Category Archives: Crochet

It’s a Wrap – Granny Square Afghan Completed

On March 2012 I gathered my yarn and began crocheting an afghan from a little booklet called “Farmhouse Crochet”.   I was newly enthused with granny squares and completed almost half of the squares.   And then I stopped.  Years passed.  Late last year, when I was organizing, I looked at my completed squares and partial skeins and decided it was worth finishing.  And I did!   But there were some challenges along the way.

Afghan on Porch Bench

I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease, a 50% acrylic, 50% cotton blend in ten colors:  almond as the background color, and cherry, azalea, terracotta, seaspray, lime, violet, maize, candy blue, and taupe.  I randomly combined the colors without any pre-planning.

CottonEaseGrannyColors (800x600)

To get going again, I sat down and made first rounds ten at a time.  Slowly but surely, I added to my pile of squares, crocheting while watching TV.  Then my yarn started dwindling, and I worried about running out.  I did a quick search and discovered that almost all of the colors I used are discontinued.  I didn’t want to shorten the afghan so I continued, using every last bit. I even found tiny balls of a few colors that I had saved from when I knitted sweaters with them.

The squares alternate with big squares and four small squares sewed together into a square.  When I was running out of yarn, I changed 2 big squares to little squares because I didn’t have enough of any one color for the long rounds.  I also had to substitute some cream Sugar’n Cream yarn and fisherman color Wool-ease from my stash for the background color when I ran out.  You can see I used the last bit of yarn in the two squares below, not quite having enough to finish the round.  I think it gives it character, although these little details are hard to find when looking at the afghan as a whole.

Every scrap counts squares

Sewing  the squares together by whip stitch took several days.  I had already combined the four squares and weaved in most of the ends as I went, so that helped.

Stack of granny squares

Why was this project stalled for so long?  I realize that when I ran out of steam back in 2012 I wished I had chosen a different pattern and one or two colors.  The only time I had a pleasant time continuously crocheting was at the end when I crocheted a border around the whole thing.  It was just too much stop and start, and endless ends to weave in.

Whew!  I’m glad to cross this off my list!  I’ve known how to crochet since I was a teenager yet this is the first afghan I’ve ever completed.

Granny Square Afghan on Bed

Granny Square Afghan on Sofa

And the obligatory cat on afghan pic:

Cute Dog on Afghan

I had to improvise and change that up a little, too!

Do you have a long term unfinished project that you are still interested in completing?

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Learning to Knit Booklets: Vintage Style

Let’s start with the oldest one from my collection.  It doesn’t have a date on it, but I am guessing it dates from the 1950s or early 1960s.  It features a cute cover, illustrations of a prettily dressed young miss, and a cartoon format to the instructions.

fun way to learn knitting booklet 1950sgirl learning to knit in cartoon form vintage booklet

 

The back cover shows a few simple projects.

back cover of fun way to learn knitting booklet

 

Wait a minute – what is that?  A creepy face on the back of her kerchief!

knitting weirdness - vintage face kerchief

What was the designer thinking?  Well, we need some kind of embellishment to make the hood appeal to the younger set, and what girl wouldn’t want eyes on the back of her head.

I first learned to knit and crochet in 1973 or 1974, and I still have the little booklet from the class.  Those faces on the yarn are  actually cute.

I don't know how to knit or crochet 70s

One of the projects:

1970s owl crochet top

Owls were very popular in the 70s, but I’m thinking maybe that’s not the best placement for the owl eyes.

The Gitche Gumee Headband is another groovy design from the same booklet, although it’s neither knit nor crocheted.

70s headband

 

I  also have a few early 1970s copies of a knitting and crochet magazine called 101 Sweaters.  Seventies fashion wasn’t just ponchos –  although the hairstyles and makeup are dated, many of the patterns hold up well.

101 Sweater Magazine

 

 

The magazines also have a section for men’s patterns:

1972 photo of knitting patterns for men from 101 Sweaters magazine

The guys on the left are cool, but could the guys on the right be any more dorky in those outlandish sweaters?

That wraps up a look at the good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird knitted and crocheted patterns and fashions of yesteryear. Do you like to collect old patterns or make things from them?

 

 

Adding Crochet Edging Refashion

Cooler weather and yarn are a combination that go together well, just like soup and sandwich.  At the mall this fall, crocheted and knitted pieces started appearing  as urban art covering and decorating the plain poles.  I especially like the stripes and the colorful strips cut from t-shirt fabric.

I bought this Villager Sport by Liz Claiborne shirt dress with a printed border from the thrift store.  The fabric looks like a lightweight denim but I think it’s actually chambray.  I didn’t quite like the fit, so I quickly cut it in two, and used  foldover elastic for the skirt, like I detailed in my previous post, “Easy Fix for Too Small Skirt”.

Villager Sport DressDress cut into skirt and jacket top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made the cut high in order to preserve the inseam pockets with the skirt portion, and had the idea to add crochet to the top piece to make it long enough to be wearable as a little jacket.

I found a tube of unlabeled number 10 thread that matched well, and began by sewing a blanket stitch with a needle.  Then I crocheted a foundation row of single crochet.

beginning to crochet edgingblanket stitch edge and starting crochet pattern

Next I started my pattern by crocheting three double crochet clusters in every third chain. On the next row I crocheted in the spaces, which I love because it’s so easy.  The pattern is called granny stripe.

I was happily going along at a nice rhythm when I realized after crocheting two inches that I wouldn’t have enough thread to finish.

out of thread

Oh no, what now? I went to the store and looked online, but I couldn’t find a match.  The variegated thread was one I already had.  I didn’t like any of the options.

trying to match threadsVariegated crochet thread

I started crocheting this in June, and it became one of those dreaded UFOs that was cast aside for several months.  When I found it while cleaning, I was determined to finish it.  I should have bought both the lighter shade and the bright blue, and tried them both as well as the variegated to see which looked best.  My idea was to have an equal number of rows of the different shade so it would look like a design plan.

Jacket with crocheted bottomJacket with crocheted bottomWell, I didn’t do that.  I just started crocheting with the thread I already had, and this is what I ended up with.  It’s kind of strange looking, don’t you think?  I could always rip out and redo with the lighter blue.

Even though I had a problem with the execution of the crochet trim on this project, I love the idea of mixing crochet with fabric and I’d like to do it again, possibly on a yoke of a knit shirt.

Handmade Gifts Given and Received

Aspire each day to laugh and be happy!

Towel Holder: Aspire Each Day to Laugh and Be Happy

That’s the hopeful message printed on one of the towel toppers I made as gifts for Christmas.  I used this tutorial again, like I did in my Hanging out in the Kitchen post.

Towels Holder Apple and ChristmasTowel Topper Fruit Fabric Amazingly, I remembered how to sew the buttonholes.

I received  pretty crocheted potholders from a neighbor to whom I gave  a couple of my towel holders. They are perfectly made, and I love the ridges.  I found the pattern online on Ravelry as German potholders.  The description reads “Every girl born before 1938 in Germany had to learn how to make those in Elementary School – and was graded for this skill!  Traditionally, made in identical pairs”.  This accurately describes the giver of these potholders; I’ll have to ask her if she knows the pattern by heart.

Christmas PotholdersCrocheted Potholder

I also received a gift card in this beautifully handmade wallet.  Look at the pretty Asian themed fabric , the Japanese coin used as a faux closure,  the perfect stitching, and the many slots for cards. Interestingly, the maker of this wallet was also foreign born.

Japanese Fabric WalletJapanese Coin Fabric Handmade WalletWallet PocketsWallet PocketsAlthough I don’t have the identical pattern for this wallet, the following are some pattern options found on my free little projects page on Pinterest.

The Perfect Wallet

Necessities on the Go Mini Clutch

Mini Wallet

Gift Card Case or Business Card Holder

Do you like giving and/or receiving handmade gifts?

I wish you much happiness in your life, and in your creative adventures this year.

Crocheting for Christmas

This was the year of the wreath for me.  I loved the  “Simple Statement Wreath”  from Lisa Gutierrez of goodknits.com  from the moment I saw it on Pinterest.Simple Statement Wreath with Bells

The wreath calls for bulky  yarn but I used Carron Simply Soft in red which I had on hand, and it still worked up really quickly with a size I hook, and didn’t use that much yarn.  The  tutorial shows a rounded foam form but I just used a cardboard form like the one I used in my poinsettia wreath.   I made 3 rounds of the border lace as that’s my favorite part.  Then I decided to use bells for embellishment.  Maybe next year I will make two more so I can have a trio including possibly a larger wreath in metallic gold thread.  I can also picture tiny ones to hang on the tree.  This is a clever pattern, and the free tutorial is clear and detailed.

Simple Statement Wreath

I have long admired crocheted thread snowflakes, but I found them too difficult for me to make when I tried crocheting them in the past.  So I snapped up this set of twelve different handmade and stiffened  snowflakes that I found at the Goodwill bookstore near me.

Crocheted SnowflakeCrochet SnowflakeFour Crocheted SnowflakesTwelve Different Thread SnowflakesI paid $3 for all twelve.  They’re intricate and lovely!