Repurposed Bath Towel Blanket

When I was in high school, with my first car, okay a small truck, I had an “always prepared” bag behind the seat. The bag contained a coat, snow gloves, a blanket, a bathing suit, sun block, and a towel. Not exactly the same “always prepared” that I would think of today, but at the time you never knew what plans might arise for after school (especially if I had a day off work). It might be a trip to the mountains to play in the snow, or it could be a day at the river…really depends on the season and the weather, but I was prepared.

Well, several years have gone by since then, but I still attempt to keep “prepared” kit in my vehicle…no longer my cute little truck that I would take 4 wheeling, but my much more practical Subaru Outback…I still refuse to admit it might be a station wagon. My kit now has some granola bars, napkins and wet wipes, a flashlight, and I still have a blanket. I find that this blanket has many good uses, and can even still fit in some spontaneity, like a quick picnic in the park, or what is more likely a fast food dinner during archery practice. The blanket also helps when the kids are tired, or someone is cold. It covers the seats when the dog goes to the vet, or is rolled into a ball to give the driver some more support for resting their arm on the console.

Repurposed bath towel blanket. Www.lindadeancrochet.com

Repurposed Bath Towel blanket

This blanket has been replaced over the years, and one way I like to feel that I have a blanket that is really a second life is to make one. When bath towels wear out, become a bit thread barren, or simply have too many holes, I cut them into squares. As long as the squares are the same size, that is all that matters. I then crochet an edge around the squares. I then join all the squares together, I could sew or seem them, but I prefer to crochet them together. I find that the terry cloth a nice fabric for a blanket of the necessity, but just be mindful of ensuring that you slightly roll the edge of the fabric when crocheting the edge around it, this helps to reduce the initial fraying.

Give it a try next time you have a towel that has seen better days, and create your own blanket to be prepared with.

Simple Basket- Crochet for A Difference

There are various ways that crochet impacts organizations and individuals every day. I have always tried to use my crochet ability to make a local impact, so I want to share a crochet stitch and inspire you to Crochet For A Difference.

I have stated it in past posts, that crochet specialty stitch pattern names really are not known universally, but in order to make it clear about the stitch I am discussing I have to give it a name, so I want to share the Simple Basket Stitch Pattern with you.

Front post double crochet www.lindadeancrochet.com

Where to work a Front Post Double Crochet, insert the hook around the post.

This stitch pattern is worked in double crochet with the only variation being the Front Post Double Crochet. This Front Post stitch can seem intimidating, but essentially it is the same double crochet that you have always worked it is just in a different location. To work this stitch you begin with a yarn over and insert the hook around the body or post of the next stitch from the front to the back and then to the front again, and then work it as a regular double crochet by working a yarn over then pulling it through, then yarn over again and pull through two loops, twice.

To work the Simple Basket you need to create chain that is a multiple of 4, then add 2 more chains.

Row 1: Work a double crochet in each chain across, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, [front post double crochet in the next 2 stitches, double crochet in the next 2 stitches] repeating across until 1 stitch remains, double crochet in the last stitch, turn.

Simple Basket Stitch www.lindadeancrochet.com

Simple Basket Stitch

Repeat Row 2 until you have reached the desired length.

To help visually understand where each stitch goes so that you do not have to worry about counting, essentially if the stitch you are working into appears to be pushed forward then work a front post double crochet, if the stitch you are working into appears to be pushed away from you work it as a double crochet stitch.

The texture created gives a great visual as well as esthetic feel. It has a nice loft to it that really helps the stitch feel like it is harder than it is. This can create a great blanket that you may consider to donate to a homeless shelter. It is estimated that any given night in the United States that over 600,000 people were experiencing homelessness only 17% of those are consider chronically homeless (source greendoors.org). Meaning that a great percentage of those experiencing homeless on any given night, are in a short term housing situation and a simple blanket can make a difficult time a little more bearable. Find one in your community here.

Pinwheel Blanket- A Work of Many Ideas

The Pinwheel Blanket is one that takes a little different approach then I usually do; it is comprised of small motifs that make a larger motif, then joined together. I will admit, I usually think a little more simplistic, I have a motif and that motif gets joined to other motifs, so making a motif out of motifs…well that is like an ah ha moment.

Pinwheel Blanket www.lindadeancrochet.com

Pinwheel Blanket Crochet Now Issue 10

I did not make this realization on my own, I had help. I often believe the best designs come out of a collaboration, ideas always grow when you listen to others…sometimes for the better, like this one. I had worked the smaller motifs together, mostly to see how they looked joined together as I think the join point creates a really interesting effect. It was the editor of Crochet Now that mentioned that the block created looked great just as they were and should be treated like motifs, this allows the join point to become a highlight.

This collaboration has opened my eyes to many different attachment and joining, sometimes it just takes a different view to open up a new world.

So about Pinwheel Blanket, the initial small motif is only comprised of three rounds, so it works up quickly. It grew from a flower, and I feel it has a floral feel. It is at the join point that I see the pinwheel, with a feeling of the whirly-gigs I have seen in the garden. So I guess in a sense this throw has a garden feel for me. With flowers and whirly-gigs it does have an outdoor feel, and even the colors are bright like flowers.

Each small motif is joined to create a square that is the bordered with a main color and joined to other squares, this creates a patchwork and rustic charm while in keeping with garden feel. This is a great project that can be worked as a portable, take on the go and create a fabulous blanket. Check this design in Issue 10 of Crochet Now.

Big Squeeze by Ancient Arts- A Lofty Experience

I have played with a lot of yarn over the years, but I do not think that I have ever found a yarn that is so forgiving, or as “squishy” as Ancient Arts Big Squeeze.

This yarn is 100% Superwash Merino, as a result it will not felt or shrink but has a very soft feel. The way this yarn is spun it has a great loft to it, and this has a couple of benefits. Not only is it forgiving in the stitches, and adjusting well for uneven tension, but it also holds more air making it warmer.

Ancient Arts Yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Ancient Arts Yarn Big Squeeze color Frolic

This bulky weight yarn comes in a skein size of 127 yards (116 meters), which is comparable to other skeins of this weight, and one skein can easily complete a scarf or hat project. With the larger yarn, it garners a need for a larger hook a J/10/6.00mm will give you a pretty dense fabric, and you may prefer working with a hook size of at least K/10 ½ /6.5mm or greater.

The smooth even ply of this yarn also gives great stitch definition so it makes your stitches the star of the show, even though it comes in over 125 brilliant colors.

I feel this yarn will work up nicely in any home décor, simple accessory, or outer wear garment project. Due to the weight and lofty, it is obviously not the choice for small delicate items (in either look or feel). I also would not necessarily recommend it for projects that have a lot of fine detail, as the large bulk and hook make the details almost disappear.

My overall impression of this yarn is that I could just wrap myself in it and it would be a pillow and a blanket, maybe an all in one cocoon, which I could happily go about my day. It is a dream to work with.

Crochet For a Difference- Stacked Clusters

Crocheters often have a desire, or a need to help others…at least in my experiences, and there are so many ways to Crochet for a Difference. I have found various local opportunities that can benefit from the handiwork skills of crochet and am sharing some stitch ideas and some organizations for you to make a difference in your local community.

I don’t really buy into the “crochet stitch names” kind of thing, meaning, unlike knitting that has an understanding that “garter stitch” is nothing but knitting every stitch, I don’t feel that there is anything that really fits this in crochet. If I call something a “popcorn”, all I am essentially saying is that it is a group of stitches that are joined at the top and bottom of the stitch…I am not telling you how many, or where the stitch is worked, there are just to many variables to be consistent over all the possibilities. So with that said, I have to have some way to differentiate from the stitches I want to share, thus they will have names, but keep in mind my names may not match what another designer may refer to the set of stitch patterns.

So I will refer to this stitch pattern as the Stacked Clusters.

A Cluster stitch is basically where the base of many stitches are worked into the same point, but are finished together as one stitch, in a manner of speaking, like a decrease worked in the same location.

For this stitch pattern the Cluster (Cl) stitch will be worked as follows: [Yarn over, insert hook into indicated stitch, Yarn over, pull through a loop, Yarn over pull through 2 loops] three times, there will be 4 loops on hook, yarn over and pull through all 4 loops.

Stacked Clusters www.lindadeancrochet.com

Stacked Clusters

Row 1: Create a chain that is a multiple of two, single crochet in the second chain from hook, [chain 1, skip 1 chain, single crochet in next chain] repeat across, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, [Cl in chain-1 space, chain 1] repeat across, double crochet in last stitch, turn.

Row 3: Chain 1, single crochet in same stitch, [chain 1, skip 1 stitch, single crochet in next stitch] repeat across, turn.

Repeat Rows 2 & 3 until desired length.

For some more fun with this stitch, use two colors and change colors every row. Leave long tails when changing yarn and create fringe as you work.

Consider creating a lap size blanket and donating it to a local dialysis center. People receiving medical treatments such as dialysis, sit for an extended period of time, and often this alone can make anyone feel cold. Find a dialysis center near you…here.