Hooked on Needles

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Time To Fall Back ~ 20% Coupon Code for Early Christmas Shopping

Another fall has arrived here in New England and the trees have been just stunning. I wish I could share a picture with you that actually did justice to the spectacular show of color we have enjoyed this year. But this will have to do.

I cannot even claim credit for the picture! This was sent to me by a friend who had visited Vermont at the peak of color. Isn't it just fabulous?

To celebrate my very favorite season of the year, I have decided to offer a coupon code to save 20% off of any purchase in my Etsy shop for the month of November. We will be turning our clocks back this coming weekend, so the coupon code is FALLBACK2016 and it is good for the entire month of November. So click HERE to take a look at some of my handmade items that would make perfect Christmas gifts for lots of people on your Christmas list and get those gifts checked off, wrapped and put away.

In my shop you will find cozy quilts of all sizes, hand crocheted blankets for dolls, babies, kids and grown ups, awesome tote bags that any bag lover would love, knitted and crocheted scarves for those cold winter days that are surely coming, crocheted cotton wash cloths, original patterns and lots more.

Feel free to share this coupon code, FALLBACK2016, with friends and family too, along with a link to the item you would like to find with your name on it under the Christmas tree this year! I am not a fan of subtle hints! Just come right out and tell them what you want!

I hope you spend some of this cozy fall keeping your needles and hooks busy too!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

It Is Finished...School, that is!

Just popping in here to let you know that I passed my state board exam for nursing this past week! Those of you who have taken any kind of board exam will understand completely the relief I felt! So the journey I began four years ago has come to a successful conclusion! Now I can reacquaint myself with my family and my sewing room, and get back to some sort of normal life again!

There is a crochet video tutorial on my list of things to do for Hooked On Needles, as well as a picture tutorial for a cute little sewing project that I shared a while ago and have had a few requests for. So I am hoping to get to those sometime this summer, between trips to the pool with the kids and working my wonderful job as a nurse.

I do hope you are enjoying your summer, maybe with a little sewing or crocheting mixed in!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July! ~ Some Patriotic Projects from the Past

Happy 4th of July to all of my American readers! I thought I'd share a few patriotic pictures from the past just to add a little Red, White and Blue (and maybe another color or two) to this page! Just click the caption to read about the project pictured.

Sweet Liberty Afghan

Tunisian Short Row Dishcloth

Ma Ingalls Half Granny Shawl

Knitted Apple Dishcloth

Cute Window Valance

Red and Aqua Tote Bag

Apple Tote Bag

Needle Roll for Crochet Hooks

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Grow A Garden With Me ~ Two Matching Tote Bags for Summer

More Summer Sewing is underway here at Hooked On Needles! Moda has some wonderful designers, and one of my very favorite teams is Me and My Sister Designs. Mary and Barb continue to come up with the most cheerful fabrics year after year. These two matching tote bags are made with their Grow fabric line and are just as happy as can be!

These bags are available for purchase over in my Etsy shop while they last. Don't forget to use coupon code SUMMER2016 through July 20, 2016 to save 20% off of any purchase.

I hope you are spending some time in your sewing room this summer too!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More Summer Sewing ~ Two New French Journal Tote Bags

There is nothing quite like an afternoon of relaxing summer sewing, and recently I was able to enjoy a few of them. After making Melissa's tote bag, the leftover French Journal fabric was just begging to be made into something pretty and useful. Take a look at these two summery tote bags, and be sure to check out the summer sale in my Etsy shop where everything is 20% off through July 20 when you use coupon code SUMMER2016 at checkout! These two tote bags will be there very soon!

This tote bag is lined with the coordinating pink paisley...

...and this one is lined with coordinating green paisley.

You can see more pictures of these two tote bags over in my Etsy shop very soon.

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

French Journal Tote Bag

It's not even officially summer yet, and my first custom project for the summer is complete, shipped and received! It's no secret that I love bags. I love to design bags. I love to sew bags. I love to use bags. I just love everything about bags! My favorite travel bag is one that I made for myself a really long time ago using discontinued upholstery samples from my local furniture store. Since then, I have used that same pattern to make dozens of bags for others. Melissa from Texas wanted one, and here it is...

Melissa liked the fabric I had used for a similar bag a few years ago for a young girl's birthday gift in Australia. You can see that bag HERE. It is a Michael Miller fabric called Belle Rose from the French Journal fabric line.

The print on this fabric just begs to be fussy cut. You can see that the two pieces of the zippered extension started out as one piece with that gorgeous bird on the lower half and the gorgeous flower on the top half. The hot pink zipper matches the pink corduroy that I used for the base of the bag.

The lining for this bag is the pink paisley from the same fabric line. Lots of pockets around the inside to keep things organized.

The zippered extension can be pulled up for lots more space inside the bag, or it can be left folded down as in this picture. Either way, it can be zipped to protect the contents of the bag. You can see the swivel hook peeking out just below the zipper. I like to add a swivel hook to each of my bags so keys are easy to retrieve!

There is a large pocket on each side of the bag framed and lined in the green paisley that is also part of this lovely fabric line.

I was happy to know that Melissa's bag arrived safely and quickly and that she was happy with it. It is always such a pleasure to work with quality fabrics and beautiful prints, and I make it a habit to purchase extra yardage just in case I make a bad cut or have some other unforeseen mishap while sewing a custom project. For this project there were no mishaps, so next time I will share with you what I did with the leftovers of this beautiful fabric. If you like bags as much as I do, you won't want to miss it!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Nursing School Knit and Crochet

It's been almost three weeks since I finally got to do what I had imagined myself doing four years ago, back when the thought of returning to school and pursuing a degree in nursing came to mind. One of the things I saw in my mind's eye was me, sitting right here at the kitchen table just as I am now, but instead of sharing my love of all things hooks and needles with readers all over the world like I had done since 2008, I was studying, writing papers, learning about things I had never known anything about before. I saw that, and it appealed to me.

The other thing I saw was a sea of fellow nursing students, and myself included, all dressed in white, with me emerging from that sea to stand on the stage and receive my nursing pin. I had never been to a pinning ceremony before, and in fact until four years ago, I had never even heard of one! But I clearly saw this happening to me, and a few weeks ago, it did in fact actually happen! It was quite a thrill to celebrate the accomplishment achieved after so much study, hard work, and sacrifice. The study and hard work were all me, along with a healthy dose of God's good grace, when it came to the actual school work. The sacrifice, however, was not only mine but my husband's and my children's as well. Had it not been for their willingness to take on most of what I had always done and allow me the time and study necessary to succeed, it never would have happened. So it was absolutely a family effort for me to get this nursing degree and the title of Registered Nurse.

So anyway, I am done with school, except for studying for my nursing board exam which will be sometime this summer, and I have some things to share with you that were actually part of one of our last courses. We had to do a service learning project by volunteering at a charitable organization of our own choosing. One of my classmates, AH, also enjoys crocheting and so we thought it would be a great idea to choose an organization that could benefit from the two of us doing something that we loved to do already. The organization is called Warmer Winters and it is located right here in lovely Leominster, Massachusetts. They provide hand made items such as hats, scarves and mittens to needy families. You can read about their work HERE.

Keep reading to see pictures of the items we made as part of our service learning project for Warmer Winters...

These are the items AH made. She let her daughters choose some of the yarn she used for a few of the items. I bet you can guess which yarns were chosen by two fun little girls! AH's crocheting is just beautiful and all of these items will keep some people nice and warm next winter, not to mention add some awesome color to their wardrobe!

And these are the items I made. I used my Swirl Top Baby Hat pattern for most of the hats I made. They turn out different sizes by using bigger or smaller yarn and needles but the same pattern, and all you need to know how to do is knit, purl and knit two together.

A few of my scarves were made using a simple garter stitch and knitting until only a few feet of yarn was left and then binding off. That was the perfect knitting project for relaxing in the evening after a long day of lecture, studying or clinicals because it requires no thinking!

That little blanket under all the hats and scarves was made with two skeins of chunky fuzzy yarn from Warmer Winters using my newest favorite crochet stitch, the diagonal box stitch. I am going to be making a video tutorial for that over the summer so maybe it can become your new favorite crochet stitch as well!

Some of our favorite yarn companies donate yarn to Warmer Winters, which is made available for anyone to make items for them, so some of these items were made with donated yarn. I took the opportunity to dip into my own stash for some items as well.

So this is how I kept my fingers busy and fulfilled my obligation to do charitable work for class credit at the same time! It was also a good excuse to spend a couple of hours with my classmate each month working on our projects outside of the classroom setting.

Summer is not yet in full swing here as my children still have another week of school to go. We have our vacation already planned, and I am hoping to pass my board exam before we leave. Other than that, it looks like we will be having a nice relaxing summer doing fun things together on the days I am not working, and adding to my list of knit and crochet video tutorials.

How is your summer shaping up? Make sure you make some time for your hooks and needles!

Happy Stitching!

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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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