In honor of Green Week

April 23, 2008 at 6:21 pm (Community, Crochet)

Since there’s been a heavy focus on environmentally friendliness, with Earth Day being yesterday, I thought I’d share some nice environmentally-friendly chrochet ideas.

Market Bags.

These are a fairly popular crochet project, with many different variations.  You can make them whatever size you need, and decorate them to suit your tastes.  You can make them out of any type of yarn or fabric.  You can make as many as you want, and then bring them to the store with you to hold your groceries/shopping items, and avoid getting the plastic grocery bags.  Crochet Pattern Central has several market bag patterns(simply search the word “market”) available, but it’s very easy to create your own pattern.  You can stitch together several squares, you can make a tube, you can make one long rectangle and sew up the sides, the possibilities are endless.

 

Plastic Bag Crochet.

Suppose you haven’t created some market bags, and so you come home with tons of plastic grocery bags.  Nothing to do but throw them out, right?  Well, if you’re the crafty type, you can turn those bags into anything from a purse to a pair of sandals!  Sometimes referred to as “plarn” (plastic yarn), plastic bags can be cut into strips, twisted, and tied together to make a unique “yarn” of sorts that is almost as versatile as normal yarn.  Click here for a tutorial on how to make plarn.  You can also use the tape from old VHS cassettes for a similar-thickness yarn, or the tape from old audio cassettes for a thinner yarn.  Some examples of plarn projects are a rug, a bag, coasters, and a pair of sandals.

 

Some Eco-Friendly Crafting Sites.

What’s Cluttering My Couch

HolisticMaMa.com

21st Century Girl: 10 Eco Friendly Knit and Crochet Projects

How to Choose Environmentally Friendly Yarn

MyRecycledBags.com

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Blankets for Charity

March 31, 2008 at 3:16 pm (Community, Crochet)

I’ve mentioned crocheting for charity before, but this story really jumped out at me.  It’s about a 95 year old North Carolina woman who crochets blankets for children who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse.  It’s inspiring to see someone at that age still going strong helping others, especially children in need.

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The Yarn Revival

March 25, 2008 at 6:48 pm (Community, Crochet, Knit)

It’s very uplifting to come across articles like this, that show that the yarn arts aren’t dead.  Although, I have to say that though the articles phrases it at “Once associated with grandmothers,” I still do get comments when I crochet about it being a grandma thing (look how many of these pictures show older women).  It is very nice to see the young crowd of yarnworkers getting some attention, though.  Now we just need to get more guys in on it. 😉  Maybe if word starts getting out about how cool knitting and crocheting are, us yarners will become the cool kids on the block 🙂

Now, if we could just get more celebrities to crochet the way the article says they knit…

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National Crochet Month?

March 24, 2008 at 5:37 pm (Crochet)

I was searching for some crochet news when I came across the fact that it is apparently National Crochet Month, and has been for the past 24 days.  I’ve personally been crocheting for over 2 years and was never aware of this.  According to Crochet.org, the website of the Crochet Guild of America (also which I didn’t know existed),  it can be celebrated by learning a new stitch, crocheting for charity, teaching someone to crochet, etc.  I just felt that this was an interesting topic, worth some browsing of the site.

So I suppose happy national crochet month, and enjoy the rest of the 7 remaining days.

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Favorites Week – Patterns

March 13, 2008 at 2:44 pm (Crochet)

For the final entry in favorites week, I wanted to share a few of my favorite free patterns that I have found on the web.  Many of my favorite patterns are ones that I’ve discovered through Crochet Pattern Central, in their huge database.
I found this pattern on Crochet Pattern Central when I was looking for a good fingerless glove pattern.  What I love about this pattern is that you can use it to make regular gloves, fingerless gloves, or gloves that are switchable between regular and fingerless.  You can also change the size just by changing yarn and/or hook size. 
I think this pattern is adorable.  There are a lot of crochet cupcakes out there, but I like these ones because of the sort of frilly edge on the frosting.  This is also a versatile pattern.  You can change around the yarn colors to make different “flavors”, and you can use contrasting colors for sprinkles.  It’s also a quick pattern, so you can make a lot in a short time. (unfortunately, the picture is too big to post here, but you can see it by clicking the link.)
As mentioned in my Stitches post, this afghan is a great project.  It’s completely customizable.  You can make it a stash busting projects with all different yarns, you can pick one color and use different shades of it, and you can give it different borders.  You can easily change the size by changing how many flowers per stripe you use, and how many rows you use.  You could easily turn this afghan pattern into a scarf pattern by doing a small number of rows with many flowers in each row.

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Favorites Week – Yarns

March 9, 2008 at 2:16 pm (Crochet, Knit)

One of the larger debates in the needleworking world is about yarns.  Which is better, acrylics or natural fibers?  For me, I’ve only used acrylics, with the exception of a skein of Lion Wool.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any yarn stores in the immediate area, and my tight college budget doesn’t really allow me to pay more than a few dollars for a skein of yarn :/  However, there are plenty of acrylic yarns that I have used and loved, and here some of them are!Caron Bliss.

This yarn is sooooo soft!  It comes in different colors, some bright, some muted.  It’s 53% nylon, 47% acrylic.  It’s a very ligt yarn to work with, but it’s a bulky yarn because of the poofy quality of it.  I’ve used it for hat trim, scarves, and slippers.  One of the nicest things about it is that, as you’re working with it, it doesn’t irritate your hands because it’s not only soft, but smooth too. 

Lion Suede.

This is another favorite of mine.  It too has a nice soft feel to it, but it isn’t as fluffy as the Bliss yarn.  It’s a 100% polyester yarn.  One of the positives about this yarn is that, while it’s also very nice to work with, you can see the stitches when you use it.  It’s also a bulky yarn, because it’s make with very thick strands.  I’ve used it for toys, parts of blankets, and hats.

Patons Carmen.

Yes, this one is another soft yarn.  Unlike the other two, however, this yarn is not a solid colored or patterned yarn.  It is a 36% polyester, 64% nylon blend yarn.  It has a base color, with bits of various solids mixed throughout the yarn.  It’s a bulky yarn, and also has a smooth feel to it.  I’ve used it for slippers and toys, and am currently attempting to make a hat with it.

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Favorites Week – Stitches

March 6, 2008 at 4:46 pm (Crochet)

I’ve decided that this next week or so is going to be Favorites Week, where I’ll post about my favorites when it comes to crochet.  Today I’m going to start with stitches. 

The Daisy Stitch.

I’m not sure if this is technically called the daisy stitch, but that’s what it was reffered to on this Craftster post where I discovered it.  My favorite thing about this stitch is that you can use a different yarn for each row of flowers, and it doesn’t look clashy or like it was simply a “stash-buster.”

<–photo courtesy of sonnetbird on Craftster

The Mesh Stitch.

I’ve only recently started using this stitch, but I love it already.  The projects made with it work up very quickly, and make such lacy, elegant-looking fabrics.  It’s also really versatile.  You can make the “holes” in the mesh larger or small by adding or subracting chains, or using double crochet instead of single crochet.  The basic one I use is a sc, ch5, skip next 3 sts, sc.

photo from LionBrand’s StitchFinder–>

Clusters.

This is another simple but cool stitch.  The ones I use (which are used in the pattern for this hat)  are made by doing several dcs in the same stitch, but without pulling the last loops through, then pulling through after the last dc so that all of them are bunched together at the top and bottom, making a puffy little stitch.  You can make them larger or smaller by varying the number and type of stitch within the cluster.  One of the things I like the most about this stitch is that you can use it for more or less any type of project.

<–picture from Caron’s free pattern website

Of course, there are tons of other stitches that I enjoy using, but these three I feel are some of the most versatile and fairly easiest to pick up.  Feel free to comment with your own personal favorites or least favorites! 🙂

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The water version

March 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm (Community, Crochet, internet, Unique)

Interestingly enough, just days after posting about the knitted English garden, I found this article from the New York Times about a crocheted coral reef.  The project, the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, is designed entirely from crochet and aims to raise awareness about the effects of global warming, similar to the AIDS quilt raising awareness for AIDS.

^crocheted coral reef

^Great Barrier Reef in Australia

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Creative things to do with crochet

February 25, 2008 at 10:39 am (Crochet, internet)

I was browsing Craftster.org when I came across a post about a crochet designer named Joy Kampia.  I followed the link to her site and discovered that she makes a large assortment of crocheted items, from clothes to sculptures to wall hangings.  Her designs are very unique too, like this hamburger dress, or this ice cream sundae dress*.  If you look in the sculpture area of the site you see things like a banana split, a computer tower, a stuffed turkey, and a chocolate sundae.  Everything she makes looks “realistic” enough that you know right away what it is.  This type of portfolio definitely takes some skill and imagination.

*I have posted the links instead of the pictures because the site specifically asks not to remove pictures.

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Anything is possible

February 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm (Crochet, Unique)

Many people would be devastated if they lost their sight in high school, but not Heidi Piroso of New Hampshire.  She lost her sight at the age of 14, but did not let that stop her from doing anything.  She learned to crochet right around when she was losing the last of her sight, and to date she has crocheted more than 50 blankets for charity.

Personally, I know that if I were to lose my sight I would be devasted.  You can’t help but admire Piroso for overcoming her blindness so well.

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