Free: March 2011 Archives
Amigurumi- a Japanese word that means crocheted or knitted stuffed toy
If you follow me on twitter you know that after years of nay-saying and fierce resistance I have been bitten by the crochet bug. One lowly factor that could certainly be responsible for this new found addiction is my 2 yr old. This wee, dear person coupled with the abundance of Amigurumi crochet patterns out there (this is a vague term for the internet) has surely driven me to this end. But I am willing to stand up and say "My name is Tara and I love to crochet!"
Now I am a beginner but I can pull off a mean single crochet and so I can whip out some really cool Amigurumi! It seems that these stuffed toys are more prevalent in crochet than knitting and after having constructed a few myself I can see the advantages of crochet over knitting in terms of toys. It is easier to crochet small diameter than it is to knit. It seems that crocheting in the round is easier as well. I have also had an easier time with the stuffing. While closing up a stuffed crocheted item can be tricky, I love that I can stuff the piece and then close it with the same stitch as opposed to knitting where you cast off, stuff and then sew it up. Perhaps it is the novelty of the difference that has me enraptured but I am digging it!
Since I am on this kick, I have been doing a lot of internet surfing to log all my favorite Amigurumi patterns to crochet as my skill grows and I just have to share.
Fabric.com carries 2 books of Crochet Critters that I put at the top of my list mostly because my little one is jungle animal crazy right now. I love the Lion on the cover of "Easy Crochet Critters" which also includes a monkey and a hippo which are tops in our house.
Lion Brand has a TON of Amigurumi crochet patterns, each one as cute as the last. I literally want to make all of them but I would settle for a few of each. I am especially smitten with the Halloween characters because it is my favorite holiday. And you know Fabric.com carries all the best Lion Brand Yarn.
I found an adorable octopus on Ravelry by Michele Tway
I love the attitude of this monkey with a banana by Betsi Brunson
Lastly, and I have to included this because in my heart I am still a knitter and I cannot resist a great knitted toy and anything by Mochimochi Land is Awesome, hands down, but this free pattern, Woodins, featured in Knitty is the cat's meow.
Enjoy and share your favorite Amigurumi patterns here or on our Facebook wall
You can follow my crochet projects on twitter.
Duvets are the perfect way to change up your room for spring, to disguise your winter linens and brighten up your room if you are running on a tight budget which doesn't allow for a new comforter. Plus, you can Mix n' Match your favorite designer fabrics to work with your bedroom that no other store can offer. If you have a duvet that you are coveting but it's out of your range, challenge yourself to recreate it with your own fabric. Making a duvet is easy but a time invest is involved. The payout is worth it.
I choose to make my duvet from contrasting fabrics so I can totally change the look of my room with just a flip of my covers. I have been a big fan of Amy Butler's and Anna Maria Horner's fabric for a long time but could not find the right project to use my favorite prints. I said to myself "why match- take a chance!" and it really worked out. The assembly was almost as much fun as the fabric shopping. Here's how I made my king-sized duvet.
6 yds of Fabric A (Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit) 60in. wide Home Dec
6.5 yds of Fabric B (Amy Butler for Rowan) 60 in. wide Home Dec
Duvet-Measure out 2 lengths of 3yds each from Fabric A and B. You will have 4 sections of 3yds each. With right sides together stitch the 2 sections of Fabric A together along the selvedges. Repeat with Fabric B. Press seams open. Double turn a 1 in. hem along the top of Fabric A and stitch. Set aside.
Button band- Measure and cut 2 pieces of Fabric B 8 in. by 60 in. Stitch these 2 pieces together along the selvedges and press seams open. With right side facing out, fold this piece in half and press. Pin this to the right side top of Fabric B duvet and stitch in place. Press seam to the wrong side of the duvet. With Right sides facing stitch duvet A to duvet B at the sides and along the bottom. Clip corners and turn right side out.
Buttons- Measure 2 in. in from each edge and then at 10 in. increments for your buttons and button holes. Double check to determine that your buttons and button holes match up. Place your button holes on the button band and your buttons on the inside of your top hem on duvet A. Your buttons will be tucked inside your duvet cover, not seen and will not poke you in your sleep.
Place your quilt or comforter inside your new, styling duvet and enjoy your new room! You can see how well both sides blend with my pillow covers (for instructions click here)
As much as I look forward to spring, in my neck of the woods it comes with stiff breezes and biting mornings. You need a lovely scarf to take the edge off the changing of the seasons in a lightweight fiber that works in warmer weather or can fit in your bag when temperatures climb in the middle of the day. This simple but elegant Ruffle Scarf knit in a cotton/linen blend creates the perfect spring scarf. The neutral, subtle colors blend well with dark, jewel tones of winter and the brighter shades of spring. I recommend doubling the yarn to make this a quick knit as well as blending the variegated color in the yarn. I started the 2 strands at different ends of the ball, mismatching the colors (One ball started with pink and the other with green). I wanted to swirl the colors together so there would be an even distribution of the variegation.
The finished scarf is about 6 ft long and a gorgeous length of ruffle goodness and deliciously soft. The weight is just right to swag around your neck and add a bit of warmth or you can double or triple the scarf and couple with a jacket for blustery days and nights. This scarf works well with a weekend, casual outfit or can be paired with a suit or dress for a weekday or a swing coat and heels for evening. It is very functional and stylish.
I loved making it despite the upwards of 600 sts at the end. It was a nice relaxing garter stitch that worked well while sitting outside with the little one. Here's what you will need to make your own:
2 skeins of Berroco Linsey (64% cotton, 36% Linen) in Vineyard color way.
With the yarn doubled, cast on 150 Sts (I used backwards cast on). Do not join for knitting in the round.
Knit 2 rows,
R3: *kf&b, k1; repeat from * to end of round (300 sts)
R4 & 5: Knit
R6: Repeat R3 (600 sts)
R8: Bind off
Weave in your ends and enjoy your luxurious scarf! I love to pair mine with my Favorite Things Cute Skirt and Denim jacket.
Another month, another free knitting pattern download designed by Moi (Tara Miller- hi, there) exclusively for Fabric.com. I am super excited about this month's pattern, Argyle Cloche, because it is my first cloche. I have wanted to make a cloche for quite a while. I'm in love with the roaring twenties! I love the glamour and the chic looks. The cloches are my favorite because they really draw attention to the face. You notice the hair (which long or short looks great in a cloche), the eyes pop and for the girls bold enough to wear a red lip- a cloche is just the right accessory.
My Argyle Cloche is just the hat for the waning of winter into spring. It is knit from Tahki Coast, a 55/45 wool/ cotton blend in 3 tonal colors of Teal, Grey and Aqua. I am really digging argyle this year and think the tonal aspects of these 3 colors really distinguish the argyle without making it the one and only star. Another great detail in the Argyle Cloche is added length on half of the brim. This allows for a close, cloche fit without bearing too much skin to harsh weather. The extra length can be worn in front to cover your bangs and heat your forehead or in back, if you have shorter hair and want the extra fabric on your neck. This detail slightly exaggerates the bell shape of the cloche and makes it easier to wear. The crown decreases also form a star shape, as a little treat to anyone who glances upon you as you tie your shoe.
Due to the nature of Fair Isle and the heavy cotton blend of the yarn, it is important to make sure you gauge correctly and keep your knitting loose. You may want to increase your needle size and make sure you keep your stranding spread out. You can get more Fair Isle tips here.
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