Happy Clappy Crochet

Celebrating Crochet with a Positive Spin

Student Banquet at SMW 2018

On August 4, 2018, I attended the Student Banquet and Fashion show at Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL. The Student Banquet is probably my absolute favorite event to attend, because the pride of creation is on every face who shows off their work on the runway.

This has been my 7th time attending the Student Banquet, and so far, it has been my favorite one. It’s my favorite for one reason – CROCHET! Not only were the first FOUR garments crocheted, but there were 11 crocheted pieces total. Also making a show on the runway this year – sewn and quilted pieces. Stitches just isn’t for knitters anymore!

One of the items that came down the runway has a very special meaning to me. My younger sister Kate, whom I taught to crochet when she was pregnant, modeled a lace shawl stitched from a pattern I released in March 2016 to celebrate being part of Internation Crochet Month. The pattern is the Terra Shawl [https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/terra-shawl] and it is special to me for being the first half circle shawl I designed, as well as helping to design the yarn colorway for the pattern. It was the first time I saw something I designed and published myself being worn on the runway by someone other than myself, and it brought tears of joy to my eyes.

So forgive my indulgence, but here are several pictures of Kate, modeling the Terra Shawl.  Thank you to XRX, Inc. for making these pictures available to share.

© XRX, Inc. 2018

© XRX, Inc. 2018

© XRX, Inc. 2018

© XRX, Inc. 2018

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Yep…I’m Still Here

It has been a long time since my last post – November 2016 to be exact. And with that knowledge I’ve come to a realization – I really stink at trying to blog on a regular basis.

It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say. If you have read any of my previous lengthy blog posts, you can see that writing isn’t the problem. Once I get started on a post, I can easily get between 200 to 300 words. What has been the problem, however, is motivation. Late 2016 / Early 2017 I pretty much lost the desire to create. That not only meant creating blog posts like this one, but crafting with yarn as well. There were some things that I HAD to crochet, and they got done, but they were the ONLY things that got done. The desire to sit and play with yarn just went away for a long, long time.

Part of the reason, to be honest, was politics. When you are on edge because the new office holder not only has no idea how to be a leader for a country, but also has no desire how to learn to become that leader, the day to day outrages add up. I didn’t have the energy to be creative with yarn because so much of my energy was spend being an active citizen. I’m still an active citizen, and will use this opportunity to remide you to register to VOTE for the November 2018 elections. If you are already registered, CHECK your registration on a monthly basis until election day. People in several states are being removed from voter rolls for no reason, and this impacts their chance to have a say in how they are governed.  (P.S. I will have not problem deleting comments and blocking people who want to start a flame war. I’m being honest regarding reasons why I haven’t blogged, but this is not an open invitation to attack me for it.)

Another reason crochet and yarn got less love in 2017 is that I found another avenue that did inspire some creativity. I was playing Dungeons and Dragons on a monthly basis with a group of friends. I found out that I really like the creativity involved in a role playing game, and I couldn’t wait for each session. The group I was playing with came to an end earlier this year, but I liked playing so much that I working on putting together a new group with a different set of friends, and this time I am going to run the game as DM (Dungeon Master, or GM for Game Master).

Then 2017 ended on a pretty high note, because several family members took a cruise to celebrate mine and my dad’s birthdays. That vacation, along with the knowledge that my middle sister was pregnant, helped me start 2018 with the desire to play with yarn again.

I’ll save my 2018 adventures with yarn for future posts. Most of them will have pictures, so you can see what I have finished.

I won’t promise to blog on a weekly or monthly basis, because I suck with that kind of schedule. Instead, I’ll post when the spirit moves me, and the posts may not always relate to yarn. I’m still all about Happy Clappy Crochet, but I’m not just crochet. I have other things that draw my interest, and may share them here as well.

Until the next post, may your joys outweigh your sorrows, and your laughter outnumber your tears.




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New Patterns Released for Cascade

It has been a while, but I’m happy to say that two new patterns that I designed for Cascade Yarns have been released, and I would like to share them with you here.

The first is the Bloomfield Shawl.

©Cascade Yarns 2016

  ©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016











The Bloomfield Shawl is a half circle shawl which alternates solid rows of double crochet stitches with increasing bands of lace stitches to create an airy, swingy shawl. The pattern uses Heritage Wave by Cascade Yarns, a fingering weight yarn with color transitions. The yarn does all the colorwork and you just have 4 ends to weave in.


The second pattern that was released is the Easy Cable Lace Stole.

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016










The Easy Cable Lace Stole is a quick project where the crochet stitch pattern give you lots of bang for your buck! The post stitch cross over gives a great texture to the fabric you create, and the nature of the stitch allows for lots of different blocking options, from a tighter stitch to really open and lacy. The project in the picture used a medium block – wanted some openness but didn’t want to lose the texture of the post stitch. You can see the light coming through on the second picture, so you can see how open it is. The yarn used is Longwood Sport by Cascade Yarns, a sport weight yarn with lots of spring. I really liked using this yarn and will be using more of it in the future.

So there you have it – this brings the total number of patterns I have had published up to 30! Thanks for celebrating with me! I can’t wait to see what you crochet!



Fruits of Labor

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to design accessory patterns for Cascade Yarns. That designing opportunity led to something else; something much cooler in my estimation.

At the start of the year, Cascade Yarns contacted me with a project. They were looking to add crochet stitch gauge information to their website, and in the future, to their yarn ball bands. They asked if I would be interested in doing all the swatching to come up with the gauges. I said that I would. So, since the end of January, I’ve been creating lots and lots of swatches in Cascade Yarns.

Small sample of said swatches in progress. © 2016 Laura Krzak

Small sample of said swatches in progress.
© 2016 Laura Krzak

So far, I have completed swatches for 18 different yarns produced by Cascade Yarns, and another batch of 5 more yarns should be shipped by the end of the week.

What goes into gauge swatching? I decided on a set number of stitches across and a set number of rows to complete in order to give me multiple spots to take stitch count measurements of 4 inches. Next, using yarn weight information from the Cascade Yarns website, guidelines on hook sizes from the Craft Yarn Council, and my own experience of stitching with that weight of yarn, I choose three hook sizes and create a swatch of single crochet stitches with each hook. After crocheting each swatch, I tag it with one of the bead letter markers I created (see Taming of the Swatch for more info), and go on to crochet the next swatch with the next hook. After all the swatches are crocheted, they get wet blocked. I don’t stretch out the swatches when I block them, because my goal is to not distort the stitch count. Rather, I wet block them to clean any oils from handling them as well as to relax the yarn. I pin the corners in hopes that they won’t curl (still get some curl, but that is most likely due to the denseness of the single crochet stitch), and once everything is dry and ends are woven in, it is time to measure. I will measure in several spots on the swatch and use the number that most often appears. I record the measurements, then go onto the next swatch. The final step is typing up my findings to send to Cascade Yarns, as well as tagging each yarn with its yarn name, hook sized used for that swatch, and the number of single crochet stitches that equal 4 inches.

I’m pleased to report that Cascade Yarns has started posting the crochet gauge info on the website for the yarns I’ve already done. I was really pleased to note that they used ALL of the stitch information I provided, so you will see crochet stitch count info for all three hook sizes that I used. Please check out Sunseeker and Cherub Aran for a couple examples. Other yarns, like Cascade 220, have the place marker on the website for crochet hook size and crochet gauge, and that information will be filled in when that yarn is swatched.

I’m really proud that Cascade Yarns is working to become more inclusive of crocheters. They have invested in providing more crochet patterns over the past several years, and the current count of crochet patterns is at 100 free patterns, with more patterns added monthly. With adding crochet gauge to their yarn lines, they are really making an effort to say that Cascade Yarns is a crochet friendly yarn company. I’m very proud to be helping with this effort.


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Crochet at SMW Part 2

**Warning – the following post has lots of pictures, so please view on an appropriate device**

Last week I posted on the professional designs that were shown during the Vendor & Sponsor Fashion Show that took place on Friday night at Stitches Midwest. This post is going to be about the Student Banquet, which takes place on Saturday night.

The Student Banquet is probably my favorite event at Stitches. It is the last big event for the weekend, a bunch of prizes are given out, and everyone has lots of fun. What makes the Student Banquet special is the fashion show, because it is all volunteer models showing off the amazing things they have created.

This year at the Student Banquet, a total of 49 items were modeled. Today, with the permission of XRX, Inc. to use their pictures, I will share the 10 crocheted items that were shown.

Lily 1  Lily 2

This is a bonus to start us all off 😉 Every year, the amazing Lily Chin wears a new item that she created. This year, since this event quickly followed the CGOA conference, Lily wore the same outfit to both events, but I am not complaining. Lily created the pineapple dress using Tunisian crochet stitches, and crocheted the leaves that form the neckline. Just stunning work from the newest inductee into the Crochet Designer Hall of Fame.

Now, presented without comment because their skills speak for themselves, here are the Crocheters at Stitches Midwest.

Kate 1  Kate 2

Cro Top 1  Cro top 2

MaryAnn 1  MaryAnn 2

Ood 1

Vest 2  Vest 1

Island cro 1  Island cro 2

Roberta 1  Roberta 2

Roberta 3  Roberta 4


I am in awe of these ladies, sharing the amazing work they do with crochet. It was fabulous to get to see these pieces in person, and I’m happy to share them here with you.

Have a good week!

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Crochet at Stitches Midwest 2016 – Part 1

I’m home from an amazing weekend at Stitches Midwest, and I need to share the love. I plan to do this over a couple blog posts, so I hope you will check them all out.

Today, I want to focus on the Friday night Fashion Show.  There were 70 amazing garments in the show, but the three I want to focus on are the crochet garments. Please note that all the pictures I am sharing are property of XRX, Inc., and they are shared with permission.

The first is Whirlpool, designed by Michele Harlass in Makimo and Mousou by FIBERLADY.

Fiberlady 1  Fiberlady 2

When the model turned around, the OOHHS filled the room. This was just a stunning example of what you can create with crochet.

Next up is the Icarus Shawl, designed by Tracey McCorkle and Sharon Wagner, using Legacy Lace from Brown Sheep and CRYSALETTS.

Crystaletts 1 Crystaletts 3

I love adding bling and beads to my crochet work, and it was used to great effect in this shawl. Crysaletts was also a new sponsor this year, and the ladies in the booth were a ton of fun to hang out with. After seeing this shawl, I had to go buy some bling for myself. I’ll share the goodies in another post.

The final crochet piece was Twisted Minstrel, designed by Michelle Stead in Arial Evolution from Twisted Fiber Arts. The designer is also the wonderful person behind MICHELLE’S ASSORTMENT, where you can find amazing shawl pins.

Michelle 2

While these are the only true crochet pieces in the fashion show, I saw many knit pieces that could have a crochet counterpart, especially the garments created with mitered squares or chevron stitches. Just because something is in one technique doesn’t mean you couldn’t adapt it to another for your own use.

If you would like to see more photos from the Friday Fashion Show which took place at Stitches Midwest, and you are on Facebook, please go to https://www.facebook.com/KnittingUniverse/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1231800546832983

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It’s Been A While…

The last time I posted was back in May… two whole months ago. You may have been wondering what I’ve been doing (or not, which is cool). Well, the reason I haven’t had time to post to the blog is that I was busy creating several new crochet patterns for Cascade Yarns – six new patterns, to be exact. In fact, the first pattern of the six has been published already. It is the Blue Skies Baby Blanket in Anthem by Cascade Yarns. It is a great baby blanket with texture created using post stitches. The name of the blanket was inspired by the name of the yarn. With a yarn called “Anthem,” what can you do but reference a song in your pattern name 🙂

© Cascade Yarns 2016

© Cascade Yarns 2016

The blanket is shown as a single color project, but it can easily be adapted for stripes or a multi-color rainbow look. It is all up to you!

As other new patterns are released from Cascade, I’ll talk about them here. Thanks again to Cascade Yarns, for providing free pattern downloads to crocheters!

What have you been busy stitching? Let me know in the comments below.


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Friday the 13th – Quick Post

Marly Bird stated earlier today on Twitter that this is the only Friday the 13th for 2016, so something special should be done to celebrate.

I’m going to do that by giving you all access to a free hat pattern. It is the Cassi Hat, named after a good friend who challenged me to change a scarf stitch pattern into a hat design. Enjoy!

Cassi’s Hat

(a CROCHET pattern in U.S. Terms)

 Materials:            H / 5.00mm hook

Approximately 200 yds worsted weight yarn (Weight Category 4)

Two stitch markers

Tapestry needle

Size:                         Approximately 22” cir; 8” length

Gauge Measurement:             16 stitches = 4”

                                                   Crown diameter should be between six to seven inches for adults


Special Stitch: Textured Stitch: Alternating SC / DC


Foundation:     Ch 6; sl st in first ch to close ring


Round 1:          Ch 2; 15 dc into ring.  Sl st in first dc to end round (15)


Round 2:          Ch 2; 2 dc in same stitch as sl st and in each stitch around.  Sl st in top of first dc to end round. (30)


Round 3:          Ch 2; dc in same stitch as sl st, 2 dc in next stitch, *dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch; repeat from * around, ending with 2 dc.  Sl st in first dc to end round. (45)


Round 4:          Ch 2; dc in same stitch as sl st and in nest stitch, 2 dc in next stitch, *dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch; repeat from * around, ending with 2 dc.  Sl st in first dc to end round. (60)


Round 5:          Ch 2; dc in same stitch as sl st and in next two stitches, 2 dc in next stitch, *dc in next 3 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch; repeat from * around, ending with 2 dc.  Sl st in first dc to end round. (75)


Round 6:          Ch 2; dc in same stitch as sl st and in each stitch around.  Sc in first dc to end round. (75)

Place Stitch Marker in this joining sc; DO NOT REMOVE MARKER


TURN HAT SO RS FACES IN – This will help keep the texture to the outside of the hat.


NOTE: Use a second marker to keep track of round repeats.


Round 7:          Dc in next stitch; *sc in next stitch, dc in next stitch; repeat from * around until desired hat length is reached, ending with a sc.  Sl st into sc at start of row. Fasten off and weave in ends.



Many thanks to Yvonne Tate, who taught me my favorite method for stitching the crown.


Copyright February 2013 © Laura Krzak.  All Rights Reserved.  Duplication of this pattern is a crime and will be punished by law.  Please observe all copyright laws.  Please contact the author for permission to use elsewhere.



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5 Years On – Stitches Midwest

Five years ago this month, I started a bit of a rant on a Ravelry group that ended up bringing about some change. That rant had to to with the lack of crochet classes being available at Stitches Midwest in 2011. I won’t go into the whole story here, but if you are interested, you can follow this link to learn more.

I was able to take a crochet class at Stitches Midwest in 2011 – it was offered as a one-hour market session. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but when you account for planning logistics, it was a pretty quick response to offer any kind of crochet class just 4 months after the initial topic had started. Since 2011, there have been a minimum of 10 (true) crochet and crochet-friendly (classes for both knitters and crocheters) offered at each session of Stitches Midwest. For August 2016, there are 13 crochet and crochet friendly classes being offered.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, it is an anniversary of sorts. I had the opportunity to talk with Tammy Burke when she was guest hosting the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird about a month ago. My call comes in at the 24:18 mark. During the call, I encourage crocheters to take a class this year. I’m quite passionate about it. This anniversary had me thinking about that call, and I decided to check how much I’ve practiced what I preached.

I logged into the XRX website and checked how many classes I’ve taken since 2011. So far, the total stands at 19 – one 1-hour market class, seventeen 3-hour classes, and one 6-hour class. My total will grow by the end of this year, with another crochet class that will be taken at Stitches Midwest in August as well as 15 hours of classes at Camp Stitches in November.

So, 5 years on, and I owe some thanks. First to Benjamin Levisay of XRX for not only asking for feedback on improving crochet outreach for Stitches events, but actually following through on many of the suggestions. Second, I want to thank the other posters in the Ravelry thread where the conversation started who took the time to give reasoned and constructive feedback to Benjamin. We helped start a big change that is still going, and I thank you all for that. I’d like to thank the teachers who have offered crochet classes over the past 5 years. I know that the classes may not have been as full as you may have liked, but it meant the world to me to be able to take classes from the likes of Kristin Omdahl, Myra Wood, Edie Eckman, Marly Bird, Jenny King, and Marty Miller. I’d like to thank the teachers who adapted knitting classes so that they were crochet friendly as well – Laura Bryant has done much of this over the past 5 years. I’d like to thank the sponsors and vendors who have helped to make the event more crochet friendly, offering crochet tools and books in their booths, as well as showcasing crocheted items in their booths and in the fashion shows.

Finally, I want to thank the crocheters themselves who have attended the Stitches events over the past 5 years. You’ve taken classes with me, enjoyed the PJ party, and showed off your amazing handiwork during the Saturday Student Banquet. Our attendance numbers are growing, and we are even starting to fill classes to the point that they are sold out. This post wouldn’t be possible without your support of taking crochet classes when they are offered and attending national shows. I thank you deeply, and I hope to see many of you in Schaumburg in August. For those of you on the fence, there is still time to sign up for classes. Check out the list and see if something strikes your fancy. Come to the Student Banquet and show the room the wonderful things you make with your hook. I really do hope to see you in August!


Please Note: Neither Benjamin or anyone associated with XRX had any idea I was going to post this. I am not being paid by XRX to promote Stitches events. I just realized today, during a conversation with a friend, that I had been taking crochet classes at national events for 5 years, and that is what prompted this post.

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For Susie – In Memoriam

I heard some sad and unexpected news last night. Fellow Cascade Yarns designer Susie Bonell had passed away quite suddenly. Because it was so sudden, there aren’t many details to share.

I didn’t know Susie personally, but I started seeing her crochet designs for Cascade around the same time mine were being published, so I friended her on Facebook and shared several of her crochet patterns when they came out.

I’m saddened that the crochet industry has lost another creative spark, yet her memory will live on in the designs she has already published.

For a look at the crochet patterns Susie designed for Cascade Yarns, please go to this Ravelry pattern list. As for me, I think I’ll be making a couple of her hat designs for donation to Halos of Hope as a way to honor her spirit.

My hook is raised in salute, Susie. May God speed you on your way.




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