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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Free Pattern: Scallop Seashell Washcloths






  Use these washcloths to brighten your decor and inspire thoughts of a warm summer day on the beach. A few ridges of raised post stitches worked in super-soft cotton make the perfect combination of soft and scrubby. They're also durable enough to use for dishcloths, but may be too pretty to use in the kitchen! The large spaces at the top of the pattern make the perfect space to hang them by, or use a little extra yarn to attach a hanging chain. One 2 oz (56.7 g) ball will make two washcloths, with enough yarn leftover to make the matching Scallop Seashell Soap Saver!





  You can use your own choice of color to match your decor. I used this color because it reminds me of the pastel yellow, pink, and aqua decor that is often seen around the coast in my home state. Since moving inland, these are a nice reminder of days picking up calico scallop shells with the sand between my toes.









  Get ready for some post stitch practice with this pattern - Experienced crocheters: You've got this! But for newbies to post stitches, you'll be alternating front and back post double crochet to create texture on only one side of the project. They're spaced pretty far apart and easy to find, but you'll get some experience with making another basic stitch in the post stitch, too.










Skill level:









Materials:
Worsted weight (4) cotton yarn
-Peaches and Creme Pastel Delight used
Crochet hook size I/9 - 5.50MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook or yarn needle to weave in ends





Gauge:
in 4" by 4" (10 cm by 10 cm) -
14 dc in 7 rows







Notes:
Chain at beginning of rows counts as stitch.

Each post stitch counts as a double crochet in the stitch count at the end of the row.

Tutorials are now available! Click here to start with Part One







Stitches and abbreviations:

Front post double crochet (fpdc)
Back post double crochet (bpdc)
Single crochet three together (sc3tog)

Begin/beginning (beg)
Skip (sk)
Space (sp)





Directions:


For main body, begin with a magic circle.


Row 1:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 5 dc in ring. (6 dc)


Row 2:
Chain 3, turn. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st) 3 times. Fpdc, 1 dc in last st. (9 dc)


Row 3:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. (Bpdc, 1 dc) 4 times. 1 dc in the same st. (11 dc)


Row 4:
Ch 3, turn. 1 dc in the next st. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st, 1 dc in the next st) 3 times. Fpdc, 2 dc in the last st. (14 dc)


Row 5:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in the next st. (Bpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 2 dc) 4 times. 1 dc in the same st. (16 dc)


Row 6:
Ch 3, turn, (1 dc in each of the next 2 dc. Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st) 3 times. Fpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc. (19 dc)


Row 7:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 2 dc. (Bpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc) 4 times. 1 dc in the same st. (21 dc)


Row 8:
Ch 3, turn. 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st, 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc) 3 times. Fpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 4 dc. (24 dc)


Row 9:
Ch 3, turn, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc. (Bpdc, 1 dc in each of the next 4 dc) 4 times, 1 dc in the last st. (26 dc)


Row 10:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. Sc3tog. (Hdc, fpdc, hdc, 1 dc in each of the next 2 dc) 3 times. Hdc, fpdc, hdc, sc3tog, 1 sc in the last st.


Bind off, weave in the ends before working border.





For border:


With the right side facing, join with a sl st in the side post-space of Row 2.
(With the last row worked at the top, this space will be on the left if you're right-handed, and on the right for lefties.)


Round 1:
Click here for tutorial
Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc, ch-2), 1 dc in the same sp. 2 dc in the next sp. (Fpdc, 1 dc in the same st) 3 times. Fpdc. 2 dc in the next side post-sp, (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) in the next. Ch 2, sc3tog beg in the same sp, ch 1. 2 hdc in the same as last. (Ch 2, 2 dc in the next post-sp) 5 times. Ch 2, 2 dc in the next st. *Ch 2, fpdc in next fpdc, ch 2, sk 1, 2 dc. Ch 2, fpdc in the next available fpdc. Ch 2*, sk 1, (2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr) in the following dc. Repeat from * to *. Skip 2, 2 dc in the last sc. (Ch 2, 2 dc in the next post-sp) 5 times. Ch 2, 2 hdc in next, ch 1, sc3tog beg in same as last. Ch 2, join with a sl st to beg ch-3.


Round 2: Edit - There was a missing ( )! Sorry! It's now fixed.
Ch 1, sc in ch-2 corner sp. Ch 3, 2 sc in the same sp. 1 sc in each of the next 13 dc. (2 sc, ch 3, 2 sc) in ch-2 corner sp. Sc3tog beg in dc, ending in sc3tog of previous round.  1 sc in ch-1 sp. (2 sc in the next post-sp) 5 times. (2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in corner ch-2 sp. (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc) in each of the next 9 ch-2 sps, again in the corner ch-2 sp. (2 sc in the next post-sp) 5 times. 1 sc in ch-1 sp, sc3tog beg in the same, endng in the ch-2 sp. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.


Bind off, weave in ends.






  *Sorry to all of those who had trouble with those sc3tog stitches! Hopefully you can find the help you need in the new tutorials. Part one will walk you through beginning the body of the pattern, all the way through part six to finish it - Or find links in each tutorial to skip to the section you need. Happy crocheting! 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Answers for the Crochet Material Quiz






Fiber Materials




  For this week's Yarn Tales Tuesday, we're playing a game! And like I promised, Here's some of the results...One reader guessed almost all the answers correctly already, so I'll cover most of those, but you'll have to keep trying for the rest! 








  Although this skilled reader guessed correctly for many of the alternative materials, I'll only be explaining the fiber yarns today. I'm still giving other readers a chance to take a guess, and I want to cover more information for the upcycled/recycled materials.




2. Cotton Yarn



  I love cotton for its versatility. You can create garments, household items, children's toys, and more! Cotton is perfect for dishcloths and washcloths, because you can't make them from animal fibers, (unless you want them to felt!), and synthetic fibers tend to fuzz or pill, and get gunky when exposed to water all the time. Depending on what you're creating, you could make an even better choice with different cotton blends. Cotton/bamboo blends are great for wearables, but did you know that bamboo has natural antimicrobial properties? That means less-gunky washcloths! Looking for a yarn with both softness and some awesome drape for a garment? Check out cotton/silk blends! 

  This natural plant fiber makes a great alternative for those with wool allergies, and vegans, too. Although I did learn that there is "vegan" and "non-vegan" cotton. I became curious and did some research, but was unable to figure out how there can be "non-vegan" cotton. (Perhaps there are animals used in the farming of the plant?) Are there any vegans out there that can tell me what makes an all-natural plant fiber non-vegan? I wonder if this is true, or just "internet misinformation"...One more thing I do know: Vegans should be aware of cotton blends, because they often contain non-vegan fibers.

  The yarn pictured here is 100% cotton. But part of it hasn't been answered yet, so...Anybody want to take a crack at guessing the size or brand? 




4. Eyelash Yarn



  Again, the brand goes unanswered! I've done a review of this synthetic fashion yarn, which I'll link to here once somebody gets it right!

  In the review, you can read about the good points (color!) of this fluffy, fuzzy yarn, and I'm honest about some bad points, too. Like, how you're going to need a vacuum cleaner when you get done with your project!




6. Caron Simply Soft acrylic 



  It's the worsted yarn you either love or hate! I hear many crocheters complain about this yarn splitting, and it can be true. However, (I know, you don't want to hear this) keep your tension loose and make sure to fully grab the yarn with the hook, and working with Simpy Soft is a lot easier! 

  To read more about the pros and cons of Simply Soft,  you can check out the review here!




8. Loops and Threads Charisma



  Another acrylic yarn, but this one's bulky weight. I don't want to say too much here, because I have an upcoming review for it, and I haven't even finished testing the new free crochet pattern that I'm designing with it. What I will tell you is that I have no complaints, so far. The new project has yet to be washed more than once, and I prefer to withhold my opinions until then. 

  Until I finish the review, I can give you a few quick points: It's super soft, has a nice tight twist, and doesn't "fuzz" while you work with it. 




11. Mesh Fashion Yarn



  Regardless of the brand, you can find a humongous variety of fun, pretty, or bold colors available in mesh yarn. From "potato chip" ruffle scarves to cute little fluffy tutus, I've seen an interesting mix of patterns available. Plus, I'll soon have a "unique" pattern available for using leftovers of this yarn. 

  I'd love to tell you more, but our very knowledgeable reader mistook this for Red Heart's Sashay yarn, and that's not it! Again, this is a yarn I've done a review on, so I'll post the link once somebody gets the answer! Remember to read the last paragraph of the original Yarn Tales Tuesday post for clues... 




  Keep trying, everybody - Look for an upcoming post covering the alternative materials that our yarn guru also got right! Number one is indeed twine, but who can tell me the fiber? Numbers three and five...Easy if you're an upcycler, of course: Tee shirt/Jersey cotton yarn and plarn (plastic bag yarn). Seven and nine are still left unanswered! Number eleven used to be an old VHS tape...Who can tell me what movie it was? (You know I'm kidding there, right?) And number 12 is nylon fishing line - the heavy duty stuff for, like, shark fishing or something - I'll explain more about that in the mentioned upcoming post!




If you don't want to play the "game", that's fine! I'm interested to know what your most/least favorite yarn or material is! 




Keep Guessing!





Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist






Have you ever really wanted to try a new product, but it's not in your budget?
Do you fall in love with projects, but you know you just don't have time to make them right now?
Would you donate an item to charity if it meant you got to play with the yarn for free?









Here are my picks of the week:

Cascade Baby Alpaca Lace Paints:

Image from alpacadirect.com

  This 100% Alpaca yarn has made it to the top of my list, and I don't even know what I want to make with it, yet! You get 437 yards in a 50 gram skein. For the price, you get a decent amount of yardage; it's not terribly expensive like many alpaca yarns can be. It looks so soft, it would be versatile to design with, and this color is dreamy! It make me think of being under the sea and in the sky at the same time...I have a bad habit of falling in love with yarn just because of the color!




And while we're at it -
Anything from Alpaca Direct:


  The link will take you to my favorite page - The one sorted by discount! I would love to tell you to take the time to also check out everything else, but it might take forever; this website has so much to offer that you could get lost looking at yarn and yarn-related products for days! I got distracted there for two hours (!) and still never made it though the Cascade yarn alone. Bookmark it for later and set a timer while viewing, or your friends and family may find you days later, hypnotized and still drooling over all the yummy yarn!




Yarn Ball Winder:

Image from joann.com

  I want this. I need this! I think I'm going to buy it! I realized that I need a little help after a weekend (as in: A whole weekend) of reorganizing the yarn stash...Loose skein after loose skein made up my mind for me. I will buy this! 

  I'm nervous about the purchase, though. I've really wanted an electric yarn ball winder, but I'm good at settling for "good enough". With the help of a coupon (like the one I noticed at joann.com), I can get this hand-operated model, and still have a little budget left over! That makes me feel better, because I did read a few negative reviews about this product. However, I read so many more positive reviews, many of them claiming to have owned this product for decades with no problem!

  But, that was decades ago. I hate to bring it up, but let's be honest: How often nowadays do you think "They just don't make things like they used to"? Let's hope the new models live up to the old standards!

  Also, something I noticed in the comments section when you follow the link for the winder - The negative reviews mostly claimed that the yarn would tangle inside the machine. A few experienced users commented back with tips and suggestions for how to fix/avoid the problem, which should give me a head start when I get mine! 

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how well it works...And, you know, give it a review! 



-  -  -  -  -


   


Click the donate button in the right sidebar if you can help me out! I love to play with yarn, even if I don't get to keep (or make money from) the item I've made. None of your donations ever go towards a personal purchase such as the yarn ball winder. The Wednesday Wishlist is more about charity, and less about the things I want! All donations will support my Scarf of the Month program. Every month, a new scarf (or set) will be designed to donate to charity. As a thank you for your donations, the pattern will be provided for free the following month! For more information, check out the Scarf of the Month Page!





Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yarn Tales Tuesday






Your Crochet Material
Wanna play a game?




  What do you think when someone asks you what your favorite crochet material is? And I don't want to hear any of those generic "I just love to crochet" answers. That's mine, and you can't use it, because even I'm going to pick my favorite at the end of this article. If you don't have a favorite, I know you have to have a least favorite! Maybe a certain brand of yarn comes to mind, or perhaps you have to weigh the options between acrylic, cotton, or wool.




  Do you suffer feelings of abandonment and loneliness if you run out of yarn, or do you start cutting up bags or old fabric to fuel your need? Ever act like a kid in a candy store when you visit your local yarn shop? Do you embarrass your friends and family because you're digging through their recycle bins to search for new material? How may of the following examples do you recognize?









  So, let's play a game! I want to see how many of you can guess what materials are shown in the following pictures. Some of them are obvious, and some of them can already be found here on the Crochet is the Way blog. Let me know if you can identify it, or if one of them has you stumped! Get the answers over the next few days - I'll explain a few of them in a group, since they've already been shown here (no cheating!); others will have their own posts with more information and tutorials!




  Okay, here we go! Some can obviously be purchased, so there's no mystery there...It's yarn. But what kind? If you can identify the fiber or brand of yarn by a picture, then consider yourself a yarn guru. As for the rest of them, you may find some old upcycled or recycled favorites, but I bet you'll see some alternative materials that are new to you!



Mystery Material 1:




Mystery Material 2:



Mystery Material 3:




Mystery Material 4:




Mystery Material 5:




Mystery Material 6:




Mystery Material 7:




Mystery Material 8:




Mystery Material 9:




Mystery Material 10:




Mystery Material 11:




Mystery Material 12:




If you think you know it, take a guess! Can you identify the types of yarn by the texture or color? 




  So, are you batting your eyelashes in adoration of all the materials? Some of the fibers shown is simply so soft it will have your head in the stars; other items will keep you fishing for answers!  Have you become entwined in this game, or are you ready to burn rubber out of here? I'm having fun with it! I think that silly moments add charisma to your life - But, maybe you don't cotton to guessing...Do you think I should put the fun in a bag and get on with some crochet videos? I wish I could say that the first one who speaks up wins a tee shirt or something, but unfortunately, anybody with a correct answer only gets the satisfaction of being right!




Have fun!









P.S. I promised that I would tell you what my favorite material is, but I have to split my answer: For garments, baby items, and some home decor, I chose number 2. For novelty items or jewelry, number 9. What? Did you think I would actually tell you what it is and spoil the game? The last paragraph has all your answers! There are twelve hints written in there - Decipher it!




   

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