Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Two-color Scrubbies


(Photo above shows the two-color cotton side of the scrubbies)

This is a fast and fun little crochet project for the kitchen. Use scrubbies to scour your dishes, pots, pans and even vegetables. A scrubby is also a great little add-on gift to include with a kitchen set: making a matching set of a potholder, dish cloth, towel holder and scrubby would be a perfect shower, birthday or Mother’s Day gift.

Description:
This is a two-sided, two-color crocheted scrubby: one side is tulle (soft nylon netting); the other side is comprised of two colors of cotton yarn. The tulle side is effective for scrubbing stubborn food residue without scratching while the cotton side is gentle on hands when in use.


The two sides are worked independently, then placed back to back and joined with a simple edging. The completed size measures about 3.25 to 3.5 inches (about 8.5 to 9 mm).

The photo above and to the left shows four of the scrubbies with the tulle side face up. The green and white scrubby in the front shows the cotton side. 

What you will need:
• medium weight 100% cotton
• tulle on a 6 inch spool
• a size H (5 mm) crochet hook
• scissors

About the yarn:
So little cotton yarn is needed that you can use up some of those little leftover balls that you didn’t have the heart to toss out but didn’t know what else you could do with them. If you live in the U.S., the most common cotton yarn would be Peaches & Creme (Pisgah Yarn & Dying Co) or Sugar 'n Cream (Lily brand).

About the tulle:
You can purchase spools of 6-inch high tulle in craft stores (often in the wedding aisles) or in some fabric stores that carry wedding fabrics and accessories. To make this project you will need to work with 3-inch wide tulle. A good way to achieve the width is to cut the whole spool in half using an electric knife to go straight through the tulle and the cardboard tube. Now you have two halves of just the right width to make LOTS of scrubbies. 

Pictured below are the two halves of one six-inch spool of tulle (some tulle was already used from the right half and that is why it is not a full as the other one. 

To cut, I take my electric knife out on the porch, lay the spool on its side and cut. Of course I would be careful only to cut the spool and not the porch! If I have to, I turn the spool over and finish cutting from the other side to the center.

I have tried purchasing tulle by the yard and then cutting but it’s very difficult to keep the netting straight and try to cut even strips. Basically, you wind up with bits of netting all over, uneven strips and having to join with new strips every round or so. Tulle by the spool (hey that rhymes) is the easiest. After cutting, you just keep using it off the half spool kind of like you would crochet with a skein or ball—you just keep crocheting.

Okay, so, let’s get started.

Side A, the tulle side
Begin: With the H hook, either ch 4 and join to make a circle or crochet a magic loop. Ch 1.
Round 1: 9 sc into the circle. Join with a sl st. Ch 1.
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch around. Join with a sl st. Ch 1
Round 3: Sc in the first st and in the following st. (2 sc in the next st, sc in next 2 sts )* repeat from * around. Join with a sl st. Ch 1.
Round 4: Sc in the same st, sc in the next 2 sts. (2 sc in the next st, then sc in next 3 sts)* repeat from * around. Ch 1.
Round 5: Sc in the same st, (2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in the next 5 sts)* repeat from * around. Join with a sl st. Ch 1. Leave a 3-inch tulle tail and secure it. No need to cut it any shorter as you can tuck this in later. 

Side B, the cotton, two-color side
Begin: With Color A and the H hook, either ch 4 and join to make a circle or crochet a magic loop. Ch 1.
Round 1: 10 hdc into the circle. Join with a sl st. Ch 2.
Round 2: 2 hdc into each stitch. Join with a sl st. Ch 2.
Round 3: Join Color B. 1 hdc into the same st, then (1 hdc in the next st, 2 hdc in the following st)* repeat from * around.

Using your tapestry needle, secure your cotton yarn ends on the back. Make sure NOT to cut Color A as you will be using this yarn to make the edging going through both sides to make your scrubby.

Edging:
With wrong sides facing, match the tulle and cotton sides of the scrubby. I have been crocheting with the tulle side toward me but it is strictly personal preference which way you want to crochet the edging. Tuck in the 3-tulle yarn tail. 

Crocheting through both the tulle and the cotton sides to join, crochet the following simple scalloped edging.

Using Color A cotton yarn that is still attached, ch 2, then hdc in the same starting point. (Sl st in the next st and 3 hdc in the following st)* repeat from * around. You will complete the edging by crocheting one last hdc into your starting st to complete that scallop. This final hdc into your starting scallop makes a seamless ending.

Cut your yarn. Using your tapestry needle secure your final yarn tail.

All done!

A little tip:
When I use a scrubby, I make sure to squeeze out the extra water and then I pull the cotton side up to allow more air to get inside. I do this to make sure that my scrubby stays fresh and doesn't get sour. Another possibility to ensure aeration is to put a little ball of tulle inside between the two layers before joining with your edging.

You are welcome to use this pattern to make as many scrubbies to give or sell as you please. However, do not claim the pattern as your own or sell it, as it is copyrighted. Thanks, enjoy! Have fun making these. 


 Copyright 2014, Claudia A. Lowman. All Rights Reserved.


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.

Supplies:
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.