28 July 2008

Tutorial: Crocheted Wire Hangers

Redux Designs is all about reusing things rather than throwing them out. Also, if you reuse something to keep from buying something new, you save resources AND money - a win-win situation! With this in mind, here is a tutorial for crocheting yarn around wire hangers to make them non-slip. I've had great luck with these for wide-neck tops as well as spaghetti straps and tank tops. It also greatly reduces the wire hanger pushing through knits that are hung. However, if you really need a padded hanger, these probably won't work. (If you are hanging heavy sweaters, no hanger is a good one - these should be folded and stored flat.)

Keep in mind that these are the basic instructions - feel free to play around with the yarn, the size crochet hook, and the stitch you use. Change things around and see which results you like the best.

For this project you will need:

Wire hangers like you get from the dry cleaner. We could have an entire discussion on the hazards of dry cleaning, but we'll save that for another time. If you don't dry clean, or have no wire hangers, ask around. Most people simply throw them away. I'll also add that if you have them, and regularly dry clean some clothes, most cleaners will let you bring them back and reuse them - and you could probably just take them back even if you aren't getting any clothes dry cleaned. I would, however, check first to make sure the hangers will be reused and not thrown away.

Leftover yarn - I use about 15 yards per hanger, but what you need will vary depending on the yarn, the size hook, and the stitch you use. Don't worry if you don't have enough - simply switch to a different yarn part way through. Don't have leftover yarn - ask anyone who knits or crochets for some leftover bits (and offer to make a hanger or two for them in return). Any type of yarn will work; thicker yarn will give you more padding. I'd pick something that you have excess of that is easy to work with. It can take a few minutes to get the hang of crocheting around the wire, so make sure the yarn isn't giving you problems as well. For this project I used leftover acrylic yarn.

Crochet hook - again, pick one you are comfortable with and see how it goes. Switch around to get the look you like best. I used a size G/6 (4,5 mm) crochet hook because of the type of yarn, and I also wanted a fairly tight stitch.

To begin:

Attach yarn to hook with a slipknot.

See - you now have the yarn attached to the crochet hook - and are ready to begin!!

Place hook, with yarn attached, in center of hanger with yarn going over the TOP of the wire. Reach UNDER the wire with the crochet hook and pull up. Two loops on crochet hook.

Next, reach hook over TOP of hanger wire and pick up yarn with hook and pull through FIRST loop on the hook ; two loops will then be on the crochet hook:

Again, reach hook behind top wire of hanger and pull up yarn and pull it through both loops on the crochet hook:

One stitch made

Basically, you reach to the FRONT of the wire to pull up first loop; then reach to the BACK to pull up yarn and go through first loop; reach to BACK again, pull up yarn and go through both oops on hanger. If you crochet, this is a single crochet stitch, but instead of pulling the yarn through the stitch on the previous row, you are doing it around the wire hanger.

Repeat around hanger to where two ends of wire are twisted together to begin the hanging hook.

You can end here by cutting the yarn and tying off. If you wish, you can continue in the same stitch around the hook (carefully work over area where wires are twisted). Work around hook almost to end. Cut yarn, leaving long tail, and pull through loop on hook. Take remaining yarn tail, wrap around end of wire hook and glue in place. I prefer to work around the hanging hook because I believe it gives a more finished look - although when I'm short on yarn and this is just for me, I won't!

There you have it – a crocheted wire hanger!

I hope the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and encourage you to re-use what you have on hand rather than throwing it away and buying new. If the instructions aren't clear, or you need further help, please leave me a comment - I'll work to make it better!!

Interested in these, but don't want to make them? Check out my Etsy listing for a set of these.

Edit: Thanks to Whip Up for including this tutorial in the Fourth Carnival of Green Crafts! And a special welcome to visitors who came here from Whip Up. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of this tutorial.

14 July 2008

Today's Tip - How to Not Publicize Your Business

I may never learn...........

Saturday, I made an appointment to take my car to the shop to find out why the "check engine" light kept coming on. I normally sit there at least two hours, so I decided to do something smart: take some of my small crochet projects with me to work on. The idea was someone would ask me what I was making, and I could explain it to them, talk about Redux Designs, give them my business card and encourage them to check out my Etsy shop. I had several small projects to work on, some to crochet and some to sew together, so I put them in small bags, ready to go.

You may see where this is going. In getting everything together this morning, I completely forgot to pack them in my backpack. Even worse - I didn't realize I had forgotten them until I got home and saw them neatly stacked on my desk!!!

Really, I may never learn. If someone complements me on something I am wearing that I made, I have no trouble thanking them and saying that I made it. But for some reason, I have trouble taking the next step and telling them it is for sale, and giving them my card. If I am ever going to get Redux Designs going, I have to do better.

So, I begin again tomorrow - looking for opportunities to talk about Redux Designs!

12 July 2008

Sewing for the Home

I pulled out the sewing machine the other day, and finally finished a project I began several months ago. But it wasn't something new to wear - well, not for me to wear! I made new covers for the pillows on my sofa!

Earlier this year, I began cutting pictures from magazines that represented how I wanted my home to look. I found I was drawn to similar images and colors over and over again. For the living room, it was a white/cream colored sofa with accent colors of light green, tans and browns. Well, my sofa is tan colored, but the throw pillows were dark blue. And I had no extra money to buy new ones.

Then I remembered the upholstery samples I had tucked away. Yes, the same ones I used to make this and this. I had plenty of them and found that the colors I was drawn to were readily available in the samples. I pulled out several of them, and picked the ones I wanted to use.

I played around with the design I wanted, but in the end decided to sew four of the pieces together, then trim the edges to the size I needed. I even decided on the layout I wanted and pinned them together.

Then they sat for several weeks. And sat. And waited for me to pulled out the sewing machine and finish them. With my son away last weekend, I decided to get them finished.

I sewed the four pieces of each side together, trying to get them to line up in the middle. It didn't always go as planned, but ripping out a few seams didn't take too long. Then I removed the blue covers, and placed the pillow form on the wrong side of one of the pieces. I'd put another piece on top, wrong side down, then pin around to see where the side seams went. A quick sew-up, then another fitting, this time right side out. If it fit well, I'd take the cover, turn it inside-out, trim the excess from the seams, and replace the pillow form.

To finish the opening, I sewed in some hook and loop fastener.

I am so happy with the new look on my sofa! I was able to use something I already had around (that would have been thrown away if it hadn't been given to me), it didn't cost me anything, and I got a look I am very happy with.

10 July 2008

Ice Blended Coffee

Yesterday morning I sat on my back patio to do some work. I had my patio umbrella up, so I was in the shade, but it was in the mid-80s with 75% humidity. And I was drinking my morning coffee. Yes, as hot as I was, I was drinking hot coffee. When I went inside for another cup, I decided to put it in a glass over ice and drink it cold.

Then I thought again - why not put that in the blender and make an iced coffee? So I did.

Oh my!!!!! That was just what I needed!! It was so good, I didn't drink any of my coffee hot this morning - I let it cool awhile, then blended it with ice and flavored creamer.


Not only did I use the coffee yesterday morning rather than throwing it out, I also saved several dollars over purchasing a similar item. Always a good thing in my world!