Summer Knitting & Crochet Projects

Crafts, Knitting and Crochet No Comments

In the heat of the summer, it’s really difficult to pick up a lot of my favorite crafts. I’m a huge fan of knitting and crochet. I just finished a giant granny square blanket that was almost torture to complete during the heat wave here in Oregon. It was so big, I basically had to wear it as a blanket to keep stitching. I’m so happy it’s done, and I think it looks pretty great for my first real crochet project.

Giant Granny Square Blanket

I love to work with yarn because it keeps my hands busy and doesn’t require much artistic talent to accomplish. I’d love to continue working with yarn for the rest of the summer months, so I need to get past the blanket I started in the winter and pick up something lightweight that I might actually get some use from even in the 90 degree weather. Here are some projects I’m considering:

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Stitch Marker For Knitters

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By Kid’s Crafts Contributor Stephanie, from the Blog A Geek in Glasses.

stitchmarker-4

Just the thing to make for your favorite knitter. Using beads or charms that fit their personality can really make these a special gift. Stitch markers are used to mark a place in the knitted piece or help count rows. They are useful tools that are easy to make.

Supplies

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Crochet Shamrocks

Crafts, Knitting and Crochet, St. Patrick's Day No Comments

By General Crafts Contributor Monica from the blog Mon Makes Things.

Crochet Shamrocks Free Pattern

Crochet Shamrocks Pattern

Tell me I’m not the only one who can’t believe that St. Patrick’s Day is upon us… The never-ending winter season here in Michigan has me in complete denial about the date on the calendar; a look out the window tells me that it’s GOTTA be like, December… right? If any of you Think Crafts readers follow my blog or instagram, you probably know about my affinity for crochet hearts… I’ve done big ol’ heart pillowsheart garlandsmini amigurumi hearts, and the list goes on… This shamrock pattern? It’s made outta hearts. What can I say, I’m a one trick pony. ;)

Hearts

For these babies, you will make 3 hearts (from this pattern). They’re super simple, completed in one round:

Abbreviations: ch = chain, tr = treble crochet, dc = double crochet, sc = single crochet

Make a magic ring and ch 3. In the circle, do 2tr, 3dc, ch, tr, ch, 3dc, 2tr, ch3. Then slip stitch back into the ring, fasten off, and pull the loop closed. Sew the center yarn through the backs of the stitches to keep the center tight. (check the pattern link for process photos!)

For the stem, simply ch 6, sc into second ch from hook and in next 4 chs, and fasten off. Weave in the shorter yarn end and trim.

Crochet Shamrock

Crochet Sharmocks

Using a yarn needle and the yarn ends on your pieces, sew the hearts together along their edges as shown. Sew through the backs of the stitches to preserve the entire heart shape for each shamrock “leaf.” Sew on your stem, being sure to sew the points of the bottom hearts together as well.

Once your shamrocks are finished, you could back them with felt like these coasters for a more finished look. Then you could add a pin to use these as brooches, or maybe magnets? What would you do with them?

 

Best Blogs to Learn the Basics: Crochet

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If you’re looking to start a new craft, you can find everything you need right here online. You can find info on all of the tools you need, how to get started, and more with a little bit of searching. One wonderful thing about finding bloggers who are willing to share the basics is that they’re always willing to listen and help! It’s important to feel that you always have that support when you’re just starting out a craft. Here are some wonderful blogs with contact info to help you start realizing your crochet dreams.

Aesthetic Nest

The Aesthetic Nest has a wonderful 11 part How to Crochet SeriesYou’ll learn everything down to how to create the slipknot that starts your entire project. You can find thorough photo tutorials for holding yarn, working in the round, and the most common stitches. There will be even more tutorials very soon, so make sure to check back often and learn right along with the new tutorials. With the help of Anneliese, you’ll be working up your first baby afghan or crochet cowl in no time.

The Aethetic Nest isn’t just for crochet, you can find lots of sewing tutorials and gorgeous childrens’ clothing, knitting, recipes, and more wonderful homemade items.

One Artsy Mama

Amy at One Artsy Mama has created a free Ebook packed with 32 pages of pictures and tutorials for basic crochet stitches.  All she asks is that you like her Facebook page in return. It’s so simple, and she’s even giving you a free beginner’s project at the end of the book! It’s totally worth every penny you didn’t spend. Once you learn the basics, you can easily make one of Amy’s many crochet projects. Start out with her fun crochet wrap bracelet and move on to a coffee cozy or boot cuffs!

Be sure to stop by and check out all of the beautiful jewelry making and simple crafts available on One Artsy Mama. Honestly, anyone can do these crafts!

Look At What I Made

 The tutorials at Look At What I Made are great for the beginner and the more confident crocheter. You can find a guide for all of the confusing crochet terminology as well as tips for stitches you may have never even heard of. This is a great place to go for tutorials that go beyond the simple and basic stitches. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, definitely give some of Dedri’s tutorials a try. As a bonus, there are lots of patterns for beginning and advanced crocheters.

Check out some of the beautiful handmade toys you can create in no time with Dedri’s tutorials and basic stitches. Don’t forget to look around Look At What I Made for recipes, sewing patterns, and more craft projects.

Petals to Picots

The Learn to Crochet section of Petals to Picots has picture tutorials for the most basic aspects of crochet. You can find out what hooks and yarns to choose, how to hold the hook, and many more tutorials. Each lesson takes you step by step as you create your first project, from finding the right materials to creating your stitches and everything else you need to know. Once you’re a little more confident, there are plenty more advanced tutorials as well.

Petals to Picots is a one stop shop for all things yarn related. You can find fantastic photo tutorials for needle felting, creating your own yarn from unexpected materials and more. After looking at all of Kara’s pretty crafts, you won’t want to craft with anything else!

Now it’s time to grab a hook and some yarn and learn from some of the best crochet bloggers out there. If you have product based questions, check out our crochet hook and yarn buyers guides for more info. Don’t forget to share what you create!

Basic Granny Square Tutorial

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By General Crafts Contributor Monica from the blog Mon Makes Things.

Basic Granny Square Tutorial

Seriously, thanks to the Crochet Mood Blanket project, I can’t get enough granny squares. After seeing how many participants are learning to crochet via this project, I thought I’d revisit the good ol’ traditional granny square pattern. Though I admit that I did not do extensive googling, I did not find a great basic granny pattern out there in cyber space. I’m sure there are some, of course, and I’m sure there are YouTube videos or something too. But, in the mean time, I thought I’d write up my own tutorial to share!

This is really the easiest, quickest granny pattern that I know of. Since you crochet into the spaces of the previous round, there’s little room for error. This would be a great style for the beginning crocheter, and because this particular pattern is a bit tighter than others, a loose tension is more easily camouflaged.

Stuff You’ll Need: size H crochet hook, yarn needle, scissors, worsted weight yarn (if you are still new to crochet, I recommend a yarn that is neither too scratchy nor too silky — some of my favorites are Loops & Threads Impeccable, Red Heart Soft, Debra Norville Everyday, and Lion’s Brand Vana’s Choice)

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Granny Square Tutorial Roundup

Crafts, Knitting and Crochet, Needlearts 1 Comment

By General Crafts Contributor Monica from the blog Mon Makes Things.

Solid Granny Square by A Creative Being and Arden Granny Square by Mon Makes Things

1. Solid Granny Square by A Creative Being  //  2. Arden Granny Square by Mon Makes Things

The Crochet Mood Blanket project has me on a granny square craze at the moment. As I wrote in a previous post, the community forming around this project is incredibly inspiring. I personally tested out a number of patterns before picking a design to carry through the entire year. In the group, several participants have written about changing their square pattern mid-way  —  choosing colors and a pattern is no small task! Some have even solved this by doing different patterns for each day.

Flowers in the Snow Granny Square by Solgrim  and Sunburst Granny Square by Nittybits

3. Flowers in the Snow Granny Square by Solgrim  //  4. Sunburst Granny Square by Nittybits

Not everyone is doing squares for their crochet mood blanket, of course. Many participants are doing stripe blankets, adding a new stripe each day/week. Many others are doing hexagons instead of squares as well. Some doing stripes are using a different style stitch for each day/week to mix it up, others are doing ripples or the traditional granny stripe. As for me, I like the square. It’s simple, it’s small, and it’s quick, all of which make the task of making one a day more manageable for me. I am actually really envious of the beautiful hexagon blankets taking shape, but as I already have a hexagon blanket in the works, I opted for the more traditional square.

Patroon Granny Square by HaakKamer  and Puff Stitch Granny Square by Crejjtion

5. Patroon Granny Square by HaakKamer  //  6. Puff Stitch Granny Square by Crejjtion

All of the patterns here include full photo tutorials, which I personally think is super helpful in learning a new pattern. One of the tutorials (the Arden square) is my own, and I speak from experience when I say that writing a pattern feels confusing; it’s tough trying to write something so that others can fully understand your instruction — photos make a big difference!

I tried to order these from simplest to more complex. If you are relatively new (or completely new) to crochet, I recommend the solid granny (#1) or a traditional granny (not included here) to start off. Both of those styles utilize basic stitches and counts. Some project participants using those patterns have expressed a concern over their “boring” squares, but I think that those traditional styles can be just as lovely as the more intricate designs. By using different colors throughout the year, those blankets will still be filled with character and charm, and one could easily add a border color to all their traditional squares if they wanted to add some visual interest as well.

The sunburst square (#4) is particularly popular amongst participants, and bear in mind that the colors choices are entirely up to you. With patterns like the sunburst and flowers in the snow squares (#3 & 4), some are changing colors each round while others are sticking with a contrasting border and one color in the center to reflect their mood. These patterns are a little more advanced in that they switch from a circle to a square and may involve more complex stitches.

**Note: Tutorial #5 is not written in US crochet terms. Experienced crocheters should be able to figure out the pattern from the photos easily enough, but I don’t recommend it for crochet newbies.

 

Are you going to take up the Crochet Mood Blanket challenge? What design will you use?

Crochet Mood Blanket: A Global Project

Crafts, Knitting and Crochet, Needlearts 4 Comments

By General Crafts Contributor Monica from the blog Mon Makes Things.

Crochet Mood Blanket: A Global Project

1. Donna  //  2. Casey @ Plus 3 Crochet

Shortly before 2013 drew to a close, Instagram user Stacey Wentford-Hall, A.K.A. @frofunky (formerly @mummy_stacey), pitched the idea of a crochet mood blanket to a few friends. Much to her surprise, the idea went viral and as of now, thousands around the world are participating! The Facebook group currently has over 2,600 members, and the Instagram tag #crochetmoodblanket2014 has over 6,800 photos.

Crochet Mood Blanket - A Global Project

3. Alycia @ Habitual Homebody  //  4. Becky Smith  //  5. Filomena Parbery  //  6. Danica  //  7. Kyra  //  8. Charlie  //  9. Randi  //  10. Rebecca Haas  //  11. Rachael Visser  //  12. Lori @ Just Pure Lovely
**non-linked photos were found in the Facebook group and are used with permission**

The concept is pretty simple, really: crochet a granny square (or stripe) each day using a color that depicts your mood! Some are doing a square for each week to make the task more manageable. From there, the project has been twisted and tweaked in a host of ways. Some have chosen a set of yarn colors with a chart linking colors with specific moods, while others are simply choosing an appealing color for that day. Some are doing multi-color squares to represent their changing moods throughout the day. An innumerable variety of patterns are being used, from the basic to the complex. Some are viewing this as a “stash-buster” project, while others are journaling their moods and colors each day. Personally, I think that is what makes this project great; the vast room for personalization and the seemingly unending fount of inspiration provided by the diverse group of participants.

Crochet Mood Blanket: A Global Project

13. Tanya @ Little Things Blogged  //  14. Cat @ Yellow Sherbet  //  15. Monica @ Mon Makes Things  //  16. Bren @ Snerb

Obviously 2014 is already underway, but do not let that discourage you from joining the challenge! There are plenty of days left in the year, you can make up missed days if you’d like, and these project “rules” are basically the opposite of strict. You can join whenever! The Facebook group and Instagram posts are serving as a wonderful source for creativity and community, and I encourage you to join if you have the slightest interest in crochet — many people are learning to crochet by way of this project!

All the photos shared here were posted to either the Facebook group or the Instagram tag. See what I mean about all the inspiring participants?! Please, join and share in this project if you’d like. And stay tuned! If you’re a novice crocheter, if you’re rusty, or if you’re looking for ideas, I’ll be sharing a round-up of good granny square patterns with tutorials — from the simple to the more advanced. Happy hooking!

If you’d like to read more about the project, there is an interview with the project creator here

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