Friday, February 21, 2014

Free Pattern: Plarn Coaster Basket

  Have you seen my tutorial and pattern for "fmelted" plarn coasters? Did you make them? If you did, maybe you and I have the same problem. A bunch of coasters are sliding around my house when they're not being used. Every time I stack them up, they get knocked over again, so I designed a basket they can be kept in.
  Even if you didn't make a bunch of coasters like I did, this basket is still awesome, and you can make one too. It makes a great conversation piece. Many people don't know about plarn, and are very surprised when you tell them something like this is made from recycled bags. The comment I hear first is usually: "Seriously?" Followed by: "Can you make me one?"

Click here for the matching lid.

See How to make Plarn



  There are directions to alter the pattern if you don't want to "fmelt" it. Finished size is 5" x 5" x 2" (12.7 x 12.7 x 5 cm).

Skill level:
Easy

Materials:
Crochet hook size H/8 - 5.00MM
Plarn - cut into 3" wide strips, about 15 bags
Smaller hook to weave in ends

Gauge:
First round = 2" (5 cm) circumference

Notes:
  Don't let Rounds 10 and 11 confuse you if this technique is new to you. The stitches are worked over the previous rows' stitches, into the stitches of Round 8. If you've ever worked the spike stitch before, it's the same process, only you make the stitch tight around other rows instead of pulling up extra material. You want the material to roll over when you make the stitch.

  This pattern was designed for "fmelting", a process to change plarn into solid plastic. Typically, a crocheted cube will not have any decreases. To transition from working a square bottom to straight sides, the pattern will simply stop increasing. This pattern requires a decrease before working the sides, because during "fmelting", the sides and bottom border will "grow". At the end of the pattern, you can see an example of the finished basket before "fmelting". Although it's hard too see in the photo, the sides taper slightly before joining the bottom.
If you do not want to "fmelt" your basket, and you want straight sides, begin *Round 6 after beg ch-3: (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Replace "(1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc)" with "(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc)".

For Round 7: After ( ) 5 times, replace "Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1. Sk 1" with "Sk 2, 2 dc in ch-1. Sk 2".

For Round 8 after beg ch-3: "1 dc in same sp, ch 1, sk 2, 2 dc". Replace "1 dc, ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc" with "2 dc, ch 1, sk 2, 2 dc".

For Rounds 9-11: Replace "51 sts" with "59 sts".

Repeat in Round 12 (29) times..

Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)


Directions:
With hook size H/8-5.00MM or size needed to obtain gauge:

Round 1:
Ch 4, 11 dc in farthest ch from hook. Join with a sl st to beg ch-4. (12 dc)

Round 2:
Turn. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same st. 2 dc in next st. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st. *(2 dc in next st) twice. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24)

Round 3:
Turn. Sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. (sk 1, 2 dc) twice. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. (Sk 1, 2 dc) twice.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (36)

Round 4:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts, sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.  Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (48)

Round 5:
Sl st in next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Working only into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Working into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (60)

*Round 6:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), ch 1, 1 dc in same sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) twice. (Sk 3, 2 dc) twice. Sk 2, 2 dc. *(1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in ch-1 sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) twice, (sk 3, 2 dc) twice. Sk 2, 2 dc.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

 Round 7:
Turn, sl st into sp between posts. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times. Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1. Sk 1, *(2 dc, sk 2) 5 times, 2 dc. Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1 sp, sk 1.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

Round 8:
Turn, sl st into sp between posts, Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc). Ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc. (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times. *(Sk 2, 1 dc, ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc. (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

Round 9:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (52)

Round 10:
Sl st directly below into Round 8. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts of Round 8. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (52)

Round 11:
Turn. Sl st directly below into Round 8. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts of Round 8. (52)

Round 12:
*Sl st in back loop only of next st, ch 1.* Repeat from * to * 26 more times. Join with a sl st to beg sl st. Bind off, weave in ends.




Before "Fmelting" the basket:
  I've been trying to think of the easiest way to do this, and gone through a few ideas. "Fmelting" is a relatively easy process when you're working with a flat project, but how can I finish a three dimensional piece?
  I know I need to cover the surface with wax paper, so I thought I could just crumple some up and stuff the whole piece. It works, but its a big waste of wax paper.
  So I thought I could use newspaper instead, but I'm using a hot iron on it. To be honest, I was afraid I might set it on fire and didn't try it. Maybe that's something I can try (outside) another time.
  I finally settled on cardboard. It's more heat resistant than newspaper, easily covered with the wax paper, and I've always got some scraps around here somewhere. With some measuring, cutting, and staples, I made a custom-fit form for my basket.



After you make your own form, cover it with wax paper.



Place the form in the basket, making sure the piece is as even and square as possible.



Directions for "fmelting the basket:

  In case you missed the original tutorial on how to "fmelt" plarn, I'll give you the warnings again:
  • You will be using a hot iron, use the necessary precautions. 
  • You will be melting plastic. Don't inhale any fumes! Do this in a room with plenty of ventilation, or even take it outside.
  • Make a test swatch. Practice "fmelting" on this first. If you're iron temperature is set too high, you will burn right through the material.
  • Look through the wax paper to check your progress, don't get burned like I did and try to peel it off while it's hot. Also, the plastic will be stuck to the paper until it cools, and your project could be ruined.
Begin "fmelting" the bottom first. Place wax paper over the entire area to be ironed.



With the iron on the synthetic (lowest) setting, slowly and gently move the iron in small circles over the surface. Iron temperatures may vary slightly. Using mine, it took about 3 minutes per side to melt it to this stage:



Keep covered with wax paper any surface where you are applying heat. Using the same technique as with the bottom, "fmelt" each side, waiting for it to cool and harden before moving on to the next side.



I didn't melt the inside surface of my basket, but if you want to, a mini iron would be super helpful. Use it if you have one. If, like me, you don't have one, the process is a bit more complicated.

What you will have to do is follow the original directions, but don't melt the corners or bottom edges. This allows the basket to stay flexible, so you can turn it inside out. After turning, repeat the process. Good luck without that mini iron.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Free pattern: Lacy Daisy Applique

  What are butterflies attracted to? Flowers! The Cotton Candy Butterfly applique needs accessories, and it just seemed right to create some flora for the fauna. Flowers are a pretty uncomplicated thing to crochet, but what I'm looking for is something simple, yet different.

  I was determined to design the "perfect" daisy to pair with the butterfly. Making up my mind became the most difficult process. I wanted something like a traditional daisy, but with more flair; maybe even a little elegance. I also couldn't decide on a size, and then thought it would be cute to mix various sizes or layer them together. Since I couldn't chose which I prefer, I just kept making more.

  First, I'll provide a simple base pattern for an average daisy; one that's probably been used by countless crocheters around the world for an untold number of decades. It produces a compact, traditional geometric daisy. I would have used this simple pattern for the project I've been working on, but it didn't suit my taste.

  Following the basic pattern is the new and improved Lacy Daisy and its variations. You can mix and match the centers for a different look, and there is an optional border available for each version. Plus, who says you have to make white and yellow daisies? Use those scraps to make any combination of your choice.



Skill Level:
Easy - intermediate

Materials:
Steel hook size 7 US (4 UK)
Size 10 crochet thread
Needle to weave in ends

Gauge:
1 row, 2 tr = 1/4" x 1/4" (1 cm x 1 cm)

Stitches and abbreviations:
Slip stitch  (Sl st)
Chain  (ch)
          - stitch (st)
          -space (sp)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)
Triple crochet (tr)


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Directions for Basic Daisy:

Basic daisy worked in single crochet.
Round 1:
With color A, ch 2 (c/a 1 sc), 10 sc in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook in same st, pull up a loop. Yarn over with color B, pull through 2 remaining loops on hook. Cut color A.

Round 2:
With color B, *Sl st in next st, ch 2, 1 dc in same st.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Directions for Lacy Daisy:


*Note: If using the lacy center, be sure to use Round 2 for lacy center. All other versions will use Round 2 for other centers. For your favorite version, simply follow directions for when to continue for a border or to bind off.

Round 1 - Double crochet center:
With color A, ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 11 sc in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook into beg ch-4, pull color B through with a sl st.

Version 4 with double crochet center

Round 1 - Triple crochet center:
With color A, ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 11 sc in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook into beg ch-4, pull color B through with a sl st.

Version 4 with triple crochet center

Round 1 - Lacy triple crochet center:
With color A, ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), ch 2, {1 tr, ch 2} 5 times in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook into beg ch-4, pull color B through with a sl st.

Version 4 with lacy triple crochet center and border
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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Round 2 for Lacy triple crochet center:
With color B, *(Ch 3, 2 tr, ch 3, sl st) in same st, sl st in ch-2 sp.* Repeat from * to *  5 more times.  Continue for other versions. For version 1: Continue to border 1.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Round 2 for other centers:
With color B, *(Ch 3, 2 tr, ch 3, sl st) in sa
me st, sl st into next st.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times.  Continue for other versions. For version 1: Continue to border 1.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Top row, left to right: Version 1 with triple crochet center and border; version 2 with double crochet center, no border. Compare sizes with basic daisy; bottom.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Round 3:
*Ch 5, (1 tr, ch 2, 1 tr) in sp between tr posts. Ch 5, sl st in next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Continue for other versions. For version 2: Continue to border 2.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Version 2 - Both with borders. Left: Triple crochet center. Right: Lacy triple crochet center.

Round 4:
*Ch 7, (1 tr, ch 3, 1 tr) in ch-2 sp. Ch 7, sl st in ch-5 st, sk 1 sl st, sl st in next sl st.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Continue for other versions. For version 3: Continue to border 3.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Version 3 with border and triple crochet center.
Round 5:
*Ch 9, (1 tr, ch 4, 1 tr) in ch-3 sp. Ch 9, sl st in ch-7 st, sl st in next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Continue to border 4.1, or bind off, weave in ends.


All examples of version 4. Top left example is worked with double crochet center, no border. This will be the same size as version 3 worked with triple crochet center and border (see previous photo).
Border 1.1:
*Ch 1, 3 sc in ch-3 sp, 3 sc in sp between tr posts, 3 sc in following ch-3 sp. Ch 1, sl st in each of next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.

Border 2.1:
*Ch 1, 5 sc in ch-5 sp, 5 sc in ch-2 sp, 5 sc in following ch-5 sp. Ch 1, sl st in ch-5 st. Sl st in each of next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times.

Border 3.1:
*Sl st in next ch, ch 1. 6 sc in ch-7 sp, 7 sc in ch-3 sp, 6 sc in following ch-7 sp. Ch 1, sl st in each of ch-6 and ch-7 sts. Sl st in each of next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.

Border 4.1:
*{Sl st into ch-9 sp, ch 1} 7 times. {Sl st into ch-4 sp, ch 1} 4 times. {Sl st into ch-9 sp, ch 1} 6 times. Sl st into ch-9 sp, sl st into ch-9 st. Sl st into next 3 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.

Version 4.1 combined with version 2.1, both with lacy center.

Version 4 with version 1.1
  As you can see, there are quite a few combinations to be made. Hopefully, you'll have an easier time making a decision than I did. Happy crocheting!


Friday, January 31, 2014

Double Free Pattern: One Round Hearts

  Valentine's day might be on the way, but these cuties can be used year-round. What could you do with mini hearts? Originally, they were designed to be part of my new applique series. However, once I finished them, my imagination was left with a few other ideas.
  These would be adorable added to a bag or clothing, used as confetti, or to accent a wrapped gift. Plus, I made a few more than I needed, so I'll be experimenting with making jewelry from the leftovers.


  A small pattern like this is a great way to use up those scraps! They're only one round a piece, so make some in any color your *heart* desires.
  Speaking of scraps, during this project I made an attempt to use up the remainder of some thread I had lying around. I didn't foresee any issues with that...

  I ran into a slight problem while designing this pattern. Do you notice the difference in the size of the pink hearts? No, they weren't made from a different pattern. I have mystery thread! About a year ago I picked up this pink thread on clearance. The label stated size 10 crochet thread, exactly the same as the burgundy pictured here with the pink:



  You can clearly see that the pink thread is thicker and produces a larger swatch. Within my thread stash are multiple colors of the same brand; also a few other brands. None of my other size 10 thread is the same size as this stuff. This appears to be size 3 crochet thread. So, in the pattern, I give the gauge for both sizes of thread; whatever size the mystery pink may be. Either way, the pattern still works for both sizes, so use size 3 if you have it.

Skill Level:
Easy

Materials:
Size 10 crochet thread

Steel crochet hook, size 4(UK)?*
  *I'm using my mystery hook along with my mystery thread. "Made in England" is printed on my hook, so I can only assume this is a US size 7. I've yet to solve this problem, and I apologize for using it to design a pattern again. It belonged to my great-grandmother, and its my favorite hook to use.

Needle to weave in ends

Gauge for Mini Heart:
Entire piece measures 3/4" (2 cm);
Pink heart measures 1" (2.5 cm)

Gauge for Tiny Heart:
Entire piece measures 1/2" (1.2 cm);
Pink heart measures 3/4" (2 cm)

Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)

Directions for Mini Heart:


To begin: Ch 4, join with a sl st to beg ch.

Ch 2, 3 dc in same st. (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next ch. (3 dc, ch 2, sl st) in following ch. Skip last ch. Bind off, weave in ends.

Directions for Tiny Heart:


To begin: Ch 4, join with a sl st to beg ch.

Ch 1, 3 sc in same st. (2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in next ch. (3 sc, ch 1, sl st) in following ch. Skip last ch. Bind off, weave in ends.

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