Thursday, February 24

Mugglers -- Mug Rug and Wrap to crochet

Keep your mugs snug and cozy with these two quick and easy to make crochet projects--a square mug rug to catch spills and a wrap to keep your mug and beverage hot. You'll need scraps of Lily Sugar 'n Cream (worsted weight dishcloth cotton) and a size H (5 mm) crochet hook. Raid your scrap basket for the 16-30 yards needed for each project. You'll also need a button for the mug wrap. A button with a shank works well for this project. The mug rug measures 4" x 4". The mug wrap is 9" x 3.25". Here's a picture with the wrap on a mug and another laying it out flat.

I think this colorway is called Butter Cream Ombre in Lily Sugar 'n Cream dishcloth cotton.

Wrap up a set of these with a mug. Tuck in some candy, a packet of hot chocolate, some cookies, etc. as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift for someone.

These designs are worked in Tunisian (afghan stitch) crochet. This type of crochet creates a denser fabric than regular crochet stitches. You don't need a Tunisian hook for this project. It is small enough for a regular crochet hook. The instructions are written out. A basic understanding Tunisian crochet might be helpful.

Pattern sells for $2.00 in my Ravelry pattern store.

Pattern prices subject to change without notice. Check my Ravelry Store for current pattern prices.

Monday, February 21

Stone Soup Throw to knit

In the spirit of stone soup--to create something from nothing--gather up yarn from your scrap basket, donations from your friends, or swap scraps to knit this throw. I used about 40 ounces of worsted weight yarn scraps for my 47" x 57" throw. It didn't come close to cleaning out all the scrap yarn I have. LOL! It certainly kept me and my lap warm as I knit it during one cold winter month last year. My husband loves this blanket. :)

You'll need a pair of size 9 (5.5 mm) knitting needles for this project. I found that two double points worked well for the small amount of stitches in each strip.

The easy-to-memorize, simple textured pattern has very few purl stitches. Knit each strip in a different color, use scraps, or do a planned block layout. Two block versions and six planned layouts are included in the pattern.

Here's a closer look at the stitch pattern used in this throw.

Join the strips as you knit for easy finishing and no sewing! Just remember to tuck in all the yarn tails as you finish each strip. Click on this link to see view a photo tutorial on how to do the join-as-you-go method I used for this throw.

The pattern sells for $3.00 through my Ravelry pattern store. All money is donated to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

Pattern prices subject to change without notice. Check my Ravelry Store for current pattern prices.

Saturday, February 19

Cozy Shoulders Wrap to knit

Cozy Shoulders is a cozy little wrap that hugs your shoulders to keep them warm. Cast on and knit it sideways from point to point in garter stitch increasing on only one edge as you go. Then work a series of short rows (no wraps!) that give a curved shape to the wrap. For a wider wrap, work more short rows in the center. Decrease down on the other end to match the beginning.

Garter stitch gives this wrap a nice dense fabric. Finished mine measured 36” along the top edge x 15.5” deep at the center back. The points form a V-neckline in front and is long enough to overlap and pin.

This sample was knit on size 10.5 (6.5 mm) knitting needles with about 350 yards of worsted weight yarn. Bernat Aspen Soft Ombres in Violet Meadow was used in the pictured wrap.

The pattern sells for $3.00 through my Ravelry pattern store. All money from pattern sales is donated to the Mercy Corp.

Pattern prices subject to change without notice. Check my Ravelry Store for current pattern prices.

Tuesday, February 15

Two bag patterns - 1 crochet & 1 knit

Today, I'm posting 2 patterns for bags. Swirl Beach Bag is crocheted and the Hobo Bag is knit. The patterns are posted as free downloads on Ravelry. Click the bolded pattern names below to download a free copy of each pattern from Ravelry. Have fun with these!

Swirl Beach Bag is a small drawstring bag that will hold a small project or tote a wet bathing suit home from the beach. It’s made in one piece from the bottom up in an easy swirl pattern. The top has a shell stitch border. Crochet a drawstring and thread it through the top edge. The drawstring closes the bag and forms the handle. It’s easy to make the bag larger if you like. I used 2 skeins Lily Sugar 'n Cream yarn and a size I (5 mm) crochet hook. My bag measured 10" tall by 20" around. Click the bolded pattern name above to download a free copy of this pattern from Ravelry.

Hobo Bag is a slouchy bag. It is knit using short rows to give it a curved edge. (A tutorial for preventing holes in short rows is included in the pattern.) The bag is knit sideways in one piece starting with the strap. An optional tab and button closure and lining instructions are included. The sample wasn’t felted but if you knit it in wool you can felt it to make a smaller bag. I made my bag with 1 skein of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Ombre in Hot Stripe (350 yards) with size 7 (4.5 mm) knitting needles. Laid flat it measures 17" wide x 10" high at the center. Click the bolded pattern name above to download a free copy of this pattern from Ravelry.

Thursday, February 10

A herd of turtles to crochet!

Several years ago, my friend Jamie designed a turtle washcloth pattern as part of a baby shower gift. She never wrote up a pattern for the cloth even though I begged her to do so. It's so cute! I finally asked and she gave me permission to write up my own version of the cloth. The matching coaster was my idea. :)

Have fun crocheting Nerdle (cloth) and baby (coaster) using two colors of cotton dishcloth cotton and a little black yarn for the eyes. These are quick and easy to make with leftover yarn or planned colors. You'll need about 15 yards per coaster and 25 per cloth and a size G (4 mm) crochet hook. The cloth measures 8" across and the coasters 4.5" I got 5 coasters and 1 cloth from a ball of Sugar 'n Cream and leftovers of a second color. I used Lily Sugar n’ Cream in Hot Green and Summer Splash. You’ll also need a little black yarn for the eyes. The pattern has written instructions and the head, tail, and feet for both patterns are also charted.

The pattern sells for $2.00 through my Ravelry pattern store. All pattern sales are donated to Pet Refuge.

Pattern prices subject to change without notice. Check my Ravelry Store for current pattern prices.

Monday, February 7

And the snow keeps on going

And the snow keeps on going just like the Energizer bunny. :( We're approaching 100 inches for the season and we've got a long ways to go before winter is over. At this point, we've blown by the usual snowfall we get for the season and have reached the 5th snowiest season since records have been kept. The roads have been so bad that I haven't gone out much.

Here's what the Weather Channel's Local on the 8s showed last Wednesday. This is such a rare occurrence that I had to take a picture. The weather canceled my knitting group's Wednesday night meeting too. I don't like it when that happens. I love my knitting group!

We did get a lot of snow and wind, though thankfully, not as bad as it could have been. It did close the schools and shut down most things for almost 2 days.

My benchmark for bad weather is the blizzard of 1978. I still have vivid memories of that late January storm. {Shudder}} I was almost two years out of college and working for a book publisher. The storm totally shut down the area for days. It takes a lot of snow to do that. The Civil Defense declared an emergency and told everyone to stay at home (or be fined). By the end of the storm, 6 feet and higher drifts totally blocked the back door of our house and the front door you could barely open enough to stand on the porch. Then a drift rose up higher than my head. My dad somehow managed to throw himself through the snow around to the back of the house and the garage. He got a shovel and uncovered the back door. My car was parked outside and was buried so deep in snow that you couldn't even see where it was.

When my dad opened the big garage door, all you could see was a wall of white. You could barely see over the snow drifts. It took several days to dig out the driveway and to the street even with the help of my dad's snow blower. The biggest problem was where to put the snow from the driveway when there was so much already on the ground. (We had a foot of snow on the ground BEFORE the blizzard began.) My dad's snow blower had a hard time throwing the snow higher than the snow level. That first pass down the drive
was the hardest. My mom and I used snow shovels to knock the higher snow down so my dad could blow it out of the way. Then we knocked down some more. We inched along like this to clear the drive.

Our street wasn't plowed for days. The snow was too deep for a normal snow plow. Nobody went anywhere until the roads were cleared unless it was by snowmobile or sled. My hometown hired local contractors to use their heavy equipment (front loaders, graders, etc.) to clear the streets. They used a front loader to clear a single lane down the middle of my street. For weeks, driving around town was like driving through tunnels. In downtown South Bend, there was a huge hole where they had torn down a lot of buildings. They dumped a lot of the snow into that hole (where the Marriott Hotel is now located). The local radio station ran a contest to guess when the last of the snow would melt in the big hole. It was sometime in April before that happened.

I am so ready to move on to spring and leave winter's cold and snow behind me. We're looking ahead to gardening season. We placed our seed orders this week from Bakers Creek and Jung.

It's been so cold that I've pulled out my heavy parka, mittens, and cowl scarf. The cowl scarf is a knitted one that I made several years ago. I like cowls because they keep both your head and neck warm and can be pulled down around your neck like a turtleneck when you go inside. This set me wondering if I could design a crocheted lace cowl. I'm playing with ideas for one using the lace pattern from my Flying Diamonds shawl. I've completed a shortie one, am working on tall one that covers head and neck, and am considering doing an infinity/mobius version too. The pattern is partially written and charted. I'm thinking about names for the pattern.

Bathroom update: Progress is being made very slowly on our half bath. Drywall repair has finally been completed. The next step will be priming and painting the walls. Maybe next weekend. If we don't get a break from the snow, it might not happen even then. Hubby has been kept busy keeping the driveway clear and raking snow off the roof. There's a lot of snow (and weight) on the roof.

Wednesday, February 2

Cedar Lake Shawl to crochet

Here's another crocheted shawl I came up with recently. It took about 2 weeks and lots of crocheting and ripping before I finally got the effect that I wanted.

Cedar Lake is a top down triangle shawl. It uses simple sc, hdc, dc, and ch stitches.

The design features two sizes of trees in the body of the shawl and ends with a row of large cedars along the bottom edge. A picot border adds the finishing touch to the shawl. The five page pattern includes both written instructions and crochet charts in the pattern. It's rated as advanced beginner.

I crocheted the shawl above using 3 balls of Knit Picks Palette (about 600 yards) and size G (4 mm) crochet hook. Any fingering/sock weight yarn would work. It would also look good in a laceweight yarn. Though with a thinner yarn you will have to work more row repeats before you add the border. You must block this shawl to open up the lace pattern.

The pattern sells for $5.00 through my Ravelry pattern store.

 Pattern prices subject to change without notice. Check my Ravelry Store for current pattern prices.