Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crocheted Tote Bags

Last summer, I found a pattern for creating crocheted market bags - you know the kind that are mesh-like for carrying home your groceries. I made two of these, but didn't love the look. If you don't love the look, it makes it hard to make something! I found another pattern that was more of a tote bag and used the idea of how to create the bottom of the bag from the market bag pattern and the how to do the remainder of the bag from the tote bag pattern and this is the result!

These bags were crocheted using Sugar and Cream cotton yarn in a variety of fashionable colors! On the original bag (the variegated blue/green yarn) I made, I actually "messed up" - instead of half double crocheting between the stitches, I just half double crocheted, making the bag slightly larger. For the second two bags, I actually watched a YouTube video on what half double crochet between the stitches meant and made this adjustment. Since then, I use the half double crochet between the stitches for all of my bags - it makes for such a sturdy woven stitch!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Looped Border Double Crochet Scarf

The Looped Border Double Crochet Scarf is simple to make and easy enough for the beginner crocheter, and the final product looks stunning!  I've made several of these crocheted scarves in a variety of yarns and they can be found at my Knots-n-Knits Online Store.  These two scarves were crocheted using Red Heart's Soft yarn in Plummy and Waterscape.  I absolutely love these color combinations!  The yarn is nice because it is silky soft and the subtle palette of colors blend so nicely. 

This crochet pattern is from Red Heart and I modified it slightly from the original pattern by using only one strand instead of two and making my crocheted scarves 4 inches wide instead of two.  For a scarf that is 4 inches wide and about 45 inches long, you will need 2 balls of Red Heart Soft yarn.  These skeins tend to be smaller than similar soft yarns, so two are needed as opposed to just one if you use Caron's Simply Soft yarn or regular Red Heart yarn.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cross-Stitch Crochet Scarf

The Cross-Stitch Crochet scarf is a fun and easy scarf to make!  I have made these using Caron's Simply Soft yarn in soft pink and ocean.  The cross-stitch is essentially a double crochet in which you skip a stitch and double crochet in the next stitch and then come back to the skipped stitch and double crochet in it.  This doubling back to the skipped stitch is what creates the "X" or cross-stitch.  

A very simple pattern that adds interest to the generic double crochet!  Both of these crocheted scarves are available at the Knots-n-Knits Online Store.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hello Kitty Crochet Purse

The Hello Kitty Crochet Purse for girls is a perfect for your little one who loves Hello Kitty!  My sister suggested making Hello Kitty items since they are so popular these days.  Being a mom of two boys, I was leaning more towards Angry Birds, camouflage crochet scarves, and Pokeball hats, so the idea of getting to work with anything pink was exciting to me!

I started looking for existing pattens and found several that I liked different portions of, but I didn't find a pattern that I liked everything.  So, as we all do, I set off to come up with my own pattern!  I combined what I learned about making my cotton crochet tote bags and crochet shopping bags on how to crochet in the round.  Starting with the white yarn, I crocheted several rounds for the bottom of the bag with a basic single crochet.  Next, I did a row of half double crochet - my new favorite stitch!  The remaining rows were the half double crochet in the space below between the stitches - this gives the purse more of a woven look.  Finally, I finished it off with just a slip stitch border.

As for the other elements - strap, ears, eyes, nose, bow, and whiskers, I used the patterns from a couple of different sites, namely Crochet Creative Creations and Crochet in Color.  There are not too many different ways to make these crocheted features, and I believe both of these sites have patterns that are very similar.

I started writing up the tutorial for the crochet purse portion of my Hello Kitty purse, but need to test it one more time before I publish it.  In the meantime, I will be offering crochet Hello Kitty purses for sale in my Knots-n-Knits Online Store in the next few days.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Granny Stripe Crochet Headbands

About a month ago, I came across this great crochet headband pattern for the Granny Stripe Headband/Earwarmer from Sara at tangled happy.  Being familiar with the granny square stitch, I thought I would give it a try and here are just a couple of headbands that I've been able to finish (complete with crochet flowers!)

Granny Stripe Headbands from tangled happy

I really like this pattern ... Sara did a fantastic job of writing up clear instructions, making it super easy to follow!  These crochet up rather quickly and you can have some great fun with changing up the colors and variations. The crochet flower pattern is from a book that I found at the library.  It was easy to crochet the flower and it allowed for two or three rows of petals.

This pattern has even spurred me into thinking how you could do so many other stitches.  I think that is one thing that I enjoy the most about trying out the different patterns that I find, usually through Ravelry.  Most follow basically a similar design concept and once you have that foundation down, it's easy to see how you can create some really amazing crocheted wearables!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Purple Crochet Slippers

A couple of weeks ago, I came across the crochet pattern for these adorable slippers on Craftsy.  My mom and my aunt had loaned me their old Workbaskets from the 1970's, '80's, and '90's and I had found a pattern for making crochet slippers that I attempted - I say "attempted" because I only made one, and of course, you need two to make a pair!  I wasn't happy with the result (they were too large and bulky) and so I started browsing Craftsy and came across the "Crochet Rectangle Slipper" from MaryWright.  This is a FABULOUS pattern!  Very easy to follow and to customize!  And being double crochet, they crochet up rather quickly!

I made my two slippers and fell in love!  And then I tried them on and wore them around the house.  Because these are worked in double crochet from your toe to your heel, there are ridges that go from one side of your foot to the other.  After a bit, they became rather uncomfortable.  I was bummed!  I love my purple Mary Janes and had planned to make several of these for my craft fair inventory, but if they are not comfy, it'd be hard for me to "sell" them!

So, I plan to make a few modifications to the original pattern:
Instead of double crochet, I will do a half double crochet in between the stitches (I learned how to do this while making tote bags - which I will post here soon!).  This makes for a tighter "weave" and I think it would be more comfortable.  I am worried that it might not be as flexible, but will see.

Stitch the heel closed in a more streamlined fashion - on mine, I slip stitched from one edge to the other, and now have a little pucker at the bottom of the seam - making it more square than rounded.  I think I can fix this by just "tailoring" the seam a bit more - maybe go in two stitches when I get closer to the bottom of the heel.

The one change I did make while finishing up my purple crochet slippers was to use a more decorative reverse single crochet than just a single crochet.  I am still mastering the stitch and since these are for me, I wasn't too worried about the inconsistency in the spacing of the stitches.

All in all, I am pleased with how the crochet slippers turned out.  I think they are adorable and once I work on the comfort issue, I think I will be adding these to my inventory.  What do you think?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A new look for Knots-n-Knits!

It's been awhile since I've posted, which was something I feared when I initially started this blog.  But, I am going to do my best to stay on top of things and keep the posts a bit more regular!

I think one of the reasons I didn't post is because I just didn't like the look of my old blog!  I loved the features in Wordpress and just struggled with the design, colors, and the general look and feel.  I am one of those people who will play around for HOURS with the tiniest details having to do with the way things look and I just didn't have the time to do that.  Also, I am contemplating setting up an online store to market my wares and that is not allowed on Wordpress.  So, today, I opened up Blogger for the first time and seriously took a look and immediately fell in love with this simple, basic design.  I may change things up, but for now, I can live with this.

Another nice feature of using Blogger is that it links right to my Google account for Knots-n-Knits.  With these embedded features, I am hoping to take a closer look at Google+. I am a tried and true Facebook fan, but for Knots-n-Knits, I think I will see what can happen with Google+.

In an effort to not lose the minuscule number of posts that I've written so far, I've copied those over, but have lost the few comments I had.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Basket full of curliques!

Over the past couple of months, I've been crocheting the heck out of a pattern by Vanna White called "curlique" or "potato chip" scarves.  I found the design in a little pattern book that I bought at Michael's on how to crochet a scarf and then discovered several renditions of it at the Vanna's Choice site on the Lion Brand yarn web site.  All I can say is that I LOVE making this scarf!  It stitches up very quickly and is super easy to do - if you can chain and double crochet, you've got it covered!

Generally, I can whip up the spiral crochet scarf in one night, which is about 2-3 hours of watching television while crocheting.  On a rainy weekend after errands are ran, I can usually do 2 or 3 scarves. If nothing else, this scarf makes you feel productive!

Although I like Vanna's Choice yarn, I find myself moving toward the Loops & Threads Impeccable.  It's a bit firmer yarn, and for the price, it is a better value.  The Vanna's Choice solids are 170 yards where as the Impeccable is 268 yards - almost 100 yards more!  Usually, they run about the same price, depending upon what type of sale is going on, but the Impeccable is distributed by Michael's, so I don't think you would find it at WalMart or JoAnne's as you can the Vanna's Choice.

So far, I've made 8 scarves using this crochet scarf pattern and will probably make many more.  I wear one alone, but the nice thing is you can wear two that coordinate in color together.  The spirals wrap within each other giving a really nice look.  When I make more, I plan to experiment with the length - 143 stitches is not really long, although I am able to tie mine in a loose knot and being 5'2", it still works for me. For someone taller or with a longer torso, it might be too short.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Perfecting the Puff Stitch

 Last weekend I took a hiatus from needlework as I had the chance to go to the Computer Using Educator's Conference (CUE) in Palm Springs.  Although I took a project with me, there was just too much going on to work on it. If you're an educator that uses technology in your classroom, you will want to check out this conference next March!  It is worth it! If you can't make the Palm Springs one, there is a Fall conference in Napa in October.

When I returned, I was able to finish it - an ivory colored crochet scarf that uses the dreaded "puff" stitch!  I say "dreaded" because I've always heard that the puff stitch is a difficult one to do - time consuming, at the very least.  But, I actually enjoyed doing it, probably because I really liked how the stitch looks.

The pattern for the crochet scarf that I used was from the label of a skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable.  I thought the crocheted scarf was pretty and a different design from what I've been doing, so I grabbed my hook and Aran colored yarn and off I went.  It wasn't until I read the fine print (and believe me, the print on the backs of these labels is tiny!!) that I realized it incorporated the puff stitch.  Rather than throwing in the towel, I decided to give it a try and really enjoyed making this scarf. The crochet pattern was easy to follow and worked the same row repeatedly, so it was quick to get into a sequence.

The only thing that I don't care for about the scarf is that it isn't completely "square", meaning that the left side curves slightly to the left and the right side follows, but seems more straight.  I am not sure if I just missed a very important stitch, or if this is how it is supposed to be.  It's hard to tell from the photo since it is actually being warn by a model.  Regardless, I like it and may get around to doing some more of these, if nothing else than to test to see if it's the crochet pattern or if it's me. For now, I will probably wear it instead of adding it to my inventory, at least until I have time to do another, and I will revisit an afghan pattern that I really like that uses the puff stitch.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ta-da! My first knitting project

Last night, I finished my first knitting project using the knit stitch.  I made a knit scarf using Loops & Threads Charisma yarn in Charcoal and size 11 knitting needles.  This was going to be an actual knit scarf, but when I came to the end of my first skein of yarn, I realized that I did not have a second skein with a matching dye lot, so my regular scarf became a knit infinity scarf or knit cowl.

Although it might look halfway decent (yes, as I predicted, there are some mistakes!), this was made after numerous restarts!  I was on a roll a couple of nights ago and had about 6 inches with NO mistakes, when I went to look at something on the iPad that my son was showing me and I dropped a stitch off the end of my needle.  Trying not to panic, I attempted to recover the stitch, but wasn't able to and decided to tear it out and start over!  This happened a lot, thus a lot of restarts!

All in all, I think I'm getting the hang of knitting and do enjoy it as much as crocheting!  Looking forward to my next class where I'll learn the purl stitch and how to change color (although I did YouTube this last night when I thought I had a second skein to continue with!).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Knitting Class

"Tweed stitch" by AnnaKika at
Yesterday I took my first knitting class at my local Michael's. The instructor, Lorna, was extremely patient and very knowledgeable.  I've come to several conclusions:  knitting is much harder than crochet; it is going to take me forever to finish my first project (a hat for my son), and my first project is going to be riddled with mistakes!

Of the four of us in the class, I actually seemed to pick it up more quickly than the others, but for some reason, I kept adding a stitch and I have no idea how.  My 9 stitches resulted in 14 and what was supposed to be a nice square actually looked like an asymmetrical pancake. I practiced again at home on smaller needles and found that I only added 1 stitch after about 30 minutes of knitting.  Not sure what I am doing wrong, but Lorna mentioned something about my adding a stitch when I ended a row (I think that is what they're called).  Luckily, the cast on and binding weren't too hard, so I at least know how to start and how to end!  I will practice and practice until I get it down - it sucks being a perfectionist when you're learning something new!

My next class I learn the purl stitch, which my mom said is the opposite of the knit (or garter) stitch - whatever that means!!  If I actually accomplish something with the knit stitch, I will be sure to post!

Happy knitting!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Off and Running

nike baby shoes
Image is titled “nike baby shoes” from
kosabe at
Well, here it is.  My first blog post.  I read that your first post is by far your worst post, so I am just going to do my best to get through it.  I am hoping to get better as we go as blogging as a participant is new to me.  Sure, I've read lots of blogs, mostly for work, and have even trained teachers and school administrators on how to create their own blog using Edublogs.  But, I've never created a "real" blog on my own, mainly because I had absolutely nothing I cared to share and no time to share something that was so unimportant.  Maybe it's age, maybe it's global warming (yeah, right), maybe it's that our world seems to be going through so much turmoil with no end in sight, for whatever reason, I decided to start blogging. I am not going to fill the screen with my rantings about political or current world affairs, I think we have enough of that everywhere we look.  Instead, I am going to share one of the things I enjoy - working with fabric arts, whether it be yarn, floss, fabric, or paper, I always seem to have a project or 10 going on. Just ask my kids how much closet space they each have - they're young, they don't need their closets, yet!

So, this is my blog and this is my first post.  I will probably look back later and cringe, but you gotta start somewhere!  Welcome and happy reading!