by Heather Mastrangeli | Apr 28, 2016 | Crochet, Patterns
Looking for the perfect baby gift for a friend, I looked to Pinterest for inspiration. Having pinned loads of knitting and crochet goodies in the past, I went through my past pins for inspiration. There it was, the cutest little pink piglet baby booties! Enthusiastically gathering my supplies and starting to crocheting away, I realized that the pattern on my board was rubbish. Back to the drawing board.
With a little searching, I found a sweet little baby boot pattern on Red Heart’s web site. The boots weren’t exactly what I was looking for, but with a little modification, it could be just the right fit! I also swapped the yarn I was planning to use for Red Heart Super Saver that was in my stash. Red Heart yarn is great for baby and children’s projects because it’s so easy to care for. In the washing machine it goes!
Realizing that I’d need to make serious modifications, I thought about slippers I’ve made over the years and other baby booties that I’ve created and got to work.
Thankfully, the Warm Baby Boots pattern was the perfect base for my Piglet Booties. Following the instructions through round 6 gave me the perfect base to add ears, snout and eyes.
If you’re interested in the original pattern, you can check it out here. It’s really great and offers more coverage than the Piglet Booties below.
To make the Piglet Booties, grab your supplies and get crocheting!
Worsted Weight Yarn (Red Heart Super Saver shown)
6-9mm Safety eyes or buttons
Size H Crochet Hook
Red Heart Warm Baby Boots Pattern, make through Round 6:
Bootie (make 2)
Round 1: Work 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, dc in next 5 ch, 6 dc in last ch, turn to work along opposite side of beginning ch, dc in next 5 ch, 3 dc in last ch, slip st in top of beginning ch to join. – 22sts
Round 2: Ch 2, hdc in same st as slip st, 2 hdc in each of next 2 dc, hdc in next 5 dc, 2 hdc in each of next 6 dc, hdc in next 5 dc, 2 hdc in each of next 3 dc, slip st in top of beginning ch to join. – 34sts.
Round 3: Ch 2, hdc through back loop in each st around, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 34sts
Round 4: Ch 2, hdc in next 8 sts, [dc2tog] 8 times, hdc in next 9 sts, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 26sts
Round 5: Ch 2, hdc in next 8 sts, [dc2tog] 4 times, hdc in next 9 sts, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 22sts
Round 6: Ch 2, hdc in next 8 sts, [dc2tog] 2 times, hdc in next 9 sts, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 20sts
Begin boot modifications:
Round 7: slip stitch along the top of the bootie
Snout: (make 2)
Set-up: Using the magic loop method, single crochet 6 stitches into the loop and pull tight. Join with a slip stitch, chain 1.
Round 1: 2 dc in each stitch, slip stitch
Ears: (make 4)
In second chain from hook: sc, hdc, dc, ch 2, dc, hdc, sc
Sew the snout onto the middle front of the bootie.
Place safety eyes or sew in buttons.
Sew ears in place.
by Heather Mastrangeli | Apr 21, 2016 | Adventures in Knitting
Sometimes inspiration strikes and you’re ready to roll. Time to grab a crochet hook or knitting needles and create! Create something amazing, magically transforming a bit of string into a substantial fabric that is meaningful. Sometimes in our excitement to being a new project, we skip some of the essential steps. Well, at least I’m guilty of that. Have you every taken more than a few years to create a blanket? Ok, maybe you have, but here’s the story behind my Archive Blanket.
Once upon a time, I was in the yarn aisle at the craft store. There were lots of beautiful skeins to choose from and I wanted to make my first afghan/blanket/throw. Trying to be smart about the process, and not wanting to be discouraged with a slow moving project (if I only knew then what I know now…), I added six skeins of a beautiful, super bulky yarn to my cart. The Lion Brand Thick & Quick had a beautiful cream color that would look great as a throw on my spa green bedspread and I was eager to get started.
Without having a pattern, and always living on the adventurous side when it comes to artsy things,
Such a fun pink sparkly crochet hook! Loved working on the project outside!
I grabbed my crochet hook and started my foundation chain. I couldn’t be bothered with a gauge swatch. I just needed to start. So I simply measured my chain (dumb idea) and kept on chaining. 130 chains to be exact! (It seemed perfectly normal at the time.) Feeling like a double crochet stitch would be my best bet- after all I was going for a fairly quick afghan that had a high satisfaction level and that would look beautiful on my bed- I started my stitch pattern. (Strict double crochet all the way!)
It took little time to get through the first skein of my Lion Brand Thick & Quick. When I looked down at the project on my lap, it resembled a super long snake and not at all the start of a blanket, or even one sixth of a blanket. I was still blinded by excitement. Somehow three and a half rows with one skein of yarn wasn’t a warning sign! I joined another ball of yarn and keep on going…. And another…. And another… After several days I worked through all six skeins of yarn that were just brought home. The blanket was only inches long, so I decided to go back and see if I could get more of the same dye lot. I could, and the remaining skeins in stock made their way home with me.
Eventually the excitement of other projects prevailed, and the blanket was in hibernation. Over the course of a couple years, I pulled it out, worked up another skein worth of yarn, ran out of yarn, repeat. There were multiple trips to the store for more yarn, and I quickly realized that I was never going to get the yarn I needed all in the same lot.
The unfinished blanket sat in a basket with the pink sparkly crochet hook for ages. It even moved to our new home a couple years ago where it was a fixture in the family room, waiting to be completed. The blanket continued to make its way in and out of hibernation. That is until this past week. (The hottest week of the year so far, of course.) I bought two more skeins of a different dye lot and decided this was it. This was happening. This blanket was going to be enjoyed once and for all! I joined a new ball and spent a couple nights cranking out four more rows of the blanket.
I was mostly good about weaving in ends as I went, (one thing I did right on this project) but there
This blanket is huge! A few ends just need to be woven in! Ronin quickly made himself at home on the blanket.
were a few that needed attention. I spread the monstrously large blanket on the floor and went to grab the appropriate tools for the job. When I came back, my dog, Ronin was already enjoying my handiwork! He happily moved from his spot in font of the sofa to the blanket on the floor and made himself comfortable. All we could do was laugh at him. Not having the heart to make him move, I proceeded to weave the ends in while he lounged about.
This blanket is huge, and it’s heavy. Thick & Quick not only works up fast, but it’s also super chunky. I don’t even want to calculate how many skeins of yarn make up this blanket. What is pretty awesome are the top 10 lessons that I learned over the years:
Even though there was much to learn, this blanket came out great!
- Do the gauge swatch. Seriously.
- Yarn weights lots.
- Only make a really big blanket on purpose.
- Double crochet stitches still work up fastest.
- Thick & Quick yarn is awesome and still one of my favs for a fast project that won’t break the bank.
- Weave in the ends as you go, you’ll be grateful about it later.
- My dog loves handmade goods.
- Hibernating projects are ok and can be good for you.
- Hibernating for too long is just silly.
- It’s important to cherish the things you spent time on and learned from.
by Heather Mastrangeli | Apr 12, 2016 | Book Review
I don’t know about you, but I’m often knitting in front of the TV and looking for patterns that give a great sense of accomplishment and require little concentration. Relaxing knitting as opposed to challenging knitting if you will. When I saw this tile from Vogue, I was elated. Easy sweaters? That translates to perfect TV knitting with great style! Did Vogue Knitting Very Easy Sweaters measure up and meet expectations? Let’s find out!
As the cover states, there are 50 patterns that claim to be timeless and stylish. After reading the book, I totally agree. The book is divided into several categories:
- Light & Easy
- Dramatic Shapes
- Stripes & Colorwork
- Helpful Information
There are nine patterns in the stockinette section and 8 of them are sweaters. Each is a classic design that would be a timeless edition to anyone’s wardrobe. Many of the patterns in the stockinette section include various design details in other stitch patterns. The Buttoned Cardi features seed-stitch detailing, but the majority of the body is stockinette. As the name implies the Garter Yoke Cardi has an elegant garter stitch yoke, button band and edges to prevent rolling. The Drape Front Sweater is perfect for layering. It has an easy construction and perfect for knitting on the go.
There are several patterns that blend complementing yarns together to form a beautiful end result. The Ruffled Cardi calls for both a mohair/silk blend and a ruffled ribbon yarn to add drama to the cardigan. Another pattern, Cowl Neck Pullover blends a metallic mohair body in fine weight yarn and light worsted cuffs in an angora blend.
The one pattern in the stockinette section that isn’t a sweater is actually a set of rubbed wrist warmers!
Lights & Easy
This section includes more patterns that feature more embellishments and charts. The Cropped Tank Top has a simple chart that creates a simple text and the Pleated Top includes beaded embellishments to elegance. I’m not sure why the Gathered Cardi is in the Light & Easy category, but the sleeves fall just above the elbow, so perhaps that’s why?
These are mostly oversized shapeless garments with few exceptions. Patterns such as the Collared Cardi are knit holding several strands together or call for a bulky yarn. While the garments are blocky, they could be customized easily and most are timeless.
I love the various cables that are featured in the cable garnet section. They range from simple to elegant, to visually complex and innovative. The Cabled Dolman features horizontal cables on a reverse stockinet stitch background. The only thing to be cautious about is that all the cables are charted. If you don’t know how to read a cable chart, be sure to learn before tackling one of these patterns!
Stripes & Colorwork
Colorwork can be intimidating for a beginner knitter. Vogue does it’s best to make it easy. There are a couple patterns that require chart reading skills (Reindeer Capelet and Heart Yoke Pullover), but the charts are printed large and are easy to read. The patterns in the Stripes & Colorwork section are beginner friendly and require few advanced techniques. Patterns follow an easy format and like the rest of the book, make yarn substitutions easy!
Each pattern has a short description in the beginning, beautiful photography and a comprehensive guide for sizing, finished measurements, materials, gauge and notes. The patterns themselves are written in an easy to understand method and clear. Vogue makes it easy to choose a yarn substitute by giving the yarn weight and fiber content for their suggested yarns. The vogue editing team did a great job of reducing ambiguity in their pattern writing. Diagrams are given with appropriate measurements and I appreciate the depth of information given for the suggested yarn.
Vogue Knitting Easy Sweaters is a must buy for knitters of all skill levels looking for amazing, timeless sweater designs to knit and wear!
Looking to see more information about each pattern featured in the book? Check out the books Ravelry page which incorporates links to each pattern.
by Heather Mastrangeli | Apr 6, 2016 | Knitting, Patterns
Browsing through the yarn aisle at Jo-Ann Fabrics, I came across Red Heart’s Scrubby yarn. What an awesome idea! The skein was on the smaller side, but the yardage looked good. I thought I could make some great little kitchen scrubby gifts and bought a couple colors to experiment with. I crocheted a cute little red square scrubby and was a little skeptical how well it would work. So that night after dinner, I gave it a try. My little scrubby just wasn’t doing the job. It felt flimsy in my hands and I had to fold it up to get it to take the grime off the pots. The scrubby got pushed to the side and the kitchen sponge came back out. I knew there had to be a better option.
The Coconut Scrubby Yarn and the Sugar ‘n Cream yarns complement each other well!
After some brainstorming, I bought a couple skeins of Lily Sugar ’n Cream yarn. Knowing that the crochet method didn’t give the right weave for the scrubby to be functional, I started to knit the Sugar ’n Cream and the Red Heart Scrubby held together to create a mitered square. Success! My fuzzy scrubby dish cloths are perfect for the kitchen!
The scrubby yarn is perfect for getting the grime off kitchen pots and dishes. The cotton yarn adds stability, giving the scrubby yarn a better feel in your hand. These two yarns complement each other nicely and are fun to work together.
The mitered square pattern creates an interesting pattern both visually and to knit.
I love the mitered square because it’s an easy pattern to memorize and the rows take less time as the project continues because you are decreasing two stitches every other row! There is a high satisfaction level when knitting these cute dish cloths, they make great gifts and are an easy project to travel with.
US 8 or 5mm straight knitting needles (These are my favorite!)
1 skein of Lily Sugar ’n Cream Cotton yarn (Over the Rainbow Ombre and Summer Prints shown)
1 skein of Red Heart Scrubby yarn (Coconut shown)
Yarn needle to weave in ends
This is what your knitting needle will look like once the Setup step is complete and before starting Row 1.
Setup: Holding both yarns held together, CO 30 stitches (I used a long tail cast on, but use your favorite method!)
Place a stitch marker 15 stitches in
Row 1: Knit 13 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 13 (28 Stitches)
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: Knit 12 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 12 (26 Stitches)
Row 4: Knit across
Row 5: Knit 11 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 11 (24 Stitches)
Row 6: Knit across
Row 7: Row 4: Knit 10 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 10 (22 Stitches)
Row 8: Knit across
Row 9: Knit 9 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 9 (20 Stitches)
Row 10: Knit across
Row 11: Row 6: Knit 8 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 8 (18 Stitches)
Row 12: Knit across
Row 13: Row 7: Knit 7 stitches,k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 7 (16 Stitches)
Row 14: Knit across
Row 15: Row 8: Knit 6 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 6 (14 Stitches)
Row 16: Knit across
Row 17: Knit 5 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 5 (12 Stitches)
Row 18: Knit across
Row 19: Knit 4 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 4 (10 Stitches)
Row 20: Knit across
Row 21: Knit 3 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 3 (8 Stitches)
Row 22: Knit across
Row 23: Knit 2 stitches, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 2 (6 Stitches)
Row 24: Knit across
Row 25: Knit 1 stitch, k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog, k 1 (4 Stitches)
Row 26: Knit across
Row 27: k2togtbl, slip marker, k2tog (2 Stitches)
Cut a long tail and using your tapestry needle, pul through both loops on the needle and tie off. Weave in ends and block.
There is no need to count rows! If the cast-on tail is on the right side of the work, knit across all stitches. If the cast-on tail is on the left side, then work the decreases using the stitch marker as a guide until there are 2 stitches left.
CO – Cast On
k2togtbl – Knit Two Together through the back loop
k2tog – Knit Two Together