Tag Archives: crochet

Embroidered Blocking Mat Storage Bag

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This week was the Summer Solstice for Earth’s Northern Hemisphere and we sure are feeling the heat here in the Northeastern United States! Temperatures of 98*F and plenty of humidity to go around.

As a knitter and crocheter, one of the final steps to finishing a piece is blocking. This does not need to be done with all projects, but definitely with some. For example, due to the pattern stitch and yarn used for this cream criss-cross scarf I made for my sister, you can see how the edges curl under a bit and the shape is not quite right. This is because the piece was never properly blocked to define the shape. I never block scarves, frankly because they are SO long that I don’t have a surface big enough to use for blocking!

Blocking boards are pretty expensive and normally I would make a board, but again – most pieces I don’t block are things like very long scarves and I didn’t want to take on a DIY task like that. Then I came up with a solution: foam floor mats! You know, the kind you fit together like a puzzle that you typically see all colorful on playroom floors or the black version on workroom floors? You can determine the size and the shape – and because they are foam they won’t mind getting a bit wet or being stuck with pins. I thought it was the perfect inexpensive solution for my blocking board problem. I settled on these double-sided blocks from Amazon: Norsk-Stor 240151 Reversible Recyclamat Multi-Purpose Foam Flooring, Multi-Color/Gray, 4-Pack


Photo Credit: Amazon.com

My birthday was in May and my parents are kind enough to get all of their kids a couple of things that we want or need every year, no matter how grown we become. This year when my mom asked what I wanted I sent her the link to these mats. In anticipation of their arrival I decided to make a storage bag for them. I knew that the mats would be sitting around gathering dust if I didn’t so I went ahead and stitched up a bag based on the measurements from Amazon’s website. It’s not a perfect fit, but it’s pretty close. I guess that’s what happens when you make a bag to fit something before you have the actual item you’re storing!

I used Kona Solid Cotton color Sand. It’s a very basic bag made of two fabric pieces sandwiched together, corner seams to make the base, and a few pieces of tonal velcro hand-stitched at the top hem for closure.

My favorite touch is the embroidered yarn ball that I decided to add. I went ahead and free-handed my sketch. Since this was a big item and I wanted some great texture I decided to embroider the piece with yarn instead of embroidery thread. I used 100% Cotton that I had in my stash (do you recognize the color from my niece’s worm pillow’s stripe?).

I love the golden yellow – it is bright and sunny and I think it complements the neutral fabric quite well. It also gives you a hint of the bright colorful mats that are stored inside.

For some interesting info about the Summer Solstice, check out this National Geographic article.

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Little Boy Blue Blanket

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A family friend is expecting a little boy. A handmade blanket is a gift that is always appreciated and useful! I like to make baby blankets “toddler-size” so they can be used for a number of years, and can be converted to a throw when the child gets older.

This adorable “Little Boy Blue” blanket, as I refer to it, was crocheted all in one piece using a large crochet hook and two strands of yarn held together. I started by making many rows of double crochets.

When I had a decent size to it, the piece was turned and I started making row after row of “border” stitches in different sizes (singles, triples, half doubles…) creating what would appear to the untrained eye as a big granny square.

Photo Credit: lawagency.co.uk

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn;
Where is that boy
Who looks after the sheep?
Under the haystack
Fast asleep.
Will you wake him?
Oh no, not I
– Mother Goose

Scarf Week: Thursday

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I’m loving Scarf Week, are you?

BROWN ALPACA SCARF

I love Alpaca yarn. It is one of the softest yarns out there (aside from Angora to which I am allergic). This particular yarn is baby alpaca from Catalina Yarns. Baby alpaca fiber typically comes from the first shearing of an alpaca, giving you the softest, most beautiful fiber the animal may ever produce. The weight of this yarn is so perfect for the scarf; it gives it an incredibly luxurious feel.

I just wanted something super-simple to whip up and warm my neck in the winter so I went with a classic K2, P2 rib. This gorgeous chocolate brown matched my green corduroy coat. I also picked up the same yarn in a cream color and knit a scarf for my sister-in-law (it was stuffed into her cable knit bag for Christmas – see previous post).

If you get the opportunity to see it, the episode of Dirty Jobs from Season 1 where Mike Rowe visits an Alpaca Farm is great (and funny). You can see how shearing the animals is really a difficult task. Actually, here you go! I found a video clip of the episode on Discovery Channel’s website.
 
 
NEW YEARS EVE SCARF

I crocheted this scarf in just a few hours on NYE (I think 2007-2008) while watching a Scrubs marathon.

I had picked up this multi-color purple cotton yarn in the clearance section at the craft store with the intention of making a floral scarf similar to one I saw a woman crocheting on the train.

Even though I wrote down the name, I could not locate the woman’s pattern online (I think the website had taken it down), so I went in search of another skinny floral scarf. I found a substitute: Interweave Press published a free pattern download in 2007 called “Get the Skinny Scarves”. I knew it would be a great match with this yarn.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a new post for Scarf Week.

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Scarf Week: Tuesday

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Day three of scarf week…

PiNK POPCORN SCARF

I love the yarn used for this scarf. It is a cotton yarn with amazing texture to it. I felt it really didn’t need any embellishment, so I knit this up with a simple garter stitch.

This not only has a great hand feel, but the texture is so nice wrapped around your neck!

The yarn is such a great pink – perfect to add a pop of color to your look.
 
 
SKINNY CHENILLE SCARF

I don’t think I have ever made a scarf as quickly as this!

I crocheted it in a period of 45 minutes during a train ride. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was heading down to NJ to visit family. This scarf was going to be stuffed inside of a bag I got my sister for her birthday.

The yarn is a soft forrest green chenille. Because it’s so skinny it makes for a cute accessory when worn long, or keeps you warm when you wrap it all around your neck.
 
 
WIDE CHENILLE SCARF

My mom received a wider version of the above chenille scarf with more stitch detailing. It’s hard to capture in a photo, but this scarf has rows of all sorts of crochet stitches.

So soft and warm for the winter, this scarf is great worn under your coat.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the continuation of Scarf Week!

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Starsailor

More Blankets!

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BIG STITCH KNIT BLANKET

My friend got married a couple of weeks ago (amazing, gorgeous wedding!) and I knew I wanted to do something special for her and her husband. I took a look at their registry and saw bedding and pillows in greys and silvers so I thought it would be great to knit a blanket that complements the set.

I knit this on massive (I mean 3 feet long and super-fat) big stitch needles. It was very awkward, to be honest. These giant needles are what created the big stitches you see in the blanket.

I mostly knit this in stockinette stitch, but I added in a bunch of reverse-stockinette stitch rows at the ends and throughout to create more texture and more of a pattern. This was knit with three strands of yarn held together: 1 Cape Cod Blue and 2 Off-White. Hopefully my friends can cozy up under this blanket all winter long.
 
 
GRANNY SQUARE BABY BLANKET

I know the photos on this one are kind of awful. At the time I took a snapshot (I believe with my 35mm camera) just so I would remember the blanket. I didn’t realize I would be doing anything with it later on.

This blanket was crocheted for a friend’s baby girl at least 12 years ago. I made up the pattern for the granny squares.

This was crocheted with a multicolor yarn. After all of the squares were completed, I sewed them together then added a crochet border.
 
 
GRANNY SQUARE COLLEGE BLANKET

When a friend of mine was midway through college she moved into her first apartment. I thought it was a perfect time to make a blanket for her.

I crocheted this about 7 years ago. And randomly, I bought the yarn in Brooklyn. I chose the cream as a neutral base and added the green accent because it was her favorite color.

I wrote the pattern for this blanket, as well. It’s actually pretty big – I could have left off the outer row of cream squares. After all of the squares were made, I sewed them together then added a crochet border – two rows of cream, a row of green then one last row of cream to finish it off.
 
 
GRANNY SQUARE WINTER BLANKET

I crocheted this blanket about 7 years ago. I don’t remember why I picked these colors. It was probably getting close to winter and pine trees were on my mind. Oh gosh, I can’t wait until winter – you walk down the streets of NYC and in every neighborhood there are Christmas tree vendors on the sidewalks. It smells so good! And an added bonus: no humidity!

(Yes, that is some of my yarn stash in the background.) The accent squares consisted of multiple colors – forest green, lace and off-white, and the base squares were crocheted with a solid forest green. Both the forest green and the lace colors were integrated into the trim.

While it’s not my favorite design that I created, this is really such a warm blanket. It’s great to wrap around yourself and cozy up in a chair.

Family Blankets

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One thing I love to make for my family members is a great blanket. It will keep them warm, decorate their home, and become a keepsake they can pass on to their kids one day. Blankets take a while to create, but are always worth the effort involved.

CABLE KNIT BLANKET

Several years ago, to accompany their newly re-done living room, I knit a blanket for my parents. It is pretty large – much bigger than I usually make.

I had an idea in my head of what I wanted the blanket to look like, incorporating braided cables, ribbing, multiple colors…

I went to work first sketching, then writing out a pattern. Since the blanket was so large, I had to knit the taupe center section separately from the maroon border pieces. Circular knitting needles only come in certain lengths. This blanket became increasingly heavy the further I knit (it was just so big). My left hand turned into what I referred to as “the claw” because of the shape my hand took from the weight it held while I knit. Yes, this is even with the bulk of the weight sitting in my lap. It took a lot of time and effort to uncurl my fingers. Haha, I never thought of the Inspector Gadget reference until now!

After knitting and assembling all of the pieces, I finished the blanket with a crocheted border.
 
 
RIDGED CROCHET BLANKET

A few years ago was my brother and sister-in-law’s first Christmas as a married couple. I decided to make a blanket for them.

To achieve the desired look, I pulled several colors and strands of yarn together and knotted them up with a giant crochet hook. The blanket was made with mostly triple crochets and chains. I used a blend of forest green, taupe and off-white yarns. My brother loves earth tones.

By crocheting through the back half of the stitch on the row below, ridges were created with the front half of the stitch. In the close-up you can see how there is a ridge every-other row (and reversed on the back side).

The blanket was crocheted all in one piece, then finished off with a border consisting of a few single crochet rows.
 
 
TRIPLE CROCHET BLANKET

My older sister was next in line for a blanket. I remember making it after she bought her house.

My sister’s furniture was mostly neutral so I wanted to give her a subtle pop of color. I went to the store with her and fibbed about who I was making a blanket for because I wanted her opinion on color. The blue was her favorite out of the options that were available. I mixed the 1 strand of blue with 2 strands of taupe yarn and again used a giant crochet hook.

This blanket was similar in pattern to the one made for my brother, but there were no ridges. This is because I crocheted through the entire stitch below instead of just half of it. This blanket was also crocheted all in one piece, then finished off with a border – 1 row of single crochet then 1 row of half double crochet if I remember correctly. I chose my yarn very carefully for these blankets so despite the spaces in the pattern, anybody wrapped up in this will be quite warm.

The blue ended up being inspiration to incorporate more color into the room. Blue throw pillows, floor vase, etc. I also made my sister some coasters with blue fabric a couple of years later (stay tuned for those photos).

Baby Inchworm Pillow

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The night I learned I was going to be an aunt, I passed the book Knitting for Babies to my brother and sister-in-law for them to pick out anything they wanted. They both loved the Inchworm Pillow!

This was knit with 100% worsted weight cotton yarns. Rather than create an I-Cord, I crocheted a chain for the stripe. It is much quicker!

Such a little cutie – here is my niece having fun with her comfy little wormie! Please excuse my beautiful niece’s blurred out face; I wasn’t sure if my brother and sister-in-law would want her photo posted on the internet otherwise.

She likes to study Wormie’s face. She is also fascinated by the cord wrapped around his body. She takes her tiny little fingers and tries to pick it up off his body (or maybe she wants to see how it’s attached?). Smart cookie is fascinated by textures, colors and shapes.

I found this pattern online if you want to make your own: Baby Inchworm Pillow