Free pattern for easy crochet pencil case – perfect for back to school

It’s back to school and I thought that a unique pencil case would be a great way to start off the new school year. I looked through many sites and blogs for a simple, free pattern and found one with an excellent tutorial.

You can’t go wrong with the step by step photos in this tutorial. I will tell you that I had to make an adjustment to the number of starting stitches as I used the Lily, Sugar’ n Cream cotton yarn which is a medium, 4-ply yarn and a hook.  The pattern calls for 8-ply cotton with a hook.

my first attempt, following her pattern ( starting chain,50 stitches) yielded a pencil case that was way too big. It was 12 inches long, much too long for a pencil case.

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I made an adjustment to my second attempt by starting out with 35 stitches instead.  I used a pen as a reference to make sure I would end up with more or less a good size pencil case.

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Then I just continued to crochet around until I got to a height that I liked, a total of 28 rows.

Here you can see the difference in sizes.

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I did not line my case but the tutorial has an excellent link for lining it.  The tutorial is from the Future Girl Blog.

Then, I found a great tutorial for adding a zipper.  I’ve always shied away from projects that require a zipper.  I figure, it will just be too complicated, but this really helped me to get over my zipper anxiety. It also has a great step by step tutorial on lining a crochet bag.

The beauty of this simple pattern is that you can customize the heck out of it.  The possibilities are endless.  I chose to do my favorite sugar skull applique.

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I am also thinking of turning that first attempt, the one that came out to big for a pencil case into a nice little book bag.

Chevron Cowl Pattern- Project completed and decoded

It’s a happy day today. I finally finished my Chevron Cowl project. Before the big reveal, I thought I’d write up some tips for those who want to create their own Chevron Cowl. The pattern that I used is called Winter Waves Chevron Cowl.  It’s a free pattern I found at Print the pattern to follow along the tips I have included in this post.


This is the first chevron pattern I’ve ever worked.  If you have crocheted this type of pattern, I’m sure you will have no problems with it.  I struggled at the beginning but as soon as things clicked, it was so much fun to work it.

I came up with some tips that I hope will help you decipher the pattern.  Here are the things I discovered while working this pattern:

1.  Make sure you chain 44 NOT 41.  This correction is listed on the pattern so make sure you follow through with the correct number of chain stitches.

2. When you work Row 2, you will do 1 double crochet in the 4th chain from your hook, this means that you will end up with 41 stitches in which to work the chevron pattern.  You will always have 41 stitches when you work each row of this pattern.

DC 4th from hook

3. The stitches that create the chevron pattern are between the two asterisks, you will only be able to repeat the complete pattern 3 times.

3 complete chevrons

4. The fourth time you will only be able to  “*DC3tog. 1dc in each of the next 3 sts….” because by the time you finish your third double crochet you will have only one stitch left and this is where you will “2dc in last st”.

4th chevron Incomplete

5. When you start to work Row 3, you will chain 3 and turn. Make sure you double crochet in the very first stitch or you will not have the right amount of stitches at the end of your row.

Insert at base of ch 3 DC at base of ch 3

6. This is the way it should look after you double crochet in the first stitch.

Befor 3dctog

You will have your chain 3 which is your turning chain. One double crochet in the 1st stitch. One double crochet in each of the next three stitches.

7.  Pull up the Ravelry page where you found the pattern, click on the tutorial for the Mattress Stitch you will need to join the ends of the cowl.   The link is found in Row 42 of the pattern. I used bobby pins to keep the ends together because the first time, I tried to wing it and ended up with one side shorter than the other.

Lastly, don’t be intimidated by the “Special Stitches” dc3tog- double crochet three together. The directions included in the pattern are clear and easy to follow.  This was my first time doing the dc3tog and I was able to do it so I know you can too!

And now for the big reveal!

My Fall Waves Chevron Cowl…I thought I would rename it since I’m using muted fall colors,

Cowl and bird for cl postNesting Cowl

Found that little bird at the thrift store and had to bring him home.

Cowl Pic 1

Just a hint of sun was coming through.  I rather like how the colors look in this shot.

Lemons and Cowl

Taking photos is completely new to me but I’m having fun with it.

Cowl flat

Celebrating the last bits of summer before welcoming the Fall.


Please feel free to shoot me any questions you may have. I will be more than happy to help.





It’s like coming home

This morning I woke up with a drive to create something, anything.  I haven’t been feeling well all week and after getting a second night of good sleep, my body and mind rewarded me with a surge of energy and creativity that I could not let go to waste.

Last night I started working on the Winter Waves Chevron Cowl, I wrote about it in my previous post. After a somewhat slow start, I finally tuned in to what I needed to do and felt good about my stopping point and off to bed I went.

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This morning, I woke up early…well, early for me that is, and thought I’d dive back into working on the cowl.  I brewed my cup of coffee and decided instead to take the time and go through the loot I brought from the bookstore the day before.

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I haven’t been this magazine crazy in a long, long time BUT there were simply too many irresistible patterns and articles to pass up, including the “inaugural issue of Crochetscene!” I’m leaving that for my next blog post since I will need time to go through it and pick out my favorite things from this magazine.

As I’m going through my Studios magazine (the first issue I’ve ever purchased) I was totally captivated by the article of the artist on the cover Alisa Burke I fell in love with the spread of her studio, her story but most of all her colors. Ahh…color everywhere! Makes me smile every time.

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It was the painting  that says “its ok TO BE MESSY” that had me feeling nostalgic about my days in art school.  I was sitting at my little craft table thinking how nice it would be to have a brush in my hand.  Then, I looked over and saw that my sketchbook was buried under a pile of crochet books. I reached over and opened it to the first blank page I found.   I thought, I’d do a little sketch of my hand.  It’s something I used to do all the time. Hands and feet…the hardest part to draw on a model in life drawing classes, I would draw them obsessively.  I knew it would be a tough little exercise and it was but it felt good to do it.

A thought came to mind that no matter how long it has been, my hands create.  I liked how that made me feel. I wanted to write it down.  In the same way that Alisa Burke wrote “its ok TO BE MESSY” I wanted to write “These hands create”.  It was important for me to write it so I don’t forget to keep doing what I am doing now.  Even if it is just for a few minutes here and there or longer blocks of time like on weekends.

I thought I’d “write” that message with what’s become important in my life of late which is yarn and crochet. I took some yarn and a tapestry needle and used it to put that little message on the page.  Next, I decided that color was in order, so I borrowed my daughter’s watercolor palette and quickly realized that her little palette wasn’t going to work for me.  I dashed off to find my watercolor palette, brushes and sat down for quite the nice hour or so to finish what I’d started with the hand sketch.  It’s rough, not too pretty but it’s just a page in a sketch book , above all, it felt soooo good to have a brush in my hand!

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Our hands do so much throughout the day.  I want to remind you that the hands that wash the dishes, do laundry, take out the trash, drive kids to school, etc.  are the same hands that have the ability to create wondrous and beautiful things that may or may not have any particular purpose except for that of making you and those around you smile.

I had the opportunity to do that today and it felt great!

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Yarn Shop Review

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I made a stop at a local yarn shop yesterday.  It is located in San Marcos, California.  The shop has a great name: Yarning For You  I met the owner Debra and she was very nice and cheerful.  The selection of yarn is wonderful.  I spent a good amount of time looking, touching, and overall enjoying the beautiful yarns she stocks in her store. I finally settled on this selection.  I’m thinking Fall is around the corner and this color palette is just right.

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This yarn is from Berroco.  It is made from 100% recycled fibers: Nylon, Cotton, Acrylic, Silk, and Linen. It’s called “Remix”.  I saw a beautiful long sleeved sweater Debra knitted with this yarn and it was beautiful.


The pattern I will be using, I found on the designer is Lorne Haythorn Eppolite and you can see her other lovely designs at–cre8tion-crochet

Debra invited me to bring my crochet and sit with the ladies that knit on Thursday nights when the store stays open late (8pm).  I will try to make it out there soon as it would be nice to sit and chat with other fellow yarn lovers.  I will say that no matter the yarn shop location the knitters outnumber the crocheters.  It seems that crocheters don’t venture out to these shops as much as the knitters as they are ever present at the shops’s tables.  They have always seemed a friendly sort and have made me feel welcomed so I’m thinking getting out of the house for a couple of hours to have coffee and crochet with a group may not be a bad idea at all.

I love yarn stores, they are filled with the most beautiful colors.  The yarns skeins are a pleasure to hold.  Some are buttery soft and others are airy and light, like cotton candy.  I can spend hours just thinking about color schemes and putting palettes of colors together for some future project.  Sadly, as always, there’s just too little time in the day to indulge and so much yarn out there that wants to come home with me!

For the love of yarn

I am simply obsessed with yarn, there I said it. My name is Claudia and I’m a yarnaholic. I may also be addicted to yarn shops but I may revisit that statement in a later post.

I visited Sin City Knit Shop.  I give you one guess as to its location.  Yup, it located in Las Vegas. I was there last weekend and though I didn’t have much luck in Sin City, I did find this wonderful yarn shop.  The yarn selection was to die for and the staff was so nice and helpful.  This was what I bought.

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It’s a beautiful cotton, acrylic blend with a metallic yarn that gives it a pretty sparkle.  Can’t wait to find the perfect pattern for it.

New Aquistions

I love thrift shops. You can get awesome deals on just about anything. Lately, I’ve been on the hunt for yarn and crochet books. Up until two weeks ago my searches yielded quite a nice collection of yarn but no crochet books. Finally I hit the jackpot! I found a book from 1985 titled “The 7 Day Afghan Book” by Jean Leinhauser & Rita Weiss. It’s got over 50 patterns for crochet blankets, there are patterns for knitted afghans as well but it’s mostly filled with pattern after pattern of oh so delicious crochet and the best part…wait for it…I paid 50 cents for it!!! Happy dance, oh yeah!

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The colors are so very 1985 but they can easily be updated. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into one of these patterns.

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I Also received three other crochet books from my sister-in-law as part of a crochet package she put together for my birthday this past June.  I’m building quite the nice crochet reference library and this too, makes me happy.  I love books, I love to live surrounded by them.  It’s been difficult these past few years moving around Southern California and not have access to my book collection.  Sadly, they have been packed away in storage waiting for the day my family and I find a place to call our forever home.

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I’m back!

Had to take a break from the blog due to illness and work but I’m feeling better now. I’ve been working on the Frida Kahlo wrap and that’s coming along nicely.

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I’ve gone through my stash of blue yarn to build up the length. I’m using a DK Merino Superwash by Plymouth Yarn and a 5.00 mm hook.  It is lovely to work with and I am pleased with the quality.  Of course I am one skein short on the blue yarn which means a return trip to Redlands Yarn Company.

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The pattern I am using I found at It is a free pattern which is awesome! Once I figured out how to work the pattern, it was quite easy to crochet row after row. I love to get to that point on a project, it’s why I love to crochet so much.  It’s therapeutic for me to work with my hands.  I have always been process oriented, meaning it’s the process of making something, whether it’s a painting, a ceramic bowl, or a crochet piece that excites me.  The end result of my efforts is not as important as the journey to get there.

I also had the idea to make more coffee dispensers. I ordered ten coffee dispensers from an internet distributor and created sleeves for five so far. Making the appliques is my favorite part. I’m becoming slightly obsessed with buttons, add that to my yarn addiction and it spells trouble for my wallet.


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I like to play around with the eyes on the skulls.  I try different combinations until I find the one that works.  I must say, my least favorite of my little canisters is the the one with the blue skull. I had some left over owls from the graduation party I help plan and decided to try one out on a canister.  I like how it turned it.

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As a side note, I have to share this with you.  The family and I went to a dog festival which would make sense if we had a dog but as we are currently sans pooch, I decided to get my dog fix by checking out the festival at Liberty Station .  It was a beautiful day and the different pet rescue organizations where out in force with their adorable pooches.  One particular vendor caught my attention.  They we selling coffee…yes…coffee at a dog festival.  This is no ordinary coffee vendor since 20% of their proceeds help rescue organizations. The coffee bags are the perfect size for my coffee dispenser so I decided to try one out.

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The coffee is excellent and I was happy that my purchase helps the rescue organizations that do so much to help all the doggies out there to hopefully find their forever home.

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