Crochet Pattern: Crimson Cowl

Crimson Cowl Universal Yarn designed by Edie Eckman

Get ready for the cooler days of fall with my newest design for Universal Yarn: the Crimson Cowl. The cowl is shaped to drape gently around the neck and to sit lovingly over the shoulders.

The Yarn

Fine Weight Yarn-2 Craft Yarn Council

Fibra Natura’s Cashmere Lusso from Universal Yarn is a luxurious blend of virgin cashmere and recycled cashmere. You can feel good about using yarn with recycled fiber, and the yarn feels great against the skin.

Cashmere yarn is lightweight but warm, and is lovely to crochet with.


You’ll need just a single skein in either this beautiful Anthurium color or one of the other on-trend colors available.


The Pattern

Crimson Cowl  designed by Edie Eckman for Universal Yarn

There are no tricky stitches here. Just chains, single and double crochets worked in the round and fanning out to create a lovely drape from the neck down. Use a size H-8 (5 mm) hook or whatever size you need to get gauge.

The pattern for the Crimson Cowl is free at Universal Yarn’s website. The pattern is both written and charted.


Get the Pattern

Other Projects

For other small crochet projects to keep your neck and shoulders warm, check out these patterns. Hint: They all have text AND charted instructions.

Bobble Fringe Scarf

Cascade of Color Scarf

Easy-to-Wear Cowl



Free Knitting Pattern: Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern by Edie Eckman
Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Brighten up your summer with these quick and easy summer placemats. They are a perfect first project for beginning knitters, and they make a great house-warming gift for new neighbors.

This post may contain affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra.

The Yarn

Craft Yarn Council Size 5 yarn icon

Bulky-weight yarn makes the knitting go fast! Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn is fun to work with. Because of its construction, it’s less bulky than you would think, and it imparts a great texture to the fabric.


Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn

I love the exuberant colors that I used, but you can also choose from more muted shades to suit your taste. The instructions below are for two placemats in different main colors. If you want to make four placemats, two of each color shown, with a yellow stripe on each, you’ll need two balls each of the blue and pink, and one ball of the yellow.


The Pattern

Garter stitch is about as basic as a knitting stitch can be, and that’s all you need to know to knit these placemats! Minimal pattern-reading is required, and gauge doesn’t even matter all that much.

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

One size: 16″ x 13″/40.6 x 33 cm

Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn (70% polyester/30% viscose, 3.5 oz / 100 g, 242 yd / 221 m), 1 ball each color 148 Fish Bowl (A), color 195 Think Pink (B), and color 157 Make Lemonade (C) [See note above about yarn amounts for multiple placemats.]

US Size 10.5 / 6.5 mm knitting needles

Stitch marker or piece of waste yarn

13 sts and 22 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this project.
Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch for more information.

Pattern Notes
Leave a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in each time you begin and end a yarn.

Beginning knitters will want to knit the pattern exactly as written. More experienced knitters may create a slip-stitch selvedge by slipping the last stitch of each row knitwise with yarn in front.

k: knit
RS: right side
st(s): stitch(es)
WS: wrong side

With A, long-tail cast-on 42 sts. Knit 1 WS row. Turn work, and place a marker or piece of waste yarn on this side to indicate that the side is the right side.

Knit every row until piece measures 13″ / 33 cm from cast-on edge, ending with a WS row. Cut A, leaving a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in.

With C, knit 10 rows (5 garter stitch ridges). Cut C.

With B, knit 2 rows (1 garter stitch ridge). Cut B.

With A, knit 6 rows (3 garter stitch ridges). Bind off.

Weave in ends.

Make a second placemat, substituting B for A and A for B in the instructions above.

Other Projects

Check out these other easy knitting patterns:

Blue Springs Double Cowl

Easy Quick-Knit One-Skein Tea Cozy

Molly Hat

Stoneybrook Shawlette

Zig Zag Eyelet Scarf


Oliver Baby Blanket Free Crochet Pattern

Oliver Baby Blanket

Oliver Baby Blanket Free Crochet Pattern

Wrap your little one in love with the easy and practical Oliver Baby Blanket.  The free crochet pattern is right here on the blog, but you have the option of purchasing a pattern that offers stitch charts.

The all-over stitch pattern makes this cozy blanket a relaxing project for all skill levels. One-row stripes in three colors allow you to carry the yarn up the side without cutting, so you only have a few ends to weave in.

This post contains affiliate links which may provide me a small income if you buy something, but don’t cost you anything extra.

Every Which Way Crochet BordersUse the instructions for the simple edging provided, or customize the blanket with your own choice of border from Around the Corner Crochet Borders or Every Which Way Crochet Borders.

The Yarn

Craft Yarn Council Yarn Symbol 3Light Weight Yarn is the perfect choice for a baby blanket. Choose your favorite three colors to match your nursery decor. 

Bernat Softee Baby is a 100% acrylic yarn soft and easy to crochet, and it goes in the washing machine, which is so important for a baby blanket!

The Pattern

The free crochet pattern instructions follow, with all the information you need to make the blanket. If you’d like a printable PDF pattern which includes full color stitch charts for the blanket and border, you can buy the premium pattern from Ravelry.

The PDF pattern is also available from

Oliver Baby Blanket

One Size, Finished Dimensions: 34″/86 cm square


Light Weight Yarn (CYC #3): approximately 362 yds/331 m each of colors A, B and C. Sample used Bernat Softee Baby (100% acrylic, 5 oz/140 g, 362 yd/331 m), 1 skein each #30010 Little Mouse (A), #30008 Antique White (B), and #30201 Aqua (C)

Size H-8/5 mm crochet hook or size to obtain correct gauge


17  sts and 11 rows = 4″ /10 cm in Half Double Crochet Seed Stitch

To save time, take time to check gauge.

Pattern Notes

To change color at the end of a row, work the last stitch of the row until 2 loops remain on the hook, yarn over with the new color and pull the new color through the remaining 2 loops to complete the stitch. Watch How to Change Colors in Crochet for a video tutorial.

Carry the yarn up the side as you work.


ch: chain

hdc: half double crochet

rep: repeat

RS: right side

sc: single crochet

st(s): stitch(es)

standing sc: Beginning with a slip knot on the hook, work a single crochet in the stitch or space indicated. Watch How to Work Standing Single Crochet.

X-st (crossed st): Skip 1 st, dc in next st; dc in skipped st, keeping st just made to the front. Watch How to Work Crossed Double Crochet (3 Ways).

Half Double Crochet Seed Stitch

Oliver Baby Blanket Free Crochet Pattern half double crochet seed stitch With A, loosely chain a multiple of 2 + 1. Work 1 row each of A, B, C throughout. 

Foundation Row (RS): Hdc in 3rd ch from hook (skipped chs count as hdc), *ch 1, skip 1 ch, hdc in next ch; rep from * across, changing to B on last st, turn.

Row 1: Ch 2 (counts as hdc here and throughout), *hdc in next ch-1 space, ch 1; rep from * across, ending hdc in top of turning ch, changing to next color on last st, turn.

Rep Row 1 for pattern.


With A, chain 139.

Work Half Double Crochet Seed Stitch Foundation Row—70 hdc, 68 ch-1 spaces.

Continue in Half Double Crochet Seed Stitch until piece measures 32″/81 cm.

Fasten off. Weave in ends.


Oliver Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern closeup of corner

The premium pattern has stitch charts, which makes following the border instructions much easier!

Rnd 1: With B and RS facing, standing sc in first st of last row, [single crochet 136 sts evenly spaced along edge to corner st, 3 sc in corner st] 3 times, single crochet 136 sts evenly spaced along edge to corner st, 2 st in same st as beginning, join with slip st to first sc. Place a marker in each corner st. You should have 138 sts along each side, plus 4 marked corner sts.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in each st around, placing 3 sc in each marked corner st and moving marker up to center st of corner as you work, join with slip st to first sc—140 sc each side, 4 corner sts. Fasten off B.

Rnd 3: Refer to stitch diagram to aid with placement of stitches. With A, standing dc in first st to left of any corner st (to right of corner st for left-handers), dc in corner st, keeping st just made to the front (first X-st complete); *X-st across, placing first dc of last X-st in corner sc; ch 2**; X-st in same corner sc and next st; rep from * around, ending last rep at ** , join with slip st in top of dc. Fasten off A.

Rnd 4: Work in the space between the dcs on each X-st. With C, standing sc in any ch-2 corner space, *[(sc, ch 3, sc) in next X-st, sc in next X-st] to corner**, sc in corner space; rep from * around, ending last rep at **, join with slip st to first sc.

Fasten off. Weave in ends.  

The Most Misunderstood Thing about Knitting & Crochet Patterns

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.

There’s one thing that can tie a knitter or crocheter in knots: confusing wording in a pattern. And the most misunderstood thing about knitting and crochet patterns is how pattern repeats are described.

There are some commonly accepted ways of describing repeated sections in a pattern. If you don’t understand this conventional “patternspeak”, you might be confused. But even if you understand it, sometimes the pattern writer doesn’t follow the conventions, leaving you to figure out what they mean.

The problem occurs in both knitting and crochet patterns. I’ll show examples of both.

When the Pattern Creates Confusion

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.Here’s an instruction you might see in a pattern:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * a total of 5 times, dc in each st to end.

As an experienced crafter, I’ve got to say this wording drives me absolutely crazy. How many times am I supposed to “k4, p6”, or  “sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts”?

From experience, I think the pattern writer intends you to do the sequence of stitches—k4, p6 or sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts—a total of five times. But that’s not what the pattern says.

Using Brackets & Parentheses to Show Repeats

Brackets or parentheses can be used to group a sequence of stitches and to tell how many times to do that sequence, as they do in these examples:

Row 1 (RS): [K4, p6] 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): (K4, p6) 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, [sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] 5 times, dc in each st to end.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, (sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts) 5 times, dc in each st to end.

Using Asterisks to Show Repeats

Asterisks are used to show a point of repeat, and are usually used together with “rep(eat) from * “to show the full repeat.

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * 4 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 4 times, dc in each st to end.

Here, the number of times to do that sequence seems to have gone down, but in reality this is the exact same instruction you’ve seen above. How can that be?

In these examples, you do the sequence of stitches once, then you repeat that sequence four more times, for a total of five times. You can’t repeat something you haven’t done before.

Another Point of Confusion

You can't repeat something you haven't done beforeSometimes you’ll see asterisks used this way:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6*; rep between * * 4 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6*; work between * * 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts*; rep between * * 4 times, dc in each st to end.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts*; work between * * 5 times, dc in each st to end.

As an experienced pattern writer and a tech editor, I steer clear of this construction. It offers the same opportunity for confusion as previous examples, and it adds more *’s than the eye can easily track.

However, if you do see this “between **s” construction, pay careful attention to the wording used to make sure you are following the repeats correctly.

The “Repeat” Paradox

Let’s go back to our original confusing instruction:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * a total of 5 times, dc in each st to end.

Can you see the contradictions? If you repeat the sequence of stitches a total of five times, you’ve done that sequence a total of six times. But if you do the sequence a total of five times, you’ve only repeated them four times.

You’ll have to use clues to figure out what the designer means to happen.

In the knitting example:

If you have 54 stitches on the needle, you can work the k4, p6 sequence five times, which will use 50 stitches, then knit the last 4 stitches, for a total of 54 stitches.

If you have 64 stitches, you’ll work the k4, p6 sequence once, then repeat it five times, then knit the last 4 stitches, using up all 64 stitches.

In the crochet example:

This one is harder to figure out, because the row ends with “dc in each dc to end”, which leaves the number of total stitches unknown. You will know how many stitches you have in the row. You’ll have a good idea of whether you are supposed to be working all the way across the row. Using this information, you will have to figure out what balances the stitch pattern on the row, and how many total repeats you can fit it, then go with that.

See? It’s not ideal wording.

A Solution

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 4 more times, dc in each st to end.There’s an easy wording solution that helps clear up all of this confusion, and that is using the word “more”:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * 4 more times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 4 more times, dc in each st to end.

See how easy that was? It reminds the crafter that they are doing the thing then repeating the thing a certain number of times.

Even if the word “more” is not included, now that you understand repeats you can head forth confident in your knowledge of how many times you’ll do those instructions.

Let’s spread the word that you can’t repeat something you haven’t done yet. It will clear up the confusion for everyone!

Fernandina Beach Bag Crochet Pattern

Fernandina Beach Bag
Fernandina Beach Bag Crochet Pattern

The Fernandina Beach Bag is a summer tote you can crochet yourself. Bright and breezy, it will carry your summer essentials in style.

A solid single crochet base worked in the round is topped by colorful mesh stripes. A bit of fringe adds whimsy­­—add more or less according to your taste.

This post contains affiliate links, which don’t cost you anything, but may provide a small income to me.

The Yarn

I used Universal Yarn Yashi, a 100% raffia tape. The raffia provides a bit of structure, but you may choose to line the bag with fabric, as well.

The bright colors are perfect for the summer, while the black hides any dirt on the handle and base of the bag.

The Pattern

It’s easy crochet: you’ll use single crochet, double crochet and slip stitch.. There are no seams at all; it’s entirely one piece. Crocheters just beyond the beginner level should find this bag within their ability.

Text instructions and stitch pattern chart are provided, as well as a couple of assembly diagrams to aid in understanding. American crochet terminology is used throughout. 

CTA Buy the Pattern

A Bonus

River Heights Shawl worn around shoulders

This bag pairs perfectly with my River Heights Shawl. Crochet both and wear the shawl over a little black dress for a perfect ensemble!

20 Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Knitting or Crochet Class, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, you read about how to prepare for a knitting or crochet class, and you’ve gotten yourself to class. The things you have done to this point will enhance your ability to learn new skills .

Now let’s explore what you can do during and after class to learn as much as you can, and to remember what you learned long after class is over.

During Class

Tip #11 Relax

This isn’t rocket science. It isn’t school. There are no grades or tests. It’s not a race, so it doesn’t matter how slow you are. You can’t fail; you can only succeed to a greater or lesser degree.

The teacher is there to help you. They want you to be happy. Your fellow students want you to be happy. They aren’t paying attention to what you are doing or how fast you are going, because they are too worried about the same things you are.

Breathe. Relax your shoulders. Breathe. Roll your neck. Breathe. Stand up and stretch. Smile. This is going to be fun.

Tip #2 Be a good neighbor

If you are chatting with your friend or seatmate, you may not be paying attention when the teacher says something important. You may be distracting others or making it difficult for others to hear.

Limit side conversations and comments to times when the whole class is working quietly. Keep those conversations low-key and low-volume. Save the chatty catching-up talk for after class, over a cup of tea—or a glass of wine.

If you need help, it may be fine to ask your neighbor a quick question, but don’t expect them to teach you.

If your neighbor is bothering you, let them know politely. Rather than accusing them of being too loud, try starting with a “me” statement – something like, “I’m having trouble hearing. Could you please speak more quietly?” If they keep asking questions and distracting you from your work, say, “That would be a good question to ask (teacher’s name).”  If that doesn’t work, have a private word with the teacher; they may not have realized that there was a problem.

Tip #13 Ask for help the best way

The teacher wants to help you, but there may be a lot of people in class needing help at once. If the teacher is making their way around the room, you may be able to wait your turn until they get to you. You may need to raise your hand to get the teacher’s attention.

If you can’t see or hear tell the teacher, let them know.

If you are frustrated or don’t understand, don’t stew in silence! Teachers try their best, but they aren’t mind readers; let them know your needs. Chances are, if you have a question, others have the same question. Asking it aloud and having it answered will help the whole class.

At the same time, this isn’t a private lesson. The teacher is there to teach the whole class and has limited ability to help each individual student, depending on time and class size. Teachers can’t do remedial technique instruction for unprepared students. That’s what the prerequisites are for!

Tip #14 Be patient

Be patient with yourself. You’re learning something new, and you won’t be perfect at it the first time—or the second, or even the third. You learn more by making mistakes than by not making mistakes.

Learning as an adult is frustrating. We’re used to being competent in our daily lives. Typically we are not in a learning mode. Learning requires being vulnerable, and that’s an uncomfortable feeling. It’s OK not to master something immediately, and to feel unsure of what you are doing.

Realize that every time you do something new, you’ll be achieving a new personal best. The “perfect” student knows this and revels in their mistakes, because they know they are learning!

Tip #15 Pay attention

When the teacher is speaking to the whole class, stop working. Listen and watch.

Stay off your cell phone. Don’t record audio or video of the class without permission. Recording is not only impolite and sometimes illegal, it also distracts you from the instruction being offered. If you are taking notes on your phone, let the teacher know that’s what you are doing.

If you know much of what the teacher is saying, listen anyway. There is always something new to learn. It may be in the way the familiar information is being presented. You may pick up tips and tricks that refine a technique that you thought you knew well.

After Class

Tip #16 Use what you learned.

Don’t just read the handout, do hands-on practice. Even better, start—and finish—a project using the latest technique you learn. That will cement the knowledge in your brain.

If you enjoyed the teacher and think they have more to offer, look them up online. Depending on the teacher, you may find a robust social media presence and a blog or website. The teacher might be teaching additional classes in your area or online. They may have YouTube, Creativebug, or Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) videos. They may have a newsletter you’ll want to subscribe to. 

The more you love on your teacher, the more likely they are to be able to continue to create the kind of learning content you enjoy.

You paid for a class, you attended the class, and you got a lovely handout that will help you remember what you learned. That handout is protected both by copyright and by ethics. The teacher spent hours preparing the class and writing and designing the handout. It is their work. Photocopying and sharing the handout (or using it to teach a class yourself) is not only illegal, but wrong. Please don’t do it.

If you want to share what you learned, give credit to the teacher.

If an evaluation form was provided, please fill it out to the best of your ability. Both the teacher and the class sponsor benefit from constructive criticism. The better the feedback, the better the teacher becomes over time.

Here are some phrases to get you started:

I appreciated it when the teacher …
It would be helpful if …
Would you consider …
I’d like to see …
The meeting space was …

If you learned something new, share your success with others. Grab a friend and explain what you learned in your own words. When we teach, we have to process information differently than when we learned, and this helps cement the information in our brains.

Announce your new-found knowledge on your social media channels. Share where you learned and who taught you. However, do continue to respect the intellectual property of the teacher(s) and other resources you learn from. If you have any questions about what you can and can’t (or shouldn’t) teach or share from a particular class, contact the teacher for clarification.

20 Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Knitting or Crochet Class

Keep these tips handy! Download a free pdf poster of all 20 Tips.

What’s Next

Now that you’re ready to maximize your learning efforts, what’s your next step? What kind of class do you want to take? Do you have any classes scheduled?

Talk to me in the comments.

About Edie

Edie headshot

I’ve been teaching knitting and crochet in person for over 25 years, at all levels and in all sorts of venues. I’ve taught one-on-one, in small groups, and in large classes with 30 students or more. During this time, I’ve observed thousands of students, and I’ve talked with my fiber teacher colleagues about what they have observed. I also take every possibly opportunity to be a student. This article has grown out of my own experience and those of my colleagues.