Tag Archives: crochet

Fast Finishes for Fixing Flaws

It’s down to the wire: Christmas is right around the corner, and you have finished or nearly finished your handmade gifts. The problem? You aren’t 100% satisfied with how it looks.

Here are 3 different finishing techniques that you can pull right out of your hat to turn those projects from flawed to fabulous! 

Finish #1: Crochet bind off for knitting project.

This finish is good to use when you don’t have enough time to do a full knitted bind off. By slipping a few stitches at a time onto a crochet hook, and then using your working yarn to yarnover, and bring through two loops, and continue across until you have fully bound off (check out this tutorial video to view this technique in action!). This bind off is just as stretchy, if not more, than a traditional knitted bind off.

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Finish #2: Single crochet border on a woven project.

Sometimes your selvedge edges aren’t even, and they look lumpy, loose, or down-right funky. By using one of the yarns in your project, you can single crochet a border on any selvedge edge to hide the mistakes. This can be a great idea for plaid or other colorwork scarves that require the yarn to travel up the side of the work. If you don’t know how to crochet, follow these simple steps  to master single crochet.

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish 3: Just add Fringe.

Most crocheters know that single crochet has a tendency to curl along the edges, and that can be annoying – but other crafts aren’t immune to this problem!

Got curls? Tame those curly edges on your handmade projects by adding fringe!

To help prevent that, add fringe. You can speed up the process of making fringe by taking a book (preferably hard cover) that has a larger front and back cover than its pages. Wind your yarn around the book, until you have 2 times the number of wraps than you have stitches to attach fringe to.

Making fringe is easy with this clever hack on the Woolery blog!

Cut the fringe using one of the gaps create by the space between the cover and the pages, then start attaching fringe to your piece. Insert your hook into the stitch, take two pieces of fringe yarn and pull a loop through the stitch, then yarnover with the fringe yarn and pull through the loop. Pull snug. As you attach the fringe to both edges, the fabric will want to curl less!

Attaching fringe to a project using a crochet hook. Find more finishing tips on the Woolery blog.

Fringe is fabulous! Find out how to add fringe to any project easily on the Woolery blog.

Now you’re ready to finish all of those holiday gift projects with ease, giving you more time for R&R once Christmas rolls around!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

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Share Your Crafts With Those In Need!

The holiday season is a wonderful time to use your fiber arts skills to help those in need. As temperatures drop in many parts of the country, warm winter woolens can be in high demand. Perhaps you have been accruing a pile of mittens, scarves, hats or even blankets that are looking for a good home, or you have finished all of your gift-making and are looking for a new project to start. Here are some tips for using your knitting, crocheting and weaving skills to help others this winter.

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Tip #1: Do your research.

Most charitable organizations have a list of requirements for donations – for handmade items, they may stipulate that all items must be machine washable or contain a certain fiber content, for example. Some charities will only accept certain items or have other regulations that they must uphold, so it’s best to check their website or contact them via email to find out what they are most in need of.

Tip #2: Think Local.

Contact local homeless shelters, animal shelters, churches, and other community-based organizations to see if they need help – not only will your donations directly impact your community, but you will save money on shipping (which means you can buy more supplies for making more items to donate!). Allfreeknitting.com has a list of resources here and you can also check out Crochet.org’s resource list here to help get you started.

Tips for donating handmade items to charity this holiday season - click to read more on the Woolery blog.

Tip #3: Think Outside the Box.

In some areas, good samaritans have been placing scarves, hats and even coats in public areas with notes stating that they are intended for those in need. While many of these donations are store bought, there are many yarn crafters who are sharing their gifts (and there is even an official movement of called Chase the Chill which has locally-based chapters throughout the globe). Even if you don’t have a local chapter, you could just as easily employ this approach on your own!

Tip #4: Consider a Monetary Donation. 

Many organizations have limited space, and while the thought behind donating a handmade item is wonderful, it could have an adverse effect but straining other resources. Consider making a monetary donation instead; you could even sell your handmade goods and use the proceeds to fund your donation.

If you have any suggestions you don’t see here or favorite charity where you donate your handmade items, we’d love to hear about it – leave a comment on your post to share your thoughts with us!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

 

Who’s Worthy of a Handmade Gift?

It’s that time of year when friends, family, and sometimes even acquaintances might start hinting that they would like (or perhaps even expect) a handmade gift under the tree. Sure, they see you spinning, weaving, hooking or knitting, and they might have some idea of all the time and effort such a request entails – but are they truly worthy of a handmade gift? We’ve created a handy flow chart to take the guesswork out of this process for you so that you can enjoy your fall and winter crafting stress-free:

WooleryGiftGuide_FinalV2

Click image to view full size!

Be sure to pin and share with your crafty friends, or click here to download a printable PDF version to keep handy!

Project Inspiration: Holiday Gifts

On today’s post, we’d like to share some great gift ideas to knit, crochet, or weave this holiday season. Handmade gifts are a heartfelt way to show someone you care, and there are plenty of quick and easy projects you can make with yarn from your stash. Below are a few of our favorite stashbuster project ideas, all of which are available as free patterns – enjoy!

DestashScarf

This pretty scarf can be woven on a Rigid Heddle loom using lots of different yarns to add visual interest and texture! Click here for free pattern at Woolery.com.

Finished!

From our blog archives, you may remember Benjamin Krudwig’s excellent tutorial on weaving a Stashbuster Lunchbag.

zoomloom

Schacht has many free patterns to make holiday ornaments and other fun projects using squares from their portable & user friendly Zoom Loom. Click here to access these free patterns (and more!) on the Woolery website.

sockheadhat
Kelly McClure’s Sockhead Hat is a great unisex knitting pattern to take care of everyone on your list. This basic hat looks great knit up in solid, semi-solid, and variegated yarns, so if you happen to have quite a bit of sock yarn in your stash, this is a great way to put those skeins to use!

colormatic

Michelle Hunter’s Colormatic Cowl is shown here using 4 colors of worsted weight yarn, but it would be quite easy to get creative with leftover bits to knit a more colorful version!

grannystripe1_medium2

Normally we wouldn’t recommend starting an afghan gift project so late in the game, but the Stashbuster Granny Stripe Afghan by The Stitchin’ Mommy can be whipped up in a jiffy using your leftover worsted weight yarn!

Professional Photograph

Hook up a hat in a hurry with Liz McQueen’s adorable Brain Waves Beanie. This crocheted hat is available in sizes ranging from child to adult and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

For more great project ideas, check out our Quick Gift Ideas board on Pinterest.

Happy Holidays!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

3 Unusual Materials To Use For Your Next Craft Project

Image © Homestead Weaver Blog

Image © Homestead Weaver Blog

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but sometimes it’s fun to try something new just because. This month, we’re exploring ways to think outside the box, no matter which craft you prefer! While commercially-available yarns and fibers are always a wonderful choice due to their plentiful supply and ease of use, perhaps it’s time to shake up your usual routine with these three unique materials you most likely already have lying around the house!

  1.  Plastic Bags: Plastic bags kind of have a bad rap; many cities have voted to ban them completely, and it’s true that they can cause quite a problem for wildlife and vegetation if they are improperly disposed of instead of being recycled. However, this clever tutorial shows just how easy it is to turn an ordinary plastic bag into a ball of “yarn” ready to be woven, crocheted, or knitted. A rug made from plastic bags can not only be chic, but it’s a wonderfully waterproof way to greet visitors at your front door! Click here to see more examples of rugs which are woven out of plastic bags.
  2. T-Shirts: Breathe new life into old t-shirts by converting them into a long continuous strip of fabric which can then be woven, crocheted or knitted into a variety of useful items! Rugs, baskets, and more will look just dandy in those colorful tees you no longer wear. Here are a few free project ideas to get you started: Knit T-Shirt RugBraided T-Shirt Rug, Crochet T-Shirt Basket.

    Image © Callaloo Soup

    Image © Callaloo Soup

  3. Newspaper: This one even took us by surprise, but newspaper can be spun into some rather striking yarn! We first came across this idea here on the Resourceful Nomad blog. While it does take quite a bit of time and patience (click here for a step-by-step photo tutorial), the resulting yarn is pretty nifty. From there, it can be integrated into a weaving project (click here for some inspirational ideas), used to knit or crochet a variety of objects (click here to see a crocheted paper necklace on the FreshStitches blog), or just put on display because it looks so lovely on the bobbin!

    Image © Green Upgrader Blog

    Image © Green Upgrader Blog

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

Handmade Holidays

The Christmas Countdown is on! For crafters who enjoy making handmade gifts for loved ones, this can be a busy time of year. Quite often, we have the best of intentions to start our holiday crafting early, but sometimes, a last-minute craft crunch simply can’t be avoided!

Let the Woolery come to the rescue this year! We have plenty of thoughtful gift ideas which are quick to knit, crochet, and weave to keep everyone on your list happy!

Gifts to Knit

rikkeThe popular Rikke Hat by Sarah Young is a simple, unisex beanie that knits up quick in DK weight yarn. It’s available for free here on Ravelry!

leafwashclothWashcloths are certainly useful gifts, but they aren’t always fun to knit again and again. Megan Goodacre’s Leafy Washcloth is a fun, free pattern you’ll enjoy making each time! Click here for the free pattern on the Tricksy Knitter blog.

Image © Jane Richmond

Image © Jane Richmond

A chunky-weight cowl will fly off the needles, and Jane Richmond’s Marian is a mock-mobius which can be worn in a variety of ways. This design would look fabulous knit up in handspun yarn, too! It’s available for free here on Ravelry.

Gifts to Crochet

SONY DSCThe Triangle Christmas Tree ornaments by Sarah Freeman are a cinch to make! Based on the traditional granny square motif, they will stitch up quickly and are great for detashing. Click here for links to the free pattern and video tutorial on the Ravelry pattern page.

urbanslouchIt’s always good to have a few hats on hand for last-minute gift emergencies, and this unisex design is a great choice which is easy to customize. The Urban Slouchy Beanie is available for free here on the Little Things Blogged blog.

stripyStripy Mitts by Sandra Paul are a colorful gift to make for the style maven on your list! This pattern is available for free and is a great way to use up leftover yarns in your stash, too.

Gifts to Weave
When it comes to speedy weaving , Schacht’s portable Zoom Loom is bar none. We have plenty of free patterns (courtesy of Schacht) to put those woven squares to work this year – click here to view them all! Below are a few of our favorite projects for woven tree ornaments which use just 1 or 2 Zoom Loom squares – click each image below to view pattern instructions!

Evergreen Dream

Evergreen Dream

Santa Sock

Santa Sock

Snow Bird

Snow Bird

To add a festive touch, why not embellish your ornaments with sequins, beads, or needle-felted fiber designs? Let your creativity flow as you put your own unique touches on your Zoom Loom projects!

2014 Fiber Toys of Christmas

FT14BANNER

Our annual holiday promotion, the 12 Fiber Toys of Christmas, is in full swing! Each Friday, we feature a favorite fiber toy with a special deal and a chance to win that particular toy (tool). Weekly specials and giveaways will be posted on our Facebook pageTwitter feed, and it will also be included in our newsletter.

These are weekly specials which expire every Friday (when the new one starts), so be sure to check the links above so you don’t miss out!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

 

Guest Post: Cotton Crazy with Arlene Thayer of Spin Artiste

cottonsingle1(1)What a perfect month it is to start talking about hand spinning cotton!  After a very long and cold winter, I’m definitely in the mood to work with fibers that are lighter and cooler.

But, one thing that has intrigued me for a long time is working with cotton in a non-traditional way.  And this goes back a few years to when I was taking a two day cotton spinning class with a very well known teacher who specializes in cotton spinning.  I showed up with my beautiful wheel that is perfect for spinning the types of textured, artistic yarns I prefer only to find that the ratios on my set up were not going to work for the class.  I tried the wheel for awhile that day and struggled to produce beautiful thin yarns using the long draw method of drafting the fiber.  Half way through the day, I was switched over to a loaner wheel with higher ratios.  Oh, the joy of getting adjusted to a wheel that you are not used to while trying to learn something new!  Nonetheless, the higher ratios of course worked out better.

On the second day, while there was a little time, I started “goofing off” and doing the types of things I normally do when I spin.  I took some of the overtwisted, unevenly drafted yarns from the previous day and made some coiled yarns.  Both the teacher and the other students were keenly interested and I thought, “hmmm…this is worth exploring.”  I made my way through the rest of the class, following the directions and producing the types of yarns we were instructed to produce, but of course, my mind had bookmarked to come back to using cotton in a non-traditional way.

Now, in coming back to this idea, I’ve been doing some free form weaving recently and one of the things that is really nice to have available is small yardages in interesting textures.  I revisited my classroom clowning and have been working with core spinning cotton.

There are some very nice aspects to working with cotton.  Consider the following:

  • It doesn’t felt.  Dyeing cotton is relaxing because there is no worrying about “manhandling it” and ending up with a felted mess.
  • It allows for a different type of manipulation when handling the fibers.
  • It’s naturally next-to-skin soft.
  • Allergy issues are much less likely with cotton.
  • It’s vegan!

For this blog post about cotton, I’m going talk about a bulky cotton yarn I spun recently.  Yes, I said “bulky”.  While we tend to spin thin cotton yarns, and they are lovely, I’m going to offer you an option to mix things up.

cottonmaterials

Here are my materials which included some cotton punis I made, commercial mohair yarn, and gold thread.  I selected each material for the following reasons:

  • Some punis – since the punis already have a little bit of twist, I knew I could pull the fiber from the end and easily draft onto my core.
  • Commercial mohair – I like to core spin with this material.  It grabs fiber well and is light and strong.
  • Gold thread – AKA “the evil gold thread” – this is fussy and temperamental in nature but it looks really good.  This thread is almost like a fine grade wire so it adds some stability as well as a touch of flash.  Since I was using light and natural colors, I wanted to add a little something extra.

To make the corespun single:  I tied on my core and auto wrap as you normally would and started spinning a little then started drafting off of the puni, gently and a little bit at a time and let it encase my core. (if you are new to core spinning, auto wrapping or navajo plying, check out the videos on my website, www.spinartiste.com).   Doing this with cotton is not a lot different than working with wool.  You have to watch it a bit more closely because the staple is short and if you don’t draft carefully, you will have puffs and bald patches!

cottonspinning

For the auto wrapping, again, you won’t need to make any special adjustments.  I set my cone of thread (it comes off better from the cone) between myself and the wheel to the left of my left knee.  If you want your autowrap (as I do) to look like it’s sort of lazily looping along your yarn and not a tight barber poled angle, you need to get the wrap source in front of your hands and rather close to the wheel.

The resulting single was somewhat overtwisted which is what is needed for the next step.

For the Chain or Navajo ply:  After removing the single bobbin off the wheel, I popped on a fresh bobbin, tied on my single and began to chain ply in the opposite direction in which I spun my single. When performing this technique, personally, I like to go slowly so that I can work with and control the twist.  Also, you have to be conscious of how big you are making the loops that you are chaining through because each time you create a loop, you will have a little hump there which takes away from the three ply look you will get from this technique.

nply

Finished yarn:   My resulting yarn is bulky and balanced and has a fun and pretty texture and look.

Cotton yarn

While I created the yarn with the intention of weaving it into a project, I could not resist getting out a large crochet hook because this type of yarn looks so fantastic crocheted.

cottoncrochet

So, there you have it!  Not only a bulky cotton yarn but a cotton yarn that does not require long draw practice!!

Spin Artiste CVArlene Thayer combines her passion for fiber and love of writing as the Publisher of www.spinartiste.com and Chief Co-Creator at www.fiberygoodness.com. As an artist, Arlene is very attracted to color and texture and prefers things on the funky side:  bold, bright, and wild.  At the same time, Arlene has a deep respect and fascination for tradition and traditional methods.  She lives in beautiful south central Pennsylvania with her beloved husband and Maine Coon cat…and a lot of fiber!