Thursday, November 16, 2017

Plastic Bag Holder

(Note: affiiate links contained in this post. Click the link to read full disclosure.)

Earlier this week I was cleaning out my kitchen pantry, when I was viciously attacked by a large pile of plastic grocery bags. Plastic bags every where! I had to do something to corral this unruly gang, which sent me searching on Pinterest for a free crochet plastic bag holder. I wasn't going to be spending money on a cheap fix when I can spend more on supplies to make something myself :D

 I settled on this fancy crochet plastic bag holder pattern, an intermediate skill level. I didn't want any type of old bag holder, but one to help fancy up my dreary little pantry. It has been a while since I challenged my crocheting skills. I've been crocheting for years, so I can handle this!

Now that the pattern was settled, I set out to obtain the necessary supplies. I searched through my yarn stash scattered throughout various rooms in my house (No, I don't have a craft room. That'll probably be a separate sob story post). There was a nice skein of black on hand that I didn't have any projects projected for, so I thought it would be perfect!

Ah, how foolish was I?

I quickly learned why I didn't have any projects planned for that black yarn...because my aging eyes cannot see the stitches well unless the room is very well lit. I'm talking LED bulb spotlight on my crochet project bright! It is getting darker earlier and earlier each day, so hours of day light are limited. It is only three o'clock in the afternoon and it is grey, gloomy, and getting dark already. Plus my hubby hates artificial light, especially florescent or LED bright lights, so my aging eyes were not liking this color at all. Unfortunately, it was showing in the product. There were multiple mistakes and I kept losing my stitch count. Below is a picture to give you an idea, but the picture makes it look better than how it looks in person. It is all wonky. The arrows are supposed to be alternating directions, which I messed up. Ugh! Sounds like a lot of trouble for a bag holder, huh?


Rather than getting discouraged, I decided to change my plan of attack. First, ditch the black yarn to the back of the yarn stash (I mean buried deep so it doesn't see the light of day) and pick a lighter color. I couldn't continue with the way things were going. My eyes thanked me for this one. I decided on the color, aran.  


It looked close to the color of yarn used in the pattern's picture. I couldn't go wrong with that. So, how did it turn out?


Let's just say that I am very glad I did. While it is hard to tell by the picture, the sizing, design, and shape turned out 100 percent better than my other attempt. I was able to whip this up in half the time it took me to do the little bit I did in black. It is amazing how well a project turns out when you can see what you're doing.

Now that I had the main body done, I tackled the top, bottom, and cord. They whipped up in no time. Once assembled, I stuffed it to the brim with all the plastic bags it could hold. Now it is hanging from one of my pantry shelves helping me keep all those grocery bags organized. Now when I need one to line my small trash bins or clean up pet messes, I just pull one from the bottom of my fancy holder.


Would I do this project again? I'm not sure. While it turn out beautiful in the end, it just seemed like a lot of hassle for a bag holder. I had some mishaps; however, I think the overall pattern could be redesigned to achieve the same look without being as complicated. There may be some future design tinkering posts regarding this beauty.

Happy hookin' and stitchin'!



Friday, October 27, 2017

Christmas Time Crochet Time


It is hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner. Okay, it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but if you plan on doing any handmade gifts this year, now is the time to think about getting started. Otherwise, you may pull some late nighters during crunch time trying to complete the gift(s) by the big day. It is supposed to be a wonderful time of year instead of cursing a gift of love as you run out of time.

I've been perusing through Pinterest (I know! A time sucking worm hole of endless possibilities) looking for potential projects. My search criteria is the pattern has to be free and link directly to the pattern. I get sick of being linked to one site only to click a link for another site to actually get the pattern. Five clicks later you're like, "where's the bleepin' pattern?" Below are a few projects that I am pondering in an easy pin format so you can pin and save it for later.


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 These precious angels are so adorable! I'm not a fan of doing amigurumi dolls, because my dolls have a tendency to turnout a little distorted (ok, they're more of a Pinterest fail). These sweet angels are seriously making me reconsider. I have a little girl that would absolutely love these. Hmmmm....



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Sticking with angels. This one looks like a great thread crochet project that would look stunning on top of the Christmas tree this year.


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This is a cute Nativity set that is perfect for little, destructible hands. What a great way to teach little ones about the reason for the season?


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A classic crochet Christmas/Winter project is the iconic thread snowflake. This one looks stunning! I would certainly love to receive this as a gift or have it hanging on my tree.

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Here's another snowflake crochet pattern, which doesn't look as complex as the previous one. Bonus: Crochet thread snowflakes look elegant while not taking a long time to complete (this mother of three could knock it out in a weekend with minimal house chores neglected).

You can checkout my Christmas and Winter Projects Pinterest Board for some inspiration. What project(s) are you looking at tackling this holiday season?



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Baby Crochet Hunter Hat

It's October. The leaves are falling. Autumn is full swing. The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air. My favorite time of year. I thought I would go along with the season by working on a sweet baby pumpkin hat.

I completed the orange portion of the hat, which had a nice ribbed effect. Unfortunately, before I could even think about starting on the green stem part, my almost two year old daughter decided to claim the hat for her baby doll (pictured). I admit that it does look so adorable. Every time the hat comes off baby doll, the stinker butt is trying to shove it back on. She isn't giving it up without a fight. She is a stubborn little toddler (I'm pretty sure she gets that from her father :) ). There is just no sense in arguing with her. Besides you cannot argue with a toddler anyways.

I guess my little pumpkin hat will have to settle for being a little baby hunter hat instead. Thankfully, that fits right in with my hunter-gatherer type family.


Size: 
Baby 1-3 month old.

Material:
(Notice: Affiliate links are used below)
- Crochet Hook, Size H, 5.0 mm
Yarn Red Heart Pumpkin Medium worsted yarn


Abbreviations:
ch: chain
bphdc: back post half double stitch
hdc: half double crochet
sc: single crochet
sl: slip stitch

Instructions:

Starting chain Ch 38
Row 1: HDC in 3 ch from hook. HDC in the next 30 CH. SC in last 5 CH. CH 1 and turn.
Row 2: SC in first 5 stitches. BPHDC in the next 29 HDC. SC in last stitch. CH 2 and turn.
Row 3: BPHDC into the next 29 BPHDC. SC in the last 5 SC. CH 1 and turn.

Keep repeating rows 2 and 3 until desired length is reached, which should be 13 inches. End with row 2.

Finishing: SL the two edges together to create a continuous piece. Before tying off, cut the yarn long enough to use a yarn needle to weave through the SC at the top to close off the top. After weaving the yarn through the SC, pull the yarn to close the opening and tie off. Weave in all ends.

Happy hookin' and a stitchin'!

                      

Friday, September 29, 2017

Baby Blanket: Chevron Teddy



Lately I've been on a baby blanket kick. There is nothing like wrapping a little bundle of joy in a cozy, handmade blanket. This comfy blanket was my first attempt at crocheting chevrons. It turned out pretty good! I don't know why I waited so long to try this pattern. Once I figured out the pattern within the first few rows, it became very easy. I crochet this while watching television. 

The inspiration for this blanket came from a childhood memory. My grandma used to have her couches covered in large crochet, chevron afghans. When ever I stayed the night at her house I would curl up and sleep with one of those afghans that had a similar color scheme. The colors remind me of a cute, cuddly teddy bear, hence the name chevron teddy. The blanket makes a great pairing with a plush teddy, or an adorable crochet baby bear hat (future pattern project!). 

Size:

Approximately 30 inches by 42 inches. It also makes a nice adult lap blanket size.

Materials Used:

- H hook

- Red Heart Super Saver acrylic medium worsted yarn 7 oz/198 g 364 yards/333 meters in each of the colors below:
(Notice: the below contain affiliate links)

   + Yarn A: Soft White
   + Yarn B: Buff Beige
   + Yarn C: Cafe Latte

Abbreviations:

CH = Chain
SC = Single Crochet
SK = Skip
ST = Stitch

Instructions:

Using yarn A, start off by chaining 152 stitches

Row 1: SC in 2nd stitch from the hook, * SC in the next 14 ch, 3 SC in the next CH, SC in the next 14 ch, SK 1 ch, repeat from * across, ending with the SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 2: SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 3: Change color to yarn B. SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 4-8: Repeat Row 3.

Row 9-10:  Using yarn A. SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 11-16: Using yarn C, SC in first SC, SK 1 SC, * SC into the next 14 SC, 3 SC in the next SC, SC into the next 14 SC, SK 2 ST, repeat from * across, ending last repeat with SK 1 ST, SC in last ST, CH 1, turn.

Row 17-18: Use yarn A and repeat row 9-10.

You'll quickly begin to notice a pattern. Use yarn A for two rows. Change to yarn B and use for 6 rows. Switch back to yarn A for two rows. Then change to yarn C and use for 6 rows. Keep this up until you reach desired length, ending with 2 rows of yarn A.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Preemie Hat



A co-worker's new baby daughter was born a little early, about two months early to be exact. I guess she couldn't wait any longer to greet the world. Plus, the best things in life come in small packages. She will be spending some time in the NICU as a precautionary measure, since her lungs are so immature. As a welcome to the world gift, I whipped up this little precious pink preemie hat. It took me a couple of hours, but I suspect I could complete a new hat in less time now that I know the pattern.                

                                        

This picture shows it next to a Nintendo 3DS for a size reference. The 3DS measures about 5 1/2 inches long to give you a better idea how big this hat is. I just cannot get over how little it is. I used the Half-Double Crochet Preemie Baby Cap from Handcrafting with Love, which is really easy to follow.

Friday, August 4, 2017

From the Archives: Crochet and Tatting Heirloom

old patterns
Every once in a while I like to search through the online archives which provides rare, out of print material free of charge online. If you haven't heard of archive.org, it is

"Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more."
 You can find some really fascinating gems. I like to think of it as my diamonds in the rough. From the site you can download the pattern book in whatever format you would like to use. To give you an idea, some of the formats that the Archive site supports are pdf, ebook, and kindle. Of course feel free to browse through it online prior to downloading to see if it may be an item of interest to you. I highly suggest you give it a try.

Today's "from the archives" is Star Book No. 66, Crochet and Tatting: Heirloom Tradition printed back in 1949 by the American Thread Company. There are some great ol' patterns in it that are worth trying. It is hard to believe that these would be patterns that my grandma would probably do back in the day.

I am going to show images for four of the crochet patterns.

Bookmarks

Here are three patterns from the book that I absolutely love. Don't they look so pretty? If you couldn't tell, they are cross bookmarks. A great project to do during Lent which could be given as Easter gifts. A nice confirmation or first communion gift perhaps? I know I would be more than happy to receive one of them.

 Crochet DoilyThe top two in the image to the left are crochet, which I think I will be adding to my ever growing projects list. The image is from the book. The cross bookmark at the bottom was tatted. Looking at its beautiful appearance makes me wish I knew how to tat. Maybe I will be able to find somebody to teach me. In the mean while, I continue to crochet up a storm.

Doily

Of course, what heirloom book wouldn't be complete without at least one doily pattern?

Well, this book has two crochet doily patterns. That's right, two! They are featured in the image to the left.

I might have to give these patterns a try and report back on my progress in another post. They would certainly make great heirlooms.

Happy hookin' and stitchin'!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Filet Crochet: Lift High the Cross


This little gem was a design I was playing around with. The design part didn't take as long as it took me to actually crochet, so I wasn't playing around with it too much.  The inspiration came to me on a quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon, which can be rare in my household. Perhaps it was divine inspiration? It didn't take me long to make once I settled on the pattern. Overall I like how it turned out and it has received multiple compliments, but I think I will keep messing around and modify it some. I already started another designed based off this one and will have that posted once I finish crocheting it.  I have the chart written down on graph paper with a pencil, which I will scan and upload when I get a moment to do so. Unfortunately I don't have those fancy computer programs to spit out the design in a more professional manner. Perhaps it will be something I look into in the future.

If you are interested in just use the above picture for the chart, you can chain 80 for the foundation and double chain into the 9th chain from your hook to get started. 

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