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.

A Really Fun Technique- Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers

Sometimes you have a design where the yarn does all the work, this means that the stitches may be fairly easy, but since the yarn has character the item really looks more difficult than it is. This is true with color pooling projects, like my latest design Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers from Red Heart Yarns.

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers www.lindadeancrochet.com

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers Photo courtesy, Red Heart

Planned Pooling is when you plan your stitches to have the colors of variegated yarns stack up in a desired way. I might be exaggerating slightly about it being completely easy, you do have to pay attention to your tension so that you place the correct color in the correct stitch (Marly Bird has a great video about it here).

So these wristers look great and keep your arms warm, and only take two skeins (one for the argyle, one for the trim). The argyle is worked in what is referred to as a “Moss” or “Linen” stitch, which is simply a single crochet and a chain 1, worked into a chain-1 space. This stitch has a benefit to planned pooling as it is very forgiving with a change in tension. It is necessary to change your tension (either make a stitch tighter or looser) to ensure that the correct color is worked in the correct location.

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers www.lindadeancrochet.com

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers Photo courtesy Red Heart Yarn

It may take a little practice to get the hang of this technique, but then you might become addicted…I have talked to several people that once they finally discovered how to make the planned pooling work, had to try it with every color variegated yarn they could find, just to see if they could get that yarn to pool too.

The wristers are worked as a rectangle then seemed, then the trim is added. If you need the wristers to fit a wider arm you simply work the rectangle longer, if you want the wristers to fit your arm longer then you work the trim wider. Making it an easy to customize pattern. The added bonus to this pattern, besides it being free, is that it is available in a free e-book with 9 planned pooling patterns….and did you notice that my design is gracing the cover? Yes, I think that is kind of cool.

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.

Crochet- More Than One Use

ScannedImageIn my home we have limited birthday parties. My kids have a family party every year, where they get to set the menu for dinner and we share the meal with any extended family that can attend. However, we have an agreement that when they turn 10 they can have a party with friends, at 13 they can have a sleepover party.

So as I am now dealing with my agreement to have a birthday party with friends, I actually undertake some crochet. Over the years my kids have attended many birthday parties, and they often come home with little gift bags full of trinkets and candy and this got me thinking. How often do I just throw out these gift bags full of empty candy wrappers, can I create something a little different, a little more practical…well I think I have.

1208160925

Scrap yarn hats as gift bags

I have taken some scrap yarn and created small hats, kid sized, and used them as gift bags. So after the party and all the treats have been eaten the guest have a hat to keep their heads warm or play a little dress up.

It may be a little time consuming, but I think it is worth it. My kids actually really like the idea, and find it fun that everyone can have a different color and a different style. Well at least so far my kids still appreciate my playing with yarn.

I do not have or follow a pattern, I just create a flat circle until it is about 6” to 6 ½“ (15-16.5mm) in diameter, and then stop increasing until it is about 7” (18mm) from the center to edge- the radius. I use a verity of stitches, whatever might tickle my fancy at the moment. Then I fill them with candies and toys to share with my children’s guests.

A Dragonfly for Change in the New Year

ScannedImageBeing the end of the year, I usually find it as a time of reflection. This year is no different, however as I was taking a count of the number of designs I created in 2015 I realize I have been busy…and I am not done yet. In 2015 I completed 32 designs (you can see some of them here), some for magazines, some for yarn companies, and some for my personal pattern store, but I want to add one more.

IMG_7351.1

Dragonfly Shawl

I am happy to release my latest pattern, available in my pattern stores on-line, The Dragonfly Shawl. So, I gave it the name of Dragonfly, as to me I see the edge panels as rows of dragonflies flying outward. Now I have not always thought of this little ancient insect, but since my wedding, several years ago, it has become a bit a totem representing that day for me.

I had an outdoor wedding, having the ceremony next to a pond in an apple orchard, and as I walked down the aisle I was surrounded by dragonflies. They beautifully danced me down the lawn to my husband. At the time I had guest comment on the dragonflies as bringing luck and magic to my life, yet looking up a simple search I see that many believe the dragonfly means change. What a great symbol for a new chapter in my life, as well as a New Year, so I feel it is fitting for this new design.

Scan_20151229

My wedding

This shawl was worked with only one skein of Blue Heron Cotton Rayon Twist Lace Yarn in the color of Bluegrass, and I actually had some left over. I love when a design works up this way, as it means that there is no extra ends to work in, no joining to worry about, I can just begin and finish in one complete clean piece. It is worked from the center of the top edge outward, ending with an airy scallop fans. The size is very generous, and the drape is fabulous.

IMG_7355.1

Dragonfly Shawl

If you are so inclined, please check out the pattern, or pass it along to friend (you can find it on Ravelry & Craftsy), and I will keep busy throughout 2016 creating more…now 33 complete means I was working up a new design every 11 days, and amazingly I did not feel that busy…guess I have room to complete even more next year.