Hooked on Needles

Monday, April 24, 2017

Winter Sewing ~ Easy Ottoman Coverup

Here is another quick and easy sewing project that got done this past winter. My extra large chair-and-a-half that has been used as a backdrop for many photographs here on Hooked On Needles has an extra large ottoman to go with it. It is so super cozy to sink into this chair with a good book or a sleepy little baby. I spent many nights with my little babies sleeping in this chair when they were sick or just needed some extra TLC. In recent years, it has become what we like to call The Nest for our youngest daughter Grace who is now 12 years old. She likes to gather all her Stuff and settle into The Nest to read or crochet or browse Pinterest for her next project. She also had the bad habit of wearing her slippers while Nesting which caused the piping along the edges of the ottoman to wear out and look sloppy. Here is a picture of the ottoman before this quick and easy makeover:

You can see that the fabric covering the piping is all but gone and the rope inside the piping is exposed. The texture on the top of the ottoman is wearing thin as well. Not a great look if you ask me! So I had an idea to make a simple cover for the ottoman and went about the business of finding fabric that was as close a match to the original as possible. I lucked out at my local Joann's in their upholstery section and purchased a generous cut of this cozy fabric. I took a few measurements, hemmed the cut edges to the dimensions I wanted, cut out the corners in squares equal to the height of the ottoman, stitched up the corners and Voila! Here is a freshly covered ottoman looking all sharp and spiffy:

Not bad for a couple hours of time and some upholstery fabric!

Here's a very high-tech diagram of how I did it in case you want to make something similar for yourself. You can click on the picture to make it bigger:

If you want to make a simple cover for something like this, just substitute your own measurements. The size of the piece you will need can be figured by taking the width and adding twice the height to get the finished width of your fabric, and then taking the length and adding twice the height to get the length of your fabric. Add enough to each dimension for hemming the raw edges. Hem the edges, then cut out the corner squares which will measure height by height, in my case 16 by 16 inches. Then sew the two cut sides of each corner square to each other and place your new cover on. That's it!

If you have some fabric leftover and want to make a very simple cover for a throw pillow, click HERE and check out my tutorial for the easiest pillow cover ever. It's even easier than this ottoman cover! Really!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

More Winter Knitting ~ A Special Baby Blanket

After finishing those two Christmas mermaid tail blankets I shared with you recently HERE, I was in the mood to dig out my knitting needles and get started on a longer term project, but not something quite as involved as a sweater. A project that would be easy to set up and keep working on without much thought involved, and that would take longer than a few evenings of knitting. I have already mentioned my love of Craftsy after working up some neck wrap kits from them. Craftsy posted pictures of a luscious looking baby blanket one day that really caught my eye, so I shared it on my facebook page and mentioned how I would love to knit this pattern, but sadly I have no babies in need of blankets. Within minutes I had inquiries, and by the next day, I had ordered the kit and was anxious to get started. It is called Square Within a Square, and it was truly a pleasure to knit. Keep reading and take a look...

The yarn that came with this kit is called Sprightly, which I had never heard of, but it got very good reviews so I was excited to give it a try. This ecru Sprightly yarn is 100% acrylic and so soft and luscious. It was a real pleasure to work with.

The pattern, Square Within a Square, is a simple combination of knits and purls. Once the garter stitch border was done and the pattern was set up using stitch markers, it was a very simple pattern to work without a whole lot of thought. Perfect for relaxing on many cold winter nights while enjoying a movie or visiting with family and friends.

The blanket finished at about 40 inches square, a very generous size for a baby to be able to use for a long time. This particular blanket was delivered last week and will be given as a baptism gift for a baby girl whose two great grandmothers were friends of mine for many years and who have both passed. I know that, if they were still living, they would have pulled out their own knitting needles and made something just as special for this little baby. It was truly an honor to be able to make this blanket in their place.

Have you used your hooks and needles for any long term projects lately? Or do you prefer the instant gratification of quick projects? Next time, I'll show you a very quick project I did recently as a matter of necessity.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

More Winter Knitting ~ Fisherman's Wife

Have you checked out the knit and crochet kits on Craftsy? I've purchased a few myself and have been very happy with the quality of the yarn and the patterns as well as the price.

Last fall, I was on the hunt for a thick and cozy neck wrap pattern that would be quick to make and have just enough detail to be interesting. One day this pattern came up on my Facebook feed and I had to try it!

This one is called Fisherman's Wife and it is a neck wrap with one cable going down the middle. It is made using chunky yarn with a cast on stitch count of only 16. The pattern uses size 15 needles so it works up very quickly.

I liked it so much that I had to make another ...

... and another!

One of these was given as a Secret Santa gift at work, but the other two are still waiting for a home.

I would love to know if you have purchased anything from Craftsy and if you were happy with it, whether it was an online class or a kit or pattern or supplies. So far the yarns I have purchased from them have been quite nice and the patterns well written and easy to follow. I'll share another project from Craftsy soon, and a few other sewing and crochets projects as well.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Happy Spring ~ Well, Not Quite Yet ~ Crocheted Mermaid Tail Blankets

It seems strange to be welcoming you to spring when the last time we visited here at Hooked On Needles it was spectacular New England fall! Welcome to spring anyway! I wish I had a colorful spring-like picture to share with you, maybe daffodils from my garden or even a crocus or two, but we are still under a blanket of white. Not a daffodil or crocus to be found. Winter never really likes to leave us until we are well into spring. But it's a good time to think back on where we've been and what we've been doing since last we met. So here goes...

Last fall, one of my nursing school classmates, AH, asked me to help her figure out the pattern for one of those mermaid tail blankets that are all the rage now. She's the same classmate I talked about last year when I shared some of my nursing school knit and crochet with you. You can read about that HERE if you like. At the same time, one of the moms at the school my children attend asked me to make one of these blankets for her daughter for Christmas, so I had the perfect excuse to buy yarn and dive into the project. The pattern AH wanted to use was THIS ONE which I really liked since it has the appearance of fish scales in the body of the blanket. So that is what we used. The above picture shows the first one that I made for the little girl at school. She's 5 so of course it had to be pink and purple. No question about that!

After I had finished the first mermaid blanket, another friend asked if I could make one for her to give as a Christmas gift, but this one would have to be larger since it would be for an adult. And not just a me sized adult, but a very tall adult, as tall or maybe even taller than my own husband. I am, shall we say, vertically challenged measuring in at about 5 feet, 2 inches so a blanket for a me sized adult would not have been too much bigger than the one I made for the 5 year old since I made that one big enough to be cozy and give her some growing room. But my husband is a whole foot taller than me so any blanket made for him, or someone his height, needs to be considerably longer. So the above picture shows the tall adult version of the same mermaid blanket, requested in the same colors as the first!

The stitch pattern used for the body of this mermaid tail blanket is a simple 5-double crochet scallop and would be a nice pattern to use for a rectangular blanket with no tail attached as it is very warm and cozy. Also once you get the pattern established, it is easy to work and works up quickly.

These two mermaid tail blankets started off my cold weather crocheting last fall with some eye-popping color and pleasing results. I heard through the grapevine that both recipients loved their gifts. In the coming days, I will share some other knitting, crocheting and sewing projects I have worked on since last fall. Now what have you been doing with your hooks and needles? I would love to know!

Happy Stitching!

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