Christmas Wrap-Up

How was your Christmas? Mine was good… Filled with great times, great food and great cookies! As I’ve done in years past I had a Christmas baking marathon and baked various cookies to give as gifts. I took my last sheet of cookies out of the oven early in the day Christmas Eve. This year along with the usual rugelach and malted chocolate chip cookies, I made another batch of these vanilla spritz cookies along with peanut butter cookies and oatmeal cookies. YUM! And, there was also a batch of Gingerbread Men, one of who was a bit angry after losing part of his leg.

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And luckily this year I got my handmade Christmas gifts done in plenty of time, okay, with about a week to spare. This for me is good, since it gave me enough time to wrap them with pretty ribbon bows. I made two Afghans and an earring and bracelet set.

The first afghan was made with Lion Brand’s Thick & Quick Yarn following their Cromwell Court Afghan Pattern. Here’s a pic of the start…

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And the finish product…

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The second afghan was made with Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice Yarn following their 5 1/2 Hour Throw Pattern… Truthfully it took me longer than the 5 1/2 hours and since it involved crocheting three colors together I opted to wind the three colors into a ball to make crocheting a lot simpler.

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And the finish product…

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And finally the earring and bracelet set that I made using tila beads, superduo beads, seed beads and crystals just using basic beadweaving techniques.

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I also squeezed in some time to make my Christmas cards once again this year.

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I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and that you all have a wonderful New Year!

 

 

A Blanket Down, A Scarf To Go

I recently completed the toddler blanket I was working on and am very happy with how it came out. While I have crocheted/knitted my fair share of blankets, this was the first toddler blanket I completed and was a little unsure about the size I wanted to make it…. I obviously didn’t want it to be on the smaller side which would be more appropriate for a baby, but, I also didn’t want it to be so large that it would be too big for a young child. Ultimately the final size of the blanket ended up being 40 x 50 inches, which I think is a decent size for a young child.

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I’ve already moved on to my next yarn project… An infinity scarf (you can never have too many scarves) made with t-shirt yarn. While there a quite a few tutorials online on how to make your own t-shirt yarn I opted to buy mine. I first came across t-shirt yarn when I saw an Arm-Knitting Project using Lion Brand’s Fettuccini Yarn. After visiting the Lion Brand store in NYC I opted to pass on purchasing the yarn for the project – they didn’t have enough skeins of the yarn in the color I wanted and it just seemed like the scarf would end up being a lot more bulky than I would like. Not long after that while at my local Michael’s I came across t-shirt yarn from their Loops & Threads brand and it was more reasonable priced (about $3 skein on clearance than the $9/skein for the Fettuccini Yarn) and didn’t seem as bulky. I decided to scrap the idea of learning how to arm-knit and decided to make an infinity scarf just by regular knitting. So far so good…

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Lion Brand Pound of Love Delectable Shell Afghan – modified from here

Materials:

2 Balls Lion Brand Pound of Love Yarn

Crochet Hook – Size H-8

Directions:

Afghan

Chain 173

Row 1: Double-crochet in 5th Chain from hook, *Skip next  2 chains, 5 double-crochets in next chain, skip next 2 chains, double-crochet in next chain, chain 1, skip next chain, double-crochet in next chain, repeat from * across.

Rows 2 – 95: Chain 4, turn, *Skip next Chain 1 space, double crochet in next double crochet, skip next 2 double-crochets, 5 double-crochets in next double-crochet, skip next 2 double-crochets, double-crochet in next double-crochet, chain 1; repeat from * across, double-crochet in 3rd chain of turning chain. Do not fasten off.

Border

Round 1: Do not turn; work single-crochet evenly spaced around entire outside edge of Afghan, working 3 single-crochets in each corner; join with slip stitch in first single-crochet.

Round 2: Chain 1, single-crochet in same single-crochet as join, skip next single-crochet, 5 double-crochets in next single-crochet, *skip next single-crochet, single-crochet in next single-crochet, skip next single-crochet, 5 double-crochets in next single-crochet; repeat from * around; join with slip stitch in first single-crochet. Fasten off.

Weave in ends.

 

T-Shirt Yarn Infinity Scarf

Materials:

T-Shirt Yarn (being that I haven’t finished the scarf I am unsure of how much yarn I will ultimately use, I do have 2 skeins that are 100 yards each)

Knitting Needles: US 19 / 15 MM

Directions:

Cast on 10 stitches

Row 1: Knit 2, *Purl 2, Knit 2; repeat from * across. Repeat Row 1 until piece measures your desired length (either to loop around your neck or the classic way – topping it over a top)

Bind off.

To finish, sew the ends together and weave in the ends of the yarn.

 

Where are the Beads & Yarn?

While as of late most of posts have been about baking (i.e. the Spatula) I have been working on some yarn and bead projects and today I would like to share with you some of the yarn projects.

I recently completed three scarves…

A button-through cowl I made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in Barley. This was a quick cowl to crochet thanks to the nature of the yarn (hence the name of the yarn) and the easy pattern working with double crochets. I believe I was done with this in less than three hours!

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Next I completed another cowl using another Lion Brand yarn, their Landscapes yarn in Desert Spring. It’s a beautiful self-striping roving yarn that’s also great to work with. Well, it was great yarn to work with once I wound it up into a ball as opposed to pulling it out from the skein. I did that during my first go at making this scarf and the yarn began to fray which affected the outcome of the cowl. Thankfully I bought 2 skeins of the yarn – even though the pattern only required one – so I was able to start over with much better results. One other thing, the pattern called for the cowl to be knitted in the round but I opted to add a few extra stitches and just sewed the ends together.

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And finally using Red Heart With Love yarn I crocheted a puff stitch scarf. I had a slight mishap while making this scarf. I knew that it was looking a little funny while working on it but it wasn’t until I finished and needed to add the border around the scarf that I knew for sure what I had done wrong. I didn’t end one of the rows on the right stitch so every few rows the last stitch was sticking out which prevented me from adding the border. So, I had to take the scarf apart and crochet it again. Thankfully it was a quick pattern to stitch up so I was done in no time and done correctly

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And currently on my crochet needle is a toddler blanket for a friend’s daughter – I actually made a smaller version of this blanket last year as a baby gift for another friend. I’m about half-way done and just about to start working with another skein of Lion Brand’s Pound of Love yarn in Honey Bee. As with the button-through cowl, this blanket is just a series of double-crochets.

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Baby Blue Basketweave Blanket

I started this blanket a few weeks ago after I finished the Violet V-Stitch Baby Blanket. I should say though that I started this blanket quite a few times before I got it right. From the get-go I ran into stumbling blocks to get it done.

To make this blanket I used Lion Brand Pound of Love Yarn and size 10.5 circular knitting needles  . The pattern I was planning on using called for two strands of the yarn to be held together so I decided to take this huge skein of yarn

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and unwind it

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and then wound it up into a ball – which was no easy task since I ran into a few tangles along the way. Once I got to this point I was happy and ready to begin knitting. But, my joy was short-lived.

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The pattern I initially wanted to follow is called the Seed Stitch Baby Blanket from the Lion Brand Yarn website. Unfortunately I had a hard time following the seed stitch* pattern on circular knitting needles. So, I had to scratch that idea and look for a new pattern. I opted to go with a basketweave pattern since I had made a blanket following the pattern once before with the same yarn. The pattern I semi-followed is the baby blanket from the Simply Perfect Baby Set** also from the Lion Brand Yarn website. I knew I had to make modifications to the pattern though to get the blanket to be a decent size; when I made this before I ended up following the pattern exactly and ended up with a fairly small blanket (approximately 18 in x 24 in). To make the blanket larger I ended up knitting four mini blankets and stitching them together.  I didn’t want to do that this time so I decided to modify the original pattern.

So, the original pattern called for casting on 88 stitches, but I opted for 90 stitches and added the two additional stitches to the side border of the blanket. All was going fine until I realized that somewhere along the line I had added on an extra stitch, so I was working with 91 stitches as opposed to 90, and unfortunately knitting isn’t as forgiving as crocheting. It’s possible to hide a stitch while crocheting with no one being the wiser but when you are knitting it’s not so easy. (If anyone has figured out how to do so please share!) So, I had to start over.

On my second go at it I noticed that my rows for the basketweave weren’t as wide as I remembered them to be from the first time I made the blanket and I immediately realized it was because I was working in intervals of six rows as opposed to twelve rows. So, I started again.

But, a few rows into the pattern I decided that it looked better with the smaller intervals so I took what I had done thus far off the needles and decided to start AGAIN! I also noticed that the blanket wasn’t going to be very wide so I opted to cast on 100 stitches instead of my original 90.

I figured at this point I was good to go, but, I had one more hiccup to overcome. With the original pattern the basketweave is created using an even number of blocks in the rows, but, when I added the additional ten stitches the basketweave pattern was now going to be created over an odd number, nine to be exact. I should note that that didn’t even cross my mind when I decided to add the additional ten stitches; it was only when I finished my first row and wanted to follow the pattern that I realized it wasn’t going to work. Thankfully the solution came to me quickly. Essentially with basketweave you are knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches as you go along to create the illusion of the weave – basically a version of seed stitch. So I just needed to do that as I went along and I was good to go. From that point on the blanket was a cinch to make. Sometimes the most simplest things are the most difficult to make.

And here’s the final product that measures approximately 29.5 in x 31.5 in.

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Here’s the pattern I ultimately used:

Basketweave Blanket:

Cast on 100 stitches

Knit 10 rows

Row 1: Knit 5, *knit 10, purl 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Row 2: Knit 5, *purl 10, knit 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Rows 3, 5: Repeat Row 1

Rows 4, 6: Repeat Row 2

Row 7: Knit 5, *purl 10, knit 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Row 8: Knit 5, *knit 10, purl 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Rows 9, 11: Repeat Row 7 Rows 10, 12:

Repeat Row 8 Repeat Rows 1-12 twelve more times

Repeat Rows 1-6 one time

Knit 10 rows

Bind off

 

*Seed Stitch (over an even number of stitches)

Courtesy Lion Brand Yarn

Row 1: *K1, P1; repeat from * across

Row 2: P the knit stitches, and K the purl stitches

Repeat Row 2 for Seed Stitch

 

**Simply Perfect Baby Set Blanket

Courtesy Lion Brand Yarn

Cast on 88 stitches

Knit 10 rows

Begin working in pattern stitch as follows:

Row 1: knit 4, *knit 10, purl 10; repeat from * to last 4 stitches, knit last 4 stitches

Rows 2-12: Repeat row 1 Row 13: knit 4, *purl 10, knit 10; repeat from * to last 4 stitches, knit last 4 stitches

Rows 14-24: Repeat row 2 Repeat rows 1-24 five more times

Knit 10 rows

Bind off