Lucky Charm Scarf

Lucky Charm Scarf crochet pattern at Polka Dot CottageI’d been planning to come here and post some blizzard pictures, but I thought I’d wait until the boys and I finished our shoveling job. Well, they went back to school this morning, and we’ve still got a small pile of snow by the garage door. I guess that falls on me. Sigh.

At any rate, I decided not to share the blizzard pics anyway, because I’ve already posted the best ones on social media this week, and you know what that means? That means they’ll all show up in This Week in Pictures on Saturday, and you’d have to look at them twice. So nevermind.

Instead, how about I tell you about the new pattern I quietly published with very little fanfare last week?

Lucky Charm Scarf crochet pattern at Polka Dot Cottage Lucky Charm Scarf crochet pattern at Polka Dot Cottage

Ooh, static!

Ooh, static!

I had this gorgeous alpaca worsted in all the right colors, and I needed a scarf, so I grabbed an E hook and just improvised my way through it.

The result is this lovely soft reversible scarf that I can wrap around my neck twice for extra coziness.

The beauty of this thing is in the materials. The variegated yarn does all of the work for you. There’s no fancy stitch pattern. You only need to know how to do a few basic crochet stitches.

Lucky Charm Scarf crochet pattern at Polka Dot Cottage

This is totally a low-concentration project, leaving you free to pay attention to the TV, a crackling fire in the fireplace, or maybe even (gasp!) a spouse or offspring who want your attention.

This is the front.

This is the front.

This is the back.

This is the back.

Here’s what you need to know how to do (in US crochet terms):

  • Make a foundation chain and crochet the first row into it
  • Slip stitch
  • Single crochet
  • Half double crochet
  • Double crochet
  • Triple crochet

That looks like a lot, but each of those last four stitches is pretty much just like the stitch listed above it, but with an extra yarn-over. (It’s not quite as simplified as that, but it’s pretty close.)

While this is meant to be beginner-friendly, it is not a tutorial. It’s just a pattern, so you do have to actually know how to do the stitches.

I would be happy to whip up a video that demonstrates these things, if anyone feels that would be helpful.

Lucky Charm Scarf - Just the Pattern!
Lucky Charm Scarf - Just the Pattern!
No tutorial, just the 4-page pattern PDF.

Price: $1.99

A note on the yarn I used: I got my hand-dyed baby alpaca at Rhinebeck from Morning Moon Alpacas. They don’t have much of a web presence in terms of their yarn, but if you are eager to get your hands on the same stuff I used, you can probably contact them and let them know you’re looking for colorway 13-A.

Barring that, you can try someplace like Eat. Sleep. Knit. They have a wide selection of variegated hand-dyed wools that would be perfect for this project. I love this one, personally. (I don’t get anything for sending you there. Just a happy customer!)

Need more details before making up your mind? Everything you could possibly want to know is on the Lucky Charm Scarf page.

If you still have a question, feel free to leave a comment!

Happy crocheting!


TWiP: January Stuff

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

This week’s photos look very Januaryesque to me. The crocheting and the sitting in front of the fire are wintry enough, but when you add in the clay stuff, that clinches it for me.

I’ve been re-reading old posts from this time in previous years (like I always do) and it’s been very heavy on the polymer. The annual Clayathon used to happen on MLK weekend, so the history feed was full of polymer clay prolificness this week. It’s inspired me.

I have to admit I’m losing steam on the remaining ornaments I have left to make, but I just need to power through! Once I’m done with those, I can focus my efforts on new cane designs, a little experimenting, and some new tutorials to go with the one I published this week.

Speaking of publishing, I very quietly added a new crochet pattern to the shop yesterday. I’ll post more about it next week, but in the meantime, feel free to have a look!

I’m writing this on Friday night as I usually do, but by the time you read it on Saturday morning, we could be under a pile of snow. There’s a blizzard warning in effect, and forecasts are varying wildly with anything from 4 inches to 18 inches of snow on the way.

However much we get, I plan to spend all weekend indoors. I’ve stocked up on firewoood and craft supplies, so I’m good to go 😀

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot with my DSLR for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some phone snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…


Instagram: I worked all morning on these guys. That’s a lot of cats! 🐈🐈 #pdcfamilyportraitornaments #pdc

365: 2016 16/366 – Saturday night snack: Vanilla Cinnamon Black Tea and some Maple Pecan Granola. [taken with my phone]


Instagram: It’s doing this outside.

Instagram: So we’re doing this inside.

365: 2016 17/366 – I’ve been improvising a new scarf in my spare time for the last week or so. I’m using a simple stitch pattern and letting the variegated alpaca (in some of my favorite colors) do most of the work.


365: 2016 18/365 – Spent a lot of time with my music collection today, culminating in a much better organized mp3 player for the car, as well as this new playlist burned to CD. Playlist blogged here:

Instagram: A little #crochet and a little #downtonabbey for my Monday night 😊


365: 2016 19/365 – I’m taking a quick break from family portrait ornaments today and working on a seam ripper order. Here the handles are just prior to baking.

Instagram: Finished my #crochet scarf tonight, and now it’s hanging to dry. I’m planning to publish the pattern, but it needs a good name. Any ideas?


365: 2016 20/365 – Twelve little handmade seam rippers, all prettied up and waiting for their ride out of here :-)


365: 2016 21/365 – My new scarf design is finished, and it’s nice and cozy. My cousin-in-law, Tracy, suggested I call it "Lucky Charm" and I like that, so Lucky Charm Scarf it is! Pattern coming to the download shop soon! [already done!]


365: 2016 22/365 – Neil found this old bottle on eBay. It says "Clarke’s World Famed Blood Mixture." He was taking its picture earlier tonight for Instagram and since I hadn’t yet taken my Project 365 picture (and had no other ideas) I copied him and took its picture, too 😀

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!


This Week in Pictures

The Jubilee Cane

Jubilee cane in Swamp colorsI’ll bet my polymer clay friends thought I might never get around to saying this again, but here I go: I have a new tutorial available!

It’s been almost four years since I published The Afghan Cane, and although I’ve periodically considered writing up another millefiori design, I was never really in the mood.

At this point, I’ve been on a polymer clay kick for 3 months, and it seems like now is as good a time as any to get ‘er done. Plus, I came up with a new cane design back in November that everybody seems to love. (The Jubilee patterns were the ones most requested on seam rippers and crochet hooks back when I was taking custom orders.)

As luck would have it, I already took step-by-step photos a few months ago, so all I had to do was turn those images into coherent instructions. (“All I had to do,” she says…)

Today I am pleased to share the fruits of my labor :-)

The Jubilee Cane polymer clay tutorial at Polka Dot Cottage The Jubilee Cane polymer clay tutorial at Polka Dot Cottage

If you have any experience building millefiori canes and running Skinner blends, then you should have no problem with these instructions.

I teach you how to take three vibrant polymer colors and turn them into a block of repeating-pattern, kaleidoscopic goodness. Tile a bunch of slices together to make a big giant patterned sheet, if you like!

There’s more specific information here, but if you already know you want it, you can just click below 😀

The Jubilee Cane
The Jubilee Cane

INTERMEDIATE level, step-by-step polymer clay tutorial
Fully-illustrated, 8-page PDF

Price: $2.99

BTW, if you’re one of those people who struggles with choosing colors and often ends up with muddy-looking designs, this is a good technique for you. Mud is a result of colors that are too similar in value. They tend blend together visually, making the pattern hard to discern. The Jubilee Cane is designed to generate some contrast no matter what hues you choose, and that helps the pattern to stand out.

If you’re not sure this is for you, ask me a question and I’ll help you decide!

January Hymns

January Hymns - a new Winter playlist at Polka Dot Cottage

In recent years, I’ve had a tendency to make my playlists seasonal in nature. I’ve always been drawn to what I consider “Fall music,” so I’ve been doing the seasonal thing with my September and October playlists for going on 20 years. It’s a newer phenomenon for me, though, to extend this kind of thinking into the other times of the year.

This is my third Winter playlist (see the other two here and here), and while I haven’t gone so far to make sure that every song is about the cold or the snow, there are a handful of tracks that have a wintry theme. More importantly, I’ve checked the lyrics of all of the non-seasonal tracks to make sure that they don’t inadvertently mention summery pursuits.

Perhaps that’s a bit obsessive. At the very least, it explains why it takes me so crazy long to finalize a playlist these days.

At any rate, I finally burned this one to a CD for the car yesterday, and pressed “Publish” on it over at 8tracks so you can have a listen, too.

Here’s the track listing:

1: The Decemberists – January Hymn
2: The Monkees – Papa Gene’s Blues
3: The Weepies – Fancy Things
4: The Bird And The Bee – Polite Dance Song
5: Beck – Dreams
6: Bronze Radio Return – Everything Moves
7: Perhapst – Sill (Mt. Zero)
8: Mick Lynch – Helping Hand
9: Luluc – Small Window
10: the innocence mission – Tom on the Boulevard
11: Hey Marseilles – Dead of Night
12: Black Prairie – Animals Inside
13: The Oh Hellos – Eat You Alive
14: Matt Costa – Cold December
15: The Hollies – The Air That I Breathe
16: The Folk Implosion – Back To The Sunrise
17: Guster – Rise & Shine (EP Version)
18: Pete Yorn – Strange Condition
19: Blind Pilot – We Are The Tide
20: Neil Finn – In My Blood
21: Sixpence None The Richer – A Million Parachutes
22: Matt Pond PA – Snow Day

The name January Hymns comes from the first track, which is “January Hymn” by The Decemberists. As it turns out, 8tracks rejected my playlist title because it was “too similar to the title of the first track.” Well, that was kind of the whole point of the title, but whatever. I had to add “and such” to the end of the playlist title in order to get 8tracks to accept it, but as far as I’m concerned that’s not the real title and I’m going to call it whatever the heck I want. Me = Rebel 😀

If you like my other mixes, you’ll probably like this one. It’s more of the usual: a mix of relatively recent indie pop/folk tunes, plus a few favorite oldies thrown in there for good measure. Many of the songs have a wintry aspect to them, but not all do.

Have a listen!

January Hymns and such from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

I really enjoy sharing music like this. I was probably meant to be a DJ in some other life 😀

I don’t know if you remember, but I used to have my own radio station at Live365. That was fun, but I had to give it up. It would have been prohibitively expensive to set it up with enough music to keep it from being repetitive. I could only afford about 7 hours of storage, so my playlist repeated a LOT. I didn’t have the time to refresh it as often as I should have, so I just let it go.

This 8tracks thing works so much better for me. For one thing, it’s completely free. For another, it fits in with my natural tendency to make myself mixes for the car. Doing it this way allows me to share the playlists I was making already with very little extra effort involved.

If you’d like to explore my other playlists, you can take a peek at my 8tracks profile, or look at the music category here on the blog.

Any suggestions for a theme for my next playlist? It’ll be a few months before I’m ready to make another one, but when the time comes maybe I’ll break out of the seasonal thing for a bit if I have some fun ideas.