Recently in Crochet Category

Knitting: Calculating Yarn Yardage

November 22, 2013

When creating a new project it is always handy to have the correct amount of yarn needed to see your project to fruition. If you enjoy math (or can easily tolerate it) then read the following paragraphs. If you despise math and don't mind rough estimations or need the easy but less percise way of calculating yarn then please skip down to the * at the bottom of the page. If you are looking for a math-free and precise way of gaining your yardage then: sorry, you will have to settle or one or the other. 

Continue reading Knitting: Calculating Yarn Yardage .

Costume Corner: Baby Shrek the Ogre

September 11, 2013

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Well, I have a baby so you must have seen this one coming. For the most part I'm a pretty laid back mom but I always, always like for my girls to look good. This is especially true for halloween since I love Halloween. I really love it. In fact I was planning hallween costume a few minutes after I found out I was pregnant. When it comes to babies though I don't let anything irritate, distract or inhibit them- it just makes my job easier. So I set out to make a super cute costume for my youngest that would not distract her from her job-walking, crawling and getting into trouble- but would make for some memorable photos. It is amazing how well some key clothing items can be configured into great costumes for little ones. 

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For my daughter, we decided it would be funny for her to be Shrek the Ogre for Halloween. You see, when we told my oldest daughter that we were having a baby she named her soon-to-be sister "Baby Shrek" until even after we found out "shrek" was a girl. To make this costume all that is needed is a tiny vest, leggings, a t-shirt or onesie and a knit hat. Since the weather in Georiga is tempermental and I never know if it will be warm or cold on the big day I like to keep my options open to make sure my kids are comfy. For this costume I can use a long sleeve shirt or short sleeve. I have also decided to use a pink shirt instead of Shrek's white just to show she's a girl (people like to know). To create your own baby Shrek costume try these tutorials to make your pieces. 

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Vest: I modified this baby shirt pattern to be an open vest just sewn at the shoulders and sides. I cut the back piece on the fold but not the front to create the open vest. I left off the sleeves. I used some brown interlock knit fabric to prevent curling and because it is thicker and will hold up to the grommets better. I added 4 grommets just like Shrek. I didn't hem or bind arm holes to give it the haphazard, worn look Shrek rocks. 

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Leggings: This is a a great pattern to use to make all kinds of leggings or knit pants for your kids. I used the same brown interlock just in case it is chilly that night. I know Shrek wears tartan leggings but I wanted to be able to use the leggings for everyday use and I'm not sure if I have too many outfits that will match Shrek's particular tartan. 

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For the hat I knit this pattern using 2 strands held together, one of cotton (Lion Brand Cotton Ease Lime) and one of wool (Lion Brand Wool Ease Sage). 

This costume idea can be adapted for other characters as well. For animals you only need change the hat and keep the t-shirt and leggings the same color to coordinate with the animals. Try searching Ravelry for the hat pattern. Here's a great Despicable Me minion crochet hat pattern. For Princess Leia, try this pattern. If you want to sew an animal hat, check out this collection on Pinterest.  

Combine Knitting & Sewing

June 26, 2013

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Creating a knitted and sewn project is not very popular despite the growning population of sewists who knit and knitters who sew. Combining the 2 arts can be tricky, frustrating and create headaches that most would rather not deal with. After all, two of the key reasons people craft is stress relief and and enjoyment of the finished product. However, it doesn't have to be very difficult and with some tips combining sewing and knitting can be a great way to design a one of a kind project. 

Continue reading Combine Knitting & Sewing .

Crochet Fringe

May 3, 2013

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You know I couldn't leave well enough alone. I love the look of the fringe hand towel so much that no matter my love of pom poms (see Old Fashioned Linens for reference) I had to make a fringed hand towel. So sure, I could sew on some our Chainette Fringe onto a linen towel and call it a day but you know that's not how I roll. I had to make my own fringe for my handmade guest towel.

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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.

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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.

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* 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.

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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. 


Crochet Granny Squares

January 25, 2013

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Crochet Edging for Your Stocking

December 21, 2012

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For my girls' first Christmas, I made them a stocking. Here is Devon's stocking back in 2009. I want the stockings to be similar but not identical so I used a common fabric and am keeping similar details. I love the rick rack cuff edging on my 2009 stocking but I decided to keep the effect with a crochet trim. My goal was to add a scalloped crochet trim in a similar color. The tricky part was adding a crochet trim to a fabric project. Well...Problem solved! With a little embroidery floss we were in business. Here's how you can add a crochet trim to your fabric projects, whether that be a stocking, tree skirt or apparel.

Materials:

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.

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Here is my stocking cuff

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Dirty Laundry Travel Bag

September 3, 2012

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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:

1)      Ugly

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

½ yd of cotton duck, twill or other medium weight/bottom weight fabric

Scrapes of quilting cotton for appliqués

1 yd of 3'' wide Jersey Knit fabric (cut with the stretch)

Download Dirty Laundry Travel Appliqués here

Heat n Bond

 

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Instructions:

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.

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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).

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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.

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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!!!!



Giant Crochet Lion

August 15, 2012

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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.

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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!

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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). 

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Tara Miller


Poppy Brooch for Remembrance on the 4th of July

July 4, 2012

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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.

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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.

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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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Knitting: Dishcloth Afghan

June 15, 2012

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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!


Alphabet Patchwork Blanket by Kate Gunn & Robyn MacDonald

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!

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