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Did You Accomplish Your Christmas Knit List?

yarn stash projects in progress

Does your work-in-progress stash look like this one? Image via Ellie Belle

My answer to that question is a capital NO!  In fact, I am feeling downright bad about myself right now due to the fact that I did not finish one, yes NOT EVEN ONE, Christmas gift that I had planned to knit.

Oh sure, I started lots of projects—I got the ribbing done on a lovely red, wool, cable-knit hat for my mother, and I started a fur cowl but the fur got all funky and I had to rip out like 10 rows, so I put that aside in frustration. Oh, and I have half of a pair of socks finished.

knitting joke

Is this how you feel? Image Via Pinterest

Then there is that bag of yarn sitting in the corner of my den mocking me. Yes, that bag is full of unrealized dreams of fabulous knit Christmas creations that never even got near the point of a needle.

Alas, here I am—Christmas is over, so what do I do now? I really want to just sit and selfishly knit something for ME! Something that makes me feel better and feel accomplished. Why does that feel like such a bad thing? Are all of us knitters plagued with such guilt when it comes to making something for ourselves? Well, I dare say a little selfish knitting is just what the doctor ordered.

So join me in tossing aside that unfinished Christmas knit list (I’ll pick it back up next December). Don some comfy yoga pants, pour a glass of wine, grab some lush yarn from your stash (might as well grab some from that bag of unused Christmas present yarn) and make yourself something special. Hmmm a hat sounds good right about now…I hear it will be a cold January.

Did you finish all your knit or crochet Christmas gifts, or were you like me, a totally well-intended knitter who tragically failed to realize a single goal ?

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4 Things Every Beginner Knitter Needs To Have

Knitting girls with color

There are some basic supplies that you will need before you begin on your knitting or crochet journey. Image Via: Continuinged North Seattle

It seems that knitting and crochet are trendy again—finally! Long gone are the stereotypes of Grandma knitting in her rocking chair (although personally, that is still quite a comforting image since that is how I plan to spend my retirement years).

Rather, it seems that the new world of knitters are funky, fun, young and dare to be different. Take Stephen West for example, or the many crochet artists who were drawn into the love of hook and yarn thanks to the revival of vintage crochet styles.

Knitting has been given a fashionable nudge with runway clothing designers such as Izaac Mizrahi hopping onto the knitting bandwagon with their very own lines of yarn. Although, some of us knitters may fondly remember watching Martha Stewart in her ‘coming home poncho’ as she waved to us from the television screen (and as we all wondered if her reputation would survive)—did these images reignite the knitting bug? Maybe. Either way, I am just happy to see that knitting and crocheting has become hip and trendy again. Which leads me to the whole point of this post—

What does every beginning knitter or crocheter need to have in order to begin a successful journey into the world of learning to knit and crochet?

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Image via Pinterest

1) A Patient Teacher

No matter what, if you want to delve into the craft of knitting or crochet, then you will need a skilled teacher who is PATIENT. One that you can call as quick as a dropped stitch and ask, “What on earth does PSSO mean???”

Yes, a skilled teacher is a must in order to learn this complicated craft. If you do not know of anyone off-hand, then pop into your local yarn store and ask if there is someone willing to teach you. You will soon discover that knitters and crocheters are some of THE FRIENDLIEST people on earth!

2) A Basic Set Of Needles or Hooks

Hooks and needles are the tools of the trade and trust me, it may be a bit of an initial expense, but it is best to invest in a basic set of knitting needles or crochet hooks. I suggest that you buy the most used needle or hook sizes. For knitting, you should buy sizes 6 through 10. Once you improve your skills, then  you can buy some smaller and larger needles. For crochet, I suggest buying sizes E through K. Again, once you improve, you can purchase more varying sizes.

Also, don’t worry too much about buying the expensive wood needles and hooks—those can come later as your skills increase, for now just buy the basic plastic or steel ones.

3) Yarn, of Course

This is where the fun begins!!!! You will quickly fall in love with all the yarn offerings that are currently on the market. Oh, nothing gets me as excited as a colorful sock yarn (not even my husband)—I begin to drool at the thought of its variegations and patterns that will appear as I knit.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. At the beginning it is best to stick with simple and cheap versions of yarn such as worsted weight acrylics or acrylic blends. There will be many scarves that turn into triangles as you begin, so be patient and buy cheaper yarn until your skills improve.

4) Stitch Markers

You will quickly discover that stitch markers are a must when it comes to knitting or crocheting in the round ( in a seamless circle). But guess what! You actually don’t have to buy these—read one of my older posts to learn all about the free stitch markers that you have lying around your home 🙂

So there you have it! Load up on these simple supplies and enjoy the beginning of your yarn’y adventures. I guarantee that with time and patience, you will become an obsessed yarn-a-holic just like me 🙂

Until Next Time,

Happy Crafting!

 

 

 

Cowl Neck Scarf For Your Dog

cowl

Cowl neck scarves are all the rage, so why not have one for your dog, too!?  I have two toy poodles (long story how this girl who grew up with hunting dogs ended up with fluffy toy poodles LOL). I love cowl necks, so I decided my little doggies should match me and have their own cowl neck scarf 😉

If you are as crazy about your little doggies as I am, then try making one of these easy puppy cowls. Here is a free crochet pattern to try:

1) Chain width of dogs neck, allowing for some stretch

2) Single crochet first row

3) Then single crochet into the back loops only for all remaining rows

4) Continue in back loops only until you have desired length (I kept testing it on my furry friend). Then fold your work in half and slip stitch beginning row and last row, attaching them together. Bind off and weave in ends.

Here is one picture of the completed project:

cowl 1

cowl 2

What is your favorite dog accessory?

Until Next Time,

Happy Crafting!!!

 

How To Crochet Spooky Halloween Hats

crochet candy corn hat

For the past couple Halloween seasons my daughter has requested that I crochet her a hat to go with her costume. The year she wanted to be a candy corn was the year that I discovered that a simple crochet witch hat pattern can be modified into almost anything!

Think about it— a witch hat can be modified into a hat for a warlock or a wizard or even a Santa Claus costume by simply changing the yarn color and width of the brim! Or you can do what I did; I omitted the brim entirely, then used classic candy corn colors to make a cute candy corn hat!

Use your imagination! How would you modify this simple witch hat pattern into something spookily spectacular?

crochet witch hat

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Until Next Time,

Happy Crafting!!!!

Crochet Boot Cuffs or Boot Toppers—FREE Pattern

corchet boot cuff 2

Fall is in the air ! It’s time to buy boot cuffs or boot toppers—the perfect fall fashion accessory.   But why not make your own instead of buying? These are so simple to make and perfect for the beginning knitter or crocheter.

Here is the pattern I used for this pair:

1) Chain 6

2) single crochet first row

3) single crochet next row in back loops only

4) continue in back loops only until your work wraps snugly around calf

5) hold first and last rows together and slip stitch them together, you now have a loop

6) round 1—single crochet around the top of the loop you have formed

7) round 2— half double crochet in the round until your cuff measures approx 5 inches.

8) bind off, weave in ends and sew on button

boot cuff 1

crochet boot cuff 3

4 Free Stitch Markers That Are Perfect For Knitting And Crocheting

Those elusive little stitch markers seem to always disappear, don’t they?  One way or another, I am constantly losing mine. So what can we do in a pinch, when we need a stitch marker but cannot find one? We get creative!

I have come up with 4 unique stitch markers that you can use in your crochet or knitting—and I’m willing to bet that you have these in your home right now. Drum roll….here they are:

Rainbow Looms Make Great Stitch Markers

If you have kids, then you recently went through that wonderful Rainbow Loom phase. Now that half of these little rubbery circles have been sucked up by my vacuum, and now that my kids are tired of the craft; I had to come up with something to do with these little elastic circles (besides throw them out). Well guess what!? They make PERFECT knitting stitch markers 🙂

rainbow loom stitch markers

Earrings Make Convenient Stitch Markers

Yup! I have actually pulled out my earring and used it as a stitch marker!!! Think about it—it’s always there in a pinch, no matter where you are….your car, the park, soccer games…you almost always have on earrings, right? This style of earring I have shown in the image below is perfect for marking cables or for slipping right onto the needle in place of an ordinary circle marker.

earrings make great stitch markers for knit and crochet

Safety Pin Stitch Markers

Safety pins make perfect stitch markers for both knitting and crochet. I love them becasue they close tightly, keeping my stitches safe—and I know they won’t fall off.

safety pin stitch marker

A Simple Piece of Yarn

Have you just finished weaving in a bunch of ends on your latest project? If so, save those ends in a ziplock bag—They make great stitch markers!

string stitch marker

What unique household goods do you use for stitch markers?

Until Next Time,

Happy Crafting!!!

 

 

 

Crochet Hudson Bay Blanket

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When I began the craft of crochet, I did so because I was craving uncomplicated yarn projects; ones that I could do with 2 babies in diapers and 1 toddler who was potty training ( life was hectic!). But I still needed the comfort of keeping my hands busy with yarn. Knowing that counting complicated knit rows would not work with my current life, I taught myself to crochet.

I loved the repetitive pattern of single crochet; it didn’t need my undivided attention, while my fingers worked away I could watch TV or discuss the world view of the ‘Wiggles’ with my talkative toddler.

With all that being said, I thought that I would take my blog back to a simpler time and share with you one of my older crochet projects that I completed way back when—my single crochet Hudson Bay Blanket. I gave this blanket to my Mum for a Christmas present—she collects some vintage Hudson Bay blankets and I thought this would be a fun gift for her. She loved it!!!

So, here it is, my single crochet sensation:

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What do you find more relaxing, knit or crochet?

Quick Crochet Patterns

Whew! I survived the first week of school! The kids started on Wednesday, and even though it has only been half a week, it seems like I’ve accomplished a lot! Of course, there is never enough time in my day for knitting and crocheting.

I am looking forward to the weekend; I am all caught up on my writing work and I plan to spend the weekend finishing my socks and maybe starting another pair.

I like projects that I can quickly finish up— this way I get the quick gratification of a finished piece 🙂  With that being said, I thought that I would devote this post to a few crocheted pieces that you could finish in a weekend.

So here are three of my top crochet picks that you can start Friday night and have finished by Sunday:

crochet scarf

This is a fun and easy neck warmer! Pattern via: Fiber Flux

crochet hat

I love this crochet hat!!! Pattern via: DIY Candy

crochet cat toy

For all you cat lovers 🙂 Pattern via: Dabbles and Babbles

What are you working on this lovely weekend?

 

Crochet Headband— Free Pattern

crochet ear warmer

Crochet headband with bow accent

This is an old crochet headband pattern that I recently dug up out of my archives, so unfortunately I do not have anymore pictures, but I wanted to share the pattern none the less. It is a VERY easy pattern and any beginning crochet artist can accomplish this in one sitting. I also LOVE the adorable bow accent.

The skills required: Single crochet, slip stitch and crochet in the round.

Materials: Worsted weight yarn, darning needle, Crochet hook J/6.0mm

 Headband:

1) Measure the circumference of your head, wrapping the measuring tape snugly around your forehead

2) Form a slip knot and chain enough stitches until you reach your desired circumference.

3) Slip stitch the first chain into the last, being careful not to twist the yarn

4) Place a stitch marker where you joined the chains, then single crochet in the round until you reach your desired height (I like mine 2-3 inches high/thick)

5) Fasten off and weave in ends

Bow:

1) Form a slip knot and chain 8 stitches

2) Single crochet back and forth until you have a band that is approximately 8 inches long ( don’t fasten off yet)

3) Join the beginning and end of this crocheted strip/band by slipstitching the ends together, and then weave in ends.

Center of Bow:

1) Form a slip knot and chain 3

2) Single crochet back and forth until you have a small narrow strip approximately one and a half inches long. Fasten off.

3) Wrap this small strip snugly around the center body of the larger bow strip you made.

4) With a darning needle  sew the ends of this small strip together, forming the center of the bow.

5) With a darning needle attach the finished bow to the headband.

Weave in all remaining ends and get ready to wear your fashionable headband!!!

If you have any troubles with this pattern please feel free to ask me for help! I’m always happy to hear from you!

 

 

 

Knitting for Charity

knit hats

Knitting for charity is very rewarding! Image Via: Learn to Knit With Katie

It eventually strikes all of us— the desire to donate our knitted or crocheted creations to someone in need. Some of us have been inspired to donate chemo caps because we know someone with cancer, while others were introduced to the healing comfort of prayer shawls from a church prayer shawl ministry.

No matter what method we choose, knitting and crocheting for charity is one of the best things a yarn-crafter can do with their time (and their huge stash). What better way to offer someone comfort in a time of need than to cover them in the warmth of homemade love?

Personally, I love to donate prayer shawls. I have given shawls to my mother, to complete strangers, and mailed them to towns that have experienced school shootings (hoping to comfort grieving parents).  Donating your yarn creation is a selfless act —you may never know the recipient, you may never get a thank you….you just hope that the receiver feels the  extent of your caring and comfort, and that it brings them a moment of peace/happiness.

Whether you knit, crochet, sew, quilt etc… no matter what your craft choice, you can help those in need. Here is a directory that offers an extensive list of charities world-wide that are in need of your home-made love.  If you prefer to go it alone, then consider mimicking this amazing charity idea of the mystery yarn bomber(s) in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  Wouldn’t you love to do this in your hometown!?

knit charity

Whose life can you touch with a donation of your home-made craft? Image Via: Dianne-Jones

You never know whose life you can change with a simple donation of your time and talent.

What charity do you like to donate your creations to? Please share, we would love to hear from you!

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