As you may have already noticed, I’m big on the quirky holidays. The way I see it, each of these silly days is a chance to celebrate something that may get overlooked every other day. An excuse to eat more donuts just because it’s national donut day? Count me in! (National Donut Day was on June 7, actually, but I don’t see why you can’t have a belated celebration.) Anyway, today is National Log Cabin Day! For some people, this probably evokes the smell of fresh cut grass and the feeling of the raw lumber used to construct a grandparent, aunt or uncle’s log cabin in the woods. For crafters, however, the term “log cabin” speaks directly to a very particular variety of quilts and afghans.
The quilts first became popular in the United States in the 1860s, during the Civil War, and their popularity as a traditional style of American crafting has remained for generations since. Traditionally, center squares were symbolically red or yellow, but more modern takes on the style show off individual preferences. These log cabin quilt-inspired afghan patterns range from traditional to contemporary, and can be knit or crocheted in a variety of yarns, colors, and stitch patterns.
|Crochet Cozy Cabin Throw||Knit Log Cabin Pocket Blankie||Crochet Neutrals Log Cabin Afghan|
After crocheting what I was sure was the world’s longest crochet chain (it was at least 60 feet long, but far short of the world record) in fourth grade, I finally decided it might be time to learn another crochet technique. I sat with my grandmother that summer at the kitchen table in our shore house as she crocheted a baby pink granny square, walking me through each step. She fastened hers off without disconnecting, so I could practice on the same length of yarn. Once I got the hang of it, I went around and around on that same square, until each successive skein of pink, purple and white ran out, but I always left my grandmother’s square attached. It’s a wonderful memory of her to keep now.
Making granny squares is a great way to learn to crochet, or to try out a new technique. Today, I want to share my grandmother’s lesson to me from 15 years ago with all of you! Check out this step-by-step tutorial to create your first granny square in ten minutes or less.
With the warm weather now upon us, many of you are probably looking for smaller, more portable projects to work on so that you can still craft, and stay cool. In addition to choosing smaller projects, it’s important to choose the appropriate seasonal yarn – so today, I’ve rounded up a few washcloth, dishcloth and potholder patterns in various cotton yarns for you to get some some ideas for your summer crafting.
The best part about knitting or crocheting dish and wash cloths is that they’re perfect for practicing new stitches on a smaller scale project!
Crochet Momma and
Baby Chickadee Potholder
Crochet Cross-Stitched Cloths in
Kitchen Cotton and Bonbons
Loom Woven Dishcloth Set in
Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp
Knit Folly Washcloth
Crochet Spring Cleaning Scrubbies
in Recycled Cotton
Knit Long Beach Washcloth
What type of stitch pattern do you prefer when working on a washcloth or potholder? Share with us in the comments!
Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column featuring frequently asked questions.
As warm weather approaches (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), some may find themselves tempted to put away their knitting or crochet for the summer. But this is the season for baseball games, picnics, taking the kids to the park, and flying and driving to vacation destinations. That’s a lot of down time that could be spent crafting!
I don’t care how low the air conditioner’s temperature is set; when warm weather sets in, I don’t want all the bulk of an afghan sitting on my lap as I knit.
But you can still knit/crochet an afghan in strips or blocks, so they won’t be nearly as warm to work on. Then, when falls comes again you can sew them together!
This Knit Patchwork Sampler Throw is a perfect example and has different stitch patterns so you’ll maintain interest. Another made in strips is the Crochet Cozy Checkerboard Throw; it doesn’t have complicated stitch patterns so you won’t need to refer to the pattern very often, which is great when you can’t really concentrate on your crafting.
Happy Flag Day to our friends across the US! In celebration of this holiday, and because July 4 is just three weeks away, I wanted to share some of my favorite American flag-inspired knit and crochet projects. Which one will you make to celebrate Independence Day?
|Get just a touch of Americana with this crochet USA Afghan, worked up in our very own made-in-America Hometown USA yarn. Perfect for picnics, this blanket is quick to crochet and will be super soft and warm for years to come.||Crochet this All-American Granny Square Throw for a patriotic and classic Americana afghan. Make it with Jiffy in True Red, Fishermen and Denim for a stunning throw that’s perfect for picnics or cool summer evenings on the porch.||This knit intarsia blanket is one of my favorites. Knit in one piece in 25 different shades of Vanna’s Choice, the Lion Country Afghan is a true work of yarncrafted art.|
June is National Adopt a Cat Month, and if you have a feline friend sharing your home or about to be welcomed into your family, I’m sure he or she would love a new toy! Here’s a roundup of some fun, fast and easy cat toys to knit or crochet for that special cat in your life. Don’t forget to make a few extra for the kitties at your local shelter–they will be forever thankful!
|Knit these Catnip Mice in Fun Fur for a furry toy for your furry friend. Use deep neutrals like Taupe, Lava, or Black to create a lifelike mouse, or some of our great new neons for a little splash of color in kitty’s toy basket.|
|Crochet this Goldfish Cat Toy with Microspun (or Vanna’s Choice!) for a festive fishy to add to your cat’s toy collection.|
Father’s Day is June 16th, so now is the perfect time to get started on a personalized handmade gift for that special Dad you know. I’ve rounded up a few fun patterns perfect for showing the father in your life how special he is. Choose a pattern that really suits his personality, or perhaps one that’s related to a hobby, or his career. Whether your guy likes to rock out on the guitar, or relax and be comfortable on the couch – there’s a pattern suitable for everyone!
Knit Commemorative Police Throw
Click here for crochet version
Knit Dad Style Vertical Stripe Tie
Knit Wired Dad Remote Caddy
Knit Father’s Day Socks
|Knit Felted Guitar Strap
Click here for crochet version
How do you like to personalize your gifts for men? Do you pay attention to the color, does the pattern have a meaningful repeat? Share with us in the comments!
Technical editor and yarncrafting expert returns to share tips on finishing your crochet projects. Join her next month for tips on finishing your knitting project. Click here to yesterday’s blog post; click here to see Sunday’s blog post.
The final touch for many projects is an edging. Below are photos of three samplers showing a variety of edgings. Instructions for each of the edgings follow the photos. Most of the edgings are quick and easy, some require a little more patience and skill. The edgings are grouped by type.
Make an adjustable ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, sc in ring, hdc in ring, (ch 1, 2 dc in ring) 5 times, ch 1; do not join, work in continuous rnds (spiral) – 12 sts and 6 ch-1 sps at the end of this rnd. Place marker for beg of rnd. Move marker up as each rnd is completed.
Rnd 2: (2 dc in each of next 2 dc, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp) 6 times – 24 dc and 6 ch-1 sps (4 dc each between ch-1 sps) at the end of this rnd.
Rnds 3-8: (2 dc in first dc, dc in each dc to 1 st before next ch-1 sp, 2 dc in next dc, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp) 6 times – 60 dc and 6 ch-1 sps (10 sts each between ch-1 sps) at the end of Rnd 8.
Rnd 9: Hdc in next st, (sc in each st to next ch-1 sp, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp) 6 times.
Slip St: Sl st in next 10 sts, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Overlapping Sc2tog: Sc2tog, (beg in same st as 2nd leg of last sc2tog made, sc2tog) 9 times, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Slip St in Back Loop Only: Working in back loops only, sl st in next 10 sts, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Reverse Single Crochet on WS: Turn piece so that WS is facing you, ch 1, rev sc in next 10 sts, turn piece so that RS is facing you, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp. Note: Reverse single crochet (rev sc) is worked like single crochet (sc) except that you work in the opposite direction (from left to right if you are right-handed, and from right to left if you are left-handed).
Crossed Single Crochet: (Sk next st, sc in next st, sc in skipped st) 5 times, ch 1, sk next ch-1 sp.
Reverse Single Crochet on RS: Cut yarn, draw up a loop in last ch-1 sp, ch 1, rev sc in next 10 sts.
Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay returns to share tips on finishing your crochet projects. Join her next month for tips on finishing your knitting project. Click here to see her previous blog post.
Weaving in well is so very important. If your ends are not woven in well, your ends could come loose and stick out making your piece look messy. Or worse, your work could come unraveled when the piece is used or laundered. There are two very important things to remember for successful weaving in; 1) Leave a long tail, 2) Always weave the tail in more than one direction.
Always leave a long tail, at least 6″. When cutting the yarn, it is no time to be stingy. Cutting your tails short will not save you much money and is likely to cause you a great deal of frustration.
Technical editor and yarncrafting expert returns to share tips on finishing your crochet projects. Join her next month for tips on finishing your knitting project.
A great crochet ending begins with fastening off and weaving in. It may also include a great edging. Over the next three days, we will cover these three topics as well as tips and tricks for each one.
Click on any of the images to enlarge them.
You may think there’s not much to say about fastening off, and if you think this you are a little bit right and a little bit wrong. After all, fastening off simply involves cutting the yarn, leaving a long tail, and ensuring that the tail is secured. But, there are subtle ways to vary the fastening off process, especially when working in rounds, to achieve different results.
Perhaps the most common way to fasten off is finish the last stitch of a row or round, cut the yarn, draw the tail all the way through the last loop on the hook, and pull to tighten the resulting knot. This method forms a small, knot near the top of the last stitch. This knot is usually pretty secure and after carefully weaving in the tail the piece is at little risk of unraveling.
Sometimes the little knot can leave a noticeable bump on the edge of a piece. Accordingly, some people fasten off without leaving a knot. Instead of completing the last stitch and then drawing the tail through the last loop on the hook, the tail is drawn all the way through when working the final yarn over of the last stitch. This omits the knot and tiny bump. To be sure that this type of fastening off is sufficiently secure, extra care must be taken weaving in the end.