Monday, March 22, 2010

Granny Square Afghan

It has taken me most of the winter to crochet this granny square afghan. It is made from washable Merino wool, which is so soft and so warm, but very expensive. I purchased the yarn from Knit Picks. It is the swish DK yarn in nutmeg and heather lemongrass.

It took me about half an hour to crochet each granny square. Then I sewed them together using a yarn needle. When you sew them together you place the right side together and whip stitch through only the outside loops. The way I tell which is the right side and which is the wrong side, is that the right side puffs out farther. Also the stitching is more prominent along the edge of the wrong side.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Organizing Your Yarn Stash

When my second son left for college, I finally had a "sewing room." My yarn quickly took over. The problem with having a lot of yarn and losing the labels that come with it, is that it makes it difficult to identify the type of yarn (fiber) and it also makes it difficult to reorder yarn when you need more for a project.

I began a yarn notebook. Each time I purchase new yarn, I keep a sample here in my yarn notebook: Check out the details here. It's how I organize my yarn stash.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Yarn Fiber

Crochet has taught me a lot about yarn fiber. I actually got into crochet because I wanted to use natural fibers to create household items. But, as I used them I learned that some fibers are also easier to work with when crocheting and knitting.

Cotton is a 100% natural. Because it is a natural fiber, it does not create static like synthetic fiber. It also allows your skin to breath. Doctors and nurses are always telling people with yeast infections to wear cotton underwear. They also tell people with athlete's foot to wear shoes and socks that breath, or wear none at all. The reason for this is because natural fibers allow air flow. You can think of it like insulating your home. Blocking all the air flow around windows and doors insulates you home very well. It cuts down on wasted energy and keeps the house warm. It also prevents fresh air from coming in and causes indoor air pollution as outside air is much cleaner than indoor air.

So, natural fibers allow air to circulate in and out of your clothes, synthetic fiber, such as polyester, does not. Of all the natural fibers cotton is the least expensive. I buy huge cones of the Peaches n Creme brand for only a few dollars a cone. This brand of cotton yarn is available at most discount stores with a sewing department. Cotton comes in very handy for use in crocheting kitchen and bathroom items because of it's absorbency and low price. I make rugs, wash clothes, hand towels, and bathroom doilies from my cotton.

Nope, I'm not a big fan of polyester (synthetic man made fiber). It causes a lot of static in my dryer and in my hair. Most of the time, I avoid synthetic fiber. But, my grandma recently passed on her yarn stash to me, as she is getting up in age and no longer wanted to knit or crochet. I accepted the large load of yarn graciously. It is mostly polyester. What to do? What to do? Well, I learned a few things about polyester in trying to use up the stash. It is amazingly easy to work with. No wonder my grandmother loved the stuff. It glides over my crochet hook without a lot of catching and hanging up. It also puffs up hiding flaws in my crochet stitches. If you have ever tried loom knitting, cotton doesn't work well for this, but polyester is magnificent! Last but not least, polyester is also inexpensive. I sometimes use it for blankets and afghans, not for anything I'm going to wear because of the static.

Merino wool is the most amazing fiber. I am in love with it. If only I could afford more of it.  It is incredibly warm, like polyester. Also like polyester, it is easy to work with, but it is an all natural fiber so it does not cause static! It is the perfect fiber for any crochet that is to keep you warm, blankets, afghans, scarfs, hats and booties. The only drawback I can see to WASHABLE merino wool, is the price. I recently made these granny squares in the photo above. $2.00 a granny square! Gulp. But they feel so soft and they are so warm. It will be my favorite and most expensive afghan ever when I am finished.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Crochet Patterns for Granny Square

I've purchased some washable Marino wool yarn several month ago and I have been trying to decide what to do with it. I finally decided on granny squares to make and afghan. I'm having so much fun making my granny squares. I love the way they look and feel. The marino wool is so soft and so warm. It will make a wonderful afghan. I put a crochet patterns for granny squares tutorial on Squidoo. It has tons of step by step pictures of the granny square in progress. When I join the granny squares into an afghan, I will take photos of that and place them on the lens as well.

One of the best things about granny squares is that you can crochet them anywhere. They are not big and bulky. I keep them in my craft back and take them along to church and work and crochet the squares wherever I am at.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today I Created a Pattern for a Crocheted Heart

Today, I used a little template of a heart I had drawn and created a pattern for a crocheted heart. It took less than an hour to crochet it and document the steps for a pattern as I worked. The crocheted heart uses 3 basic stitches the slip stitch, the single crochet and the double crochet. It also gives an introduction to how to decrease and increase stitches for those learning to crochet. Using a series of "half double crochet stitches" is how you decrease stitch. To increase stitch you simple make extra double crochets in the stitch of the previous row.

Anyway, here is the crocheted heart pattern just in time for Valentine's day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Using Gauge in a Crochet Project

In crochet, gauge is the number of stitches in a given length. It is very simple to use gauge to figure out how many stitches and rows are required to create a square or rectangular piece of crochet. This article gives step by step instruction to create a rug, table liner, or rectangular doily. How to Use Gauge to Make a Custom Crochet Project.

Circles and oddly shaped crochet projects are a little trickier. To make custom patterns for these crochet projects, it is easiest to create a template. For those type pieces, the article How to Make Custom Crochet Patterns, explains step by step what will be needed to make a template.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Crochet a Toilet Seat Lid Cover

I made a custom cover for my bathroom toilet seat lid. I did this by preparing a sample swatch of crochet using the yarn and hook that I planned to use for my crochet project. I then measured the gauge of the stitches to see how tall my rows of stitches were and how many stitches it took to make 1 inch across the template.

I prepared a template of the toilet seat cover. I then marked out the rows of stitches on the template. Here are detailed instructions on How I Made the Template for the Custom Crochet Pattern.

Because my toilet seat is a standard size, I also published my pattern for the toilet seat lid cover, so that others could follow it to make their own.