Crochet Car Blankets – Part 1

If crocheting is still new to you and you looking for something a little more challenging  than dish cloths or pot holders.   The “Leisure Arts Car Seat Blankets” crochet pattern book might be what you are looking for.

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I brought this book at the suggestion of my daughter who has five children and shared with me that she would love one or two herself . Being the good mother I am, I bought the book that day.

Once I started looking through the book and worked the first two blankets the teacher in me noticed how nice these would be for a beginner crocheter. There is a total of eight patterns and they are all marked easy and so far they have been easy to read.

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I have crocheted the alternating blocks blanket (above) using yellow baby yarn and the Leaf  Stitch (below) blanket using white worst weight yarn.  All the yarn from my stash (which was an added bonus for me) and both projects were enjoyable and relaxing to work.

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I am planing on crocheting the next 6 using worst weight yarn just because I live in Illinois and there is more of a demand for the heavier blankets.  They are all around the size of a lap afghan, so they work up in a day or two.  Which makes this a “go to” for a last minute shower gift.

What are some projects you would suggest to a new crocheter, or someone who is looking for a small project? 

Until Thursday, keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook n Needle Club – Kit 45- Family Slippers

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Whenever I think of winter and crocheting, my mind automatically goes to afghans, sweaters and slippers.  Perfect projects for those long winter nights. Even though I received this kit a while ago, I think it is perfect timing to bring out as the winter season is upon us.  

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The kit came with three skeins of bulky yarn each about 140 oz. of yarn.  They were nice seasonal colors of gray, blue and beige.  There was enough yarn for two pairs of slippers.  The kit also came with two patterns, one for crocheting and one knitting.  Each pattern also give us the choice of six sizes to choose from.   The kit you will receives provides enough yarn for two pairs of slippers.

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Once I provided my own h and J crochet hook and yarn needle for weaving in my ends I was

 good to go.   The pattern was an easy level and very simple to follow making it possible to work the slippers in a few days.   The colors they chose really worked well together, and the yarn made it an enjoyable experience. 

In closing, I have to say I really liked the style and pattern of the slippers.  As they stand out among the other crochet patterns I have seen in the past.  My only warning is make sure you follow the size recommendations and take the time to check your gauge.  As far as stitches you will only need to master the chain stitch and single crochet.

I am rating this kit a 9, losing one point for not being able to re-purchase the yarn for a future project.   It has the Annie’s label, which is disappointing, because I really enjoyed working with it.

If you have not received this kit, you should find yourself a different pattern and crochet some slippers for yourself.  This is the time to do it, early in the winter season so there will be plenty of time to enjoy them.  Or maybe you would prefer to make some up for Christmas, they would make great stocking stuffers.

Until next Monday, keep those hooks flying.

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Veterans Day

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I would like to  take a minute to very sincerely THANK all the men and women who are either serving or have served in the military.  Thank you for your selfless service that is allowing me to live in the freedoms that I now enjoy.

For those of you who would to crochet some Patriotic patterns this Veterans Day I am sharing a post from a blog I came across “Whistle & Ivey”. She posted twelve free patterns to enjoy the Fourth of July.  They were so cute I had to re-post.  While you are there you should check out her blog.  I thought it was really great.

12 Free Patriotic Crochet Patterns

Take the day, enjoy your family and take time to crochet during the Holiday.

Until Thursday, keep those hooks flying.  

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Crocheting:  from Hobby to a Business

I am now in what some like to call the golden years of life. With my retired hubby now at home the last few years, we started looking for avenues to turn my hobby and love of crocheting into a more of a business.  I have dabbled in things here and there,  but honestly I have only taken a passing interest in making it profitable the last few years for some reason.

So I decided to take what I was doing and work it more consistently and with a more hands on approach, for example the social media aspect part of it. For example, I may add few more things  to my approach that I have not been doing and see what happens by the end of 2020.

I did not want to put all my eggs into one basket.  Rather, I chose to divide my attention into four area’s that I think would be something I could work at and with a lot prayer and hard work grow into a business.

The first was obvious:  Craft Fairs and Online Sales

There was a time a long ago when I was on the craft fair circuits, but as life happened if fell more and more into the background.  Then one day I was out of it completely, now I am finding myself wanting to get back into it.  But I also know I do not really have the stock built up enough to really to sell enough to be worth it.  So I am busy crocheting and seeing my stock build with each passing day.  It is my goal to have a large stock for next spring.  In the meantime, I am also compiling a list of fairs with phone numbers for the future.

Meanwhile I am exploring avenues to sell  things on line to help me out through the winter until  the fairs arrive in the spring.  

Secondly, teaching: 

I have been teaching crocheting for over twenty years, and there was a time when I was really putting forth more of an effort than I am now.  So I decided to have a more hands on attitude toward advertising for my class and get the word out there better. There was a time when I had full classes, and I would like to work up to that again.

The last few years I have just been leaving the advertising up to the college, but lately I have not only been posting online about it more, I also intend to submit pictures to the local paper with my students showing their finished projects.  It is also my intention to hang up more flyers.    

Repair: 

When people come across a family crochet treasure that has seen better days, I have been very successful at repairing them. 

Blogging: 

Up to this point I have just been dabbling with my blogging.  I have made some success, but I have not been working it as consistently as I should.  The first few years I posted faithfully, but as the years went by – not so much.  

I have decided to post every Monday and Thursday at 8:00 am.  My plan is going to be to do product reviews, either of tools, yarn, kits or classes.  I am also going to post tutorials and specialty topics that crocheters’ will find interesting.  Pretty much, do what I have been doing, just on a more faithful time schedule.

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My hubby also attended a class at the college I teach at on blogging.  I now know some avenues to make money from my blog.  I have decided the first thing I needed to do was to add some value to my web sight by looking into some affiliate programs and applying to the companies.

Lastly I would like to add some tips that I have decided to try:

1.  If you are serious about having a business the first thing you must do is schedule time for office hours.  In my life, if  it is not scheduled it will not get done.  So I scheduled computer time and crochet time.

2. I have decided to faithfully respond to comments on my blog within 24 hours Monday through Friday.  I want people to comment, I need to respect the time and effort it took them to do so.

3. I need to take my time and do my very best on my crocheting.  Do not sell what I am not 100% happy with.

Would love to hear about some of your experiences with your efforts in trying to earn money crocheting.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Why Should I buy Stitch Markers?

In teaching crocheting over the last few decades I have found that many crocheters are unaware of the advantages of using stitch markers when crocheting.  However by the end of my twelve weeks of the beginning class, they all leave enlighten and leave having a new appreciation for this small tools.

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First I would like to point out that even though there are many variations and styles of stitch markers there are basically only two types; closed and open.  

And yes I am sure you are aware of the fact that a bobby pin, paper clip, safety pin etc.  I prefer the ease of the yarn stitch markers.  Not that I have never use the above mentioned items, I have.  A matter of fact, I can remember once when using a safety pin and my yarn got caught in the small circle of the pin.  It took me about ten minutes to get my yarn out, that was the day I decided to go out and purchase some stitch markers.  It was love at first use, and I never went back.  Not convinced yet, let’s go over the uses for stitch markers.

To mark the beginning of a row:  some people have trouble recognizing the first and last stitch of a row, especially when you are new in crocheting.  This trick works without fail.  Place a stitch marker after completing your first stitch of a new row.  Then when you have completed that row and are ending the second, the stitch markers in remind you where your last stitch is. All you have to do is move it up with each new row.

When crocheting in rounds:  With me crocheting in rounds is when I usally have the most trouble seeing where one row ends and another begins.  I always place a stitch marker in the last stitch of every row, and just move it up as I go.  This helps me to know when I am begining each new row.

They can be used to mark a certain number of stitches: for example when I crochet a long chain, I can mark every 25 stitches to help me know when I reaching 221 more easily.  Or when I am crochet an afghan for example, I mark every so many stitches just so I can quickly count to make sure I have added or lost a stitch along the way.  Stitch markers can also be used for marking rows.

When I am crocheting my edging:  I will mark my first stitch with an orange stitch marker, then each of the next three corners with a blue ones.  This way I know where each of my corners are and which one was where I started.

To use to mark when to join:  When I am joining motifs, I will mark where each new one joins.  I will use blues ones for the where I join on the bottom and orange for where I join on the side.  This helps to ensure a successful and pleasant crocheting experience.

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To use to know when it is time to increase or decrease a row.  

A stitch marker is very helpful to mark where to repeat a pattern.  This is very useful exspecially if you have to change colors.  Wheather I am changing colors or not, I always mark the end of a repeat, so at a glace I can see where I am in the next one.

In the simplest term they are used  to mark a reference point, any reference point in your crocheting that you need have pointed out to you.  They are like the post em of the crocheting world.  There to remind you to do a cerntain action.

Stitch markers come in many shapes and sizes, the ones above are the ones I use.  However I found (below) “HiyaHiya Yarn Ball Stitch Markers “  (Multicolored) that I quickly added to my crochet tool wish list.  They are just too cute for me pass over.  What are some of the ones you have seen that you hoping to buy one day?

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If you are shopping for stitch markers, I would advise you to have at least two colors, as the they can be used to different purposes.  For example:  as mention above I always use an orange stitch marker to mark the begining stitch when needed.  

I hope this have opened your eyes to the just the start of the possibliets of using stitch markers in your crocheting adventures.  What you favorite ways to use your stitch markers, please share and help others discovers them at the same time.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Annies Caring Crochet Kit Club – Motor City Mittens Review

First, before I get started with my review I would like to thank Annie’s kit Club for sending me this kit free of charge so that I could write this review.  I was curious what the kits would be like and I must say I was pleased when I opened this one.

This club is similar to the Annie’s Hook N Needle club with a small twist.  Each kit comes with a charity name for which you can donate your finished project to if you like.  Otherwise it can be for your personal use or a gift for a friend.  

The cost of each kit is $19.99 plus shipping and handling. 

The “Motor City Mittens” kit includes two skeins of medium worsted weight acrylic yarn each aproximately 208 yards, they come in the colors of purple variegated and red/blue/purple variegated.  The kit also comes with a pattern pamphlet for a pair of crocheted mittens and a card with information for sending your gift to Mittens for Detroit.  

The Donation card not only had the mailing information but also a spot for your personal information and a room for a personal note if you desire to add one.

On the back of the pattern there is more detailed information about the charity of choice.

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The mitten pattern was an easy level skill and the instructions were easy to follow.  

In order to crochet the mittens I had to use some of my own tools which were a Crochet hook size 9 and a tapestry needle.

There was enough yarn for two pair of mittens.

 

Here are just a few tips that I thought might help ensure success for your mittens.

1. Use caution since you are making a clothes item. Make sure you take the time to gauge.  I know I would hate to crochet a pair of mittens that would never fit any adult because they are just too small.

2. Use a stitch holder to mark the beginning of the round to help remind you where one round begins and another ends.

3. Compare your second mitten to your first occasionally as you work so that you know you are crocheting in the same tension and they will be the same size.

I would also like to make a point of saying that unlike the Annie’s Hook N Needle Club this kit is for crocheters only.  There was no alternative knitting instructions.  

In closing, if you are a person who enjoys crocheting for charities and are looking for some opportunities then this might be a club you would want to check out for a few months and see where it leads.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Unique Household Crochet tools

Early on in my crocheting journey, before I bought all these wonderful crocheting tools and bags that I now enjoy and use I  had to improvise and use what ever I had around the house.   I learned that although these things are nice to have around, some are not always necessary.  Some of the items and suggestions listed below are things I actually used, and others I put down while surfing the internet.

Some I have upgraded with more specialized replacements, while others I still find myself using.  I thought this would be a fun subject to share, and who knows might even be enlightening for those you looking to use what you have till you get what you want.

Hightlighters

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The first  confession I would like to share with you, is that I still use highlighters when crocheting.   Before I start any new project, the first thing I do is sit down and read through the pattern and as I do I highlight any instructions for specialty stitches.  Secondly, (shown below) when there is a part of the pattern that tells me to repeat a series of stitches over I will highlight the part I am to repeat. 

This helps me to save so much time because it enables me see the instructions more easily and prevents me from making many mistakes.  

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Trash basket

Anyone who has crocheted for any amount of time knows that with crocheting comes the cutting of yarn ends. This tip will help to keep them from laying all over my end table or falling on the floor .  I did not want to set a garbage can next to my living room chair, so I sat a small basket on my table and it serves a perfect spot to catch all my yarn ends.  Thus when I am done for the day, I just empty it in the trash.  Problem solved.

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Rug hook

When making fringe I  have always had the problem of some of the string of yarn falling off my hook when I was pulling it through.  So one day I saw a half finished rug hooking kit at a yard sale.  So I bought it and I finished the rug and then promptly placed the rug hook in my crouching bag.  The next time I went to do my fringe I used the rug hook to pull them though.  The latch on the hook make it so easy to finish my fringe because it secured the yarn while pulling it through and I never again had to redo the process because of losing a few strings of yarn.  

Plastic Sleeves and dry erase markers

Whether we call them plastic sleeves or sheet protectors I am so glad they were invented.  When I carry my pattern around  it gets a lot of use and some of my patterns end up being taped together. This is from being carried in my  bag until I finish my current project.  I never have this situation arise anymore since I started using either an 8 1/2 x 11 or a 5x 7  sheet to protect my pattern.

For me it is not always convenient to carry a heavy crochet book around with me.  So when I am crocheting a pattern that I find in a book, I copy the pattern and place it in the plastic sleeve and then replace the book on its shelf.  This not only keeps my books looking nice, it is lighter and easier to place in my bag.

This tip also works just as easy for the loose patterns or pamphlets.  

Besides the added protection you can also mark the rows as you go and write notes with a your highlighter and use a dry erase marker on the plastic sleeve itself.  When you are done, it easily wipes off.  Just make certain your marker is dry erase and not permanent.

Post em

If you have been around at all you know my passion for using two things, stitch holders and post em packs.  Post em’s  are great for using in crocheting.  It not only helps mark the row you are on, but it can also be a handy place to write any notes you might want to remember.

Baby powder

This might not be a problem for everyone, but in the summer when I am crocheting outside sometimes my fingers will sweat and this make it hard for the yarn to slide through my fingers.  If I put a small amount of baby powder on my hands it helps to  keep my hands dry and makes the crocheting a lot easier.

Bobbie pins

This is not my first choice but when nothing else is handy, you could use a bobbie pin in place of a stitch holder.  

Some other things that I have not personally used but have saw on the internet  and thought were ingenious are as follows.  

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I hope you have found these insightful and now know you can use things around the house until you decide to upgrade to one of the many speciality tools that crocheting has out there.

Are there other things around the house that you have discovered and made useful? Please share.  The one thing that is good about the World Wide Web is that we can help other people by sharing things that have worked for us and possibly keeping our craft more enjoyable and affordable.  

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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