The tradition continues with my annual Punny Valentine’s. Each year, I create these silly sentiments using crochet and puns. I try to be as creative and amusing as possible. I do, however, have to match a pun to something I can create using my crochet magic. It is NOT easy, let me tell you, this blog showcases my collection from 2020. You can check out my 2018 Punny Valentine’s Here! See my 2017’s Punny Valentine’s here and my 2016’s Punny Valentine’s here! Do you have a fun pun to share? Let me know in the comments section. Share a possible pun that might show up in my 2021 Punny Valentine Series! ~Nadia
Below is a list of some Punny Valentine’s. Click on the title link above their photo or click on each photo to be taken to its video tutorial and written pattern! Enjoy!! ♥
I think we can all agree that crochet itself is our happy place. Whether we are crocheting in our favorite chair, in bed, in the car or with a friend, the act of creating something beautiful from a ball of fiber is a joy. We are all united in this love, or we would not be on the pursuit of the next new project to get on our hooks. That is why I love to keep creating new things to share!
Started from the bottom, now we here
Not only is crochet my passion, but it is also my career. Each day, I get up to design, share, create, and express myself through my craft. One of my favorite places in my home is my own personal happy place. I know that I have shared in a previous blog some photos of the transformation of my craft room.
This was a photo the previous owner sent us of the room before we moved in. *YIKES!*
When Nate and I purchased this house, there was a room with a wood structure of floor to ceiling drawers. We initially thought to remove the structure and use this room as a bedroom, but the more we thought of it, the more it seemed like a waste yet, the entire thing was too obtuse and awkward to do much with. So my mom suggested that we remove the drawers and make each cubicle a shelf for storing yarn and in the middle make a studio so I can film tutorials.
Breathing new life: from old to new
As soon as that vision started to formulate the room came to life and over time I have added more to make it “my space.” I love to come in here to craft and create, to film and complete my patterns so that I may share them with you. I even come in here to just escape for a few minutes between the hectic moments of being a working wife and mama.
A room with purpose
This space has come a long way and still has a LONG way to go, but it is a space that makes ME feel good. It allows me to feel like I can come in here and create.
I put on some music, it is cozy, and I am surrounded by something I love: YARN!! Even Nasir loves to be in here with me, and my kitties think it’s their playground. For me, this room represents a part of me that feeds my purpose and keeps me, quite literally, from unraveling.
Share with me about your happy place! Is it a room or a favorite spot in your home? Is it with a friend that you can sit and craft with? Creating a space and time to do what you love is essential to keeping a good balance between our worries & stresses and all the things we love.
I hope all of you enjoy a few moments each day ‘In your happy place.’
Here are all the 12 Days of Christmas projects compiled in a one stop blog post! You can click the image or the link above it to view the video tutorial and written pattern for each project. Enjoy and happy holidays!! ~Nadia
On the 9th day of Christmas, we bring the perfect crochet project that takes only MINUTES to make, but it packs a dramatic decorative punch! Add some holiday cheer to any centerpiece by adding these Curly-Q Spokes in any color! I demonstrate this simple step by step process and take a few simple items to make this cheerful display. Let’s get started!
I gathered my supplies. I purchased everything from JoAnn’s Craft stores but you can find these items at any craft store or Walmart.
Red Heart Yarns Super Saver in any colors
A glass Bowl Vase
Mini Ornament Bobbles
Size H-5.00mm Crochet Hook
Decorative pieces from the wreath section at the craft store
For the curly crochet spokes, I took my crochet hook and yarn
With the yarn, I chained 2, and then put 5 SC in the 2nd ch from hook. I continued to work in continuous rounds putting one SC in each st around until the piece was long enough to fit the pipe cleaner inside of it.
Once I got to the top, I fastened off. Then I curled the top half of the pipe cleaner that I just crocheted around to make it twisted.
I put the ornaments inside of the fishbowl vase, then I added the decorative pieces and the curly pieces I crocheted. Voila! It’s a beautiful centerpiece!!
I was approached by St. Jude’s Hospital, and was invited to participate in a collab with The Dollar General for a Holiday Decorating Challenge. I was thrilled to be involved in such a unique activity that benefits such a great cause!
Giving Back this Holiday
As many of you know, St. Jude’s Hospital is forefront in treating childhood cancer, and you can help by heading to a Dollar General store this season and support the Thanks and Giving Campaign each time you shop and make a donation at the checkout! Below, you will see the challenge that was presented and find out how we met this task! It was a lot of creative fun!
The challenge we were given: Create a holiday table-scape, entry way, mantle, or DIY holiday craft on a $25.00(usd) budget and all purchases must be made at a Dollar General store.
BRING. IT. ON!
I love a test like this, and I love doing home décor DIY on a shoestring! So, this invitation was met with a lot of excitement to see what we could come up with.
Let’s get it started
I solicited the help of my mom to create some fantastic ideas that anyone can make for their home this holiday. We put together two different ensembles. One table centerpiece and one buffet tabletop arrangement. I share with you a few photos of the supplies and steps taken to assemble these decorations. I spent around $20.00 on each arrangement using the same items in each – plus or minus a piece or two that I purchased and added to embellish each specific arrangement.
This shows the versatility of my purchases that you are able to use them in years to come. By adding a few different details, you can create a completely new look!! My only other additions were things I found in nature such as sticks, branches, or greenery from our pine tree and no additional cost was added by these additions. I also used four small votive glasses to hold the mini candles in that I already had in my own cupboard.
Our first holiday-scape: A table centerpiece
Let’s see how this all came together! First the photos below were a series of my purchases. There are several Dollar General Stores near where my parents live in Rural Wisconsin. I also have one Dollar General Store near me. We collaborated purchases from three different Dollar General Stores. Most of the stores have identical inventory, but we did find a few fun new inventory in each as well. So, if you have more than one Dollar General near you, check them all out for variety, and don’t forget to donate to St. Jude’s Hospital at each checkout. Here are the supplies purchased and worked with to make our decorations:
When I made my purchases, I did so with a variety of possibilities in mind. However, after my arrangements were created, some of my purchases were NOT used and I did NOT include these in my final budget.
Once I had all my items purchased, I began to put pieces together to build a nice table-scape. I started with creating some height for my piece, by taking my purchased poster board and made tall cones. I used gold spray paint to prime the trees and some green tissue paper to create some texture. These original conical trees I kept green for my first centerpiece.
I created height and length to my table using the cone trees and sticks as well as adding some flameless candlelight to create some warm ambiance. This beautiful arrangement really brings a holiday tabletop to life! It is so inviting!
Here is the breakdown on cost for this table centerpiece:
The cone shaped trees:
$1.50 for poster board
$3.00 for metallic paint
$1.00 for tissue paper
$1.00 for star ornaments
Centerpiece props included
$2.00 two sets of 2 tealights @ $1 each
$2.00 two candle rings @ $1 each
$1.00 modgepodge for paper mache
$3.00 green/white garland
$5.00 faerie lights
$1.00 pine cones
Things I had already:
Clear votive cups (4)
Our Second Arrangement: A holiday tabletop-scape
I used my homemade “trees” and I later used my gold spray paint to cover the green tissue paper and to add more metallic gold to my second arrangement. I added some jewel embellishments to turn my green trees into beautiful jeweled gold trees. I was so happy with this result. In this second arrangement we cut some pine boughs from our outdoor pine tree and built the arrangement with this beautiful greenery that cost us nothing!
I also took an old empty salsa jar to make a vase! Way to re-purpose! I also added some red elastic string to add some shiny detail. I again used my spray paint to paint a fun branch I used to bring a focal point to my arrangement. I love how this turned out!
Below you can view the finished ensemble
Here is the price breakdown on arrangement #2:
The tablescape on the buffet:
$1.50 Poster board for cones
$3.00 Metallic Gold Paint
$1.00 Star Ornaments
$1.00 Tissue Paper to create texture
$2.00 Pearl details for tree @ $1 per pack
$2.00 Crystal Jewel details for tree @ $1 per pack
$1.00 for elastic red string – I used one spool
$5.00 one strand of faerie lights
$2.00 two sets of two tealights for $1.00 each
$3.00 box of red ornaments
$1.00 box of pinecones
Things I had to build arrangement
Pine branches for greenery
Sticks – spray painted gold
votive cups (4)
As you can see demonstrated by the above, you can create a lovely holiday decoration on a budget and make a striking statement without a major investment. There was even room in our budget for more if I wanted to expand or add any additional items to embellish these beautiful decorations.
I want to thank St. Jude’s hospital and Dollar General for the opportunity to be included in this activity. I had so much fun participating and doing this for such a good cause. This holiday please support important causes. Give back and give thanks at this time of the year and always.
Our 7th day of Christmas brings more holiday decor! This rustic wall hanging has elements of crochet and craft mixed with elements of the outdoors. Follow through my step by step instructions and make your own wall hanging today.
The Materials I used are as follows:
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Gold and Green
Chic Sheep Yarn (Red Heart) in Linen
3 Pinecones (from outside)
A Large Stick from outside
Size H-5.00mm Crochet Hook
Step 1: I tied yarn to the stick on each end to make it be able to hang on a hook
Step 2: I crocheted the stars and tree (See pattern below)
Step 3: I used the Linen yarn and tied the pinecones, cinnamon sticks, stars and tree to the wall hanging using the Linen colored yarn.
It was so easy! I finished in an hour!!
Rnd 1: Ch 3, 10 dc in 3rd Ch from hook, sl st to first st. (10)
Rnd 2: Ch 2, 2 dc each st around, sl st to first st. (20)
Rnd 3: Ch 1, *hdc in next st, [2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc] in next st, hdc in next st, sl st in next st*, repeat from * around, end with Sl st in last st. Sl st to first st to close round. Fasten off, Weave in ends. (5 points made)
If anyone is looking for a rustic holiday decoration, I have just the thing for you! I did these easy jute covered balloon balls and they turned out so awesome. Below you can see my step by step process from start to finish. This idea has me thinking in all kinds of creative directions using string art to decorate for the holidays. I may have to make more! In the meantime check out my picture tutorial and follow along today.
First I gathered all the supplies I needed. (See photo above)
Water Balloons, Scissors, Paint brush, Mod Podge, and Jute.
I also used rubber gloves and a tupperware container that are not pictured.
I blew up the balloons to be mini balls, and then I added the Mod Podge to the tupperware container.
I proceeded to dunk the jute into the mod podge and then wrap it around the balloon using my rubber gloves for protection.
I wrapped about 20 times.
Then I used the paint brush to reinforce the mod podge to the jute.
I let it dry for 24 hours.
Once it was all dry, I popped the balloon and removed it from the middle of the ball.
The jute stayed in place!! Woohoo!! I then used a tweezer to get any extra mod podge out of the gaps and make the ball look cleaner.
I added an ornament hook to the ball and hung it on my tree!
In observance of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week (December 1-7), I wanted to share a little bit about my story to help anyone who is unsure how devastating these diseases can be, and to help everyone learn more so they might better understand their impact on a person who lives with this every. single. day.
I have had more than a dozen major surgeries and thousands of medical procedures that require me to be biopsied, explored, cut, stitched, stapled, and pieced back together. This disease has affected every part of my body. I have spent years of my life hospitalized trying to fight this disease. I have lost my large intestine, parts of my small intestine, my rectum, my anus, and a few other parts of my anatomy, forcing me to live with a permanent ileostomy. What is an ostomy you might ask? An ostomy is when part of the intestine is pulled through the abdomen wall allowing waste to empy into an ostomy appliance or bag on the outside of the body.
Although my ostomy saved my life, it also destroyed parts of my self esteem, it caused an enormous amount of anxiety, and oftentimes, depression. As much as I’d rather focus on the positives, one bad day, week, or month can pull you right back into the abyss of some pretty heavy feelings. Thankfully, there are now more good days than bad and without my ostomy, I would not be here as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a niece, a cousin, an auntie, a crochet teacher, a friend and an advocate.
I remember the days when I wanted to just give up. When I sobbed and hurt; when I begged for Allah to have mercy on me and let me just find relief. I remember the days after surgery when I had to relearn to sit-up, to walk, go to the bathroom in a new way, to take care of all my wounds, to treat all the infections, to fight my way through sepsis, infusions, experimental treatments, failed medications, hearing the good news and the bad, the numerous doctors and labs, the constant feelings of being scared, the bag leaks and the humiliation of being covered in poop in
a public place, and ALL. THAT. PAIN.
This disease has not been kind to me, nor has it been kind to the 5 million people around the world who suffer every day from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Every year, I pray and fight and campaign and rally for a cure. Each year passes and although it feels closer, it still feels so far away.
This illness is just part of my story. Even if it has dominated my life for more than ten years, it isn’t all of it. There is so much more to my life than this miserable sickness, and thankfully I am still here to live the best parts of my story.
Every step this crooked, crazy journey has taken me on, landed me right where I am today. I would have never had the opportunity to know this kind of joy or feel this kind of love, if this disease had defeated me.
There are millions of people at the mercy of these illnesses. Although my fight continues, I consider myself lucky. Many are not as lucky as me. I am lucky not because of the treacherous medical path this has taken me on, but lucky because it has brought me here.
Please take a moment to share my story. To spread the word about these life altering diseases. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are debilitating to many who live with these diseases. This deserves more than a week of awareness. We deserve to find a permanent cure. Please help us find one. I have so much to live for. I want to always be here to watch this little boy grow..
I woke up this morning to so many wonderful birthday messages! After I posted a video of Nasir and his sweet baby giggles yesterday on Facebook, I I received so much love and so many wishes!
I decided to share the videos here in my blog for everyone to enjoy. Thank you all so much for your heartfelt messages of love and sweet wishes for a happy birthday. It really meant a lot to me and each one was so well received. Even more, thank you for the sweetness you share with me about Nasir, about your own babies, and about your encouragement to me as a new mom. You have no idea how much it all means to me. I hold each comment and good wish close to my heart.
Whether we were playing or changing his stinky diaper, he was just full of smiles and laughter!
I worked most of the day on some new projects! Here is a quick sneak peak of a new pattern on my hook! I will be releasing this early next week!
After we spent the day filming some new tutorials, we headed out for some birthday treats.
All day my sweet boy was giggling and being so silly!! He was such a good boy even long after his bedtime! But at the end of the day, he was ready for bed in his big boy crib. (We just transitioned from the bassinet)’
Thank you again for making my birthday so special!!
Oooh I’m all about the baby toys right now and that has brought me to compiling a round-up blog for some of my favorite patterns!! You are guaranteed to find something in this blog post that will brighten up any nursery, please any mama or mama-to-be, be perfect for gift giving, and bring so much joy to the little ones they are made for! Let’s check out all the toys!
In this collection, you will find fabulous teether toys, loveys, and different amigurumi toys that can be turned into rattles as well! Some of these are just too cute for words!
Click on the links or on the photos to go to the pattern for each toy! Enjoy!
Below is a fun checklist of things found in a yarn bag! We carry our lives around in our totes and this game gives points for all the things we can find in there! Take a moment to go through your bags and tally your points for this activity. What is the craziest thing you have in your bag today?? How many points did you get??
Here’s My Score: 148 Points!
This activity was prompted because I was cleaning up my bag and found some packets of hot sauce and a diaper in my yarn tote! LOL I realized that I can’t be the only one who has this problem. I remembered playing a “What’s In Your Bag?” game at a bridal shower some time ago, and decided to make a game out of this to share with all of you!
It has been 4 weeks since Nasir was born. He came into this world a true miracle and is perfect in every way. I am overjoyed that he is here, happy, healthy and growing like crazy. His due date was June 30th and throughout my high-risk pregnancy, it was understood that with so many health issues, surgeries, and not having a rectum or anus, the probability for me to deliver him in a traditional birth was going to be out of the question. I was told by not one, two, or three doctors but EVERY doctor on the team, that it would be the safest for me to have him via c-section and to do it a week before his due date. Although this didn’t coincide with my idea of the “ideal birth plan,” I ONLY cared about having a safe and healthy delivery for me and safe birth for him. It doesn’t matter how our babies enter the world, it only matters that they arrive safely in our arms!
High Risk Pregnancy
Throughout my pregnancy, many of you are aware that I had numerous issues not only with my Crohn’s disease but also that I had to cease all my medications that keep my disease in remission. I also had severe Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, I had problems with tearing my adhesions and scar tissue from previous abdominal surgeries, I have a Septate Uterus, I had terrible sciatica, I had anemia, I lacked the nutritional support for myself and Nas because I don’t have my large intestine or parts of my small intestine, and I had a herniated ostomy that prolapsed. Because my anatomy isn’t like most, my intestine pooled to one side of my body and my baby was restricting the digestive flow. I also had the general issues of constant heartburn and swelling like a lot of moms-to-be deal with. I tried to be grateful, thankful, happy, joyful, and appreciative for this miracle; and I was. However, I won’t sugar-coat it, I was freaking miserable in my body. I hurt every single day and probably complained to Nate or my mom incessantly EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. all while keeping a smile on my face and forging ahead because I kept telling myself that if this is the sacrifice I have to make to have him here, then I can do this! It was only temporary. My “this too shall pass” mantra was on repeat every moment of every day. I was miserable. But, just to be clear, I would do it ALL over in a heartbeat for this outcome. Nasir is magical…
Things weren’t going well
Over a month before I was to deliver, I was rushed by ambulance from the hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin up to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota because I had a severe infection and could not keep anything in. I needed IV support and to be monitored because they thought our baby would make an appearance MUCH earlier than we thought. I was so scared. I was alone in the ambulance with the lights and sirens going as we rushed down the highway. I knew Nate was somewhere in a car behind me, my mom also, but being alone and not knowing what would happen was terrifying.
Thankfully, the doctors were able to hold off delivering Nas and just treat the infection. I was hospitalized for about a week before going home, but we were advised that due to the complicated nature of my pregnancy, I would be on “bed rest” (which couldn’t actually be bed rest because I have a history of forming blood clots), so I took it really easy. The doctors recommended I move to temporary housing in Rochester to be closer to the hospital, and I was there a few days before things began to decline again. Read more about our Temporary Transition here.
We couldn’t wait any longer
Although I was advised to hold off on delivering Nasir for as long as possible to give him the best chance for development, the doctors also understood the gravity of my health situation and knew it would be dangerous to wait too long. Not long after my hospitalization, I was still having problems and was not doing well. I woke up on the Wednesday before he was born feeling terrible. My entire body felt like I had one big bruise covering every inch of my skin. EVERYTHING hurt. The slightest touch hurt, and I was swelling up like a balloon. I called, and the doctors said to meet them up at the hospital. My mom took me in because Nate was at work. After a short examination, the doctors suspected that my infection set off a full body flare of my Crohn’s disease. They couldn’t wait any longer. If they didn’t deliver him soon, I might have gone into labor and could have potentially faced a threatening situation where it would be too late to assemble the ENTIRE team of doctors necessary to bring Nasir into this world and keep me safe in the process. Not only was my disease creating a serious health risk, the baby was breech. There was no time left. It would be way too perilous to wait and risk going into labor and a vaginal delivery. Delivery was scheduled immediately for next morning.
I crumbled under the weight of everything and started to cry.
I wanted more time for him to develop. I was scared for him, what if something went wrong, I was worried about the risks, and the surgery and, and, and….and then I took a deep breath.
I called Nate at work.
“You need to come to Rochester right now. They are going to deliver our baby tomorrow morning…”
“Are you serious? Is this for real?”
“Yes, just please come as soon as you can. I need you…”
I don’t know if Nate could even think after that phone call, if he could even concentrate enough to finish his work for the day, or if he was on autopilot all the way up to Rochester. He made it up there by 10 pm that night and we stayed up nearly all night talking. He kept reassuring me the entire time that everything will be OK.
An assembly of sixteen
When Nate and I arrived at the hospital the next day, along with my mom, dad, and my brother, I was ushered into a room immediately. I was a bundle of nervous energy but also ready to meet my baby!!
Shortly after arriving, I was given an IV and little by little the entire assembly of doctors and nurses ushered in team by team to see me. All in all there would be 16 medical staff in the room with us to deliver Nasir. HOLY MACARONI!! 16!!! I was only allowed one other person with me, and of course that was Nate. I was then taken into the OR alone while he was told to get garbed up.
While I was in the OR, it was freezing. More IVs were placed. There were so many lights, so many machines, so many instruments, and so many people. I started to shake uncontrollably. I was given an epidural and a spinal, but the placement was giving me issues. They kept telling me to sit still. I couldn’t stop shaking. I hugged a pillow tightly to my front while they put the needles in my spine. It took forever. At one point, I felt a severe pain in my hip. They hit a nerve and my leg involuntarily shot out and kicked without me doing it. Yeah, this wasn’t working. They moved it a little higher in my spine and it was better.
From there, things moved so fast.
I was put on a table with my arms spread out wide. I had all the IVs in me, they erected a curtain up in front of me. So many people ushered in and out. The anesthesiologists, the surgery team, the OB-GYN team, the colorectal team, the nurses..SO MANY people! That team of 16 was in full action!
I wanted Nate and asked them to check on him. They said he was outside pacing. I wanted him with me, and it wasn’t much longer and he was able to come back into the OR. As soon as he walked in, they started to open me up. The doctors were wonderful about talking me through every step. I had the best cheerleader by my side. Nate was incredible. The anesthesia team was also very supportive and kept encouraging me softly, cheering for me, kept me comfortable, and just made me feel safe. I get choked up just thinking of these moments–moments I wanted to be fully present to remember.
I started to feel a severe pain in my right shoulder and started to get afraid. I told the doctor and they said they had my uterus out. The uterus is connected to the nerves in the shoulder and the pain I was experiencing was called “referred pain.”
It was only moments later when we heard our baby’s tiny cries. Nate started sobbing, I started sobbing. They lifted him over the screen so we could see him. My first thought was how tiny he was. They quickly moved him to the warming table so Nate could trim the cord and the team moved fast to get all the baby stats. Within moments, they brought this tiny naked baby to me and laid him on my chest. I could barely see or breathe I was crying so hard. HE WAS BEAUTIFUL. So precious. My miracle.
It took some time for the surgeons to close me up because they had to clear out scar tissue from former surgeries. They excised my old scar from the time I had the wound vac, and cleaned all of that tissue to make my incision a cleaner closure. It took quite a while, but I wasn’t even paying a moment of attention to that. Instead I was counting toes and fingers, memorizing my little boys face, and through my tears and laughter, I was rejoicing in this miracle.
As I was wheeled into a recovery room, Nate went to tell my family that our baby arrived. We wanted a few minutes alone to relish our first moments as a family of three. We also had an overflow of emotion that was just indescribable and we wanted to bask in the intimacy of sharing these very personal feelings together.
I remember when they lifted our baby over the screen after we heard his cries. I recall looking at him and instantly knowing that his name in my heart would be Nasir, but I didn’t say anything. To be fair, I wanted to hear Nate’s thoughts about his name. As soon as I asked him what our baby’s name should be, he said Nasir! We both felt it. We both knew. His name is Nasir Nathan.
Nasir is a Pakistani/Arabic name that means “Victorious,” and there is no more appropriate name fitting to this little boy than that. After all I have been through, all the health struggles and trials, I look at him and I know it was all for this moment.
I am often asked if one of my patterns can be resized. I know that it can become frustrating to see a pattern you love and yet, not be able to make it in the size you need. I do try to make most patterns in a variety of sizes to accommodate all, but sometimes, the pattern I design is size specific. I don’t have a variation or the stitch counts to make it in other sizes. Today’s blog is JUST A GUIDELINE to show you how changing your hook size can make a pattern slightly smaller or bigger JUST by changing this one detail.
I decided to do a quick trial experiment because, not only do I love to crochet, I love to get answers to longstanding questions. The question posed to me quite often is: Can I make this pattern bigger or smaller?
If I don’t have the pattern adapted to various sizes, I have offered the suggestion to try different hook sizes.
Here I give you a better visual on how much changing the hook size does increase or decrease the size of your piece.
In this experiment, I took six different hooks:
1. D-3.25mm crochet hook
2. F-3.75mm crochet hook
3. G-4.25mm crochet hook
4. H-5.00mm crochet hook
5. J-6.00mm crochet hook
6. K-6.50mm crochet hook
I then crocheted THE EXACT SAME granny square using each different hook. (See this pattern here for the granny square pattern)
I used Red Heart With Love yarn in color Jadeite (worsted weight) Size 4 Medium (equal to DK or Aran yarn).
Once I completed each square, I placed all together using a US quarter coin as a point of reference to show proportion.
Each square increased somewhat in size but also, notice the stitching is not as tight as you increase the size.
The difference in size from the first square using a D-3.25mm hook to the last square using the K-6.50mm hook is a difference of 3 inches (~8cm)
If you are like me, it is so much easier to have a visual to be able to put into perspective how much change happens just by changing your hook. It helps so much to see it right in front of your eyes rather than trying to picture it in your mind how much difference this will make.
This trick may not work for ALL patterns but for some, this adjustment will be very handy in making something just a bit smaller or larger.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t allow for HUGE variations in size but just enough for some to get the desired result if you want to go a bit up or down on a specific pattern.
Also, remember, the larger you go, the looser and open the stitches will appear.
Share with us your experience if YOU have tried resizing by changing your hook gauge. Let us know how that helped you make a pattern smaller or larger. We’d love to hear from you!
Below are photos of each square by itself using the quarter as a point of reference.
We would like to introduce our new baby boy to our YARNutopia community. There are NO words to express how much we are in love with this precious little peanut and how it feels to be first time parents; so instead of doing that at this time, we ask you to please enjoy these exclusive beautiful photos – many of which are being shared here for the very first time.
He arrived a little earlier than expected, and although nothing about his delivery was easy, in the end, holding him in our arms was so worth it! Oh. MY. Gosh. THE LOVE!
Nate and I are overwhelmed with joy and want to share our happiness with our online family community. As soon as I am feeling better, I will write a little more about this entire experience in detail!
So many people tried to tell us how this would feel. NOTHING compares to the real thing. NOTHING!! WE ARE SO IN LOVE WITH HIM!
Name: Nasir Nathan
Born June 13th, 2019 at 12:15pm
Weight: 6 lbs, 12 oz.
Length: 18.9 inches
Things we observed so far: He has his Daddy’s face and wavy dark hair, but he has Mommy’s nose and dimples. He has long fingers like Mommy but Daddy’s toes lol. As we continue to discover one another, we look forward to finding more of these amazing connections. It is the most profound feeling ever to meet this tiny human, see pieces of ourselves in him, and know that we made him!
Many of you have seen my videos on YouTube and commented on the type of crochet hook I am using in a majority of my tutorials. My dad started mass producing these crochet hooks after so many inquiries flooded in. Each hook handle, as demonstrated in this video tutorial, is individually crafted and designed. A great deal of time is spent on every single hook handle.
These special crochet hooks are ergonomically created to fit perfectly into the palm of your hand. I use these in each and every video we film.
I spent much of my early crochet years in the hospital. My mom taught me the basics, and I used crochet as a time pass for those long stays trapped in a hospital bed. I loved watching YouTube just like many of you. I watched the Crochet Crowd, Moogly, and Naztazia and learned more advanced techniques through their tutorials.
I started noticing when using a traditional aluminum crochet hook, my finger and wrist joints would start to pain while holding the thin hook. Most of the pain was in part from being so ill. The disease, and side effects of my medications caused bone deterioration and joint problems. It wasn’t unusual to have swollen hands and rusty joints almost every day. My dad saw my struggle, and when I would tell him it hurt to crochet, we started to brainstorm ways to make things easier.
My dad is not a master craftsman. He didn’t even own many power tools. He didn’t carve or do woodworking, yet, he decided to experiment a little and began to design handles for my crochet hooks. In fact, his early introduction to the world of wood craft had him on a first name basis with the local Emergency Room doctors from all the mishaps he encountered trying to perfect his design. Eventually, he was able to craft this final design, have less trips to the ER, and rarely ends up with stitches anymore!
Not only are these the most comfortable in my hand, but due to those arthritic effects from long term illness, the joints in my hand and wrist feel better with this handle when I work. These handles make it so much easier to crochet for a duration of time and reduce the stress on my joints.
This blog is in part a plug for the hooks my dad makes because, why not? Besides filming and editing my video tutorials, he works so hard to make each and every one of these crochet hooks as demonstrated in his documentary video. Each individual hook is made exactly like shown. The time and care put in to each one is unsurpassed! Just check out the testimonials on his Etsy Shop to hear what others have to say.
More than a shameless plug for this product, this blog is about a dad who cares so much about his daughter that he found a way to make her passion easier on her. He designed this amazing hook handle so that I don’t hurt any more. He took to learning wood crafting and carving, taught himself how to use all these power tools and even sacrificed his own hands to make mine feel better. Those numerous ER trips to get stitches in his hands are testament to how far he would go to make me happy and pain-free.
With Father’s Day approaching, let’s remember the selfless sacrifices our dads have made. The hard work and dedication they show us and their unending acts of love they provide. I am pretty lucky to have one of the best! Thanks, Daddy for everything!
As some of you may have noticed, I have been somewhat MIA on my social media and on my blog for a little bit. I have been posting and have been a little active, just not as much as I usually am. There’s a reason for that.
Last week, I ended up in the hospital. I was having a lot of issues with my body and baby, so I went into the Emergency Room. The doctors here in La Crosse, WI did not feel confident, and the scope of my issues were outside of the range they felt comfortable dealing with. They felt things were emergent to either med-flight or rush me to Mayo Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.
It was decided that was going to be rushed by ambulance, but Nate could not accompany me on the ride. He came behind and my mom met us up at Mayo Hospital. I was in the hospital for nearly a week with several complications making it impossible for me to manage at home.
It was decided that upon release from the hospital, I could return home short term while a social worker from the hospital would work on a short term relocation plan for me. For these last few weeks before delivery, I will be staying in Rochester near the hospital in an extended stay apartment. This way, I will be close by the hospital in case anything emergent happens again.
What is going on?
In the recent blog where I shared my pregnancy photos, I mentioned that the doctors have taken me off of all my medications that help to keep my Crohn’s disease under control while I work towards remission. Now, off of the medication, my body has started to get weaker. I ended up with an infection and the infection put my body into a full-on flare.
Since I don’t have a large intestine, my small intestine has to learn the job of what its old companion had done. I have to draw my nourishment, vitamins, minerals, fluids, and much more from my small intestine similarly to what the body does with the large intestine. Not only do I rely on that intake, that same intake is what is helping to keep baby healthy. When I got sick last week, the function of the small intestine failed me, and my body was having a difficult time absorbing ANYTHING. This made it difficult to keep food down, my body was severely dehydrated, and some of my blood test numbers were dropping making it difficult to keep my nourishment markers where they needed to be.
Because I am pregnant, normal options for treatment aren’t always viable because they can affect the baby. There were so many limitations that the doctors could treat me with. It took some time and patience, but we were able to find a way for me to gain some control over my body without causing more stress to me or baby. At least, for now, it was enough to go home and prepare for this upcoming relocation.
What will this mean for YARNutopia?
I am home for a few days. Soon, I will transition to an apartment closer to the hospital in Minnesota. I will stay there temporarily until our baby is born. Nate will be with me on the weekends, and my mom will be coming to stay with me during the weekdays, as I can’t be alone. All my care will continue through Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
(Pictured above is a photo of my mom and me in the hospital last week)
(Pictured above is me, feeling better)
Because of this transition, I won’t be able to be as active or as present on my social media sites. I won’t be checking out completely though! No way! I love my social media! I will, however, be taking a small step back to get things under control with my health and prepare for delivery. There are LOTS of appointments, checkups, and tests to be done in these last few weeks! But don’t worry! I will do what I can, when I can! So, please keep checking the Facebook page, click on the links I share, share photos of your work. I’ll be crocheting to pass some time, and I hope to keep on keeping on. I will be sure to check in as often as I can!!
I will also try to update you as much as possible. Until baby arrives, the most I will be doing is trying to keep as healthy as I can so he can be inside growing and developing. We need him to be the strongest he can be! We are almost to his due date, so we are hoping for a not so bumpy ride to get there! Haha!
In the next few weeks, I am still hopeful to post some new blogs, a few new posts, and whatever I can do, but in the meantime, I will pull from the archives some great classic patterns, some oldies but goodies, and I will share work from my fellow designers! And once baby is here and I am recovered, I will be back better and stronger than ever!
This past Sunday, my Aunt and my Mom organized a baby shower for Nate and me. To say it was amazing is such an understatement! Not only did my family have so much in store for us, there were epic surprises to be showered on us as well.
After opening our gifts from family and friends, my mom made an announcement that there were more gifts. Confused, I wasn’t sure what she meant.
A quick background
I am part of a large online blogger community. In our private group, this blogger community shares ideas and support for one another. Besides my personal family, these ladies feel like family even though we haven’t met in real life. I feel like we know one another despite that we haven’t met. We talk almost daily and check in with one another. We share patterns and advice, we count on each other in our shared desire to grow our craft. We have a sisterhood that transcends the miles and continents.
So, when my mom announced that this incredible group of ladies had conspired to bring their own version of an online baby shower to my family baby shower, I was so overwhelmed with joy and shock! It felt so amazing to find out that together, they reached out to be a part of this special day. They coordinated through Marly Bird to send surprise packages to my mom and my aunt. Each package was a gift for our sweet baby boy.
Both Nate and I could not believe it! We had NO CLUE! Seriously, my mom is the best at keeping secrets because I talk to her a half dozen times a day and NOT ONCE did she even hint there was this in store for us at the shower!! As soon as my Aunt Gail brought this giant box full of gifts I started getting emotional all over again!
Each crochet designer/blogger created something extraordinarily special for this baby. Below, please join me in this video as I open these wonderful gifts. Please understand that in this moment I was so emotional and overwhelmed. Tears flowed freely, my nose was running wild, and I kept repeating how awesome it was and how much in shock this felt!
I am in complete awe of these amazing women. Not only are they spectacular designers and creators, but I have the joy of calling each of them my FRIEND! WE are so lucky. I am so lucky. This baby is so lucky and so loved.
From the bottom of my full heart, THANK YOU!! There are no words to describe this feeling. I am so grateful for your gifts of time and creativity. Thank you for your gift of love and friendship. Again, my heart is so full.
On a side note. In the last frame of the video I was hugging a teddy bear. Some of you may not know that at the end of March we lost my Grandpa Bob. In January, he was told by his doctors he had about six months to live. He had hopes to live long enough to meet my baby. My grandpa was so supportive and caring through my journey through illness and life, and he wanted to be here to see me through this special time. God had other plans for him. He passed away on March 24th, 2019.
My mom took one of his shirts and sent it in to a designer on Etsy. She made a memory teddy bear out of my grandpa’s shirt. My mom had a photo of my grandpa and me, and in it he wore that same shirt. She gifted both together – the photo in a frame and this sweet bear to put in the nursery. This gift was so special and although my Grandpa won’t be here, a small part of him will always be with us.
Disclaimer: This blog contains sensitive pregnancy photos. I ask everyone to be respectful and any negative comments will be deleted. It took a lot for me to be vulnerable to share these images. With my health history, I wanted to be as transparent and open as possible with this miraculous pregnancy.
Many of you already have been following my journey and know that my health history has been plagued with illness, numerous surgeries, and plenty of setbacks. I had my colon removed in 2008 because my Crohn’s disease was so progressive. Doctors, worried about the dangerous potential of colon cancer and with fast deterioration of my colon, removed it to save my life. That journey was wrought with so many setbacks and ongoing severe illness. Chemotherapy, biologic treatments, thousands of procedures, multiple ostomies, hospitalizations, and repeated surgery had severely impacted the quality of life I was living in my late teens into my 20s. Most of my dreams were put on hold just to survive.
The one dream I held onto and hoped for was to one day be a mother. Doctors could never give a definitive answer as to whether or not pregnancy could even be possible. It was always a “wait and see” possibility. Without my large intestine or parts of my small intestine, even carrying a baby to term was a huge risk. And, it has been. This miraculous pregnancy has been filled with many issues, illness related problems, and so much worry. Yet, this sweet little boy growing inside me is a fighter. Just like me.
That is why, as we came closer to my due date, I dreamed of having pregnancy photos taken to mark this extraordinary time in our lives.
My colo-rectal surgeon told me last week, despite all the complications, try to enjoy this. “Enjoy being pregnant, Nadia.” She said, “Time goes so fast, we forget these moments. Try to remember how exciting it is to feel him moving…” And it is! This is so true! I have to appreciate everything I am going through to bring him here, and I love him so much that I don’t care how much I have to endure. This is temporary and so worth it.
Next week, I stop the last of my medications needed to keep my disease in remission, so our baby has the best chance and can be his strongest at birth. That part is very unsettling because I don’t know what my body will do without those medications. I am hoping that the last dose will sustain me through the final weeks until delivery and beyond. With that in mind, I decided now was the best time to do these photos. While I felt as good as I can expect to feel, I wanted to capture the power of this moment and the profound feelings of this health and pregnancy journey. I channeled my inner “life-giving goddess” for these powerful images!
I want to thank my mom and dad for their help in bringing my vision to life through these photos, and a huge thank you to Nate for being the most amazing husband and best friend on this journey. I couldn’t have done this without him..obviously..haha!!
“Life reveals her beauty one precious miracle at a time.” ~Flavia
Life is busy and there is never enough time in the day for most of us. Between jobs, family, appointments, and obligations, most of us are left with less and less time in a day for enjoyment. Crochet projects get started and set aside forgotten. Oftentimes, we take on a project in hopes to complete it by a specific deadline – a wedding, birthday, or holiday. It is in this time of hustle and bustle, a little time management can go a long way! Let me show you how!
Here are some of my tips to help maximize the time you have and make the day as productive as possible.
Set your goals. Now let’s plan a way to support and reach those goals!
Prioritize your day/week/month: When we begin a project, most of us have more than just the project deadline ahead of us. Know what time frame you are working with and determine the other activities you need to juggle simultaneously with these projects. Getting a planner is a great way to keep yourself organized. Several apps can be useful or I use a planner like this one here.One glance at the week ahead can give me an idea of how I can plan out my projects around other things I am juggling in life. Work and work related activities, appointments, family activities, and plans with friends-it is all right there in my planner!
Another great tip is to invest in a white board! I have one and write my daily “to do list.” My white board is near my office where I spend most of my time. I see it nearly all day long. When I get busy, it is hard to remember everything I have to do, so seeing it RIGHT in front of me every time I walk past is a great way to keep me on task! Once I complete a task, I erase it. I LOVE seeing those “to-dos” disappear every day!
Always plan ahead: Know what is necessary to reach these goals and be sure to have your project supplies available. How many times have you started a project and then ran out of supplies and needed something and now you have to stop working or put your project off until you have what you need. Plan it out, write a list, and shop for supplies, double check.
Get rid of things that distract you. Are you drawn in by social media and realize that you just spent 45 minutes with time sunk on Facebook or Instagram? Ummm me neither haha! But for those that get distracted by social media, television, or even the birds on the feeders outside the window, remove those distractions NOW! I am NOT saying permanently, NO-keep your bird feeders filled with birds!! I am saying this; Set a timer for 20 minutes or an hour (or the allotted time you’re planning on working on your project) now, put your phone in the other room, shut off TV if it is a distraction, close the curtains-do what you need to do in order to have that one hour free and clear to work. Sometimes, I only have time to set my timer for 20 minutes and push myself just to concentrate for that 20 minutes, shut my mind off to everything else and get to work! I try to capitalize on those timed sessions! Remember to have your supplies all available before getting started.
Sometimes you have to just say NO. We all want to be the kind of person that can do it all. However, sometimes that is not possible, and there comes a time that to be the most productive in our own lives we have to say NO to things. Not everything, just the things that bog our schedules down to the point where there is no time for enjoyment. It’s ok-give yourself permission to say NO and tell yourself it is ok!
Last on our list is TAKE CARE OF YOU!! No matter how much you want to finish a project, no project is worth going bonkers stressing over it! There might not be enough time in a day. It is ok! Look at your week and plan it out in days-Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday projects, or maybe just weekend projects. Whatever you have time for, don’t put extra pressure on yourself that you HAVE to get it done NOW even on a deadline. Pace yourself, plan ahead, and give yourself permission to relax. I promise, with some effective time management, you can accomplish your goals!
Now that you have some great tips, you will have much more time to do what you love!
This post contains affiliate links, which I may be compensated for when you make a purchase. That means if you click on any link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed. Thank you for all your support in clicking the links in my blog!! You all are so amazing!! ~Nadia
I am typically pretty upbeat and positive by nature. I have had to overcome a lot in the past decade, and I have spent some of that time feeling situational depression due to battling illness, surgery, dealing with body issues from having so many scars and a permanent ileostomy. When I found out I was able to get pregnant, and subsequently carry this baby, I was over the moon! Depression wasn’t even on my radar at that time.
I Knew It Wasn’t Going To Be Easy
I am extremely high risk. I have a team of doctors and specialists across three hospitals that will be involved in bringing this baby into the world safely. Of course, I am a bit nervous, but I also have great faith and trust in this team to do everything to help bring this baby boy into the world, keeping us both healthy and happy.
Here’s where I struggle. I am supposed to be happy. I AM happy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to feel baby move and happy to know I will hold him in just a few short months. However, what is happening to my body is bringing me so low. I am just not feeling overall happy, and I didn’t expect that.
A Complex Medical History
Without delving too deep into the graphic details, I’ve had 14 surgeries which have left my entire abdomen full of scars. I have numerous scars running up and down, diagonally, and across my torso. Drain scars, former ostomy scars- just scars, scars, scars! Following one surgery, I had a serious infection so my abdomen had to be re-opened, and I was put on a wound vac to help heal by secondary intention. That process left my tummy full of puckered and thick scar tissue. All this scar tissue causes adhesions. As my abdomen stretches, the scar tissue is stretching and tearing both on the surface and internally. It has been challenging to deal with. This, along with changes in my ostomy with my intestine prolapsing outside my body, has left me feeling depressed over all these reminders that my body isn’t quite the same as others.
This pre-partum situational depression has hit me hard. I am struggling with my body and disease and with my hormones running amok. I have found myself in tears quite a bit lately. I am not writing to complain, NO, but to confront what is happening to me and to share this with others who may struggle with these same feelings during pregnancy or at any time. I know that this is supposed to be the most blessed and happy time of my life, so why am I feeling so blue? I don’t have the answer.
Crochet IS Therapy
During this time, my comfort and refuge is found in my craft. I am so grateful for a loving and supportive husband and the support of a fantastic family, but when I am alone, I find solace in the stitches and the repetitive nature of crochet to help distract and focus my mind on something other than these feelings and the pain from my scars.
Lately, I have been working on so many crochet projects for not only my little guy, but also for my sister-in-law who had a baby girl in January. My niece is the perfect model! These projects, alongside my work here at YARNutopia, has given me a deepened purpose, and these goals have helped me focus on more than the issues I am dealing with.
I know I’m not alone. I know that this is only temporary. I know this is a very small price to pay for bringing my baby into the world. I know I have support and love of an amazing husband, family, and community. I know all these things. I also know it is ok to feel. It is ok to be sad. It is ok to hurt. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok.
After spending a little time yesterday on self-care – I bought myself some springtime flowers to brighten my home, I did some retail therapy and bought myself a few feel-good things, I had my nails done, I took a long walk in the sunshine, a short drive and played my favorite music, and I talked for hours with my mom-I am happy to say that I feel a little better. Today has started off on a good foot and writing this has helped. Also, it has helped to be working on some crochet projects, and I went to brunch with Nate. Each day may present a challenge, but I am thankful be able to face each one in strength and resolve and overcome those challenges!
Share with us:
Please share your stories of pre-partum or post-partum depression or your struggles with feeling out of control. Share your stories of how crochet has brought you comfort during a time of need.