Maker Basics - The Old Yarn and Hook

Crochet hooks The Wordy BitA lot of people see the work I do (or the work other crafters do) and think: "Wow, I wanna do that!" and they have no idea where to start. Sound familiar? Yeah, it was like that for me, too, when I decided to re-learn how to crochet. My mom showed me how waaaaay back in the 1990s, and I half-assed it, to be honest. I got the itch again in 2015, but I was so overwhelmed with how much information was out there, all the different yarns available, and the multitude of hooks/sizes...that I didn't really dive in a start wading through until 2017. 

So, here I am hoping to be able to clear some of this up for those of you wanting to learn a new hobby. I'll give a quick run-down of my favorite uses of different fibers and a brief explanation of (what I think) are the most important hook sizes to have on hand. I'll even give you instructions on how to start a basic chain (which you'll need to know to start most patterns). Now, I r…

Is it Junk? Loaded Potato Skins

All You Need:12 Russet potatoes, washed
Sour Cream
1 lb Shredded Cheese  (I use a mixture of sharp cheddar and the Mexican blend)
Olive Oil
6 oz Bacon bits (homemade or store bought)
baking pan
aluminum foil
food service gloves (trust me)

Wish Pack Costume Prop

Materials:Worsted weight yarn in: yellow, red, aqua, and white
Cardboard circles (3-4 inch diameter)
3/4" buttons in yellow, red, and aqua
Stitch Marker (place in each ch 1 and move every row after ss)
Tapestry needle
Terms to Know: MC - Magic Circle sc - single crochet ch - chain dc - double crochet dc2tog - double crochet two stitches together ss - slip stitch sts - stitches hdc - half double crochet Pattern (written in US terms):Pattern scaled for fit on a toddler.
Wish Bubbles (Make one in each Yellow, Red, and Aqua)

MC (or Chain 2)
Round 1: sc 8 in the ring (or second chain from hook); ss to join
Round 2: ch 1, 2 sc in each stitch, ss to join
Round 3: ch 1, *1 sc, 2 sc in next stitch*, repeat around to marker, ss to join
Round 4: ch 1, *1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc*, repeat around to marker, ss to join
Round 5: repeat Round 4
Round 6: ch 1, sc around, ss to join
Round 7: ch 2, *1 dc, 2 dc, 1 dc*, repeat around, ss to join
Round 8: ch 2, dc around, ss to join
Round 9: ch 1, sc around, placing stit…

Puffy Pancakes

All You Need:For 6 Pancakes:

1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon butter, melted
a bowl and whisk (or a hand blender)
an oven
a non-stick muffin tin What You Do:Preheat oven to 400°. Combine the milk, eggs, flour, salt, and vanilla in the cup of a hand blender. Pulse until smooth. Very slowly add the melted butter. 

Once the mixture is well blended, pour into muffin tin cups (fill about 2/3). Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes. 

Serve with fresh (or frozen) fruit and whipped cream. Or syrup. Or eat them plain. They're great no matter which way you eat them.

The Wordy BitMy daughter loves watching these bake and puff up! I'm trying to figure out a way for them to better maintain their shape once they're out of the oven...they deflate, and it's a little sad. But these are delicious! I'm experimenting with including my Nutrition information on my recipes, so let me know how that goes, please. This should show you the i…

Springtime Cotton Throw

Materials:Caron Cotton Cakes (I used 3)
Size J Hook (6.00mm)
Tapestry needle (for weaving ends)

Terms to Know: ch - Chain sts - stitches sc - Single Crochet dc - Double Crochet
Pattern (written in US terms):Chain 167;
Row 1: sc in second chain from the hook, *chain 2 sts, skip 2 sts on starting chain, sc in next two sts*, repeat instructions between *...* until end of row; sc in last stitch; ch 2, turn.
Row 2: DC in first stitch, *chain 2, skip 2 sts, DC in next two sc*, repeat *...* until end of row; DC in last stitch; ch 1, turn.

Continue alternating row 1 and 2 until desired length. When desired length is reached, bind off and weave in ends. The Wordy BitThis super easy two row repeat works up so fast! If you prefer a bit more "stable" ends on your work, you can insert a row of sc on the starting chain and end--before and after the pattern. This gives a stronger edge to the work. Here's the difference between a thicker edge and the edge the pattern gives as written.


Simply Tasty Chicken n Dumplins

All You Need:For the Chicken part:
Pot (or Instant Pot)
Chicken (whole or boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
Chicken broth
Salt (to season to taste and to mix drop dough)

For the dumplings:
2 cups All purpose flour 
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 
1 cup milk
a couple spoons and a mixing bowl What You Do:To cook your chicken, either place in Instant Pot or pot and cook thoroughly. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on method. Here's a quick run-down of my favorite methods:

Using boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed):
     Cut into 1 inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Saute in pot until browned. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Best done when time is short, as chicken will be kinda tough (since it's just breast meat) but it still hits the spot.

Using whole (thawed) chicken:
      Place in Instant Pot with 4 cups chicken broth. Set to high pressure cook for 50 minutes. Allow to naturally release. Once done, allow to cool, then debone. …

Update Post Re: All Projects

The Wordy BitIt's all wordy bit and pictures today. My life has been a whirlwind of projects, illness, wellness, craziness, and chaos since just before Christmas. I've got loads of projects going, and none of them seem to be getting done--at least, not fast enough! My baking experiments have been mostly failures, lately...which is very disheartening but! I'm learning. I'm trying new things even when I fail, and I'm making notes (extensive notes) so that I can track my successes and failures. I teased a sugar-free chocolate cake a while back and never came back around to was a mess, and I ate one piece. My husband didn't like it, and I wouldn't even dare give it to my toddler. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Devil's Food cakes, anyway**. This iteration is a modified version of my cupcake recipe. It didn't turn out well, so I made some notes on ways to alter the prep (not the ingredients) and see if that yields better results. However, t…