I recently had the idea to write about the craft projects I’m working on – not just to show them off, but for other reasons as well. I’m thinking sharing what I’m working on might help keep me accountable, and remind me “hey, I should probably finish these things at some point”. Plus, it’ll be good to see the progress I’ve made on some projects – like the Hue Shift blanket, which is slowly but surely getting bigger. I don’t think I’ll make this a monthly series, but I do want to make a post like this semi-regularly – so we’ll see how well this works out.
It’s the holiday season — a time when many of us have some time off from work, school, or other obligations. And if any of you are like me, you’ll want to spend that spare time crafting, so I’ve pulled together a collection of five free (and in many cases, easy) craft patterns to keep you busy with during the holidays!
The World’s Simplest Mittens by Tin Can Knits
If you’re looking for a way to keep your hands warm this winter, and have never tried knitting mittens, check out this pattern from Tin Can Knits! With sizes from toddler to adult, you can make mittens for just about anyone.
Here’s another free and simple knitting project — this one’s actually been in my queue on Ravelry for quite some time. And come on, what Harry Potter fan wouldn’t want to make these simple socks inspired by Hermione? You could even try making them in Gryffindor red and gold, too.
I love this pattern — in fact, I love it so much I’ve made two of these shawls. This pattern works especially well with yarn that has a slow color change to it, like the Lion Brand Shawl in a Cake yarns, as it results in a really pretty striping pattern. The shawl works up quickly, and the rhythmic pattern is somewhat soothing to do. If you’re looking for a quick and simple shawl to make, this one’s for you.
So, remember the Hue Shift afghan I started a month or two ago?
I ended up starting it over again, and I blame KnitPicks and their holiday sales.
If you remember from my previous post on this blanket, due to me being impatient and wanting to start the project right away, I went to Michaels and bought yarn that was as close as I could get to the colors used in the pattern. And they were definitely pretty colors, but not quite what the pattern called for.
I was knitting along, making alright progress with these colors, when I saw an ad for KnitPicks in my Facebook feed mentioning that all pattern kits were half off that day. My curiosity got the better of me, and I went to see just how much the Hue Shift kit cost – and when I saw it was right around $20, I caved in and bought it, and figured “what the heck, I’ll just start it over again with the right colors this time.”
I will say, take two of the Hue Shift afghan is going to be a bit smaller, since the yarn KnitPicks put in the kit is sport weight instead of worsted weight, but that’s okay. I’m really pleased with how the afghan is turning out, and the Brava Sport yarn is so much softer than the yarn I was using from Michaels.
You might be wondering, though, what I’m going to do with the yarn I bought previously. Well, I’m one step ahead of you there – over Thanksgiving, I cranked out a new blanket for my desk with most of the yarn from the original Hue Shift yarn batch.
This was pretty simple to work up – I just used two strands of yarn and an L hook, and the stitch is a double crochet. I switched out one of the colors every 4 rows, which let me blend the colors together a little bit instead of having stripes of a single color. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I’ve got enough yarn left to make a smaller lap blanket, too.
After I finish the Hue Shift afghan, I think I’m done with making blankets for a while. I have way too many blankets already, between crocheting and quilting, but I figure one knit blanket to add to the pile can’t hurt, can it? 🙂
I’ve been wanting to make a Hue Shift afghan for years. Many, many years. Before I got back into knitting and started getting better at it, I was a little intimidated by the mitered squares, and also by the prospect of knitting an entire blanket. I’ve never knit a blanket before, and the Hue Shift afghan looked like it’d be a heck of an undertaking.
However, last week, I went and bought the pattern and headed over to Michaels to find the closest colors I could to what Knit Picks called for in the pattern. I think I came pretty close, but some of them are a little different — and that’s okay. I want to make this blanket my own, since there are so very many other Hue Shifts out there. Why not try to be a little unique?
I just started the fifth mitered square – only 95 more to go, haha. I was originally thinking “hey, if I crank out a square a day, I could have this blanket done in 100 days!” But I know me too well. You folks know me too well. If I try to crank out the blanket on a deadline, it’ll end up taking me three years.
Instead, I’ll work on it at whatever pace I can manage (and try not to give myself repetitive stress injuries in the process!), and post some updates on its progress from time to time. I want to enjoy making this blanket, instead of feeling guilty about it like I did with the Woodland Blanket. I’ve been wanting to make this blanket for so long, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Well, it only took me six months instead of the two that the Woodland Blanket crochet-a-long was originally planned to last, but I finally finished!
I’ll admit, some of why it took so long to finish was because I kept getting distracted by other projects. Which happens a lot to me, and which is why I’ve got piles of unfinished stuff all over the house. (From what I can think of off the top of my head, I’ve got two unfinished cardigans, two unfinished pairs of socks, one shawl I’m actively knitting, one I’ve got stashed in a box until I feel like working on it again, a third that’ll be the focus of a blog post next week, and a pile of stuff in the “Corner of Shame” that will probably never get done.) And the more I let the Woodland Blanket sit forlornly in my craft basket, the guiltier I felt about not finishing it, especially with so many other projects I wanted to do. And I only had 8 stripes and the border left to do. So I sat down one weekend and cranked it out.
It’s not a hard blanket to do at all, especially once you get the hang of translating UK crochet terminology. The wave pattern is soothing and rhythmic to work on, and I absolutely love the colors. The whole blanket looks fantastic, and I’m glad I resisted the temptation to just stop a few rows short from the end and call it done. It’s the first big thing I’ve finished in a while, and I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it.
Recently, I finally got brave enough to try making the Wingspan Shawl – while I’ve been knitting for… gosh, nearly 25 years, I’ve never really been confident in my skills beyond the the garter stitch until recently. Now that I’ve made a number of pair of socks, though, I figured I could finally tackle the Wingspan Shawl. I’ve been wanting to try it for years, and so I decided to try my hand at it with some yarn I picked up at a trunk show recently. (It’s Blackberry Brambles by Oink Pigments, for those curious!)
Once I got into the swing of things, I found out I really love working this pattern – it’s just interesting enough to keep me from getting bored, but simple enough that I can work it while watching TV. I chugged through quite a bit of this wingspan shawl, but then encountered a problem: I ran out of yarn.
While I was working on the Blackberry Brambles wingspan, though, I had an idea: I could make a Toothless-inspired wingspan shawl, with most of the shawl being black and the last two panels being red, like Toothless’s tail.
So while I waited for my next skein of Blackberry Brambles to get here from Oink Pigments, I went to Jo-Ann’s and snagged some red and black yarn and whipped up this awesome little shawlette:
It’s not quite finished, yet – I want to add the dragon insignia that’s on Toothless’s tail fin, but that’ll involve another trip out to the craft store for some felt. Once I’ve got that added, I’ll share the finished product with you all, as well as the template I create for the dragon insignia and instructions for how to add it to your own wingspan shawl!
Well, the Woodland Blanket crochet-a-long I posted about a little while ago came to a close a few weeks ago. How’s my blanket looking, you ask?
Well, even though the crochet-a-long wrapped up recently, I’m still 11 or 12 stripes away from finishing the blanket. I managed to keep up with the rest of the group pretty well for the first month or so, and then my ADHD caught up with me and my brain said “hey, let’s find something else to work on, we’ve worked on this blanket for like a month straight, so let’s do something new and exciting!”
So I started a pair of socks.
And then I dug out a cardigan that I’d started a few years ago and hadn’t finished yet.
And then I decided to go back to another pair of socks I was working on and do some work on those.
And then I felt guilty about not working on the blanket and went back to working on that for a little bit, but then got distracted by socks again. I know I’ll finish that blanket soon – I keep telling myself that I’ll finish it after I finish the socks with the zigzag pattern, that I won’t start any more projects until I get some others finished. Will I actually be able to stick to that, though? Who knows.
Anyhow, I’ll post about the blanket when I get it finished, I promise. And I will get that finished. I’m determined.
Did you folks know I’ve never, ever done a crochet-a-long before? Ever?
Well, that changed at the beginning of January – and I’m having a lot of fun with it. For those curious, I’m taking part in the Woodland Blanket Crochet-a-Long, led by Lucy of Attic24. Kasi suggested we do the crochet-a-long together, and so we bought the yarn in December and waited.
And on January 5th, the Woodland Blanket crochet-a-long started! And I did a first for me – I made a gauge swatch before jumping headlong into a blanket.
I was ridiculously excited that the gauge swatch turned out exactly as it should – and I jumped right in after that, and crocheted until my wrist hurt. It’s been a while since I crocheted anything, what with my recent obsession with sock making, hah, and my wrist was out of practice.
Steve’s been really enjoying me crocheting, too. A warm human, sitting still for hours while making a thing to snuggle under? Count him in.
And I’ll admit, instead of writing blog posts, I’ve been crocheting furiously and hanging out around the Facebook group for the crochet-a-long. There are so many pretty blankets being showed off there, and I love seeing all the different ways people are working with the colors and following their own path through the crochet-a-long. It’s almost addicting, working on the blanket and looking at others’ blankets as they’re in progress. The pattern for this blanket has a nice rhythm to it, and the colors we’ve all been working with the past few weeks are delightfully warm and have really brightened up the recent string of snow days I’ve had.
I’ll post about the blanket again closer to when it’s finished, so I don’t end up overwhelming everyone with blanket posts like I’ve been doing on Instagram. It’s been a great project to unwind with when I get home from work. Especially on days like today, when I had one of the least pleasant commutes home ever – I’m so tempted to hibernate until all the snow melts. Driving in snow is scary. Crocheting is not.
I can’t think of anything to write this week, so instead, I’ve lovingly curated a collection of ten free nerdy crafts for you all. (If my Facebook friends come through with cool post ideas, there may be a second post this week to make up for this one!) It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I figured, why not? So, here we go – seven nerdy free crafts!
Every crafter has one (or more) – a tool kit they use to crank out their projects. I’ve actually got a handful of little tool kits, for each of my main hobbies. As I was digging around in my most frequently used one, my knit/crochet kit, I thought “hey, why not show off what’s in your yarn craft kit? Someone might find it useful to see what you’ve got!” And this week’s blog post was born.
It’s a random assortment of goodies, but they all help me out while I craft! Here’s what I’ve got, top to bottom, leftish to right:
Knit Happy bag: I got this as part of a yarn swap years ago on Ravelry. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use it for back then, but now it serves me well as the bag that holds all the tools I use frequently.
Gauge counter: I’ve had this ever since I started crocheting, back in the early 2000s, but never really used it until recently. It’s been helpful as I try to figure out the gauge for my projects!
Yarn cutter: I love this. It’s way easier than carrying a pair of scissors around, and is far more likely to be travel friendly than most scissors. Plus, it’s fun having what my friend J calls a “yarn shuriken”, heehee.
Buttons: you never know when you’ll need a button. This heart one was originally destined for a skirt I made years ago, then I almost put it on a sweater I made recently, and now it’s hanging out in my craft bag.
Measuring tape: This is helpful for so many reasons – measure the length of a tube sock, measure around a coffee mug for a cozy, measure myself to make sure an object will fit. It’s great to have.
Hairclip: This little guy serves multiple purposes. It can be used to hold two sides of a project together for seaming, as an impromptu stitch counter, and it can also keep your hair out of your eyes if it’s getting obnoxious while you work. 😛
Needle point protectors: You have no idea how many times I’ve tossed a knit project into my bag, only to find that it’s slid off my needles by the time I’ve gotten to my destination. These things are a lifesaver – and a project saver.
Yarn needles and needle holder: Most projects I make are going to need to be sewn together at some point. Having needles on hand is good – and having them all collected into one place is better.
Itty-bitty circular needles: Honestly, I think the only reason these are in here is so I don’t lose them elsewhere. I’ve used them for making socks, but they’re not all that comfortable to work with, since they’re so wee.
Tin full of stitch markers: Self-explanatory. Stitch markers are always needed. I’m actually going to have to reload this with some more, as stitch markers tend to disappear easily.
Foldable scissors: Yeah, I’ve got the yarn shuriken, but sometimes it’s nice to use actual scissors. They let me get a bit closer to a yarn project than the yarn cutter. Plus, these guys collapse, too.
Labels, sassy and non-sassy: I’ve got these for when I make really nice garments for myself or others. The sassy ones tend to find their way into my own clothes.
And that’s what I’ve got in my yarn tool kit! What do you all keep in your crafting kits?