Sunday, February 26, 2012

Make: Monogrammed Mittens

Here's another no-yarn craft for all you non-crocheters/knitters out there: embroidered and appliquéd mittens.  It's also a great craft for those who are looking to make something in a short amount of time!

appliqué: a decorative design made of one material sewn over another

You'll need:  a pair of store-bought mittens, some felt (I used some scraps from a felted sweater), embroidery floss, and a teensy bit of fiber fill.

Cut the shape you're going to appliqué from felt.  Embroider the design of your choice on the felt.

I used what I think is called the stem stitch to freehand the lettering, however it might be called the back stitch or the split stitch, or it might simply be a stitch of my own creation, since I can't seem to find anything exactly like it out there in Internet-land.

Use a blanket stitch to attach the appliqué to the mitten.  Right before completing the last few stitches, stuff a small amount of fiberfill under the applique to give it a bit of puff.

These mittens were made for Mel over at Lazy Daisy Crochet for the Valentine's Initial Heart Swap. From Mel's blog, I knew that she already knew how to crochet, so I had to think of something a little different to gift her.

If you're looking to learn more about embroidery (and how simple and economical it is!), there's a great Embroidery 101 crash course at

I'm sharing this post at Craft Envy , Craft-o-Maniac, and Not Just A Housewife.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekends are for working IN ends

I worked in a lot of ends this weekend!  Once the crochet portion of the blanket is complete, it looks a little something like this:
Then it's time to take a yarn needle in hand and weave the ends into the crochet fabric so that stitches won't unravel and these unsightly fringe bits are hidden away.  It's a painstaking process, but a beautiful finished project is its own reward.

I have two baby blankets finished and ready to sell.  Here's a preview:

By the end of this month, I'm hoping to have my etsy store up and running.  There are several smaller items ready to make their debut as well.  I'm looking forward to it! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Heart Swap Show and Tell

My Valentine Initial Heart Swap Package arrived today.  It came from Ruth in Illinois and it was so neat to get a package in my mailbox. :)

Here's what was in the bundle:
A Valentine, a handmade mini scrapbook/photo album, a knitted dishcloth and....a box of chocolates!

Ruth put a lot of work into the scrapbook.  Here are some of the inside pages.
Thank you for being my crafty Valentine, Ruth!

Apparently my Heart Swap craft has not arrived yet.  :(  Here's hoping it shows up soon so I can share it here. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pattern: Owl Appliqué

I saw a similar cute owl on Pinterest somewhere, but couldn't seem to find an actual pattern.  So...I created my own!  Here's the how-to:

Yarn Needed: worsted weight scraps
Hook Size: I

Begin with the circle portion of the owl's body.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Hat

Last Thursday, after an energy-sucking day, I was able to mellow out on the couch with a bit of creativity and my big tote of worsted weight yarn.  By the end of the night, I had this sweet little hat for my sweet little niece!

That's Maddy on the left, rockin' the Zoolander look.  The lucky girl is also sporting a homemade Valentine's shirt.  You can read all about how to make that on her mommy's blog.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Solution For Every Problem

Crochet isn't just about finding calm in row upon row of neat stitches or finding joy in the giving of homemade gifts, it's also about finding satisfaction in problem solving.  If I could solve all of life's problems this simply, I'd be a super hero.

Problem:  After deciding upon a repeating pattern for my chicken foot blanket, I realized I was running short on certain colours of yarn.

Solution:  Add in a row of circle-in-a-square squares.  (Thanks to Manner's Crochet and Craft for the basics of the pattern.  You'll probably find a better tutorial there, so I'd encourage you to follow the link.  I added an extra round of white sc and a round of black sc  Make sure you do 3scs in each corner stitch.)

Here's a circle-in-a-square patch.  It's a bit bumpy and lumpy because I just pulled it out of my bag.

So far, I've added 5 of them along the edge of the blanket.  Looks like 6  will do the trick!

Also, I officially ran out of just the right weight of bulky black yarn that I'll need to finish this project.  This blanket was a stashbusting project, but I decided it was okay to bend the rules a bit and buy a big ball to help finish this off.  (I did use a 50% off coupon, so even if it's cheating, it's only 50% cheating.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Little Sister's Wedding Shower

We hosted little sister's wedding shower on Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately the lighting wasn't great and only a few photos turned out, but here's some glimpses into the crafty fun of throwing a party.

Making invitations was a party in itself, back in January.  I had fun using my new Cricut.

Purple and silver die cuts and purple ink.  (Can you guess the wedding colours?)

A little jewel and a little humour.  (Since it was in winter, we decided it was a blizzard instead of a shower.)
Gift table decorations.  Since there are few flakes on the ground this February, we added some vintage doilies as snow.  (Can you see the yarn-wrapped J from an earlier post?)

Purple punch.

Powdered donuts get pretty in paper cupcake holders.

Let 'er rip.  Beautiful packaging gets torn to shreds.

I'm looking forward to the next party!  More accurately, I'm looking forward to the next excuse to get crafty with purpose.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP (Work In Progress) Wednesday

I'm continuing to work through my stash of leftover worsted weight yarn.  I've still got most of a big Rubbermaid tote full, but I'm having fun playing with colours and learning a few new stitches.

This week, it's the Chicken Foot stitch, from Robyn Chachula's Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia, mentioned two posts back.  I'm crocheting it in horizontal rows (of course)...

...but ultimately I think I'll end up creating a blanket with vertical stripes.  I know it's all simply a matter of perspective, but I think it looks cuter this way.  Originally, I was working it up in random stripes, but I decided that there were just too many colours for the randomness to work.  Regularly repeating rows add a little balance to the chorus of colours.  (...or at least I think they do.  What do you think?)
This blanket is a great project to work on while watching TV.  I think Monday night is going to end up being my couch&crochet night, because the TV lineup on the one channel we get is actually really good: "The Voice" and "SMASH" are both light and lovely shows to watch while winding down.

Ooh, yes!  Yesterday I made and tackled a huge to-do list, so I finally mailed off my monogrammed creation for the Initial Heart Swap.  Fingers crossed that the package makes it to its destination by Valentine's Day!  I'm looking forward to sharing that yarn-free craft with blogland once it gets to its recipient.

I'm sharing this post at tamisamis' WIP Wednesdays and Musings From The Fishbowl.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pinterest Make: Yarnwrapped Monogram

I am still in love with Pinterest.  It's the best of browsing the web and flipping through magazines, all in one (free!) spot.  Mostly, my Pinterest boards are full of dreams and somedays, but this weekend I used one of the ideas for a wedding shower gift.  The mission: give your letter a sweater.

One ball of yarn (Hello, Vanna!), a large wooden letter, and a glue gun is all you need for this project.

Wrap the tricky bits first.  (Thankfully, a J doesn't have too many tricky bits.)

Squeeze out a bit of glue, every so often (on the backside) and keep wrapping tightly.
Finished letters look good on bookshelves!  Hopefully the soon-to-be Mrs., Mrs., Mrs., Mrs. Jones....Mrs. Jones will find a good place for it in her new home. :)

There you have it!  In 15 minutes or less, you could have one, too.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Crafting On The Bright Side

My Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia arrived earlier this week.  Designer Robyn Chachula has an engineering background, so there are many helpful comments relating to structure and texture, and it's become my new bedside reading.  I found a simple tweed stitch in the book and used it to start this project:

 I'm calling it "Technicolour Dream-Tweed."

Working with lotsa colours means lotsa ends to work in.

Here's a view of the stitch up close.  It's simply staggered single crochets and chains (chain one over a single crochet in the row below, single crochet in the chain one space from the row below).  This is a great stitch for beginners.  It also works up fast and is helping me use some yarn from my stash!

I'm sharing this post on Visions of Sugarplum's Fibers on Friday and Wisdom Begins in Wonder's Fiber Arts Friday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January's 'Monthly Make' ....A little late!

I've been itching to blog this week.  My sister-in-law recently joined the blogging world and definitely upped the ante for post content.  This post won't be as eloquent as hers, but at least I'm writing something. ;)

My cats did most of the making in January.  This past week in particular, they discovered a glass vase I had filled with balls of yarn and set out as a decoration.  Apparently, they had their own creative vision for this particular stash.  Here's a quick glimpse into their crafting talents:

Now, picture that yarn strung all around the guest bedroom, upstairs landing, down the stairs, through the office, around the chair and couch in the living room and around the table in the kitchen.  I actually had to take scissors to the spiderweb they created when I came downstairs in the night for a glass of water.  My cats are likely not trying to kill me, but they might be trying to break my legs.

Now that report cards are done, I've had some time on the couch.  I am a Crochet Today! subscriber, but I think I've only ever made one project out of the magazine--and a frogged project at that.  (Don't know about frogging?  Think "rip it, rip it"....or read more about it here.)  I like to look at crafting magazines and daydream, but in an attempt to stashbust and get a monthly make in for January, I opened up an issue from last Spring.  Here's what I made today:

It's a little girl's hat, sized 12-24 months.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it actually fits on someone, since it was pretty easy to whip up and it looks super cute just sitting there.  I want to try a few different colours, but I'm thinking brown and pink would be cute for Valentines Day.

Today, I'm sharing my work at: someday crafts (There's over 600 crafts linked up there!  Check it out!) and tami's amis
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