Whoooooo Goes There??

Wow, Summer is moving right along.  Actually starting to make some stocking stuffers !!!

SONY DSC

Crochet Owl Pouch

I did come across a really cute little owl pouch pattern, which I found at 1dogwoof.com.  Here’s one of mine!!  Makes up fast but best of all, I came across the best striping techniques for crochet to keep those stripes looking nice and even when you are joining.

One of my favorite websites, PlanetJune has a couple of videos  you can watch to see her striping techniques.  I really like the invisible joining method as the outcome is fantastic.  It also makes for a wonderful fastening off technique so that you have a continuous looking stitch edge.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

If you are wanting to perfect your crochet striping, take a moment and check out these websites.  I know you won’t be disappointed ūüôā

HAPPY CREATING!!

                                Nancy

Crochet Pumpkin with Leaf Tutorial

I found this fantastic free pattern on Knit Picks by Hannah Maier, I believe it can be found also on Ravelry.  It is actually two patterns Рone for knitting and one for crocheting.

SONY DSC

I created the crochet version, which was called the Clove Pumpkin.¬† The yarn that I chose was Lily, The Original Sugar ‘n Cream cotton.¬† I crocheted one using a Size¬†H hook and the other one I used a Size E.¬† I didn’t vary from the directions given but wanted to add a leaf to my pumpkin as well as that little curly Q feature you sometimes see on a real pumpkin.¬† So I spent an evening designing this little leaf that I really like.

SONY DSC

Here are the directions for the leaf:  I used the same yarn type as I did for the pumpkin and made my leaf with a Size H crochet hook.  In the smaller version, I used a Size E hook for my leaf.

Chain 22, skip first two chains then SL (slip stitch) in next 9 chains.  In next chain complete 1 HDC, 1 DC, 1 TRB, in next chain Р2 TRB, next chain Р2 TRB, next chain Р2 HTRB, next chain Р2 HTRB, next chain Р2 DC, next chain Р2 DC, next chain Р1 HDC, next chain Р1 HDC, next chain Р1 HDC, last chain Р3 SC.

Now you want to basically reverse that stitch pattern on the back side of the chain stitches.  1 HDC, 1 HDC,  1 HDC, 2 DC, 2 DC, 2 HTRB, 2 HTRB, 2 TRB, 2 TRB, last chain 1TRB, 1DC, and 1 HDC.  Viola, you end up with this really cute leaf.  I just stitched it to the center of the pumpkin along with the stem.  SONY DSC

Also, in my smaller version, I created 8 pumpkin ridges just for some variations.  I have been placing them around my house and will use some for a table centerpiece for Thanksgiving!!

Thank you Hannah Maier so much for sharing such a cute pumpkin pattern.¬† Love it ūüôā

HAPPY CREATING!!

Some UnConventional Sewing Tools

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing which I do on a daily basis to keep items available for my Etsy shop – www.etsy.com/shop/ToteworthyDesigns – as well as for my personal designs and treasures!!¬† I “LOVE” to sew and have many unconventional type tools that I use on a day-to-day basis to help make my projects easier and look their best.

Looking at the above picture – I will give you a brief idea of what I use some of these household items for to aid me in my sewing endeavors:

  • Flour Sack T-Towels – These are probably my all time favorite item to have on hand.¬† Not only are they a perfect item for your kitchen or bathroom but these towels make a wonderful pressing cloth.¬† They are big (26″ x 26″), lint free and you can lightly see through them when you are pressing your project.¬† The cloth can handle a hot iron and protects your fabric too.¬† I get them in white so I can bleach them, if need be.
  • Soap Scraps – I collect all those small soap remnants and use them for marking registration lines, sewing lines, notches, etc.¬† These soap pieces don’t clearly show up on white fabric so then I pull out a quilting type pencil.¬† All you have to do is steam them and the lines will disappear, however, if you can still see your soap marks, give a spritz of water to the mark and iron it out.
  • Wooden Spoon – These are great to help with turning items to the right side.¬† The long handle works good on narrow tubes and the rounded spoon side gives good smooth edges for pressing.¬† Should you get a rough spot on the wooden spoon, you can always smooth it out with an emery board (nail file) or some fine sandpaper.
  • Magnifying Glass – I use this when I sometimes have to verify my sewing needle information or checking out sewing stitches especially black fabric with black thread.
  • Envelope / Letter Opener – This makes for a great stiletto substitute or creating your own bias tape and need to be pressing very close to the edges of fabric and don’t want to burn your finger tips.¬† Mine is a metal style letter opener¬† and I just have to watch that is doesn’t get too hot when using with my iron.
  • Painter’s Tape – Great tape to use if you are working with clear vinyl.¬† You can tape your vinyl to your cutting mat to insure getting a nice straight cut line.¬† I also will stack several layers together on my machine to have a good edge for my fabric to follow for a straight stitching line especially if it is a really wide seam.
  • Magnet – Need something to help out on those occasions when you drop pins or needles on the rug.¬† I know they make expandable magnetic pointers too for those tight or out of reach spots that a pin always lands.
  • Cotton Swabs – These little gems work great to get in those small places to remove lint and dust from your machine.¬† You can always drop a little sewing machine oil on the cotton tip and oil those hard to reach places on your machine.
  • Small Mallet – I use this guy when I need to insert magnetic clasps.¬† This saves my fingers and nails when you have to push down the tab sides of your clasp.
  • Wire Cutter – This makes fast work of removing a shank on a button.
  • Small Can – I enjoy my Republic of Tea and the tea bags come in these very nice cans, which have a wide variety of uses – pencil holders, scissor keepers, cut Velcro, cotton twill tape, elastic, etc.
  • Old Medicine Bottle – Perfect to hold all my broken needles, bent pins, pins that the heads have come off – I just have punched a hole in the child proof bottle cap and drop those discarded pins into the bottle.¬† Doing this also saves your fingers when you are rummaging through your sewing trash can looking for scrap fabric to test your stitching.
  • Binder Clips / Paper Clips – Alternate method to hold several fabric layers together when pinning just isn’t the answer.
  • Calculator – Measure twice or three times but cut once.¬† I use this to double-check my math.
  • Small Flashlight – I keep this by my iron as the cover that houses the water is difficult to see through so I just light it up with my handy-dandy flashlight to see my water level.¬† I also keep a lint roller on my ironing board to “lint off” those cotton threads that always seem to be on everything.

I know that there are lots of things you can recycle too for helping to stay organized and making your sewing / craft rooms more usable – canning jars for buttons, makeup holders for scissors or rotary cutters, etc.¬† Please share if you have an “unconventional” sewing tool or idea that is unique to keep those “creative” juices flowing.

HAPPY CREATING!!

Last Minute Easy One Skein Crochet Scarves

Amazing how fast this year has gone and here we are approaching another Christmas!!  And, if you are like me, I always seem to be making gifts at the last minute too.  I just love giving handmade gifts even if they are really small like a simple bowl to put your rings in or hold those small items that seem to gather on your dresser or counters.  At the current time, I’ve been crocheting fun, quick neck warmers to wrap and place under the tree.  Here are some pictures and directions to help you make some of those last minute gifts too!!

DC Cross Stitch/HDC

Chunky Cowl/HDC

Scalloped Edge Scarf

Double Crochet Cross Stitch/HDC

The first picture shows my extra long scarf that is perfect for several wraps around your neck.  For this one, I used a lovely Oink Pigment yarn (Helix) and a Size H crochet hook.  The skein of yarn had 400 yards and I used all of it to complete this design.  I started off by making a HDC foundation crocheting 22 stitches.

Round 1:  Turn, chain 3, *skip first stitch, make a double crochet in next stitch, then cross over and make another DC in the stitch that you just skipped.  Repeat from * until to reach the last stitch and then make 1 double crochet.  Here’s a great site for the New Stitch A Day cross double crochet stitch – you will complete a total of 10 cross over stitches using 20 stitches.

Round 2:  Next row turn, chain 3 (counts as a stitch) make 21 HDC stitches for a total of 22 stitches across.

Now repeat rounds 1 and 2 until you reach the desired length of your scarf. Remember, to end you scarf with Round 2.

 

Chunky Cowl/HDC

For this pattern, I basically followed a cool design that I found on one of my favorite sites, Hopeful Honey with just a few changes.  I used a great Heartland yarn, Thick and Quick by Lion Brand (super bulky/category 6) for this cowl and a Size N crochet hook. Total yardage was 125 yards and I used the whole skein.  If you want your cowl to be a little bigger or longer, you might want to use 2 skeins of this awesome yarn.  So warm and soft to wrap up in.  I began with a HDC foundation stitch (55 stitches, like pattern directions).  Then followed the directions but I only completed 14 rows and the last row I completed 55 HDC in each stitch.  This Basic Chunky Cowl pattern works up super quick too.

 

Scalloped Edge Scarf

I used my scalloped edge pattern but this time I started off with 21 stitches (multiples of 3) and had 6 scallops along the bottom and top edges.  I found a cute yarn by Red Heart called Gumdrop (color Smoothie) that I loved – nice bright, cheery colors and thought this would be perfect for a child’s scarf.  This yarn had 204 yards (worsted weight/category 4) and I crocheted this with a Size H hook. Came out soft and cuddly.  If you want this a little longer,  follow the pattern beginning with 15 stitches and use a Size G hook.   Again, I  just crocheted using up the entire skein of yarn to complete this fun, colorful scarf.  Now I need to go and get some more yarn to make a matching beanie ūüôā

Enjoy these quick and easy patterns and hopefully they will help you complete those last minute gifts too!!

HAPPY CREATING!!

 

 

, , , ,

Blocking Your Crochet/Knitting Project

When I was a young girl first learning to crochet and sew, blocking your item was right up there with do I really need to stay-stitch my neck edge within my sewing project Рduh, I learned the hard way, you DO need to do these steps to get the desired results and have an item that will last and continue to look good.  Think about it, you have gone to all this work to crochet a wonderful piece, now you need to block it so it will have the necessary shape, curves, points, etc. to look awesome.

There are basically 2 ways of blocking – called wet blocking and/or steam blocking. ¬†STEAM¬†blocking is exactly as its name implies. ¬†I do this for small projects and I NEVER do it for anything that has been made with acrylic yarn. ¬†I layout my project on my ironing board, spray it with a little water from my handy-dandy spray bottle that I always have hanging from my ironing board and sort of shape it with just my fingers. ¬†I like to cover it with a pressing cloth, then I hold my iron just above the item but don’t touch it with the iron and steam away. ¬†I usually give it a couple good bursts of steam. ¬†Lift the pressing cloth, check it out and if all looks good just let it stay in place to cool and dry. If you aren’t totally satisfied, maybe an edge isn’t just to your liking, give it another spray of water, cover with your pressing cloth and give it another burst of steam.

The steaming method works really well for cotton yarns.  I would be cautious with WOOL items too as heat will do funky things to wool yarn.  As one time my hubby was trying to be so helpful and threw a lovely sweater in the dryer and it shrunk to fit a Barbie doll.

WET blocking is probably the best way to block your yarn projects. ¬†Basically, soak your crochet in a nice sink full of cold water, add a very little drop of a gentle soap, give it a nice swish around, and rinse really well to make sure soap is all gone. ¬†Gently squeeze out some of the water, you can let it drain a little in the sink, layout a big towel and place your project on the towel. ¬†You really don’t want to wring or twist – I like to fold up my towel in half and then fold in the sides and press easy on it to help remove extra moisture.

Then off to my blocking mats with my rust proof pins and tape measure.  Layout your project and gently stretch it out, finger open those fine details that you have made and pin away.  Use your tape measure to make sure you are getting the size and shape you want.  Again, have that handy-dandy spray bottle at hand if you need to dampen your project during the blocking process.  For a shawl with fine picot points, be sure to place a pin in each one.  Believe you me, it is worth it!!

Round shaped items, like booties or hats, I like to shape using wet paper towels.  Put wet paper towels inside your booties to shape them the way you want and let them stay that way until the paper towels are dry.  I use fabric covered styrofoam balls for shaping hats but if they need to be a little fuller, again wet paper towels to fill in those spaces Рworks great.  Just do final shaping with your hands and let air dry completely.

Take a moment and check out Shibaguyz Designz blog. ¬†Some really interesting ideas for blocking here using wire, #10 cotton thread and/or unwaxed kitchen string. ¬†Recommends the string for nice shaping of curved areas. ¬†Another recommendation – block your swatch piece to really ensure you are getting the correct gauge. ¬†Excellent reading ūüôā

Here are some pictures of the blocked shawls and scarves that I just did – talked about the patterns on my last blog That’s a Wrap!! ¬†Good examples of how blocking really gives your item that WOW factor. ¬†You’ve spent lots of hours crocheting or knitting that beautiful piece – now spend just one more hour to truly give your item that professional, finished appearance.

Blocking on mats

 

Before blocking

After blocking

Before blocking

After blocking

 

 HAPPY CREATING!!

 

 

That’s a “WRAP”

Well I’ve been super busy “wrapping up” with hooking shawls, scarves and cowls recently so I thought I would share with you some of my projects and what patterns I used. ¬†Can’t quite call them totally “finished” as I still need to complete detailed blocking for everything so that is what is on my agenda for this week. ¬†Plus, all the yarn I used was already in my stash!! ¬†Yeah!!!

Before I go further, did want to share with you pictures of my finished knitted seed/moss stitch scarf. ¬†I am very happy with how it turned out – especially since knitting seems to challenge me a bit ūüôā

Seed/Moss Stitch

Anyways, take a look and hopefully you will get inspired with a “wrap” of your own ūüôā

  1. ¬†These pictures show a lovely summer shawl. ¬†I used a free pattern found on Ravelry called the Dixie Charm pattern by Kathy Lashley. I used 2 skeins of Sunseeker ¬†Multis (color #107) by Cascade Yarns and an I hook (5.5) for this pattern. ¬†I just love the beautiful peachy tones which highlights just a touch of sparkle throughout. ¬†This yarn was a combo of cotton, acrylic, and metallic yarn. ¬†Very nice to work with too and I’m really pleased with how it looks so far. ¬†Blocking will give it that totally finished look!!

    Dixie Charm

  2. Next I liked this great Moogly pattern called Berry Harvest   Bandana Cowl.  Crocheted this one using the pattern recommendations of an H hook and a DK weight yarn.  I chose Rowan Creative Linen (1 skein) which is a nice 50% linen and 50% cotton.  Worked up lovely and the berry design and edging will truly benefit from a good blocking.

 

Back to Ravelry again, I found a pretty lacy scarf called Summer Sprigs Lace Scarf by Esther Chandler.  The yarn I decided to go with was Folio by Berroco (blend of Superfine Alpaca and Rayon) but was considered a Light (3) category and her pattern used a Fine Lace yarn.  I only had 2 skeins of this yarn, so I chose a Size E hook (3.5) using the Folio yarn and only chained 232 + 1.  I used 1 full skein and a little more than half of the other skein for my scarf.  It still wraps around your neck nicely and drapes on the sides.  I know too once blocked, it will enlarge the size of the finished scarf.

Summer Sprigs Lace Scarf

I enjoyed making the Summer Sprigs pattern so off to my stash bin again and found 4 skeins of Folio in an awesome charcoal gray color.  So I have started pattern using this yarn, changed hook to a Size C (2.75) and began with the pattern recommendation of 386 +1 chains.  Not very far, but I think  the outcome will still be a lovely, light weight scarf.

Work in Progress

Of course, I just purchased an awesome pattern by Christina Hadderingh called Hotel of Bees shawl from Ravelry and looking forward to participating in the #HOBCAL (Hotel of Bees Crochet Along) through Cherry Heart’s Cozy Corner group.

And, That’s A “Wrap”!!

HAPPY CREATING!!

 

 

 

 

 

Boppin’ with Barbie Again

Was yarn “surfing” through some of my stash bins and found some bright, colorful skeins that inspired me to do some more Barbie clothing. My designs are fitted to the Belly Button Style doll.

Fun and Flirty Dress

Made a couple of dresses using my fun and flirty pattern for those summer outings and then not wanting to “skirt” the issue, designed and crocheted a couple of those for her too!!

Another Fun and Flirty Dress

Nothing fancy about the pictures but I hope you like what you see and get inspired too.

This pattern for these dresses can be found here. ¬†I try to design items that are easy to slide on and off especially made for those young Barbie lovers with “little” hands.

Here are some pictures of my new skirt designs using the slip stitch ribbing technique found on Moogly.  This ribbing really gives a nice stretch and makes it easy to slip on and off your doll.  A little loose around the waist but you could always weave in a gathering ribbon if you want it tighter.

Both of these skirts were made using a sport weight (category 2) yarn and a size E crochet hook.  In my design process, I did make a skirt and top outfit and made a deeper waistband which I felt worked better than my original waistband so my directions will be for that style and not the one you see in the pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pattern for Pink Skirt

Row 1:  (Waistband)  Chain 6, slip stitch (SL ST) in 2nd chain from  hook and SL ST in next 4 stitches for a total of 5 SL ST.  Chain 1, turn, skip chain and SL ST in next 5 stitches.  Do this for 28 rows,  keep waistband untwisted and SL ST together.

Row 2:  Chain 1, 30 SC spaced evenly around waistband.  SL ST join in first SC

Row 3:  Chain 2, *1DC (double crochet), 1DC, 2DC in next stitch, repeat from * around (40 DC), SL ST join in first DC

Row 4:  Chain 2, 1DC in each stitch around in BLO (back loop only), SL ST join in first DC

Row 5:  Chain 2, 1 FPDC (front post double crochet), 1 BPDC (back post double crochet)  around, SL ST join in first FPDC

Row 6:  Chain 2, Repeat row 5

Row 7:  Chain 2, *1DC, 1DC, 1DC, 2DC in next stitch in BLO, repeat from * around (50DC), SL ST join in first DC

Row 8:  Chain 2, 1 FPDC, 1 BPDC around, SL ST join in first FPDC

Row 9:  Chain 2, Repeat row 8

Row 10:  Chain 1, complete 50 SL stitches around finish off and weave ends.

Here’s what I created using Aunt Lydias baker’s cotton (category 1) and a size C hook ¬†– again using the slip stitch ribbing (6 chains and 5 slip stitches) so no seaming, snaps, or Velcro needed.

Will do another post to share the denim blue skirt pattern too.

Hope you enjoy and any questions, please let me know. ¬†Would love to see your finished outfits too ūüôā

HAPPY CREATING!!