21 November 2008

Tutorial: Granny Square Stocking

The holidays are fast approaching, and I often find I want a few more decorations - but little money to purchase them. I also seem to have quite a supply of leftover yarn. You know the part left over after you complete a project. Not enough to make anything with, but it seems too much to just throw away.

Here's an idea to use your leftover bits - a crocheted granny square. Sewn together, it looks a bit like a Christmas stocking and can add some holiday decoration around your home.

Granny squares are easy to make, making them the perfect project for someone who has learned the basic crochet stitches. They are a great project to carry around with you because they are small and easily transported - no need to haul that afghan with you.

Granny squares can be joined to make scarves, blankets, and wraps. An internet search for “crochet granny squares instructions” will turn up many results, often with pictures, so I'll only cover the basics here.

You can select any yarn and hook size you want. The larger the hook, the larger the final square will be. Play around with different yarns and hooks to find the look you like best. You can also use one yarn throughout or change yarns as you go, depending on how much yarn you have and the look you want.

To begin, make a foundation ring by chain 4; join the last loop to the first chain with a slip stitch and pull through. There is another way to create a foundation chain here; I've used this a couple of times, but am still trying to get comfortable with it, so I often still use the traditional method.

Round 1: *3 double crochet in ring, chain 2; repeat from * 3 times.
Round 2: *3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet in the 2 chain space, chain 1; repeat from * 3 times
Round 3: *3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet in the 2 chain space, chain 1, 3 double crochet in next space, chain 1; repeat from * 4 times
Round 4: *3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet in the 2 chain space, chain 1, 3 double crochet in the next space twice, chain 1; repeat from * 3 times.

(You can use the same yarn throughout, or you can change - with each round, only on one round, or for the single crochet edging. Play around with it and see which look you like. This is also a great way to use up leftover bits of yarn you have around. If you have enough for two rounds, use it, then switch over to another. Experiment, play, and see what you create!

The granny square is now finished!

To make the stocking, fold the square in half. With the same hook and same or different yarn, join the bottom and side together with a single crochet stitch. Put the hook through a chain on both layers; pull yarn through both layers and finish stitch.

When you reach the top of the “stocking” continue with the single crochet stitches, but only go through one layer (so you will need to circle around the top of the stocking. When you complete the round, join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet. If you want a hanging loop, then chain stitch to twice the desired length of the loop you want; bring hook down and slip stitch next two first chain of the loop. Finish off.

Or, you can thread a needle with yarn and sew the edges together.

You now have a granny square stocking! Isn't it cute!

And now - what can you do with these?

They look really cute hanging from the Christmas tree:

They can also be used to hold the To/From cards on holiday packages:

As well as placecard holders for your holiday dinner table. Add a few pieces of candy and let the guest takes these home.

What other uses can you thing of for these?

16 November 2008

Weekend Review

My son was at his dad's this weekend, so I took advantage and accomplished several things on my to do list. The fact it was cloudy and cold Saturday helped keep me inside and working. But it was very nice to see the sun today!

Here's what I did over the weekend, in no particular order:

I learned to play mah jongg! I first heard of this game when I read about it in a Nancy Drew mystery. Can't even begin to remember which one, but I've always wondered about it. No more - I now know how addictive it is!!

I worked on a couple of clutches using upholstery samples from a furniture store. Here's a sneak peak:

I made tarn! What's that - t-shirt yarn! Cut old t-shirts into strips and use the strips to knit or crochet. Not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but at least it is ready to go:

I attended this. It was nearby, and I hoped to get some inspiration. Instead, I was overwhelmed by the beads available! Such gorgeous colors and stones that I haven't seen before. Since I prefer to reuse materials, however, I think next time I'm going with money to purchase findings. The prices seemed to be good compared to the local stores, although I really need to research that some more.

And I watched this:

A documentary about Karl Lagerfeld released in 2006, it follows him through setting up and photographing ads, sketching (he uses correction fluid to get the look he wants on some sketches!), packing, traveling, talking about some of the Chanel shows, and interviews with him about his life. Love him or hate him, agree with him or not, this is a fascinating look at one of the great influences on fashion today.

My son is back from his dad's, and I'm going to wrap up this weekend with this blog post!

What did you do this weekend???

10 November 2008

Yarn Transformation - part 1

A few months ago, a friend was cleaning out her closet, and gave me several items to take apart and remake. Included was a sweater she had knit from wool yarn. I asked her if she wanted to unravel it and reuse the yarn herself, but she wasn't interested. Because I've had a hard time finding thrift store sweaters that can be unraveled, especially wool ones, I gratefully took it. Instructions for unraveling a sweater (and how to identify a hand-knit one that can be unraveled) can be found at Neauveau Fiber Arts.

From this:

To this:

What comes next??

I think I want to knit something, although I may crochet. But so far, I haven't decided. A hat? A scarf? The yarn is really soft and warm, so I want to make something special. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment!

08 November 2008

Fall Photographs

The leaves are turning in Memphis, and this year they are very colorful. We had quite a bit of rain in mid-October, followed by some cold temperatures, then warm. Apparently the combination worked to produce some gorgeous shades of red, gold, and yellow.

This is the view from my front porch. I took the photo a week ago, and more leaves have turned. I need to get another photo today before they start falling.

I want to collect some of the red maple leaves and put them in a bowl for a splash of color in my apartment.