Hooked on Needles

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Crocheted Snowflake Afghan Resurrected for Winter

Crocheted snowflakes are the perfect kind of snowflake! No shoveling, no slick roads, no cold. In fact crocheted snowflakes put together into an afghan can be very warm and cozy, and perfectly delightful to have in a pile in your living room. After last year's ten feet of real snow, we are not looking forward to any of the white stuff this year here in New England. But there's not much we can do about it except prepare and have something to keep us warm. This afghan I'm making would do the trick...

How do you like these snowflakes? They are white and six sided and have a little sparkle to them, but I think that's about where the similarity with real snowflakes ends!

This was a kit I purchased from Herrschner's many years ago on their clearance page. I actually bought two kits since the price was so good, and I like afghans to be much bigger than the throw size that most kits make.

I crocheted all the white middles first a few years ago, and started on the blue outsides of the blocks. Then I put this project away in favor of other projects since this one wasn't for any particular purpose.

But after finishing that scrappy afghan I showed the other day, it was time to resurrect this project and get moving on it again. Now that I am back in school, this is a good project to have waiting for me when I finally relax for the evening. It's quick gratification, taking only about an hour to crochet the blue around the snowflake middle.

Maybe by the time we put our snow shovels away for the season, this afghan will be all put together and ready to show off again. We'll see about that!

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Scrappy Afghan Finally Finished!

Last fall, I had the intention of using up leftover yarn from this afghan to make a shawl. So I started crocheting my latest favorite stitch, the diagonal box stitch seen HERE and HERE, which starts at one corner and grows into an ever larger triangle making it perfect for a simple shawl design. It didn't quite work out as I had planned since I ran out of yarn long before the piece was big enough to be a useful shawl, so I changed plans and decided this project would be a scrappy afghan instead. I had used Bernat Waverly yarn for a few projects so I started using up the leftovers to make this cozy, colorful, scrappy afghan.

The lightest green section at the lower left in the above picture was the beginning of the project, with a stripe of darker green added to stretch the light green further. Even with the dark green stripe added, it still was not big enough for a shawl. So I used up scraps of browns and tans and then switched to a different green.

I was able to acquire some skeins of this green yarn, and the cream and tan yarns as well, from ebay since Bernat Waverly yarn is no longer manufactured and very hard to find.

This afghan turned out to be approximately 52 by 70 inches, a very nice size for cuddling on the couch or making forts over chairs and coffee tables.

Around the edges, I added a sturdy border of single crochets so the whole afghan is wrapped in the main green color.

This was a very relaxing project to work on through the fall and into the cold winter, and I was a little sad to have finished it just as the bitter cold weather descended upon New England. But it was good to use up some scrap yarn and acquired some new shades of discontinued Bernat Waverly that I really love. Now I have no cozy afghan to keep my lap warm in the evenings, but I am working on another crocheted afghan project that I will share here soon. It's just not at the lap-warming stage yet and probably won't be until the cold weather is on its way out. Aw, that's life!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What a surprise! Pattern for my very first afghan discovered!

A few months ago, probably when I should have been studying, I was roaming around the world wide web and almost fell off my chair when this picture came up.

I could not believe my eyes! Seeing this picture brought me right back to Walnut Creek, California when I was about 10 or 12 years old and I found this exact picture in a magazine. By that age, I had been crocheting for a few years already, but I had never made an afghan. So I showed it to my mother and asked her if I could make it. Keep in mind, this was 40 years ago and I am the fourth of eight children. Buying all that yarn for me most likely was not in the budget, but we went shopping and my mother let me pick out all the yarn for this afghan and she bought it! I don't recall how much it all cost, but I do remember thinking at the time that this was something very special that she was doing for me and that I really wanted to do a good job on this project.

I got right to work and quickly discovered that this kind of crochet was nothing like what my grandmother had taught me! This project is made using the afghan stitch, which I had never seen nor heard of at the time, but I now know it is Tunisian crochet. In fact, I have a number of video tutorials on this wonderful form of crocheting right here at Hooked On Needles. But back then it was unheard of, for me anyway!

I practiced with scrap yarn following the pictures and descriptions in the pattern until I had mastered the stitch. Even my grandmother could not help me since she had never done Tunisian crochet either! And then I made the afghan. What a project it was! It kept me busy and engaged for a long time, and when it was finished, oh what a feeling! You all know what I'm talking about, don't you? That feeling of accomplishment when you have completed a worthwhile task and have something useful and beautiful to show for your time and effort. I still love that feeling!

This afghan was well used and loved for years and years, finally becoming a cozy bed for our sweet and funny dog Daisy who loved it to death. Literally. Daisy was part of our family for 11 years, and when she was gone, the afghan was too. It had been her favorite cozy sleeping place for a lot of years and was no longer fit for anything but the trash. Too many holes, too many trips through the washer and dryer, pieces of it here, there and everywhere. It had served its purpose magnificently. It had been made with Red Heart yarn, which wears like iron, and it held up to all kinds of abuse for 30+ years.

I wrote briefly about it back in 2008 when I first began writing this blog, never thinking I'd find the pattern or a picture of it again. Click HERE to read what I said back then.

If you are interested in this project, click HERE for the pattern. It holds such wonderful memories for me, from my childhood well into my adult life. Maybe it will now for someone else. I hope so.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Quilted Sleeping Bag and Pillows for American Girl Doll

This is another little sewing project I did for Grace's American Girl dolls over my winter break. As nice as all the items made specifically for these dolls are, they really are quite expensive. I had made other things for her dolls in the past, like this cute little doll-sized tote bag, and this big-girl sized bag to carry dolls. So when Grace thought a sleeping bag would be fun for her dolls, I just knew that was something I could make very easily. So I let her pick out her own fabric from the fabric store. Yes, you read that correctly! No stash shopping this time. Fresh new fabric right off the bolt that she got to pick out herself! It's the little things, right? She was thrilled! It took me a couple hours in my greatly neglected sewing room and this is what I came up with...

It's a quilted sleeping bag with matching quilted pillows...

...and it's reversible too!

I even added a little tie at the bottom of the bag on both sides so that it could be tied up neatly into a roll for traveling or storage. I would love to offer a tutorial for this design that I came up with out of my own head, but right now I don't have the time it would take to do it justice. Maybe after graduation. But I will tell you, it is completely reversible with no unfinished seams anywhere and no hand sewing necessary. If you have experience sewing bags and such, you might be able to figure it out on your own. If not, feel free to drop me a line and request a tutorial after May and I might put it at the top of my list!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Productive Time Off, And Back To School Too Soon!

This is my last free weekend before jumping into my last semester of nursing school, so I thought I'd share with you some of the things that I made while on my winter break. The first item had been requested for some time by my 11 year old Grace so it was the first thing I made as soon as I was secure in the fact that I had passed my final exams before Christmas! It's a train case for her American Girl doll hair supplies. She is very much into doing hair these days, and at the time she asked for this she did not know that the American Girl doll Mary Ellen, with long hair, would be under the Christmas tree for her. She was content doing Kit's short hair, and my hair now and then, and her friends' hair at recess in school. She found some patterns and tutorials on Pinterest and picked out some fabric from my stash, and this is what we made...

Isn't that just the cutest little case? The tutorial I used for a guide was this one from a craft blog I had never heard of. It was good for a guide, but I changed a few things to suit my way of sewing. It was the simplest train case design I could find with all straight seams and no curved zippers or three dimensional sewing. It really is a clever design which turns flat sewing into a double-zippered square case, with a handle even!

You can see here that the method of turning the flat sewing into a square case is by boxing the corners, just as in many tote bag tutorials you'll find out there, or in here for that matter!

It's a quilt-as-you-go design, so no lining to deal with, which makes it even easier. I quilted the layers together using straight lines about 3/4 inch apart, and I also used fusible fleece fused to both the outside fabric and the inside fabric so that it would provide a good amount of sturdiness to the finished bag.

Grace just loves it and uses it for all of her new hair supplies for Mary Ellen.

I'll come back tomorrow and show a few more things I worked on over this break, and then after that I will have to disappear for a few months again. Graduation is set for the middle of May and I am so excited for it to come! But between now and then, lots of studying and hard work! It's all worth it though, no question about that!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

More Summertime Crocheting ~ A Colorful Baby/Doll Blanket

Summer has effectively ended here with the beginning of the new school year for my children this past week. Three days down, 177 to go! My semester begins this coming Wednesday, but before I disappear again into the black hole of semester three of nursing school, I wanted to share another little crochet project I was able to stitch up this summer. It's a little afghan that is small enough to be used for a doll, such as an American Girl doll, but big enough to be the perfect size for a car seat blanket or stroller blanket for a real live baby! And so colorful too! Here are a few pictures...

More information is available about this fun little doll or baby blanket over in my Etsy shop where it is up for grabs while it lasts. Please don't shoot the messenger, but Christmas is less than four months away and I'm pretty sure any little baby or any little girl with a doll would love to find this wrapped up under the tree!

Other little things have been taking shape down in my sewing room in anticipation of Christmas, but I cannot reveal them yet as they will be used as little gifties and I don't want to spoil the surprise! I know you understand! I will say that the colorful 7-inch zipper assortment I purchased from ZipperIsland's Etsy shop really came in handy for this project! They didn't pay me to say that, but when I get good service, I like to tell others about it!

So until probably after Christmas, farewell from Hooked On Needles! Unless I get a wild hair and decide to disconnect from school for a day and treat myself to some time in my sewing room!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, August 24, 2015

More Summertime Sewing ~ Tote Bags!

One more day before we return to the school schedule here, and I am just now really getting into my sewing groove! I've been thoroughly enjoying my time in the sewing room this summer making whatever comes to mind as I go through my fabric stash. Today I completed another tote bag that is perfect for the upcoming fall season. If you love fall, and all it brings with it, you'll love this bag!

The fabric I used was designed by Sandy Gervais and it is called Tranquility. If you've been a long-time reader of Hooked On Needles, you might remember this same fabric line from a quilt I made back in 2011 for my sister.

The base of the bag on the outside and on the inside is leftover bull denim from seat sacks I made for the classrooms at the school where my children attend. It is really great fabric to work with and so sturdy! The fabric on the top of the inside lining is leftover yardage from the coordinating solid I used for my sister's quilt. I also made a strap for a swivel hook out of that same fabric to keep keys or other things within easy reach.

This bag is interfaced with Peltex which is very stiff and allows the bag to stay upright and hold its shape all by itself. I also boxed the bottom of the bag so that it is very deep at the base. I like generously sized bag bottoms! This Tranquility Tote Bag is in my Etsy shop available for purchase while it lasts.

This is a tote bag I finished a few days ago and listed for sale in my shop. I was all ready to write a post on it all by itself, but it was purchased before I had a chance to write about it! So anyway, this one was made using canvas fabric from the Pure fabric line designed by Sweetwater and lined with the quilting cotton of the same line. I love the blue and brown color combination, and there is just something about fabric with words that I find quite appealing.

This is just about the end of my summer creations since I start back to school in a little over a week for my third semester of nursing school. I have another crocheted project to share and then I might have to sign off for a while. But all my video and picture tutorials are available and anything else here at Hooked On Needles that you find helpful will remain up and running for you to use and share with friends.

Enjoy what remains of your summer! I sure plan to!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summertime Crochet ~ No complaints here!

Crocheting afghans is not usually something I do in the summertime since it usually requires heavy yarny stuff sitting on my lap in the hot, humid weather. But this summer, we have actually enjoyed very mild weather with warm days and cool evenings. But now that our local pool has closed for the season and we are preparing to get back into our school year routine, the hot and humid weather has arrived with a vengeance. Typical New England weather!

Anyway, I was able to get some crocheting done while the weather allowed. One little doll blanket, one baby blanket for a first-time mom at my work, and one child and one adult Mary Poppins scarf (which are not pictured, but similar can be seen HERE. They will be in my Etsy shop in time for Halloween!) So take a look at all this yarny goodness...

Doesn't Kit just look so cozy and ready for winter?

This little doll blanket was crocheted using the diagonal box stitch, and is the perfect size for Kit's little bed.

The soft creamsicle color will be a good reminder of the nice summer weather when it was made! This little blanket would be a nice addition for any little girl's doll accessory collection, and can be seen over at my Etsy shop while it lasts.

This is the baby blanket I crocheted for Crystal's baby boy, who, I found out yesterday, was actually born last week! It's a good thing I finished it when I did! We had a little baby shower for Crystal a few weeks ago and one of the games we played was trying to guess what length of yarn matched the distance around her very pregnant middle. I didn't win the game, but I did get to take home the skein of yarn to make something nice for the baby!

This blanket was also crocheted using the diagonal box stitch for the body of the blanket. The border was a simple two round pattern of single crochet/chain 3 for the first round, and then 3 double crochets in each chain 3 space for the second round. I did that with each color, and ended with one round of (single crochet/chain 3/single crochet, skip a stitch, single crochet, skip a stitch) for the last round.

I think the little nipper will be quite cozy with this blanket for many years to come!

Is summertime a crochet season for you? Or do you save it for cooler weather?

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Upcycled Denim/Repurposed Jeans ~ Summertime creativity

This summer is cruising by at such a lovely pace for me, giving me ample time to spend in my sewing room with some wonderful fabrics and soft, sturdy denim. Some of my upcycled denim projects have appeared here at Hooked On Needles in the past and can be seen HERE, HERE, HERE and my personal favorite HERE. Continue reading to see what I've turned some old jeans into this summer...

This bag is made with a mini charm pack and some yardage of Noteworthy by Sweetwater for Moda, and an old pair of jeans of course!

That front pocket is still functional!

There is a zipper pocket and two open pockets on the inside.

A swivel clip hangs on one side to which keys and other items can be attached for easy access.

This one-of-a-kind bag is available over in my Etsy shop while it lasts.

The fabric I paired with soft black denim is Java by Deb Strain for Moda in warm fall tones.

This bag was designed around the still-functional zipper pocket from an old pair of jeans which is now the front pocket on this cute fallish purse.

The lining is sturdy bull denim and there are four open pockets on the inside as well as a D-ring for attaching keys or other items for easy access.

A button and loop closure is a nice feature of this bag.

This one-of-a-kind bag is also available over in my Etsy shop while it lasts.

Happy Stitching!

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