February’s Crochet Challenge

johnsie4:

I was recently involved in a community afghan making project. It was incredibly satisfying and inspiring. What a simple and effective way to help out. This blog is asking crocheters to donate 1 granny square a month to make blankets for charity. Granny squares are so easy and my favorite thing to crochet. I’m really excited to have found this blog.

Originally posted on CROCHET GRANNY SQUARES OF LOVE:

“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”
― Brian Tracy

Once again, we are in need of granny squares to stitch together to make afghans and baby blankets. I was thinking….If one person in every state in the United States sent only one granny square, then we would have 50 additional granny squares for the month of February. Fifty granny squares would help us make 8 baby blankets!!! It may not sound like much to you, but it means a lot to those who are in need of them.

We are looking for 50 volunteers, anywhere in the U.S., who will send us at least ONE granny square each month, to join us in our effort to keep others warm. One granny square is easy and inexpensive to mail. Just fold it over, pop inside of a long envelope…

View original 187 more words

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

DSC_0073

Wool dryer balls are awesome.  They are a great natural alternative to liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets.  The harmful chemicals in commercial fabric softeners can cause central nervous system damage, among other potential horrors!  Wool dryer balls soften your clothes and reduce static cling in your laundry without any harmful side affects (unless of course you’re allergic to wool, then I most definitely wouldn’t use them).  Wool dryer balls are a very popular topic people are searching for, and most of the traffic on my blog have come here through search engines looking specifically for knit and crochet patterns to make them.  In my wool dryer ball post, I did not include the pattern and I feel bad that I wasn’t helpful to the people coming here looking for them. 

The patterns to these dryer balls have been bumping around in my head for years and it’s about time I get them out into to world.

One commenter in the wool dryer ball post suggested going to the big box craft stores with a coupon or during a sale and stocking up on Fisherman’s wool for making the dryer balls. 

You’ll need to start your project by making a ball of yarn, wound very tightly.  This is a fantastic project to use up leftovers in your yarn stash.  Any 100% wool yarn will work, in any weight for the wound up ball that goes inside the knit or crochet pouch. 

DSC_0025_medium2

When the ball is 9 1/4 inches in circumference, thread the yarn tail onto a tapestry needle and secure the ball together.  It doesn’t have to be seamed very much, just enough that it won’t be coming apart inside your knit or crochet felted dryer ball pouches.

I’ve done quite a bit of felting and I have found Knit Picks Wool of the Andes to be the best felting yarn ever.  It felts up so easily, I swear this is what it was meant to do.  I have had success with other brands of 100% wool, just make sure you aren’t using superwash wool.

 

DSC_0070 (4)

Now, I’m going to be very direct and honest here. Felting is hard work! Some of the felting instructions I’ve read say something along the lines of, “Oh just throw your project in the washer and it will come out felted!” I have not found this to be true even once. I have a front load washer so felting is more of a challenge and I have no doubt it is easier in a top loading, agitating washer.

Here’s how I felted my dryer balls. First, I boiled them. I let them boil for a few minutes, then with tongs, plunged them into ice cold water. I put them back in the boiling pot of water for a few minutes, then once again, plunged them into ice cold water. I repeated this once more. I squeezed them out, put them in a mesh laundry bag, tied the slack, then put them in the washer on hot/ cold cotton cycle. I repeated this entire process (boiling and washing) 3 times before they were felted to my liking. My balls ended up being 10- 10.5 inches in circumference after all the felting. Both knit and crochet versions came out about the same size.
DSC_0073 (2)

Another question I get is how many balls to use? I personally like 6-8 balls in my dryer at a time. I’ve heard of people using up to 12 and as few as 2. It’s really up to you!

The crochet pattern is easier and faster to make, but harder to felt. The knit pattern takes longer to make, but easier to felt. I am glad I got to do both. It was a really fun adventure.

Crochet Felted Wool Dryer Balls pattern

Knit Felted Wool Dryer Balls pattern

Happy stitching!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Crochet Felted Wool Dryer Balls

DSC_0070 (4)

This pattern is crocheted in the round, amigurumu style so there will be no joining and chaining.  Just keep crocheting in a continuous spiral.  You’ll need a stitch marker to indicate the beginning of the round.

You will need to make a wool ball of yarn that is 9 1/4 inches in circumference to place inside the outer pouch.  See more information here.

Tools:

Size J Hook (6.0 mm)

Stitch marker

Tapestry needle

Yarn:

Worsted weight yarn in 100% wool  (make sure it’s not superwash).  I highly recommend Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for felted projects.

Abbreviations:

2scinc: 2 single crochet stitches in the same stitch, one stitch increased.

sc2tog: single crochet 2 stitches together, one stitch decreased.

Directions:

Starting with a magic ring, sc 6 times in the loop.  Pull tight.

1. 2scinc, repeat around. (12 sts)

2. 2scinc, 1 sc.  Repeat around (18 sts)

3. 2scinc, 2 sc.  Repeat around (24 sts)

4. 2scinc, 3 sc. Repeat around (30 sts)

5. 2scinc, 4 sc.  Repeat around (36 sts)

6. 2scinc, 5 sc. Repeat around (42 sts)

7. 2scinc, 6sc. Repeat around (48 sts)

Rounds 8- 15 sc in each st.

16. sc2tog, sc in next 6 sts. Repeat around (42 sts)

17. sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts. Repeat around (36 sts)

18. sc2tog, sc in next 4 sts. Repeat around (30 sts).  Put the yarn ball inside the pouch.

19. sc2tog, sc in next 3 sts. Repeat around (24 sts)

20. sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts. Repeat around (18 sts)

21. sc2tog, sc in next st. Repeat around (12 sts)

22. sc2tog around (6 sts)

Cut yarn, thread onto tapestry needle and seam the hole closed.  Weave in ends.

The pouch will be large and loose before felting.  Felt as desired.  For more information about felting, click here.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Knit Felted Wool Dryer Balls

DSC_0073

This is the pattern for the pouch that will go over the wound up balls of yarn to make felted wool dryer balls.  You will need to start this project by making a ball of yarn 9 1/4 inches in circumference.

Tools:

US 10 (6 mm) knitting needles, either DPN or 40″ circular for magic loop

Stitch marker to indicate beginning of round

tapestry needle

Worsted weight 100% wool yarn (make sure it’s not superwash)

Directions:

CO 6 sts, divide evenly between needles.  Place marker to indicate beginning of round.

1. KFB around (12 sts)

2. K all sts

3. K1, KFB repeat around (18 sts)

4. K all sts

5. K2, KFB repeat around (24 sts)

6. K all sts

7. K3, KFB repeat around (30 sts)

8. K all sts

9. K4, KFB repeat around (36 sts)

10. K all sts

11. K5, KFB repeat around (42 sts)

12. K all sts

13. K6, KFB repeat around (48 sts)

14. K all sts

15. K 7, KFB repeat around (54 sts)

16. K all sts

17. K8, KFB repeat around (60 sts)

Rounds 18-21, knit all sts.

22. K8, K2tog repeat around (54 sts)

23. K all sts

24. K7, K2tog repeat around. (48 sts)

25. K all sts

26. K6, K2tog repeat around (42 sts)

27. K all sts

28. K5, K2tog repeat around (36 sts)

29. K all sts

30. K4, K2tog repeat around (30 sts)

31. K all sts, place ball inside pouch.

32. K3, K2tog repeat around (24 sts)

33. K2, K2tog repeat around (18 sts)

34. K all sts

35. K1, K2tog repeat around (12 sts)

36. K2tog around (6 sts)

Cut yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail.  Thread yarn tail onto a tapestry needle, and draw it through the live sts.  Pull tight to close the pouch.  Secure and weave in yarn ends.  Felt as desired, or for more information, click here.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rainbow Striped Beanie

DSC_0001 (2)

DSC_0004 (2)

DSC_0005 (2)

I wanted to make my 4 year old son a new hat, so I gave him a pattern book to look through.  He seemed to get a little frustrated that he couldn’t find exactly what he wanted, so we searched on Ravelry for patterns together.  Again, he was frustrated he couldn’t find exactly what he wanted. 

I asked him to tell me what he was looking for.  He told me he wanted a hat with red, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, gray, and white stripes.  I got out a huge pile of yarn and had him pick out the colors for his hat.  He piled up 9 balls of yarn and said those were the colors he wanted.  We worked together to arrange the colors. 

We ended up with a Roy G Biv rainbow plus a few more colors.  What follows is the pattern to the cheerful hat my sweet 4 year old came up with. 

Pattern Gauge: 5 stitches and 7 rounds per inch in stockinette stitch

Tools:

US 5 16 inch circular knitting needle (or size needed for gauge)

US 7 16 inch circular knitting needle (or size needed for gauge)

US 7 DPNs or US 7 40 inch circular needle for magic loop

Stitch marker

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Yarn:

I used 9 colors of worsted weight yarn, most of which were Cascade 220 and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes.  The sequence for the hat was red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, gray, black.  This is an excellent project for using up all those obscure yarn ball leftovers so you can use whatever worsted weight yarn you have on hand.  You will need approximately 120 yards.

Directions:

With smaller needles and red yarn, cast on 96 stitches.  Place marker to indicate beginning of round. Work K2 P2 ribbing for 8 rounds.

Switch to larger needles, cut red yarn and begin working with orange, knit 4 rounds stockinette stitch. 

Knitting 4 rounds per color, knit in stockinette stitch until hat measures 7 inches from cast on edge.  (color sequence for this hat was red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, gray, black)

Continuing to switch colors every 4 rounds, begin decreasing.

Round 1: K 10, K2tog around (88 sts)

Round 2: K all sts

Round 3: K 9, K2tog around (80 sts)

Round 4: K all sts

Round 5: K 8, K2tog around (72 sts)

Round 6: K all sts

Round 7: K 7, K2tog around (64 sts)

Round 8: K all sts

Round 9: K 6, K2tog around (56 sts)

Round 10: K all sts

Round 11: K 5, K2tog around (48 sts)

Round 12: K all sts

Round 13: Switching to DPN’s or 40″ circular for magic loop, K 4, K2tog around (40 sts)

Round 14: K all sts

Round 15: K 3, K2tog around (32 sts)

Round 16: K all sts

Round 17: K 2, K2tog around (24 sts)

Round 18: K all sts

Round 19: K 1, K2tog around (16 sts)

Round 20: K all sts

Round 21: K2tog around (8 sts remaining)

Cut yarn, leaving 6 inch yarn tail.  Thread onto tapestry needle, thread remaining sts onto needle and pull the top of the hat closed.  Secure, and weave in all ends. 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Christmas Crochet (Pictures of FOs)

Image

I started the season with an amigurumi tree ornament set.  They were not on the tree for long, for the most part they could be found in the kids beds or their fists.  I am not putting them away yet.  They’re still being loved on and I love that.

Image

When I asked my 2 year old what she wanted for Christmas, she was very sure she wanted me to make her a kitty.  She never changed her mind… and she kept asking about it.  She was very pleased (and so was I) with the way it turned out.

Image

When I asked my 4 year old what he wanted, he took a long time to decide.  We looked through lots of toy patterns on Ravelry together and finally he decided on a very specific giraffe.  I like this little guy. 

 

Image

Image

Image

Image

The kids got new hats and their dolls got hats to match. 

Image

I also made my husband a new hat. 

All these projects were really satisfying because they were quick, I resolved my long lived issue with crochet, and it was all made with yarn I had on hand.  Yay for stashbusting!

Patterns used:

Amigurumi Woodland Christmas Ornaments

Amineko Crocheted Cat

Crochet Giraffe

Beginner’s Beanie

Shell Stitch Beanie

Doll Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

December Crochet

I’m not sure why, but crochet has been really appealing to me lately.  I go through phases with knitting and crochet, but usually just stick to knitting because it’s easier for me.

I have had issues with something ridiculous in crochet, and that’s turning chains.  I didn’t really understand them, what they are for, how to count stitches with them added.  The problem is that it can be different from pattern to pattern.  Having not enough experience to know that, I frogged many a crochet project.  I always stuck to amigurumi toys because they do not involve join and chain business.

I found a hat pattern that worded the instructions so well that I was able to finally figure it out.  And so, as it happens so often, I got a high from overcoming a problem.  I made a hat in 45 minutes!  It takes hours, sometimes days, to knit a hat.  And I made more, enough for both kids, my husband, and for two dolls.  Yay!

I also did a lot of Amigurumi this month.  I made some Christmas tree ornaments and each of my kids a new squishy toy for a gift. 

My brother and sister in law are going to be having a baby in about a month.  Over the past few days, I have been working nonstop on a granny square blanket for them.  It’s one big granny square.  I fell in love with the concept of the granny sqaure long ago, but to just continue and continue until you have a blanket was not something I had thought to do.  I am in love with this pattern!

I worked really hard and put a lot of time into it, but nowhere near what I would have spent knitting a baby blanket.  I finished the border yesterday and weaved in all the ends. I put it in the washer on cold delicate cycle to block it.  When I took it out, I was met with every yarn worker’s worst nightmare.  It had come unraveled where I had changed colors!  Oh the horror!  Really, it was horrifying.

I managed to fix all the holes and I learned a difficult lesson.  Weaving in ends in knit and crochet projects are very different.  I shall remember this from now on.

So, to make me feel better, my husband ordered me some new crochet hooks.  I have been wanting new hooks for years, but didn’t know what to get.  It seems that in the yarn worker’s market, knitting rules.  You can buy some awesome needles, but for hooks, you kind of have to just go to the big box craft stores.  Those have been fine, but to go from knitting on Addi Turbos to crocheting with Boye or Susan Bates… I just felt like they were cheap.

Clover somewhat recently came out with a new line of crochet hooks.  They’re called Amour and they are getting rave reviews on the crochet groups on Ravelry.  So my love bought me some.  Because he’s awesome.

When I get them I’ll let you all know what I think.  Since I know you are all on the edge of your seats wondering what I think of something… oh blogging.

I hope you all had a Happy Hanukkah, Christmas, and I hope you will have a Happy New Year!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized