Blanket Sizes…

It’s the rainy season here in Southern California which means that it’s the perfect time to work on blankets. I mean, who doesn’t like snuggling up on the couch with a hot mug in your hand when it’s chilly? So, why not grab your crochet hook and start crocheting one!

The project is always on my lap when I am working on it, so it works as a way to keep me warm while I work on it. I mean, you have to make sure it serves it’s purpose right?! Like baking… you HAVE to taste test before you let other people try your baked goods!

I’ve made a few blankets in my time, but I never know how big to make them. I follow some patterns, which give you a finished size. But the ones that I just make up as I go, those I never know if I make the right size. Everyone that I have given one to always says that it’s perfect… but is it really? Or are they just being nice? This is the stuff that constantly runs through my head.

So, I did some searching on Pinterest and found an awesome diagram that Jennifer of A Crocheted Simplicity made, that lists all of the sizes that you would ever want to make! This is aw-mazing!! I have pinned it to my Crocheting Board so I can reference it every time!

I just had to share this fine with all of you! I hope you cherish it as much as I do! Thank you for this awesome piece of wisdom, Jennifer!

Make sure to go check out her site for other amazing crochet things!! https://www.acrochetedsimplicity.com

New Year… New Project!

I’m trying something new this year. I want to make it a habit to do something for me at least 20 minutes a day. I believe this will help with my stress and anxiety issues that I have been experiencing lately. So, to keep track of my progress I have been jotting my personal activities down in my day planner.

Yes, I do still keep a day planner. It helps me keep track of my many, many things that I have going on. Incase you are wondering, my favorite day planner is made by a company called Orange Circle Studio. They have 5 slots plus the main slot for each day and the whole week is payed out in front of you when you have it open. This calendar is perfect for my family since we have 5 members. Each one gets their own slot!

Anyways, back to my original topic! I’ve been working on a blanket but decided to put it down to work on something special for my Sister-in-Law and her Husband since they are expecting their first little one soon! I can’t tell you exactly what it is at this time because it’s a secret! But I can show you a little preview of the first two rows! No colors either because it could give it away!

Sneak Peak at a little gift that I am making for my Sister-in-Law and her Husband!

October Guest Blogger – Shannon Mulligan-Mayernik

This months Guest Blogger has been my friend for many years. We have crafted, scrapbooked and had a community fair table together! I have always admired her amateur photos of the landscapes that she saw and events that she went to. She decided to take those photography skills to the professional level almost two years ago. She puts together the cutest mini sessions using all sorts of things including things that she has handmade! Today she is sharing one of those things with us! With that I would like to introduce you all to Shannon of Shannon Mulligan Photography!

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As a photographer, I get to be creative in many ways. Not only does my creative eye show while I’m creating amazing memories for my clients but I also get to be creative when it comes time to make homemade props, that will be one-of-a-kind for each individual session. I like to offer my clients this specialized service so they know that their pictures will be like no others. Whenever I know a prop will be involved, or a backdrop is needed, I set out to design and create something so my clients vision becomes a reality.

For my fall mini sessions this year, which were just held a few weeks ago, I knew I wanted to make a bunting banner for one set up. My first step is to always write out exactly how I want the scenes to look to I don’t get overwhelmed; or purchase products I won’t need. I am going to share with you exactly what I used to make the fall themed bunting banner along with the steps I took to create it.

Tools:

1/4 yard of each fabric choice (I choose 4 patterns and still had plenty left over with each pattern)

Pinking Fabric Scissors (http://www2.fiskars.com/Sewing-Quilting/Products/Scissors-and-Sharpeners/Pinking-Shears-9#.VD_f9vldWQM)

Bunting Template (you can make this any size, and as you can see in the pictures below, I make mine out of cardboard)

Straight Pins

Double Fold Bias Tape Quilt Binding; 3 yards (color of your choice) (http://www.joann.com/wrights-double-fold-quilt-binding-7-8inw-x-3yds/prd34298.html#start=2)

Frixion Ball Erasable Pen (http://www.staples.com/Pilot-FriXion-Erasable-Gel-Ink-Pens-Fine-Point-Assorted-3-Pack/product_722395)

Measuring Tape

Sewing Machine

Instructions:

1. Lay our fabric on flat, large surface. With template, I start to trace my template onto the back side of the fabric with my erasable pen.

2. Once I have all my triangles traced onto my fabric, I use my pinking scissors to cut them out.

3. Now that the triangles are all cut out, I lay them down against my measuring tape I have lying on the floor. (the sizing per banner will vary-for this one I wanted a 9 foot banner so I made sure I had 18 triangles that are 6 inches across)

4. Once they are all laid out and I know I have enough, I open the Bias Tape and fit the fabric into the fold. I straight pin them so they all stay together before I bring it over to the sewing machine.

5. Last step is to sew the fabric and bias tape together. Make sure nothing is loose because you do not want the fabric to tear away from bias tape.

Once all the sewing is done, your banner is complete. How easy was that?! You can now use it as a back drop, homemade prop, holiday decoration, or home decor. Now that I have made this fall banner for my mini session, I plan on selling it so it’s never used again. All banners I make will never be used for another session. By doing this, I know that none of my sessions will ever be the same. This also helps me keep my creative juices flowing because I know I can’t just use an old banner/bunting.


Here is another little set up I did for my fall mini. Super simple! I had everything for this set up at home. The only thing I purchased were 3 pounds of apples to fill the baskets with. Being creative with DIY Props and things you already have around your house is the best way to go.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. And a huge THANK YOU to Robin for asking me to guest blog on your site! I love how much activity and engagement you have created on your page! And may I say (even though it’s still a little early…) I wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

August Guest Blogger – Jackie Ramsdell

Here is my second Guest Blogger! For some reason my it didn’t post in August like I scheduled it to post. So, it’s a couple of days late. But I think it’s well worth it! Jackie has shared some seriously adorable Loveys that she makes up herself and sells. She also sells the patterns for her designs! She was gracious enough to tell us a little bit about how her business came about as well as how she balances her work with her family life!

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Hi my name is Jackie Ramsdell. I am a wife, and a stay at home mom of two beautiful girls. I learned to crochet back in high school for home ec. My homeschool teacher taught me how to make pot holders, and a ripple afghan. The ripple afghan was the first crochet pattern I had ever seen. I was hooked and couldn’t stop making the pot holders and blankets for gifts. Then when I got my first job after high school, I slowed down and then I almost stopped crocheting. But when I found amigurumi toys, I couldn’t get enough I made all sorts of different things for all of my family members. My mom and sister still have the things that I have made.

It wasn’t until after my cousins started having babies, that I started making different kinds of baby blankets and baby clothes. I taught myself how to read crochet patterns to try to make new things. I started getting really serious about crocheting when I found out I was have my first child. Then I started finding more difficult patterns and making harder blankets. After our first daughter was born I started my own business called Blankies By Jackie. It didn’t take me too long after that to figure out that I was able to write my own patterns out of basic shaping techniques. So the thoughts went flying and I created my very first lovey pattern. (see pic below)

I was in love with my own creation. I thought why not try some more and see what I can do. So I made a horse lovey. (see pic below)

Then when I got my first custom order, for a dragon lovey I panicked a little. I took a deep breath and dove in with both feet and this is what came of it. (see pic below)

Life with a husband and two young girls has its challenges, but throw in a from home crochet business and it adds some more. I mainly utilize the time after my girls are in bed for the night to crochet. Sometimes I get lucky and can work during the day, but with two girls under the age of three I don’t get much time while they are awake. I love watching them grow up and I try not to work while they are up. Time is fleeting and they won’t be this little for too long.

I am coming out with some more new designs in the next several months, including a baby blanket with a new stitch I made.

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You can check out Jackie’s super cute creations are by checking out the following links!
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/BlankiesByJackie
Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/BlankiesByJackie
Ravelry: www.ravelry.com/designers/jackie-ramsdell
Twitter: @joyofchrist777

Jackie would love to see your finished projects if you use any of her patterns, so be sure to share your photos!

My Sweet Potato 3: Cancer Challenge and Free Pattern Code!

My friend Christine of My Sweet Potato 3 has created a Cancer Challenge for everyone that crochets/knits! She just recently lost her Uncle to cancer and wants to honor his memory by spreading some love to other cancer patients out there. She has offered a coupon code for her Ravelry site for one free pattern. All she asks is that you make a minimum of one hat for a Cancer patient. If you can’t make one yourself you can always sponsor a hat that she will make for you.

Please check out her blog post to get more info about the challenge as well as the coupon code for your free pattern.

My Sweet Potato 3 Blog – Cancer Challenge

July Guest Blogger – Annie Ciszak Pazar – Free Knitting Pattern

I have been dabbling with the idea of having guest bloggers write on my blog for some time now. After some thinking & planning I have decided to try to showcase one fellow crafter a month. I put out a feeler on my FB fan page and was lucky to have the wonderful Annie Ciszak Pazar jump on board as my first guest!

Annie and I go way back to our High School Orchestra where she played the String Bass and I played the Viola (It’s pretty much a slightly bigger and deeper toned Violin for those of your who have never heard of it). We also took part in Mr Coppin’s first ever Clay Olympics back in 1999.

Many years went by before our paths crossed again, but when that happened Annie’s work did nothing but wow me! Her creativity, determination and awesomeness is very inspiring! She has her own online personal shop for her handmade jewelry and knitted goods and she has a storefront in Alaska called Bella Boutique. When asked what her shop has in it she simply states, “Almost everything is handmade, the majority locally.” She is a big advocate for anything handmade and the people behind those goods.

Without further ado, here is my first guest blogger with a FREE knitting pattern just for you!

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Annie Ciszak Pazar Owner of Annie’s Arts & Follies & Bella Boutique:

It seems everyone I know is expecting these days, and I have been a busy, busy knitting bee working on blankets for those special people and their soon to arrive new babes. In the past I have worked up some funky fan and feather pieces, but decided to switch it up this time with a little checkerboard action.

This is a super easy pattern requiring knowledge of only 2 stitches (if you can knit, purl, & count to 8, this is for you!), but looks far more complicated (as all knitting patterns do). Now, this is the pattern I loosely followed for this blanket:

Using size 9 32” circular needles, C/O 136 sts
Rows 1-16: sl 1st stitch of each row, k across
R 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27: sl 1, k across
R 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28: sl 1, k7(edge stitches), p8, (k8 , p8 ) 7 times, k 8 (edge stitches)
R 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39: sl 1, k across
R 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40: sl 1, k7, k8, (p8, k8) 7 times, k8
R 41-208: repeat rows 17-40, 7 more times for a total of 8 pattern repeats.
R 209-224: sl 1, knit across
R 225: B/O in K.

Now, I say loosely as I wanted this blanket to be a rectangle and not a square, so I repeated the blocks for a few extra rows – hold it up and see what you like. On the next go ‘round, I would also like to use a smaller needle (I think an 8 would do just fine) and then add another block or two to the width to even it all out. But that’s the beauty of this pattern – it’s so simple that it’s in turn easy to tweak to make your own. I could actually see myself adding several more blocks and making a new blanket for our couch. But that would mean my friends need to take a baby break first!

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You can check out just how awesome Annie and her creations are by checking out the following links!
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Annies-Arts-and-Follies/265865906211
Blog: www.anniecraftypants.com
Instagram: @Msanniepants

Pattern Test for Sew Much Love Patterns – 04

This pattern is a little different then the usual patterns that I test because it was a sewing pattern! 🙂 Yes, Sew Much Love Patterns has broadened her pattern making into the wonderful world of sewing! I was very excited when I saw that she wanted testers for her first sewing pattern so, of course I volunteered! 🙂 I love her crochet patterns and just knew that I would love her sewing pattern as well. So, I am very happy to share this test with you all!

First things first… picking out the fabric. I decided to make something for my Mushy this time, since I usually make stuff for my Peanut. I took both of them to the fabric store but let the little one pick out her fabric. She immediately picked a pink butterfly sparkley fabric (I wasn’t really surprised by that) then I picked the dark pink color to be the accent fabric.

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After I got home with the fabric I opened the PDF file for the pattern (this was my first PDF pattern that I have ever worked on). The instructions were very easy to follow for the measurements so I was able to cut my fabric.

20140425-231546.jpgAfter I got my four pieces cut to the correct measurements, it was time to move on to the assembling. This part of the pattern was so well written that I was able to whip up this dress in under an hour! From measuring to cutting to assembling! I almost wish that everything was this easy to work up! 🙂 She gives you instructions on how to do things for both sewing machine users and serger users (I don’t have a serger yet, but I hope to get one in the near future!).20140425-232244.jpg

My little Mushy just doesn’t like to model for me so, I had to settle with a hanger shot of the finished dress. I was able to trick her into letting me take some photos of her walking around though. Shhh don’t tell her! :p

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Her older sister liked the dress so much that I am now making her one as well! This one is in the same butterfly fabric but with a purple background and she wanted yellow to be her accent color. I of course would have picked a dark purple and I suggested it. But she was very sure that she wanted it to be yellow. Guess it’s a good thing that my 3.5 year old sticks to her guns, but it didn’t hurt to try to get the dark purple. :p  I will be sure to share a picture of her dress all finished!

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You can find the links to her first (of hopefully many) sewing patterns below.

Girls Dress Pattern – Simple Pillowcase Dress – Available sizes: 6 months – 8 years

Etsy: Girls Dress Pattern, Pillowcase Dress Pattern, Easy Sewing PDF Patterns, Sewing Pattersn, Baby Dress Sewing Pattern size 6 months to 8 years

Craftsy: Simple Pillowcase Dress Pattern

 

Make sure you check back because I have another pattern test coming up from a different designer. This one is more of a tutorial on how to create something using any kind of yarn and with any hook, and have it turn out right!