Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Simple Crochet Dishcloth

Hookin and stitchin

My aloe vera looks happy with its new
little crochet cloth.
Lately I have been cranking out these little lovely crochet dishclothes. They are so simple and elegant. They make lovely gifts and you can easily whip one out in a manner of hours. I think I could easily make three to five of these in one day with plenty of time to do the neglected house chores. The patterns fairly easy and a great way for beginners to practice some basic stitches and work on their tension.

I must confess that I do not really use them for washing my dirty dishes, but they could be used for that if you wish. I keep a couple in my master bathroom to clean my sensitive skin. Most of crochet dishclothes are used as little place mats under my plants. They protect the window sill and table from getting that nasty water damage ring from the bottom of the plant pot. I love plants, but hate the ring. So far I have made about ten of these dishclothes for my plants. I know, I have a lot of plants, but the matching mats give my house a very coordinated, sophisticated look. If you decorate your home with a certain color scheme than you can use any color of cotton you want. I opted for plain white for a refined elegance, or at least I like to think that.

The clothes protect my window sills from any water damage ring from my beautiful plants.
Materials:
G hook
4-ply worsted medium 100% cotton

Abbreviations:
hdc - half double crochet
sc - single crochet
slst - slip stitch

Notes:
Pattern uses US terms.

Directions:
Chain 31
1st row: hdc in second chain from hook, slst in next chain, *hdc in next chain, sl st in next one*, repeat from * to *, chain one and turn (15 hdc, 15 slst, total: 30 stitches)
2nd row: *sc in slst, sc in hdc *, repeat from * to *, chain one and turn (30 sc)
3rd row: *hdc in stitch, sl st in next stitch *, repeat from * to * (15 hdc, 15 slst, total: 30 stitches)

Repeat row 2 and then row 3. Keep alternating between these two rows until you have 19 completed rows.

Border is a sc around the entire piece with 2 sc in same stitch at the corners.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Camouflage Beanie

When I was going through my yarn stash, I noticed that I had a few skeins of Red Heart camouflage medium worsted yarn with no planned future project. With a chill in the air and a need to clear some space in my yarn holding area, I decided to whip up some camouflage beanies for my boys. You can see how stylin' they are in their new beanies. Over the weekend I easily made three, so you can easily churn these bad boys out.

I made three different sizes, but before I go over the sizes I must warn you that large noggins run in my family. When I buy hats, the one-size-fits-most hats do not fit; they're too small. My youngest child (7 years old) wears the small size. My oldest son (10 years old) wears the normal size hat that would fit most teenagers and adults. I wear the large size, which is about a size hat 7 1/2. Each hat stretches to accommodate multiple hat sizes.

This project uses a magic ring to start off with to provide a tighter starting ring. Heidi Bears provides a nice magic ring tutorial with step-by-step photos. It takes a little practice to get the hang of it, but once you learn how to do a crochet magic ring you will want to use it to provide a more polished, professional look to your projects.

A stitch I use in this project is the front post double crochet stitch, which is considered a more advanced stitch for beginning crocheters. If you know how to do a double crochet, you can easily master the front post double crochet stitch. The only difference between the two stitches is where you insert your hook in the bottom stitch to yo the yarn from. Fiber Flux provides a good photo tutorial on how to make the front post double crochet stitch. This stitch provides a ribbed effect that can give crochet a knitted look.

Abbreviations:
dc - double crochet
fpdc - front post double crochet
sc - single crochet
sl st - slip stitch

Materials:
H hook
Medium worsted yarn

Notes:
The hat is worked in rounds from top down.
Pattern uses US terms

1st round: Start with a magic ring. Chain 1, 10 sc into the magic ring, sl st to top of beginning ch to join (10 sts)
2nd round: Chain 1, *2 sc into next sc*, repeat from * to *, sl st to top of beginning ch to join (20 sts)
3rd round: Chain 1, *sc into next sc, 2 sc into next stitch *, repeat from * to *, sl st to top of beginning ch to join (30 sts)
4th round: Chain 2, *fpdc into the next 3 sc, dc into top of same st of last fpdc*, repeat from * to *, sl st to top of first fpdc in round to join (40 sts)
5th round: Chain 2, fpdc into fpdc with sl st, fpdc into the next 2 fpdc, fpdc into dc, dc into top of same st, *fpdc into the next 3 fpdc, fpdc into dc, dc into top of same st*,  repeat from * to *, sl st to top of first fpdc in round to join (50 sts)
6th round: Chain 2, fpdc into fpdc with sl st, fpdc into the next 3 fpdc, fpdc into dc, dc into top of same st, *fpdc into the next 4 fpdc, fpdc into dc dc into top of same st*, repeat from * to *, sl st to top of first fpdc in round to join (60 sts)

(Note: For smaller noggins skip the 7th round to keep your stitch count at 60 for the remainder of the pattern)

7th round: Chain 2, fpdc into fpdc with sl st, fpdc into the next  4 fpdc, fpdc into dc, dc into top of same st, *fpdc into the next 5 fpdc, fpdc into dc, dc into top of same st*, repeat from * to *, sl st to top of first fpdc in round to join (70 sts)

(Note: For large noggins such as mine add this round which will increase your stitch count to 80. Chain 2, fpdc into fpdc with sl st, fpdc the next 5 fpdc, fpdc into dc, dc into top of same st, *fpdc in the next 6 fpdc, fpdc into dc, dc into top of same st*, repeat from *to*, sl st to top of first fpdc in round to join (80 sts))

8th round: Chain 2, fpdc into fpdc with sl st, fpdc into the next 4 fpdc, fpdc into dc, *fpdc into the next 5 fpdc, fpdc into dc*, repeat from * to *, sl st to top of first fpdc in round to join (70 sts)
9th round: Chain 2, fpdc into each fpdc, sl st to top of first fpdc in round to join (70 sts)
Repeat round 9 until you've reached desired length which would be around the 20 to 22 round mark.

Border

Once you reached the desired length, chain one, turn the hat wrong side out and turn, sc into the top of each fpdc, sl st to top of first sc in round to join (70 sts)
Next round, chain one, sc into the top of each st, sl st to top of first sc in round to join (70 sts)

Chain 1, turn hat right side out and turn, sc in top of each sc, sl st to top of first sc in round to join, finish and weave in ends.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pineapple doily

Petite Pineapple Doily
Crochet Pineapple Doily
After completing a few time consuming projects, I am preoccupying my time with smaller projects. Sometimes you just need to take a break to gather up the energy to tackle future large projects. Besides there is no satisfaction like completing a project and admiring your handy work. With small projects, I am able to get to that satisfaction sooner!

Right now pineapple doilies seem to have captured my attention. You can work them up fairly quickly and they always look intrinsically beautiful. I have done pineapple doilies in the past using different patterns, but I was in the mood for something different.

Petite Pineapple Doily
Pineapple Doily under different lighting
There's only one thing to do when that mood hits, search Pinterest!

After spending way too much time and pinning multiple future projects, I found this cute little "Petite Pineapple Doily" pattern from an archived website on the Way Back Machine. If you're not familiar with the Way Back Machine, it's a site that crawls the Internet taking "snapshots" of webpages in an attempt to archive the Internet. While the original website is gone, it's patterns live on. Nothing really dies on the Internet.

Anyways, back to crocheting. I worked this one up in about a day. I am very please with how it turned out. In fact I am about half way through with a second one. This pattern inspired me to come up with my own version. It's very brave of me. Once I work out the details and write down the pattern I will share it with you.

If you're interested in giving it a shot or just want to pin it as a potential future project you can click on the pin below. You can also follow me on Pinterest to find other free projects and inspiration.

Follow Hookin' and Stitchin''s board Doilies on Pinterest.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Project Complete: Floral table runner


I finally finished my filet crochet table runner!

I am so, so proud of myself. This thing has been a source of much frustration over the past few months, but I persevered on. I made it! Now I can sit back admire the beauty of my hard work. To give you an idea of how agonizing this project has been to me, just know that it was my inspiration for the Frog It! post.

Technically I finished it last month, but I only got around to taking and editing photos of it recently. I was traveling and taking a break from this blog, but not from crocheting.

For those interested in trying to replicate my success, you can start out with my initial post about this project. You can easily pin the chart below. I slightly modified the pattern by removing one column, since the chart did not have the flower properly centered. It had an additional column. Most people probably will not pick up on it, but it bothered my undiagnosed OCD. So, I got rid of it. It's my project, I can do what I want. That's how I roll.

If you're going to follow the chart as is, you'll need to start off with a chain of 68 stitches. I'm working on a chart showing my modifications, which I'll post here once it is done.

If you complete this beauty, by all means leave a note in the comments so I can follow you. Happy hookin' and stitchin' my happy hookers.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Victorian style heirloom filet crochet project

From the 1890 The Royal Crochet Worker, No.1.
I have been on a filet crochet kick lately. With the completion of my latest major project (to be featured in an upcoming post!), I'm in the market for a new one. Through my online searches I noticed that Victorian style heirloom filet crochet is starting to become very popular, especially framed ones. The end results are a stunning, beautiful design using a combination of double crochet and chain stitches.

Since I'm looking at starting a new filet project, I thought I would give a Victorian style heirloom bread cloth a try. It certainly would make for a much loved Christmas present this year. Here is what I'm looking at.
March 1867 Bread Cloth from Duck Mini Farm

There is a stunning "bread" piece from the 1890 The Royal Crochet Worker, No.1. available on the Antique Pattern Library. If you're into old time crochet patterns that are free, you should check out their collection. The chart is not all that great, but it is still easy to follow.

Over on Duck Mini Farm's webpage, there is a chart and instructions for a 1867 version, which has a simpler, classic design. The chart has a cleaner look so it is easier on the eyes when following along the lines. It also has a companion butter cloth to go with it.

I'm going to give both of them a try. Of course I'll present them in future posts so you know how well (or frustrating) they go. Do you know of a similar pattern you could share? If so, please let me know in the comments.

Happy hookin' and stitchin' everybody!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Star Spangled Banner


red white and blue crochet stars

red crochet starThis American flag inspired banner is an easy project you can whip up to use as a decoration for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, or any other patriotic American holiday featuring our nation's flag. It's also a great way to use up any scrap yarn you have in red, white, and blue. You can adjust this banner to be as short or as long as you desire by making more or less stars. I used red, white, and blue yarn to tie the crochet stars together leaving the ends as hanging tassels, but you could use festive flag ribbon for a slightly different look. 

Material:
I hook (5.50 mm)
Medium worsted yarn in red, white, and blue. I used scraps of red, white, and blue Red Heart Super Saver yarn.
Finished length: approximately 4'5", this will vary upon how tightly you crochet your stitches. Fortunately, gauge doesn't matter in this project.


Abbreviations:
ch: chain stitch
dc: double crochet
sc: single crochet
slst: slip stitch
st: single stitch

Instructions:
Star pattern
ch 4, join with a slst to form a ring.

Round 1: ch 1, * sc into the ring,  ch 4, repeat from * four more times, slst in first sc. You should have 5 ch 4 loops.

Round 2:  ch 1, * skip sc, slst into ch 4 loop, sc into loop, ch 3, sc into loop, slst into loop, repeat from * four more times, join with a slst

Round 3: ch 1, * skip slst stitch, slst into the next 2 stitches, 2 sc in the middle ch in the ch 3 loop (this will create the point in the start), slst into the next 3 stitches, repeat from * four more times, join with a slst and fasten off. Weave in the ends.

Make 4 red stars, 4 white stars, and 3 blue stars.

If you plan on blocking your stars, do so prior to joining them together.

Joining the stars and making your banner.
Cut ten 6 inch long strips of yarn in each color. Take one strip in each color, weave through points of the two stars you're joining together and tie in a double knot. Tie a single knot on each of the strands hanging from the double knot. Do this until all stars are joined together to form a line.

Cut two 12 inch long strips of yarn in each color. Take one strip of each color, tie a knot at one end to join the three strands together. Braid the strips together to make one strand. Weave through the end star's point and tie to the strand to create a loop. Create another braided strand for the other end of the banner.

Hang up and enjoy the splendor of your crafty work. Also drop a note and a picture of your finished product in the comments below. I love looking at all the lovely crochet work you all do out there.

Happy hookin' and stitchin'!

NOTE: This pattern is free to use, but please give credit where credit is due. If you're sharing this pattern, please link back to this page. You're free to sell the product you make from this pattern.

Friday, June 20, 2014

5 ways to prevent crochet hand pain



Many crochet addicts at some point in time will experience some type of stiffness and pain in their hands, wrists, arms, and/or shoulder. I call it crochet hand pain since it is often brought about from the overindulgence in our favorite hobby and typically the majority of the pain is centrally located in the hands. At least it is for me, and it has been driving me crazy the past week. 

What causes crochet hand pain?
There could be a number of contributing factors, but the main culprits are:
-repetitive motion
-tight grip on hook
-finger position 

What can you do about it?
An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure; however, these preventive tips are also useful if you're currently going through a bought of crochet hand pain. Here are five simple steps to help you.

-Sit with support. If you don't have adequate support and light, you may strain your hands, arms, or shoulders trying to compensate. Those muscles begin to fatigue. Periodically check your posture. You also want to ensure your forearm has support as well. A pillow can assist in this matter.

-Take regular breaks. Break up the repetitive motion by giving your hands and wrists a rest. Before you start crocheting, set a kitchen time for 30 minutes to remind yourself to take a break. When it goes off, you stop what you're doing and take a break for ten to fifteen minutes. Your break should not mean you hop on the computer, since typing and mouse clicking are not really resting your hands and wrists.  Look to do something else like taking a short walk, getting a glass of water, or perhaps a household chore you've been neglecting to free up more time to crochet. Don't act like you're not guilty of this, we all are!

-Massage, stretch, and exercise. Gently massaging your hands, wrist, and forearm to encourage blood circulation.  Living Strong have some suggested hand stretches to try. Remember to not just focus on your hands. Incorporate your arms, shoulders, and back, since these are all interrelated and support one another. Ergocise has a number of wristshoulder, and back stretches with short animations demonstrating the moves. Simple yoga poses also help with an all body stretch. 

-Use cushions on your hooks or other ergonomic hooks. This all depends on your level of preference. Some people absolutely love the ergonomic hooks with large wooden handles for easy grips, while others think it feels awkward. Others place on their regular hooks the little foam pencil grips. One suggestion a read talked about wrapping rubber bands around the hook for cushion. Whatever you try, only use one hook at first. If you like it, then replace your hook set.

-Wrist brace or stress relief gloves. These items provide extra support. When my wrists are acting up, I'll wear wrist braces to bed so my wrists are not all bent up when I'm sleeping. Sleeping with my wrists curled up places stress on them.

Practice these preventive measures to be happily hookin' and stitchin'!

What are some things you do when crochet hand pain strikes you?

References:
Margaret (24 February 2012). 5 simple ways to relieve and prevent hand pain. Lion Brand blog. Retrieved from http://blog.lionbrand.com/2012/02/24/5-simple-ways-to-relieve-prevent-hand-pain/

Maruska, S. (25 February 2013). How to prevent crochet pain due to repetitive motion. Yarn Obsession. Retrieved from http://yarnobsession.com/how-to-prevent-crochet-pain-due-to-repetitive-motion/ 

Friday, June 13, 2014

FROG IT!

I think I'm at my wits end with this crochet project! I am trying to finish the second half of my table runner filet crochet project. Unfortunately, I keep on making mistakes trying to crochet the chart correctly and not catching the mistake until several lines later, so I end up having to frog a number of lines. I think I am up to 30 lines of crochet gone. Grrr! It feels like I am taking two steps forward and three steps back.

For those not up on the crochet lingo, I'm not talking about the cute little green guy. In crochet to frog, frogging, frogged, means pulling out all the stitches and undoing all your hard work.

I swear somebody made this meme for me. I served in the military, so you know some colorful language is coming from me as a disgruntle veteran frogging her project AGAIN!

You never truly learn to swear until you have to yank out
every stitch you crocheted over the past hour. Grrr!!
Why would somebody frog their work you ask? For me, I'm trying to crochet a mirror image of the opposite end of a table runner. In order to satisfy my OCD that orders balance and symmetry, the mirror image must be perfect. This means I'm yanking out stitches left and right when I find out that I missed a stitch. I am an artist suffering for her art, but in the end I know the yanking, cursing, and hard work will pay off. It will be beautiful!

Do you ever experience project set back like this? What do you do when it happens?

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