Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Mini Hat Decorations for your Christmas Tree

Here’s a little project that uses up leftover yarn, does not require a special skill like knitting or crochet, and produces a fun little decoration or possibly a little co-worker Christmas gift. Just add a cheery signed note.

Getting Started
What you will need are the following items:
–Cardboard tube from a TP roll or paper towel roll
–Blue painters' tape or masking tape (ideal is an inch or a little wider)
–Hardbound book measuring at least 6 inches across the cover
–Something to use as a hanger, like a gold cord or elastic metallic cord
Instructions for making a mini hat decoration:
STEP ONE: The tube
I’m using a tp tube for the example I am about to create. First, I have measured the length of the tube and it is 4 inches. I’m going to get four one inch strips to make four little hats.
TIP: I have found that it is best to cut the tube lengthwise because trying to cut rings from prove awkward and less than uniform. 
So cut straight up, lay flat and mark when you want to cut to make four rings.
After marking the cardboard tube to make four rings, then cut on the marked lines and put blue painter's tape or masking tape around and form a ring. This also reinforces your hat.
To the left is a ring with dark blue painter’s tape around it. Inside the tape it says “Dollar General” so maybe that is where I picked it up because the cost was cheaper. (Blue tape can be expensive….) It’s width (1.4 inches) is a perfect size to go around each of the rings I just cut and folded over.

Now that you have at least one tube to make a hat, it’s time to cut the yarn into the just-right lengths. You will do this by wrapping the yarn around a book over and over until you reach 36 times around. Remember, for this size tube, an ideal size of the book is at least 6 inches across the cover of a hardbound book.

The best place to cut the yarn into 36 individual strands is opposite of the spine, on the right side of the book as it faces you. Each strand will measure about 13-14 inches long.

STEP THREE: Yarn onto Tube
With a strand of yarn, fold in half. Place the fold part of the yarn down into the tube. Then put the two end pieces through it, like this (left). Next, pull the end pieces to make them and the loop snug, but not overly tight up to the edge of the ring. Repeat going around until you have filled up the ring with your strands of yarn. (right)

Once you go around, your hat will look something like this (below, left)

STEP FOUR: Shaping the Hat
Now, push the long yarn ends/strands back through the ring so they jut out the other end. While you are doing this also move the yarn loop knots slightly inward, too. Take a little time to make sure that you have all of the ends up through and reasonably straight. (right)

Next you are going to make a pom pom by tying around the loose ends. The hat will be shaped to look fuller later. Once the yarn is tied tightly, use your scissors to shape the ends into a nice roundish pom pom.

STEP FIVE: Hanger and Finishing
I used some metallic elastic cord to hang the little hat. I used a piece about 7-8 inches long, folded it in half and tied a knot to fasten the loose end. Then using a tapestry needle, I threaded the loop into the eye and inserted the needle up into the hat and out the middle of pom pom.

To make the hat look full, you could insert a few cotton balls or a small ball of yarn inside of the hat.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

So Simple Scarf

So Simple Scarf
a crochet pattern by Claudia A. Lowman

Photo: Yarn Bee Diva Yarn with sequins. Color: Bali

This crochet pattern is a winter scarf that can be made of your choice of yarn using any desired hook and to your preferred length. While you can use any hook size, larger sizes allow the scarf flexibility for comfortable wear.

This scarf is super easy and yet incredibly beautiful...and, it makes up quickly; it can be crocheted in a short evening from start to finish.

To access a printable version of this pattern CLICK HERE.

Here's a close up look at two of the scarves made of Yarn Bee Diva sequined yarn:

What you will need:
Yarn —Use any yarn that you think will make a nice scarf. Bulkier yarns (size 5) are a perfect density but regular worsted weight (size 4 density) is okay but if using this density, double strands works even better. Ombres are excellent for this project. As you can see from the photo, the rows almost look like they were crocheted with different colors instead of continuous yarn. You can also double strand this project pairing up two different yarns. For instance, pairing an eyelash, fun fur or other specialty yarn with a worsted weight yarn would make up beautifully. It is a good stash buster in this regard, to use what is on hand.

• The Diva Sequin yarn scarf above required only one skein (3.5 oz, 180 yards) including the fringe with just inches left over. The scarf measures about 60 inches long. More yardage/ounces will likely be required for most other yarns. While writing this pattern, I am using Loops and Threads Charisma yarn (a bulky yarn, size 5 density) in 3.5 oz skeins that will require a little more than one skein to finish it plus make the fringe.

Photo above: 3 different skeins of Loops and Threads Charisma yarn.

Should you crochet a scarf and then find there is not enough for fringe, you can make the fringe in a solid color yarn using another skein you have on hand.
Crochet hook: Size N (10.0 mm) for the body of the scarf; a size J or K for the fringe.
    It is important to use a large hook to make sure that the scarf is flexible for winding around the neck or making a simple knot. For bulky, size 5 yarns or double strand yarns, a size N (10.0 mm); for regular worsted weight yarn (size 4) single stranded, a size J (6.0 mm). If using regular worsted weight yarn, but double strands, use the size N.
Tapestry needle

Handy Tip:
A good rule of thumb for determining the length of the starting chain is to make it a few inches taller than the height of the person for whom the scarf is intended. For example, a person who is 5 feet 4 inches tall, the starting chain might measure that heigh or a few inches more.

The Scarf:
1. Loosely chain a long length to start. Leave a long tail of about 8 inches (20 cm) to
   incorporate into the fringe at the end, instead of weaving in or securing
2. Crochet 1 hdc in each chain. Ch 2, turn.
3. Crochet 1 hdc in the back loop of each of the hdc’s. Ch 2 and turn.
4. Continue step three until you have the desired width of the scarf which should
   measure at least 3.5—4+ inches across (9 to 13 cm) is a good width.
   Leave a long yarn tail to incorporate later into the fringe.

1. To make the fringe, the size N hook is too large. Use a size J or K.
2. Wind the yarn around and around a book and cut on one long edge. (see photo, right)  
3. Separate the cut lengths into units of three or four per section, depending on how full you want your fringe.
4. Using your crochet hook and starting at one lower corner, come up from the back to the front with your hook and place one unit of fringe (folded in half) around the hook and pull through enough to make a loop through which to pull the fringe. Remember to grab any yarn tail into this stitch to incorporate if one is at this position.  
 5. Complete both corners of one end and then place a fringe in the center. Add fringe between the corners and the center, then add one or two between each corner and the center.
6. Finally, when all the fringe has been added, trim the fringe ends to make a nice, even finished edge.

Other scarf ideas:
Team scarf: Use two school or team colors, such as green and yellow, to make stripes by crocheting 2 rows of green, 2 of yellow, and then back to green for 2 rows.

Stash busting: Crochet each row using a different color to use up small quantities of yarn.

Some scarf examples:

You are welcome to make scarves to keep, give or sell. I just ask that you do not claim the pattern as your own or reproduce it digitally or in print to sell.

 So Simple Scarf by Claudia A. Lowman, Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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.

To access a downloadable version to print CLICK HERE.

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.
Round 3: Join Color B. Ch 2, 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.

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.