Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's the Little Things

Sometimes you want instant gratification. That's when dish cloths come into play (don't they always?). And sometimes, you want a project that's not really even a project at all and that doesn't require a pattern or more commitment than part of an hour...

Here you have the simplest dish cloth in the world. Cast 23 stitches of cotton onto size 6 needles. Seed stitch until square. Border with half double crochet. Beyond easy. Useful. Lovely. About 75 cents a piece.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Potholder/Dishrag Set

I made this set for a swap, and was a bit sad to see it go. The result was both soft and sturdy at the same time! A characteristic desirable in a kitchen set. I began with a pattern from a pamphlet, don't remember which one, and got bored half-way through and began to improvise.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Root Veggies

Crocheted food is so much fun, and all the more so when you add little embroidered faces.  I made up some carrots with embroidered smiles and button eyes for the babies of two of my friends.  Then today I did a turnip, by request.  I made up the pattern as I went along, using Knitpicks dk-weight Palette in a variety of purples ranging from light to dark, white for the body, and grey for the face.  The eyes are little french knots.

My next project is to be a bigger carrot, more huggable.  I'll probably use Vanna's Choice, as I have so much of it in my stash.  I happen to have just the right orange, and green for the carrot tops.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


For ages now, I have had in my stash two enormous single skeins of Schaefer "Susan" pima cotton in the Catherine the Great and the Rachel Carson colorways. Both were originally destined to be baby blankets, but, really, there are only so many babies...

I decided to do a very very quick project, the Blizzard shawl from "Scarf Style." It took me two evenings to finish, and I was able to memorize the pattern after only a few repeats. This yarn has gorgeous drape, although I might have liked it to be a bit longer. Oh, well. I think it is essential to make this scarf with a drapey yarn, or it wouldn't have the same appeal--and the Schaefer has a very nice sheen to it, so it has both drape and a nice depth of texture. I would definitely make this again in the same yarn, or another similar pima cotton.

Another baby has recently come into our circle, so the other Schaefer skein is now earmarked for a receiving blanket.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I love that Britishism for a face cloth; I wonder if they still use the word, or is it just something from books...

My mother needed three special little gifts to give, and hoped I could oblige within two days (short notice!). I came up with the idea of using the Dorothea Dishcloth pattern, a very simple single crochet-double crochet repetition that makes a complex texture, but doing it as a square for a face cloth.

I dug around in my cotton stash for something a little finer than Peaches n' Cream, and discovered a cache of Plymouth Wild Flowers dk. I love this yarn--it's inexpensive, but feels soft and is nice to work with, and I like how it shows off the pretty stitch:

I did three sets of two, and packed them up with some of my favorite scented soap:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sock Yarn in Search of a Non-Sock Project

As the spring days grow warmer, and summer is fast approaching in all its hot sunshiny glory, I am inexplicably drawn to cozy, colorful shawls. If you like shawls, and you'd like to make one from a single color, there's a whole lot of inspiration at Garn Studios lovely site with dozens of shawl patterns.

However if, like me, you're struggling to find things to do with odd bits and pieces of stash, you must try this fun project I discovered over at Yarnloopie: The Sunday Morning Shawl. Her shawls are stunning, very inspiring for a color-obsessive like me. I gathered up my sock yarn scraps and got to work, and continued until I had run out of the color scheme I'd decided upon. It took a few days, but the beauty of it is that, because it's simple garter stitch with occasional symmetrical increases, you need not watch your stitches carefully, and so can do it while watching a movie. I knit my way through "Night at the Museum II," "Robin Hood," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "We're No Angels," and "The Sea Hawk." Brilliant!

I did a couple of rounds of half-double-crocheted edging with some extra sock yarn remnant in a solid, contrasting color, which I thought tidied it up a bit.

Here's my first finished Sunday Shawl:

And here's my next one, still in its formative stage. These balls of muted but lovely Koigu Premium Merino were originally purchased two years ago with the intention of making them into a "Charlotte's Web" shawl. I gave it the old college try, not once but twice, and found the lace pattern incredibly finicky and tedious, especially with all the color switching. But why not the simple Sunday Shawl! What a revelation, and so reassuring to know that they will go to good use!

You can find the pattern free on If you're not already a member, I recommend joining pronto. There are so many wonderful patterns floating around there, and you can get truly excited by browsing around other people's gorgeous work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Love Affair with Dish Cloths

What's a girl to do with a giant storage bin full of cotton yarn scraps?

Make more dish cloths.

My all-time favorite dishcloth is the Peaches and Creme Ball Band dishcloth, re-popularized in "Mason-Dixon Knitting." The color combinations are limitless, although I especially like bright, primary colors all mixed up:

I've also applied the Ripple Principle to the cotton dishcloth, crocheted rather than knit:

And finally, another favorite, the Dorothea Dishtowel (see below for pattern). I like to do this with a slightly better quality yarn; I've used Lion Brand cotton bamboo. I don't have a picture, but these are so fancy that they can be given as special birthday gifts (I gave my mom a set of three this year).


1. Ball-Band Dish Cloth

2. Dorothea Dishtowel

Friday, May 15, 2009

Monterey Pop Hat: A Quick Crochet

This sun hat worked up quick as a wink, made for Hedgehog. If you're making one for a child, you won't need more than a skein or two, DK weight. If you have scrap yarn, DK weight, or half-finished skeins, this would be lovely in stripes. I made a basic bucket hat to fit, then added a row of scallops around the brim.

I crocheted a simple applique flower in the contrasting color, and stitched each petal flush to the hat.

I love how it makes my little girl look like she should be in the audience of the Monterey Pop festival, 1967. Hence the name.


I didn't use a pattern, but Lion Brand has a good free one for a simple bucket hat. One could adjust the size of the brim, and add any embellishment, either crocheted applique, or buttons or bows. Whatever took the fancy.

Ripple: the Ultimate Scrap Project

What better first post for my scrappy blog, than to introduce you to the Queen Mother of all scrap projects: the ripple afghan. This is the simplest thing in the world to crochet, but extremely time-consuming. I've made a whole bunch of these now, and I've found that the more colors you use, the more fun the project is. My favorite Ripple afghan is still the first one I made, of every color of Rowan Cotton Glace. This was one expensive mother of a blanket. It's got gorgeous, heavy drape, and it is Sarge's fave:

Here's the Ripple I made for a friend's baby, out of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, all leftover balls from various projects, including an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket:

Baby Ripples are satisfying because of their size: they just don't take all that long. Especially a newborn "receiving" blanket. I also recently made my little girl a Little-Girl-Sized Ripple (also quick to make) out of Lion Brand Wool Ease in a rainbow, with a red border. The colors weren't as saturated as I would have liked, a little subdued, but perhaps that added an elegance to an inelegant color concept (the rainbow...)...or so I like to think:

Currently I'm working on a new Ripple, of Rowan Cashsoft DK--it's fantastically luxe, and I got it in a nice variety of soft pastels. It feels wonderful to the hand:


For me, the classic Ripple pattern is "Soft Waves" by Jan Eaton in the book "200 Ripple Stitch Patterns." There is another pattern, with an inspirational photo, in the book "Vintage Crochet". Or, if you don't want to purchase these, Lion Brand has a perfectly serviceable set of ripple patterns here.


Be sure to visit the No End in Sight Ripple-Along for more inspiration!