Hooked on Needles

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crocheted Scallop Border on Lollipop Oddball Blanket

The Lollipop Oddball Blanket is now complete and on its way back to the person who will deliver it to some lucky little baby in a Connecticut hospital.

After knitting the loose basketweave section in red, I crocheted a pretty scallop in yellow to finish it off. Here it is...

Crocheted Scallop Border on Lollipop Oddball BlanketThe is the exact same scallop pattern I used on the Tutti Frutti Oddball Blanket back in January, except that I worked a slip stitch between each 5 dc scallop instead of a single crochet. I also only worked 2 rounds of single crochet around the blanket before working the scallop border instead of 3. I find that the worsted weight blankets only require 2 rounds before the decorative border because the yarn is so much bigger than the sport weight used in the preemie blankets.

Crocheted Scallop Border on Lollipop Oddball BlanketThese bright colors will provide good visual stimulation for some new little baby, along with all the love and warmth that was knit and crocheted into this Lollipop blanket.

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to use Clover Yo Yo Maker - Video Tutorial

There are some gadgets I can live just fine without. Then there are those gadgets that just make me happy by being mine. Know what I mean? The Clover Yo-yo Maker is one of those gadgets that just makes me happy. It's so fun and easy to use, and produces great results every time. Plus it takes up practically no space at all and doesn't require dusting!

And here it is! Can you tell I'm smiling?

And here are two perfect little yo-yos made with my handy dandy little yo-yo maker!

I received a comment from Pat (no-reply) on my Biscornu video tutorial asking if I could make a tutorial for using the yo-yo maker, so here it is. The one thing I failed to mention in the video is that when you put your fabric down on the plate, you need to place it with the right side down. If you look closely in the video, you would be able to see that, but I just wanted to make that clear for anyone using this gadget for the first time.

Now that you see just how easy a yo-yo can be, go get yourself one of these handy dandy little gadgets and let the yo-yo making begin!

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Swap Fabrics finally arrived!

My very favorite delivery man in brown paid me a visit today and left a box of goodies from Fabric.com. I was very good this time and only ordered what I needed, but it was still fun to open the box. Fabric.com carries all the name brand quilting fabrics you find in your local quilting shops, plus accessories and notions and other necessary items. Shipping is free for US orders over $35 and I needed fabric anyway and have had very good luck with them in the past, so I went shopping. Would you like to see what I got?

I Spy swap fabricI hope Karen doesn't mind if I show off my I Spy fabrics for her square swap. I thought the colorful little monsters at the top were pretty darn cute.

The seashell fabric was exactly what I was looking for to line the mini-duffel I crocheted this summer for my summer giveaway, but I ended up having to use something else. I think it will make a great I Spy quilt square.

And the bright and funky chickens and roosters were just too fun to pass up. I just love how round and fat the chickens are!

Red and Aqua Disappearing 9 patch swap fabricAlso in this box were my red and aqua fabrics for Jane's disappearing 9 patch block swap. I like some of these fabrics so much that now I wish I had ordered even a little more extra! I think all the reds are good, but I'm not entirely sold on all of the aquas. The two on the right just don't seem to go. The one on the far right is much too turquoise, and the one next to it is a little too gray, although its name did say aqua. The others are all good for aqua, even though they might not look like it. The one between the flowers and the polka dots really is more aqua than it looks.

So I think I'll peek into my stash, or perhaps use this as an excuse to make another trip to a quilt shop I've been wanting to check out a little ways down the highway! Hmmm, now there's an idea!

Today is the 19th birthday of our oldest, Elizabeth, of Babette blanket, Irish cross stitch, and knitted school color hats fame. She is so busy with school and work right now that I don't think we'll have time to celebrate her birthday until Sunday. But you can bet I'll be remembering what a special day it is!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Basketweave Knit Stitch Pattern on Lollipop Oddball Blanket

The design I decided to knit on the Lollipop Oddball Blanket is sort of a loose basketweave design using just alternating groups of knit and purl stitches on the right side, and all purl stitches on the wrong side.

I think this pattern would be a suitable substitution for stockinette stitch in patterns such as a sweater or scarf, a full size afghan or baby blanket, or any other place where you want to add a little texture to an otherwise plain knit fabric. It does not pull in the stitches on the sides, nor does it draw them in from the top and bottom like some stitch patterns tend to do. You would still want to check your gauge if you are planning to use it for something that requires fitting, such as a piece of clothing. But for a scarf or blanket, that would not be necessary.

Take a look and see what you think...

Basketweave Knit Stitch Pattern on Lollipop Oddball BlanketI sort of made this up as I went along, and I really like how it turned out. There are dozens of basketweave patterns for knitting out there and I'm sure any one of them would look great in a blanket like this. But I just didn't feel like searching for a pattern so this is what came out of my needles! I'll share the written pattern for it below.

Basketweave Knit Stitch Pattern on Lollipop Oddball BlanketHere you can see the other five panels of this oddball blanket, each in a different color and stitch of the knitter's choice. That is what makes it an oddball!

I'll be crocheting a border in yellow around this Lollipop blanket before mailing it back to the person who will deliver it to the hospital for some sweet little new baby to enjoy. You can be sure that I'll share the border with you too, as soon as it is finished!

Here's the pattern for my version of a loose basketweave knit design...

Loose Basketweave Knit Pattern
Mary Grace McNamara of www.HookedOnNeedles.com

NOTE: This pattern is worked over a multiple of 8 stitches plus 8. The blanket pictured also has several rows of garter stitch at the bottom and top, and 4 knit stitches at the beginning and end of each row to make a garter stitch border, but I did not include those stitches in this pattern. You can begin and end your rows any way you like.

Using yarn of your choice and needles appropriately sized for the yarn, cast on a multiple of 8 stitches, plus 8 additional stitches.

Row 1: Knit

Row 2 and every wrong side row: Purl

Row 3: Knit

Rows 5 and 7: K2, (P4, K4) across the row until there are 6 stitches left, P4, K2

Row 9: Knit

Rows 11 and 13: K6, (P4, K4) across the row until there are 2 stitches left, K2

Repeat rows 3 through 13 until your piece is as big as you want it. Finish by working 1 row Purl, 1 row Knit, 1 row Purl, 1 row Knit, 1 row Purl. Bind off.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Make a Biscornu - Video Tutorial

Making a very plain fabric Biscornu is so easy. All you need is a sewing machine, two squares of coordinating or contrasting fabric of the same size as each other, a sewing needle and some thread, a little fiberfill or stuffing of some sort, and a little button or bead to decorate the center of each side.

Here are a few pictures of my Biscornu, or Biscornus...actually I'm not really sure what would be correct since it's a French word and I don't know one word of French! Following the pictures, you will find a video tutorial showing exactly how to make a simple fabric Biscornu.

BiscornuThis is the one I made in the video, but it does not have a button or bead in the center to pull in the middle. I really love the zig zag sides on these shapes and wonder who would ever have thought to sew two squares together like this in the first place. Someone very clever I think!

BiscornuThe one on the left is the first one I made after reading a little about them and being so intrigued. I just couldn't believe that two squares could end up together like this. The blue one is for my Stitcher's Angel swap gift, along with other nice goodies too. And the green one is the one I made in the video, still without a center decoration.

BiscornuThese are all the same, just showing the opposite sides from the previous picture.

BiscornuAnd there's that fun zig zag edge!

BiscornuYo yos are so versatile, and I love how they look on something like this with a bead or button in the middle.

Here's my video tutorial on how to make a simple fabric Biscornu. After you watch it, you'll be off to your own sewing room to cut up lots of squares and sew one of these for everyone you know! That's how easy it is!

While these biscornu are pretty and so very easy to make, I thought it would be fantastic to make one using the same method as the mattress pin cushion I made a while ago and which you can see by clicking HERE. There are many beautiful stitched biscornu out there on the internet for inspiration, and this page in particular I found quite interesting and fun to look at. You can see a biscornu being made the same way I did the mattress pin cushion. Just lovely!

For now though, I'll stick to the simple fabric version. Try making one yourself and let me know what you think.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learn to Crochet - Tunisian Honeycomb Stitch Video Tutorial

Finally another stitch to add to your Tunisian Crochet collection! It's called the Honeycomb Stitch and it is worked using the exact same method as the Seed Stitch in Knitting. Here is what it looks like on a small sample...

Tunisian Honeycomb StitchYou can see in this sample the honeycomb design that is created by alternating knit and purl stitches. The method is the same as seed stitch in knitting, but the result is quite different because of the characteristic vertical bars in Tunisian Crochet.

The Honeycomb stitch produces a thinner fabric than most other Tunisian Crochet Stitches that I have presented here. Another difference I noticed is quite a pleasant one...the bottom edge does not seem to want to curl up nearly as much as the other stitches. But as with all other Tunisian Crochet stitches, this one produces a fabric that has a definite right and wrong side, so you should take that into consideration if it is something you have a hang-up about like I do!

Here's a short video showing how to work the Tunisian Honeycomb Stitch. The written pattern follows.

Tunisian Honeycomb Stitch

NOTE: Beginning chain must be a multiple of 2 chains plus 1. The sample in the video was worked with a beginning chain of 11.

Click on the links below to refresh your Tunisian Knit and Purl skills!

Rows 1 and 2: Basic Tunisian Knit Stitch

Row 3: ch 1, *1 Tunisian Purl under next vertical bar, 1 basic Tunisian Knit under next vertical bar. * Continue from * to * across the row to the end.

Rows 4 and 6: yo, draw through 1 loop, *yo, draw through 2 loops. * Continue from * to * across the row.

Row 5: ch 1, *1 basic Tunisian Knit under next vertical bar, 1 Tunisian Purl under next vertical bar. * Continue from * to * across the row.

Repeat from Row 3.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

How to pick up a missed Yarn Over in Knitting

In my post few days ago, I began to share with you a very helpful knitting trick that can save a lot of time and frustration when knitting lace or any project with a lot of yarn-overs in the pattern. Imagine my own frustration when I realized the pictures I had taken to show this neat trick were wrong!

Anyway, here are the steps you can take to pick up a yarn-over that was missed on the previous row...

How to pick up a missed Yarn Over in KnittingThe first step in fixing this problem is the same as with fixing any problem...you must know that you have a problem! This is why I always mark and count my sections regularly on each row of my lace knitting. Once I had determined that I had missed working a yarn-over, I used the orange locking stitch marker to grab the yarn that should have been over the needle along with the cable, and I locked the marker in place.

To identify the yarn that should have been the yarn-over, just spread apart the stitches and find the strand of yarn that is going between the two stitches on either side of where the yarn-over should be. This is the yarn that would have been brought around your right needle as a yarn-over.

How to pick up a missed Yarn Over in KnittingContinue knitting your pattern until you reach the orange marker again.

How to pick up a missed Yarn Over in KnittingWith your right needle, pick up the marked yarn strand...

How to pick up a missed Yarn Over in Knitting...and place it on your left needle. Make sure that your left needle picks up the yarn from the front so that the yarn-over will be in the proper position.

How to pick up a missed Yarn Over in KnittingThis is how your newly placed yarn-over should look. Now you can remove the marker and continue knitting your pattern.

Isn't that much easier than picking back lots of stitches to get to your missed stitch? This handy trick has saved me hours of frustration already, which is why I'm happy to be able to share it with you!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Biscornu - fun to make and pretty besides!

Have you ever heard of a Biscornu? They seem to be quite popular lately among needleworkers, and I've found them on the internet from very simple to very decorated. They are used mainly as pin cushions, although I wonder if that was their original purpose. Perhaps they were made just as a pretty ornament?

Anyway, I tried my hand at making one and it was so fun to make and turned out so well that I decided to make one as a gift for the Stitcher's Angel Swap, in colors and fabrics suited to my secret recipient. Here's the finished project...

Country Blue BiscornuThis one makes a very generously sized pin cushion...

Country Blue Biscornu...which can be used with the dark side up or the light side up. It's reversible!

Country Blue BiscornuI love how the sides are in a zig zag design. It looks complicated to make, but really isn't once you know the secret. I'll be posting a tutorial soon!

Country Blue BiscornuI made a yo yo of each fabric, and two matching buttons. The dark yo yo went on the light side...

Country Blue Biscornu
And the light yo yo went on the dark side, each with a pretty button in the middle.

There is lots of information out there on this fun little shape called Biscornu. One I particularly enjoyed reading is from Mary Corbet's Needlenthread website. Hop on over there and take a peek. I'm sure you'll enjoy it too!

This past week, I've been having such fun working on my Halloween Apron. I wish I could show it to you now, but that will have to wait until after it is received in the swap. I've also spent some time knitting on my lace triangle shawl and I was able to photograph the proper way to pick up a missed yarn over. I'll be sharing that with you shortly.

Fall is here and that means soccer season has begun. This season we have two little soccer players who are very much looking forward to their games each weekend. My little 1st grader has become a Tiger Cub Scout as well, and I got talked into being the den leader. So that will add a new dimension of fun to our family life. All of our birthdays are coming up in the next few months too, along with our wedding anniversary and all the major holidays. This is such a wonderfully busy time of year from now until January, but there's always time in each day for some needlework!

What kinds of projects and activities do you look forward to this time of year?

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fixing a common knitting mistake...later!

As I was spending some time this morning knitting along on the lace shawl which I don't think is going to be ready for Christmas this year, I discovered that I had neglected to work a yarn-over in one of the repeat sections of the design. Instead of picking the stitches all the way back to that one missed stitch, I simply marked the spot with one of my handy dandy little locking stitch markers and continued on with my knitting.

The orange stitch marker is the one holding the spot where the yarn-over should be and the yarn which should be used to make the yarn-over.

I continued knitting to the end of the row, turned my work and started purling back across the row. When I got to the orange stitch marker, I made sure I knew exactly how to pick up the strand of yarn to put it onto my needle so it would become the yarn-over. Then I set up my tripod and camera, set the timer so I could take still shots with no hands, and then proceeded to photograph each step of recovering the missed yarn-over. It really is quite simple, and knowing this trick can save you from having to pick back lots of delicate stitches.

So where are those helpful photographs, you may be asking? Right on my camera card where they will remain until I delete them. You see, as I was preparing them for this post, I realized that I had put the stitch onto my left needle backwards! So I guess I'll have to re-create the missed yarn-over, and re-photograph its retrieval, and this time do it correctly!

Now I find myself wondering how I worked the purl stitch with the backwards yarn-over. I'll have to pay extra careful attention when I work the next row to see if I can pick up on where that stitch was worked, and see if it looks any different for it being done on a backwards yarn-over.

Live and learn...and wait for another chance to share this handy tip!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Embroidered Country Rose Drawstring Bag

Here's another fun little bag, this one made especially for my secret Stitcher's Angel Swap partner. The pattern for this bag was presented as the first of 7 offered for this year's swap. I followed Helen's instructions almost all the way, but of course I had to make a few changes! Why can't I just take a pattern and do it the way it is written? Do you also get the urge to change up patterns, or do you follow them to the letter?

Anyway, here is my Embroidered Country Rose Drawstring Bag, mostly from Helen's pattern and a little bit from my own head...

Embroidered Country Rose Drawstring BagThe simple stitchery pattern for the rose was actually stitched exactly as Helen designed it, using mostly back stitch, and running stitch for the outer row of blue. The only change I made is that I used different colors instead of all one color for my floss.

Embroidered Country Rose Drawstring BagAnother change I made to this pattern was to sew the rose stitchery piece into the bag front which required piecing the blue fabric around the stitchery. I just couldn't get excited about attempting another needleturn project after finishing the needle wallet a few days ago. My hands still have not recovered from that!

Embroidered Country Rose Drawstring BagI also thought the oval frame of the stitchery would look nice surrounded by straight blue edges.

Embroidered Country Rose Drawstring BagHelen's design for making the lining of the bag extend several inches above the top of the bag is so clever and makes the assembly of the bag and sewing the casing for the drawstring very easy. The result is a lovely lined bag with a double drawstring, pretty little stitched rose, and a fancy ruffled top, perfect for bringing a small project along in the car, filling with sweet smelling potpouri or soaps to hang in a closet, or ready to wrap up a pretty little gift for someone special.

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Crocheted Picot Border on Tiny Dancer Oddball Baby Blanket

Who doesn't love a quick project every now and then to provide that much needed sense of accomplishment? That's one of the reasons I love working on the oddball baby blankets. A package comes in the mail, I pick out yarn that I think will go well with the project, I knit a few inches of the pattern of my choice, I crochet a pretty border also of my choosing, and I mail it back. No long term commitments, no huge financial or time investment. The perfect fast finish! Of course the real satisfaction comes when we read on the knittinghelp.com charity forum that the blankets have been delivered and appreciated.

Here's the latest one I worked on, and my second finished project for September...

Tiny Dancer Oddball Baby BlanketIt's called Tiny Dancer, and is made with sweet colors and dainty patterns.

Tiny Dancer Oddball Baby BlanketIt really is quite tiny too, since it is for a premature baby, only about 21 x 22 inches including the border. It has been worked with sport weight yarns in colors or variegated of each knitter's choosing.

Tiny Dancer Oddball Baby BlanketAfter I knitted the last section in a pretty pink using the farrow rib stitch, I worked 6 rows of garter stitch before binding off. Then using a soft yellow and this method for crocheting around a knitted piece, I worked 3 rounds of single crochet to provide a substantial base for the decorative border. The pattern I chose for the border is just a little picot every 3 stitches, and it is very easy to do.

Crocheted Picot Border

* sl st in each of next 3 st, ch 3, sl st in same st as last sl st *

Repeat from * to * around. When you reach the beginning again, end with a sl st. Cut yarn, draw tail through loop and pull tight. Weave in ends.

If you are interested in working on an oddball baby blanket, just go to the Knittinghelp.com Charity forum and pick the thread that matches your location. Join in the conversation and let them know that you are interested in working on a blanket. They'll be glad to have you! Make sure you tell them that Mary Grace sent you!

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Sweet and Rosy Needle Wallet

My first gift for the Stitcher's Angel Swap is complete! It was a fun little project designed by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches for this swap. She called hers Sweet and Spotty, and if you look at her pattern, you'll see why. But I called mine Sweet and Rosy. Here it is...

Sweet and Rosy Needle WalletHere's the first Sweet part, stitched on unbleached muslin using 3 strands of DMC embroidery floss. I changed up the stitches from Natalie's pattern just a little, using some chain stitch for the lines, and instead of satin stitch on the flower petals, I used lazy daisy stitch.

Sweet and Rosy Needle WalletHere you can see the Rosy part of the wallet. I thought this fabric would suit the recipient while still keeping with the rose theme of the swap.

Sweet and Rosy Needle WalletAnd here's the inside with the other Sweet spot on a rosy background. The solid pink fabric was from my stash, leftover from a quilt I had made years ago as a wedding gift for one of my sisters. The rose print fabric was one of the lovely fat quarters I bought this past summer from Grace Full Creations.

This project was my very first attempt at needleturn applique. I have purposely avoided any projects using this technique because I thought it would be hard to do and I didn't think I would enjoy it. I was sad to discover that my fears were not unfounded. Fine hand stitching is something I used to do quite a lot of many years ago, but now it is hard for me to hold a needle and stitch like this for any length of time. But I think if my fingers and hands could handle the strain, I probably would enjoy doing needleturn applique because I really liked the process of turning as you go, and I thought the results were quite satisfactory.

After doing the embroider on these two little sweet circles, I very badly wanted to complete the project as Natalie had planned it. So that was my motivation to give needleturn a try. I don't think it is a technique that I would use on a large project, but at least now I know I can do it and have it turn out half way decent. This should open up quite a few more possibilities for my stitching pleasure.

Do you use needleturn applique in your projects? If so, do you enjoy it? Have you shied away from it as I had done, even though you love projects that use this technique? If you have not used it, what are some of the reasons you have avoided it? I'd love to know.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lots going on, but nothing finished!

I knew it had been a day or two since my last post, but I didn't realize it had been since Monday! Where does the time go? We are finally back into the school routine here but it seems I just can't get my act together here at home yet. Maybe a few more days will do it!

Lots of project are in the works, in my sewing room, by my cozy evening chair, and in Elizabeth's favorite spot too. Here's a little peek at what we have in progress...

Red stitching projectsThis rich red color seems to be my latest choice. The knit lace shawl on the left is still in need of many, many hours of dedicated work. The half-granny triangle shawl on the right will be a fill-in kind of project when I don't have anything pressing going on.

The stitching in the middle is part of one of my projects for the Stitcher's Angel Swap. This pattern is by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches with her cute little birds and ladybug. I changed up the pattern just a bit by using some chain stitch instead of all back stitch, and also using lazy daisy stitches for the flower petals instead of satin stitch. The rose fabric, which was one of the fat quarters I received from Grace Full Creations, and the solid pink from my stash will be used to finish off this project.

Tiny Dancer Oddball BlanketAlso on my list of things to finish very soon is this oddball baby blanket called Tiny Dancer. It is a preemie blanket and oh-so-sweet! I knitted this pink section using the farrow rib stitch, and now I am in the process of finishing the border with a soft yellow and a tiny little picot stitch. When it is all finished, I will show the whole thing and share the simple picot pattern with you.

Blue and Gold Jacob's Ladder scarfAnother project in progress here is a blue and gold scarf that Elizabeth is working on using the Jacob's Ladder pattern. These are her college colors, and football season will soon be upon us, so she is planning to whip up some of these school color scarves and sell them to her fellow football fans, thus spreading school spirit and earning gas money! Smart!

I have also been planning my design for the Halloween Apron swap and that has been fun. It's a little out of my comfort zone, but I'm enjoying the challenge. I'll be sure to show it to you once it has been received by my swap partner Micki.

So lots happening here in the way of creativity, just nothing complete yet! Stay tuned for lots of fun finishes!

Happy Stitching!

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