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Posts Tagged ‘crochet’

I’ve never been a great fan of ponchos, (mostly because if I’m cold, I want good coverage, not the open bottom).  Recently however, I saw one in the mall that looked so pretty, I wanted to make it.  It was something like this, with the flowy cable part of the pattern running around the neck and down the front and back:

PonchoFLowy

I haven’t even started on one yet, (I currently have 5 other projects going on), but I did make my plan.  Here is how you design your own poncho.

A common way to make one is to make two identical rectangles and seam them together, like so:

PonchoFoldHowToMake

You attach the two rectangles together with a seam, then you fold it over and seam the other edge, attaching blue star to blue star, white star to white star.  This is great, nothing could be easier than two rectangles – you can make them however you want -crochet, knit, or weave.

To make the appropriate size rectangles

-width of the rectangles
To get the width of your rectangles, (their width is the length of the poncho), put a tape measure on your shoulder where you want the neckline to be, and measure over the top of the shoulder and down your arm to where you want the end to stop near the wrist (or your length of choice).  You will have a longer point hanging in the front, but the length over the arm is probably more critical.

-length of the rectangles
The length of your rectangles will be determined by what size you want the neckline. You can tape measure the point in the front where the neckline is lowest, over one shoulder to the same point in the back.  (See the red line on the drawing below, this is where you measure).  This will give you half the amount of the neckline, so then double it.  When I measure I get 17 inches, (neckline a little lower down), so I will make my rectangles (17+17=) 34 inches long. I have seen patterns suggest 32 inches as a “large”, so try it and see what looks good for you. You just need it big enough to stick your head through it without having it so big it falls off the shoulders, or leaves too much neck area exposed to the cold.

 

PonchoMeasure

Here is another method I used just to double check the size, (though the measuring tape is probably simpler than this one). 

Clip two towels together in the same way you would make the poncho, (following the drawing above). You can use binder clips, hair clips, clothes pins, whatever you have. Wide hair clips like I used will add more variation, narrower items are better.  (This is really a ballpark measurement in my case because I used 3 inch hair clips.)  Put it on. The long point will hang in the middle of the front and the middle of the back, so arrange your towels on you this way.  Adjust the two clips at the neck to the size you want the neckline to be, and move the adjacent two clips so your towel is pinned flat, like shown.  You can also add a clip near the wrist at one edge to mark the length you want the poncho to be (which is rectangle width).

PonchoTowels

Take it off and lay it out on a flat surface. Unhook clips from one seam only, but hook the clips back on to one towel if they weren’t on a corner on that towel.  Lay both towels flat like the drawing.  This will let the clips mark your new size. Measure from corners (or towel edges) to clips as shown, or if both of your end clips moved, measure from clip to clip.  The area outside of where you moved the clips shows length that you don’t want on the poncho.

Measure from any clips that were moved inward to the farthest clip.  You should still be getting rectangles in the general shape of a towel.  TowelMeasurePoncho

TowelMeasurePoncho2

Measuring this way, I get 35 inches on both towels, so I know my earlier 34″ measurement was probably fine.  This is rectangle length.

TowelTrimPonchoIf you want, you can fold the towels to your appropriate rectangle length, re-clip, and try it on again. (Clip white to white, blue to blue.)

TowelFoldPoncho

Now you’re ready to begin making two rectangles.

If you crochet, you may get a fairly thick poncho, unless you use skinny yarn.   This drawing shows one way you can do it, but you can get creative and make your rectangles in any direction you like.  Make two identical rectangles for the flowy neck pattern like the top drawing.

ConstructionPonchoCrochet

If you knit, you can cast on either direction here too, the drawings are just ideas.  Cast on the number of stitches you need to get your appropriate inches on the width or length. (For help with getting from number of inches to number of stitches, see this post.)  To get one like the drawing I put at the top, cast on the width and work up the length like this drawing, doing a cable on one side to get a flowy neckline, and make two identical rectangles.  If instead, you cast on your length, your stitches will be right side up when you wear it, (going up and down).  You can take advantage of this to do flowers or leaves growing upright at the bottom, or whatever you choose.  Whichever way you do it, plan your design carefully to avoid any curling at the bottom.

ConstructionPonchoKnitting

Attach and seam your two pieces like this, and seam following the stars on the drawing above. Make sure to seam on the insides and safety pin it first to check orientation before starting seaming.  (Probably sounds silly me saying that, but when I sew I’ll put one piece on backwards every time if I don’t pin and check first, so with no obvious sleeve holes, I know I’d do the same here.)

PonchoKnitDirection

Hey, I started!  I realized one of my sweaters already-in-progress is a piece exactly 34 1/2 inches long, so that one is now going to turn into this poncho.  Due to the length it already is, I can’t run a longways cable around the neck, but I think what I’ve done already will make a nice neckline, and now I can maybe do some kind of flower pattern growing upwards from the bottom edge or something.   (It will need some kind of design to prevent the stockinette rolling up at the bottom as you see it doing here).  This design edge is just random made up cables on a garter background with a square of seed stitch at the corners.  When I finish this I will come back and add the completed photo to this post.

PonchoKnitting

 

 

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When I saw things such as tea cozies, mug cozies, and egg cozies, I used to wonder why on earth anyone would make such a thing, other than for quirky cuteness.  After becoming an addicted tea drinker, I now know.  It’s the weekend and I can futz around the house for hours on end, forgetting my tea until it gets cold.  A tea cozy allows you to make a whole pot of tea at one time, keeping it nice and hot for you for ages.  It IS practical!

So, here’s how to wing a tea cozy.  You want a shape that is something like a submarine.  The rounded ends are because your teapot is wider in the middle and narrower at the top and bottom.  The top rectangle lays over the lid of the pot.  You can achieve this submarine any old way you want to, crocheting or knitting; across, then upward; up and down the length; however you like – then attaching a closure at the back to hold it on.

TeaCozyDrawing

You just sit with your teapot in front of you as you go so you can hold it up to the pot and get your sizing right.

Here are mine.  The small one was crocheted back and forth in a long strip, then a strip of crochet ruffle was added to each end and a button was threaded on to close it at the back.  The ruffle had holes in it, so made an automatic buttonhole. (This was my first one and I hadn’t thought of the over-flap yet.)

For the larger one, I crocheted 2 circles like the beginning of granny squares (but without corners).  I then held up the circles to each side of the pot so they’d come out on the front and back, then chained and double crocheted straight lines between them to connect them to each other until I had the length of the submarine shape. If your shape isn’t exactly right for your pot, just wing it until it is – you can graduate single crochet, double crochet, treble crochet etc. to make the rounded edge more square.  (You can see this near the handle in the maroon color on the big tea pot where I turned the granny circle more square – triples near the top and bottom, graduating to shorter stitches in the middle.)  I then did another row around the submarine body in blue to make it bigger and make a decorative edge.  I tied on new blue yarn to double crochet the rectangle on top, and attached crochet chains to the back as a tie closure.  Boy, since my pots were thin glass, it really made a difference in tea temperature!

CrochetTeaCozies

For mug cozies, just make a rectangle with a closure at the ends.

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This came about because I have 3 dogs and 1 cat.  We go to the pet food store about every 3 weeks, and each trip sends me away with 2 big bags from a store that only uses paper, not plastic. (Bless their collective soul.)  Sometimes I get all the way to the car before the bag breaks and the cans roll out.  Sometimes I make it all the way home so the cans can roll down my driveway instead.  Those cans get out and run free in the street more than the dogs do.  Oh well, I like a good excuse to make something new!

Only one of my bags included crochet, so I’ll speak mostly on that one.  This is the outside, which is just made of fabric.  CrochetFabricPurse

Here is the inside, the crochet was added  after the fabric bag was finished to add strength (after realizing that dog food cans are mighty, and I wasn’t 100% sure that fabric alone would keep them contained.)

CrochetFabricPurseInside

Here are the details of construction of the fabric part.  A sewing machine will definitely make this go quicker, though it can be done with needle and thread if that is your choice.

CrochetPurseFabric1

Here is how to make the crochet part.  I made it out of Arch Mesh stitch, which is my easy go-to netting stitch (reference below).  Its fast and easy, but you can do double crochet, or knit, or anything else you like for the bag.CrochetPurseNet1

To the get the size of the crochet bag, just hold it up to your fabric bag and keep going until its big enough. The crochet part is then sewn to the inside of the fabric bag (or outside if that was your choice), with the bottom resting on the bottom (line your markers up with the corners).  If you sew around the top edge of the crochet bag, not leaving any gaps, the bag will stay attached and it should prevent items from getting between the fabric and crochet.  Handles:  Once I had the bags attached to each other, wanted to reinforce the fabric handle to make sure it wasn’t going to pull off of the bag.  I grabbed a crochet hook and joined yarn to the crochet bag at the end of one handle, then made a chain for one handle and attached to the crochet bag at the other end.  I then double crocheted back along the handle and attached again back at the beginning.  I then sewed the crochet and fabric handle together along it to add strength to the handle.  Repeat for the second handle.

I wasn’t sure of the sturdiness of the sides of this fabric bag, since I made mine more flat and wide, and out of a thinner material.  If you make a deeper, narrower bag, or use a stronger material like canvas, your sides will certainly stay up.  So I sewed fabric pieces around the outside edge of the bag so that I could run a braided piece of yarn through it as a drawstring.  (Blue drawstring is visible in the first photo.)

Side note:  I decided to try my hand a quilting too since I had my machine out and I’d never done that before.  Time to get rid of some of that fabric scrap stash!   To make a stronger bag without crochet reinforcement, I sewed a bunch of fabric scraps and squares together to make 2 pieces of fabric, then placed the 2 pieces together with seamy “insides in” and cut and sewed the bag shape as shown on the construction drawing above.  (The only difference being that I pulled the corner fabric layers apart to sew the seam of both fabric pieces on the inside only so no seam showed on the inside or outside of the bag.)  I did not add any quilt material between the fabric pieces, just let the 2 layers of fabric be thick enough.  This was quicker to do than crocheting, and did make a very strong bag, (which is reversible since there are “outsides” even on the inside). That dog food’s not running down the street this time!

QuiltBagWorkingWithoutPatterns

Arch Mesh Stitch can be found in:  The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. 2004. This chart was “Arch Mesh” pg. 87.

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When I was very young and first saw a picture of the Mourning Cloak butterfly, I contemplated its name. It really does look like a lacy shawl, and for the longest time I have wanted to make a shawl that looked like the butterfly.  I finally finished it!

For those of you who are not familiar with this butterfly, you can see it here, the Montana state butterfly:

http://www.netstate.com/states/symb/butterflies/mt_mourning_cloak.htm

And here is what I came up with:

The Mourning Cloak Butterfly Shawl

For the top part of this, I had high aspirations.  There is a lace shawl pattern out there called the Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark.  You can get it for free here, its lovely.  Its butterfly shape inspired me, but this is not what I mostly ended up using, as I found knitting it way too slow for taste:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/swallowtail-shawl

Anyone who is familiar with this blog knows I just don’t like working with patterns, and lace is a special challenge for anyone I think.  So that brown part at the top that looks thicker and like it might be the butterfly’s head was worked in the Swallowtail Shawl Pattern on a size 4 needle.  But then I just had to stop, I couldn’t stand it!  Its a beautiful pattern and it was very easy to follow with both words and charts to choose from – its really great – its just that I don’t seem to be capable of following anything for some reason.

So when I hit the point where I had done that much, it was taking forever on size 4s, and I kept coming up with the wrong numbers of stitches on my needles (totally my fault I’m sure, plenty of others have made this pattern with no problem), I just had to toss in the towel!  I hated to give up my idea of making the Mourning Cloak though, so, on to crochet!  The rest of the shawl is done on a size H crochet hook following crochet charts (see chart and yarn refs. below).

This presented some difficulty, as its hard to switch from knitting to crochet and get something that is exactly the matching size.  I picked up lots of stitches on the first row so that I knew I was picking up extra.  I didn’t mind if it ruffled up at the start of the crochet, but I didn’t want it sucking inward.  Also, without any guidance from a pattern, I had no idea how much to increase each row to keep it a nice butterfly shape, I just had to intuit this. That’s why the crochet part dips down a bit on the top edges and the butterfly has a “head”.  I was shooting for straight but it didn’t quite work out that way, I should have increased more on those edges.  I also increased on some rows next to the “body of the butterfly”, or center design.   One nice thing about lacy stuff is that when you wet it and dry it flat, it gets a little bigger, and looks way better, so some of that was fixed by such blocking.

I also paid attention to make sure that if I increased one side, I did exactly the same on the other side so the wings would be even and match.  When I decided what to do for what would be the body (the rows down the middle), I made sure to do that same thing on every row to make it look like a pattern.

I changed from one crochet chart (chart A below) to a looser one (chart B) as I got closer to the edges (still within the brown area) to make the butterfly look more lacy edged, then I did a row in black.  When it came time to do the butterfly’s blue spots, I tied the black yarn to the blue and worked both yarns together.  I was carrying both through the chain stitches, but only using blue in the center of the double crochet parts, and only black for the dc in between the spots.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that doing exactly the same thing around the edge with the blue gave me exactly 11 spots on each side in the same places on both wings!  I had actually managed to increase the same things on each side and end up with an equal number on each wing.  It doesn’t always work out that well without patterns, I was expecting to have to fudge that somehow to make it look even!  Then 2 more rows of black with the dc row just closer in than it was with chart B, switched to yellow and did 2 rows of dc around the edge, then did Chart C for the edging.  It doesn’t really matter what charts you use, or if you just make it up as you go, just repeat the same things and it will end up looking like a pattern.

Close up of the color border on the Mourning Cloak shawl

Here is what it looks like on.  Yes, I do wear it to the grocery store and to work. Not many other people are wearing lace shawls, but that’s where I go, and I like it.

________________

References

The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs.  Linda P. Schapper.  Lark Books, Sterling Publishing Co. New York.  2007.  Chart A – chart 18, pg. 45.  Chart B – chart 49, pg. 64.

The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc. 2004. Chart C – Crown picot edging, pg. 128.

Yarn:

Brown: Aunt Lydias Crochet Thread, 100% Viscose from Bamboo, size 10, color -Twig.

Black: Aunt Lydias Crochet Thread, Classic size 10, color – Black

Blue: Aunt Lydias Crochet Thread, Classic size 10, color – Dark Royal

Yellow: Aunt Lydias Crochet Thread, Classic size 10, color – Maize

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This tunic top was very easy and fast to do, skinny yarn, open stitches, and a size H hook makes for a lacy appearance. (Yes my tank tag is hangin’ out, c’est la vie.)

Beginning, and the tunic neck -For this top, I made a chain (which was the neck hole), holding it up to myself to get the right measurement and taking into account that I wanted a big V dip (mark where you want that to be with waste yarn tied on).   For the neck I did random double crochets and chains (doing the same thing for a whole row, but varying row by row).  To turn the corners to make the V, I did what is basically the corners of granny squares – more stitches and 2 chains between them in the same hole or something similar will make a corner.  Just use logic here, if it turns the corner, its all good.  To make the square area in front, on the 5th row in, I did increasing sizes of stitches down to where it would be mostly straight across (a few double crochet, a few triple, a few quadruple, then quintuple -just wrap more times).   Then I chained across the bottom, and when I got to the opposite side, did the opposite order going up so it would be a mirror image.  Then a did a little border around that to help shape it better on the 6th row with more double crochets and spaces of chain, and double crochets in the chain I made in the bottom of the front square area.  You can vary this and do it however you like it best.

Then you want to start working the body, I used honeycomb stitch (reference below).  I threw it over me and started about half way down the front of the arms, went back and forth, keeping the armhole a straight line, and connected a second end of the yarn to the other side and went back and forth to keep them even. Then connected a third yarn on the back to work the back (also back and forth) at the same time so I could throw it over myself and see where I wanted the armholes to stop.  (You don’t have to do all of those at once if its easier not to and too many yarns is annoying.)  Make sure to throw it over you often, if you make it too tight, you won’t want to wear it because it’ll pull too much, better to check.  End of armholes -At that point, (whenever you decide the armholes are big enough), I connected the front and back and just did the body in the round, continuing with honeycomb.  Stop when its as long as you want it.  Be sure to throw it over you a row or two after starting the body to make sure its not too tight.  If you need to fudge for increasing or decreasing for size, do it on the seams under the arms so it’ll be more hidden.

Honeycomb stitch is from:  The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden, Krause Publications, a Quarto book, 2004.  Page 90.

Yarn: Phildar Ysatis 427 (this is a yarn from europe, made in West Germany) not sure what to call the color, perhaps 500 427 006.

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To do this shirt, I started making circles.  At that point I knew it would be a tank top, but didn’t know how that was going to happen.  To make circles, chain, join it to itself with a slip stitch, then double crochet around the ring until it closes and lies flat.  Slip stitch the last dc to the first one to close.  To start the next circle, make another chain from where you are.  You can vary your chain length for different size circles.  To start a circle in a place that isn’t where you end, you’ll have to chain/slip stitch across the back of an earlier circle.  (Its a good idea to tie a different color piece of yarn to the backside so you make sure you never forget and do that on the front.  Then you can leave your yarn marker on there, it will help you remember to never wear the shirt inside out, in case which side is which isn’t that obvious.)  I made random circles of random sizes and connected them together until I got sick of doing it.  The front was worked down to about the top dark green stripe in the front.  The back was worked in arch mesh stitch for awhile separately, leaving arm holes like described in the other projects, and the two were joined and worked downward in an arch mesh tube.

A few other random pattern stitches were tried, but not for long enough to look like much.  I decided to do stitches in decreasing size for the shoulder straps (meaning  a few quadruple crochet, a few triple crochet, a few dc, a few sc. Then I did dc, ch, dc, ch around the neck edge in white to make a border.

I then resorted to the arch mesh stitch (reference below), which is so easy and fast, to fill in any shirt parts that were missing and do a tube for the body.

The arch mesh stitch slants upward to the side.  I like this accidental effect.  The reason for that is what is pictured below.  A line of double crochets were inserted in one row going downward.  With the rest being the looser arch mesh, the dc stitches pulled it upward (really only obvious from the front).

References:

This was done in Sugar and Cream cotton yarn, color Key Lime Pie.  Solid white sugar and cream was used at the neck and on the bottom.

The dc stitch on the photo right above was essentially this chart, just blended with arch mesh stitch:  The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs.  Linda P. Schapper.  Lark Books, Sterling Publishing Co. New York.  2007. pg. 135, chart 163.

Chart for Arch mesh: The Crochet Stitch Bible.  Betty Barnden. 2004. Krause Publications, Quarto Inc.  This chart was “Arch Mesh” pg. 87.

One not made up stitch in the front is the white snail shell: The Crochet Stitch Bible (ref. above), pg. 223, the “Spiral Shell”.

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This was made using a chart, and in the end it turned out to look nice on both sides (always great when your scarf doesn’t have an ugly backside!)

The part of the scarf hanging down shows the front side, the top shows the back side.  The main part of the scarf was knit using the chart, and then crochet was done down the sides (dc, chain, dc, chain etc. to make it holey), then fringe was added.

This chart was from: The New Knitting Stitch Library. Lesley Stanfield. Quarto Publishing, 1992. Chart # 15, page 29.

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