Monthly Archives: November 2012

FO Friday: Baby legwarmers and Winner: 30 Min-Knits

For the second week in the row, I’ve finished a quick project from stash yarn for my friend AW’s new baby.

This post contains affiliate links.

This is my version of the Cozy Crawlers Leg Warmers from Linda Permann‘s Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers.  (The pattern is also available as a free download here.)  I used about half a skein of Bitsy Knits Bitsy’s Sock in the Quite a Party colorway.

I bought this yarn at the 2011 Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival.

It’s the yarn in the front.

Once I wound it up, I realized it wasn’t going to work for an accessory for me since it was too… lively for my tastes.

I was also a bit worried about pooling.  (If only I had read this post from Le Tissier Designs then — I would have known exactly what to do with this yarn!)  I’m not too stressed by pooling in infant legwarmers, though ;).

I may have time to make another quick project, but I might just mail these out with the booties, a card, and some children’s books.

In other news, according to Random.org, the winner of the giveaway for my review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Series, is number 5…

Jane!

Congratulations, Jane, and thanks to everyone who entered!  You can read my review of the book here.

 

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis!

Free pattern: All Weather Cowl

I’m excited to announce another free pattern in collaboration with Galler Yarns.

Using one jumbo skein of Galler Yarns Aztec Boucle, an organic cotton yarn with just a little bit of nylon added, this cowl is a great all weather accessory.  The eyelets created by the stitch patterns and the cotton yarn make it breathable in warmer weather, but the length allows you to wrap it around three times for warmth in cold weather.

This post contains affiliate links.

All Weather Cowl, free Tunisian crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

This is a reversible stitch pattern that can be made even by Tunisian crochet newbies.  It doesn’t hurt that the yarn texture will cover any mistakes you make ;).

All Weather Cowl, free Tunisian crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

The All Weather Cowl is crocheted across lengthwise and then seamed.

Since you will have 80 inches (203 cm) of stitches on your hook, I recommend using a Tunisian crochet hook with a flexible cable.  If you don’t already have some on hand, I sell them in my Etsy shop here.

All Weather Cowl, free Tunisian crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

The Aztec Boucle works up nicely and creates a great gift for any eco-conscious person on your list.

All Weather Cowl, free Tunisian crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Enjoy!

All Weather Cowl Tunisian Crochet Pattern

by Underground Crafter

02-easy 50 US terms 50 3-light 50This delightful unisex cowl/ circle scarf is made with reversible stitch patterns. 

The eyelets and lightweight yarn make this a perfect cowl for all seasons.  Wear it wrapped three times in the cold or loosely in warm weather.

Finished Size: 6” (15 cm) x 80” (203 cm)

Materials:

  • Galler Yarns Aztec Boucle yarn (8 oz/227 g/545 yds/498 m/97% Organic Cotton, 3% Nylon) – 1 skein, or approximately 545 yds/498 m in any light weight cotton yarn.
  • J-10 (6 mm) Tunisian crochet hook or any size needed to obtain gauge (Tip: a Tunisian crochet hook with a flexible cable is recommended.  I sell several sizes in my Etsy shop.)
  • Yarn needle

Gauge: 7.5 sts in pattern = 4” (10 cm).  Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern:

  • ch – chain
  • sp - space
  • st(s) - stitch(es)
  • Tss - Tunisian simple stitch – Insert hook behind next vertical bar, yo, draw through loop, and leave it on hook.
  • yo - yarn over
  • * Repeat instructions after asterisk as indicated.

Pattern Instructions

  • Ch 150.
  • Tunisian Base Row: Forward: Working into back ridge of the ch (rather than through front loop), insert hook in second ch from hook, *yo, draw up a loop and leave it on hook; repeat from * across. Return: Do not turn, ch 1, *yo, and pull through 2 loops; repeat from * until one loop remains on hook.
  • Row 1: Forward: Skip first vertical bar, *in sp before next vertical bar, insert hook from front to back, (yo, and pick up a loop) in same sp twice; repeat from * across to last sp, skip last sp, Tss. Return: Ch 1, *yo and draw through 4 loops; repeat from * across to last 2 loops, yo and draw through 2 loops.
  • Row 2: Forward: Skip first vertical bar and first sp, *in sp before next vertical bar, insert hook from front to back, (yo, and pick up a loop) in same sp twice; repeat from * across to last vertical bar, Tss. Return: Row 1 return.
  • Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until width measures approximately 5.75” (14.5 cm), ending after Row 1.  Finish with final row.
  • Final Row: Forward: Skip first vertical bar and first sp, *in sp before next vertical bar, insert hook from front to back, (yo, and pick up a loop) in same sp twice, yo and draw through all loops on hook; repeat from * across to last vertical bar, Tss, yo and draw through both loops on hook.  Do not fasten off.
  • Assembly and Finishing: Turn, with same sides facing, match up sts along short edge, join with slip st through each st on both edges. Fasten off, with yarn needle, weave in ends securely.

If you like this pattern, share the love on Ravelry!

© 2012, 2014 by Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). This pattern is for personal use only. You may use it to make unlimited items for yourself, for charity, or to give as gifts. You may sell items you personally make by hand from this pattern. Do not violate Marie’s copyright by distributing this pattern or the photos in any form, including but not limited to scanning, photocopying, emailing, or posting on a website or internet discussion group. If you want to share the pattern, point your friends to this link: http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2012/11/24/free-pattern-all-weather-cowl/. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

FO Friday: Booties, 30 Min-Knits Book Review, and Giveaway

This post contains affiliate links.

I have just a small finished object today, my very first pair of knit booties.  But they come with a long story!  (And, to thank you for reading the whole story, I’m also including a book review and giveaway at the end of this post.)

I have a friend that I haven’t seen in ages.  She used to date (and then was engaged to) a friend of mine from college.  There were about 3 or 4 years when the three of us would get together very frequently and have a great time.  They lived in a nearby neighborhood for a few years and then they moved to the Boston area, but I actually kept in touch and visited regularly for some time.  Then there was a lot of upheaval in my life in 2007-08 and, at the same time, they broke up and this friend moved to California.  I haven’t seen her since then and now we are “Facebook friends.”  (You know what I mean – I think about her, occasionally see a status update, but haven’t actually called or written in ages.)  Via Facebook, I learned that she got married and eventually that she was pregnant.  She actually kept a rather entertaining weekly blog during her pregnancy which I only discovered in about the eighth month.  The humor in her posts reminded me why I enjoy her friendship so much, so I decided to make her newborn baby girl some gifts.

Since we haven’t seen each other in about 5 years and I am completely pressed for time, I decided that my standard baby gift (a blanket) was out of the question.  I also didn’t want to buy any yarn, so I started looking for a group of smaller projects that I could make with stash. And that’s where these cuties come in.

I had a second ulterior motive.  I recently received a review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum from Barron’s Educational Series.  As the self-professed world’s slowest knitter, I figured I had to time myself making at least one project from the book.  I decided that if I could make one of the projects in 90 minutes, a normal knitter might be able to do it in 30.

The Broad Strap Booties seemed the perfect solution:

  • A pattern fit for a baby (check),
  • Made with small amounts of yarn (check),
  • In a yarn weight where I have some “girl colors” in my stash (check),
  • In an easy care (machine washable) yarn (check).

I used just a wee bit Lion Brand Wool-Ease Sportweight (now discontinued) that I bought years ago at one of the Smiley’s Yarns famous Manhattan yarn sales.  I think they came out pretty cutely.

I’m looking at Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers and Baby Blueprint Crochet: Irresistible Projects for Little Ones, both of which I won in blog giveaways (yippee!), for inspiration for some other small items to include in the package.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.  And to learn more about the Ripple Mania CAL giveaway, open to all readers on earth with prizes donated by Leisure ArtsLion Brand YarnMagique Enterprises, and Red Heart Yarn, check out this post.

Book Review

I recently received a review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum from Barron’s Educational Series.  The book positions itself as “a collection of knitting projects that you can really fit into your spare time…creating fun and imaginative pieces in a half-hour or less.”  The concept appealed to me totally, especially since I knit extremely slowly, but I’ll admit that I was dubious that anything can be knit (by me) in thirty minutes or less.  The book comes with a few disclaimers that put me more at ease.  Finishing is not included in the 30 minutes, and when the project is for multiple pieces (e.g., a set of mittens), only one piece can be made in 30 minutes.  Ok, perhaps there is such a project out there.

The book includes 60 projects, most of which are small and can be made with stash yarn, or which are made with bulky yarn or two strands of yarn held together.  You can tell that Carol is primarily a teacher, because the book is organized by skill level (40 Easy projects and 20 Intermediate projects), and then sub-divided by technique.  At the beginning of the book, there is a gallery of  project photos along with the page where you can find the pattern.  Some of the patterns include a technique marker (e.g., Cable Knitting) on the side of the page.  These techniques are explained in a 14 page illustrated section at the end of the book.

I made the Broad Strap Booties (pictured on the cover) to test out the 30 minute theory.  I gave myself 90 minutes per bootie since I know that I knit extremely slowly.  (As a reference point, it took me 25 minutes to make half a gauge swatch for the pattern – 22 stitches by 15 rows.)  I was able to complete both booties (not including swatching but including knitting and assembly/finishing), in just under 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I consider that a resounding success.

What I liked about this book: 

  • Each project is photographed several times from different angles.  The projects appear against a white background in the gallery, then again in “group photos” every few pages (with each item numbered for reference to the pattern), and then again on the pattern page.  This gives you a really clear idea of how the finished project will look and is also visually interesting.
  • Even though I personally don’t see myself knitting some of these projects (e.g., a Dali mustache), everything inside is actually very cute.  None of the projects “look” like they were thrown together in 30 minutes or less.
  • Most of the projects are great stashbusters.
  • There is an opportunity to try out techniques like shaping, cables, beading, or colorwork on a small and low-risk project.  The technique section in the back includes a “Practice This” box which directs you to the appropriate patterns using the technique.
  • If you tend to procrastinate on gift knits, this could be a great “go to” resource for inspiration.

What I don’t like about the book, or what’s missing:

  • Like other paperback books, it doesn’t lay flat so it is difficult to knit and read at the same time.  There are front and back cover flaps that you can use to hold your place, though.
  • When a pattern includes charts or a template, those are in the back rather than next to the pattern page, so you will need to flip back and forth a bit.
  • Though most projects are clearly made with just a small amount of yarn, the patterns list the full size of the skein used for the project.  For example, the booties that I made used about 34 yards in the main color and about 9 yards in the other color, but the pattern just mentions that I need two balls of Rowan Handknit Cotton DK (93 yards each).  I think the book could get more mileage as a stashbusting book if Carol included the approximate yardage for each project.  Instead, the knitter needs to guess whether they have enough yarn in their stash for any given project.
  • On a related note, it would help if the weight of the yarn was listed for each project.  If it isn’t part of the brand name (e.g., Rowan Handknit Cotton DK), then there aren’t many clues about the yarn weight.  I’m guessing the Rowan and Coats yarns that Carol used for the book are ubiquitous in the UK, but it would be great if it was easier to make yarn substitutions.
  • While arranging the book in order of difficulty is a great idea, it is hard to find projects by type (e.g., women’s accessories) with this system.  It is difficult to determine the scale of a project from the gallery, so it would be helpful if the index listed projects by type.  (The baby projects are listed as a category in the index, though.)

Unfortunately, the patterns are not posted on Ravelry yet and you can’t “search inside the book” on Amazon, so it is hard to get an idea of what is included if you don’t see the book in person.  I would recommend this book for a beginner, advanced beginner, or newly intermediate knitter who likes to make small, portable projects.  If you are trying to bust some stash and enjoy gift knitting, this could also be the right book for you.  The book includes 60 projects, which is more than you would generally find in a book at this price point, but many of the projects are primarily decorative.  I think this would be a fun book to use when knitting with children or teens since the projects are cute and fast to make, and the accessories are on trend.  If you are a more experienced knitter or like more detailed/involved projects, then this is probably not the book for you.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Giveaway

To kick off the last minute holiday gift making season, I’m giving away my review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Series.  This giveaway is open to all readers with a U.S. mailing address.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, November 29, 2012.

Holiday Stashdown Challenge, Week 28

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

With all of my “must make” holiday gifts finished, I’m now free to turn to the fun stuff!

You may have seen my previous posts about the great swaps I’ve had on the A Swap A Month group on Ravelry.  Sadly, the group began unraveling a few months ago when it was discovered that the moderator was a naughty swapper herself.  Some of the members have reformed into the Strangers in Good Company group.  Our first swap is an ornament and card swap for Christmas, so I’ve been scouring the web for awesome ornament patterns.

I found this adorable sweater ornament pattern by Jessica Spencer and had so much fun making these that I think I will create an ornament gift tag for each of the Christmas celebrators on my gift list.  (I mentioned before that my winter holiday gift list includes people who observe a range of holidays.)

I made a camouflage version and a cherry chocolate version.  These is also a wonderful way to use up little yarn scraps.  And, unlike when making a real sweater, I don’t really mind that the sleeves are not the same length for both arms.

How is your holiday crafting going?  Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!

Year of Projects, Year 2: My thoughts on continuing in YOP

You may have noticed I haven’t posted a Year of Projects update for the last two weeks.  I have been following along with my favorite YOP bloggers, but I think I’m taking a break from the Year of Projects for a while.

I say “I think” because this has been something I’ve debated about for weeks.  I’ve actually previously written posts about this and then never published them.  I love participating in the Year of Projects because it is a great crafting community, and I’ve “met” some of my favorite bloggers this way.  Last year, my YOP goal list was tied to one amazing book, and I felt really compelled to work through it as a way of learning new crochet techniques and also of sharing with the world some of the amazing things crochet can do.

This year, I tried a slightly different approach.  I set up a list of goals that included my crafty aspirations for learning new skills.  I added some projects that I wanted to be accountable for completing but where I might need some community support to help me stay on track.  In some ways, having a list that has so many different types of things on it has made it harder to choose what to work on next.  Yes, I know I can sit back and reform my list at any time but I’m not sure that is what I want to do right now.

You see, some things have changed in my life since I joined this year’s YOP.  I’ve been given some more opportunities to publish my patterns, and for the most part, I’m not able to share anything about those projects until publication.  This means that I’m working on more and more projects that I can’t share with my readers while simultaneously having less and less time for projects on my list.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about three blog posts lately:

  • this one from Crochet Concupiscence describing why she isn’t participating in the Year of Projects for 2012-2013,
  • this one by Thistlewood Farm asking bloggers to consider what they want their blog to be when it grows up (which I originally discovered through a post from Project: Stash), and
  • this one that I wrote back in back in January about my fear of becoming over-memed.

I know I don’t want my blog to be a place of obligation and crankiness, nor a place of feeling like I don’t live up to (my own) expectations about completing goals.  I have a lot of ideas about the direction I’d like my blog to take in the future, but I also have to be realistic about the amount of time I have left after accounting for my full-time and part-time jobs, attempts to have a personal life, etc.  The solution that seemed the best for me right now is to step away from participating in YOP until I have time to work on specific projects and I feel energized about posting about them!

For more YOP updates, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.