Hooked on Needles

Friday, October 31, 2008

Learn to Knit -- Crocheted Cast Off

Time for another little video to share with you a cast off or bind off technique that I really like. It's called Crocheted Cast Off or Crocheted Bind Off. Now you know why I like it ... because it's really crochet, my first love in handwork!

I recently used this method to finish off the garter stitch edge of my very first Oddball Baby Blanket that I had the privilege of working on. It worked out nicely for that project because I was going to be crocheting a border around the blanket anyway.

If you've never tried this method of binding off your knitting, take a look and see how easy it is.

Give it a try on your next pair of booties or your next baby blanket and let me know what you think.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Goodies in the Mailbox - Denver Fabrics

Look what George the mailman left on the porch for me...

Tote Bag Fabric from Denver Fabrics
It's the fabric I recently ordered from one of my favorite online fabric stores Denver Fabrics. With it I plan to make a tote bag just like my own very favorite tote bag I use for everything, which just happens to be the very same tote bag pattern I used for the Angel Swap tote bag I recently sent to Lyn in Australia.

Are you getting the idea that I LOVE this tote bag pattern? Good, because I do!

Anyway, I showed my sister the Angel tote bag before sending it down under and she just loved it. She said she would love to have one just like that one, but I questioned whether that would be appropriate considering she's a nun whose every article of clothing and every accessory is basic black. I suggested perhaps something besides the blue denim and blue and pink paisley of the Angel tote bag. Perhaps something a bit more ... uh ... well ... Black! She agreed that would probably be better.

So what do you think? There's the black in the middle, then there's black and white gingham on the right, and then the black, white, pink and green paisley on the left. I just HAD to throw in a tiny bit of Color. Just had to. I don't think she'll mind.

The basic black will be the body of the bag. The paisley will be the lining and perhaps the outside pockets. I had planned on using the gingham for the outside pockets, but after looking at it for just about 10 seconds or so, my eyes started doing some pretty funky things - you know, that wiggly, wavy sort of vertigo-like sensation you get when you look at certain designs and color patterns? We don't need to induce that in the local nuns, or anybody else for that matter! So I'll probably use the gingham for the trim on the handles and around the pockets like I used the paisley on the outside of the Angel tote bag.

I am also planning to do some pockets on the inside, with little sections stitched into them and maybe even a hidden zippered pocket inside the lining of the zippered extension. She is my sister after all and I need to make sure it's as fancy and functional as possible.

Don't you just love bags? I love having them and making them and using them. A bag for every occasion!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oddball Baby Blanket Complete

Today I finished weaving in the ends of my very first Oddball Baby Blanket and I will be putting it in the mail this week. It was a fun and easy project to work on and I'm pleased with the way it turned out. At first I was a little concerned about crocheting onto a knitted piece, but of course that didn't stop me from signing up to do it. And then I was concerned about being the last person to work on a piece that six others had already spent so much time on. What if I ruined it?

Well, it's all fine and dandy and some little baby will just be so snuggly and warm underneath it.

Would you like to see what I did to finish it off?

Oddball Baby Blanket with crocheted borderFirst I attached my new skein of yarn to the work in progress and finished knitting the last few rows of garter stitch. Then I bound off the knitting using a technique called Crocheted Cast Off which uses a crochet hook in the right hand and the left hand knitting needle that the stitches are already on. This was a nice technique to use since I was going to be crocheting along this edge for the border. I'll be posting a video of this technique in a few days.

Oddball Baby Blanket with crocheted borderAfter binding off all the knit stitches, continuing with the same yarn and crochet hook, I worked a round of single crochet along all four edges, working three single crochet stitches into each corner. Then I continued going around the blanket with the decorative border pattern that I came up with for this blanket. It's pretty simple and goes like this:

* skip (sk) 1, 5 half double crochet (hdc) in next stitch, sk 1, single crochet (sc) in next stitch, sk 1, 3 sc in next stitch, sk 1, sc in next stitch *

Continue from * to * around working extra stitches into the corners to maintain pattern.

Oddball Baby Blanket with crocheted borderAnd here it is all finished and ready to be packaged and mailed. I am so excited to be on the list for a few more of these blankets in some very pretty color combinations. I like seeing the different stitches the knitters use and how it all comes together in the end.

Later this week, I'll have a video tutorial on the Crocheted Cast Off method of binding off knit stitches, and also a tutorial for crocheting around a knitted piece and the decorative border I used for this blanket.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crocheted Angels for Christmas Ornament Swap

A few months ago I ran across Jo-Anne Carter's website of family and craft happenings. She had just posted a call for participants in a Christmas Ornament swap and, having only been in one other swap myself, I decided to sign up. A little time went by and soon I received an email from Jo-Anne telling me who I would get to play Secret Santa to. Of course I can't say who it is, just in case she's reading this, but she'll know soon enough because I will be mailing her a package this week.

Would you like a sneak peek at what I made for her? Go ahead and twist my arm just a little more.....Ok, here you go...

Crocheted AngelsThis Leisure Arts pamphlet is one that I have had for a long time, and it has some very pretty patterns in it. The one that caught my eye and made me put the pamphlet into my shopping cart was the crocheted angels. I just thought they were so sweet. I love crocheting with thread and after looking at the website of my secret swap partner, I thought something like these angels would go very nicely with her holiday decor. I hope I am right about that!

Crocheted AngelsHere are the twins just hanging around my sewing room. The dress is crocheted starting at the neckline, then the bodice and the skirt, then finally the two wings are added on and the halo is stitched separately and glued onto the back of the clothespin head. I love how the clothespin head peeks out the top and the little clothespin legs peek out the skirt.

Crocheted AngelsI added a length of tiny white ribbon around the waist and tied it into a bow at the front just to finish it off. The shell pattern of the skirt and wings with the little scallops in between make a lovely, feminine, lacy design for the heavenly clothespins to wear on the Christmas tree.

So that is what I will be mailing this week to someone out there. Perhaps it will be You! But if not, I do have one more angel all made and just waiting for a home. I'm thinking of doing a Christmas ornament giveaway sometime around Thanksgiving, so make sure to check back often so you don't miss out on it. I just know my third little angel would love to spend Christmas at Your house!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

My First Oddball Baby Blanket

In my recent post about how to do a double crochet decrease, I mentioned that I had become active in a knitting forum called KnittingHelp.com. This forum has allowed me to help and chat with people just like me from all over the country who enjoy knitting and crocheting. On this site, I also found a forum about charity knitting and was very interested in that because I have done knitting and crocheting for charities myself for a lot of years.

In this Charity Knitting forum, there was a thread for something called Northeast US Oddball Baby Blankets which sounded very interesting to me so I checked it out. I discovered that lots of crafty people (men too, not just ladies) come up with names and color combinations for baby blankets to be handmade and given to a hospital or other charity for babies. One person starts it then sends it along to the next, and so on until it is complete. Then one more person crochets a border around it and sends it back to the person who will deliver it along with the card that has accompanied it on its journey and has been signed by all who have worked on the blanket.

What a wonderful idea! I just had to get involved in this. So I put my name in as a likely border crocheter, and look what I received in the mail today from a nice lady in New York...

Jersey Devil Oddball Baby BlanketThis blanket has been named Jersey Devil and has been knit using Caron Simply Soft entirely in red. So far it has been worked on by people in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York. Now I will finish it off here in Massachusetts with a crocheted border in the same Simply Soft Red yarn.

Jersey Devil Oddball Baby BlanketLook at all the different beautiful stitches these clever crafters have used in making this blanket. Each one has knitted about 5 inches of their chosen pattern, keeping the first and last 3 stitches of each row in garter stitch. It is so soft and cuddly, and most definitely made with lots of love.

I think the baby who receives this blanket will surely be blessed by all the love that has been stitched into it.

If you have the urge to do something nice for someone you don't know and you're looking for a new handwork project, check out KnittingHelp.com charity knitting or other charity links and pick one that suits you. Besides being a nice thing to do, it will just make you feel good!

Once I figure out how I will crochet the border and then get it done, I will certainly show you the finished project before mailing it off to its final destination.

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Easy Tote Bag Trim Trick

Am I the only person in the world who truly dislikes having to turn a small tube of fabric right side out after stitching the right sides together? Probably not. I was faced with either having to do that, or having to neatly fold under the raw edges of fabric strips I wanted to use as trim on the Angel Tote Bag I made recently. Instead of killing my hands trying to turn the tubes, or fretting over getting the folds perfect, I came up with another much easier solution which resulted in a nice neat outcome. Take a look...

Sewing the trimI cut strips of fabric double the width I wanted the finished trim to be, plus about a half inch. I folded the strip in half with the wrong sides together and stitched the seam using the edge of my presser foot as a guide.

Press seam openThen I opened the seam and pressed it so that it was running down the middle of the strip. This would be the wrong side of the trim.

Stitch trim onto handleFor the handles, I cut strips of denim double the width I wanted the finished handle to be, plus about a half inch. I folded the edges towards the middle, overlapping the raw edges by about 1/4 inch down the middle of the strip. I laid the pressed fabric trim on top of this overlap and stitched along the edges of the fabric trim to make the handles.

Trimmed Tote BagFor the trim around the pocket and the bottom edge of the bag, I simply stitched the pressed fabric strip in place overlapping the raw edges of the pocket which had already been sewn onto the denim which would become the outside of the bag.

How much easier can it get? No turning, no extra stitching lines, no edges with a four layer seam opposite edges with a two layer fold. And quick too! That's my kind of sewing!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Angel Swap Package Arrived Safely in Australia!

Just 10 days ago I showed you pictures of the gifts I had made for my Angel Swap partner Lyn in Australian. Lyn received them all safe and sound, and has put a little post on her website about them. Pop over there and see what she had to say, and then be sure to browse around a bit and enjoy all the creative things she does. I've enjoyed spending time on her website and taking a peek into her life and hobbies.

In my next post, I will show you a little trick I used for the paisley trim on the handles and around the outside pocket and bottom of the tote bag that I made for Lyn.

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

New Beaded Banner from Mary Maxim

I received the Christmas 2008 catalog from Mary Maxim in the mail the other day and have looked through it several times already. I love their catalogs, if not for actually making a purchase, then for getting ideas of things I could do on my own or just thinking about all the things I could do if I only had more time.

I love making beaded banners and I have designed a few myself, one of which I shared with you recently. After looking through the whole catalog, I landed on the back cover page and found this beaded banner kit which really caught my eye.

Candle Beaded Banner from Mary MaximThis candle banner, I think anyway, is quite pretty with its lacy top and bottom edges and festive red candle in a gold tray with holly leaves. Just the kind of thing I would use to decorate my holiday mantel, only this one is made out of beads and can hang on the wall. This was one of the winners of their beaded banner contest from earlier in the year and was designed by someone I have known for a long time. We are so much alike that sometimes we are even confused for each other.

Christmas Tree ell Pull from Mary Maxim
Another of my favorite banners from this catalog is the bell pull size Christmas Tree banner which is 6 inches wide by 23 inches long. I think this one would look very nice hanging on a front door during the holidays.

Mary Maxim has such a nice selection of the very things I enjoy making, and these two kits are definitely on my wish list. If you are looking for some nice little projects for this Christmas season, or any time of the year, pop over to Mary Maxim's website and browse around. You can even sign up for their paper catalog and have something to enjoy with a nice cup of tea every now and then.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wedding Gift Crocheted Afghan Coming Along

In my recent post about the Close Scallops Stitch in crochet, I showed you a video on how to work the stitch and shared with you the written pattern. Today you get to see the project I am working on using this stitch. As I mentioned before, it is an afghan for my niece's wedding gift and it's working up rather quickly. Yippee! That is exciting for two reasons. The first is that the wedding is in November and it would be nice to send it to her before the wedding. The second reason is a little more selfish and that is because it's getting very cold here in New England and the longer the afghan gets, the warmer it keeps me while I am working on it!

Here are a few pictures of the project and the stitch:

Close Scallops AfghanThis is how far I've gotten since starting to work on it not quite a week ago. I think I'm on my fifth skein of yarn already. The yarn I am using is Red Heart's Easy Tweed bulky weight yarn which calls for a size J crochet hook, but I am using a size K. The color is called Pistachio and when I first received it in the mail I was just a little bit apprehensive about the color. It was a little more ... uh ... green than I expected it to be. But now that I have worked with it and I see how it looks in this pattern, I really like it.

Close Scallops AfghanThe picture above shows the beginning of the piece. You can see how straight the bottom and side edges are, and notice that you can't really see the holes from where the scallops are formed in the single crochet like you could on the sample from the video. This is because of the yarn being bulky weight combined with the use of a crochet hook that is closer to the size recommended for the yarn being used.

Close Scallops AfghanThis picture shows the top edge with the pretty scallop the stitch makes. When I am finished crocheting the afghan, I will stitch one row of single crochet on the bottom edge of the afghan and work a pattern row so that the scallops will be on both ends. Then I will work a single crochet row on each side of the afghan and a pattern row. This will put a nice scalloped border all the way around the afghan, as well as add a little bit to the width of the afghan.

So what do you think of the Close Scallops stitch? Could you see yourself cuddled up under an afghan like this? Why don't you give it a try!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Learn to Crochet -- Double Crochet Decrease from 3 stitches down to 1 stitch

Not too long ago I came upon a wonderful knitting forum that I started to read and eventually participate in. It's called KnittingHelp.com Forum and I've found some really nice people there. Some of them, like me, enjoy crocheting as well. I recently found one thread where Merryknitter, a new crocheter, was having difficulty understanding part of an instruction in a pattern she was trying out. So here is a video demonstrating the Double Crochet Decrease from 3 stitches to 1 stitch. The written directions are included after the video, just as Merryknitter provided them in her forum thread.

Here are the directions:
Row 1 ch 115, 2 dc in 4th ch from hook(first 3 chs count as first dc), *dc in each of next 3 chs, I understand up to this point.
[dc dec in next 3 chs] twice, dc in each of next 3 chs**, 3dc in each of next 2 chs, rep from * across, ending last rep at **, 3 dc in last ch, turn.

And this is the explanation of the "dc dec" which Merryknitter provided:
(YO, insert hook, yo, draw loop through, draw through 2 lps on hook) in each of the sts indicated, yo, draw through all lps on hook.

I think there is a missing YO between "draw loop through" and "draw through 2 lps on hook" which could make this explanation confusing for a beginner.

Wavy stitch with Double Crochet DecreaseThis is how the first row on my sample turned out. I really like it and I'm anxious to see how it comes out in the project that Merryknitter is doing called Noah's Ark Blanket. She says it's the water and the ark sits on it. It sounds so cute.

Merryknitter also provided the instructions for the next row which I found after I had finished the video, so I will include it here in case anyone else is interested in it. I certainly plan to play with this pattern and perhaps put it on my List of Stitches To Use In The Future.
Row 2 : Ch 3, 2 dc in same st, *dc in each of next 3 sts, [dc dec in next 3 sts] twice, dc in each of next 3 sts**, 3 dc in each of next 2 sts, rep from * around, ending last rep at **, 3 dc in last st, turn.

I hope this is helpful to Merryknitter and anyone else who might be having trouble with this instruction. I would love to see how your project turns out.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learn to Crochet -- Close Scallops Stitch

The Close Scallops Crochet Stitch which I am going to show you in the following video is what I am using to make an afghan which will be a wedding gift for one of my nieces who is getting married in November. I chose this stitch for several reasons:
  • It is a stitch I had not used before and I wanted to see if it would be a good one for an afghan.
  • It is reversible and that has become a prerequisite for any stitch I use to make an afghan. I really do not like afghans or baby blankets that have a right and wrong side.
  • It is a stitch pattern that is a simple repetition of one single crochet and four doubles so it does not require following a complicated pattern.
  • It is a fairly flat stitch pattern, with just a little bit of texture to it, and it doesn't leave big holes in the fabric for fingers and toes to get stuck in.
  • It is a pattern that works up quickly because of the double crochets, and combined with the bulky weight yarn I am using and the size K crochet hook, this afghan is coming along pretty quickly. It might even arrive before the wedding!

So here's the video showing how to work the Close Scallops Stitch in Crochet.

If you are interested in trying this stitch, here is the pattern for it:

Chain multiple of 6 plus 1.

Row 1: Sk first 3 ch, 2 dc in next ch, * sk 2 ch, sc in next ch, sk 2 ch, 4 dc.* Repeat from * to * until 3 ch remain. Sk 2 ch, sc in last chain.

Row 2: Ch 3, turn. 2 dc in first sc, * sc between posts of 2nd and 3rd dc, 4 dc in sc.* Repeat from * to * until last half scallop remains. Sc in space between turning chain and dc.

Repeat Row 2 to desired size.

Close Scallop Crochet Stitch sampleThis is the sample piece I made while doing the video. You can see the small holes that are made from stitching the 4 double crochet stitches into the single crochet from the previous row. This is happening on the sample because, for demonstration purposes, I am using a crochet hook that is two sizes larger than what is recommended for this yarn. In the pictures of the afghan I am making with this stitch which I will show you tomorrow, you will see that the holes all but disappear. Some people don't have a hang-up about holes in afghans, but I do!

One other note on this video: I mention towards the end that this stitch pattern does not require stitching into the top of any stitches, only in the spaces between stitches. This is not accurate because the scallops themselves are stitched into the single crochet stitch between the scallops of the previous row. It is the single crochet that is stitched between the posts of the doubles and into the space made by the turning chain. I just thought I should clarify that in case it caused any confusion.

If you're looking for a quick-to-stitch project, pick up some chunky or bulky weight yarn and a big hook and give Close Scallops a try. Let me know if you like it.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Bernat Baby Bubbles Bubblicious and a Birthday

Today is my younger daughter's 4th birthday. In honor of this special occasion, I am going to show you a picture of her very favorite sweater. I knitted this sweater for her long before she was big enough to wear it, and now it is getting almost too small for her. Why does that have to happen so fast?

Anyway, here is Gracie's favorite Bubblicious sweater...

Bubblicious SweaterThis sweater was made using Bernat Baby Bubbles yarn in the Bubblicious color. Now you know why she calls this her Bubblicious sweater! The pattern can be found in Bernat's pattern booklet called Just For Girls #530148 and this pattern is called Bon-Bon Jacket. I can't seem to find it mentioned on the Bernat website, except for one small pattern correction, so it must have been discontinued. I would imagine you could Google it and find it available online somewhere. I think that any pattern calling for bulky weight yarn would do just fine though.

This yarn was a little worrisome when I first got it because I wasn't too sure about knitting with all those little nubbies attached to the yarn. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to knit with this yarn and how much fun it was to see the color patterns that were made as I knitted along.

Bubblicious SweaterHere you can see the difference in the look of the reverse stockinette stitch on the left and the stockinette stitch on the right. Reverse stockinette stitch really brought out the nubbies much better than the other side did. This must be why the main parts of the pattern are worked in reverse stockinette, which means that the side where you purl is considered the right side and the side where you knit is the wrong side.

With the half skein or so of yarn I had leftover from the sweater, I knitted a very simple little garter stitch scarf for Grace and of course she calls that her Bubblicious scarf and loves it just as much. They are both very thick and warm and feel almost like fleece. Even on the coldest days, Grace is a little heat muffin when she wears them.

Have you ever used Bernat Baby Bubbles yarn? I would love to hear what you think of it and what kind of projects you have made with it. Now I must go make a birthday cake.

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Learn to Knit -- Simple Bind Off Video Tutorial

Time for another tutorial -- this one is a video showing the most common method for binding off or casting off in knitting. This is the process which secures the last row of stitches as they come off the needle. This Simple Bind Off technique I am going to show you is done in the knit stitch, but binding off can also be done in purl or in a rib pattern that has been established, or two pieces can be bound off at the same time so that they are joined together in the process. There are many ways of binding off and I will demonstrate some of them later, but this one, as I said, is the most common, and it really is quite simple. See for yourself. Here's the video.

Just a note to keep in mind while you are watching the video...I don't really knit that fast! I wanted you to see the binding off of the whole row so I made the middle section play in double time just so the video wouldn't take quite so long! The beginning and ending of the row when you can hear me talking are at normal speed.

One thing I neglected to mention in the video is that you need to make sure you don't pull your yarn tight after each bind off. You need to keep the bound off stitches loose so that the edge doesn't get drawn up from too much tension. Sometimes this takes practice, but if you just leave the yarn as it is when it comes off the needle instead of pulling on it, your edge should be fine.

With this video and the stitches I have shown you in the different videos listed in my video library, you have all the information you need to make a good start with your new knitting hobby. I hope you find as much joy in creating clothing and accessories for yourself and others as I have.

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Goodies in the Mailbox - Plumcute Needlekeeper

Not too long ago I was the lucky winner of the original Stitcher's Angel Needlekeeper designed by Tracy at Plumcute Designs. It arrived in the mail looking like this:

Plumcute Needlekeeper PackageI knew what it was before I opened it, but I was still excited to open it! I love the packaging, and Tracy wrote a very nice note inside that pretty card. I opened the package and look what I found...

Plumcute NeedlekeeperThe very same wool, buttoned, blanket stitched heart layered, ric rac hung needlekeeper that is shown on Tracy's website. It is so simple, but so practical. Once I remove a needle from its original packaging, it never goes back. Sometimes it ends up stuck into the end of a spool of thread. Sometimes I am not sure where it goes. But now I have a nice home for all my working needles. I have pinned it up on the bulletin board that is hanging on the wall over my sewing machine. Now I won't ever have to misplace a needle again. Thanks Tracy! I love it!

After looking it over and re-reading the directions Tracy provided on her website, I was thinking these would be quick and easy little items to make in assembly line fashion for the holiday fair at our local school. The kids would love to buy these as gifts for their mothers or grandmothers or big sisters. So now I'm scouting through all my fabric and old clothes for materials to use to make a bunch of these. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Bamboo Knitting Needles

I have always knitted with aluminum knitting needles and for the most part I've been happy with them. I prefer the shiny Boye brand, but have also used the matte finished Susan Bates brand. I have noticed recently that lots of different types of knitting needles have hit the market - plastic, gigantic, square, lighted, knitting needles with ruler markings on them. I realize some of these are not new, and some are quite ingenious. But I tried one type of knitting needle recently that I thought I would share with you.

I live not too far from a yarn manufacturing company that makes some pretty well known name brands and once a year they have a factory sale where they offer huge discounts on factory lots of their yarn. I always go and see what I can pick up for cheap. This year I didn't have too much spending money for this shopping trip, but I did pick up a few lots of some nice cotton yarn that I will be putting to good use some time in the future. Anyway, while I was standing in line, the lady behind me was looking at the rack of bamboo needles and commenting that the price wasn't that good, at least no better than Michael's or anywhere else you could buy them. I thought, naturally, this is a yarn manufacturer and they are trying to unload their overstock of yarn, not their needles. But I engaged her in polite conversation anyway and asked her if she actually used bamboo needles. She started telling me all about how wonderful they are to knit with and how smooth they become and how warm they are in the cold weather and how they don't make her hands hurt and on and on. The line moved fast and that was the end of our conversation.

The next time I was at Michael's with a good coupon, guess what I bought. Ok, if you don't want to guess, you can just continue reading and you'll find out!

Bamboo Knitting NeedlesYep, a pair of size 9 short bamboo knitting needles by Clover. That was the same shopping trip during which I also purchased the Clover Yo Yo maker that I had such fun with a few weeks ago. I decided to use my new needles for the first time with cotton yarn to make this face cloth. I must say, I really liked how smooth the needles were and how the yarn slipped effortlessly on them. They really did feel good and I thoroughly enjoyed using them with the cotton yarn.

Then I started another project with them, which you see still on the needles in the picture above. This was Red Heart worsted weight yarn in the Delft Blue for the Special Olympics scarves I am making. I don't know if it is the acrylic yarn or what, but I'm not liking how this yarn and these needles work together. The yarn seems to stick to the needles, even when I make sure my stitches are loose. I am going to continue this project with these needles just to see if I can work it out, but I may have to change to aluminum needles if things don't improve.

Have you ever worked with bamboo needles? How did you like them? Do you prefer certain types of yarn with the bamboo needles or do they work great for you no matter what kind of yarn you are using? I would love to get feedback from people who have a lot of experience with bamboo knitting needles. I would really appreciate it.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Super Easy Knitted Face Cloth - Quick Christmas Gift Idea

I've been trying to think up some quick Christmas gift ideas for the fast approaching holiday season, and here is one that is not only quick, but also very easy and inexpensive to make. It's a knitted cotton face cloth made from one ball of worsted weight cotton yarn and size 9 needles. What a nice gift this would make, wrapped up together with a bar of lavender soap and a pretty ribbon.

Take a look and see just how easy it is:

Super Easy Knitted Face ClothRemember a few weeks ago I was wondering how I could knit until I had used up half of my yarn and then finish the project without running short or having a lot left over. I thought of using my postage scale to tell me when I had gotten to the halfway point. This is the project I was making at the time, and you can see that I didn't trust my scale and I started decreasing at least a row or two before I needed to. Now I have that little blob of yarn leftover. I'm sure I can think of something useful to do with it.

Anyway, back to the easy knitted face cloth -- There it is, simple as can be. Here's the pattern:

Cast on 3.
*Knit 1, yarn over, knit each remaining stitch across. *
Continue from * to * until you have used up half of your yarn, or until your cloth is half as big as you want it.
*Knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit each remaining stitch across.*
Continue from * to * until you have 3 stitches left on your needle.
Bind off.
Weave in loose ends.

Now you have a soft cotton face cloth, knit in garter stitch on the diagonal. I'm not sure it could get any easier than that!

Super Easy Knitted Face ClothThis corner shows the point where the increasing stopped and the decreasing began. The edge on the right side is the 'yarn over increase' edge where a little hole is left in the fabric from each yarn over. To continue that hole in the edge on the decrease rows, I worked a 'knit 2 together' decrease, then a yarn over to make the hole, then another 'knit 2 together' decrease. This effectively only decreases the stitch count by 1 on each row and continues the border design all around the cloth.

Super Easy Knitted Face ClothThis is the cast on corner -- nice and neat after the tail is woven into the fabric.

Super Easy Knitted Face ClothHere's an interesting view of the texture you get by knitting every row, which is called garter stitch. Don't you think this would feel good on your face in the morning?

This is an great pattern to use for a quick and easy baby blanket too. Using soft worsted or chunky yarn and needles one or two sizes larger than the yarn calls for, follow the same pattern until the piece is as long on one side as you want the edge of the blanket to be, then start decreasing until you are finished. This may require changing to circular needles towards the middle of the project, but it makes a nice warm, soft baby blanket which does not require following a pattern. Easy peasy!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Giveaway Winner Announced

All good things must end, and the Fall Into Fall Giveaway hosted by Debi was definitely a good thing! What fun it was to read all the great comments almost 140 people left on my original post. What I enjoyed just as much was dropping in to all the other websites that were participating to see what kind of goodies they were giving away. Maybe I'll even be lucky and win one!

Speaking of winning, here's how my giveaway winner was chosen:

Fall Giveaway DrawingI went through all the comments and checked to make sure each person was reachable by either email or though a website. For those who were, I entered their name, date of comment and contact information into an Excel spreadsheet. Then I merged all the data into a label form in Word and printed out the results. I cut apart the entries, folded them up and put them into my favorite mixing bowl.

Fall Giveaway DrawingThen my favorite little helper, Gracie, put her hand in and stirred them around. She pulled one out and this is what it said...

Fall Giveaway DrawingGin, who commented on October 8th saying that celebrating her son's Fall birthday and their anniversary were her favorite things about Fall, is the winner of my pincushion bag with matching needle book and other Fall-ish goodies! Congratulations Gin!

I hear that Debi is already planning another big giveaway for winter and of course I'll be involved in that one too! Stay tuned for more information and maybe you'll be the lucky winner next time!

Thanks to all of you who left such nice comments and stayed around for a while to look through my website. I hope you found something inspiring.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Today's the Last Day to Enter the Fall Into Fall Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

If you haven't signed up for the Huge Fall Into Fall Giveaway yet, you have one more day to do it -- today, Tuesday, October 14th is the last day you can put your name in for all kinds of great giveaways. First go to the original post of my giveaway and leave a comment there. Then click on the friendly Fall scarecrow on my sidebar to find a list of all the other wonderfully generous bloggers out there who are also giving away some nice things.

Be sure to check in here tomorrow to find out who the lucky winner is. It could be you!

Happy Stitching!

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