Knitting and Crochet Projects for Halloween

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Halloween is coming up soon so I thought I would post some of my favorite Halloween themed projects that I either want to make or have made.

 Skull Shawl- This shawl has been in my queue for a long time and I really like it. I haven’t made it yet because I don’t have the yarn needed and am trying to use what I have.

 Spider Web Doily- I also like this spider web doily, I am thinking about making this once I finish my blanket or tote bag.

 Pumpkin Spice -I saw this knitted pumpkin pattern on Instagram and am thinking it may be a good use for some orange yarn I have in my yarn stash.

Halloween Bat- I made this bat for a friend who loves to decorate for Halloween and she loved it. It was also fun to make.

 Crochet Skull- I had made myself this crochet skull  years ago and I like to hang it up near my desk during Halloween.

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September Stash Bust KAL

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In September, I participated in the September Stash Bust KAL* hosted by Wolf and Faun Knits.  It is a KAL where people encourage each other to make projects that use up unused yarn in our stash.  The aim is to be resourceful, simplify and declutter.  Here is a post that explains the KAL. In this KAL, people have been posting pictures of yarn they want to use up and have asked for advice on how to use it and posted pictures of the projects they are doing to stash bust.   

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When I heard about this KAL, I immediately wanted to join. I like to do projects to use up odd bits of my yarn stash. In the past, I have published a blog post of projects for stash busting that I liked. This summer,  I made this hat out of odd bits of cotton yarn . I don’t like waste so I save even the smallest amounts of yarn leftover from a project. I also think it is a good creative practice to use what you have.

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For the KAL, I made a hat out of some of my small bits of acrylic scrap yarn. The hat is pictured in the top photo. I had been thinking about doing a project like this for a while. This KAL seemed like a good time to do it. I am thinking about making another hat out of my odd bits of worsted weight scrap yarn at some point. I enjoyed this KAL and, I liked looking at each others projects.

*KAL stands for Knit a long

An Update and Current Projects

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I fell out of posting for the last few weeks because I was stressed out and wasn’t feeling well so I wanted to give an update what I have been working on since I published my last blog post. I will start with my knitting and crochet projects. I finished my Green Gable pullover, I just need to block it. I am very happy with how it turned out. The success from this project inspires me to work on more garments. I have already started knitting another sweater. 

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  I am still plugging away on the Herbivore Shawl.I haven’t been working on it that much because I have mainly been working on the sweater I just finished.

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As far as crochet projects, I am still working on my blanket. I am hoping to finish it soon. I am almost done crocheting the squares. This blanket design is a series of diamond shapes within a square. It is pictured above and is achieved by sewing together 4 squares with the same color scheme. I have been making the squares in groups of 4 and then sewing them together as I go. When I finish crocheting the last few squares and sew them together I will need to sew the sets of 4 squares together into one blanket.

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I am also crocheting a tote bag using a pattern called the Lacy V Shopping Bag. I am using a lilac cotton blend yarn I got on clearance and some light blue cotton polyester yarn that is leftover from another project. I may add a section of white using either a dk acrylic or a worsted weight cotton because I am not sure I will have enough of the lilac and blue yarns to finish the bag but I haven’t decided which one I will use yet. 

Learning from Failure

DSC_0004 (1)-1 In an earlier blog post, I had written about working on an idea for a tank top. The project wasn’t working and I decided to unravel it. I wanted to make a tank top without a pattern. I heavily based it on this pattern. I did several swatches to try and decide what motif to use. I decided on a motif and made a bunch of squares. Then I decided on a shape. I put the squares I had made together and measured it. I realized that it would have 6-7 inches negative ease on me and would never fit. I also I wasn’t enjoying making the squares that much. I found the stitch pattern hard to follow. I really had to pay attention to make sure I avoided mistakes and didn’t like the finished square enough to make effort worthwhile to me. I got to a point where I realized I was really struggling with this project and was having to force myself to work on it.

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One night, I realized how frustrated I was with this project and was suddenly so over it so I unraveled all the squares I did. I was upset about it but relieved. I was depressed that it didn’t work but I also learned a lot. I realized too late that I should have decided on the shape of the tank top first then swatched. I also should have measured and washed the swatch I decided to use. I also learned that I need to swatch using multiple hooks sizes. Looking back, I think that I designing a tank top was a little beyond my abilities. I am thinking I want to make tank tops and other garments designed by other people to see how they did it.

Summer Knitting and Crochet

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Do you knit or crochet during the summer? Here in the northern hemisphere it is summer and I thought I would share some thoughts and tips on summer knitting and crochet. I have heard that a lot of people stop knitting during the summer and then take it up again in the fall. Even thought summers where I live can be pretty hot, my knitting and crocheting doesn’t stop during the summer months. For fun I did a survey on Twitter asking if people knitted or crocheted in the summer. I only got 4 responses and all of them knit in the summer. That is a very small sampling but it tells me that at least some people knit and crochet in the summer.

I found this article with advice on summer knitting useful. During summer, I usually end up knitting inside under air conditioning in front of a fan at my desk. Summer is a good time to knit smaller, portable projects. I see people I follow on Instagram take a portable projects to the beach. One summer I made cotton sun hats that I wear when I work in the yard. It is also a good time to use lighter yarns such as cotton and linen. One thing I have found is that my local craft store will often put yarn on clearance in the summer. That is something to keep in mind when you are at the craft store. I have gotten some good deals that way.  Do you knit or crochet in the summer? Let me know in the comments.

My Crochet Goals

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I recently wrote about my knitting goals. I want to give equal time to both knitting and crochet on this blog so I also wanted to write about my crochet goals. Lately, I have been more inspired by knitting than crochet. Until I started the blanket I am making right now, I have been knitting more than I crochet. However, when I thought abut it there are many things I want to crochet. Here are the crochet projects I want to do in the future. I look at this list I made and realize I could be busy for a long time.

Crochet more garments

In the past, I have struggled to find crochet garments I want to make. However, I have found a few  patterns I like. I really like this Convergence Top pattern. I found out about it when I asked for advice on crochet garment patterns on a Ravelry forum. I have been eyeing the Northern Dreams Pullover for a long time. When I first saw the pattern years ago, I thought it looked like a difficult pattern and never thought to attempt it. I recently looked at it again and realized it was a crochet version of a yoked sweater. Now I really want to make this sweater. However I am on a tight budget right now and would have to buy yarn to make both. I have also been eyeing this pullover by Dora Ohrenstein. 

Make a dress

A friend of mine designed this dress and I really want to make it at some point. I also love this dress by Lily Chin. Both would be a challenge for me and a big project I know I want to make these at some point but I am not sure when I will get around to it.

Make a ripple blanket

This past winter, I was reading about temperature blankets and came very close to making one. I decided to make the blanket I am working on now instead. A friend gave me some red heart yarn that should work well for a blanket. I like the way the rippled blanket looks and I like the idea of having a colorful blanket to use during the winter.

 Freeform crochet

I have been reading about freeform crochet for years and am intrigued by the idea. If you don’t know what freeform crochet is, this article describes freeform crochet pretty well. I really like the idea of being creative and freewheeling with crochet. I have read about the work of Prudence Mapstone, and Jenny Dowde and would love to explore freeform crochet further. I have thought that it would be a fun way to use some of my scrap yarn.

 Make some of the design ideas I have sketched

I keep a sketchbook and write ideas for projects that I could design.I want to get in the habit of working on some of these ideas on a regular basis.

An Update on Bead Crochet Projects

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About a month ago, I wrote about getting back to bead crochet and beadwork after not doing either for a long time. Since then, I finished the bracelet I was making. This time, it came out the right length. I then had to figure out how to join the rope together into a bracelet. To join the rope, I used the instructions in this book. I joined it together and am happy with it for the most part. A little later, I did a google search on joining ropes and found another way to join the ropes that may be better. Here is a video of that technique. I want to try this technique on the bracelet I am making now.  

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 I started making another bead crochet rope and decided to use a pastel color scheme. I had trouble deciding between red, blue, grey and ivory or pink, grey and ivory. I really liked the pink beads and so I decided to go with the pastels. I am using a different thread this time. This book recommends Jeans Stitch or Gutermann 100% polyester top stitching thread. I used Jeans stitch for the previous ropes I did and now I am trying the Gutermann thread. I would like to make a project using each type of thread to see how they work.

More Stash Busting Projects

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Recently I wrote about the scrap yarn in my stash and the projects I have done to use up the yarn. One night I looked up stash busting patterns on Ravelry and found some beautiful patterns. There are a lot of lovely and creative ways to use up yarn. Here are a few of my favorites.

 1: A lot of people like to make blankets out of mitered squares. I have seen a lot of pictures on Instagram of people making blankets made out of mitered squares using fingering weight or worsted weight yarn. I used these instructions to make a scarf but a lot of people use these instructions to make a blanket.

 2: I like this winter hat pattern that has been in my Ravelry queue.

 3:I absolutely love this beautiful pillow pattern. I love the bright colors.

 4: This is a cute pattern for a snake.

 5: I almost have to include a pattern for a log cabin blanket. I love how they look and want to make one at some point. This is another pattern that is in my Ravelry Queue

 6: This crocheted lace shawl would be a good pattern for summer

 7: The designer designed this knitted shawl to use up her scraps of fingering weight yarn.

My Stash Busting Projects

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One thing I love about being into crafts is finding ways to use what you have to be creative. I love looking up creative ways to upcycle. I also enjoy reading about projects that use ordinary household objects to make something creative and interesting. In that vein, I want to write a small series on using up scrap yarn. This week I will talk about my experiences with stash busting.

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 In my stash, I have 2 bags of small amounts of yarn that are leftover from other projects or from projects I unraveled. I also have several skeins of leftover yarn. I can’t bear to throw out any of it no matter how small the amount. I keep thinking I could find a use for it. Originally, I kept all the odd bits of yarn because I wanted to learn freeform crochet and I kept thinking that I could use it in that technique.

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I haven’t done much freeform crochet but I have used up scarp yarn in other ways. Periodically, I like to go through my stash and and find ways to use up odd bits of yarn. I made the bag in the middle picture to use up scrap yarn. I recently made these slippers to use up an odd skein of bulky weight yarn. I also made a hat and several scarves to use up odd bits of my stash. Some of the projects work better than others on stash busting. I will start a project to use up scrap yarn and end up buying more to finish it. I started the scarf in the top picture to use up some purple and pink yarn I had but ended up buying 2 skeins to finish it. I bought the grey to add a neutral color and I ran out of the purple and had to buy more. I wrote about the scarf project here. With the blanket in the bottom picture, I drastically underestimated how much yarn it would take and had to buy a lot more yarn than I was originally trying to use up.

Ravelry’s 10th Anniversary

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May 2nd was Ravelry’s 10 anniversary. I thought I would take a moment and write about what the site means to me. Ravelry is an amazing place. It is a an online community for knitters, crocheters and spinners. It has a database where you can look up patterns and yarn. It also has a place to list the projects you have made and a queue to list the patterns you want to make. Plus there are a large number of forums where you can interact with other fiber types. You can look up a yarn and see what others have made with that yarn You also can look up a pattern and read what others have to say about the pattern and see what it looks like when it is finished.

Thanks to Ravelry, I found out about Elizabeth Zimmerman, freeform crochet, yarn bombing and a lot of my favorite designers. I also received countless tips on how to expand my skills. I learned about art projects that asked knitters and/or crocheters to help out and make stuff for the exhibits. I have made pieces for 2 projects. Here is a link to one of the projects. I also participated in the Mandalas for Marinke project. Here is a blog post showing the Mandalas I made for the project. Ravelry has even helped with non fiber related things. I have found out about some of my favorite books from a book group I joined on Ravelry.

 One of my goals is to design and publish my own patterns. Without Ravelry, I wouldn’t know that this option exists. Plus there are 2 groups on Ravelry that are incredibly useful if you want to design patterns.They are Designers and budding designers. Both groups have amazing resource pages. Thanks to those pages, I found out about 2 Craftsy classes and a lot of books I could read on knitwear design.The Ravelry forums have been a lifeline for me at various times. Just about any knitting or crochet question you have could be answered on the forums. Recently, I went on the forums to find out how to try on a top down sweater before it is finished and found out about some tools I didn’t know about before. In short is an amazing community.