Hooked on Needles


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall into Fall with this Awesome Fall Table Runner!

This giveaway is now closed.
Click HERE to find out who won.


It has finally arrived! My very favorite time of year has begun ~ fall! Here in New England, all the trees are turning their beautiful fall colors of red, orange and gold. The apples are ready for picking and eating. The bright orange pumpkins are ready for cooking or carving. The days are sunny and not too hot, and the nights are cool and crisp. The children are well established in their new school routines and my husband is happy that football season is in full swing.

I'm excited too because today is the beginning of the Fall into Fall Giveaway hosted by Debi and featuring over 100 great giveaways from around the world. When you're finished checking out my giveaway below, make sure to pop over there and check out the long list on her sidebar of all the other giveaways offering great prizes too!

Let's see what Awesome prize I have to offer this time around...

...It's a fall table runner made with fabric from my very favorite fabric designer, Sandy Gervais. The fabric line is called Awesome, and it really is! So when I talk about my Awesome prize, I am not really patting myself on the back, although I do think it is awesome, but that's just the name of the fabric I used!

This table runner measures a generous 16 by 39 inches and is my own original design, which will be available in my Etsy shop soon. It features a no-binding finishing technique so if you don't like to do binding, this is the pattern for you!

Below are all the ways that you can get your name in the hat for this Awesome prize. Just make sure you leave a separate comment for each one that you do, and make sure I can contact you by email. If I cannot contact you by email, your entry will not be counted.

  1. Browse through the Hooked On Needles links at the top of my sidebar and choose a project I have featured that you think best represents the fall season. You'll find lots of options under knitting, crochet and quilting especially. Leave a comment telling me which project you picked.
  2. Follow Hooked On Needles through any of the options listed on the sidebar such as Facebook, Networked Blogs, RSS or Feedburner subscriptions. Leave a comment telling me how you follow Hooked On Needles.
  3. Share this giveaway with your friends on Facebook or Twitter by posting the link to this giveaway on your Facebook or Twitter page. Leave a comment telling me which one you did.
  4. Post about my giveaway on your own blog and link back to this post. Leave a comment with the link to your post so I can come and visit too!
  5. Browse my Etsy shop and add it to your favorites by clicking Add to Favorites on the sidebar under Actions. Leave a comment telling me your favorite item in my shop.
So you have five chances to enter my giveaway. Read them carefully and then do just one or do them all, it's up to you! I'll draw the winner on October 15th. I'll also draw a second winner for a surprise prize which I will reveal at some time before the end of this giveaway.

Please forgive me ahead of time for not responding to each comment left on this giveaway post. Let me offer my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for your visit to Hooked On Needles today and I hope you will spend some time browsing or come back again when you have more time.

Don't forget to go over to Debi's list of other giveaways participating in this fun fall event. Good luck to you in whatever giveaways you decide to enter!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bernat Yarn for Mystery Afghan Crochet-Along

I love a good mystery, but not usually when it comes to my crocheting. I like to know what the end result should look like before I begin all that stitching. I've only done one other mystery project, which was this quilt, and I really enjoyed it. I recently read about Bernat's Mystery Afghan Crochet-Along over on the Bernat blog, so decided to add a little mystery to my crocheting life! I am also just about finished with my current crochet project which is the purple and pink fence rail afghan, so it was time to pick my next one. Can't let my hooks get cold! Here's the yarn I picked...


Bernat Yarn for Mystery Afghan Crochet-AlongAll except the pumpkin colored yarn, these are the colors that were suggested in the instructions. They had offered lavender for the fifth color, but I wanted something a bit more fall looking, so I substituted the pumpkin.


Bernat Yarn for Mystery Afghan Crochet-AlongNot everyone is using this Bernat yarn for their projects. I was reading on the Bernat blog about the choices others have made in their yarns, and there are some really nice combinations out there. It will be lots of fun to see all the variations on this project once they are all revealed at the end.

The first two clues have already been posted on the Bernat blog, so I'm running a little behind. But that's the nice thing about an event like this - you can go at your own pace and check the clues when it's convenient for you. It looks like this project will be a great opportunity to learn some new stitches or revisit some old ones. I'm thinking it may also be good for beginners to work on small blocks, gain some confidence, build on their skills while learning new ones, and in the end, have a beautiful afghan to show for it.

Grab some chunky yarn and your hook and join in the fun! Once that cold winter weather comes along, you'll be glad you did!

Make sure you come back here on Friday, October 1st for the beginning of the Fall into Fall Giveaway. I'll be offering an Awesome prize for my giveaway, and over 100 other bloggers will have some great prizes to give away as well.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Awesome Fabrics from Stitches n Giggles

I've been doing some more shopping! This time I was looking for more of the background fabric for my Fall into Fall Giveaway prize which will be revealed on Friday. I found it in an Etsy shop called Stitches 'N Giggles. She has over fifty listings of Sandy Gervais fabrics in yardage and precuts. I found just what I was looking for and more!


Awesome Fabrics from Stitches n GigglesThe fabric there in the middle is what I was looking for. It's a soft cream with lines of red and goldish brown. But then I ran into the panel which is folded up underneath everything...


Awesome Fabrics from Stitches n Giggles...and the charm pack...


Awesome Fabrics from Stitches n Giggles...and the square fabric that is just fabulous for binding! I couldn't resist! I think Awesome really is awesome!

So if you're looking for a great fabric selection at great prices with reasonable shipping costs, nice packaging and super fast delivery, check out Stitches 'N Giggles on Etsy and tell her I sent you! Not because I get anything out of this recommendation, but so she'll know I'm a happy customer! I love to recommend shops where I have received good service, so you can take advantage of it too!

Happy shopping!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Resurrecting an old task light

Task lighting is so important when doing the kind of work we quilters, embroiderers, crocheters, knitters, any-kind-of-handworkers do. If you can't see it, chances are it won't turn out so well. Many years ago, about 25 in fact, we purchased our first home and at the same time, I made a very untimely investment in my first and so far only sewing machine. I guess it turned out to be a good investment after all! The basement room where I set it up was quite dark, so I also invested in a task light that could clamp onto my sewing table. I used it almost daily until just recently when the little plastic thingy into which the lamp post went cracked. The plastic thingy could no longer support the lamp and without it, the lamp was dead. Here's the dead lamp...


Resurrecting an old task lightVery sad. The really sad part is that the lamp itself worked just fine, but it didn't do me any good spread out on the table.


Resurrecting an old task lightThis is the clamp that came with the lamp. It worked great for pretty close to 25 years which, now that I look at it, really surprises me.


Resurrecting an old task lightI don't know if you can see it, but there is a little vertical crack just to the left of where the metal piece goes into that upper piece. This crack causes the lamp to lean over too far and be very unstable. So I came up with an inexpensive, very stable, still portable solution that has brought this old faithful dead task lamp back to life again.


Resurrecting an old task lightI purchased a four inch C clamp and a package of leg tips from my local Home Depot store.


Resurrecting an old task lightI dug around in our scrap wood bucket and found this perfect length of 2 by 4, into which I drilled a 1/2 inch hole about an inch and a half from one end. I chose the end away from the knots since they are hard to drill through.


Resurrecting an old task lightSee? You can see right through it! I sanded the block of wood and rounded off all the edges so there would be no roughness to catch on my fabric. I love using my power tools! For this project I got to use my drill and my palm sander. Fun!


Resurrecting an old task lightI took one of the leg tips, which are those rubber cup-like do-dads that you put on the bottom of chair or table legs to protect your floors, and I put it over the metal part of the clamp to protect the underside of my table.


Resurrecting an old task lightI then clamped the block of wood onto the side of my ping pong table, which is my large flat workspace for cutting fabric. Notice the thickness of the edge of the table. This, along with the thickness of the wood block is why I needed a four inch C clamp instead of one of those super cool ratcheting clamps.


Resurrecting an old task lightThen I set the post of my lamp into the hole I had drilled in the wood block and plugged it into the wall socket that is just to the left of the table.


Resurrecting an old task lightAnd now my cutting table has a task light that isn't going anywhere anytime soon! Don't you love being able to salvage an old favorite? I hope I get at least another 25 years out of this one!

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Easy Single Crochet Afghan ~ Written Pattern

In my previous post, I shared with you a video tutorial on making this very easy single crochet 'in the rectangle' afghan which is the perfect design to use when you have some yarn to use up, but you're not sure you have enough for a particular pattern. With this pattern, you just crochet until your yarn is all used up and you're done. You end up with something the size of a doll blanket, a baby blanket, a lap blanket, or a full size cozy afghan. But you never have to worry about being short of yarn to finish a set of pattern stitches or even to finish the last row.

So today I'm sharing the written pattern for this afghan because I know that most people don't carry around video tutorials in their project bags. Although these days, I suppose with the technology available, that is entirely possible! I'm just not that connected!

So here it is:


Single Crochet in the Rectangle Afghan Pattern
©2010 Hooked On Needles.com

  • Chain (ch) 20
  • 2 single crochet (sc) in 2nd ch from hook
  • 1 sc in back loop of each ch to last ch
  • 5 sc in back loop of last ch – count back 5 stitches from hook and place marker, then count back 2 stitches from hook and place marker
  • 1 sc in same space as each previous sc back to the beginning
  • 2 sc in same space as first 2 sc
Working in back loop only for remainder of project:
  • 2 sc in each of next 2 stitches – count back 5 stitches from hook and place marker, then count back 2 stitches from hook and place marker
  • * 1 sc in each stitch to marker
  • 2 sc in marked stitch – move marker to stitch just made
  • 2 sc in next stitch *
  • Repeat from * to * until afghan is as big as you want or until you run out of yarn.
Watching, or working along with, the video tutorial once before trying to follow the written pattern may prove helpful to beginner and seasoned crocheters alike.

You will see in the video that I use locking stitch markers. These are available at any yarn shop or craft store that carries knitting and crochet supplies such as your local Michael's or AC Moore or similar stores. I also use them on my lace knitting which you can see HERE. I find them to be the best kind of marker for crocheting because they open and close which makes it possible to attach them directly to a stitch, unlike the closed circular markers for knitting which can only be slid on and off the needles. You don't have to use this kind of marker though. You can use any other type of marker that can open and close, or even just a scrap of yarn in a different color, or a paper clip or safety pin. But if you have the chance to make a purchase at a craft shop that carries the locking stitch markers, and you also have a good coupon to use, purchasing a package of these handy helpers would be a good investment in your knitting and crochet tool collection. These would also make a nice stocking stuffer for the budding crocheter or knitter in your family! Just a thought.

A few projects are in the works here at Hooked On Needles. The pink and purple afghan I was working on last week on election day is just about ready to be pieced together. My prize for the Fall into Fall Giveaway which starts October 1st is complete and I am in the process of writing up the pattern for it which will also be made available on the same date. I have signed up for a few fun Christmas swaps which you may have noticed on my sidebar, plus another which is not on my sidebar. So I am keeping myself plenty busy while my little ones are in school. I hope your fall season is shaping up to be productive and enjoyable too!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Easy Single Crochet Afghan ~ Video Tutorial

It's that time of year again...no, this is not a Chipmunk's Christmas song!...what I mean is that the temperatures are starting to drop and it's getting to be the time of year when having a cozy crochet project to keep your lap warm would be a good thing. But even at other times of the year, the easy single crochet afghan pattern I'm going to share with you here in a video is a great one to keep handy for a quick baby blanket or to use up leftover yarns from other projects.

The really great thing about this pattern is that it doesn't matter how much yarn you have. You just keep crocheting until the yarn is gone, then you're finished! HERE is an afghan I made recently using this pattern. I used up nine leftover skeins of yarn, ending up with a very cozy, generously sized afghan which is now for sale in my Etsy shop.


Easy Single Crochet AfghanThis is the cozy afghan that I worked on during this past summer, working this simple pattern to use up yarn that was taking up much needed space in my sewing room cabinet.


Crochet pattern sampleAnd this is the sample that I made in the following video tutorial. Grab some leftover yarn and your favorite crochet hook along with four stitch markers and crochet along with me to see how easy it is! If you need to brush up on your chain stitch or single crochet, you can click HERE for a list of my other video tutorials.

Let's start stitching!


video

Once your afghan is as big as you want it, or you run out of yarn, you can stop right there and pull the end of the yarn through your last loop to secure it. Weave it in through the backs of a few stitches going in one direction then back again in the other direction so it won't work its way out, and you're finished!

Or you can do what I did on this afghan below...

Reverse Single Crochet Border...I saved enough yarn to work a reverse single crochet stitch around the outside border just to give it a nice finished look.

This pattern can be used with any kind of yarn in any weight. You can use the size hook recommended for that yarn, or you can use a hook that is a size or two larger than recommended so that your stitches will be looser and your piece will work up faster. For a super quick version of this afghan, use some of that really chunky yarn that is so popular right now and a hook one size bigger than recommended. Another option would be to use two different types of yarn held together as one and a large hook such as a size K or even up to a size N. Try different combinations and see what you like!

In my next post, I'll share the written instructions for this pattern so you can print it and take it with you to your favorite cozy crocheting place. See you then!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sneak Peek at an Awesome prize

How did you like that Awesome fabric in my last post? Awesome, right? Well it doesn't look so neat and tidy anymore as I have cut it up and made it into something I think is equally Awesome. Would you like a little sneak peek? You don't have to twist my arm! Here it is...


Sneak Peek at an Awesome prizeOh how I love these fabrics! They look like the fall season here in New England makes me feel, warm and cozy! Just delicious!

Would you like this item in your home this fall? Keep an eye out for the beginning of the Fall into Fall Giveaway on October 1st and you'll have a chance to win it. You may see that little scarecrow dude on other blogs as well which will mean that they are going to be giving away something too. How fun!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall is on its way! Are you ready?

The trees are starting to turn their warm fall colors here in New England and the evening air is getting cool. This is my very favorite time of year. Not long after I began Hooked On Needles, I joined THIS fall giveaway that looked like a lot of fun. Just the other day, I saw that Debi is hosting this same fall giveaway once again, so I jumped right in and signed up for it!

I'm already in the process of making an Awesome fall item as the main prize for my giveaway, and here's a little sneak peek at what I'm using...


What do you think of this collection of fall fabric? Would you say it's Awesome?


You would be right! It's Awesome by Sandy Gervais for Moda. She's one of my very favorite fabric designers. I used her Celebrate Spring fabric line in my Petite Point Flowers Table Runner this past spring and just loved it! I'll be working on a Christmas project soon using her Adoring fabric line too, but you'll have to wait a little while to see that.


Fall into Fall Scarecrow

You can click on the handsome fall scarecrow guy above or over there on my sidebar to get more information about this fun Fall into Fall Giveaway. It starts October 1st and the drawings will all be held on October 15th. Seems like a fun way to start off this season, don't you think?

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Easy Cozy Baby Blanket

My daughter was invited to a friend's baby shower and wanted to give a handmade gift for the new baby. Considering that she is a college student with two part time jobs, she really didn't have the time to crochet a baby blanket in time for the shower. And also considering that she is a college student, she didn't have much money to spend on materials to make a nice gift. So she did what I mentioned yesterday that I've been doing lately...she used what she had and made something nice for her friend's baby.

A few summers ago while we were on vacation, Elizabeth had purchased some very cozy fabric that is almost like a cross between chenille and terry cloth with a nice little wave pattern to it. She cut it up into squares and made a blanket that she kept for herself. She also made a little pillow for her little sister Gracie which is a favorite bedtime cuddle companion. But she had some squares left which had been sitting in my sewing room since then. Here's what she did with them...


Easy Cozy Baby BlanketShe laid them out in a design that she liked and stitched them all together to make the top.


Easy Cozy Baby BlanketThen she brought the top down to our new Joann Fabric store and found this flannel that matched the colors perfectly. The fabric was on sale so it cost her less than $4.00 for the piece she needed.


Easy Cozy Baby BlanketShe stitched the two pieces around the edges with right sides together, leaving an opening for turning.


Easy Cozy Baby BlanketThen she turned it and top stitched around the edges again.

She'll run it through the wash before giving it away to remove all the little fuzzies and to cozy up the flannel. Don't you think that's a nice gift for a baby shower?

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm in a Mood ~ and Another Election Day Crochet Project

Have I mentioned recently that a mood or urge or overwhelming desire has overtaken me lately? I'm not really sure what to call it, but the past month or so I have felt compelled to find things in my sewing room that I've had for some time and do something with them. Has this ever happened to you? It's a great feeling for sure. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It is productive and it results in more space for new things, or for nothing at all!

This mood is responsible for a few new items in my Etsy shop: this fabulous Urban Chiks tote bag which I had such fun making, and this very cozy afghan which used up the last of some very cozy yarn I had way over purchased for a wedding gift afghan a few years ago.

The project I am currently crocheting is also a result of this urge to use up. I got it started last week so I would have something productive to bring with me on election day Tuesday. This was a state primary with very few contested races so I knew it would be a quiet day, but I still enjoyed being there from 6:30 in the morning until 8:00 at night, having a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors and work on my project. It will be another week or two before it is finished, but here it is so far...



Thick and cozy crocheted afghanI had purchased eight skeins of each of these two colors on clearance a few years ago so that someday I could make something with them. Well, someday is here! The colors are called Deep Purple and Magenta. The deep purple looks more blue in the pictures, but in person it is quite purple. And the magenta looks a bit muted in the pictures, but it really is quite rich and bright.


Thick and cozy crocheted afghanThis is my stack of squares so far...ten blocks all the same.


Thick and cozy crocheted afghanThey are made by starting with a chain of 21, then single crocheting 20 stitches in each row with purple for about 5 1/2 inches, then switching to the magenta and single crocheting 3 1/2 inches so that each block is 9 inches square.


Thick and cozy crocheted afghanThis yarn produces very thick and cozy blocks using this single crochet design, so the finished afghan will be very warm and snuggly. It is so so so soft too! I wish you could feel it!


Thick and cozy crocheted afghanThis stair step design is what I originally planned to do with the blocks, and I may still stick with that plan.


Thick and cozy crocheted afghanBut depending on how many blocks I am able to make with the yarn I have, I might lay out something like this with rectangles of each color. I'll have to wait and see what the final block count is and then figure out what design will work best.

So I was able to make quite a few of these blocks on election day and will continue to use up this yarn until the afghan is ready for my shop. By then perhaps this urge will have passed, but I sure hope not since I have so much fabric that could be used for so many things. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Easy Fabric Scrap cardmaking

Have you ever wanted to make a card that would go perfectly with a gift you had made? Here's an easy way to do just that...

Take some scraps of matching or coordinating fabric from your project and decide what parts of it you want to use on your card. Cut them out leaving a generous amount of fabric around what you want to use.

Easy Fabric Scrap cardmakingFor the card I made Shannon to go with my Halloween Tote Bag, I picked out these cute little pumpkin scenes from the fabric I used as the lining on the bag.


Easy Fabric Scrap cardmakingIron pieces of Wonder Under fusible webbing to the wrong side of these pieces, making sure that it extends past where you will cut out your designs.

Trim them to the size needed to fit on your card stock. I used ready made blank cards from the craft store.


Easy Fabric Scrap cardmakingPeel off the backing and fuse the fabric to your card stock following manufacturer's instructions. This little panel was the front of the card.


Easy Fabric Scrap cardmakingAnd these cute little guys were inside the card. Write your message and you're finished! You can see this card along with the other things I sent Shannon by popping over to her website and reading about the fun we had swapping with each other.

This easy card making method works for picture panels of fabric like I used here as well as for simple quilt block designs or cookie cutter shapes or anything else you can think of. You can also stitch pieces of fabric onto card stock using your sewing machine or by hand if you don't want to use the fusible webbing. HERE is another example of a handmade card with stitching on it that I made quite some time ago using a photograph, some card stock and some embroidery floss from my stash. You can browse through my Hand Embroidery link at the top of my sidebar to find a few other examples of fun cards to make.

Tomorrow is election day here in my state so I will be spending the day at my local polling place doing my little election day job. Since this is a state primary, I expect it will be a very slow day, so I will have to be prepared to keep myself busy from 6:30 in the morning until about 8:00 at night. HERE is another project I worked on at a previous election. I'll be bringing the use-it-up crochet project that I started the other day, and also a pad of paper and pencils. The Secret Santa Christmas Swap is well underway and I have been in touch with the person for whom I will be making something. Ideas are brewing in my head for something nice but I need to do some thinking and planning before I start cutting fabric and sewing. Hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow I'll have a few more blocks crocheted and a good idea of how to proceed on my swap gift. I'll be sure to let you know how it went when I return to my regular schedule on Wednesday! See you then!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Halloween Tote Bag ~ Finished!

I just got word that Shannon received her package of Halloween goodies, and saw on her website that she posted a picture of them. So now I can show you the bag I made for her. It's one of my favorites so far! Ready? Let's go!


Halloween Tote Bag ~ Finished! How's that for a colorful tote bag? For the outside shell, I picked out fat quarters from my stash and cut 2 1/2 inch squares of four different colors that I thought were particularly Halloween-ish. Then I sewed them together in a random fashion to form the lower part of the outside. I fused some fleece onto the back and did a zig zag stitch in black over all the seams...sort of reminded me of the stitches on Frankenstein's scars!


Halloween Tote Bag ~ Finished! Since we had to use fabric from our stash to make these bags, I pulled out what little Halloween themed fabric I had and decided that the bag lining would be the perfect place for this fun fabric I had purchased to make the pocket on last year's Halloween apron.


Halloween Tote Bag ~ Finished! I love the cute pumpkin faces and the happy colors in that fabric!


Halloween Tote Bag ~ Finished! The stripe fabric was purchased with the intention of using it for the binding on that same Halloween apron, but I ended up going in a different direction for finishing the edges, so it came in handy for the drawstring closure on this bag. The idea for the top part of the bag was from this lunch bag tutorial over at Pink Penguin, with a few changes for size and such.


Halloween Tote Bag ~ Finished! The cute pumpkin and witch fabric for the top section of the bag was what my Halloween apron was wrapped up in when I received it from my swap partner. You can see it HERE along with the fun apron Micki made for me.

And of course the purple jumbo ric rac just had to be included! I love that stuff!

So that is the bag I made for Shannon. If you want to see all the other goodies I sent her along with it, you can pop over to her website and check them out. One of the things you might notice in her pictures is the card I made to go along with the package. I'll share with you how I made it very soon...it's easy!

Happy Stitching!

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