Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts

Friday, May 1, 2020

How to Make a Very Easy Afghan with Loop Yarn

Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan! No needles or hooks are required. All you need are your fingers and small scissors.
Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan!   

Even someone with arthritis who can no longer grip a crochet hook or knitting needles can make a loop yarn afghan that is beautiful.  This would also be the perfect afghan project for those who don't know how to knit or crochet.

Loop yarn is not a normal string of yarn, it is made with loops.  Most of the patterns either say knit or crochet, but you really are not doing either.  No needles or hooks are required.  You only use your fingers to weave the yarn.

When I first spotted Yarnspirations loop yarn, I knew I wanted to make something with it.  Normally, I would find a pattern and want to make a specific item.  However, in this case, it was the yarn that called to me.  I bought the yarn, then went on a search for a pattern.  I knew exactly what I would make when I discovered this afghan pattern that resembles a cable stitch. 

The Bernat Alize loop yarn is the softest yarn I have ever touched.  When my son first touched my afghan while I was making it, he said if felt like a chinchilla.  He is absolutely right!  I had been saying it felt like petting a baby rabbit, but it really is softer than a bunny.  This yarn truly is a joy to work with and to touch.


Loop Yarn Easy Afghan Pattern


I discovered this fabulous video that taught me how to make the pattern I love.  Instead of trying to write out instructions, I'll share the video.  It is very easy to follow and makes a lovely design.  

I do have a few tips to share before you begin.  

  1. Have a pair of small scissors available.  You start the project by cutting a few of the loops open.  You will also need them each time you start a new skein of yarn.
  2.  Decide how wide you want your afghan before you start.  I opted for a throw size afghan (100 loops - 60" wide), which is approximately half the size of a standard throw. 
  3. I originally purchased 10 skeins of yarn, but that was not quite enough for my desired length.  I actually needed 12 skeins.
  4. After you have completed the first few rows, the pattern design is easy to see, which makes continuing each row very easy.
  5. Instead of sitting at a table, I use a lap desk that sits on the arms of my recliner.  That allows me to watch a movie while making my afghan.

As you can see in my photos, I used a variegated denim blue & white colored yarn.  This yarn is available in 10 - 12 different colors (see below).  I highly recommend using the Yarnspirations Bernat Alize Loop Yarn.

 



My Lap Desk


In case you are interested, you can purchase a lap desk just like mine on Etsy.  Clearly, you can use the lap desk for a lot of other things as well as crafts.  It even has a groove on each side for pens, pencils, markers, craft tools, etc.   

Click my image below to see the actual Etsy listing and shop where I purchased mine. 

 Lap Desk Available on Etsy

To See Several Colors Available, Click Here!





Read More Craft Reviews On
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Monday, April 6, 2020

Crochet: Using Those Leftover Yarn Balls

As soon as I crocheted the first afghan for my grandbaby I had thoughts of using that leftover scrap yarn to make a throw. A sentimental way to keep pieces of their blankets for myself. Now is the perfect time to do it and I've made huge progress on my own afghan. I want to share the super-easy idea with you.

using my scrap yarn to make something special for myself

I crocheted afghans with VERY different colors for my three grandbabies. As a result, I kept my idea of using all of the scrap yarn (orange, purple, white, pink, and a variety of "under the sea" colors of tans, blues, and greens) in one project to myself. I adore rag rugs. So I suppose it wasn't a far jump to crocheting a blanket with this odd color combination. It was just a matter of finding the crochet pattern I'd want to use. But this kind of wild color combination...who does that?

Apparently, a lot of people do! 

There is even a name for this particular blanket - Scrapghan.

In searching for patterns, I find that making scrapghans is a fairly popular thing to do. And using a wide variety of colors that may not typically go together can lead to some beautiful projects. In addition, these projects save odd bits of yarn from being wasted and ending up in the local dump.

Personally, I have the best luck with learning new projects via video crochet tutorials. Sometimes it is a bit frustrating finding a video with someone whose teaching style matches my learning style but I've always managed to find someone eventually. If you have thought about using your scrap yarn to make a blanket, Ophelia tells us about her scrap blanket (and uses the Granny Stripe).

Ophelia Talks About Making a Scrap Blanket (Ophelia Talks):


If you are interested in learning the Granny Stripe stitch, I recommended viewing  How To Crochet Granny Stripes, episode 246 (Fiber Flux):




I prefer the look of the "granny stripe" patterns with the different colors of scrap yarns. In addition to creating a wide stripe of each color, the pattern works up very quickly. I also personally think that a granny stitch creates a "softer" blanket than a straight single stitch. I already know that this is a project that will create a functional and meaningful blanket I will treasure.

Related Links:

Colors from Ardin, Harper, and Bentley's blankets
For my grand-daughter's baby blanket, I used the Bernat Pipsqueak yarn. The yarn is unbelievably soft!  And when used with worsted weight yarn, in a lined pattern, the Pipsqueak creates a soothing sensory texture.  To see my Pipsqueak review click here. Notice that in 2017 I was already planning on using that yarn in a project for myself!

In two of the grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Done in a Day pattern by Dabbles & Babbles. I LOVE that pattern. It is easily adjusted for any size afghan and any size yarn. You can see my review of that pattern here

Of the three grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Under The Sea pattern for my grandson who is already on his way to being a marine wildlife expert! You can find my review for that fun crochet project here.


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Friday, March 6, 2020

March is National Craft Month

Reviewing the Wonderful World of Crafting!

March is National Craft Month
As an avid crafter, I am thrilled to have a month for celebrating crafts.  Since March is filled with cold days kissed by spring, it seems like the perfect month for crafting.  

It is exhilarating to look out the windows at the beautiful days.  It fills us all with the desire and energy to do something.  However, March weather is not often cooperative, or conducive to outdoor activity. 

In my region, you never know what weather you will wake up to on any given day.  Some days we have beautiful spring weather bursting with new life in our flower beds.  Then the following day we can find ourselves thrown back into winter with ice and snow.

The spring days make you want to go outside, breathe in the fresh air, and have fun "running with the wind".  Unfortunately, when those days are followed by freezing weather, you find yourself stuck in the house still feeling that desire to do something.  I turn to my crafts and harness that energy while I wait for the warm weather to return. 


Fun Crafts - There's Something for Everyone


The wonderful thing about crafts is that there is a craft project for everyone.  For those of us who love needlework, there are a variety of options.  Sewing, quilting, cross-stitch, or embroidery fall under the category of needlework.  The beauty of many needlework kits is that they are often small and portable.  

Several of my fellow contributors enjoy crochet and working with yarn instead of thread.  That is also a craft that is portable.  Both Wednesday Elf and Dawn Rae have Etsy stores where they sell their beautiful creations.  

Avid crafters, like myself, tend to skip from one craft project to another.  Not only do we enjoy needlework, crochet or knitting, but we also explore the world of stenciling, painting, decoupage, flower arranging, latch hook, mosaics, beaded crafts, and many more.  

Regardless of the craft, it is always a creation made by our own hands.  Hours of love are often poured into whichever craft we choose and many finished projects turn into treasures for a lifetime and passed down for generations. For such a worthy endeavor, a month is not really enough time to celebrate, but it is a great beginning.

Here are a few websites you might enjoy visiting when you are ready to select a craft, kit, or pattern.  The tutorials on Crafter's Kingdom will make it easier to learn a new craft too.



The Business of Crafts


Because of my own love for a variety of crafts, like Wednesday Elf and Dawn Rae, I also opened an online store 19 years ago.  My craft supplies store is on eBay, which predated Etsy.  I love both sites and highly recommend either for selling or buying.



All of the craft kits, patterns, or books featured in the introduction photo, are available in The House of Sylvestermouse eBay store






House of Sylvestermouse





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Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review: Hello, Crochet Friends! by Jonah Larson

This little book packs a powerful punch! Hello, Crochet Friends: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy written by young Jonah Larson and his mother Jennifer Larson is the most uplifting and motivational book I've read in years.

Hello, Crochet Friends! written by Jonah Larson


Hello Crochet Friends!: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy is one part autobiography, one part inspirational, and one part crafts. It includes topics of international adoption, school behavioral problems, and the importance of finding one's passion. 

Jonah Larson is an 11 year old crocheting phenom. I came to know about him from looking for crochet patterns and tutorials on the internet. This young man has a gift with crochet. His talent is nearly unbelievable. Watching his little hands fly as he works on his current projects is mesmerizing to me.  And all the more impressive when I learned a bit more about him.

Jonah was adopted by the Larsons when he was a baby. He began crocheting at age 5 by accident - when a single crochet hook was found in a bag of items. It became clear very quickly that crochet was his thing.

I work with children in a school that is focused on addressing their behavioral and learning difficulties. I run a small crochet club, teaching them just the basics (sharing my limited skills), because I know that crochet is a wonderful coping skill for some children. I ordered Jonah's book so that our students could read about a child who loves crochet. 

I was moved to tears when I received the book and read how Jonah also struggled with significant disruptive behaviors in school and how crochet helped him. And not only has crochet helped him manage his behaviors in school, he is using his art to give back to those in need in the country he was born. An astounding story and life lesson for all of us.

What this book is:

  • an age-appropriate picture book about an 11 year old who was adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage
  • a book that is written in a gentle, uplifting, honest and encouraging voice
  • an inspirational book - encouraging everyone to find their passion and do it
  • a helpful book for teachers and school staff - showing the positive results of thinking outside the box and helping students identify what calms and encourages them
  • an encouraging book for children who struggle with behaviors - helping them to feel as though they are not alone and that something can change
What this book is not:
  • this is not a book of crochet patterns
  • this is not a crochet tutorial
I'd like to express my gratitude to Jonah and his mother for writing this book and sharing this story. It has touched me and has been well-received by the students in my little crochet club. You are inspiring to so many others.


From the Amazon listing: "Hello, Crochet Friends! is the first title in the KWiL Publishing's Rock Star Kids series of books about young people doing incredible things in the world". Personally, I am looking forward to future books in the series!

Related Links:

While I am not as talented as young Jonah, I do love crochet. I am able to do beginning and easy intermediate patterns. I have written about a few of the easier patterns. If you are thinking about beginning crochet, look for one of the many online tutorials, find someone that matches your style, and just begin.

My review of Dabbles & Babbles Done in a Day pattern. This pattern is pretty, more interesting than just straight crocheted rows, and is versatile. I've made several different sized blankets with several different types of  yarns with this pattern. I have also used this pattern to create a long, rectangular piece that was used as a type of shawl for an elderly gentleman. 

Although loom knitting is not the same as crochet, it is an easy way to make interesting and beautiful hats. If you can't quite enjoy crochet, you could create your own treasures with loom knitting. The flower applique is crocheted and from the only flower pattern I've ever been able to complete successfully. This pattern is Flowers by The Dozen by Yarnspirations and I review it here






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Monday, March 11, 2019

Reviewing Jeans Yarn by Lion Brand

Stonewash Jeans yarn by Lion Brand.
Lion Brand Yarn Company sells some of my favorite yarns. While I'm waiting for my order of Comfy Cotton Blend yarn to arrive, I'm using some Jeans yarn that I had on hand. I had forgotten how much I love this yarn for hats. The super soft yarn, in blue jean colors, was perfect in a hat for my grandson. I think it'll also be awesome for making my Jenny Hats.

I've started crocheting chemo hats. I call them my Jenny Hats. If you'd like to know more about why I started making chemo hats the link to that article is listed below.

I've been using Lion Brand Comfy Cotton blend yarn for my Jenny Hats. Because cotton is so comfortable and because the Comfy Cotton yarn is so soft. But this weekend I did not have enough Comfy Cotton blend on hand. So I started a hat with the Jeans yarn. My goal is to make the most comfortable hats that I am able to make. 

I LOVE the Jeans yarn. It is 100% acrylic yarn - not cotton as I had guessed. It is machine washable and dryable. And the colors are awesome. "Stonewash" is the color pictured. Doesn't it look like a favorite pair of broken in jeans? 

The yarn is labeled as a size 4. In my opinion, it is on the small side of size 4. It is working up in this Jenny Hat just like the size 3 Comfy Cotton blend worked up. The Jeans yarn does not split or fray easily making it very easy to work with.

At the largest yarn store in my area, I can easily find Jeans yarn in 3 shades of blue, black and 2 shades of brown.  As I was preparing to write this, I see that Jeans yarn is being made in other colors; shades of pink, turquoise, red, and burgundy. These are labeled "Jeans Colors"

Jeans Colors - pink


Related Links:

Read about Jenny and why I began making chemo hats. I also shared photos of the Jenny Hats made with Comfy Cotton Blend yarn here

Another Lion Brand yarn that I rave about is the Wool Ease Thick and Quick. An excellent chunky yarn for neck warmers and other projects that call for a thick, soft yarn. 







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Monday, March 4, 2019

Reviewing Flexible Tunisian Crochet Hooks

Using the appropriate hook for the project. 
With a great deal of skepticism, I recently bought a 24" Flexible Tunisian Crochet hook. It is the recommended hook for larger Tunisian (also called "afghan") crochet projects. I fully expected to not like my purchase. I expected it to snag and not feel as comfortable as my preferred aluminum crochet hooks. Not only was I pleasantly surprised at the smoothness of this wooden hook, I was very happy with the longer length. I should have purchased more than just the one. I can imagine using a variety of sizes of these hooks in the future.

A friend at work asked me if I would try to crochet a scarf for her - from a pattern she found on Etsy. I told her that I'd try, but I was very new to Tunisian crochet. 

I started on the first practice attempt with regular, aluminum Tunisian Crochet hooks. I wanted to first test the pattern. I found that I could work it correctly for the most part. Then the project became wide enough that handling the straight hook was difficult. As the yarn gathered on the hook, it became bunched and too bulky to manage. 

So I ordered the ChiaoGoo 24" Flexible Tunisian Crochet Hook size H8. 

The flexible Tunisian crochet hook is a wooden crochet hook. It has a thick synthetic "cord" that ends in a wooden bead. The bead works as a stopper. The length of the hook with the length of the cord allows you to work on a longer project comfortably. As you can see in the photo, as I add stitches, my scarf easily moves on and off the hook. The bulk does not gather and bunch under my hand.

As I mentioned, I was concerned that the transition between the hook and the cord would snag my yarn. It does not. The metal cap is smooth and makes a smooth transition.

Initially, that stiff cord (think of super thick fishing line) flopped around while I crocheted and it distracted me. But after just 2 or 3 rows, I no longer noticed that naturally curled cord. 

My longer Tunisian crochet projects are much easier with this flexible hook.




Related Links:

This is the third project I've made using the Sweet Roll yarn by Premier Yarns. The color is Wild Cherry Swirl. While they offer many colors in this yarn the wild cherry is my favorite by far. 

I only began learning Tunisian crochet just a few months ago (October/November) and I'm enjoying it very much. See my first Tunisian crochet project here.

I've been taking more time to crochet and as a result I'm gathering a sizable collection of crochet hooks. This Teamoy Tunisian Crochet Hook Case is very helpful in keeping my supplies organized. 




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Monday, March 19, 2018

Reviewing Locking Stitch Markers

Locking stitch markers.
People who crochet and knit know that accuracy plays a role in having a good-looking finished product. I have crocheted off and on for years but only just discovered these fabulous and inexpensive stitch markers. I have noticed that using these little gadgets improved the looks of my finished items immediately and gives them a more professional appearance. Stitch markers completely take the guesswork out of the next round or next row.


Locking Stitch Markers


While watching a video crochet tutorial, the talented crochet artist was using stitch markers to mark the beginning of her round.
Note: when you crochet in circles, such as some ponchos, slippers, etc, that is called a round. Round is a row that connects the end to the beginning. 
The light bulb went on. That was a huge Aha moment for me. I've always had trouble connecting the rounds correctly - ending up with too many or too few stitches, or having a section that doesn't look like the other sections.

This flower is an example. It may be a very small issue that some would not notice, but the inconsistency in the appearance bothers me. The arrow shows where I joined the row, but didn't join it to the correct stitch. Every time I look at the flower, I notice that irregularity.


The little green stitch is not joined to the correct stitch

Prior to owning these little gadgets, I'd typically not mark the stitch at all. That led to problems with the finished item not looking correct (like the photo above). Or I'd use items like a paperclip or a piece of yarn to mark a stitch.  The problems I had with using those things were that I'd end up crocheting over the piece of yarn and make a mess. Or the paperclip would snag my item... or just fall out of the place it was meant to mark. 

Using stitch markers has already improved the looks of my finished items. 

I prefer the little plastic "safety pin" (locking) type. They stay in place, don't snag the yarn, and are easy to use. You simply use it like a safety pin, marking the first stitch in a round (which typically is the stitch you join the last stitch of the round to). 



Of course, there are other varieties if you don't care for the locking style. Other styles include: split ring, bulb safety pin, and even bulb safety pins with Swarovski crystals - for a little bling with your yarn.
Crystaletts stitch makers

Related Links:


Bev Owens shares a review of the Crochet Plain Blanket Pattern. It is a gorgeous two-color plaid blanket. In that review, she shares how to find both the free written pattern and the video tutorial. I agree with Bev, Yarnspirations and The Crochet Crowd are great places to get wonderful crochet patterns and instructions.

Wednesday Elf shares a review of a book Baby Crochet. I know that the internet is a quick and easy place to obtain crochet patterns and instructions, but I've had favorite crochet patterns that are lost because the site is no longer available. Avoid that problem with your own printed copy of the crochet patterns. 

My crochet adventures are located on my own blog Treasures, Travel, and Tales. There you can find an eclectic collection of how I spend my time, as well as the crochet flower pattern review from the photo above. You can also find a post about my newest passion, round loom knitting. Making hats for the grandbabies is great fun!


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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Crochet Plaid Blanket Pattern Reviewed

A Perfect Gift For His Man Cave

Crochet A Blanket For Him Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Today, I'll be reviewing a crochet plaid blanket pattern that I plan to make for my son-in-law for Christmas. As I write this it is the 4th of July but now is the time to plan for making things like this to be sure that it is, in fact, finished before Christmas morning arrives.

I found this wonderful pattern at Yarnspirations.com. It is called the Buffalo Plaid Afghan and it is free to download and print. Actually, on the page it not only lets you get the pattern but you can purchase your yarn there, too; if you so desire. 

The pattern was created to celebrate the 150th birthday of our friends to the north, Canada. That is pretty neat in and of itself. What caught my eye was the manliness of the design. It is sometimes difficult to find things that we crocheters can do for the men in our lives. Oh, sure, we can do a scarf or a hat. We can hook up a pair of socks for them and we can even do other blankets. The options for a blanket are usually just picking a color scheme that might appeal to a guy, though. In my opinion a plaid blanket is perfect for a man. 

I've mentioned in other articles that I like to visit Mikey at The Crochet Crowd and watch his tutorials. Well, he has a tutorial on the blanket I want to make using this pattern!


The pattern and the video recommend that you use blanket yarn which is a thicker option of yarn. It is kind of bulky and works up pretty fast. You can choose any color combination that you want; it doesn't have to be in the red and black. Personally, I do not care to work with the bulkier yarns so when I start the one that I will make, I plan to substitute the yarn for a standard 4 ply yarn and use a smaller hook than is recommended in the pattern. That is the fun thing about crochet, you can usually adapt a pattern to suit your own tastes.

As you can see by the video this crochet plaid blanket will work up pretty quickly. It is just a matter of creating the mesh work and then doing the overlay crochet to finish it off. I love this pattern and I think that my son-in-law will love the blanket when I give it to him. If time allows, I may do one for my hubby, too.

For some additional ideas for things to create in crochet for the men in your lives, you might enjoy this set of patterns.



I know it is only July but if you plan to craft some gifts for the holidays; it is time to look for the patterns, get your supplies and start working on them. I love making things for gifts for my family. How about you? Do you craft items for gifts?




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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Easy Crochet Critters Pattern Book Review

Vanna's Choice: "Easy Crochet Critters" is a crochet pattern booklet from Lion Brand Yarn. It is part of the Leisure Arts Little Books series.

Easy Crochet Critters has patterns for ten (10) Amigurumi designs.  I have made each of the animals in this booklet; some of them several times.


Each critter can be crocheted with 4-ply worsted weight yarn using a size G crochet hook.  


The pattern booklet lists the finished size of each animal, but this can vary depending upon the size of the crochet hook you decide to use (I often use an F hook) and whether your crochet style is looser or tighter.

Each animal is completed with fiberfill stuffing and safety craft eyes (or embroidered eyes, if desired).  Other features, such as nose and mouth are usually embroidered with a small amount of yarn.


Lion


Little Amigurumi Lion

Little Lion, pictured on the cover of this booklet, is a roly-poly ball of fun with his embroidered face and crocheted mane. He hardly ever roars and is usually a quiet playmate for a child. He measures a roly-poly 4 x 4 inches when finished and stuffed. 


The lion I crocheted from this booklet I named Luke.  Luke the Amigurumi Lion makes a perfect Roly-Poly Plush Pet!  Mine measures about 5" x 5" - as tall as he is wide - and is a plump 14" in diameter. 
Crochet Lion  on Etsy


He's perfect for fans of zoo and jungle animals and gets along well with other plush animals in the toybox! 


Giraffe



Little Amigurumi Giraffe


This Little Amigurumi Giraffe turns out so sweet with such a cute face. I made mine in yellow with orange spots.  The pattern for little giraffe states he stands 8 inches tall.  Mine came out a bit larger with the body 5 inches long, plus his little tail, and he stands 9" tall.


A Plush Toy Giraffe in Handmade Crochet
Jellyroll Giraffe on Etsy

I named my version of this little giraffe, Jellyroll. This handmade plush toy sweet little giraffe got his name from the fact that instead of 'shoots and leaves', his favorite food is a big plump Jellyroll. 

He also loves children and would prefer to live in a child's playroom instead of outside with all those tall giraffes since he's only about 9 inches tall (if you count the horns on top of his head).




Seal



Little Amigurumi Seal
Amigurumi Seal is quick to make with the head and body crocheted in one piece, then the flippers crocheted and added after.

Since this is a plush animal, it can be made in any color you desire. 

Baby Harp Seal on Etsy
I made this one in white to be a baby Harp Seal.  His finished size is about 7 inches from the top of his nose to the back flippers.

While Harp Seals can grow to over 5 feet long and weigh between 115 and 180 lbs.  This little crocheted replica is only 7 inches long and sits 5 inches high, weighing about 2 ounces . A much better size for a child to cuddle :)  Harp Seals have a white coat at birth to help them blend in with the ice and keep them safe.

Walrus



Little Amigurumi Walrus
 Another sea animal in plush is this little walrus.  The walrus pictured in the book was crocheted in brown yarn.  When I lived on the California Central Coast, I saw a walrus with a mottled or speckled looking coat, so I made my current crocheted walrus using a brown & tan variegated yarn to represent this speckling look. 

I named my plush toy walrus Wendy, a wonderfully winsome Walrus who will wind her way into your heart. :)

Wendy Walrus is a soft yarn toy who measures 7 inches long and about 4 inches wide (not counting her flippers). She's filled with a soft new fiberfil. Wendy Walrus would love to have a cuddle and a hug from a child who loves sea animals.



Ready-Made Crochet Critters



The giraffe, lion, seal and walrus crocheted critters shown here are all handmade by me. The giraffe and lion and are currently available in my Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts. The seal and the walrus have sold, but can be recreated upon request.


Many More Plush Animals to Crochet


In addition to the finished giraffe, lion, walrus and seal crocheted critters showing off for you here, this craft booklet also has patterns for a small elephant, an amigurumi hippo, a cute little monkey, a small alligator, a snowy owl and a plush penguin. 

 There are a total of ten (10) Amigurumi plush animal patterns available in this booklet Easy Crochet Critters!



The Easy Crochet Critters Pattern Book


Vanna's Choice: easy crochet CRITTERS

Besides the pattern instructions for all ten crocheted critters, the back of the booklet has general instructions for abbreviations used and hints and tips for finishing your creations.  Basic stitches and techniques are also included.

Published in 2009 for Lion Brand Yarn Company, this inexpensive little pattern booklet will give you many  hours of crochet pleasure and a whole menagerie of cute plush animals.

Where to Find Easy Crochet Critters:




Crochet Critters on Blogs:


Posts Featuring Some of These Crochet Critters

The little amigurumi giraffe and lion show off in my Plush Stuffed Animal Zoo blog article on my Etsy Blog Crochet Crafts and Cute Critters.

Two Seals and a WalrusTwo Seals and a Walrus
The cute amigurumi seal and his friend the plush walrus are featured in my blog post Two Seals and a Walrus ~ Plush Marine Animals in Crochet.



For more reviews of crochet crafts, check out Review This: Crafts.

 
*Easy Crochet Critters pattern booklet is Reviewed by Wednesday Elf





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Monday, February 13, 2017

Slipper Socks Review


Crocheted slipper socks are amazing. I have crocheted many pairs of slipper socks over the years, customizing the colors for friends and family. This year I bought yarn with the intention of again making slipper socks as gifts. Sadly, I have not yet found the time to crochet those gifts. But fortunately, I have found my beloved slippers socks for sale on Etsy and will review the reasons these are a favorite item with people I know.

Crocheted Slipper Socks


I have made these slipper socks off and on for many years. And I have a few friends who hint at wanting a new pair in a new color every time we see a scrap of yarn anywhere. 

Today I was looking for the online pattern as I may have some time to do some crochet work.  It was during that search that I found the finished slippers for sale in Etsy shops!  

Why These Slipper Socks Are Recommended


I have made these slippers for a woman who often gives handmade things to her friends and family as gifts. It was intimidating to make a handmade gift for her, but I did. I gifted her with a pair of these slipper socks that I had made, and she loved them. She wore them daily and is the only person I know of that has worn a pair threadbare.  She told me that was only because she wore them daily - including the daily walk down her paved driveway and to her mailbox! That is a high review if I've ever heard one. 

Blue Green Slipper Socks
I am able to recommend the slippers in this Etsy shop because I am familiar with the pattern. It is an excellent pattern - one that fits well. WiseAcreBoutique also offers customized sizes with your foot measurements. I am aware that this pattern is easy to adjust to unusually long, narrow, or wide fit because of the ease of adjusting the pattern. 

A few reasons these slippers are socks are recommended and requested by friends: 


  • they are made with worsted weight acrylic yarn
  • made with two strands of yarn - increasing warmth and softness
  • I have always tossed mine into the washer and dryer with no problems
  • the pattern creates a "heel" that is not bulky, fits well, and keeps the slipper sock in place
  • it seems the ridges under the heel would be uncomfortable when in fact, they provide cushioning
  • easy to pack in a suitcase for travel
  • can be made in solid and variegated yarns 
  • the "cuff" can remain upright or be folded down - I like to fold mine down. My friends keep theirs up for added coverage
  • the fit is reliable - in similar size ranges as socks. 
  • the pattern can be adjusted to fit a variety of feet 

Slipper Socks at WiseAcreBoutique 

There is a good chance I will soon make the time to crochet the gifts I've been planning for my friends. Those same friends who have hinted and outright asked for a new pair. The yarn is already purchased and waiting in my closet. But it is still unlikely that I will make the time to crochet a pair for myself. Because of this, it is good to know where I can purchase a pair of these awesome slipper socks for myself. 




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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reviewing A Crochet Pumpkin Pattern

Crochet your own pumpkin for Fall

crochet pumpkin
Crocheted Pumpkins
As I write this review of a fun crochet pumpkin pattern, we are officially into the fall season here in my neck of the woods. I found this pattern last year about this time and decided having some decorations that I made myself would be a fun way to celebrate autumn in my dining room. 

The advantage to crocheting a pumpkin is that it works for fall, Halloween and even into Thanksgiving. As you can see by the photo at the left, I have the crochet pumpkins that I made last year in a display with real pumpkins and a few acorns. For right now, the display is for Halloween. Once we move into November, I will take out the real pumpkins and add some dried corn, maybe a gourd and some pine cones from my back yard. The small amount of time that I invested into making the large pumpkin and the small one has turned out to serve me well for decorating for more than one holiday. 

I found the crochet pumpkin pattern on The Crochet Crowd website, last year. I often go to this site when I am looking for something fun to crochet either for myself or for gifts. Mikey, the owner of the site, often offers a tutorial with the patterns that he showcases and I find them very easy to follow. The video below was really easy to follow!

Video Tutorial For Crocheting A Large Pumpkin






The pattern was really easy to follow, especially after having watched Mikey in the tutorial video. I find that the videos are so handy because I can start and stop them as I progress through the crochet pattern.

You can pick the color of orange that you want for your crocheted pumpkin at your local craft store or online. You will need some brown for the stem (I used some scrap brown) and just a tiny bit of green for the curly little leaf. You will also need some stuffing for the inside. One thing that I found was that you do not want to be frugal with the stuffing. Put plenty of it inside your pumpkin or you might find that your finished crochet pumpkin is flat looking.

If you like to crochet and make decorative items for your home, you will enjoy making this pumpkin in the large size or any size for that matter. Mikey provides a video for large, medium and small. I love that my cute pumpkins don't have to be carved, won't turn bad and they are easily stored away until next fall when I am ready to use them again.


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Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Love Yarn Day - October Fun for Crafters

Yarns
 The Craft Yarn Council (CYC), which represents the leading yarn companies, accessory manufacturers, and magazine and book publishers in the yarn industry, created I Love Yarn Day to share their affection for yarn and “stitch it forward” by teaching at least one newbie to knit, crochet, weave, spin or bomb.  It's a way to honor all those who create in the fiber arts and is held on the second Saturday of October.

My favorite crafts involve yarn – thus, there's nothing I like better than to talk about the projects my fellow fiber fans and I love to create.

The Crochet Crowd


My main (and favorite) yarn craft is crochet, a craft I've been doing for more than 40 years.  I taught myself to crochet as I am left-handed and no one could seem to teach me as everyone I knew who crocheted did it 'backwards'. (Well, maybe I'm the one who is backwards!). :) 




Plush Penguin
Plush Soft Toy Penguin
My favorite items to crochet are plush animals, especially soft toy penguins.  I make them in all the colors of the rainbow, including the actual black and white tuxedo penguin. 

Penguin is crocheted in a round and roly-poly Amigirumi style and measures about 5 x 5 inches.


Handmade penguins in this round style are very popular as a child's playtime pet plush animal, as it's just the right size for little hands to hold. This one is particularly adorable!


My plush penguins can be found in my Etsy Shop (Coastal Crochet Crafts), along with a whole bunch of stuffed animals and plush toys. 


Crochet Your Own Plush Animals

 



Crochet Plush Animals Pattern Book


If you love to crochet plush animals, this pattern book of over 40 patterns for soft and snuggly toy animals in four different sizes, giving you 160 different possibilities.  The patterns use simple crochet techniques with step-by-step instructions which enable even a complete beginner to get started right away.

It's available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon. 











The Nifty Knitters


I've tried knitting in the past, but will never be as expert at it as these knitters whose work I admire.


Lots of knitters make handmade hats and scarves, afghans and sweaters, but a few make really unique and one-of-a-kind items.  A group of Australian crafters (two daughters and their moms) have banded together to produce a a shop (Made with Altitude ~ the "Store Where Your Imagination Will Soar!") filled with four different crafts from 4 unique individuals whose stories and perseverance will amaze you.  My admiration for them and their work amazed me when I read their story.  



Knitted Flower
Smiling Sunshine Flower

Since this is an article about yarn crafts, I chose to feature here the shop's unique knitted item called Smiling Sunshine Flower, a flower toy hand-knit with a splash of love, and a little ray of sunshine.  Flowers always bring smiles and delight, and with this handmade knitted flower you can have flowers all year through.  Smiling Sunshine Flower has big full blooms measuring 9 ½ inches across, and is 15 inches long.  A wonderful gift to brighten someones day. 


Plastic Canvas Projects


Crafting designs on plastic canvas with yarn is a fairly new endeavor for me.  I began just a few years ago when I realized that my little balls of yarn leftover from my crochet projects were filling up an entire plastic bucket.  Since plastic canvas crafts, such as coasters and tissue box covers, take only a very small amount of yarn, this craft is a great way to use it up. Waste not, want not… as they say! 



The most enjoyable part of working with plastic canvas is watching the design come to life as you stitch with various colors.  My favorite project to create in this medium is beverage coaster sets. 



Pineapple Beverage Coasters
This is a set of four (4) beverage coasters with a design of a pineapple. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality and friendship, particularly throughout the South, so using coasters with this design in a social situation is perfect.

Pineapple coasters measure 4 x 4 inches. Created in acrylic yarn colors of yellow, gold and green for the pineapple design on an eggshell white background. Each coaster is trimmed in light green. The pineapple design is outlined in embroidery black outline stitch with crochet thread.


A pretty set of Pineapple coasters for your tabletops. They also make a lovely hostess gift for a holiday dinner invitation or a housewarming gift. Lovely home decor for any home.

The design is created on plastic canvas using acrylic yarn in harvest colors. The set can be found in my Etsy Shop, Coastal Crochet Crafts.



A Favorite Etsy Yarn Crafter

 

Halloween Treats Tic-Tac-Toe Game

Gail of Gails Crafts on Etsy has a very clever line of Tic-Tac-Toe games created with plastic canvas and yarn.  She makes these games for a variety of seasons and holidays and each one is cute and creative.  



This set includes a game board and 10 game pieces (5 each Jack-O-Lanterns and candy corns) and two fabric storage bags.

Game board is made from 7-mesh plastic canvas and 4-ply yarn. Game board is a 7”square  This and other sets, along with a wide variety of plastic canvas projects and other creative crafts, can be found in Gail's Etsy Shop called Gail's Crafts



Helpful Hints for Yarn


Beverly Owens, one of our creative crafters here on Review This, has reviewed a very handy tool every yarn crafter needs ~ the Stanwood Yarn Ball Winder.  If you have a large 'stash' of leftover yarn, like I do, this tool is perfect!

Now that you have your scraps of yarn neatly wound, check out these ideas from Favecraft on ways to use up those scraps. You don't even have to be a knitter or crocheter to find creative ways to use yarn.



50 Yards of Fun



Knitting Toys from Scrap Yarn


This book is perfect for using up your yarn stash.  There are patterns for a delightful collection of over 30 irresistible toys and each project uses only about 50 yards of yarn!

Knit just five basic body shapes, each shown in several variations, to create knitted animals, robots, monsters, and characters of every description.





Celebrate I Love Yarn Day


So, for 'I Love Yarn Day' or any day, grab your skeins and balls of yarn, your knitting needles, crochet hooks or yarn needle and begin a new project.  Hand-crafting with yarn is a very relaxing hobby and your finished projects are a delight to behold.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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