Friday, February 28, 2014

Interview with Inside Crochet

I can't quite believe it, but I am so fortunate to have been interviewed for Inside Crochet Magazine! If you aren't familiar with it, Inside Crochet is a wonderful monthly magazine bursting with inspiring crochet projects, modern patterns, features, reviews, news, trends and events. You should pop on over to their website and check out what they have to offer. They also provide a couple FREE patterns for you right there on their home page!

Issue 51 is all about spring and includes 24 Spring patterns including a lace motif tablecloth, tea cozy, and a mystery blanket series. And of course, a sweet little interview with me!! Yay! I am in their favorite blogger section :) This is such and honor and I'm feeling very blessed!

I would like personally purchase a copy of this issue of 
Inside Crochet for TWO of you!! 
Go ahead and enter this giveaway on the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Crochet Nursing Necklace

I never needed a nursing necklace with my boys, but my baby girl is the most fidgety feeder I have ever seen. She grabs at anything and everything: my shirt, my face, my hair, my skin... it's driving me nuts! It was time to make a nursing necklace in attempts to distract her little hands.

These necklaces are very easy to put together and not only are they stylish but also functional. They appeal to babies sense of vision and touch and can also be used as teethers (as long as the right materials are used and under constant supervision).

You want to try to find non-toxic, natural materials
- Unfinished wooden beads in 3/4 inch and 1 inch sizes.
- Cotton yarn. I used Lily Sugar N Cream yarn.
- Size G Crochet Hook
- Tapestry needle

Pattern for crocheting around the 1" bead:
Magic Ring, make 8 SC in ring, pull tight but not completely closet, join to first SC and continue to crochet in rounds
Round 2: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next, repeat around (12 SC)
Round 3-5: SC in each stitch around (12 SC)
(at this point pop in your bead)
Round 6: SC decrease, SC in next, repeat around
Round 7: SC decrease to close. If you have trouble making a SC decrease, switch to using your tapestry needle and weave it under the front loops of your stitches (two at a time) as seen in the picture below until closed. Weave in ends.

Pattern for crocheting around the 3/4" bead:
Magic Ring, make 6 SC in ring, pull tight but not completely closet, join to first SC and continue to crochet in rounds
Round 2: 2 SC in first, SC in next 2, repeat around (8 SC)
Round 3-5: SC in each stitch around (8 SC)
(at this point pop in your bead)
Round 6: SC decrease until closed. Weave in ends.

This is what the bottom should look like (the part where you make your Magic Ring)

If you have trouble making SC decreases, use your tapestry needle and weave it under the front loops (two at a time) until closed.

I strung my beads on a double strand of yarn, but you can braid your yarn or use ribbon. Make it long enough so it comfortable rests low on your chest.

You may want to make a knot between beads or on either side.

I tied a toggle clasp on the ends of my necklace but this isn't safe if you are using this as a teether. You can always just leave the necklace extra long and tie it around your neck when you want to wear it. Or leave it tied because it should be long enough to slip over your head.

 I think I might even wear my new necklace as a stylish accessory! Color combination possibilities are endless so you will definitely want to make more than one :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Straws

Dr. Seuss' birthday is this Sunday March 2nd and to celebrate I made these Thing 1, Thing 2, and Miss Thing straws for my kids. I've created a printable that also includes Thing 3, Thing 4 and a blank so you can fill in your own number :)

They are really simple to put together!

First you need to print out the two templates. One template is for the front and one is for the back. The hair is reversed on the back so when you sandwich them together, it will match up.

HERE is printable 1
HERE is printable 2

You can use any straw you wish but I love these red and white striped paper straws (from Michaels) that kinda look like the Cat-in-the-Hat.

Glue the two papers together on one edge, insert straw (add a little glue to secure straw in place) and glue the rest of the paper together. I used a hot glue gun for quick sticking and drying but any glue would work.

Now your little "Things" are ready to drink! Here are my Thing 1 and Thing 2 and little Miss Thing who is still too young to have a sip :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Yarn Storage System

I've tried many different yarn storage systems over the years. Shelving in my craft space, baskets by my bed, laundry baskets in my closet, and rubbermaid bins to name a few. All of these resulted in piles of tangled yarn and it was impossible to find what I needed, when I needed it. It was time to find a better yarn storage solution once and for all. I was inspired by this picture of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio (wouldn't you love to spend the whole day crocheting there?!) and wanted to mimic a little of what they had done in my home.

I first needed to find a place... a new home for my yarn. There was only one spot that made sense to me: the place where I had built my DIY Gift Wrap Station. Yes, the gift wrap station that got featured in Woman's Day Magazine. It was so hard to see it come down but it was truly the only area in the house that made sense for my yarn storage and the fact of the matter is that I use my yarn way more than wrapping paper. So let me get to it and show you what I did!

I was browsing online for different shelving units and then it hit me, a wine rack would be perfect! I found THIS ONE on Amazon and the dimensions were an exact match for my space! Ok, I will admit it was a little pricey so if you are handy (or know someone who is) I bet you could figure out how to build a unit like this for much cheaper. It comes unassembled so just building it was enough of a project for us. It is 35 3/4"(h) x 34 7/8"(w) x 9 11/16"(d) with 12 cubbies. It weighs about 40lbs and we secured it to the wall with 3 shelf brackets - two under the top two cubbies and one on the bottom. I currently have over 100 skeins of yarn in it! And I love being able to sort my yarn by color and have it easily accessible. I now know what I have and what I need. And clearly I don't need any more yarn right now! The rainbow colors make me happy and inspire me to create! I feel happy just looking at all of this yarny goodness :)

Under the "wine rack" we mounted these adorable canvas wall hanging storage bins that I found on Etsy from Odor's Home. The size and depth was exactly what I was looking for and I just loved this cute shop and all their handmade items. I like my neutrals, but they make these baskets in so many fun patterns and colors! Just take a look at their ETSY SHOP and Facebook page. Suggested uses are for diapers, kids toy storage, books, toiletries, pens, pencils, mail and much more! You could easily use them in any room but I have used them to conveniently hold my crochet hooks, tapestry needs, stitch markers, scissors, rotary cutter, crochet books, my Jordan Paige Tool Butler, measuring tape, pom-pom makers, scrap yarn, Bonbon skeins, and I still have room for more! And the best part is that all of my crochet tools are in one place instead of scattered about the house in ziplock bags and such.

But wait there is more! More yarn! Don't you hate it when your skeins become small, floppy, they lose their shape and unravel and tangle easily? Well, I finally invested in a yarn ball winder (the Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder, 10-Ounce) and it's better than I ever imagined. I wound all these balls in less than an hour, filling this large Threshold Color Block Round Woven Basket from Target. The other matching basket holds my specialty yarn, chunky yarn, and crochet thread.

And how could I forget my buttons! I organized them by color in glass gasket jars from Storables.

With spring right around the corner are you thinking about getting organized? I hope this inspires you! 

And for more yarn storage inspiration, check out Stephanie from All About Ami's new yarn storage space! Great minds think alike!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Polymer Clay Yarn Ball Stitch Markers

Ever since I made my polymer clay Owl Stitch Markers, I've had a couple e-mails asking how to make yarn ball stitch markers. It sounded easy enough and I even wondered why people were asking...I mean, couldn't you just ball up a coil of clay? Well after 3 hours of messing around with polymer clay, it really isn't as easy as you would hope. Let me show you how I ended up molding my clay to look most like a ball of yarn.

First get your supplies. You will need:
1. Polymer Clay. Fimo, Sculpey, and Craft Smart are some popular brands. I used Sculpey III clay that I purchased at Michaels in a variety color pack.
2. Sculpey Gloss Glaze (and paint brush).
3. Wire cutters and you will probably also need some needle nose pliers as well.
4. Small Jump Rings. I used 6mm.
5. Lobster Clasps/Closures no smaller than 12mm.
6. Eye pins.
7. Optional: exacto knife and clay tools. I have the Sculpey 5-in-1 tool kit. The exacto knife cuts the clay easily.

First take a piece of clay and mold it into a small ball (about .25 of an inch) and take another piece of clay in the same color and roll out a long thin coil. Try to make your coil as even and thin as possible. Obviously mine isn't perfect so don't worry too much.

Now cut your coil into about 1.5 inch pieces and group them into clusters of 3. Then you will want to place your clusters together like in the picture below. You will need to trim ends into slants to get them to fit together. 

You should use a small spatula or knife (you shouldn't re-use your knife in the kitchen once it has been used on clay) to help you pick up your coil cluster. It is delicate so be careful not to dent it or let it fall apart.

Now wrap it around your ball.

Trim long ends so they fit together as they are being wrapped.

Lightly press ends down.

If you have any small spaces left, fill them in with a small coil piece.

Get out your eye pins and wire cutters (or scissors)

Trim eye pin so you can poke it in the top of the ball and it won't stick out the bottom

At this point you want to bake your clay in the oven at 275 degrees for 15 minutes 
(or according to the clay package directions)

When cooled, attach your jump ring and lobster clasp

Paint with gloss glaze and let dry for 24 hours.

And you're ready to crochet or knit with your new yarn ball stitch markers!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Crochet Dahlia Squares Pattern

Thanks for all the great feedback on the name for these little granny squares! By popular vote I decided to call them "Dahlia Squares" but feel free to also think of them as Sunbursts, Pinwheels, Colorbursts, or Kaleidoscopes :) I was inspired to do this project after noticing how many little balls of yarn I had lying around. I thought the mix of bold and soft tones would come together nicely to make a colorful blanket for my daughters room. I will be sure to share the finished afghan when its complete!

- Worsted Weight yarn in 3 colors + a color for your borders.
- Size H Crochet Hook
- Tapestry Needle

Magic Ring Tutorial HERE
SC = Single Crochet
HDC = Half Double Crochet
DC = Double Crochet
Cluster Stitch: (Yarn over, insert hook in indicated stitch, yarn over, draw yarn through the stitch, yarn over, draw through 2 loops on hook), repeat 4 times, yarn over and pull through all 5 remaining loops on hook. HERE is a great video on how to make a cluster stitch.

Note: you might want to weave in ends as you go. It will keep your rounds from unraveling when you switch colors.

Finished Squares should be 4x4 inches

Magic Ring, chain 2 and make 8 DC in ring, join to first DC, chain 1 (8 DC)
Round 2: 2 SC in each stitch around, join to first SC. (16 SC)
Fasten off and attach new color, Chain 2
Round 3: In same stitch as your chain 2, make a cluster stitch but only "yarn over" 3 times as your chain 2 will count as part of this cluster, chain 3, Skip a stitch, make a Cluster Stitch, chain 3, skip a stitch, Cluster Stitch, chain 3, repeat until end of round. Join to first cluster. (8 Cluster Stitches)
Fasten off and attach new color, Chain 1
Round 4: SC in same stitch as your chain 1, SC in next stitch, now in the place where you have your chain 3 reach your hook down to the previous round (Round 2) and SC in that stitch making sure to pull a lot of slack so you are making a long SC that reaches up to this round  - Lets call this a Deep SC, SC in next two stitches, Deep SC, SC in next 2, Deep SC, repeat till end of round, join to first SC. (24 SC)
Fasten off and change to your border color, chain 3
Round 5: In same stitch as your chain 3 make 2 DC + chain 2 + make 3 DC all in same stitch, chain 1, skip a stitch, make 3 HDC in next stitch + chain 1, skip a stitch, make 3 HDC in next stitch + chain 1, skip a stitch, *3 DC + chain 2 + 3 DC all in same stitch, chain 1, skip a stitch, 3 HDC in next stitch + chain 1, skip a stitch, 3 HDC in next stitch + chain 1, skip a stitch, repeat from * until end. Join to top of chain 3. Fasten off and weave in ends.
You should now have your square!

Now here is a picture tutorial of the pattern for all of you visual learners :)

When your square is done, you might want to wet block your squares. My friend Tamara over at Moogly has a wonderful tutorial on how to Wet Block Afghan Squares (CLICK HERE). This technique will stretch and reset the stitches into a perfect square shape!

*** You may make and sell products from my patterns but if you do I ask that you link back to my post. Please do not copy and post this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not re-publish photos as your own.***

Want more free patterns? Keep in touch on my Repeat Crafter Me Facebook Page for new pattern sneak peeks and when they will be available on my blog! And feel free to post pictures of your finished hats and/or links to your shops on my Facebook wall so all can see.