All Tied Up In Knots

The Last Stitch in a Granny Squares Afghan
Granny Squares
Crocheting is a fun and easy way to make blankets, garments, scarves, hats, toys, and anything else you can imagine. Whether you are sitting in a waiting room, passing the time on an airplane flight, or watching the kids during after school sports, crocheting is a very portable craft. All you need is yarn and a crocheting needle, which are both easily carried in a tote bag.

Crocheted Floral Design
Crocheted Flower
Whatever your learning preference, crocheting lessons are available in abundance. Formal classes are offered through craft and fabric stores, as well as sewing centers, but most people learn to crochet from family members or friends eager to share their craft. If you prefer a more social, group-learning experience, many churches have knitting and crocheting clubs. Another option is the local high school evening program, and of course the Internet features how-to videos for beginners and experts.

Zigzag Crochet Stitch
Zigzag Stitch
This afghan only has two colors, but you can use as many as you like.

Shell Crochet Stitch
Shell Stitch
There are a multitude of stitches to choose from, including the single and double crochet, the zigzag, the shell, and the popcorn stitch.

Rainbow Yarn
Rainbow Afghan
Yarn selections are amazing– textured, soft or bold colors, ultra soft, bulky versus fine gauge, heather, fiber content (acrylic, wool, cotton, nylon), ombre, and metallic. Manufacturers label their products with recommendations for needle gauge, and uses for each type of yarn.

Ombre Yarn
Ombre Baby Blanket
Blankets make great housewarming and baby gifts. For the college and professional sports enthusiast, team colors and logos can be incorporated into the design.

Luminaries
Luminaries
A beautiful crocheted cover really dresses up this otherwise ordinary glass jar luminary.

Placemats & Table Runners
Placemats & Table Runners
Fine, silky yarns, produce lacey crocheted textiles.

Home Decor
African Violet
African violets can be tricky to grow, but this plant will never need water or special plant food. In fact the only thing it needs is a place of honor on your table.

Crocheted Top
Crocheted Top
Crocheted apparel, such as skirts, tops and dresses have become very popular. Depending upon the openness of the weave, a matching fabric lining may be required.

Beaded Shawl Detail
Beaded Shawl Detail
You can easily change the look of a crocheted item by: combining different stitches; changing the needle size or tension; using novelty yarns or multiple colors; the addition of beads and fringe.

Toy Turtle
Turtle Doorstop
Some of the more unusual crocheted items are stuffed animals, baby toys, handbags, pillows, and slippers. Craft stores have free downloadable project ideas with full instructions on their websites.

Toy Dog
Black & White Toy Dog
This adorable pup is perfect for babies because it’s soft, easy to handle, and there are no dangerous parts or pieces.

Riding in Style
Crocheted Bicycle
If you’re really ambitious, and have a great sense of humor, you might consider updating your exercise equipment with the playful patterns and colorful whimsy of crochet. You probably weren’t going to use it anyway, so you might as well transform it into a work of art and wonderful conversation piece.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Yarn Crafts 101

Yarn Skeins
From pastels to neutrals to the most vibrant colors under the sun, yarn has it all. Natural or manmade fibers and blends are available as thin as thread, and as thick as cord. Whatever your preferences or skill level, there are many amazing opportunities for creating with yarn.

Needlepoint:
Needlepoint Pillow
Needlepoint kits include a preprinted canvas, all the colorful yarns required, and detailed instructions. You will need good lighting, and depending upon the complexity, a certain degree of concentration to ensure the various stitch types are placed correctly upon the canvas. The finished needlepoint can be incorporated into home furnishings, such as pillows, ornaments and wall art.

Needlepoint Deer
While working on your project, the canvas backing will become softer and more pliable. If you plan to have it framed, be sure to have the finished needlepoint blocked to straighten the stitches and restore the design to the intended shape. A good framing shop will be happy to help.

Knitting
Knitting Fabric
There are so many cozy yarn choices, suitable for knitting the plushest scarves or sweaters, and even the blankets for our most precious family members, babies! A skein of yarn and two knitting needles are all you will need, to get started. There are many instructional videos online.

Knitting Snail
Knitting isn’t just limited to wearable items. This adorable snail will be a constant companion for your little ones, and joyfully, for busy mothers, he’s washable too!

Macramé:
Macrame Bracelets
Macramé seemed to be a lost art for a while, but it’s making a comeback. Thick yarns, called cords or ropes, are knotted into interesting patterns. Wearing multiple macramé bracelets, in bold colors and patterns, has become a popular trend.

Macrame Dream Catcher
These dream catchers are perfect examples of this artful craft. Macramé can be used to create wall art, plant hangers, jewelry, and handbags.

Hand Hooked:
Hand Hooked Rug
Hand hooked rugs are made by pulling thick wool yarn or wool strips through a backing fabric such as burlap or linen. The stitches create the surface texture, while a liner fabric covers the back. Each hand hooked creation is a treasured one of a kind. Sizes vary, but a room size rug is a real labor of love.

Hand Hooked Pillow
Due to the bulkiness of the wool and backing fabrics, hand hooked items tend to be larger scale items, such as pillows, rugs, and tote bags. The level of detail is quite impressive. Stitches are made using special hooks, and can be made in a linear fashion or in more random fashion, whichever you prefer.

Latch Hooked:
Latch Hooks
Latch hook kits consist of an open weave canvas, and short lengths of yarn in multiple colors. A tool, called a latch hook, is used to pull individual pieces of yarn through to the front, creating a plush surface similar to cut-pile carpeting. Both of these latch hook kits are available at Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

Embroidery:
Embroidery Jewelry
Clothing and accessories are often embroidered with intricate patterns in bold, colorful designs. Fine, lustrous yarns, called floss, are stitched through fabric by hand or by machine. Today, embroidery can be found on sneakers, tote bags and monogrammed towels and linens.

Embroidery Hand Beaded1
A combination of embroidery and hand-applied beading adorns designer evening gowns, clutch evening bags, and accessories. Many sewing machines include some basic embroidery designs. For optimal selection, there software programs for embroidery machines that will dazzle your fashion sense.

Cross Stitch:
Cross Stitch
If learning multiple stitch types seems too daunting, cross-stitch may be the needlecraft of your dreams. There’s only one stitch to learn, in the shape of an “X,” and it is applied to cotton fabric.

Cross Stitch
Another advantage of cross stitch is that it can be applied as an accent, and does not need to cover then entire surface, nor does it require blocking like needlepoint.

Crocheting:
Crochet Squares
With a crochet needle and a few skeins of yarn, you’ll be completing projects in no time. It’s easy to learn and the repetitive stitches make it an ideal craft to do while watching television. Granny squares are made one at a time and set aside until you have enough for an afghan, making this a very portable past time. Matching yarn is used to sew the squares together in rows and fringe is typically added to the ends.

Crochet Violet
Crocheted garments, accessories, toys and home décor are just a few of the possibilities for this creative and flexible craft. There are a multitude of patterns, and in time you may come up with a few stitches of your own. Once learned, you never forget how to crochet.

Fabric Weaving:
Weaving Fabric
Fabric and rugs have been woven for centuries upon freestanding looms. The vertical yarns, called the warp, are loaded onto the loom, and the horizontal yarns, called the weft, are added one at a time through the use of foot pedals and a shuttle, which is the boat shaped item shown in the lower right corner.

Weaving Fabric
The pattern is determined by the way the yarns are attached to the loom, which is a time consuming process. The beauty of the finished work is well worth all the effort. Commercial textile mills utilize large mechanized looms to produce large quantities of woven goods, but many textile designers continue to create beautiful hand woven textiles as their ancestors did.

Woven Art:
Woven Art
Woven artwork is made using a round or rectangular hand or tabletop loom. The size of the piece is limited to the frame size and wall hangings are the most common type of woven art.

Woven Art
The yarns can be tightly woven together to form a solid surface, as shown in the previous photo. Alternatively, fancy yarns can be randomly added in a loose open-weave to produce a light and airy landscape, similar to a painting.

With the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere, silky yarns are great choices for cardigans on those breezy evenings, and crocheted swimsuit cover-ups for days at the beach. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, fall is the perfect time to curl up under a handmade afghan and dream about your next crafting project. Let your imagination soar.

Thanks for reading!  Happy Crafting!

Luck of the Irish

St Patrick's Day BannerLeprechauns and a pot of gold are certainly hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day. Below are a few crafting ideas to help you get ready for this upcoming celebration of all things Irish.

Shamrocks
Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle, is famous for its shamrocks. If you are lucky enough, you may even find a four-leaf clover. Notice the almost woven effect created by the natural layering of these leaves. Irish knot work patterns, such as the one illustrated below, are inspired by the natural world.

Carved Marble Knots
Eternity knots can be found on everything in Ireland. The pattern shown here has been carved into marble. It could also be carved or burnt into wood, stenciled onto a wall, or drawn and/or painted onto t-shirts, handbags, or even a comforter. Jewelry makers include knot designs for their beauty as well as the symbolism of eternal love.

Cookies & Irish Coffee
A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with a few shamrock cookies and a creamy mug of Irish coffee. In case you didn’t know, this coffee gets its high-octane kick from a shot of Irish whiskey.

Irish Soda Bread
Store bought Irish soda bread is usually made ahead of time and may be too dry. It’s best enjoyed straight out of the oven.

Jewelry Charms
The four-leaf clover is a very popular good luck talisman. A leather cord is a very inexpensive way to make a necklace. The cord can be cut to the desired length, and special cord tips are attached to the ends along with a spring ring or lobster claw clasp. Any charms with a large enough bail can be slid onto the cord and easily changed for a new look. Prefer ready-made jewelry? Ready to wear cords can be purchased with the charms of your choice.

St. Paddy's Day Parade
Of course you’ll need to wear something green to really get into the spirit of the holiday. A little green fabric is all you need – a hat, scarf, socks – anything will do.

Irish Icons
These icons are often found on everything from mugs and T-shirts to bumper stickers. Iron-ons are inexpensive and easy to apply. Craft stores also have stickers, as well as temporary tattoos, which have all the cool designs without any of the commitment.

Irish Embroidery
Embroidery is a great way to dress up any garment with lively, eye-catching graphics and funny sayings.

Shamrocks Crochet
If crocheting were your specialty, these three leaf clovers would make a very unique scarf or hat. They could also be used as decorative accents on a pillow or afghan.

Beer & Shamrocks
There are plenty of colorful holiday-themed sheets in the papercrafting aisle, or you might want to design your own. If there’s a subliminal message in this design, I suppose it would be: “I love shamrocks and beer!” Who doesn’t? (lol)

Art Clay
Working with art clay can be a fun activity for the whole family. Figures like these pictured above could be used as jewelry pendants, or attached to hair accessories or refrigerator magnets, just to name a few.

Irish Angel Stained Glass
Stained glass is a beautiful way to incorporate holiday themes and of course the color green and requisite shamrock for luck.

Ceramic Irish Bear
Belleek, is a well-known brand of Irish pottery, recognized by its neutral cream color, which often includes hand painted shamrocks. You can achieve the same look, at a fraction of the price, by visiting a ceramics studio to paint your own using a similar color scheme.

Lucky Horseshoe
An up-turned horseshoe has always been considered good luck. The addition of a four-leaf clover may be all that’s needed to amplify good fortune to the next level. well, it’s certainly worth a try.

On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody is Irish! So wear something green, enjoy a pint, and keep an eye out for a rainbow – there might just be a pot of gold under it waiting to be discovered!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Crafting!

Countdown – Top Six Posts of 2019

Clock
Where does the time go? There’s always another post to be written, another project to develop, and another inspiration to explore. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the 2019 Top Six posts, in ascending order, based upon Likes. Without further ado, here are your favorites:

Number 6: Daily Dose of Color
Beautiful Sunset
Color plays an integral role in our daily lives. It affects our moods, decisions and actions. Let’s take a look at our activities on a typical day to observe how influential color can be. To read more, please click here.

Number 5: Walk on the Wild Side
Stegosaurus
We love dinosaurs. Want proof? Look at all the books, movies, television shows, and merchandise. At some point, every kid draws and colors his or her favorite dinosaur. Here’s your chance to feel like a kid again. Grab some paints and brushes and let’s go! To read more, please click here.

Number 4: The Beauty of Yarn Crafts
Yarn Crafts
Yarn has come a long way over the years, from single color wool skeins to multicolored, textured fibers, made from manmade and natural sources, suitable for clothing, home décor and accessories. Let’s look at a few of the types of crafts made with yarn. To read more, please click here.

Number 3: Baking for the Holidays
Holiday Baking
Santa Claus isn’t the only one hoping for some holiday goodies. We all love dessert. If you get a head start on your baking, you’ll have plenty to share with your family and friends throughout the long holiday season. Baked goods make great gifts too. To read more, please click here.

Number 2: Birds of a Feather
Flamingo
For some reason, I often find myself drawn to the wood crafts aisle at my local hobby store. Maybe it’s the quick reward for very little effort at an inexpensive cost. Who doesn’t enjoy a little instant gratification? There’s always something new to discover. Learn how to make this adorable flamingo. He may not take flight, but the bright colors and cheerful expression are sure to make you smile. To read more, please click here.

Number 1: Creative Stress Relief
Computer Stress
With such fast-paced lives, we all need a break from our daily stresses. These demands have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects. The best solution is a vacation, but that may not be possible. Instead, indulge in a hobby or two to take your mind and body to a happy place. Every day you do things for everyone else. It’s time to put yourself first! You’ll be so glad you did, and you’ll have a lot of fun while doing it. To read more, please click here.

Word Press Blogging
Upcoming posts will include new projects and crafting inspirations. I’ll be sure to include additional articles based upon the above interests, as voted by you, the readers. Your opinions are greatly appreciated, and I look forward to so much more this year. If you have any suggestions for future posts, please let me know? Thanks for reading!

All the best in 2020 and Happy Crafting!

Crafts of Love – Valentine’s Day Gifts

Frogs in Love
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your appreciation for the people you love.

Valentine's Cake
Celebrate with a Lady Finger Torte, Layer Cake, Cherry Cheesecake, Cupcakes, or Cake pops. Anything homemade is always appreciated. And if baking is not your specialty, buy one at the bakery, put it on your own serving dish and it will be our little secret! (lol)

Homemade Candy
Candy making is an easy process for everyone, even beginners. Start by melting chocolate wafers, called candy melts, which come in a variety of colors and flavors. Pour the chocolate into molds and refrigerate according to directions. You might also consider chocolate covering strawberries, nuts, graham crackers, or marshmallows. Present the finished pieces in a heart-shaped box or container.

Decorated Valentine's Cookies
Decorated cookies are eye-catching as well as delicious. Whether you choose homemade cookies or plain store-bought, add icing details, candy, or sprinkles to complete your festive designs.

Roses
Fresh-cut or silk flowers can be arranged in a bouquet, vase, or heart-shaped wreath. You don’t have to go to the expense of buying roses because any type of flowers will be appreciated.

Bleeding Hearts Flowers
Live flowers in a hanging basket or pot are not only beautiful, but long lasting as well. The flowers shown have not been photo shopped. They really are heart shaped, hence the name “bleeding hearts.”

Glass Heart
A glass paperweight, suncatcher, or pendant is a beautiful option.

Heart Charm
You could also paint a wooden heart to be hung on a wall, included on a wreath, or as a charm on a gift package or handbag.

Jewelry
Beaded jewelry is easy to create. If you don’t have those skills, you can buy a readymade chain or cord and string over-size beads without the need for any tools.

Winged Heart
You could also buy a heart-shaped pendant and add it to an existing chain or choose a new one.

Love Song or Poem
If you have a gift with words, write a song or poem on specialty paper to suit the occasion.

Painting
Artwork, such as painting, drawing, and photography, is a personal way to share your talent and show your affection at the same time.

Photo Album
A scrapbook is a thoughtful way to commemorate family memories and special events.

Vision Board
Create a vision board or photo album with inspirational travel brochures, activities and scenic pictures to build excitement for an upcoming vacation.

Candle Making
Candle making is simplified using a kit. There are multiple options including colors, shapes, sizes, and essential oils scents.

Romantic Dinner
You can’t go wrong with dinner for two. This is the perfect venue for candles, printed napkins on a pink or red tablecloth, and creative place settings to set the mood for a romantic evening.

Heart Pillow
Sewing a pillow is a quick colorful project to coordinate with any décor.

Knitting
A knitted scarf, hat, gloves, or sweater will keep that special someone warm and cozy on a cold winter day, and it will be enjoyed for years to come.

Stuffed Animals
Who doesn’t love cuddly stuffed animals, especially teddy bears? If you are skilled with a needle and thread, you could make a bear with faux fur or buy one. There’s nothing like a big bear hug to brighten your day and chase away the blues.

Sunset at the Beach
It is said, “The best things in life are free.” Go to the beach, the mountains, a nearby park, or your own backyard. Any place will do to spend time together watching the sunset, enjoying a picnic or barbecue, or simply going for a walk hand in hand. Expressions of love don’t need to cost a lot, just a little creativity and a heartfelt message.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Crafting!

The Beauty of Yarn Crafts

Yarn Skeins
Yarn has come a long way over the years, from single color wool skeins to multicolored, textured fibers, made from manmade and natural sources, suitable for clothing, home décor and accessories. Let’s look at a few of the types of crafts made with yarn.

Knitting:
Knitting
Very little is required for any knitting project. All you need is some yarn, two knitting needles, and a pair of scissors, which easily fits into a small tote bag, making this one of the most portable crafts. Knitted clothing and accessories are the most popular items.

Knitted Wool Scarf
Knitted scarves provide a cheerful pop of color to help dispel the dismal winter grays.  They’re easy to make and are great gifts too.

Needlepoint:
Needlepoint Gazebo
If you are unfamiliar with needlepoint, it consists of a variety of stitches applied by hand using a needle and yarn through a canvas, which is preprinted with an attractive design. The kit instructions include the color and stitch type to be used for each part of the pattern, and a full color photo of the finished project. Every style of needlepoint stitch is represented in the gazebo shown above.

Needlepoint Leopard
This leopard needlepoint presents the challenge to create a three-dimensional figure and a complex pattern in the animal’s fur. Gaze upon his face and you’ll realize his eyes are looking right back at you.

Needlepoint Rabbit Pillow
Needlepoint is not limited to square and rectilinear shapes. This adorable rabbit pillow has coordinating blue piping along the edges and light blue velvet fabric on the back.

Crocheting:
Crocheted Afghan
Having an extra blanket around is always handy, especially for an afternoon nap. An afghan is easy to make, and gives you a great sense of accomplishment every time you or a family member uses it.

Crocheted Jacket
Recently, crocheted jackets, sweaters, and dresses have become very fashionable, made with lightweight yarns perfect for summer.

Crocheted Lamb
Stuffed Animals & Home Décor can also be crocheted. The little lamb shown above was made in individual pieces (hexagons and pentagons) and then sewn together using matching white yarn.

Cross Stitch:
Cross Stitch
Cross Stitch is similar to needlepoint, except that there is only one type of stitch in the shape of an “X,” and an open weave cotton fabric is used instead of canvas. Many different shades of yarn create light and shadow. The photo above is a project in progress, with the yarn being matched to a detailed color chart.

Cross Stitch Design
With needlepoint, the entire background canvas is covered. In cross stitch, the base, such as this bold red fabric, becomes part of the finished design.

Embroidery:
Floral Embroider
Embroidery uses a special type of yarn called floss, which consists of fine, lustrous fibers. A washable transfer pen can be utilized to trace or draw a pattern upon the fabric of your choice. Embroidery can be done by hand, but today’s technology has developed machines to do the work for you in less time.

Floral Embroidery on Denim
Denim jackets & jeans are commonly embellished with floral embroidery, and may include additional beads and studded details.

Floral Embroidery on Velvet
Luxurious fabrics, such as velvet and lace, create the perfect background for showcasing these intricately stitched designs.

Embroidered Japanese Kimono
The embroidery on silk kimonos is not only beautiful, but also illustrates scenes from daily life, as well as mystical legends and historical events.

Latch Hooked versus Hand Hooked:
Latch Hook Balloon
To make this latch hook hot air balloon (AC Moore), yarn is pulled through an open weave canvas using a specialty tool. Latch hooked items have a tufted surface just like plush cut-pile carpeting. It’s hard to resist the urge to run your hands through the soft yarn as you admire your handiwork.

Hand Hooked Fish Pillow
For hand hooked items, such as this pillow, the yarn is pulled through to the back. The front has thick textured stitches, while the loose ends are concealed on the back with fabric. Because the yarns are more bulky, pillows are usually large-scale. No two are exactly alike.

Hand Hooked Rug
Hand hooked rugs are beautifully patterned and collectible due to their intricate handwork and lengthy time for completion. This loon is actually swimming underwater in search of a fish for breakfast.

Hand Hooked Rug 2
The imaginative designs in hand hooked rugs are truly works of art for your floors.

There are so many opportunities to use yarn for your next project. The yarn departments in many stores are brimming over with the latest colors as well as new fibers, such as bamboo, and interesting finishes such as ombré and iridescent. Do you enjoy working with yarn? What types of items have you created? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Happy Crafting!