Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Secret Stitch | A Ficton Book Review | Tw-In Stitches Blog

I'm an avid reader.  When I say avid, I mean I often have several books going at the same time. I listen to audio books on my way to work and have an e-book on my tablet at all times.  I'm even 200% over my Good Reads goal for 2016!

A few months ago, I learned about a book called The Secret Stitch.  Written by C. Jane Reid, the book is the first in a series of historical fiction books about women who migrated to colonial America.  The Secret Stitch centers around Ailee Donaghue, a young woman with an unfortunate past who marries a stranger and makes the journey to America.  The book takes us through the treacherous trip across the Atlantic Ocean and the challenges Ailee and her husband face once they arrive. The part that I found most interesting was the hints about the origins of crochet.  While never explicitly stated, we learn a little about how crochet came to America and how it was passed down from woman to woman.

As a character, Ailee is very sympathetic. She's made some poor decisions and she looks at her current situation as making the most of what she created for herself.  She is young and still trying to find her place.  I really appreciated that she felt like an outsider most of the time.  She worked hard for the people on board the ship and those she met once she arrived in America to like her.  Like many of us, she is not good at everything.  Her knitting leaves a lot to be desired. (Just like mine!) She does not know how to cook or keep a house because she grew up in a home where she had servants.  Now that she is married, she is expected to learn how to do all of those things.  I appreciated that she did not give up in the face of criticism and scorn.

The Secret Stitch is, for the most part, a story about Ailee: her journey to wife-hood, her growth as a woman, and her ability to face trials . As it progresses, her relationship with her husband becomes closer (although I did want to shake him at times), so this book is also a romance. C. Jane Reid did a good job of communicating how awkward their marriage initially is and how trying it is to undertake as bold a move as they did as newlyweds.

I don't want to give spoilers because it will ruin how crochet becomes important in the book, but I can tell you that as soon as Ailee learned "the secret stitch," I was dying to know more about it.  The hints and descriptions of how she was using it drew me in and kept me reading long into the night. 

The best part about The Secret Stitch is that it is the first in a series by C. Jane Reid!  Each story appears to be about a different woman from the ship Ailee and her husband traveled on to America. As we are introduced to the stories of the new characters, more and more is revealed about the crochet and an ancient mystery.  Even better, each book features a crochet pattern by Laurinda Reddig of Recrochetions.  This book contains a pattern for a cowl made with slip stitches!

I really enjoyed The Secret Stitch and am planning to purchase The Sojourn Stitch, the next in the series, to find out what happens to Ailee's friend Elsie. I can recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction or historical romance.  You can purchase The Secret Stitch in e-book form on Amazon, from Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribd, or Apple iBooks.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a review and was not compensated by the author. All opinions are my own. I really enjoyed it!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Wobbly Squares Blanket in Variegated Yarn | Tw-In Stitches

Curious about making the Wobbly Squares Blanket in variegated yarn?  Here are some photos of a baby blanket I made earlier this year! These are raw out of my camera, so please forgive them if the colors seem off.

Center of the blanket

The entire Wobbly Squares Blanket with Variegated yarn

These pictures don't really do the blanket justice.  Here's an up close shot of one side.

I think this is super fun!  If you would like to make your own Wobbly Squares Blanket in one color or with variegated yarn, follow this pattern!

Wobbly Squares Blanket Without Changing Colors

Friday, April 8, 2016

Wobbly Baby Blanket and Hat | Tw-In Stitches

I hope you are enjoying the Wobbly patterns!  Today, I'd like to share a baby blanket and hat I made using the Wobbly Squares blanket pattern and the Full Wobbly hat pattern.

The blanket was made using the Wobbly Squares {without changing colors} blanket pattern.  I used an I hook and Caron One Pound yarn in Lilac.  You can find the pattern here. To make this blanket, I followed the pattern and crocheted a total of 27 rows.

The border is very simple:
Border Row 1: SC in each chain 1 space, *chain 1, SC in next.* Repeat from * to * around, crocheting a SC, chain 2, SC in each of the corner spaces. Slip stitch into first SC to finish. Slip stitch into next chain 1 space.
Border Row 2: Chain 1, SC in the same space.  *Chain 4. Skip (one SC, chain 1, one SC) and SC in the next chain 1 space.* Repeat from * to *, In each corner, SC, chain 2, SC.  Slip stitch to first SC to finish. Slip stitch into next chain 4 space.
Border Row 3: In each chain 4 space, 2 HDC, 1 DC, 2 HDC. Skip all SC from previous round.  In each corner, crochet 3 HDC.  Slip stitch to first HDC to finish. Fasten off and weave in ends.

The hat was made using the remaining yarn and the Full Wobbly Hat pattern. You can find the pattern for teens and adults here.

To make the hat for newborn size, follow the instructions for the first 4 rows. Do not increase after row 4.  For rows 5-9, follow the instructions for row 6 (no increases).  For row 10, SC in each chain 1 space, then chain 1 around.

The flower is inspired by one of my favorite flower patterns ever.  You can find it on Cre8tion Crochet. I did make two changes. First, instead of single crochets to make the base, I used half double crochets.  That is why it is so flat.  Second, instead of finishing each round with a slip stitch, I simply started the next row by crocheting into the first stitch.  It creates a nice spiral effect.

I'm working on another baby blanket using cotton yarn in a great hot pink, pink, and lime green variegated pattern.  It's awesome!

I hope you enjoy these patterns!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Wobbly Squares Blanket {without changing colors} | Free Pattern by Tw-In Stitches

So what happens if you really like the Wobbly Squares design, but really do not want to change colors?  No worries. I can help! It is super easy and it completely hides the join.


Worsted Weight yarn
hook size should be one size larger than the yarn calls for
tapestry needle to fasten off


Half Double Crochet (HDC)
Double Crochet (DC)
Double crochet together (dc2tog)
Slip Stitch


Note about the corners: Each corner is worked over three stitches.  They will consist of the second half of a dc2tog, chain 1, dc, chain 1, dc, chain 1, the first half of a dc2tog.  You will have what appears to be 4 dcs in each corner.

Row 1: Using a magic circle, chain 2, then 1 double crochet (DC). This counts as one dc2tog. *Chain 1, dc2tog.* Repeat from * to * 6 times. Chain 1. Join to the top of the first DC. Slip stitch into the first chain 1 space. (1 DC, 8 chain spaces, 7 dc2tog)
Chart of Row 1

Join to top of first DC.

Slip Stitch into chain 1 space.

Row 2: Chain 1, 1 half double crochet (HDC) in the same space. In the next chain 1 space, DC and chain 1.

Chain 1, hdc in same space.

DC in next chain 1 space.
To form the first corner, we will continue to work in the same space.  Chain 1, double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 1 all in the same space.  To complete the corner, begin the next dc2tog in the same space and complete it in the next chain 1 space. Yarn over, insert hook into same chain 1 space, yarn over, but only pull through the first two loops (beginning of first dc2tog started). Yarn over and complete the dc2tog in the next chain space.  Chain 1.

First V and first corner completed.
Begin the next dc2tog in the same space, complete in the next chain 1.  *Make a corner (Chain 1, double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 1 all in the same space.  To complete the corner, begin the next dc2tog in the same space and complete it in the next chain 1 space.). Begin the next dc2tog in the same space, complete in the next chain 1 space.*  Repeat  from * to * two more times.  Join to the top of the DC. Slip stitch into the next chain 1 space. (to make sure this is correct, you should appear to have four corners and 4 sides with a V-stitch in the middle)

Row 2 (Not the best chart, but I did my best!)

Row 3: To continue in the same color, chain 1, HDC in the same space.  DC in the next chain 1 space.  Chain 1. Begin the next dc2tog in the same space, complete in the next chain 1 space. Continue this pattern, dc2tog, chain 1, begin next dc2tog in the same space, until you reach a corner.  Each new corner will always be in the chain 1 space between the 2 double crochets of the previous corner.  Complete the final dc2tog in the corner, chain 1, dc, chain 1, dc, chain 1, start dc2tog in the corner and complete in the next stitch.  Continue around joining to the top of the first DC.  Slip stitch into the next chain 1 space.

Rows 4-and beyond: Continue the pattern as directed for each additional row.  Remember: to continue using a single color, you have to slip stitch into the next chain 1 space to after you have joined to complete a row. then chain 1 and HDC in the same space, DC in the next and chain 1. After that, the wobbly pattern continues.

I'm currently working on a blanket using this pattern and will share it with you as soon as it is completed.  I do have one other one I made using this method and Ice Magic Light yarn.  This variegated yarn created a very fun effect!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Errata for Lacey Trellis Spiral Poncho

Hi, everyone!

I have a bit of an errata for the Lacey Trellis Spiral Poncho pattern.  I had a few people make the pattern but discover that they were not ending with a number that would allow them to create the trellis portion of the poncho.  I went back to the math and discovered that there was a bit of a problem.  For the spiral to work, your final row definitely was a multiple of 8, but it also has to be a multiple of 6 stitches + 4.

Here is a chart of how it works:

Starting multiple of 8 32 56 80 104 128
Row 3 (increase) 40 64 88 112 136
Row 4 (increase) 48 72 96 120 144
Row 5 (increase) 56 80 104 128 152
Row 6 (before sprial) 64 88 112 136 160

Any of the combination in this chart will work.  The original pattern was started with 80 stitches and ended with 112 before the spiral row began.

I apologize for any confusion or frustration!  I hope you will share your pictures of your ponchos with me!