Tag Archives: crochet

Christmas Comfort

A request was made of me probably six weeks before Christmas. Would I be willing and able to make an afghan for Christmas, something in shades of reds that would be out only for the holidays and which  would possibly in the future be a favorite blanket of my niece and any future niece or nephew? How could I resist?!?

I knew this would be quite the undertaking but I was willing to go for it. The request was for a plaid afghan so I made my way to Hobby Lobby to choose the yarns I wanted to use. I have made this certain pattern only once before and I did it with three colors.  For this project I decided to use four colors, red, white, dark red and a variegated red and white yarn.

The project is very simple, but time consuming. The horizontal stripes are made with alternating double crochets and chains. There is a repeating pattern, each of the colors was assigned a number. For example any time I was using the red yarn I would complete five rows, the white yarn would only be one row.

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I completed the pattern six times to ensure that the finished product would be long enough after completing the vertical strips.

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The vertical stripes simply involved using a larger sized hook and slip stitching from the bottom of the afghan all the way to the top one row at a time. I used the same pattern for the vertical rows as I did for the horizontal. This portion of the project is time consuming because you have to be extra careful to keep tension the same so the finished piece turns out with nice straight edges.

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The final step is pulling in all of the ends…let me just say there are a lot of ends, with changing yarn colors as frequently as I did for this project there were probably over 200 little tails that needed to be pulled in.

Because this was a Christmas present I had to have this done before a certain sister arrived in town for the holiday. This didn’t happen so I did have to spend a little bit of time up in my room, by myself to keep the secret for a few more days. When I was wrapping the gift up on Christmas Eve with Alice in the room with me I knew the project was a success. The blanket was laid out on the floor, just so I could make sure I liked the finished look of it and the little darling laid right down on it.  When I tried to pick it up and give her a different blanket and was not a happy camper. Maybe she was tired, but I think she knew that this was going to be a special afghan for her for many years to come.

-Emily

Thanks, Em!  It looks awesome on our couch! -Eliina

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Crocheted Cover

I have been crocheting for about 12 years now and I feel I am fairly competent with my hooks. I can read patterns, make up my own patterns and usually figure out what stitches were used on a completed project that I am shown. When Eliina brought up the idea of making a pillow cover for her couch I figured it would be something I could handle. I needed some inspiration. I didn’t want to make something that was more my style that might not really jive with what she had in mind. She linked me to a few suggestions and I started looking for possible stitches to use.

A great source that I use for crocheting information is Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Happy Hooker. I have had this for a few years and it has greatly increased my repertoire of stitches. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn how to crochet and to those that already know how – it is a real wealth of information. But once I decided on the look I was going for I took to the internet to see what was out there. I found that to best achieve the look I was going for I would use alternating single and triple crochets.

I thought a neutral cream for the yarn so other pillows could be switched out during the year but this pillow could stay for some added texture. Eliina provided the pillow form, found for $5 on clearance!

I wasn’t sure exactly how many stitches I would need for this because I would be making up my own pattern as I went along. To keep with the chunky textured look from my example I decided to use a little larger hook, a J hook, this would not only make the bumps larger but it would also help the project work up a little quicker…BONUS!

I started off with chaining a length and laying it across the pillow to see if it was about wide enough. Then I started on the pattern, one row of alternating triple crochets and single crochets and then a row of all single crochets. That was it, the whole pattern consists of two alternating rows.

As I worked and thought I was close to the end I again layed the work across the pillow to see if I needed to continue. Based on the sample ideas I had I knew I was going to do a make a pocket cover so instead of making a front and a back I made one piece that would be sewn together. After achieving the length I needed I marked my stitches so I knew where the pillow would fold over the top and then continued on. Each flap needed to be over half of the length of the pillow to allow for overlap once the pocket was made and the buttons sew. Once I had the length I wanted for the top I detached my yarn and reattached on the bottom of the back and worked my way back up.

One possible hiccup in the project was making button holes. This was the first project I have done that needed them and I was a little unsure of the process. My handy Stitch ‘n Bitch book had a great tutorial on how to recreate horizontal button holes, which are easier, and after deciding where they should go I had the button holes made. Lining up the buttons on the bottom half was pretty simple as well and crochet can be quite forgiving so I knew if they were off by a smidge things would still work out fine!

Now I had the rectangle made and ready so I folded up the bottom half and used a slip stitch to connect the front and the back. After it was all stitched together I stuffed the pillow form into the cover. I will admit I was relieved to find that it fit nice and snug. Not using a pattern had me a bit worried I would end up with a cover that was either way to big or had to be stretched too much to fit. The final step was to stitch a single crochet all around the outside of the pillow just to finish everything off.

Pillow cover complete! I am really happy with how it turned out. Now maybe I should actually write up the pattern for future use!

-Emily

Addendum from Eliina: The pillow looks great on my couch, and is helping me solve my pillow predicament.