Hooked on Needles

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Irish Step Dancing Dress Embroidery: How-to Package

The Irish Step Dancing group that my daughter danced with is Anne O'Connell Boucher's Irish American Step Dancers who practice regularly at St. Leo's Parish auditorium in Leominster, Massachusetts. Anne's dancers do not compete, so their dresses are not what you will find at an Irish Feis or Competition or at a Celtic Dance Shop. They dance for the love of dancing, to share the Irish tradition, and to entertain all the different groups of people for whom they perform every year. The dresses that Anne's dancers wear are all handmade by moms or grandmas or aunts or friends and the embroidery is mostly done by hand by the same dedicated people.

This technique that I developed for myself over the many years that I embroidered dresses is something that many of the moms have asked me about. That is why I decided to put it together here for anyone to use. Hopefully it will be helpful to you in achieving the same results with your embroidery.

Now that I have posted information on all the stages of my method of embroidering an Irish Step Dancing dress, I can wrap it all up into a neat package so that anyone else who is interested in creating such a dress can see how it's done. Here are the steps:

Tracing the design and preparing the fabric for embroidery is covered HERE.

Preparing the stranded embroidery floss for stitching is shown in THIS VIDEO. This is a very important step and should not be skipped if you want your stitches to turn out looking their best.

Threading the needle is shown HERE. Of course if all else fails, HERE's a great tool you can use!

How to embroider the chain stitch is shown HERE.

If you would like to see some of the results of using this method to embroider on velvet, here are a few links showing finished dresses and details of the designs:

Brooke's dress
Bridget's dress
Elizabeth's dress
Katie L's dress
Katie K's dress

If you have any questions about any step in this process, or anything else you find on this site, please feel free to leave a comment for me. Comments are moderated so I see them before they get posted to the site. If you do not want your comment posted, just let me know and it will remain private.

Or you can email me at HookedOnNeedles (at) gmail (dot) com.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to Embroider Chain Stitch - Video Tutorial

You've seen many of the Irish Step Dancing dresses I made and hand embroidered for my daughter and many of her friends. I also shared with you my technique for embroidering on velvet using a hoop. The most recent two posts have been about how to separate embroidery floss strands and how to thread your needle. So now I am going to complete the package and show you how to actually work the chain stitch, which is what I used for all of the designs on the Irish Step Dancing dresses, except for the initials on the sleeves.

The chain stitch is a very versatile stitch which can be used as an outline, as a filling, on straight lines and around curves. It can be worked short or long and there are many varieties of the chain stitch. This is the basic chain stitch worked in very short stitches with six strands of DMC embroidery floss on velvet that has been sandwiched between a hooped piece of stabilizer fabric on the bottom and another piece of stabilizer fabric onto which the design was traced.

Here is the video. I hope you find it helpful.

If you want to see how this Celtic monogram S turned out, there are some pictures of it at the end of the post on how to embroider on velvet with a hoop. I still haven't decided how I am going to finish the piece. Perhaps frame it with a crocheted edging around it, make it into a small pillow, or applique it onto a tote bag. Oh, the possibilities!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How to Thread a Needle with Stranded Embroidery Floss - Video Tutorial

In the previous post you saw how to separate stranded embroidery floss so that it will give you a nice smooth stitch. In today's post I am going to show you an easy way to thread your needle with the stranded floss without feeling the need to wet the ends of the floss.

Here's the video. I hope you find it helpful.

Of course you can always invest in one of my favorite little tools, the DMC needle threader which I recently praised. But folding, pinching and sliding the eye of the needle over the floss is usually a quick and easy way to get all strands threaded onto your needle neatly.

Do you have any tips for something that seems so simple?

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Monday, July 28, 2008

How to Separate Stranded Embroidery Floss - Video Tutorial

Recently I showed you how to Embroider on Velvet with a Hoop, as I had done when embroidering many of my daughter's and her friends' Irish Step Dancing Dresses. You can see some of them including details of the designs by looking in the Hand Embroidery Links page on the sidebar.

Today I am going to show you one of the very important steps in the embroidery process when using stranded floss, such as the DMC embroidery floss I used on the Irish Step Dancing Dresses and which you can find at your favorite craft store. Of course what I am talking about is Separating the Strands before beginning to stitch.

I know it's a hassle and some people don't think it's worth the effort, but it really does make a difference in the final look of your embroidery. And why go to all the effort to embroider a beautiful piece, only to have the stitches turn out lumpy and uneven because you didn't take the time to separate the strands of floss? It's really not that hard and doesn't take up THAT much time, and the results are well worth the effort.

Here's a little video showing how to separate stranded embroidery floss without ending up with a big ball of knots. I hope you find it helpful.

Coming soon will be a video showing a tip on how to easily thread your needle once you have separated your floss strands, and also a video on how to work the chain stitch which is what I used mostly for the designs on the Irish Step Dancing dresses.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to Crochet -- Square Block

Have you ever seen those pretty pastel block baby afghans in mail order catalogs or magazines and wish you could make one yourself without having to buy a kit? Here is a simple crocheted block pattern that you can use to create your own baby blanket or full size afghan in colors of your choice.

This is a very simple double crochet block that can be made in any size just by continuing to add rounds until the block is the size you want. Then make as many blocks of the same size as you will need to make an afghan as big as you want. You can even make an afghan or baby blanket from just one block by crocheting around and around to the desired size! How much easier can it get?

Begin with 6 chain stitches and join in a ring with a slip stitch.

Round 1: ch 3, 2 dc in ring, ch1, (3 dc in ring, ch 1) 3 times, sl st in top of beg ch (total of 12 sts)

Round 2: ch 3, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch sp, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts*, repeat from * to * 2 more times, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in last ch sp, sl st in top of beg ch (total 28 sts)

Round 3: ch 3, 1 dc in each of next 4 sts, *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch sp, 1 dc in each of next 7 sts*, repeat from * to * 2 more times, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in last ch sp, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, sl st in top of beg ch (total of 44 sts)

To continue, work evenly along each side, and put (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the ch sp at each corner, increasing 16 sts on each round.

Crocheted block pastel baby blanketThis is the baby blanket I referred to in one of my very first posts which I made for our second child using this pattern and working 4 rounds of color in double crochet then one round of white in single crochet and joining the blocks with white. Then I worked a border of one round single crochet and one round of reverse single crochet in white to finish it off.

I will show you in subsequent posts step by step how to make this block, how to join the blocks using single crochet for a sturdy and neat seam, and how to finish off the project with a nice border. And of course a few more pictures with a little more detail!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Berroco Site Recommendation for Great Knit and Crochet Patterns

I have been subscribing to the Berroco KnitBits Newsletter for quite some time now, and every issue has at least one pattern in it that I keep for future use, but usually more!

They have a section where new yarns, patterns and booklets are previewed for the upcoming season. I love this section because it gives me lots of neat things to look forward to, even if I never actually make them!

Their section of free patterns is extensive with over 15 different categories of patterns to choose from, and in each category you'll find pictures of all the patterns available to print or save on your own computer.

Under their Quick Links tab they have a very nice stitch glossary that is an excellent reference when working a new stitch or pattern.

Check out their website and subscribe to their newsletter if it's something that looks interesting to you.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Embroidering on Velvet with a Hoop

The first time I embroidered a velvet Irish Step Dancing dress, not knowing any better, I put the hoop on the fabric itself and, much to my chagrin, discovered that the hoop crushed the pile of the fabric and left permanent marks on the dress. Brooke's mom was not in the least concerned about the hoop marks. She was just glad she didn't have to do the embroidery herself! But I learned my lesson and set to work trying to come up with a way to embroider on velvet while still using a hoop.

In my previous posts about Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing Dresses, which can be found listed in the Hand Embroidery Links Page on the sidebar, I referred several times to my method of embroidering on velvet fabric using a hoop.

This is how I did it:

First I gathered my supplies.

Supplies for embroidering on velvet with a hoop
For this example, I am using a leftover piece of velvet and a Celtic monogram of the letter S. I also used a hoop, straight pins, basting thread, ultra fine point Sharpie, and two pieces of Stitch N Tear Tearaway embroidery stabilizer which can be found at any fabric store.

Stabilizer fabric pinned over monogram
I pinned a piece of the tearaway stabilizer fabric over the monogram so I could trace it.

Trace the design using ultra fine point Sharpie
Then I traced it using an ultra fine point Sharpie permanent marker. Even though I knew I was only going to stitch one line of the knot design, I still traced two lines so that I could more easily tell where the lines went over and under each other.

Pin stabilizer onto velvet and baste
Then I pinned the tearaway stabilizer with the traced design onto the velvet fabric and basted it all around the edge.

Use embroidery hoop big enough for design
I picked out an embroidery hoop that was big enough to hold the entire design.

Hoop another piece of stabilizer and trim edges
I put the hoop onto another piece of tearaway stabilizer and neatly trimmed the edges.

Baste velvet onto hooped stabilizer
Then onto the hooped stabilizer I basted the velvet fabric which already had the design basted onto it. This makes sort of a stabilizer sandwich with velvet filling. Yum! But you can see that the hoop is only on the underside piece of stabilizer, not on the velvet.

Stitching begins
I started stitching the knot design using 6 strands of DMC embroidery floss, separated so that it would lay flat and stay smooth.

These links may prove helpful for the actual stitching: How to prepare the floss, threading the needle, and how to work the chain stitch.

Back of stitching
The stitching goes through all three layers: the hooped stabilizer, the velvet and the stabilizer with the design traced onto it. This shows the back of the work.

Detail of Celtic knot design
This is a detail of the knot design showing the stitches going under and over each other which is characteristic of traditional Celtic knot designs and very important to stitch correctly.

Celtic knot design finished
Here's the green knot line all finished. You can see the basting thread in this picture pretty clearly. When I baste the design onto the velvet, I stitch just around the outside of the design. Then when I stitch the velvet onto the hooped stabilizer, I baste closer to the outside edge and then also on the inside of the design, in this case along the shape of the S. This ensures that the stitching will be smooth and not leave any puckers in the velvet.

Detail of points on Celtic knot design
Here is a detail of some of the points along the knot line. When the line reaches a point and takes a sharp turn, I always anchor the last stitch at the point, then begin again in the same stitch to go in the new direction. This keeps the points of the design sharp.

Detail of curves on Celtic knot design
This detail shows how nicely the chain stitch takes to curves.

Complete Celtic monogram S design with stabilizer still attached
Here is the complete design with the stabilizer still attached to the front and back.

Detail of purple stitching
This is a detail of the completed design showing the purple stitching appearing to go underneath the green. In fact, the purple stitches are anchored before the green and started again after the green.

Begin removing stabilizer
Once the design outline is finished, remove the basting stitches and simply start tearing away the stabilizer from around the design. It's sort of like a very satisfying punch-out project, like paper doll clothes or something similar! Always start from the outside and move towards the inside when removing the stabilizer. Use a pin or sharp needle to help lift the inside sections away from the stitching being careful not to pull any of the stitch threads or the velvet.

Continue removing stabilizer
Keep at it until all the stabilizer is removed from around and between and underneath all the stitches.

Fill in design before removing velvet from hooped stabilizer
At this point, with the top stabilizer removed and the hooped stabilizer still attached with the chain stitch embroidery, I could fill in the purple S or add some other stitching. Removing the stabilizer after filling in a shape with solid stitches is very difficult. Always do the outline of a shape, then remove the stabilizer, then do the filler stitching.

For my purposes, this design is complete, so I removed the stabilizer from the hoop and trimmed it away around the outer edges of the stitching on the back of the velvet. Leaving the stabilizer on the back gives the stitches and the velvet some extra support.

Katie Ls dress in progress

This is Katie L's step dancing dress with the design basted in place. As you can see, the dress is a little bit more daunting project than a little monogram on a scrap piece of fabric, so using a hoop is necessary in order to keep the stitches neat and even and smooth. The results are well worth the effort.

Now you know my secret for embroidering on velvet while using a hoop and without crushing the pile of the fabric! Do you have any good embroidery secrets to share?

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Woven Stitch - Crochet Pictures

In the previous post, you saw how to work the Woven Stitch in crochet. I hope you give it a try and see how easy it is and how quickly it works up into a nice afghan or even more quickly into a baby blanket.

Here are some pictures of just a few of the items I have made using the woven stitch.

This is the full size afghan I made for my son in bright bold manly colors trimmed in black. I love the contrast of the colors with the black. I started out with 26 rows of red then 4 rows of black. I continued working 26 rows of each color separated by 4 rows of black and ending with 26 rows of yellow. Then I worked 4 rounds of black around the entire afghan so there is a 4 row border of black around each block of color. I used Red Heart Super Saver worsted weight yarn for this project and it took just barely more than one skein of each color to complete it. I finished it in about 3 weeks.

This is a close-up of a baby blanket I crocheted for my first child before she was born, using Dazzleaire yarn by Caron which is not even made anymore. Too bad too, because it was very soft and fluffy with a little sparkle to it and it never pilled or lost its shape even after almost 18 years! This picture was taken recently and the blanket still looks as good as it did the day I finished it. I think it shows off the woven stitch very nicely.

I stitched it in sections of baby variegated yarn alternating with sections of solids that matched. It is still one of my all-time favorite baby blankets.

This full-size afghan was stitched in random size sections of soft pastel colors for my younger daughter who is very much into the whole princess thing right now. Pink and purple are definitely the colors for her! I used Berella 4 worsted weight yarn by Bernat. This was the first project on which I used that yarn and I really loved working with it. This afghan has been machine washed and dried many times and the yarn is holding up quite well.

This is a baby blanket I made recently for one of my neices when she had her first baby. The yarn was actually leftover from another baby blanket I had made for a friend but I neglected to get a picture of that one! Anyway, the yarn I used is Lion Brand Baby Soft which is a medium sport weight yarn that is a real pleasure to work with. Some of these colors are no longer available unless you get lucky and find them on ebay or at a yard sale. But Baby Soft still comes in some very nice colors and works up into soft cozy baby items. It is the same yarn I used for my swirl top knit baby hat and crocheted baby hat. I had lots of the yellow leftover!

So what do you think of the woven stitch? Try it and let me know!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to Crochet -- Woven stitch

The crocheted Woven Stitch is one of my favorites to use for baby blankets and afghans since it is easy to stitch, using only chain stitch and single crochet, and it works up quickly into a nice single thickness lightweight blanket. It can be worked in one solid color, in a variegated yarn or in stripes and each combination looks great.

Here's how it works:

Start out with a beginning chain in multiples of 3, plus 2 extra. For the first row, skip the first 2 chains and work a single crochet into the third chain. Then chain 1, skip 1 chain, work 1 single crochet, as shown above. Do this (chain 1, skip 1, 1 single crochet) all the way across to the last chain stitch where you will work your last single crochet of the row.

This is what your piece will look like after finishing the first row.

Work 2 chain stitches and turn your work. Work 1 single crochet into the first chain space of the previous row as shown above. Chain 1 and work 1 single crochet into the next chain space. Continue working 1 chain and 1 single crochet into the next chain space all the way across, working the last single crochet into the space made by the turning chain of the previous row.

This is what your piece will look like after the second row is complete.

Continue as before with chain 2, turn, single crochet into first chain space. Chain 1 and single crochet into next chain space across. Finish each row by working the last single crochet into the turning chain space of the previous row. This is what your piece will look like after completing 9 rows.

This is a side view of the sample piece showing that there is not much in the way of texture or layering with this stitch. It makes a pretty flat piece which is nice when you want something a little lighter weight.

This is a close-up of the sample piece showing how the stitch gives the appearance of being woven. I think this stitch is so easy because the single crochet stitches are always worked in the chain spaces and never in the stitches themselves so you don't have to worry about finding the right stitch or if you should be using the front or back loops. It's one of those stitches that requires little thinking once you get the hang of it, which is probably why I like it so much!

If you want a piece that is not quite so closely woven, you could always use a bigger hook than what is recommended for the weight yarn you are using. You could also use half double crochet stitches instead of single, or even double instead of single. I'm sure that would work up into a nice loose weave, lightweight blanket too.

I have made many full size afghans and baby blankets using this stitch and have taught many people to use this stitch to make their own. In the next post I will show you pictures of some of these pieces so you can get an idea of some different ways to use the woven stitch.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Filet Crochet -- Pretty in Pink

Filet Crochet has always been one of my favorite decorative crochet methods. The origins of this method are unclear, but historians say they date back to the Pima Indians, early sailors, and Middle Eastern, Scottish and Scandinavian shepherds among others. I don't know much about any of that, but I am certain that Filet Crochet has provided me with many satisfactory hours of creative enjoyment.

Filet Crochet is easy to do because it only uses a few very basic crochet stitches. It is relatively inexpensive to do because it uses crochet cotton which can be purchased in balls of several hundred yards for a reasonable price at your favorite craft store or website. Or if the project is large like a bedspread or large curtain or tablecloth, it can be purchased more economically on cones of several thousand yards.

The project I am working on now is a simple dresser scarf for my younger daughter's dresser. I purchased an old handmade dresser at a yard sale, fixed it up a little with a coat of oil based primer and then several coats of shiny white paint. Some new knobs for the drawers and it was good as new and pretty as a picture. It was just begging for a girly pink crocheted dresser scarf!

I went through my patterns and rediscovered one that I had made many years ago as a matched set of two single designs for our night stands and one long dresser scarf for my husband's chest of drawers. I had planned to do an extra long dresser scarf for my triple dresser but never got around to it. Anyway, it's a pretty design with hearts in it which I found in the Number 29 issue of Annie's Crochet Newsletter from all the way back in 1987!

This is how you get started with this Filet Crochet pattern:

First you crochet a chain the length required for the project and then do a foundation row of double crochet stitches. For the second row, start off with a beginning block consisting of the chain three turning chain and then a double crochet in each of the next three stitches. This is how each row begins and you will see that this makes a nice border around the piece.

Filet Crochet is characterized by its open mesh blocks and filled blocks which make the picture. The second row in the picture above shows the beginning block which is filled, then a whole row of open mesh blocks which are made by simply working two chain stitches, skipping the next two stitches and working a double crochet into the next stitch. The row ends with a filled block of four double crochets.

The next row starts with the beginning block, then four open mesh blocks are worked, then a filled block which is the first part of the design that will be created with subsequent filled blocks in the next few rows.

This is the middle of the same row showing the first filled block for the little design that will be in the middle on each end of the piece.

This shows the piece with three complete rows. Notice how the beginning and end of each row is filled in with double crochet stitches and the main part of the piece so far is made up of open mesh blocks.

This is one of the night stand pieces I did so many years ago which is still used on the night stand today. The piece I am working on for my daughter's dresser will look just like this, only it will be pink and not so old and worn looking!

Isn't it pretty how the filled blocks make up a design that shows up so nicely against the wood furniture? Working in Filet Crochet is sort of like creating a picture with thread. I just love it.

This is the dresser scarf that my husband still uses. It has four repeats of the design. This pattern was worked from the short end so it could be made with any number of repeats depending on the size desired.

If you are interested in learning more about Filet Crochet and trying some beautiful designs for doilies, edgings, curtains, tablecloths, pillows, panels, nursery accessories and more, I can recommend The Filet Crochet Book by Chris Rankin. I refer to it often when working on projects and love just browsing through the book for inspiration. The informational and instructional sections of the book are very thorough and there are beautiful color pictures of every pattern and charts to go along with them.

I'll post pictures of my finished project once it has taken its proper place atop the shiny white dresser. I'm thinking it won't take me too long since I have a very excited girl waiting for the newest pink addition to her room!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Children's Embroidery Class -- Ready to go!

The Children's Embroidery Class I've been preparing for is finally all together and ready to go! And with a whole week to spare!

Registration for the class started while we were gone on vacation, but I checked in to the Library website using the very s-l-o-w connection we had available at the cabin. The day after registration opened for the class, all six spots were filled and the waiting list was also full! I may end up running another session of the same class this summer. I never thought there would be that much interest. Although now that I think about it, the class is funded by the Friends of the Library and is free to the participants, and it is being held in the evening when kids will be home from their daily activities. So I guess it makes sense. Anyway, here's what it looks like all packed up and ready for next week...

I set out what each child will have for the beginning of the class.

They will each get their own hoop to keep, the notebook which will end up covered in the denim that is already folded and pinned and marked with the design, enough DMC Pearl Cotton to complete the design and a needle.

I cut fun foam into small squares and in the blue I cut a hole about the size of a quarter through which I knotted the embroidery cotton. I think using a large plastic ring like what I purchased for my Vintage Crocheted Shade Pulls would have worked fine too, but the blue fun foam is much more colorful. Into the green squares I stuck the needle so it will be easy to see and hopefully not so easy to lose!

Then I put everything into my handy dandy little box which is just perfect for carrying all this stuff to and from the library.

I also included extra needles, extra thread, my very favorite DMC needle threader which I LOVE, my own hoop and sample fabric that I will use to demonstrate the stitches. On top I left my glasses and scissors which I Must Not Forget but that I will surely need before heading to the library next week.

So there it is. I am very excited for the opportunity to share my love for needlework with these children. I will be sure to let you know how the class worked out and what I learned from it. Hopefully I will also have pictures of the finished book covers to share after the end of the class. It's always fun to see how other people's projects turn out, especially those of children.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer Inspiration -- What do you see?

Today is our second day back from a vacation that was picture perfect, weather wise and otherwise. It is also the second day of stinking hot and humid summer weather here at home. I have just one word to say about this kind of weather -- YUK! But the summer does bring with it some things that are really only good because of the hot weather. One such thing, in my mind anyway, is fresh, juicy, refreshing watermelon.

Today I cut open the whole watermelon I purchased at our local grocery store and instead of cutting it long ways like I usually do, for some reason I cut it short ways right through the round middle. This is what greeted me from inside this big round juicy piece of fruit...

I know that 3s are very prevalent in nature and I know that cutting fruits and vegetables to expose a cross section will usually reveal something beautiful and fascinating. But I had never before noticed any kind of design on the inside of a watermelon. I thought this one was particularly interesting with its three sections of perfectly formed curly-Qs with three seeds at the end of each.

I got to thinking that this design would make a lovely embroidered medallion on a pocket or a handkerchief. Or perhaps repeated many times into a pretty little beaded edging on a tote bag or purse. It would even be a nice design to stitch into square or six-sided quilt blocks.

Now that I have pondered this, I think I just might have to work something up using this simple design gift of nature. What do you see in this design? Any other ideas of how it could be used in your needlework?

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

School Colors Knit Hat Collection

We are finally home from our wonderfully relaxing vacation in New Hampshire and I now have access to All My Stuff so I can share with you more information about the School Colors Knit Hat that my daughter has been busily knitting for her band friends and her savings account.

This is the cover of the pattern booklet that has the hat pattern that Elizabeth is using for the band hats. You can see that the hat on the cover has a turned up cuff, and quite a large one at that. I guess kids don't like cuffs on their hats these days!

You can also notice by the price, if not by the style, that this booklet is pretty old. In fact it has a copyright date of 1977! It belonged to my mother-in-law who used the same pattern to knit me a hat and scarf which I still use. Then I used it to knit a hat and scarf out of leftover primary color yarns for Elizabeth when she was little which she still uses. Now the pattern booklet is mine and Elizabeth has updated the pattern to suit her taste and that of her friends. It is by far the warmest hat and scarf pattern I have ever made.

I am not sure what the copyright laws say about reproducing patterns and such, so until I find out if I can legally include the pattern here for you to use, I will just have to say that it is a pretty simple knit 2/purl 2 rib pattern where you knit into the back loop of the stitch instead of the front. If I find out that I won't be breaking any laws by reproducing the whole pattern here, I will certainly share it with you.

Here is the collection of hats that Elizabeth has made so far this summer. As you can see, she makes the color pattern of each hat a little bit different so that no two kids have the same hat. That makes it fun for them to pick out one they like and know that it is one-of-a-kind. I'd say that's a pretty good bargain for $10!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Knit Patterns Vacation Loot

In yesterday's post I confessed our vacation shopping spending being lighter than usual because of other obligations for this summer. But Elizabeth did purchase her first two counted cross stitch kits and is excited to get going on them after we return home and she has access to All My Stuff.

I held myself back from making any purchases in Keepsake NeedleArts and Keepsake Quilting, but once we made it into Patternworks I just couldn't hold back any longer! I was proud of myself for not loading up on all the beautiful yarn they have there which we do not have near home, but I did find a few patterns I just couldn't leave without.

I Love Love Love knitting patterns of all kinds, but mostly quick-to-make baby or children's patterns, so that is what I focused on. I picked out a top-down baby sweater pattern that uses worsted weight yarn from Plymouth Yarn Company which I am thinking will be very quick since it uses size 9 needles!

Elizabeth and I both agreed on the knitted cuddle toys pattern that uses chenille yarn...very cute!

I just couldn't pass up the frog sweater pattern not only because it was so cute, but because the pattern goes from a size 2 all the way up to size 8 and my little ones aren't getting any littler!

And the last one I got is a lace knit shawl pattern which I have been looking at on the Patternworks website for a Really Long Time. I have not yet tried knitting lace, so this might just be my introduction to it! How exciting!

So those were our big purchases this year. It doesn't look like much, but we spent almost three hours poking through the stores. They have such lovely displays throughout and loads of finished samples to touch and feel and examine. The ladies who work in all three stores are very helpful and knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions and offer suggestions. Just an all around wonderful shopping experience.

It was a rainy morning, but the shop looked as inviting as ever. The view looking in the other direction is beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. So if you are ever up north and want to experience knitting, quilting or needlework sensory overload, this is the place to come. Good thing we only make this trip once a year!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cross Stitch Kits Vacation Loot

As I have mentioned many times in previous posts, Patternworks and sister stores Keepsake Quilting and Keepsake NeedleArts are three of our annual shopping and browsing destinations while on vacation near Center Harbor, New Hampshire each year. My older daughter Elizabeth and I leave Dad at the cabin with the little ones and head out for a day of poking and browsing and dreaming and drooling over every little kit, skein, bolt and notion in these shops. Usually we put a pretty hefty dent in the budget, but this year we were good.

Since Elizabeth is busy busy busy knitting hats for her band friends for the fall marching season and I am busy with my children's embroidery classes at the local library and other projects, we decided to go easy on the purchases and came home with just one small bag each.

Elizabeth was interested in doing some cross stitch, so she bought herself two nice little kits at Keepsake NeedleArts. They came complete with pattern, fabric, needle and separated floss. One is a darling little group of puppies at mealtime and the other is an old Irish wish with a pretty home scene and a Celtic border.

Tomorrow I'll show you the knit patterns I bought at Patternworks and a rainy day picture of the shop itself.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Time to Get Organized -- Beading

Hooked On Needles Beading Links:

My Beaded Stitch Markers
Michael's Beaded Stitch Markers
Fancy Beaded Scissor Fob
Easy Beaded Shade Pull
Beaded Banner - Fun and Ease Beading Craft
Beaded Banner for High School Music Program
Beaded Banner for HS Music -- Finished
Easy Beaded Zipper Pull
100th post celebration - Beaded Scissor Fob give-away
Blue and Silver Beaded Zipper Pull
Single Decade Rosary Bracelet
Fish Wind Chime
Jane's Pink Bag - beads crocheted into the bag
Birthstone Rosary for Emily
Rosary Bracelets for Rebecca - matching mother/daughter set

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

School Colors Knit Hat Finished

Well if I had known the hat was going to be finished by the time I woke up the morning after posting the original School Colors Knit Hat the other day, I would have waited and included the finished product! My daughter is a fast knitter! So here it is...

This pattern is from one of those little booklets you find in your favorite yarn department hanging off the front of the yarn shelves. I will post that information in a few days when I have access to All My Stuff once again.

The original hat pattern calls for a longer body so that there is enough to turn up the rim, but Elizabeth discovered that most of the band kids did not like the turned-up rim so she knits her hats just long enough to cover the head and forehead. She keeps one hat whose exact dimensions she knows for the kids to try on, then they can tell her if they want their hat longer or shorter than the sample. As I mentioned in the previous post, she has herself quite a little niche market and has done quite well since her freshman year selling these hats to her friends in the band. I think she might keep it up once she starts college to help with spending money or paying for books and the like. I'm anxious to see what colors she will be using then!

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