Christmas Coasters

This weekend I worked feverishly on several sewing projects as Christmas gifts for family and friends.  It was a good weekend for it since the weather in South Jersey took a turn for the colder and we had our first snowfall of the winter.  I captured a picture from out back to share.  It wasn’t a lot of snow and it’s mostly melted now, but I used it as an excuse to hunker down for the weekend and get holiday stuff completed.

First Snowfall for Christmas.jpg

Even though I was not working on Christmas coasters this weekend, I did put a few sets together between the start of fall and today….mostly on our 5,000 mile road trip in October.  I love making coasters because they work up quickly and they don’t require a lot of space to work in so car rides are a perfect time to whip some up.  These three are basic patterns, work up quick and put pretty little pops of holiday cheer all around the house (they store easy too)!

Christmas Coasters

I’m still trying to find the pattern I used for the snowflakes.  I know it was designed for a pattern that worked with thread instead of yarn and it was designed to be stiffened with starch and hung on the tree.  I used worsted weight yarn and an H hook so the piece would work up larger than original and they are a perfect coaster size.  As soon as I can track down the pattern, I will post it.  In the meantime, there are some amazing free patterns for snowflakes out there….many are intermediate designs, but some can be done with minimal stitch knowledge.

Snowflake Coasters.jpg

These adorable Christmas tree coasters were so fun to make.  I had to remind myself they would be having things set on top of them because all I wanted to do was add some beading as ornaments on them after I placed the little stars.  I found this free pattern here.  You will need a Ravelry account to access her pdf file, but it’s a great pattern for a basic tree form.  They are really cute.  I stashed mine under some candles around the living room.

Tree Coasters.jpg

Lastly, I made a set of mittens that are adorable.  The pattern is free and you can find it here.  The pattern includes instructions to add a snowflake pattern in the middle of the mittens, but I didn’t have time to add them when I made them and they are pretty cute plain.  I used them for wine glass coasters, but they would work for anything.

Mitten Coasters.jpg

If you are looking for a cute project that will work up quickly, coasters are the project for you….with the holidays upon us, it’s a last minute great gift idea.  Enjoy the free patterns and as always….Happy Hooking!

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It is finally snowing!!

My most favorite way to spend a winter Saturday is watching the snow fall and crafting!!

I’ve got some holiday drama playing in the background, but my focus is on a new sewing pattern for a Christmas gift….or a few. I bought a yard of fabric but it appears after tracing the pattern and cutting it out I maybe used 1/3 of the minky fabric. I’m already making plans for the extra.

For now I am really excited to see if this pattern comes together easily and quickly. I’ve never worked with the minky material so I’m going to do a little research on my machine settings before I get underway.

This gift is a surprise so I will have to wait just a few weeks to share the results.

For now, I am off to warm the coffee in my cup and make sure the little one bundles up before she heads out to play.

Let’s Talk Fabric Place Mats

I didn’t post yesterday because I spent a good majority of my waking hours strolling through JoAnn Fabrics.  I brought Hubs with me so I would have someone to bounce ideas off of, but he ended up holding about 14 bolts of fabric and a ticket for the cutting counter while I bounced around from accessories to buttons to yarn to him again.

My love of fabric didn’t really begin until earlier this year when I started working with my new sewing machine.  It doesn’t take long to go from an idea of something that would make life easier to finding a free pattern on the internet.  I love that people who have been sewing for years would offer their patterns and tutorials for free.  It makes life so much less frustrating when you are mostly self-taught.

So, these beautiful piles of fabric that Hubs patiently carried through the store for me all have a project for Christmas attached to them.  I have taken a few photos and will continue to as I work at completing these gifts by the end of the weekend.  I expect my crafting areas will just be a flurry of cutting, pinning, sewing and cursing…(I’m still a beginner).  In the meantime, I can share a Christmas project I worked on two weeks ago that I was able to gift early to family last week on my trip to Florida.

Placemats Christmas 2017-2.jpg

Aren’t these great?!?

I think these mix/match place mats are perfect for any Christmas table setting.  There are three sets for the family gifts and since they each have such different tastes, I was able to play with themes I knew each would like.  The set used for the picture was a mash up of child-like designs for my sister’s home.  She has two young sons who love all things Santa, all Christmas candies, anything that blinks or glows at night and hopefully their Auntie since I made these cool place mats for their Momma’s table 🙂

Here’s how I made them:

I had some nice woven place mats and that is where I got the measurement from.  Mine measured 18″ x 14″ and they seem perfect for my table setting of four.  To simplify some of the work, I bought fat quarters and after washing and ironing the squares out, I started cutting them to 18 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ and also cutting one sheet of interfacing for each place mat also cut to 18 1/2″ x 14 1/2″.

I used heat fusing interfacing at a medium thickness.  I believe some people use a thin sheet of batting or interfacing that sews into the material versus ironing in.  Since I don’t like to iron I surprise myself at the choice, but it does work together quickly and the steam heat assures a good bond.  No matter which method you choose, turn one side of your place mat right side facing away and the interfacing attaching to the back side of that fabric.

After you attach the interfacing or batting to the wrong side of one piece of your place mat, you will grab another piece of fabric and putting it right sides together with the interfacing piece you just created you will sew around the piece creating a 1/2″ seam and leaving an unsewn area along one of the long sides approximately 3-6″ wide.  This is for pulling your place mat through and showing the right sides of fabric.  Before you turn your fabric make sure to trim off excess and cut your corners so they will be nice and sharp when you turn it.

When you are done sewing around the piece, grab a chop stick or a poking stick that will not damage your fabric.  Reach inside the pocket you created with the place mats and pull the right sides out through the hole.  After you have turned the piece, make sure you use your chop stick to poke nice corners in the fabric and help sharpen the seam down the connecting sides of the fabric.

When it’s nice and straight in all the corners and around the piece you will want to give it another press with the iron.  It will make the place mat easier to work with in the sewing machine and help place your finishing stitches around the work correctly.  I make sure to tuck in the fabric that created the pocket and line it up so that the top stitch I will create around the entire piece will also seal this pocket leaving no openings around the work.  So, after you iron the piece, just work a finishing stitch around the entire edge of the piece.  I try to keep this seam at 1/4″, but I really am just learning this craft, so sometimes it’s closer to 1/2″.  Trim loose threads and the place mat is done!!!

I created the napkin rings to match as an after thought to go with the place mats.  I searched on the internet for ideas that would work up quickly and found a suggestion for using shower curtain rings….GENIUS!!! I got 24 rings for $2.00.  I cut strips of scrap fabric to 3″ x 12″ and folded them in half creating a long tube.  I ironed the fabric and sewed a seam at 1/4″.  I tried to make them inside out and turn them, but I couldn’t get a good grip on the tubes and it was a frustrating mess.  By creating the seam on the outside I had a lot of stray threads to deal with and I am not sure how long these rings will last, but they turned out adorable…..just slide the tube onto the ring and adjust it to where you like it.  Trim up the threads and the ends and it’s done.

The place mats and the rings were both a big hit.  I think everyone loves to get holiday themed items as gifts.  If you know their style, JoAnn Fabrics is sure to have some beautiful prints to choose from.  Remember if you are doing 4 place mats and you use the fat quarters as suggested above, you will need two fat quarters for each place mat or 8 fat quarters for a set of four mats.

I hope you try this pattern out for yourself.  It’s definitely a beginner pattern that is pleasing and works up pretty quickly.  If you got your fabric tomorrow you could have gifts ready by Sunday.  If you do make them, I would love to see your finished works.  If you have any questions while you are working with my instructions, leave me a message in the comments and I will help as best as I can.

 

 

 

Teacher’s Gifts in Under One Hour

Today I want to share the holiday gifts I decided to make for my daughter’s teachers and caregivers.  I have limited time to work on side projects and even less money in the budget, so I’m always looking for the biggest bang with the least amount of wallet pains and I think I’ve found a few winners this year.

As you can see I made scarves for the ladies this year and I think they came out super cute!  The wonderful thing is they are all patterns that are easy for beginners to follow and they each are one skein so they are really affordable since most brands of chunky yarn cost about $5.00.  The dark pink scarf is made from Lion’s Brand Homespun yarn so I was able to work one scarf and had enough let for one; possibly up to 3 more!  Now that is a real bargain!

The first pattern I will share is for the dark pink Boho Scarf.  This pattern is not mine.  I found the pattern available for free at Classy Crochet.  She has wonderful instructions with photos to help you along.  There are also some other beautiful creations I can’t wait to check out on my next visit to her site.

The dark pink scarf was made using Lion’s Brand Homespun yarn and the only changes made from the diamond lattice pattern  was to use a “P” Hook so that it would grow faster and with bigger spacing.  She suggests it in her pattern and it works up beautifully.  I also added fringe in various places around the ends.  I didn’t count them or place a specific number of threads through at a time….nope, this time I only kept their length (16″ cut length) similar and varied the placement.  Next time I will add some all natural wood beads to the tassels and it will be perfectly me!

Chain Scarf

This beautiful chain scarf I made about three years ago as gifts for the women in my family.  They were all made from the super chunky yarn and the patterned worked up quickly while I watched television.  As with the other two patterns, this is an easy beginner pattern and I think when you make something quick and uniquely you, it makes you more confident to try other patterns…so don’t put it off…grab these quick supplies at any Wal-Mart or Target in town and make something you will love to wear…

For the Chain Scarf, you will need:

Any chunky yarn (1 skein)

P Hook

2 Buttons (about 1″ each)

Tapestry Needle

Sharp Scissors

*We are only using two stitches for this pattern so you only need to know how to chain stitch and how to single crochet.   If you don’t have a P Hook, any hook that have that is a K or larger should work.  Gauge is not important for this pattern so no need to worry.

To work the body of the scarf, just begin chaining…..keep going……yep, you want a big pile of chained yarn….I chained over 1,000 times for the one in the photo.  Make sure you stop and save some to create a cuff that holds the chains together.

Before we make the cuff, we need to wrap our chain around something that creates the length we want before we hold it all together with the cuff.  I used my dress form, but there are a lot of possibilities that you have on hand…I use Hubs a lot for these kinds of jobs.  He holds his hands at the distance apart I want and I keep wrapping until it’s perfect.  Now is a great time to grab the beginning chain and the end chain and secure the ends together….tuck the ends in with your tapestry needle.  Set your loops of chains aside to secure with the cuff.

My cuff was 5″ wide and I made it 10″ long so that I could wrap it around the chains but not choke them.

For the cuff:  chain 7, sc in 2nd ch from the hook and in each across, ch 1, turn (6)

*Repeat until the piece measures the width you want to wrap around your chains.  For me it was about 10″.  When you finish off, leave a long tail so you can sew your cuff seam around the loops.  Set your cuff aside for a sec and grab the buttons you picked for the piece.

The buttons pictured had two holes, but I picked various buttons with different ways to attach them, so you will have to decide how you need to attach the buttons to the cuff.  Make sure you work them opposite the seam…I didn’t for the one I photographed, but I did for the rest.

After the buttons are secured to the cuff, you want to wrap it around your loops with the button side facing out.  I used a slip stitch to secure my cuff, but you can grab up your long tail and secure the ends using single crochet stitches as well.  Finish off and weave in your ends.  That’s it!!! It’s that simple 🙂

Pink Chain Scarf

The light pink chunky yarn scarf is made the exact same way as the Chain Scarf patterned for you above.  The chain was looped longer so that it would hang much farther than the other scarf and I made four cuffs that were 1/2 the size of the one large cuff above.  I didn’t use any buttons since the cuffs and the chain loops give this piece a lot of movement already.

I hope you will give these patterns a try.  If you have any questions about them or need any help, just leave me a question in the comments.  I would love to see your work if you create any of these for yourself or your friends.

As always, Happy Hooking!

Holiday Travels and WIP

I was so blessed this year to extend my Thanksgiving holiday into the following week by taking a long over due trip to visit my sister and her family.  Florida this time of year is perfect weather!  We went to the beach a few times and just enjoyed our visit.  I can’t wait to see them all again and I will not let as much time go by before we see each other.  Check out this beautiful picture of the full moon over Ft. Myers!!  It was breath taking and my little camera phone does not do it any justice (sadly the good camera was in Jersey).

Full Moon Ft. Myers

This time of year I’m usually going crazy trying to get Christmas in order and this December is no different.  Just because I was on a mini-vacation doesn’t mean I stopped crafting for Christmas….I just had to get a little creative and adjust for the confined space of an airline seat.

Airline Tray Shot

Just a little snapshot of my over ambitious crafting on the plane…I managed to make it work with a little help and the crafting continued….

So, I’m crafting for Christmas and since Hubs bought me a sewing machine this past year I decided to ease some of the crochet burdens with sewn items instead.  I am still learning my sewing machine and haven’t even worked with many of the programmed stitches or embroidery, but I felt confident enough to find a few project designs and I can say they are coming along with much success.  I can’t wait to share the patterns and show off the final products!

Today I am going to have to focus on unpacking and getting settled back into our daily routine.  Tomorrow I’m going to come back and share three free patterns that I worked last week as gifts for the youngest to give her teachers and after school providers.  I’m really excited at how the items turned out…AND…each pattern took less than 3 hours (some less than an hour)!

Scrubbies Made from Scrubby Yarn!

As a follow-up to yesterday’s article on Tulle Kitchen Scrubbies , I wanted to share another short, quick pattern for making Scrubbies from another material that you can find in almost any craft corner of the major shopping outlets.  Red Heart came out with the Scrubby Yarn line some time ago but I had just made quite a few out of tulle, so I waited until I needed to do a restock and I grabbed a few.

 

 

Scrubbies with Red Heart YarnA few….meaning more than 2 but less than 10 (cause I always need extras) and started surfing the internet for some ideas.  I didn’t go searching for a pattern since I already had the basic measurements in mind.  Instead, I went searching for inspiration….that’s short for I took about 2 hours to scroll through my Pinterest and pin a ton of things I hope to do someday and then I came back to this really funky material and grabbed my hook to start creating something new.

When I say this is a strange material, I am not kidding.  I would describe it as a tattered thick thread and it’s admittedly a little strange to work with at first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrubbie Yarn By Red HeartI picked Tropical because I loved the pop of colors, but whatever your color choice is I am sure you can find it since they have 27 different color options to pick from.

I decided to start with something basic just to get use to working with the material and see how sturdy it was going to be.  I did a variation on the pattern from yesterday. 

This pattern is super easy and works up so quickly you can make enough for a month’s supply while watching your favorite show.  When completed, you will have a nice circle scrubbie with a loop at the top that you can slide over your faucet to allow fast drying.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the pattern for the scrubbies I made:

Supplies:

Red Heart Scrubby Yarn in Tropical

K Hook

Tapestry Needle

*Gauge is not important for this pattern.   My finished circle will be approximately 5″.  Smaller gauge needles will require more repeated rounds but will have a tighter stitch in the finished piece.

Stitches:

Sl st: slip stitch

Ch: chain

Dc:  double crochet

*Magic circle- If you do not know how to do a magic circle, you can chain 4 and begin Round 1 in the third chain from the hook.

Begin:

Make a magic circle, ch 3

Round One:  11 dc into magic circle, sl st into top of ch 3 (12)

Round Two:  Ch 3, dc into same st, 2 dc in next st and each st around. (24). Do not fasten off.

Take a moment to measure your circle.  I prefer my scrubbie to fit in my hand, so I like mine to measure about 5″ across and for that reason I was able to stop at Round Two and begin creating the loop.

If you need to continue another round in order to increase the size of your piece, just begin with another ch3 and then dc in each st around, sl st to the top of the ch 3 and repeat until your scrubbie is as big as you would like it to be.

Now let’s make the loop.  After securing the final round with a sl st to the top of your ch 3, ch 10 and sl st back into the same st.  Secure your loop to the piece (I use a double knot to keep it in place), fasten off and weave in the ends.

Scrubbie2

Voila!  New scrubbies to use!!!  Anything to make cleaning the dishes less mundane.  Feel free to throw your finished product in the dishwasher for a quick cleaning anytime you run a load (keep it up top) or you can wash it with your towels in the machine, just throw it in a mesh bag or a pillowcase so it doesn’t get torn apart.

Hope you enjoy the pattern.   Happy Hooking!

 

Tulle Kitchen Scrubbies Pattern

One of the first crochet patterns I ever wrote for household use was a pattern for Kitchen Scrubbies made from different colors of tulle.  I wanted to create something quickly that would be durable and most importantly, clean my dishes and pans without damaging them.  There are lots of scrubbie patterns on the internet and many of them are for tulle, so I was able to come up with a general idea of how to use the material and how big I wanted the scrubbie to be.  Fortunately, I had a leftover roll of light pink tulle I used earlier this year when I made a Valentine’s Day wreath for my front door.  So, I grabbed the tulle and a few more supplies and I was able to put one together in less than 10 minutes!!!  Tulle Scrubbie.jpg

I’m sharing my pattern with you in the hopes that you will take a few minutes today and whip some up for your kitchen.  I promise you won’t be disappointed with how well they clean your dishes.

If you love these as much as I do, you will find more uses than just in your kitchen.  I create tulle scrubbies in different colors for use in different rooms in the house.  Keeping colors specific to the cleaning jobs they are used for saves a lot of guesswork when Hubby and the kiddos step in to help with chores.

Here’s my free pattern:

 

Tulle Kitchen Scrubbie Pattern:

 Beginner

Finished Scrubbie: 5” Circumference

*Gauge is not important with this pattern.  The smaller the gauge of your hook, the tighter the stitching will be and the more rounds you may need to complete to obtain the 5” circumference.

Supplies:

Tulle (3” width and @ 25 grams)

11.50mm/P Hook

Tapestry needle

Stitches:

Ch-chain

Sl St-slip stitch

DC-double crochet

Begin with a ch 4. (You can use the magic circle technique here if you are familiar)

Round 1:  Place 12dc into the 3rd ch from the hook, sl st into the top of the first dc, ch 3. (Do not turn the work but continue in the round) (12)

Round 2:  Place 2dc into each dc around, sl st into the top of the first dc.  Ch 10 and sl st into same dc*.  Secure the tulle and fasten off.  Weave in the ends. (24)

*Take a moment to measure your piece.  Depending on the gauge of your hook, you could be ready for the finishing round.  If you need more rounds to make the circumference larger, simply ch3 at the end of round 2 and dc in each dc around then finish the piece the same as Round 2 above.

 

Happy Hooking!