Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Let's Make Stitch Markers!!!

Introduction: Who doesn’t like pretty things and a little bling from time to time? How about a little knitting or crochet "jewelry" while creating your projects?

Well, that’s what I was thinking when I asked cindylen* to join me in hosting an event on making stitch markers in the From Trash to Treasures group on ravelry.

Here’s our opening graphic that we used to invite members and welcome them to our little June event, though this appears much smaller here than it was in our thread.

*cindylen is Cindy’s ravelry name. In ravelry, we protect our identities through self-selected names and avatars as we participate in groups and events.

Our purposes were to learn (or hone) stitch marker skills to make sets for giving, sharing or selling; and to share a little fun event which would culminate in a post on my blog. The event has completed so it's time to post our accomplishments. 

The Categories: cindylen and I put our heads together and came up with a few suggested categories for making stitch markers. Since this is a group that states it is focused on "recycling, upcycling, reusing and repurposing," we decided to include a category or two with these attributes in mind. 

1.   Made from scratch stitch markers: creating beads or embellishments from clay, wood, paper, yarn or ?
2.   Nature stitch markers: things found in the woods, at the beach, in your own backyard or ?
3.   Repurposed stitch markers: made from things that started life as something else but used for this purpose.
4.   Themed or holiday stitch markers: a central theme (food, animals, flowers, Christmas, etc.).
5.   Wire Wonders: shapes made from wire.
6.   Presentation sets: complete sets of markers with gift giving in mind.

We hope you will want to create sets of your own. They make wonderful gifts for knitting and crochet friends. Then again, maybe it’s time to treat yourself and make a set of stitch markers just for you! (Don’t forget to treat yourself once in awhile—you deserve it.)

Made from Scratch category
Flower Garden I by cindylen

This set of knitting stitch markers, made from Shrinky Dinks, is a flower lover's treasure featuring such flowers as a rose, sunflower, daisy and daffodil. 
Made from Scratch category
Garden Goodies by delights

Hand-formed from Fimo clay and baked to hardness, this set of knitting stitch markers includes peas, an eggplant, a potato (complete with eyes) and a colorful carrot.
Made from Scratch category
Flower Garden II by cindylen

This second set of six flower knitting stitch markers by cindylen and also made from Shrinky Dinks, includes beads to help weight the markers. 

Repurposed category
From the Tackle Box by daytripper

How unique is this? This set of knitting stitch markers is from daytripper's husband's tackle box (with his permission, of course). daytripper used all sorts of fishing goodies including fishing line, beads that look like salmon eggs and a pink Colorado blade lure.
Repurposed category
Blue Jeans Beads by cindylen

Another unique set of stitch markers: center beads made from rolled strips of denim from an old pair of jeans. cindylen rolled and glued and rolled and glued to concoct this set. Notice that one bead is different from the other four. The purpose of a unique marker is to mark the beginning of a round or the start of a stitch sequence.

Repurposed category
JoAnn Beads by cindylen

This set could fit comfortably in either the Repurposed or Made from Scratch category. cindylen rolled these cylindrical beads from a page from a JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store circular. These are attractive AND functional.
Wire Wonders category
Rainbow Beads by Floriental

Floriental specialized mostly in crochet stitch makers bending wire in unique ways to produce her sets. For crochet projects, the markers attach to stitches themselves, rather than slide on a needle, as in knitting. This set of Rainbow Beads includes graded colors in one hue per bead—eight in all.

Wire Wonders category
Simple Swirls by Floriental

Here's a set of eight crochet stitch markers made from a gold colored wire that Floriental bent to shape. This set is a more understated set. 
Wire Wonders category
Rainbow Beads by Floriental

Floriental specialized mostly in crochet stitch makers bending wire in unique ways to produce her sets. For crochet projects, the markers attach to stitches themselves, rather than slide on a needle, as in knitting. This set of Rainbow Beads includes graded colors in one hue per bead—eight in all.

Wire Wonders category
Lucky Horseshoes by Floriental

Eight seems to be the magic number for Floriental's sets of markers. Here's another set of burnished gold in a U shop or horseshoe shape for the crocheter. 
Wire Wonders category
Easy and Elegant by Floriental

Floriental was on a roll making stitch markers! Here are two more sets in two different metal tones.  

Nature Stitch Markers category
Back to Nature by cindylen

In this event cindylen was the most adventuresome, trying more categories and adapting more materials. Here is her set of knitting stitch markers wood discs.
Themed Stitch Markers category
By the Sea by delights

delights made over two dozen sets of stitch markers during this event, most of which were themed. This one features a seahorse as the one unique marker in this set of four. She coupled it with a handcrafted box and tag for a complete themed set. 

Themed Stitch Markers category
Lucky You by delights

Here's a themed set of five knitting stitch markers featuring purple dice beads with one unique marker of a lucky horseshoe charm.  

Themed Stitch Markers category
Christmas by delights

Actually, these are two distinctly different sets: the two gingerbread cookies are knitting stitch markers and the two Christmas bulbs are crochet markers. About the crochet markers: notice the clasp at the top. This type of clasp is called the lobster claw. It's a jewelry making supply but works perfectly for crochet stitch markers. This set could also fit in the repurposed category as the gingerbreads were earrings and the bulbs were plastic Christmas decor.

Presentation Set category
An Apple a Day by delights

This is a set of Fimo clay markers, which could also fit in the Made from Scratch or Theme category but here it is shown as a presentation set—a complete gift set. delights is making sets of markers for two of her Etsy shops. Here is (from L-R) an apple, a pear, an orange and a plum.
Presentation Set category
Asian Inspired by delights

Here's a striking set of four knitting stitch markers in black, gold and red with one unique stitch marker. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Daisy Towel Holder

Introduction: I had been thinking about crocheting some towel toppers for a long time. I even started one but I wasn’t satisfied and ripped it out. Then I saw some photos of simple towel holders that piqued my interest and I decided to design one that really suited me. So here it is, the Daisy Towel Holder—fun and easy to make.
What’s nice about these towel holders is that they are separate from the towels. You slip a towel through the elastic ring to easily remove a towel to wash or switch to a different one. 
One of the reasons that I was dissatisfied with the crocheted towel topper I had started was that a normally-sized kitchen towel was too large for a crocheted top. It hung down too low on my kitchen cabinets but with this towel holder, the towel is doubled and hangs perfectly.

Yarn: You will need some medium density (size 4) cotton yarn in two colors: one for the main body and one for the little daisy-like flower. This is a great project to use up small balls of cotton yarn. A golf ball size will make up the main body; even less is needed for the flower.

Hook: G hook (4mm)

Button: A button about an inch across (2.5 cm) works perfectly for the center of the flower. Slightly smaller or larger will do just fine, too.

Embroidery thread: Select the same color embroidery thread as the button for a good match.

Ponytail/hair elastic: Find a sturdy pony tail elastic about 2 inches across (5 cm). Using one of these elastics makes an ideal, stretchy ring to hold a towel.

Needles: Tapestry needle (large blunt needle) and a fairly large-eyed, pointed needle for sewing on the button with embroidery thread.

Okay, let’s get started.

Main body
Leaving a yarn tail of about 3-4 inches, sc around your ponytail elastic filling it up with nice, uniform stitches. I had a whole package of ponytail elastics so I matched the yarn with elastic. This way, even if the ring is stretched and there was slight separation between stitches, the color stays uniform.

If you are using a similar size ponytail elastic, your sc total might reach between 40–45 sts.

Row 1: Ch a long chain to measure about 5.5 inches (14 cm)—about 24 sts. The st count is less important than the length.
Row 2: Starting in the second ch from hook, hdc the length of the chain down to the elastic ring. Sc into the top of the nearest sc on the elastic ring. Sc into the next st. Turn.
Row 3: Hdc along the body of the holder to the end. 2 ch. Turn.
Row 4: Hdc the length of the holder. Sc into the top of the nearest sc of the elastic ring and again into the next sc after that. Turn.
Row 5: Hdc the length of the holder. This time, instead of turning, sc across the end of the holder to the original ch (row 1) side.
Final row: Hdc down the length of the holder along the original long chain (row 1). This final row makes a nice finished edge.

Cut yarn leaving a 4-inch tail.

Using your tapestry needle, secure loose yarn ends.

Daisy flower:
Using a 6-inch starting tail (15 cm), make a magic loop or chain enough stitches for a tight fitting button hole to accommodate the button you selected. If you use a similar button size to the ones in the first photo, you will want to start with 8 ch sts to make a loop, if you are not doing the magic loop method.

Row 1: Sc 18 sts around the loop.
Petals: You will be making 6 petals working in the BACK loops of the sc row.

First st, ch 2 to serve as the first hdc, hdc, dc (2) in the nearest st.
Second st: dc (2), hdc (2).
Third st: sl st.
Fourth st: hdc (2), dc (2).
Fifth st: dc (2), hdc (2).
Sixth st: sl st.

Repeat Fourth­ through Sixth st sequence around to make 5 more petals (total of 6 petals).

Leaving a 6-inch (15 cm) tail, cut yarn.

Button: Refer to the photo below to show the placement of the button. Somewhat loosely, sew your button to the towel holder using embroidery thread. When sewn, make a shank on the backside of the button by wrapping the embroidery thread around and around a few times and then securing your thread. The shank will make the button fit better into the daisy and reduce the likelihood of it popping off in the future.

Again referring to the same photo and using your tapestry needle, attach the daisy to the towel holder using the yarn ends. Secure ends in place. 

All done!

Isn’t this a fast and fun little extra to give along with a dishcloth or potholder? As an example, this towel holder pairs perfectly with the Gingham and Daisy potholders on this blog. (May 2012)

Photo below: Daisy towel holder with matching knitted dishcloth.

You are welcome to make, use, sell, or give as many of these daisy towel holders as you please. I just ask that you refrain from claiming the pattern as your own or selling it. It is a copyrighted property. 

Copyright 2014, Claudia A. Lowman/delights-gems. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crocheted Chocolate Easter Bunny

Introduction: Last year after Easter I bought a chocolate Easter bunny for a special purpose: to use as a guide to make a crocheted version. I looked over all of the bunnies and picked one that seemed to be generally the right size and shape. At home, I loosely drew around the chocolate bunny to use as a template—with a few modifications. I worked! I crocheted a chocolate bunny with increases and decreases to match the shape. 
(Later I ate the real chocolate bunny)

After making the first bunny, I started a second one but this time I wrote down the increases and decreases as I went so that others might create this bunny, too.

Depending on the type of yarn you use, your bunny will stand between 7 and 8 inches (18-20 cm).

About the pattern: I have to admit, this pattern will be different from the usual form because numbers of stitches are not given for each round. That’s because you are not joining rows and because the count is not as important as the shape. You just have to trust that this will work out if you follow the rounds. I have provided a template for you and, periodically, you can check your work against the template to be assured that the bunny is taking shape, just as planned. 

The template can be found at the end of this page, after the pattern instructions. 

Okay, let’s get started!

Just a reminder, this pattern is copyrighted. You are welcome to create as many bunnies as you like and use for giving or selling. Just don’t claim this pattern as your own or sell the pattern.

Chocolate Easter Bunny (crocheted)
designed by Claudia A. Lowman

Description: This 8 inch (20 cm) “chocolate” bunny is a fun addition to a child’s Easter basket filled with goodies or as part of annual d├ęcor to celebrate the holiday. What a great way to enjoy chocolate but one that is sugar, calorie and guilt-free!

This project is worked in continuous rounds of single crochets (sc) from the bottom up to the tip of the ear. The bunny is made up of two parts—the body and a base that is attached after the body has been stuffed with poly fiberfil. Final touches include button eyes and a ribbon at the neck. This photo shows the bunny sporting a yellow ribbon.

What you will need:
–yarn: Any regular worsted weight or dk weight yarn will work in one of three colors: medium brown (milk chocolate), dark brown (dark chocolate) or ecru (white chocolate). Acrylic yarn is preferred so that the bunny can be washed. 
– G hook (4 mm)
– scissors
– tapestry needle
– poly fiberfil stuffing
– ribbon
– buttons for eyes

Bunny Body, To start:
ch 34, join with a sl st, ch 1.

Tail and Foot Shaping
Rnd 1: Sc around, Work continuously without joining at the end of each round.
NOTE: Mark your work in two places: the beginning of the round and again at the halfway point. You may want to use different colors so you will know your starting point. The beginning of each round is the backside of the bunny; the halfway point is the front or belly of the bunny. All increases (inc) and decreases (dec) will be made at these two points (beginning/end, halfway point) to form the bunny shape, which is relatively flat. Periodically move the markers up as you progress up through the rounds.

You may want to use a counter to keep track of rows or, if you lose your place, simply count up the rows.
Rnd 2: Inc, sc up to the st just before the marked halfway point and inc in this st, sc in next (marked) st), inc, sc around to the 2nd to last st and inc, sc.
Rnd 3: Sc around.
NOTE: Your work will want to turn inward, so be sure to keep it turned correctly so that the right side of your work is out.
Rnds 4-6: These three rounds will be dec rounds. All decreases will be made by inserting hook into the next st, yo, hook into following st, yo, draw yarn through all 3 loops on hook (dec made).
Dec, sc to around to 2 st before the halfway point, dec, sc, dec, sc up to the last 2 st in the round, dec.

Back and Belly Shaping
Rnd 7: Inc in next 2 st, sc up to the 2 st before the halfway point, dec, sc, dec, sc around to the two st before the mark at end of the round, inc in these 2 st.
Rnd 8: Sc around.
Rnd 9: Sc to halfway pt, inc, sc around to the end.
Rnd 10: Dec, sc around to the final 2 st, dec.
Rnd 11: Dec, sc around to the halfway pt, inc, sc to the last 2 st, dec.
Rnd 12: Dec, sc around to the first st before the halfway pt, inc, sc, inc, sc to the last 2 st, dec.
Rnd 13: Dec, sc around to the last 2 st, dec.
Rnd 14: Dec, sc around to the 2 st before the halfway pt, dec, sc, dec, sc to the last 2 st, dec.

Neck and Head Shaping
Rnd 15-16: Dec, sc to the halfway pt, dec, sc to the last 3 st, dec, sc.
Rnd 17: Sc to the halfway pt, dec. sc to the end.
Rnd 18: Inc, sc around to the last 2 st, inc, sc.
Rnd 19: Inc (2), sc to the st before the halfway pt, inc, sc, inc, sc to last 2 st, inc (2).
Rnd 20: Inc, sc to the st before halfway, inc, sc, inc, sc to the last 2 sts, inc, sc.
Rnd 21: Inc, sc to 2 sts before halfway pt, inc (2), sc, inc (2), sc to the last 2 sts, inc, sc.
Rnd 22: Sc to the st before the halfway pt, inc, sc, inc, sc to the end.
Rnd 23: Dec, sc around to the last 3 st, dec. sc.
Rnd 24: Dec, sc to the 2 st before the halfway pt, dec (2), sc to last 3 sts, dec, sc.
Rnd 25: Dec, sc to 3 st before the halfway pt, dec (3), sc to the last 3 st, dec, sc.
Rnd 26: Sc to 3 st before the halfway pt, dec (2), sc to the end.

Ear shaping
Rnd 27: Inc, sc to 2 st before halfway, dec, sc to the last 2 st, inc (2).
Rnds 28-30: Inc (2), sc to 1 st before halfway pt, dec, sc to the last 2 st, inc (2).
Rnds 31-32: Inc, sc to halfway pt, inc, sc to last st, inc.
Rnd 33: Sc around.
Rnds 34-35: Sc to halfway pt, dec, sc to end.
Rnd 36: Sc around.
Rnd 37: Sc to halfway pt, dec, sc to end.
Rnd 38: Sc around.
Rnds 39-40: Sc to halfway pt, dec, sc to end.
Rnd 41: Dec around.
Rnd 42: (Sc, dec) around.
Cut yarn leaving a 5” (13 cm) tail. Close up tip of ear and secure yarn ends.

Stuff bunny with poly fiberfil.

Base: The base is two parts that are layered together to form a firm stand for the bunny.
Using a G (4 mm) hook and the same yarn as bunny body, ch 12.
Rnd 1: 2 sc in 2nd st from hook, sc in next 9 sts, 3 sc in last st, sc 10 sts, join with sl st.
Rnd 2:Ch 1, 2 sc in same st, sc in next 11 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 12 st, join w sl st. Leave 15 in (30 cm) tail.

For second base part, repeat Rnds 1-2 plus add a third round as follows:
Rnd 3: Ch 1, 2 sc in same st, sc in next 13, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 13, join w sl st, Leave 18 in (46 cm) tail.

Center smaller base on larger base and, using the tapestry needle and the yarn tail from the smaller one, st tog. Using the remaining yarn tail, st base to the bunny filling in with more stuffing, if needed.

You can check the progress of your bunny’s shape by laying it on this provided outline. You will likely need to "capture" this template by right clicking on it and saving it so you can print it out. It should measure about 8 inches (20.5 cm) high.
Tip: I used a clicker to keep track of my rounds, but it you don't and you forget where you left off, just count the sc rows up from the bottom to determine your next round. Also, checking against the template will be of helpful as you go along.

ETA: Since sharing this pattern, I have crocheted about 10 more chocolate bunnies. One is a white chocolate bunny that I thought I would add. Here it is.

Copyright 2013, C. Lowman. All Rights Reserved.