder for my many moments.

There have been others through the past year who have shown me how to believe in myself, even when it’s just a single comment. I appreciate the constructive criticism as well as the compliments and I am thankful that not everyone has given up on me.

I have made mistakes this year. That’s to be expected when learning so many new things and filling my schedule to the brim (ok, it was definitely overflowing: started designing, sold our house, hubby lost his job, moved twice, homeschooling my eldest, and a global pandemic? Ya, it was a stressful year lol). I am sorry for the disappointments and I guarantee I will not be perfect in the future either.

I have disappointed myself a few times as well. But I have also grown.

It’s hard to have a plan for the future of “Ashlee Brotzell Designs” when I really don’t know what I expected or what I can expect from myself when a hobby blows up into a job.

First and foremost, I am a mom. I am a wife. My family is, and has to remain, a priority.

Secondly, my own mental health is a balancing act between pushing myself to grow without pushing myself off the edge. 😅 I want to keep working at designing but I don’t want it to be “work”. This is therapy. This is me-time. This is supplemental income.

In short, my goals for the next year are to keep designing, keep trying new things, but with a stronger focus on balance.

I still have a lot of things on my to-do list. Even more on my wishlist. And a lifetime supply of inspiration.

Tune in tomorrow, when I will tell you how we are going to celebrate this momentous occasion!

March Gnome

Gnomes are totally in right now! I was overwhelmed with the responses to my ebook, “A Year of Gnomes”.

You can grab the ebook on Etsy or Ravelry; you also have the option of buying the individual monthly gnomes. March Gnome is the newest addition.

March Gnome: Interlocking and mosaic crochet patterns

March Gnome is another oversized afghan square (20″ or 40-window foundation when using the interlocking crochet technique). I have quite a few squares of this size that you can mix-and-match to create your own blanket!

I have already emailed this pattern to everyone who purchased the ebook on Etsy. And if you bought it on Ravelry you will see an “update available”.

I have always liked the celebrations on March 17 (in school we would celebrate St. Patrick’s day).

  • It is exactly 6 months away from my birthday.
  • Everything is green (and usually emerald green, which is my favorite).
  • Plus, you get to color pictures of magical rainbows and pots of gold.
  • Oh, and McDonald’s comes out with a shamrock shake ☘ which is minty delicious!
  • Sometimes the weather gives you a reprieve from winter with a spring-like sneak peak lol
  • And, as an adult, I also get to celebrate my son’s birthday!

This will be his 4th birthday so I am going to put all my patterns on sale in honor of him! Get 40% off anything in my Etsy shop or Ravelry store until March 4th!

Happy birthday, Remington! 🥰

By the way, our Master List of Gnomes is here:

Types of Crafters

I was thinking today about how there are 3 types of crafters: product crafters, process crafters, and planning crafters.

Product crafters work towards an end goal of having a completed item. Sometimes they prefer small blocks that can be joined together because they get to be “done” lots of things before being done the big project. Immediate gratification is required.

My pile of squares that gives me immediate gratification.

Process crafters are in it for the long haul. They are pleased to have finished items as well, but it’s more about trying new stitches or keeping their hands busy.

Perhaps this one really requires two categories: process crafters who like repetition (think about dc blankets), and process crafters who like to explore (try this stitch, play with this new tool, figure out something new even if there is no finished product from it).

This blanket is taking a long time, but the process is therapy 😍

Planning crafters are those with too many patterns, too much yarn, too many wips, etc. They see potential projects everywhere but never seem to finish anything. Their creativity has filled up storage bins, shelves, closets, and entire rooms.

My unorganized yarn / project stack.

I think I have been all three at some point. Depending on what stage of life I am in. And I think I prefer to have some projects in each category so I choose what to work on based on my mood. 🤣

What about you? Can you think of other “types”? I just made these up based on what I know about myself and other crafters.

Alice’s Debut Pattern: Feline the Deer

If you’ve read any of my bio here or on Facebook you will know that I am a stay-at-home mom to three beautiful children!

Alice drawing on the chalkboard

My eldest, Alice, is 6 years old. She loves to color and draw and play with little figurines. She overheard me telling Dad that someone asked for me to draw a deer for my big 2020 Holiday Squares eBook.

Being the sweet child she is, she drew a deer for me to use! Although, you may notice, I also drew a deer for the eBook. She used the chalk board, and luckily I snapped a picture before the 3 year old wiped the slate clean!

Alice’s chalk drawing of a deer.

Many people in my facebook group encouraged me to create an actual pattern from her drawing, so I asked Alice if she would like that and of course, she did!

You would think there aren’t that many details in the chalk drawing, but you would be wrong.

I tried to create a 40-window square (which is a chart 81 x 81 like all the squares in my eBook) but Alice was not pleased at my inattention to detail.

I made the chart larger and we tried again. She made sure I got the ears on and corrected my “wiggly tail” to be “much straighter”. She also declared that her name was Feline and it should be written, “right here”. I suggested that we needed to add more decoration to make the image work as a crochet pattern.

She said, “ok, icicles”. And that is what you see at the top of the image now. I also added a few snowflakes to complete the picture and we were done! She wanted her to be pink, so, pink it is.

This chart is 121 x 121, which should come out to about 30″ square if you use worsted weight yarn (that’s a 4 – medium weight yarn on the Craft Council’s chart) and a 4.5 mm hook. This is a good size for a baby blanket or you can add a few more panels and create a larger blanket.

I have published this pattern on Ravelry and Etsy.

100% of the gross sales of this pattern will go to Alice. She currently wants to save up to buy a princess sled, a princess dress, and a princess bed.

I was also going to remind you all to sign up for my regular emails, now that the Abstract Queen CAL is done, but mailchimp is having issues so I have no link to give you.

I hope you all are doing lots of crocheting! Talk to you later!

Among Us – turning a hat into a character

So, if you live under a rock, you may not have seen any of these “Among Us” toys, hats, etc. I admit, it took me longer than most to figure out why everyone kept using the phrase “sus”.

My bestie asked me to make her son a stuffy and a hat.

I *mostly* followed a pattern I found online for the little amigurumi guy. I couldn’t get the eye… goggle… face thing? I don’t know what it is, but mine wasn’t working so I had to free hand it a bit.

There are lots of free patterns out there, make sure you do use a FREE one because the creators of Among Us have been clear about their wishes: read about that here.

So, here is my little guy:

See his little wolf ears? Special request. I did 3 chains in a magic circle, then 2 single crochets in each stitch around (6). I then did one more round of sc. Flatten and sew on.

The pattern I followed made weird goggles so I kind if squished and shaped them into something I liked better.

Then I made a hat. A basic beanie.

For the matching wolf ears I had to do a lot more than 3 rounds lol

For these big wolf ears I started with 4 single crochets in a magic circle. Increase all the way around (that means put 2 sc in each stitch).

I didn’t join the rows, I was just working in rounds, so make sure you grab a stitch marker!

3rd round: repeat *sc, inc* (12)

4: repeat *2 sc, inc* (16)

5: repeat *inc, 3 sc* (20) (I moved the increase to avoid a spiral line)

6: repeat *4 sc, inc* (24)

7: repeat * 2 sc, inc, inc, 8 sc* (26)

8: repeat *inc, 12 sc* (28)

9 sc around. Cut and tie off. Leave a long tail for sewing.

Flatten the cone into an ear. Make sure you curve it strongly. Use stitch markers to place both ears on the hat before sewing.

You want them to match up! And you don’t want to have to cut your work off and redo it.

The goggle part on the hat is a 2D item instead of 3D like on the little amigurumi.

To make an oval:

Chain 17, sc in 2nd from hook and across (16).

Don’t turn your work, sc in each stitch along the bottom of your work (+ 16, 32 for this round).

Round 3: increase (put 2 sc in the same stitch), sc x14, inc in both of the next 2 stitches, sc 14, inc.

Round 4: inc, inc, sc x 14, inc x 3, sc 14, inc. Cut and tie off, leave a long tail for sewing.

Give it a try!