Jenny is a mother of 3 living in sunny Arizona, where it’s often too hot for all the knitting and crocheting she does. She’s been playing with yarn for over 20 years, and not a day passes that she’s not working on a project. She has a passion for designing and seeks to make patterns that provide creativity and comfort through handmade.
Remember when this image went viral last year as a whole mood for what was happening in the world? Well I’ve got a pattern for that!
As soon as I saw this image of Bernie Sanders hunkered down in the cold with these cozy mittens, I knew it needed to be a knitting pattern. That very same day I pulled out a pencil and some graph paper to chart out a similar colorwork pattern as to the ones shown in the picture. By the end of the day, I had a Sanders Mitten and my version of the pattern was born.
I wanted to make sure my mitten pattern would be available in at least two sizes, so I picked a totally different color palette for the second pair of mittens. Of course the smaller ones would be for me, so I went with pinks and reds. What I didn’t realize is that when I substituted in the red color, little hearts appeared!
I also wanted to make sure the pattern would be beginner friendly, so the colorwork does not use more than 2 colors per row, has solid rows of knit in between each chart for a break, and no colorwork on the thumb or top decrease section. I also used a 9” circular to knit my mittens, which helped make the entire project just fly off the needles. A light blocking helps smooth everything out, and I recommend starting the second mitten right away so you won’t have second mitten syndrome, like I do a year later! I made the two sample mittens in the two colors but didn’t finish the respective mates. Now I need to find them and finish them! Thankfully my testers were able to finish a pair of mittens during testing, so the pattern is fully tested and edited.
And there you have it, the Sanders Mittens knit pattern by Jenny GL! You can find the pattern on Ravelry here and on Etsy here. Make sure to tag me @kountingsheep and use hashtags #kountingsheep and #sandersmittens on Instagram if you post your project.
Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. See the bottom of post for full disclosure.
UPDATE: Full pattern released December 2, 2021!
I have been getting a lot of interest on my half-finished Temperature Blanket from 2020 (I promise to finish it this year, wink wink). So I thought I would answer all the questions and give my basic recipe for how I am making one. When I finish my blanket, I will update this post with a link to the full pattern in my shop, but this will definitely get you started! I’m going to walk you through my process for picking colors, creating a temperature range, and helpful tips for making your own Temperature Blanket.
One of the biggest factors to a successful Temperature Blanket is to pick colors you like. It does not have to be rainbow colors. However, make sure to choose a yarn that won’t be discontinued any time soon and comes in a wide range of colors. For my first blanket, I picked Knit Picks/We Crochet Brava Worsted yarn. It’s an affordable yarn that I’ve used before and enjoy working with, plus it comes in so many different colors. You’ll want to pick about 10 or more different colors, depending on the temperature range you want to create. Obviously the more colors you have, the more colorful and nuanced your blanket will be. Also make sure to add in a neutral color, like cream, gray, or black, to use as a Monthly Marker.
The next thing you want to do is decide whether you want to record the high temps or the low temps for each day. For my blanket, I choose to focus on the high temps. It’s also important to create your own temperature range based on your local area, since some places don’t range in temperature as much as other places, or your temps may be more extreme (hot or cold) than other parts of the world. For example, I live in Arizona where it doesn’t really get below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the high during the winter and the summer can be as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit!
Make a list of the colors you have and then divide up your temperature range amongst the colors. For my range, I did a 5 degree gap, since I wanted to make sure my blanket had a lot of colorful nuance. Here’s my Temperature range as an example:
Mesa, Arizona Temperature Range
115 and Above: Dove Heather
95-99: Cotton Candy
80-84: Lady Slipper
59 and Below: Hunter
Monthly Marker: Cream
Another important factor to a successful temperature blanket is to not make it in one big row-a-day block, because 365+ rows makes for a way too long blanket. It’s better to break it down into panels or squares so that your blanket will come out to a more manageable size. This also means less work each day/week since you’re only working on a portion of the blanket at a time. For mine, I decided to do two panels. It works out almost exactly even to split it into the first half of the year and the second half of the year, including a starting row and the 12 monthly markers.
The great thing about modern technology is that you can always access temperatures online. This is helpful for working on your blanket once a week or once a month, instead of trying to keep up daily if you’re like me and can’t commit to a daily year-long project. It also makes it easier to catch up should you fall behind, since you can always look up and record your temperatures for past dates. It also means you don’t necessarily have to do a temperature blanket for your current year! Pick a special year (like the year you were born or your child was born or you got married, etc) to help commemorate a milestone year you want to remember. I did go ahead and write down the daily temps in my notebook (or you can use a knitting project notebook like this) so I could cross them off as I worked that row and keep track of where I was for when I inevitably abandoned the project and came back to it.
You’ve got your yarn, you’ve got your temp range, now it’s time to get started! I chose the crochet moss stitch for my blanket, and that will be the pattern I share below. I highly recommend making a gauge swatch with all of your colors in order, so you can see how they will work together, as well as to measure your gauge. Gauge is not essential for this project, but it’s helpful to know you won’t get a blanket that’s too big or too small. Get the full pattern including Temperature Tracking Chart on Ravelry here and on Etsy here.
My Temperature Blanket (Crochet) Details
Finished Size: Panel – 18”/46 cm wide by 44”/112 cm long; Blanket – 40”/102 cm wide by 48”/122 cm long
Gauge: 16 sc and 16 rows = 4”/10 cm. Use a gauge tool like this to check your gauge swatch.
Yarn: Knit Picks/We Crochet Brava Worsted (100% acrylic; 218 yards/100 grams per skein) in 13 colors: 1-2 skeins in each color. See above for example colors. You could also get a couple sampler packs of Brava Worsted where all the colors are picked for you.
Use hashtag #mytemperatureblanket and #kountingsheep when sharing your progress on social media! You can also tag me @kountingsheep on Instagram for a chance to be shared in my Stories. Link your project on Ravelry here.
Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that when you make a purchase through the link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All pictures and opinions contained inthis post are my own.
I keep forgetting that I’m trying to revive my blog and post more regularly. But this pandemic has been a whirlwind the last few months, and I took a designing break to give myself permission to just craft for myself. I also took a detour back into sewing, and I’ve been selling and donating cloth face masks. You can shop for them in my Etsy store here.
I did break my designing hiatus to release the Change You Mind Shawl pattern and help raise funds to donate to a charity doing the work to fight police brutality in America. 50% of pattern sales through June 30th will be donated to Campaign Zero. If you are interested in learning more about doing the work of dismantling racism in your own life, a good place to start is with these books on Amazon (affiliate links): Me and White Supremacy or How to Be Antiracist. Here is also a helpful list of ways to actively put your words into actions.
Change Your Mind Shawl was born out of a happy accident because I couldn’t decide on what pattern to create or colors to use. Sometimes momentary indecision can lead to a creative breakthrough. Instead of ripping out my work, I just kept going. It’s rare when I don’t plan out a design beforehand, so it was fun to let the creating happen as I knit. The simple garter stitch makes for a soothing project while the eyelets and color changes add just the right pop of fun.
Change Your Mind Shawl is an elongated triangle shawl that uses 3 colors of fingering weight that fade from dark to light. The fading sections use rows of eyelets to create both a lace pattern and a shift in colors. This shawl is a great way to use 3 special fingering weight yarns from your stash. And if you change your mind about the colors, you can always make another one! Grab your copy of the pattern on Etsy here.
The last thing I want to mention is that I have decided to move my pattern testing group over to Slack instead of Ravelry, due to the redesign that has made Ravelry inaccessible for people with certain disabilities, since the design is highly triggering for migraines, eye strain, seizures, and other health concerns. If you would like to join my new tester group, please follow this invite link here. Slack is an app you can download on your phone that allows users to create private work groups and chat threads to collaborate and work together. It’s also easier to upload and share files and photos, as well as receive notifications. If you are interested in testing knit and crochet patterns for me, I would love to have you join and come say hi in the general chatter thread!
Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission when you shop through the link at no additional cost to you. All opinions and pictures in this post are my own.
So much has been happening in the world right now, and it can be pretty scary for a lot of people. For me, turning to my crafting has been a comfort when my anxiety is heightened. That’s why I have a bunch of yarn related sales and a freebie to share with you today!
First up is a free pattern! I’m offering my Miss Priss Hat Pattern for free on Ravelry from now until next Thursday, March 26th. This pattern comes in 3 sizes, toddler, child, and adult, and has two embellishment options, flower or bow. Download a free copy of the pattern on Ravelry here!
Next is a new pattern release, Neurodiversity Shawl! This crochet shawl was created in collaboration with Operation Social Justice set up by GamerCrafting yarns, and the pattern is inspired by my autistic daughter and our neurodiverse family. Through the end of March, 20% of all sales of this pattern will be donated to Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). You can find more info about the pattern on Ravelry here and Etsy here.
In addition to a new pattern and a free pattern, all my other self-published patterns are 50% off through the end of March! This is a great opportunity to grab some new patterns to try something new or do some gift crafting or even just make a special big project, like a blanket, for yourself. Use code spreadkindness at checkout on Ravelry here. Discount automatically applied on Etsy for all patterns here. *Please note that the Neurodiversity Shawl donation will be based on the original price, not sale price. So you get a discount while still helping a great cause!
And finally, I’m have a huge yarn destash on Ravelry! I’m running out of space to store yarn, so these yarn babies need to find new homes! Expand your stash for a deeply discounted price while helping relieve my stash. Also, all yarn orders over $35 get automatic free US domestic shipping. Shop the destash sale here.
However you choose to spend your unexpected downtime or isolation right now, I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy. It’s my hope that by spreading a little bit of kindness that we can bring a little glimmer of light and hope during this dark time. Happy Friday and happy crafting!
PS>I also wanted to mention that if yarn and patterns aren’t your thing, you can support my work directly by buying me a virtual “coffee” on Ko-Fi here. Every little bit helps my family get through this difficult time right now, and I appreciate all types of support!
***Post updated with new pictures August 2020*** It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on the blog here, but I’m happy to be back today to announce my first new pattern of the decade: Baby Fade Blanket!
This fun crochet pattern uses 3 colors of yarn to create a “fade,” moving from lightest to darkest. This pattern also works great with 3 different colors of yarn for a color blocking effect. I’ve been having so much fun mixing and matching shades of colors that I’m already almost finished with my third blanket!
Do you have patterns that you return to over and over again, especially when needing a last minute gift? Well I can tell that’s what the Baby Fade Blanket pattern is going to be like for me. The easy, repetitive stitches make for great mindless crocheting (or maybe even meditative) at home or on the go.
Also side note, I had my third baby last November. He makes the cutest little blanket model. With two older sisters, he’s going to get used to pink; however, I made a green version just for him.
Grab your copy of the Baby Fade Blanket today! Available on Etsy here and Ravelry here. Check out the Ravelry page for a special coupon code available for release weekend only.
In August of this year, Tyndale released a new Inspire Bible for Girls ages 8 and up. This new Bible is a wonderful edition to the award-winning Inspire line, and I’ll be sharing my review on the blog today as well as a few pages I’ve illustrated in mine. Yes, this Bible is for girls of all ages, including us “big” girls. You can also watch my review on YouTube here.
To order your own Inspire Bible for Girls on Amazon, shop my affiliate link here. Choose from either Hardcover or Softcover.
Here is a brief description of this new Bible from the publisher: “Over 500 beautiful full and partial-page Scripture line-art illustrations to color are attractively displayed throughout the Bible. There are lots of pages with open space for creativity in the lightly-ruled, two-inch-wide margins. Girls can leave traces of their faith throughout their Bible for a unique treasure that will truly inspire!The 8.65-point font is larger and more readable than other coloring Bibles, and the high-quality white Bible paper makes it a great choice for creatively responding to God’s Word right on the pages of the Bible. Instill the joy and value of reading the Bible in young girls’ hearts so they can learn to connect with God and discover valuable truths from Scripture―and ultimately live it out in their lives!”
Tyndale was kind enough to send me a copy of the softcover Inspire Bible for Girls to review. I did also purchase the hardcover version for myself because I loved the cover. Both covers have shimmery silver to it, but I felt like the hardcover had just an extra special touch with the etched designs and colorful endpapers. Both Bibles contain the exact same content, so it’s just a matter of personal preference when choosing a cover. The softcover also retails for slightly less, if budget is an issue.
In addition to the illustrations we’ve come to love in the Inspire Bibles, the Inspire Bible for Girls also includes lots of extra features. These extra features include: 300+ devotionals written by author Carolyn Larsen; 160+ journaling prompts; 64 key scripture verse pages new with illustrations; 64 fun facts list for each book of the Bible (1-3 John are listed together); topical index of devotionals as well as a special “Shine Brightly for Jesus” devotional plan.
As with the other Inspire Bibles, this one includes the full text of Scripture in the New Living Translation (NLT). This translation is dynamic and highly readable, making it a great option for young girls. Something new to this Bible is the addition of some color to the actual pages. There is some teal included throughout the Bible on the key verse illustration pages, the Old and New Testament Pages, the fun facts, devotionals, and journaling prompts. I like that they used color to help highlight these columns throughout to make them stand out and easier to find as you’re flipping through.
The introduction includes lots of information for studying and illustrating in your Bible, as well as some practice illustrations that are a great place for testing out supplies. In the back is an index of all the designed scripture verses and designed word art.
There are new illustrations on the inside covers and the dedication page. Again it was left blank like in the Inspire Praise bible to make it easier to personalize as you choose. This was the first page I illustrated in my new Bible the day after I received it. I used sparkle gel pens and Faber Castell big brush pens to color and write on the spread.
The next page I illustrated was this full page illustration in 2 Chronicles 20:20. I used watercolor pencils and light water to color this page. The thickness of the pages I would consider the same as the original Inspire Bible. The pages are listed as white, but they seem sort of cream to me still. I do think they are a lighter shade than the original Inspire Bible though.
Overall I am highly pleased with the newest Inspire Bible for Girls, and I love that it’s packed full of features. This would make a great Christmas gift for any young girl in your life. To order a copy of the Inspire Bible for Girls on Amazon, click here. To read other Inspire Bible reviews, visit my Bible Review page here.
You can purchase a special digital kit with tons of printables that coordinate with the Shine Brightly for Jesus devotional plan in the new Inspire Bible for Girls here. Created by Amber Bolton of @biblejournaling and the Inspire Bible Tour. There’s also a new Blessings Coloring Pages digital kit available here that pairs well with the Inspire Bibles, and includes 25 pages of prompts and original artwork to guide you through finding the blessings in your life.
Also, I’ll be having a giveaway this week on my Instagram! Check out @kountingsheepbiblejournaling for a chance to win a softcover Inspire Bible for Girls!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you make purchases through the link at no additional cost to you. I was sent a complimentary copy of the softcover Inspire Bible for Girls by Tyndale Publishers. I was not required to give a positive review. All pictures and opinions contained in this post are my own.
The summer may have slipped away from me before I could share more kids books, but I’m excited to get back into blogging with the next book I recommend for kids: 100 Bible Stories for Children. Both my 4 year old and 1 year old love to read a story from this book at bedtime, and they were thrilled to help me get some pictures of them with the book. It reminds me of a book my parents would have read to me as a child; the illustrations are timeless and the stories are taken directly from scripture with similar phrasing and they don’t shy away from difficult subjects.
This book is compiled by Tyndale publishers and includes 100 of the most well-known stories from both the Old and New Testament. Some of the stories include creation, Noah’s ark, Joseph and his brothers, the Ten Commandments, Naomi and Ruth, Daniel in the lions den, the birth of Jesus, the Beatitudes, the crucifixion and resurrection, Paul’s ministry, and heaven. They are arranged in the order you would find them in the Bible.
One of the things I like the most about this book is that it’s written for children in a way that doesn’t water down the Bible for them. Some other Bible story books we have seem to almost make scripture “too easy” for kids, and it loses some of the seriousness of the message. Obviously I believe you should teach scripture to your children in an age appropriate way, but I appreciate that this book introduces kids at a young age to a broad scope of the Bible and its often difficult topics, like sin, Cain and Abel, and the death of Jesus.
Each story is arranged as its own chapter, with at least one illustration and the direct scripture reference listed at the beginning of the story. The book has a ribbon bookmark to make it easy to find your place each time as you read it together with your child. The stories are short enough to read one or two at a time before bed.
I am so grateful for Tyndale sending me this book to review with my family. I can definitely see it becoming a regular part of our family reading. I would consider 100 Bible Stories for Children a great resource for parents to help teach the Bible to their children in a way that is both fun and educational.
To order your own 100 Bible Stories for Children on Amazon, click here.
Please note this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through the link at no additional cost to you. Tyndale Publishers sent me a copy of this book to review. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions and pictures contained in this post are my own.
For the month of July, I thought it would be fun to share some resources for kids to encourage them to read this summer! First up I have 2 board books to share that are great for reading aloud with toddlers. I have 2 little girls who love books, and these board books have been a huge hit with them.
Counting Blessings by Eileen Spinelli and Illustrated by Lee Holland
The first book I want to share with you is called Counting Blessings. This sweet book features a cute bunny family. The mommy and daddy bunny are helping the baby bunny to count different blessings throughout the day. The first half of the book show 10 different blessings to count and then the second half of the book counts things outside in nature, without using numbers like the first half.
As a mom of two young children who love to read counting books, I really like the structure of this one to include actual numbers for part of it and then things that the child can count for the second part of it. The cover of the book is a padded cover and the pages are traditional board book material. This book is very sturdy for little hands, and so far our copy has been able to withstand two very rough toddlers. Another thing I like about this book is that it showcases simple blessings that would be more familiar to a young child, like crackers, good night kisses, books, songs, birds and trees. This loveable book is great for reading before bed with a simple rhyming scheme that makes it flow smoothly when reading.
Little One, God Made You Special by Amy Warren Hilliker and Illustrated by Polona Lovsin
The second board book I want to share is called Little One, God Made You Special. I was drawn to the title of this book for my girls because my husband and I try to emphasize a lot how God made us special. We want our girls to grow up knowing that they are made in God’s image and that they are a precious gift. This book helps to reinforce those truths with soft illustrations of animals and a sweet rhyme that points out the different parts of us that are perfectly made by God. The book opens and closes with the message that “God made you special, little one. There’s no one like you–no, no not one!”
My girls love to read this one and flip the pages. This board book has a traditional board book cover and pages, but they are on the thinner side. It will stand up to toddlers better than a regular book, but may not be as sturdy as other board books. The size is perfect for showing off the beautiful illustrations, which I think are a major highlight of this book. The book is written by Rick Warren’s daughter, Amy, and is inspired by themes from The Purpose Driven Life. I love that the theme of this book is very intentional, even for the youngest of readers.
Overall, I think both of these books are a great addition to a little one’s library. They are sure to become bedtime favorites. To purchase a copy of Counting Blessings on Amazon, click here. To purchase a copy of Little One, God Made You Special, click here. Stay tuned for more kid friendly recommendations!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through the link at no additional cost to you. I was sent a copy of both these books from the publisher through the Book Look Bloggers program. I was not required to give a positive review. All pictures and opinions contained in this post are my own.
Have you tried Tunisian crochet before? If you haven’t ever heard of this technique, it’s a special combination of knit and crochet that uses what was traditionally called an “afghan” hook, or a long crochet hook. Your grandma would have known it as “Afghan stitch” or “Afghan crochet” because it was a very popular technique to use to make large panels for blankets. In fact, I know my grandma knew how to do Afghan stitch, because she made my dad an entire blanket using this technique.
I learned how to do Tunisian crochet about 15 years ago before I had learned to knit. I had been crocheting for several years and wanted to branch out to something new, but wasn’t ready to pick up some knitting needles. I had several books, a few long afghan hooks, and a few double-ended crochet cables (like circular knitting needles but with crochet hook tips). I mostly made scarves, because you don’t have to turn your work with Tunisian crochet. The above pictured scarf is the only thing I still have from when I first learned Tunisian. Unfortunately I gave away all my Tunisian supplies when I learned to knit, thinking I would never be interested in doing it again. I have major regrets now for not keeping my supplies, especially the double-ended cable hooks.
Now with the recent resurgence of this technique, I decided to get a new set of Tunisian hooks and pick it up again. And I’m addicted! I really think the best part about Tunisian crochet is the fact you don’t have to turn your work. Tunisian is a combo of “croknitting” loops onto your hook going right to left, then crocheting the loops off your hook from left to right. It produces a fabric that is neither fully knit nor fully crochet but resembles a little bit of both. I’m currently working on my very first Tunisian crochet blanket, and it’s been fun learning new stitches.
If you would like to give Tunisian crochet a try, check out these supplies on Amazon here:
You can also read more detailed information about Tunisian crochet and the basic stitches in this article here. I’m hoping to create some Tunisian crochet designs in the future, and I can’t wait to learn new techniques and stitches! Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions about Tunisian crochet or if you’ve tried it before!
Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission when you purchase through the links at no additional cost to you. All pictures and opinions contained in this post are my own.
For Day 3 in this “College Bound” series, I have a new crochet pattern to share with you! The Collegiate Throw is the perfect project to help get your college student into school spirit. Choose your school colors to crochet this giant granny square blanket, perfect for dorm rooms, chilly fall football games, cuddling up with a textbook, or even to help stay warm in a cold classroom.
Download the pattern on Ravelry here and on Etsy here.
The Collegiate Throw pattern includes written instructions for how to make the blanket, special instructions for making a crisp straight square, 4 color sequence ideas, and 2 picture tutorials for special stitches. This crochet pattern has been carefully edited and tested to ensure quality and accuracy.
The pattern also uses one of my favorite blanket yarns, Caron One Pound. You can order this yarn in a variety of colors on Amazon here. Combined with a large crochet hook, this throw works up quickly. You can order a Boye Ergonomic size L hook (as seen in these pictures) on Amazon here. The Collegiate Throw pattern is addicting, and soon you’ll be making one in all your favorite college team colors for every member of your family!
Download your copy of the Collegiate Throw crochet pattern in my Etsy shop here and on Ravelry here. Use the hashtag #collegiatethrow on Instagram to share your projects made using my pattern. I can’t wait to see what color combos you come up with!
Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission when you purchase through the links at no additional cost to you. All pictures and opinions contained in this post are my own.