Hooked on Needles

Monday, February 28, 2011

Knitted Mittens for Grace

The knitted mittens I started for Grace not too long ago are finished. I made them to match the hat my mother crocheted for her, so now she has a matched set. Not to sound like a mean mother, but I do hope she does not have too many more occasions to wear them this season! I've had it with winter this year! And I usually love winter.

Anyway, here are Grace's red mittens...

The pattern for these mittens is a very basic one from a very old knitting pattern book from the 60s, sticker price $1.50...isn't that funny? What's funny is that I am from the 60's but I don't consider myself very old! Even funnier are the styles featured in the book. But classic mittens like this never go out of style! So if you run across old pattern books at yard sales, flip through them for classic patterns that you might like. Can't beat the price! I got this book from the big clean out of my mother-in-law's stuff after she passed away many years ago. I was the only knitter in the family so I got all the patterns, needles, yarn and other gadgets she had.

The yarn I used is from Hobby Lobby, their I Love This Yarn brand, which I had never used before because we don't have Hobby Lobby around here. I really did love this yarn too! It is sport weight and was so nice to work with.

After I finished the mittens, I had some left so I grabbed a crochet hook and used it all up on that little roll in between the mittens. I'll show you that little project next time.

I've been sitting in front of the fire all afternoon, working on my current crochet project which I'll show you soon too, and being very grateful for all of us being healthy once again and not having to go out into the cold, wet, white mess that is outside...not until tomorrow anyway, when school resumes for the kids and hopefully life will be back to normal around here!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Layer Cake Quilt Along - Block Nine

After a whole week of dealing with sickness for three of us, myself included, I feel like we are finally on the mend. I spent quite a lot of time sitting in my chair so lots of crocheting has been accomplished. I'll show you what I made soon.

Today I just have a quick show and tell for you...Block 9 of the Layer Cake Quilt Along. I was feeling well enough the other day to spend some time down in my sewing room and here's what I put together...

Layer Cake Quilt Along - Block NineThe pattern for this block offered four different layouts for the nine patches in the block and this is the one I liked best.

Layer Cake Quilt Along - Block NineI love the purple swirly fabric next to the yellow floral fabric...a very springy combination.

You can see lots of other variations of all these quilt blocks at the Layer Cake Quilt Along Flickr group which can be found HERE.

I hope your household is well and looking forward to spring! I sure am!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crossed Double Crochet Version 2 ~ A Video Tutorial

My last video tutorial on the Crossed Double Crochet stitch, found HERE, was a very open and almost lacy version of the stitch.

Today I'm going to show you another way to work the same stitch, crossed double crochet, only this time there will be no spaces between the stitches so the resulting fabric is more dense and solid. Here's what it looks like...

Crossed Double Crochet with no spaceOn this sample, I also worked a row of single crochet between each row of crossed double crochet so that the right side of the crossed double crochet stitches would all be on the same side of the work.

Here's the video showing how to work this stitch...

There are lots of different ways you can incorporate this stitch into your crochet design, so if you're looking for an interesting change in your work, add a row of crossed double crochet, either with spaces or without, and see how you like it.

If you are looking for an even more solid look to this stitch, try using a smaller hook or larger yarn for a thick and chunky effect. But if you're after a lacier look, try a bigger hook or smaller yarn and add a few spaces between each set of crossed double crochet. Play around with it and see what fun combinations you can come up with for your next scarf, shawl or blanket.

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In Project

Last night was the Friday Night Sew-in that I joined for the first time. I thought it was last Friday night and posted about working on this custom tote bag and this crocheted wedding gift afghan, which I would have done anyway, so it's all good!

Last night didn't go quite as planned. I did get to work on something...

Modern Siggy Swap quilt...but it wasn't this. This is the quilt I am making from the Modern Siggy Swap blocks I received last year from Rachel's block swap. I had enough blocks to make a small quilt top which will finish into a nicely sized wall hanging for my sewing room. I only had one block leftover, which I decided should be the one I made, and I will use it on the back of the quilt for the label. You can see the blocks I made for this swap HERE.

Modern Siggy Swap quiltI had started working on the quilting yesterday afternoon, just stitching around each 4-triangle square, but didn't get it finished and didn't get back to it until this afternoon. I'll share pictures of it again once it is finished. You can see Rachel's block right there in the lower middle part of the above picture.

Graces knitted mittens in progressSo here's what I worked on last night before my night took a turn for the worse. I'd like to say I made the completed mitten, but that would not be true! I finished that one a few days ago. Last night I started the second mitten for my little Grace to match the crocheted hat my mother had made for her. I was happy that I was able to get the 18 rows of ribbing done. And that's it for the Friday Night Sew-in this time around!

My older daughter spent a good portion of the evening in the emergency room and found out that she has pneumonia. And I spent most of the rest of the night with my son who is 8 years old and was sick sick sick all night long. Poor guy! He looked a bit better this morning, but just a few minutes ago woke up from a much needed nap and was sick again. I guess his tummy couldn't handle that toast he had for lunch. I really hate it when my kids are sick. I'd much rather be the sick one than to see them go through all that. What a way to start his school vacation week!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Crocheted Wedding Gift Afghan ~ Complete!

This is the time of year when I love to have a big crochet project going so that I can sit and relax in the evening and keep my lap nice and warm! Well, my most recent project is finished and ready to be mailed to my niece and her new husband. I do hope they like it and that it keeps them warm for many years to come. My lap will need to find something else to keep it warm now!

Crossed Double Crochet AfghanYou may recognize it from the tutorial I just posted about how I trim my fringe.

Crossed Double Crochet AfghanI saw this afghan kit on my favorite online yarn craft store, Mary Maxim, before Christmas and fell in love with it immediately. I looked at it in their catalog and on their website, trying to figure out how the stitch pattern was made. Once it became available to order, I jumped at the chance and ordered it right away.

Crossed Double Crochet AfghanIf you're looking for an easy and fun afghan pattern, you might want to check this one out over at Mary Maxim and give it a try. Once I worked the pattern stitch about two times, I never had to look at the pattern again, except to get the colors in the right order. It's clever and easy and so pretty! And here's a bonus...you don't even have to weave in any of the ends, which is the worst part of making an afghan with so many color changes!

The yarn that came with the kit is Red Heart Super Saver, which I had not been too happy with using on the last few projects I made with it. But I must say I was quite pleased with the quality of these skeins of yarn that I received with this kit. It was all top quality, with no bad spots of yarn that was too thick or too thin, and only one skein had a tied break in the yarn. Perhaps Red Heart listened to customers who complained about poor quality control in the past few years and has tightened up on that. I do hope so because you just can't beat Red Heart for long lasting, sturdy yarns in great colors.

I have received a request for a tutorial on how to do double knotted fringe, so that's on my to do list and will hopefully be coming up soon, along with a few more ways to use crossed double crochet in your projects.

Happy Stitching!

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How to Trim Afghan Fringe ~ A Tutorial

Have you ever tried to trim the fringe on an afghan evenly with a pair of scissors? It reminds me of the few times I've tried to trim my children's hair...just a little over here...oh then a little over there...oops, now it's uneven so a little more over here...and a little more over there....and before you know it, not even the best hair dresser in the world can fix it!

This won't help with trimming children's hair. I'd suggest just calling the professionals from the beginning on that one. But here's a quick tutorial on a fast and easy way to get perfect fringe every time. Take a look!

Lay the afghan on your cutting mat (or your friend's cutting mat ~ everyone knows someone who has a cutting mat!) and use your fingers to comb the fringe so that it is straight and neat. To trim the entire edge of this afghan at one time, I folded it in half so I would be cutting two layers of fringe at once.

Put your straight edge onto the fringe so that the cutting edge of it is even with the shortest piece of yarn in the fringe. For mine, this meant that the 4 inch line on my straight edge would be just below the fringe knots. I made a note of that so I could cut the fringe on the other end the same length.

You can't see it in the picture because I only have two hands and one was holding the camera, but you will want to use your left hand to hold the edge of the ruler down hard against the fringe where you will be cutting. Start cutting from the bottom edge and as you go up, move your left hand up the ruler so that you get a nice tight layer of yarn to cut.

Cut all the way up and through all layers of the fringe.

Gather up the cut edges of the fringe into a nice pile and admire that nice straight edge of fringe left on your afghan.

Now turn the afghan over and do the same for the fringe on the opposite edge.

Click HERE for a quick tutorial on how to make fringe.

I'll have pictures of this completed afghan to show you next time, and coming up soon will be another video tutorial on crossed double crochet.

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mug Rug Swap ~ Goodies Coming and Going!

Making these little quilted mug rugs can be quite addicting! They are quick and fun and a great outlet for creative instant gratification! If you haven't tried making one yet, gather up some scraps and give it a try.

Yesterday in the mail, I received my swap package from Kelly over at A Plain Path. These little mug rugs are just beautiful, and so bright and cheerful and fun. Take a look...

Mug Rug Swap ~ Goodies Coming and Going!Kelly used the fabric line called Canning Day from Connecting Threads for these two little rugs. I've always loved their fabric and this line in particular, so she chose well!

Mug Rug Swap ~ Goodies Coming and Going!And the two designs are just lovely. Hexies are something I have not yet tried myself and I admire anyone who attempts them. Kelly's are perfect! I especially love the little row of half-hexies on the edge. Very creative!

Mug Rug Swap ~ Goodies Coming and Going!The backing and binding fabric is fun too. Just look at those cute little apples! Thanks Kelly!

Mug Rug Swap ~ Goodies Coming and Going!This is the package I'll be sending to my swap partner this week. My two little mug rugs that I've shown before, plus a couple of fat quarters in colors she said she likes along with a few packages of some yummy hot chocolate. My partner is from right here in the United States, but I won't say where. I will, however, say that some international swappers are closer to me than she is! She is just about as far away as she could be from me while still being inside the country! I hope she enjoys her little package when it arrives.

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Custom Tote/Library Bag for Anne

So I'm sitting here shivering from having just come inside after taking these pictures, and thinking how nice it would be if I were in the scene pictured on this tote bag I just made for Anne...

Custom Tote/Library Bag for AnneAnne had approached me before Christmas about making her a tote bag to carry books in. She had a definite idea of what she wanted for fabric, so she picked that out herself.

Custom Tote/Library Bag for AnneShe said the canvas fabric reminded her of where she and her husband met in Hawaii. I have to say that sewing this fabric with these tropical scenes did nothing to warm me up! It's still only 20 degrees here today with snow everywhere you look! How I'd love to be sitting under those palm trees right now!

Anyway, Anne wanted one wide, long, padded strap, so I used the soft fabric for the underside of the strap and the canvas for the upper side, and added a layer of batting in between the two with lots of quilting lines along the whole length of the strap. I also made the outside lower part of the bag all from the canvas so it would be more durable and provide four generous pockets on the outside. This canvas is outdoor upholstery fabric so it is water resistant and should wear very well.

Custom Tote/Library Bag for AnneOn the inside of the bag, I added a pocket on each side to keep little things like pens or notebooks or keys. I also added a magnetic snap at the top to keep the bag from flopping open.

This bag measures 13 by 5 inches on the rectangular bottom and is 14 inches from top to bottom, so a very generous size for toting books to the library or to class.

So this was one of my Friday Night Sew-in projects I worked on last night. The other is the wedding gift afghan I have been working on every night. I have one more color stripe to do before putting on the fringe, so I'll be showing that to you very soon!

Have a great weekend. I hope you are somewhere warm!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Layer Cake Quilt Along - Block Eight

Can't believe we're on Block 8 of the Layer Cake Quilt Along already. This one was quick and easy. It's the disappearing 9-patch design, so there are several different ways it can be done. I chose to use three fabrics in two colors and arrange the 9-patch quarters in a way that would create a sort of pinwheel in the middle. Take a look...

Layer Cake Quilt Along - Block EightCan you tell which fabric was the middle square of the 9-patch before it was cut into quarters?

Layer Cake Quilt Along - Block EightYep, it was the swirly blue fabric! This is such a fun and versatile quilt block, one that I have made for two different swaps. The first was a block swap back in 2009, and the second was the red and aqua block swap I was part of a few months later. I have used the blocks from the first swap already in this scrappy quilt that I donated to our local CareNet, but I have yet to lay out and sew up the red and aqua blocks. That will be a project for another time!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In ~ Sounds like fun to me!

I just signed up for my first Friday Night Sew-In over at Crafty Vegas Mom Bobbi's website. If you want to sign up too, just click this button...

Friday Night Sew In
Pretty much like every evening here at Hooked On Needles, once the kids are in bed and I've checked my email, this Friday night I will settle into my cozy chair and work on a crochet project. I am this close to finishing the Reflections Afghan. It is so fun and easy to make and I love the fact that there will be no weaving in of ends when I'm finished. The ends just get worked into the fringe on both ends of each color row! How clever! I'll share pictures Saturday on the Friday Night Sew-in Flickr group and here too.

Soon I'll be sharing another crochet video tutorial on crossed double crochet which will be a little different than the first one I did recently. This stitch has so many possibilities and can be used for lots of lovely things.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crossed Double Crochet - a video tutorial

Finally a new crochet video tutorial to add to my collection! This one is called Crossed Double Crochet and is such a pretty stitch. Take a look at this sample...

Crossed Double Crochet...only four little rows of three repeats each, but you can see that it would be a perfect crochet stitch for a scarf or wrap with its lacy look and pretty little holes.

Crossed Double CrochetAnd this crossed double crochet pattern only uses two basic stitches, the chain stitch and the double crochet! Easy peasy! Just click on the colored words if you need to brush up on either of the stitches.

Below is a short video showing how to do this design from beginning to end. After the video, you will also find the written instructions for this stitch. So grab a hook and some scrap yarn and give it a try along with me. You'll love it! I promise!

So now that you've seen how easy it is to work this crossed double crochet design, here is the written pattern in case you have to refer back to it.

Crossed Double Crochet

Beginning chain needs to be a multiple of 3 stitches, plus 2 more.

Row 1: dc in 7th ch from hook, ch 1, 1 dc in 5th ch from beginning (so go backwards two chains and cross this stitch in front of the first dc), *skip next 2 unworked chains, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc in first skipped ch*, repeat from * to *, 1 dc in last ch. Ch 4, turn.

Row 2: sk first 2 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in last skipped dc, *sk 1 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in skipped dc*, repeat from * to *, 1 dc in 3rd ch of turning ch, ch 4, turn.

Repeat Row 2 until project is complete.

I'm working on a crochet project right now that uses the crossed double crochet design, only in a little bit different way than is shown here. There are many ways you can use this stitch, so I'll be showing you a few different ideas on how to incorporate this stitch into your projects and some of the different effects you can get from it.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Quilted Mug Rug Coasters for Diane

Here's my latest 'quilting for hire' project that I just finished...a set of quilted mug rug coasters that will be for Diane's mother. I hope she likes them!

Quilted Mug Rug CoastersThese little quilted coasters are 5 inches square.

Quilted Mug Rug CoastersI'm not a huge fan of brown, but I must say I love the brown in these mug rugs.

Quilted Mug Rug CoastersI made this bigger mug rug with some of the leftover fabric.

Quilted Mug Rug CoastersIt measures 5 inches by 10 inches. It might go in the package to my Mug Rug Swap partner, or I might put it in my Etsy shop. I haven't decided yet. But I do know that making mug rugs or quilted coasters is a great way to use up small bits of leftover fabric for something useful and decorative. If you haven't tried it, you should!

Coming up soon here at Hooked On Needles will be something I haven't posted in quite a while - a new crochet video tutorial! I filmed it this morning and I'll edit it tonight. So hopefully tomorrow or the next day, you'll be able to learn how to do the crossed double crochet stitch with your own private tutor - me! It's a very pretty stitch that would make a lovely shawl, scarf or wrap. So be on the lookout for that.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy Siggy Block Tutorial

Siggy Block swaps are so fun to participate in because you get to make some number of your own blocks, sign them with your name and hometown, and then mail them to the host. The host then organizes all the blocks into piles so that each participant receives one block from everyone in the swap.

When I did Rachel's Modern Siggy Swap last January, I really enjoyed following her tutorial and then receiving 100 different blocks also made from her tutorial. You can see my blocks HERE. Isn't that fun fabric?

So anyway, I got into another siggy swap recently and there were only two requirements for the blocks. They had to be 4 1/2 inches square unfinished, and the middle signature section had to be white. That was it. So at first I thought I would use Rachel's tutorial again and do the diagonal signature section. But then I decided I wanted to do something quick and easy. I also wanted to use up scraps that I had already.

This is how I made my siggy blocks - a quick and easy tutorial...

Easy Siggy Block TutorialNOTE: This method can be done using a regular cutting guide and rotary cutter instead of the tool I used. It just won't be quite as quick!

Using my new Shape Cut Slotted Ruler, I cut 2-inch strips from some leftover scrap fabric and also from some white yardage that I still had even after using a bunch of it for my Postage Stamp Quilt! The scrap fabric was what I used for my Eat Play Sleep Repeat quilt from a few months ago. I had some very small strips of the red and yellow leftover, and some bigger pieces of the blue and green. So I used up the red and yellow first, then cut what I needed off the blue and green.

Easy Siggy Block TutorialThen I stitched the scrap fabric onto each side of the white strips and pressed the seam allowances towards the scrap fabric.

Easy Siggy Block TutorialYou can see here that I just kept adding the smaller scraps onto the white strips and didn't worry about how they would line up with the fabric on the other side. Remember, this is a quick and easy way to make these blocks!

Easy Siggy Block TutorialSince the finished size had to be 4 1/2 inches, I folded up each strip to fit under my Shape Cut ruler. I lined up the middle white section so that it took up three of the half-inch sections on the ruler. Then I cut off the quarter inch sections from each side by running my rotary cutter straight down the slots at each end of the strip. This gave me perfect 4 1/2 inch wide strips.

Easy Siggy Block TutorialThen I laid out each strip and, again using my Shape Cut ruler, quickly cut each strip into 4 1/2 inch squares.

Easy Siggy Block Tutorial When I came to a section where the scrap fabric strips ended, I just squared up the strip again at the next spot where there was scrap fabric on both sides of the white.

Easy Siggy Block TutorialIn a jiffy, I had 30 perfect 4 1/2 inch siggy blocks, all ready for my signature.

If you haven't used one of these Shape Cut Slotted Rulers yet, and you find yourself cutting lots of strips as in this tutorial, I would highly recommend grabbing a coupon for your local craft store and picking one of these up. You will not believe the time savings, and also how accurate your cutting will be. I am certain that the use of this new tool is what made my postage stamp quilt come together so easily.

Try it! You'll like it!

Happy Stitching!

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