Hooked on Needles

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Springtime Mug Rug Swap ~ Join the Fun!

I couldn't help it! It's been far too long since I joined in the fun of a mug rug swap, and when I saw this one, I just couldn't resist!

Springtime Flowers Mug Rug Swap

Just click on the swap banner above and read all about it. There is still time to sign up but you need to hurry. Who knows? Maybe we will be partners! I'd love to make you two pretty springtime mug rugs!

Want to see some of the mug rugs I've made for other swaps or just for fun? You can see them HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crocheted Candy Stripes Blanket ~ Going Straight!

This Candy Stripes Blanket that I started crocheting not even a week ago has become my obsession! I live for the moment every evening when I can finally sit down in my cozy chair, cuddle up with a blanket and crochet the evening away! Have you ever had a project that takes you like that? The only problem I can see with this obsession is that it won't last very long at the rate I'm going! Take a look at the pictures and you'll see what I mean...

The width is already determined and you can see on the right side in the above picture that the blanket is no longer getting any wider but has straightened up.

Here you can see the new straight edge that will continue straight until the very last stitch of the blanket.

Now I'll just keep crocheting this pattern, increasing by one block on the long straight edge and not increasing on the short straight edge, until the long straight edge is as long as I want the blanket to be. And then I'll start decreasing until I have only one block left. Then the border and it will be done!

This will be a short-lived obsession, unless I decide to do this same pattern for the next baby blanket on my list! Hmmmm, now there's a thought!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Knitted Entrelac Baby Blanket ~ Finished!

Entrelac knitting was not nearly as complicated as I expected it to be. Have you tried it? I had been intrigued by this technique for years, but was so intimidated by it that I never even gave it a chance. Then I saw this baby blanket kit from Mary Maxim, and it was on a good sale, so I decided this was my opportunity to dabble in this stitch and see what it was all about, besides also getting a little stash of some awesome yarn that I could use even if I didn't like doing entrelac! Click HERE to read more about this entrelac journey. Or continue reading to see how it ends!

The blanket is finally finished, border and all, and here it is...

The border for this blanket is just a little attached i-cord border that gives the edges of the blanket a nice finished look. You can barely notice it in this picture, but it's there!

Here's a close-up of the i-cord border.

Isn't it pretty? This view is from the front.

And this view is from the back side of the blanket. I-cord can be made as wide as you want, but this one is just a 4-stitch i-cord and it is attached to the blanket as you go by picking up one stitch from the edge of the blanket and knitting it together with the last stitch of the i-cord before sliding the stitches back to left needle and knitting the next four stitches.

The instructions included with the pattern were just a bit confusing, saying to pick up all the stitches along one side of the blanket before beginning the i-cord. I tried it and just couldn't get it to work, so I googled how to knit an attached i-cord and viewed several different videos, each showing a different way to knit an attached i-cord. With the information I had picked up from all the videos, I was able to work out my own way to do the border and it worked out just great!

I ended up using two double pointed needles and picking up about 10 stitches at a time from the blanket, knitting the i-cord attached to those 10 stitches, then picking up the next 10 and so on until I was back at the beginning. I found it much easier to manage with only a few stitches at a time.

This project was a great learning experience for me with two new techniques now mastered, entrelac and i-cord knitting. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. You just might be surprised how fun it is, and have a new stitch or technique to add to your knitting/crocheting/crafting resume!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Crocheted Candy Stripes Blanket ~ Finally Started!

My entrelac knitting project is finally finished and my new project is a crocheted baby blanket for one of my nieces who is having her first baby this year! I'll share pictures of the knitted project another day, but today I'm so excited to show you this new crochet project! The yarn is just divine and the colors are so much fun, not to mention the very satisfying stitch pattern for this blanket. Keep reading and see what you think of this project...

This is a Mary Maxim kit called Candy Stripes that I purchased not too long ago, complete with printed pattern and all the yarn needed to make the blanket. I chose the Gumball colorway of their Lollipop yarn for my afghan because I thought the colors were just so much fun and perfect for a baby blanket! The yarn is a medium worsted weight and 100% acrylic so it will be easy to wash and dry, a very important feature for what will surely become baby's favorite blanket!

This pattern is so easy to do, made up of double crochets and chains. It starts off at one corner, adding a block at each end of each row until it is as wide as you want it, then you decrease each row back down to the opposite corner. I love patterns that start in a corner because they seem to get going so quickly. Sometimes you just need a little instant gratification!

In this close-up, you can see how each row of blocks alternates the direction of the double crochet stitches with the row next to it, giving the fabric somewhat of a basketweave look.

And in this close-up, you can see the wonderful texture the stitch pattern gives to the blanket. Combined with the fabulous contrast between the bright colors and the white, this will be a very stimulating visual and tactile experience of complete coziness for this lucky little baby!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Entrelac Baby Blanket is Off the Needles!

It's not quite finished just yet, but I was able to lay it flat and get some pictures before I started working on the border! Take a look and see how big and cozy it is...

Last night, I was able to finish the little fill-in triangles along the top edge of the blanket and take it off the needles. So I thought it would be a good time to get a few pictures and just ponder the glorious texture and color in this fun design. Now all that is left to do is the border. According to the pattern, it seems to be some kind of a rope-like border where you pick up stitches along the length of one edge, then you knit something like an i-cord all the way across the length. I have not started it yet, but have only just read through the instructions, so I won't really be sure of how to do it until I actually Do It! I'm looking forward to learning another new technique in working the border, after thoroughly enjoying learning the entrelac technique for the blanket.

Updates, of course, will be posted!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

My pattern giveaway is now closed, and since only four people entered, I have decided to send each person the pattern of her choice as mentioned in her comment. So Robin and Meredith, please email me so that I can email your pattern to you! Thank you for entering and for your kind words! I do hope you all enjoy your patterns!

I've been busy embroidering my daughter's Irish step dancing dress for this season, and her first show is tomorrow evening. Not two hours ago, I put the final chain stitch in the pretzel design at the hem of the dress! That is cutting it way too close for my comfort! But it's done and she is very happy with it. I will post pictures soon.

The entrelac knitted baby blanket I've been working on is almost ready for the border...woo hoo, I'm so excited about this project, I can't even stand it! This my Evening Relaxation project, and I am just loving every single stitch of it! I will also post new pictures of this project when time permits.

Just wanted to let you all know that my hands are staying busy, if not with my website, at least with my needlework! I hope yours are too!

Happy Stitching!

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