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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

THE HISTORY OF CROCHETED TEDDY BEARS

The teddy bear is one of the most simple and endearing of all toys, and can be made with almost every needlework and craft technique. Visit any country decorating shop or craft fair and you are bound to see bears – there are bears in wood, clay, and every imaginable cloth from velveteen and silk to old denim. Cute bears, baby bears, happy bears, and serious bears abound, and can be used in any version of country to Victorian decorating. You will see them plain or dressed, in every type of clothing imaginable from denim overalls and aprons to fancy period clothing, including top hats and tails.

Those lovable little creatures received their name from an event that occurred in the fall of 1902. At that time, Theodore Roosevelt was president and his presidential hunting party took a hunting trip to Mississippi. The Washington Post reported that several members of the hunting party lassoed a lean, young black bear and tied it to a tree. The president was summoned, but he refused to shoot the exhausted and frightened bear. He declared that this would be unsportsmanlike and ordered the bear to be released.

The next day, November 2, The Washington Post featured a front-page cartoon showing Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear. The cartoon showed the president with his back to the animal and his gun before him with its butt resting on the ground. Roosevelt, with an outstretched palm facing the animal, gestured his refusal to shoot. Soon after that a lady made two toy bears for display in her husband’s store window. The bears were made of plush fabric, stuffed with excelsior and finished with shiny black shoe-button eyes. The toys drew immediate attention. The shop owner soon recognized the potential popularity of the new toy, and requested and received permission to sell them as “Teddy Bears.”

The bears were a hit. The shop owner expanded his business and renamed it the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company. This company still exists today under the name of Ideal Toy Corporation.

At the same time, teddy bears were becoming popular in the United States, the Steiff Company of Giengen, Germany, produced its first jointed, stuffed bears. Doll and toy maker, Margarete Steiff’s charming stuffed animal had delighted children and adults for several years, and at the 1903 Leipzig Fair, she introduced the first bears. An American toy buyer saw them and immediately ordered several thousand for shipment to the United States.

Steiff bears remain one of the most highly valued items to toy and doll collectors around the world.

The immediate and widespread appeal of bears in 1902-1903 has never diminished. Everyone loves a teddy bear, and creating a teddy bear is one of the most rewarding experiences in needlework and crafts. It is wonderful to see the bear’s personality take shape, especially as you form the facial features and add clothing details.

If you need a simple easy crochet pattern for a teddy bear, go to www.google.com. In the information box, enter "crochet teddy bear patterns." Then several websites will come up for you to choose from and then you need to click on a website you want to look over and purchase a pattern. Matter of fact, you can check on one or all of the sites that come up. You can also go to a shop where crochet supplies are sold and you will find many crochet pattern books to check for the exact teddy bear pattern you want. Beyond the basic pattern, you can add details to suit your bear’s personality – frills, ruffles, crocheted collar, and bows for a sweet little girl’s teddy bear, or a handsome plaid bow tie and perhaps a cap for a sweet little boy’s teddy bear.

Have fun making a Teddy Bear for someone special…


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Sunday, November 27, 2011

DOLL COLLECTING

Although doll collecting as a hobby began around the seventeenth century, it did not become popular in this country until the 1930’s. While little information is available regarding early crocheted dolls, we can be sure that future doll collectors will be fascinated by the examples of what people have already collected. Designers have developed many doll designs in the past 40 to 50 years using the unique qualities of crochet to mold and shape bodies, facial features and even hair.

If you wish to make a crocheted doll, there are a few techniques which can be used to help you make your doll more beautiful and long lasting. When making dolls, soft toys or other stuffed items, it is especially important to choose the hook size and yarn or thread carefully. If the hook size is too large and the doll is crocheted loosely, holes will appear in the finished doll and the stuffing can show or protrude. It is important that you make a gauge to determine the size of hook you will need to use. To determine your gauge, work a 4 x 4-inch swatch, using the size of hook and yarn or thread recommended. Place the swatch flat, without stretching. With a ruler, measure the number of stitches and rows per inch. This gives you an exact gauge. Since we all crochet differently, our gauges may not be the same. Remember that the hook size called for in a pattern is simply a recommended size to use as a guideline. If your gauge swatch has more stitches or rows per inch than the pattern gauge you will need to go to a larger hook size. If you have fewer stitches per inch, you will need to go to a smaller hook size. You can depend on your item to work up to the finished size stated in your simple easy crochet pattern if your gauge is accurate.

Except for small quick-and-easy projects (or something where the finished size doesn’t matter), a few minutes spent making a gauge swatch can save hours of ripping out and frustration.

Sometimes you will come across simple easy crochet patterns that don’t list the gauge. When this happens, just measure the item when you have finished it and note the gauge and hook size you used on the pattern for the next time.

It is almost inevitable that some stuffing will show through the stitches, especially if the pattern involves a large amount of increasing and decreasing. The most attractive crocheted dolls are made with white or light-colored yarn or thread, through which stuffing is not quite as noticeable.

When making tube-like doll parts such as arms and legs, you may find it helpful to stuff as you crochet. Stuff every inch for tiny dolls, and every three inches for larger dolls crocheted with worsted-weight yarn. Some designers use a manicure stick, pencil, or other similar object to guide stuffing into small areas. When stuffing larger areas, a smooth look can be achieved by stuffing with small puffs of polyester stuffing. Be careful to stuff evenly, and as a rule, stuff lightly rather than firmly. Smooth the outside of the doll body as you stuff.

Crocheted dolls often attract dust. To keep your doll clean, shake her lightly and give her a frequent dusting with a clean feather duster that is used only for crocheted items. Dolls crocheted with yarn can be hand-washed carefully.

With a little care, your crocheted dolls can give you and your heirs many years of enjoyment.

Make a memory…


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CROCHETED BRIDE DOLL GOWN

What could be more romantic than a bride and bridegroom exchanging wedding vows? Each of us has a treasured memory of someone’s wedding, whether it is our own or that of a friend or relative. But have you ever considered why we use the words we do to describe the event?

Take the word 'bridal', for example. Did you know that it comes from combining two words: 'bride' and 'ale'. Early English churches brewed special ales, called Easter-ale and Whitsun-ale, to be served and sold to raise money for the church at Easter and Pentecost celebrations.

The success of their fund-raising caused the practice to grow to include other feasts and occasions, adding Church-ale, bride-ale, midsummer-ale, etc. Although the practice was discontinued in 1603, the word for the bride’s toast traditionally drunk at the time lived on in the modern word 'bridal', a word which has come to describe the nuptials.

Be careful not to insult the bridegroom by calling him the groom. The bride’s new husband was called the 'brydguma', meaning 'bride’s man', in Old English. But at some point in the sixteenth century, when spelling was haphazard to say the least, the Middle English 'bridegome' became bridegroom, making the 'bride’s man' into the 'bride’s man-servant'.

We may laugh, but we must also recognize that we are no more accurate than those sixteenth-century spellers, if we call the 'bridegroom' the 'groom'. By doing so, we demote him to the stable or barn, as the 'horse keeper'.

When we consider the word 'wedding', we have to wonder if our English ancestors had a jaundiced view of matrimony as a gamble. The word 'wed' originally was used to mean 'to wager' or 'to bet'. In Old English time, a man would 'weddian' his money on a horse race and would 'weddian' a woman “for fairer, for fouler” in the matrimonial ceremony.

If he put an item in 'wed', he pawned it. The word evolved in Middle English to mean a 'pledge'. The bride’s wedding ring is thus a pledge of the man’s fidelity.
Bates Crochet Hook Set Smartglo Pack G-K

Bates Crochet Hook Set Smartglo Pack G-K

Multipack sets of crochet hooks come in metal or plastic and in a variety of different sizes. These sets give you a variety of options. Smartglo Pack G-K- Made from lightweight plastic that glows in the dark. You will be able to see your stitches in dimly lit places like movie theaters and cars. No batteries required, they are easily recharged in natural or artificial light in just minutes. This set includes US G-6, H-8, I-9, J-10 and K-10.5.








As for 'romance', it comes from the word 'Roma', the capital city of the Roman Empire. A 'romance' was a song or story told in the common language of the people of the time. These oral songs and stories were often set in verse and frequently told of a hero and his fair maiden. Through time the poetry was lost, but the stories survive in the romances of modern prose form.

As you crochet a winsome bride doll gown, or sit waiting for the bride to start down the aisle with her father at the next wedding you attend, think about the words you will use to describe the occasion. Indeed, those words may have a romance of their own. One source for a Bride Doll Gown pattern can be ordered from www.anniesattic.com.

Have fun crocheting a beautiful Gown for a Bride Doll from a Crochet Pattern.

AFGHANS THEN AND NOW

Afghans are a hands-down favorite of crocheters everywhere. We Americans especially love these cozy throws, and make them one after the other in every yarn and color imaginable since the days of the revolution. Did you ever wonder how the term “afghan” originated?

Early American pioneer women made thrifty use of every little bit of scrap cloth, which they carefully collected and incorporated into quilts. They also knitted socks and sweaters, and saved yarn remnants for crocheting. They made small squares called Granny Squares, probably because Granny did much of the work! When enough squares were finished, they were assembled into bedspreads, shawls, lap and leg coverings, or throws for the family rocking chairs. Each creation was bright and cozy, with a useful as well as decorative purpose, just as our afghans of today.

The original Granny Square blankets were fashioned out of many colors, they resembled the colorful rugs imported by Colonial sailing ships from Afghanistan, hence the name “afghan.” Though modern-day crocheters still enjoy making afghans from scrap yarn, they most often delight in blending color and design to add a personal touch to the home's d├ęcor with afghans.

If you would like to create a one-of-a-kind afghan to accent your home or to give as a gift, it would be a good idea to search through a few books of simple easy crochet patterns. With the pattern chosen, then choose your design carefully, considering the number of colors you would like to use, how and where the afghan will be used, and how quickly you want to complete the afghan. There are some simple easy crochet patterns that could be made in a weekend. That would take some dedication of your time to complete an afghan in a weekend, depending on the size. Most patterns for baby throws and afghans could easily be made in a weekend. After the design is selected, choose colors carefully even if you are making a scrap afghan. For example, a scrap afghan can be made from all pastels or all bright colors. Brilliant colors can be contrasting or blended and soft colors graduated or variegated.

Adults and children, a like, that were crocheting in the 1990’s were very fortunate, with a profusion of yarn to choose from for their needlework, and the luxury of crocheting for pleasure rather than necessity.

Keep on enjoying your crochet projects…


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Thursday, November 24, 2011

BLOCK IT BEAUTIFULLY

Finally, that gorgeous, challenging sweater you have crocheted so patiently is complete! All that is left to be done before the compliments start rolling in is to block your wonderful creation. Blocking is a process that shapes and sets a crocheted item, and it smooths the stitches to give your work a finished, professional appearance. There are several different blocking methods, so choose the one that’s appropriate for the yarn used in your project. Perhaps you are a beginner and learning to crochet so it is best to choose a simple easy crochet pattern.

Before blocking, check your yarn label for any special instructions. If specific blocking directions aren’t given, look at the care instructions listed for the yarn. Some natural fiber yarns such as wool, linen, or cotton respond well to steam blocking, but yarns such as mohair and angora should never come in contact with heat or steam. Many acrylics and some blends shouldn’t be blocked at all, especially with hot steam – they might melt! Oh my, we’d never want that to happen! If you have any doubt about how a particular yarn will respond to blocking, try blocking your gauge swatch first.

In addition to rust-proof pins and plenty of fluffy towels, you will need a flat surface for blocking that is large enough to accommodate your garment when it is all spread out. You can place a folded blanket on a table and cover it with a sheet, or you can simply use a bed or carpeted floor covered with towels. Just be sure to first put down a layer of plastic trash bags to protect the surface from moisture. If you prefer, you can purchase a blocking board, a padded board made especially for this purpose, or you can make one of your own.

To make a blocking board, you will need a piece of plywood, polyester quilt batting, terry cloth, gingham fabric with 1-inch checks (this makes measuring a breeze), and a staple gun. Cover the plywood with layers of batting until the batting is 1 to 1½-inch thick. Top the batting with a piece of terry cloth and then a piece of gingham fabric, wrapping both over the edges and stapling in place on the back of the board. Even afghans, especially ones with elaborate edges, will lay smoother and flatter if you block them first.

There are four ways to do blocking; with the first one being “cold blocking.” Fragile acrylics that are suitable for blocking can be taken care of in a snap. Simply use rust-proof straight pins to shape your item to the correct size on a flat surface, and cover the item with dampened bath towels. When the towels are dry, the item is blocked.

Another way to do blocking is “wet blocking.” Wet blocking is ideal for thread articles such as doilies, coasters, place mats, etc. Not only does this give your project a smooth, finished appearance, but the laundering removes any traces of oil or dirt left by your hands on the item. If your project is hand washable, carefully launder it using a mild laundry soap or detergent. Rinse the item without wringing or twisting, several times in cool water, then remove any excess moisture by rolling it in a succession of dry terry towels. If you prefer, put your project in the final spin cycle of the washer, but don’t use water or heat. Lay the item on a flat surface, then gently smooth and pat it to the desired size and shape, comparing the measurements to your simple easy crochet pattern instructions as necessary. Always use rust-proof straight pins to hold your project in place. When the item is completely dry, it is blocked.


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Steaming is a great method of blocking many crocheted items, especially those made with wool or wool blends. Just be extra cautious not to use steam on any yarn that might be damaged by heat. Turn your project wrong side out and use rust-proof straight pins to shape it to the correct size on a flat surface. Hold a steam iron or steamer just above the item and steam it thoroughly. Never let the iron or steamer actually touch your crocheted article – this will flatten the stitches and possibly scorch the yarn. Leave the garment pinned in place until it is completely dry.

If you are making a garment to wear and if it is made in pieces, you may wish to block the individual pieces of the garment before putting them together. Adjusting pieces to the right size and shape is much simpler than trying to adjust a completed garment, and blocking the pieces can actually make assembly easier.

Love your beautifully blocked garment...

KEEPING A CROCHET JOURNAL

Do you ever wish you could remember every single item you have ever crocheted? That you could remember what you crocheted for your Aunt Mary three years ago; for that matter, do you remember what you even crocheted one year ago? Or that you knew for certain which instructions you followed to make the doily that’s on your dining room table? To help jog your memory, you can do what many crocheters have done for years – keep a journal or memory book of the projects you have created be it from a simple easy crochet pattern or from patterns for the experienced crochet person.

In this blog, I will try to help you undertake this easy and satisfying project by giving you some instructions and ideas on how to make a journal memory book. I think it would be great to have a camera so you could take picture(s) of your finished project(s). I wish I would have done this as I have no idea how many articles I have made over the past 40 years, and how many I have given away for gifts. For people who do not crochet, they really appreciate a handmade crocheted gift. This is so true when you receive a gift that is made from the heart.

Some other items to have on hand to work with in making your journal would be a sturdy 3-ring binder. Binders come in sizes that range from 1/2-inch to 3 inches in thickness, so choose the size that reflects the amount of crocheting you do! Three-ring photo albums are great alternatives since they come in so many beautiful colors and fabric choices. By now, if I had made a journal, I probably would have filled 2 or more large binders.

Next, purchase some plastic protective sleeves. The 8½ x 11-inch clear plastic sleeves already has holes punched on one edge and an opening on one edge so that you can slip a sheet of paper into it. They are available at office supply stores and department stores that sell school supplies, etc., and you can use them in your binder to store yarn labels, snips of yarn, a copy of the pattern, or other helpful information about the project.

If you are just beginning to learn how to crochet, you may want to choose a simple easy crochet pattern for your first project. Take a picture and make it a part of your journal. At the end of one year, you will see a noticeable difference in the advancement of your crocheting abilities.

You may wish to have a hole punch and a tube of rubber cement for securing photos to your pages that will be inserted in the plastic sleeve. If you are a person who does scrapbooking, you could decorate your pages of the journal along with the photos. For me, I would use a light-weight card stock paper for gluing the photos onto. When the glue is dry, you will want to insert the photo page into the protective sleeves to keep it clean and dust-free.

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While working in your crochet journal, keep in mind that you are keeping a history, and you will want to be able to understand your musings even many years from now. Be thorough and detailed when filling in your information. Make note of any instructions you would enjoy doing again. Conversely, if you didn’t like working a particular pattern, note that too. And be sure to date your page.

Washing care information is extremely important, not only for yourself, but if you give your crocheted article as a gift. The recipient of your beautiful crochet article will appreciate knowing that she can call on you in the future if she is unsure to know to take care of her new treasure. Many times on the yarn wrapper, inside or on the outside, there are special care instructions. I often times have included one of the wrappers with the gift so that the recipient will know what to do to care for it properly.

In your journal, don’t forget to make it personal. Record as to why you made a particular piece for a particular person, what was going on in your life when you were making a project, or whether or not you were pleased with the outcome of the project – whatever is important for you to remember is worth writing down.

Use a plastic sleeve as a catch-all for other things you would like to keep handy while working on your crocheted article – yarn labels, swatches of yarn, small clipping scissors, and even the project instructions themselves, if they will fit.

Be happy while making memories…

CROCHET CLUTTER

Do you ever feel like you are about to be swallowed up with all your crochet stuff? Yarn here, hooks there, and simple easy crochet patterns elsewhere. Here are some tips on getting your home crochet clutter-free.

First, it is important to get all your crochet supplies organized, and then it will make your life so much easier. It will help you find the yarn and supplies you need quickly, make your home neater and even save you money. How is it going to save me money, you ask. Depends on how many times you say to yourself, “I know I have a ball of blue yarn around here somewhere… Oh, well, I’ll pick up another one on my next shopping trip.”

Getting organized can also help your life run smoother especially if you have a husband who doesn’t appreciate finding yarn in the trunk of the car. Confiscating his new fishing tackle box to store your hooks, needles and row markers may not make him happy either – get one of your own. Just make sure it is not bigger or fancier than his, or he is likely to try to con you out of yours.

If your craft supplies are invading every room of your house, set aside a day to make a big mess and get all of your supplies together in one room. As you are organizing, bite the bullet and throw away or give away those half-finished or barely-begun projects you had going since whenever. There are many senior adults who would love to have some handiwork to do but can’t afford to purchase the supplies. You’ll feel much better, and you will have so much more space once they are out of the way.

Assemble some new storage containers for reorganizing your stash – these can be purchased or can be things you already have around the house. Some suggestions would be to use shopping bags with handles hung on hangers, plastic zippered blanket bags, old suitcases, shoe boxes and baby wipe containers. You will find these items all work well.

And after you are finished with your organizing project, then it is time to go shopping. For more yarn, of course!

Happy organizing…

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CROCHETING KIDS' TOYS

Crocheting is a marvelous craft for making wonderful, imaginative toys for children of all ages, but there is a serious side to this hobby. Basic safety rules are very important to remember, since you want your crocheted toys to provide the most pleasure to the precious little ones in your life. The rules are simple and require just a little common-sense planning on your part.
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Follow good safe steps and use an ounce of prevention when making toys for children. Choose your materials carefully and use a simple easy crochet pattern. If you’re making a toy for a baby, be sure the yarn is soft and cuddly and won’t irritate a baby’s sensitive skin. Avoid adding any detail that might scratch an infant or that a baby could easily pull off. As we all know, the first response of most babies and toddlers to anything new is to pop it into their mouths. Sew ribbons, bows, and any other special features firmly in place so there is no chance for a child to pull them off.

Be especially cautious for children under age 3. Avoid buttons, wiggle eyes, and other sewn-on three-dimensional features on dolls and toys. A small child can pull these off and choke on them so easily. Embroidering facial details is a smart alternative, or you can add felt features in a snap by sewing them on to the project before you stuff it.

Another prevention to remember is to avoid long strings or cords. These may be very dangerous for infants and very young children. The cords may become wrapped around an infant’s neck, causing strangulation. Never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops, or ribbons in cribs or playpens where little ones can become entangled.

Most toys and dolls need to be stuffed. Polyester fiberfill is probably the best stuffing material available. Although you can stuff your dolls and toys with any number of materials, fiberfill launders and wears well and is least likely to irritate a baby’s tender skin. When you are stuffing a toy, remember that fiberfill settles with age, so be sure to make the initial stuffing very firm. Your stuffing should be so full that you have to pull the edges of your project together in order to crochet or sew it closed. Stuff the hands and feet first by pushing small amounts of fiberfill very firmly into the ends, then fill up the arms and legs, using larger bits of fiberfill as you move into larger cavities.

The age and interest of the child for whom you are creating toys made from a simple easy crochet pattern are important considerations. Why put all that time and effort into something that is demolished in a few days or ends up stored away rather than being played with regularly? An elaborate doll dress made with fine thread and accented with pearls would delight any little girl old enough to own a fashion doll, for example, but pre-schoolers may be a little too rough on all those tiny, delicate pearls and the intricate stitches. A better choice might be a big fuzzy teddy bear made with worsted weight yarn.

When purchasing or making something for children, here are nine toy dangers to consider:
Sharp edges
Small parts
Loud noises
Long cords and strings
Sharp points
Propelled objects like darts
Toys inappropriate to a child’s age
Electric toys improperly used or maintained
Infant toys that pose a danger of the infant choking

Have fun while making a cute little stuffed toy for a grandchild or something for charity.

Friday, November 18, 2011

CROCHETING AFGHANS

Have you crocheted for a long time and now have run out of things to crochet for others and yourself? We all love to find a new pattern to try or recreating a special one we have done so many times. So here is an opportunity to use your talent and share with others.

There are many charities out there that would love to have us join them with our giving hearts. They need and want the crocheted items such as hats, scarves, mittens, booties, baby blankets and sweaters, to mention only a few that could be made up and used and are definitely needed. Some items are small and making kitty toys gives you an opportunity to use up some of your scraps of yarn.

Parents through out our world love to wrap their babies in a nice soft, warm crocheted blanket. With our economy as it is, not all can afford a blanket or even the yarn to make one. There are charities that use crocheted toys to comfort a child in crises when their house burns down or in some other kind of a crisis. Yes, these crocheted toys are small items but they give the child something tangible to hold onto and love.

Some more charities to think about are adults and children in homeless shelters and they, too, are in need of hats, mittens, and scarves to keep warm. Many of these people are forgotten or overlooked and a hat or scarf could be made easily and quickly from a simple easy crochet pattern. The hats, mittens, and scarves would help keep frostbite away and also remind them that there folks that care. Let’s crochet up a little love.

There are the non-profit hospitals that have babies in their nursery. The parents get to take their precious newborn home but still have no soft, warm crocheted blanket for their little bundle of joy. These hospitals would love to have a good supply of crocheted baby blankets.

Then there are cancer patients who could use soft hats for when they lose their hair to keep their heads warm. Also, soft yarn and pretty colors help cheer the cancer patients in a very difficult time of their lives.

Then there are the animal shelters that would love some cat toys for their furry homeless friends. Animal shelters do not have budgets that allow them to purchase toys. It does not take much yarn to crochet a tiny mouse from simple easy crochet patterns for the kitties.

We, as crocheting people, live among the less fortunate, low income and homeless people. There are non-profit groups and organizations that would love to have all of us join in and share our blessings and talents. Let’s share our simple easy crochet patterns, ideas and tips to create and pass along our gifts to some that may have never known the warmth of a crocheted blanket.

There is a saying I’d like to share: “Busy hands are happy hands”. We who crochet know real well that is so true.

Let us not forget that we have been given a special talent, a gift that we love to share and create. Finishing a pattern is so satisfying and it does not get much better than that for those of us who love to crochet.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

CROCHETING FOR CHARITY

Have you crocheted for a long time and now have run out of things to crochet for others and yourself? We all love to find a new pattern to try or recreating a special one we have done so many times. So here is an opportunity to use your talent and share with others.

There are many charities out there that would love to have us join them with our giving hearts. They need and want the crocheted items such as hats, scarves, mittens, booties; baby blankets and sweaters, to mention only a few that could be made up and used. Some items are small and give you an opportunity to use up some of your scraps of yarn.

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Patents through out our world love to wrap their babies in a nice soft, warm crocheted blanket. With our economy as it is, not all can afford a blanket or even the yarn to make one. There are charities that use crocheted toys to comfort a child in crises when their house burns down or in some kind of a crisis. Yes, these crocheted toys are small items but they give the child something tangible to hold onto and love.

Some more charities to think about are adults and children in homeless shelters and they are in need of hats, mittens, and scarves to keep warm. Many of these people are forgotten or overlooked and a hat or scarf could be made easily and quickly from a simple easy crochet pattern. The hats, mittens, and scarves would help keep frostbite away and also remind them that there folks that care. Let’s crochet up a little love.

There are the non-profit hospitals that have babies in their nursery. The parents get to take their precious one home but still have no soft, warm crocheted blanket for this little bundle of joy. These hospitals would love to have a good supply of crocheted baby blankets.

There are cancer patients who could use soft hats for when they lose their hair to keep their heads warm. Also, soft yarn and pretty colors help cheer the cancer patients in a very difficult time of their lives.

Then there are the animal shelters that would love some cat toys for their furry homeless friends. Animal shelters do not have budgets that allow for toys. It does not take much yarn to crochet a tiny mouse from simple easy crochet patterns for the kitties.
Complete Photo Guide to Crochet : All You Need to Know to Crochet - The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters - Comprehensive Guide to Crochet To

Complete Photo Guide to Crochet : All You Need to Know to Crochet - The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters - Comprehensive Guide to Crochet To

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We, as crocheting people, live among the less fortunate, low income and homeless people. There are non-profit groups and organizations that would love to have all of us join in and share our blessings and talents. Let’s share our simple easy crochet patterns, ideas and tips to create and pass along our gifts to some that may have never known the warmth of a crocheted blanket.

There is a saying I’d like to share: “Busy hands are happy hands”. We that crochet know real well that is so true.

Let us not forget that we have been given a special talent, a gift that we love to share and create. Finishing a pattern is so satisfying and it does not get much better than that for those of who love to crochet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

CROCHETING BENEFITS

People have many reasons why they love to crochet.

For one, crocheting is therapeutic. Because of its calming, rhythmic movements, it has been shown in studies that there are positive results for people suffering from chronic depression, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and schizophrenia. Crocheting is also for common ordinary people, young and old, who simply enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something with their after-work, idle time. The act of crocheting relieves stress and muscle tensions after a hard day at work as crocheting easily takes your mind off from work and draws you deeper into a solitary hobby where you can collect your thoughts as you let your fingers and the crochet hook do their work.

The various yarn colors have positive effects on the eyes too. Colors in soft, fuzzy materials provide a change of the cold, hard and glaring screens of the office computers that you have been staring at for the whole day.

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Crocheting can be done with a minimum amount of equipment and mess. People who are into crocheting simply enjoy the fact that crocheting tools are small and handy and can be easily transported in your purse or a small bag to take out when a good crocheting time presents itself. Many times we get caught in long wait times in appointment offices, and if you have your project at hand it can be worked on during those wait times and you won’t feel like it was wasted time. Crocheting is easy to do when you are traveling. There is only your yarn and a crochet hook, and possible a simple easy crochet pattern, to carry. If you should make a mistake along the way it is easy to pull the work back to the ‘correct’ single loop and restart from there. I can testify that this has happened to me many times, over and over. This can be discouraging, but you’ll be proud of your finished project when it is done correctly.

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Crocheting is a perfect choice of hobbies for several reasons. Besides the obvious calming and stress-reducing effects it offers, crocheting also is a great choice for beginners because it is not difficult to learn and then it allows for incredible creative freedom and gives an outlet for self satisfaction. When you crochet an article of clothing from a simple easy crochet pattern, you get to actually wear your creation.

Another benefit is that you can find many helps on the internet. If you spend some time looking on the internet you will find information on almost any hobby, including crocheting. Although a lot of people think that crocheting is something only our grandmothers do, they are wrong. Crocheting is becoming popular again with many young people taking up this craft and hobby. This might be due to the many beautiful items it is possible to create with a little yarn and a crochet hook.

Be a Happy, fun-loving Person who loves to crochet...


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BASIC CROCHET

Crochet is a way of making an article or project from yarn or crochet thread by using a crochet hook. The word ‘crochet’ actually means ‘hook’. The crochet hooks used in projects are designed in a way that they have a hook at one end of the needle to hold the yarn and then pulls the yarn through the loops it makes. To make it easier, you work with only one loop at a time. There are many simple easy crochet patterns for items to make by crocheting that are made with ease provided you learn the basic stitches and knowing the use of those stitches.

The simple stitches that one needs to know to work any crochet design from any simple easy crochet pattern are:

1. Single Crochet: the hook is made to go in through the second chain stitch to get two loops on the hook. Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through all the other three loops at the same time.

2. Double Crochet: the yarn is wrapped around the hook. Put inside of the hook through the stitch. Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull in from the two loops on the hook. Wrap the yarn around the hook once more and pick in the other loops on the hook.

3. Treble Crochet: this is a rather long stitch comparatively to the double stitch. The yarn is wrapped around the hook twice before you pass it through the next stitch. The rest is same as double stitch, pulling in across two loops for every stitch.
Crochet Now! : Crochet Patterns from Season 3 of Knit and Crochet Now

Crochet Now! : Crochet Patterns from Season 3 of Knit and Crochet Now

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Once you start with basic crochet projects with simple easy crochet patterns, anyone can learn and get practiced. Once you feel comfortable with crocheting, you can sit at ease or possible in your easy chair and still do some crocheting. It is a very relaxing and can be done with ease. Once you get very familiar with crocheting and the kinds of stitches, you will be able to do other things such as watching television while still crocheting or even chat on the telephone, all at the same time. If you are a multitask person, you will be amazed at what you can do while still crocheting.

Crocheting can also be a social activity. Actually, crocheting might look like a lonely activity but one can do crochet work and chat with friends. You might be able to pull together some crochet friends for a crocheting get-together or for an afternoon tea now and then. Soon crocheting will become a very fun, favorite past-time.

Find a crochet friend…

Complete Photo Guide to Crochet : All You Need to Know to Crochet - The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters - Comprehensive Guide to Crochet To

THE BEGINNING OF CROCHET

We’ll begin with a little bit of history and origin of ‘crochet.’ The word ‘crochet’ comes from the French word meaning ‘hook.’ It involves making an item by pulling loops through loops. Like most types of needlework, the origins are quite sketchy. Not very many ancient pieces survived over the years. One theory suggests that crochet didn’t exist before the 1800’s and another suggests it may have existed as early as the 1500’s. Really, no one knows for sure just how long crochet has existed or where it originated. Those who have studied to learn of its origin argue whether crochet arrived from China, Arabia, or South America.

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Now we know that no one knows for sure how long crochet has existed or where it originated. But we do know for sure it began in the 1800’s. For patterns, they were previously committed to memory and handed down through the generations.

Much has changed over the generations about crochet but it is easy to learn. Foremost it helps if you have the desire to learn the art of crocheting. Then all you need is some yarn and a hook. Hooks come in various sizes such as b1 to Q, with Q being the largest hook. When beginning to learn to crochet, an H or I hook is best since they are easy to hold. Yarn comes in many varieties and weight such as a 3 ply sport, a 2 ply fingering weight, and a 4 ply worsted weight yarn. Ply indicates thickness or number of strands used to weave the yarn. Worsted weight and sport yarns are good for beginners because they are not slippery. Novelty yarns are more difficult for beginners to use.
Complete Photo Guide to Crochet : All You Need to Know to Crochet - The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters - Comprehensive Guide to Crochet To

Complete Photo Guide to Crochet : All You Need to Know to Crochet - The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters - Comprehensive Guide to Crochet To

No Synopsis Available









If you are a beginner, it is best that you choose from a variety of simple easy crochet patterns. Any pattern you choose will have the details and instructions needed to make the perfect simple easy crochet item. It will also tell you what size hook to use, the weight of yarn to use, and how much yarn is needed to complete the chosen pattern. It is important to choose a type of pattern that corresponds to the skill level you have for crocheting, otherwise you may feel overwhelmed and it may put you off trying anything else in the future. Don’t be put off as there are plenty of places, such as Yarn Shops, that have simple easy crochet patterns and instructions for beginners.

Although crochet needs a lot of patience to finish a particular pattern, it is a hand-worked item that is totally individual and gives much satisfaction.

Have fun learning to crochet…


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Monday, November 7, 2011

CROCHETING DOILIES

As I did more crocheting, I kept advancing in a few more skills and began crocheting doilies from simple easy crochet patterns. My other friend I referred to in my first post was a person that always had a crochet project and hook on her lap, whether it be riding in the car, at home sitting in her easy chair, vacationing, or just about wherever else she went as she might have a few minutes to crochet a few stitches. She always had a project in progress or maybe two or three projects going all at the same time.

She was always looking for a bargain or sale for yarn. She loved yard sales too, looking for more bargains to be found for more yarn. Often she was successful. Often times she would tell me she had enough yarn in her house to open a store for business. Of course, she probably didn’t have enough to open a store, but I know she had lots and lots. She always wanted to have enough yarn on hand of the same likeness so she could make most any project she wanted to do at any time, all the way from slippers to Afghans.

This lady is the one who taught me to crochet with crochet thread. Doilies are made with crochet thread known as ‘bedspread' thread which is a number 10 size. This size of thread is probably the most popular thread used for doilies. Crochet threads with numbers 30 and 20 are finer threads and a little more difficult to crochet with. The finer the thread the more delicate your project will be, almost lacy. Doilies are fun to do but they take a little more concentration to keep up with the printed instructions. She would even try difficult crochet patterns. For me, I would choose the simple easy crochet patterns. Even though I have crocheted for about 40 years, I still search out the simple easy crochet patterns.
Bates Crochet Hook Set Smartglo Pack G-K

Bates Crochet Hook Set Smartglo Pack G-K

Multi-pack sets of crochet hooks come in metal or plastic and in a variety of different sizes. These sets give you a variety of options. Smartglo Pack G-K- Made from lightweight plastic that glows in the dark. You will be able to see your stitches in dimly lit places like movie theaters and cars. No batteries required, they are easily recharged in natural or artificial light in just minutes. This set includes US G-6, H-8, I-9, J-10 and K-10.5.








She and her husband and my husband and I spent a lot of time camping together on holiday weekends, vacation time from our employers, or any other time we could figure out how to get away to camp. Both families had a motor home and we would get camping sites side by side so we would be able to share crocheting time and have our meals together (except breakfast). When morning chores were done, my friend and I would gather up our project bags in which our supplies were carried in, and we spent parts of our vacation days crocheting together. What fun! Our husbands did a lot of just watching what was going on in the campgrounds and noticing how incoming campers should or should not set up the way they did. Our camping days are over now; and my friend has passed from this world to her eternal home.

I miss her dearly; and I would like to ask her more crocheting questions.

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FINSHED AN UNFINISHED PROJECT

In my first post I told you that I had a very good friend and also a close neighbor that taught me the art of crocheting. Several years after that, she became pregnant and with much excitement. In the meantime her mom had started crocheting a christening gown from a simple easy crochet pattern for the coming grandchild. Before the mom was able to finish the gown, she passed away. Of course, my friend was devastated.

My friend was a teacher for preschool aged children, lead a very active role in her church’s music program, and was a very all-round busy lady. By this time she felt I knew enough about crocheting to ask me for a special favor. One day she came to me with the unfinished christening gown and asked if I would be able to finish her mom’s unfinished project. She indicated that the pattern was not with the gown and it could not be found, but that the thread was with the gown. My friend explained that she was too busy with all the things going on at the time to try to finish the gown by the time it would be needed. With some hesitation I took on the project to try to finish the gown.

In studying the kinds of stitches that were used, I soon was able to pick up the simple easy crochet pattern of the gown. I started on it and soon finished the precious christening gown for the family. They were thrilled that I could take another person's project, figure it out, and was able to finish it in ample time. Actually, I was amazed too, as I had never had done that before. The new baby looked just beautiful in the newly finished christening gown.

A Happy Ending to an Unfinished Project.


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Friday, November 4, 2011

MY PROJECTS

In my first blog, I stated that I had made all of the grandchildren their baby blankets from simple, easy crochet patterns. We have three granddaughters and three grandsons, all born within a six-year period. After the girls got beyond the baby stage, I made pink dresses for the girls from a simple, easy crochet pattern. As each one of the grandchildren began to get a little older, I started making large Afghans from another simple, easy crochet pattern. I let each one of them pick out the color combinations that they would like. The girls picked out lighter pastel colors and the three boys picked out bolder colors. All the grandkids loved their blankets. I started with the oldest grandchild and worked my way down. It usually took me a winter season to get one finished.



Over the years of crocheting, I have made many, many simple easy crocheted doilies. I have given many as wedding gifts, bridal shower gifts, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, as a gift to a friend, and the list goes on and on. Of course, I made and am using many doilies for our home.

I don’t imagine that any of you have done this, but I have a few projects going that have are not done, yet. Several years ago, I started crocheting a tablecloth from a simple, easy crochet pattern. Well you guessed it, that tablecloth is still waiting for me to get it finished. Maybe this winter I’ll get started again. Also, I have a couple of other projects in the works, but somehow I have gotten distracted from crocheting from all my simple easy crochet patterns.

Writing these articles (blogs) about crocheting has started the desire in me again to get started with doing some crocheting from my simple easy crochet patterns.

Here’s to you until the next time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

BLOCKING AND LAUNDERING

How about last week’s blog; did you enjoy it? Was it informational? This week I’m going to talk about "blocking" and "laundering."

To complete your crocheted article it should be pressed in a special manner known as “blocking”. If it became soiled while working on the crocheted article, launder it before blocking. For blocking, pin the dry article, wrong side up, on a padded ironing board with rust-proof pins, gently stretching and shaping to the measurement specified in the crochet pattern instructions. I use a small piece of Styrofoam like construction workers use in building homes. Cut it to make it bigger than an ironing board; the pins stick in easily and hold your crocheted article in place.

Now that you have your dried article stretched to the size stated in the crochet pattern instructions, it’s time to talk about starching or sizing if your crocheted item is a crocheted doily. I purchase a bottle of liquid starch and a spray bottle. Mix some liquid starch and some water to make a medium starch; mixing instructions are on the bottle of starch. For doilies, spray the crocheted, stretched and pinned crocheted article until it is quite wet and let dry. Before removing the pins, check to see if it is as stiff as you would like for doilies. If not, spray it again until it is wet and let it air dry.

Weekly Specials

When I made the grandchildren their crocheted baby blankets, using a simple easy crochet pattern, I did not stretch them. I put them in a pillowcase, tied it shut with a shoe string and laundered in the clothes washer on gentle action in warm water and used a mild solution of soap. I then removed them from the pillowcase and put in the clothes dryer just a few minutes and then laid the baby blanket out on a bed, shaping to size as specified in the pattern instructions. If washing the crocheted article by hand, wash in warm water with a mild solution of soap. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water followed by several rinses of cool water. When removing article from water, support it with both hands and gently squeeze out excess water. Never wring out articles made with yarn. Roll the crocheted article in a terry towel for a few moments and then slightly dry in clothes dryer for a few minutes and then lay out to finish drying.

I trust some of these directions have been helpful...

INTRODUCTION TO CROCHETING

Many years ago, my mother crocheted an afghan for me and my husband. At that time, I had no interest in learning the art of crocheting. By the time I decided I wanted to learn how, Mom was not able to teach me because of her poor health. However, I had a couple of very good friends and neighbors and through their talents and patience, I was able to master the art of basic crocheting.

I started crocheting with yarn, making round baby blankets for all six of our grandchildren. There are all kinds and weights of yarn. For most baby items, it is important to use the type and size of yarn specified in the pattern directions, as they have been chosen in order to produce certain effects. If you make a change you will not get the results you expect. It is also important to remember that you should buy the entire amount of yarn needed for your project all at the same time. This will enable you to secure the same dye lot and you will not be troubled by variations in color.

Crochet hooks are made of steel, aluminum, plastic, and wood. For fine work, such as doilies, tablecloths, bedspreads, and more, the steel hooks are always preferable. In the larger sizes they may also be used with yarn in making most infant wear, blankets, baby afghans, and other baby clothing and accessories. The pattern will tell you what size hook to use and it is important to use the size specified to insure correct results. If you crochet too tight you may need to use a hook one size larger and if you crochet too loose you may need to use a hook one size smaller. Before making an item and changing the hook size, it is wise to make a test swatch as directed in the pattern instructions on gauge.

When you are planning to make an article, it is very important that you should not ignore the word gauge if you wish your article to be the correct size. The word gauge may not appear in every set of crochet directions, but it does appear wherever necessary.

Gauge means the number of stitches equal to one inch, and the number of rows equal to one inch. Make a practice piece at least 3 inches square, using the hook and yarn specified in the instructions. If your stitches to the inch do not correspond with the stitches to the inch in the gauge, something is wrong. More stitches than those specified to the inch means that you should use a larger hook. With less stitches to the inch, use a smaller hook and try again. Keep changing your hook until your gauge is exactly the same as the gauge specified in the pattern instructions.

Happy Crocheting!