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To make your own fringe hand towel you will need 1 yd. of medium weight linen for 2 towels and a skein of cotton or washable yarn and a crochet hook in a size to fit your yarn (check your ball band for the size) and the same size knitting needle.
Finish your hand towel but either hemming or serging. Measure and mark where you want each fringe; I spaced each fringe about ½'' apart. Using your knitting needle poke a hole at each mark about ¼'' from the edge. Twist it to make a big hole (it will close a little as you work) and then keep poking until you have all your holes. Using your crochet hook, work a row of *single crochets, 2 slip stitch* working each SC in a hole and the slip stitches (SS) in between. Work one slip stitch then turn.
* Work one SC in the first space and pull the loop out until it is about 7'' long. I use a 7'' long card in the loop to help me measure. With your hook at the top of the loop, start turning clockwise about 25-30 times. Then fold the twisted loop in half and allow it to untwist. It will twist on itself and create one dangly fringe. If your fringe gets twisted in the wrong spot just gently pull down on the loop to straighten it out. Stick your hook back in the same space and work one SC. Work one SS then repeat from the * to the end of the row. Cut a long tail and weave in your end. It is pretty simple but tedious. Pop in a good movie because you will be there for a while. To work my fringe over 16'' took me about 2 hours for just one end of the towel.
This is a great project to work on a road trip, at the beach or in the carpool lane. It is not big, no need to remember where you are in the pattern and if it gets dirty from being in the bottom of your purse for several week; its washable. The results will be amazing and justified. If you are looking for longer fringe then just keep adding to your original loop remembering that the finished result will be a little less than half (7'' loop is results in a 3'' fringe) and keep twisting until the loop gets tight and snug on you hook then fold in half.
Granny Squares are the Chevrons of the crochet world. They are super hot right now and go with everything. But they don't have to be the granny squares of era's past; today's granny squares have blended in inspirations from floral, Asian and whimsical aspects of pop culture. Granny Squares rose to stardom in the 1970's where they dominated the knitwear scene. Today they are stars for different reasons: they are an excellent way to use up small amounts of yarn, they are quick and they are comforting. The granny squares look has worked its way into toys, décor and apparel unlike the 1970's though it is only the technique that has been incorporated.
Here are some of my favorite free granny square patterns.
Crochet Spot's Granny Square with a Flower is a very simple granny square with a lotus like flower floating in the center. The look is gorgeous because it is uncluttered.
Yarning has also created a floral based granny square but she has created hers in a more traditional fashion. You can see how this square works into a complete blanket which is incredible.
Hop Scotch Lane has taken granny squares to a new level. One project is a giant granny square blanket worked in beautiful yellow tones and another is an owl with a granny square belly.
But my favorite is Repeat Crafter Me's Owl Granny Square which is a traditional granny square with an owl worked first that stands out from the granny square background. You can work the owl without the background and use is as an appliqué. I made two using the pattern and let me tell you they are fun and easy. I made a girl version (pink, light green and teal) and a boy version (brown, navy, grey) using Lion Brand's Wool Ease. I loved making them and am planning on working up an afghan using this pattern and a traditional granny square pattern together.
1 skein of embroidery floss is a coordinating color (I used green for show but try to use a color to match your yarn)
Enough yarn to complete your edging (to be determined by the stitch pattern)
Project to be embellished.
With your embroidery floss using a backstitch or running stitch to work the edge where the trim is desired (I used a running stitch along the edge of the cuff for the stocking). Use a running stitch if your yarn is worsted or thicker and using a backstitch if your yarn is thinner than worsted. The running stitch will have spaces incorporated that work well for thick yarns. Also, let the size of your yarn determine your stitch size; a bigger yarn needs a bigger stitch to work into and smaller yarns need a smaller stitch. Don't work a thin yarn into a big stitch it will look sloppy.
Secure the end of the embroidery floss with a good knot. Using your crochet hook (size determined by your yarn gauge) work a single crochet into each stitch of embroidery floss. Use this first row to create as many stitches as needed for your pattern. Start your pattern on the second row. This first row should be all single crochets and will help hide your embroidery floss.
To recreate my scallop pattern use Martha Stewart's Merino Yarn in Peacock and *SC, DC, DC, TC, DC, DC, SC into one stitch, chain 3, repeat from *
SC: Single Crochet
DC: Double Crochet
TC: Triple Crochet
If you are a traveler than you know that more often than not when packing you plan for everything (socks, toothpaste, curling iron, face wash, etc) except dirty laundry. I like to think of myself as a pretty smart packer; I don't pack a lot of extras and try to cover all the essentials but I always forget about where to stow my dirty laundry on worn. I usually end up using a plastic bag from a local store but that is:
2) Not great for moisture and odors (hello, husband socks)
3) Often get mixed up with my purchases.
So I made a Dirty Laundry Travel bag that is perfect for any kind of travel. My double drawstring design makes closing a cinch and easy to hang from any hook or knob. The drawstrings are knit fabric so you can pull them tight for a snug closure and don't require sewing. When made from cotton it is breathable and lightweight but you can add a vinyl coated lining if you are using this for young children's clothing. The size is easily adjusted to suit your needs. I made mine 14 '' high by 15'' wide (Finished size) which should hold about a weekend's worth of dirty clothing. The Dirty Laundry Bag also works well for laundering delicates as well as storing toiletries in your luggage.
To make your own you will need
Scrapes of quilting cotton for appliqués
1 yd of 3'' wide Jersey Knit fabric (cut with the stretch)
Download Dirty Laundry Travel Appliqués here
Cut 2 16'' squares. Serge or zig zag across the top of each square and down 2'' on each side. Fold over 1.5'' of each top toward the WS and press. Stitch close to the top to make draw string casing.
Trace Dirty Laundry Appliqués onto Heat n Bond and cut out. Apply Heat n Bond to WS of your quilting scraps and cut out. Remove paper backing and arrange your appliqués onto the RS of one of your Dirty Laundry body pieces. Iron in place. Zig Zag stitch around each appliqué or use a straight stitch and add some additional stitching lines for details (see my underwear).
Place body pieces RS together and stitch using ½'' seam down one side starting right below the drawstring casing, pivoting at the bottom corner, across the bottom, pivoting at second corner and back up the third side. Finishing just below the drawstring casing, back stitch at both ends. Trim your corners and turn bag RS out.
Cut your jersey knit in half lengthwise, gaining two 18'' pieces. Pull each piece tight to cause the long sides to curl. Use a bodkin or safety pin to thread each drawstring through a casing. Double or triple knot each drawstring at both ends.
You can add embroidery to make one for each family member or loved one. I recommend making several in different sizes for longer and shorter trips, kids and even pets (great for keeping collars and leashes in one place when visiting the in-laws). I am packing mine into my hospital bag for baby#2 in a few weeks and plan to use it for future family visits.
You can also change the appliques and make a really great knitting/crochet project back-Christmas Gift Idea!!!!
Relatively speaking this is a giant crochet lion because the original is roughly 4-5'' and this monster is about 8-9''. This cutie was a pleasure to make and a great back to school project. If it has been awhile since you have had time to hook any yarn, like me, than this fun project will ease you back in and will make any kid even happier to get off the school bus in the afternoon.
I followed the pattern from "Leisure Arts Easy Crochet Critters" (You may remember my hippo who thinks she is a mouse from last year) but I took it up a notch by using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in Deep Rose and Pumpkin with a little Silver Grey thrown in. I also upped my hook to a K (10.5). The recommended yarn and hook from the pattern is worsted with an H hook. Upping your yarn and hook size will nearly double your lion's size and make him much more fun and cuddly. I also opted for button eyes and a felt nose. I tried for 10 min to embroider a nose that I liked but it just wasn't happening so I cut a simple rounded triangle from felt and used fabric glue to fix it in place. The rest of the embroidery was fun and easy. I also didn't stuff the legs. I pushed all the yarn tails inside the legs and that was enough to give them shape (how easy is that). Lastly, I used magic circle to start my body and legs. It made my crochet look so much nicer and was much easier than chaining and crocheting into the chain. I love it!
I have been drooling over this lion since I first ordered this pattern booklet and I can't wait to make all the animals in this book. Hopefully I can crank out more than one a year but I can assure you that all will be made bigger than instructed with chunky yarn and bigger hooks. I love the size so much more. Handheld is great but seeing your little one hugging the life out of an oversized crochet lion that you made is priceless!
Caution this lion has a dark side. Here he is stalking his prey (the cat).Tara Miller
I had never known the tradition of wearing a Poppy Flower for Remembrance of War Veterans until I went to a Veterans' day memorial ceremony last year. It was very touching and so beautiful that I still have the simple crepe flower on my trench to this day. One a day where everyone is decked out in the Red, White and Blue, what better way to accessorize than with a crocheted remembrance poppy. Your poppy can symbolize anything that you love about the USA, a beloved soldier or veteran or as a thank you to our founding fathers (I count all those revolutionary soldiers among them) and mothers that worked tirelessly 236 years ago. I adapted a super sweet poppy earring pattern I found on Ravelry by Janet McMahon for my brooch. All you need is some worsted weight yarn in black and red and a size J/10 hook.
Follow the poppy pattern using 1 strand of black and 2 strands of red yarn and only make one poppy, unless you want to make another for a friend. Once finished find a small piece of felt approx. the same color as the red of your poppy and using a spool as your pattern trace a circle and cut it out (or grab these ready made felt circles). Next, take a pin back (you can recycle one from another broken pin or use a safety pin) line it up on your felt circle and mark cut lines for the pin and end to fit through.
Fold your circle in half and cut small slits at these marks. Fit your pin back into the slits and then line your felt circle on the back of your poppy and glue in place with fabric glue. Pin your felt circle down until the glue is dry. Wear your poppy with pride and as a great accent to your patriotic wardrobe. Rock it out at the bar-b-que or watching fireworks. You can also increase the yarn gauge and hook size to make coasters or as a hat pin.
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The perfect summer project is a dishcloth afghan. It may sound a little odd but think of it as a big, soft, comfy blanket of swatches that look amazing all sewn up together. A dishcloth afghan is essentially like quilting, each square is a pieced quilt block and when each block is complete all the blocks are sewn together and the true beauty is revealed. I love dishcloth afghans because it feeds my need of color change, stitch change and quick gratification that only small projects can give me. Each dishcloth Afghan can be customized to your preference or for each gift recipient. Plus you only have to use the dishcloth pattern to inspire your blanket; you don't have to work it in cotton, try a selection of dishcloth patterns in Merino wool, a silk blend or Cashmere. Dishcloths are great for knitting in the car, in the park, on vacation or at the game. You can knit away on small projects all summer and have your blocks all worked up just before the leaves turn. You don't need to lug a huge afghan around to keep warm this winter. Or store more than 25 balls of one color either only to find out you only need 18 and now what are you going to do with 7 balls of biscotti brown wool!
For a wedding throw, you can select dishcloths in cables that represent entwining of love, working together and the beauty of two coming together and work each block in a soft wool blend for cozy nights watching movies. For the graduates, select patterns that remind the student of home or remind you of them (water patterns for swimming, cupcakes for a favorite dessert, etc) and work them up in a washable blend for ease. For a new baby, try ABC blocks, animals or different texture blocks in a cotton blend for breathability, washing and softness. For yourself, try the same or just 2-3 different dishcloth patterns worked in your favorite colors. I am running with this idea for my dishcloth afghan. I am using just one dishcloth pattern (from my Dishcloth Craze post) and am knitting it up in my favorite colors du jour: green, turquoise and gray. Then I will sew all my blocks up together (see illustration at the top) and then pick up stitches on each side, log cabin style, and work a 5-7 row garter stitch band to finish it off. You can try a simple band in a stitch pattern that compliments your dishcloths if garter doesn't work for you.
2009 Afghan by Lorena Haldeman and Sharon Emery
The dishcloth afghans not only make great cozy couch throws but also picnic blankets, car blankets, bed spreads and wall hangings because the size is so easy to manipulate. You can work just a few blocks or 30 depending on your needs. My favorite part is picking out the dishcloth patterns for each project, it is the same euphoria I find when selecting fabric for my next sewing project!
I fell in love with this pattern at first sight but felt overwhelmed by the amount of cutting and interfacing called for so I put it off- for a good long while. But when Spring Break came around I knew it was time to stop procrastinating and get to sewing up what is the perfect bag for a week-long break of school, work or life in general. I'm glad I did. The Sophia Carry-All is not small but not quite medium; it falls into the happy Goldilocks category of "Just Right". I am not a big lining pocket person because the pockets are typically not integrated well but in this bag they are simple and again just right. I can see what is in there but they are just stiff enough to keep it all in. The inside is ROOMY. Much more than the outside lets on. It is the perfect size for toiletries plus hair care tools plus jewelry or knitting or it makes a great Grandma's weekend bag for the kids.
Here are my modifications since I just can't help it.
1) I did not add the fleece but upgraded the stiffness of the interfacing. It is not all full-on Peltex but I used the heavy weight sew in just like the Sophia's sister bag, The Weekender. I wanted the bag to really look like the weekender and didn't care for the puffy, pillow-like look on the pattern front.
2) I eliminated the piping. The main reason I did this is because I thought the piping used in the pattern pictures looks too big for the bag and I didn't have any smaller piping. I really like the clean look that came out. Does this pattern really need the competition?!
3) I constructed the lining, especially the top panels, just like I did the exterior. This means that when I sewed the top panels together, I sewed to the marks and then lengthened my stitch, basted to the next mark, shortened my stitch and then stitched to the end (I backed stitch at the beginning, end and at the marks). This really helped shave some time and make for a clean look. It was easier to sew in the lining and I knew my seam was straight all the way.
4) I used a regular one tab zipper instead of the 2 tab called for. I did this because I don't think I will be using this bag much for travel. I don't travel as much as I used to (My toddler is not a fan) and I have really been eyeing this as my diaper bag to real purse transition bag. It can fit all my essentials (phone, keys, headphones, wallet) plus any just potty trained paraphernalia (i.e. panties, pants, socks) plus snack and sippy with room left over for my brochure collecting habit.
5) I used the recommended interfacing on the lining pieces to make it easier to sew in later. Granted the main panels are not interfaced in the lining but the others were and sewing so many thick layers was a beast with the exterior.
Overall I am as pleased as I expected with an Amy Butler Pattern. They are superbly written and well illustrated. The Sophia bag actually went together in less time than I had budgeted and the outcome is beautiful.
Organizing my knitting needles and crochet hooks is a battle I am constantly fighting. I am a 5-6 project at a time person so needles and hooks tend to be everywhere at all times. But despite this I still keep my needles and hooks organized so I know that if they are not wrapped up in yarn somewhere then I know where they are. However, It was only when I found some collecting techniques that worked for me that I became this organized. Here are a few that I use and some more that I love from the web that might work for you.
First, I made a needle/hook case (tutorial to sew your own here) and I love it. I made 2 sizes, the first is the full tutorial version and the second is a smaller, half version that I created using the tutorial but working around just the first set of pockets. I love both of my cases because together they fit all my straight needles and enough of my cable needles that I can take them anywhere. The smaller case also fits my DPNs and my hooks. The cases fold up small enough to fit into any knitting bag.
These glass mason jars (I am guessing 32 oz size) that I found on Pinterest work great for grouping all your needles and hooks together by size. Straight, DPN and cable needles of the same size all fit nicely into one jar along with the corresponding crochet hook. Plus they look divine along the top of a book case in a sunny spot. Pair them with this jar stenciling tutorial and you can grab the right size at a glance!
In my studio I love to use colorful ice-cream sundae dishes picked up from thrift stores to house my straight needles and hooks. These bright dishes are the perfect place because I can fit many needles and hooks in each, the cupped shape fans them out to mimic a floral bouquet and the bright colors are a great contrast for the mellow bamboo color or subtle brights of my aluminum needless & crochet hooks.
Last but maybe the most brilliant is this idea I found on Pinterest from Eve Barbour. She envisions using a flatware tray to house all her crochet hooks and knitting needles. When I saw it, I felt the urge to smack myself on the forehead because it is just so clever and so obvious that I can't believe no one has thought of it before. A flat wear tray is the perfect solution and could only be more perfect if it could be integrated into a set of drawers for extensive collections. Then you could have a set of them and pull out each drawer of flatware trays to check your inventory.
From the first stitch Rowan Big Wool feels like a wooly cloud. Once you have 5 rows on your needles you begin to plan sweaters, scarves and pillows. Big Wool is fluffy, soft and cuddly making it very difficult not to plan future projects involving this triple threat: 1) it knits up fast; 2) it is unbelievable soft; 3) now you can get it at an inexpensive price at Fabric.com.
I have been crushing on Bulky Yarns for a while ever since I attempted the Welt and Rib Raglan featured in Interweave knits. It works up in a size 5 needle. This was in 2010 and I am still only half way. I blamed the needles and might have (there were no witnesses) thrown it across the room in frustration. Before this fateful day I had steered clear of bulky yarn because I didn't think I could carry off thick sweaters and (what may be the main reason) I didn't want to pay for less yardage. But once I threw my size 5 project to the ground I did my research and found that yes, bulky yarn carries less yardage but you also need less when you knit it up. Each stitch carries you that much farther meaning that you need 900 yds for a sweater instead of 1200 in worsted. Another point for bulky!
However, until I picked up Big Wool I was never really in-LOVE with bulky yarn. It was a means to an end in helping me explore a new area in knitting and complete projects faster. But Big Wool was a pleasure start to finish. This 3 ply wool did not throw up any snags even though I worked it on huge size 17 straight needles. There was a nice smoothness to the spun wool that is alluded to in other wools but rarely delivered in such a finish. The yarn itself is fluffy but only compacts a little when knit up. The stitch definition is very clear with only a slight wool fuzziness which I love. I don't like stark stitch definition, the fuzz just helps the texture look warm. Big wool is smooth enough to glide over your needles easily but not slick. It is very forgiving and excellent for a beginner looking to learn a new yarn. I do not recommend Big Wool for a first project because the needles are so big. Size 17 needles would be awkward for a newbie unlike a size 8 or 9.
Over all I give Rowan Big Wool 5 stars due to the fine finish of the wool, no snags and excellent stitch definition. Lastly the color selection is dreamy!