Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Twine Flowers

I love these little cuties! Started out making a few for a wreath, and just couldn't stop! Found a few tutorials on how to make them, but had to tweak them a bit. These will be adorable on wreaths, hair clips, frames,  or packages. I've also seen them used to embellish cards.

Warning! This tutorial is VERY detailed, and wordy. Don't get overwhelmed, you should be able to follow the pictures.

Okay, so lets begin.

Cardboard (I used a cracker box)
Circle shape to trace or circle cutter
Pencil or pen
Ruler or straight edge
Hot glue
Stick pins (tip, have one pin marked differently than the rest - I used a black pin)
Masking tape
Bakers twine, sisal twine, hemp chord, ribbon, etc.
Large eye needle

To make the looms:
If you don't have a circle cutter, trace and cut two circles from the cardboard. I used two different size cups to trace circles, 2 3/4 inches and 3 1/2 inches. You need two circles the same size for each template. Using a straight edge, draw lines across the diameter intersecting in the center (or as close to the center as you can), creating pie pieces. I made six lines on each, to make eight petals.

Glue the matching circles together, in the center, with the piece with your lines facing out. 

Put a small dab of hot glue between the circles in the spaces between the lines. Place a pin between the pieces along each line with the head out about 1/2 an inch. If the pins seem loose (loose enough to slip out on their own), add glue between them. You want the pins to be secure, but easy enough to remove and re-insert. For added measure, place a piece of masking tape between the pins. My black pin becomes my starting pin (pin 1) and reference point.

To make the flowers:
Begin with the end of the twine held to center of the template, with about an two inches of extra twine beyond.  You will use this to tie off the finished end. (In this pic, I didn't have a long enough tail, so make yours longer than shown).

Wrap the twine around pin 1 and straight down and around the opposite pin. 

Bring it back up and around pin 2 - to the left of 1.

Down to its opposite pin and back up to pin 3 to the left of 2. Repeat. Once you go completely around, you will have two loops of twine on each pin. Go half way around again, so you have three loops on each pin. 

Cut the twine leaving about 20 inches of length. Thread it onto the needle. 

At this point, you'll need to slide your finger or yarn needle between the petals, pushing the twine toward the center of the loom, so your flower center will be small. This will also define your petals.

Take the needle and insert it behind the right side of the loops on the pin opposite where you stopped making loops (should be the pin to the right of pin 1). 

Pull the chord out on the left side of those loops and pull tight. 

Insert it, again, behind the right side of the same set of loops and across behind the set of loops to the left of the first. 

Pull tight and repeat around until the end. 

When you reach the last set of loops, only insert it behind that set and stop and hold the chord tight. If you find the loops look uneven, adjust the stitches you just made up or down as needed, and loosen or tighten the stitches also as needed. You have secured the petals. Now you need to secure the center.

Insert the needle between the two petals across from and one petal to the right of where you finished securing the petals and under all of the strands of twine across the center to the opposite side. Pull tight. Insert again, across and one petal to the right of where it came out. Repeat until you have "sewn" between each petal (six stitches total).

 Now make a couple of stitches into the middle of the center 

Tie the end to the starting end to secure and cut the ends, but leave at least a quarter inch of length.

Remove the pins from the template to remove the flower.

Fluff the petals.

You can now use it as is or attach a button to the center. 

Or bling, as I did with the hair ribbon.

I'd love to know how you might use these! I can't wait to add mine to so many things!

These will be on my Christmas Gifts this year!!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Seed Stitch Washcloths

During our loooonnnggg drive to and home from Colorado a couple of weeks ago, I had plenty of time to work on my next afghan - which I can't show you for a while :( But, I needed a break from it at times and decided to work up these quick little washcloths. They are perfect additions to some Bath and Body Works gifts I am giving soon. Just a little personal touch.

These use the seed stitch, which I fell in love with a few months ago. Found it on Pinterest. I am so very basic in what crochet stitches I know. For years, I stuck to the single, double, half-double, and triple stitches. The most I varied, was to combine the stitches, alternating rows. I thought that was it, unless I wanted to try filet crochet. Filet crochet intimidates me, so I didn't venture past the basic stuff. I am getting a little more adventurous. My tunisian crochet Valentine's Wreath was a first step. I also enjoyed making broomstick lace afghans, many years ago. So, I think I am ready to try some different stitches. Starting with the Seed Stitch.

Pattern Breakdown:
You will basically interchange the single and double crochet stitches. Determine the width you want your finished project to be (minus any trim or edging you want to add, rounded edging adds 2/3 inch and double crochet edging adds 1 1/2 inches) and chain an even number to that width, plus one turning chain. Then, in the second stitch from the end, start with a single crochet, followed by a double crochet. Repeat single, then double, across. You will finish with a double crochet. Chain one turning stitch, then turn and repeat the same process to end. I didn't count my rows (sorry), but if you want a square, then, as you work, simply fold the piece diagonally, corner to corner until coordinating sides meet evenly. I used the same trim as in the Color Block Afghan on the bright colored cloth, then just a double crochet trim on the neutral one.

So simple, but looks so cool! 

Here is the pattern I came up with.

Peaches & Creme or Sugar & Creme (1 skein makes one washcloth)
H hook for tight stitches (bright cloth), I hook for looser stitches (neutral cloth)
Large yarn needle to weave in ends

ch - chain
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
sl - slip stitch

H hook (I hook)
Ch 31 (29). Turn, or create foundation row. Row 1: In second stitch from the end *sc, dc in next chain*. Repeat between *s across to end (should finish with a dc in last stitch), ch 1 for turning stitch. Turn and repeat row 1 to end (the length you desire). Do not finish off.

Rounded Edging: You will begin trim along the side of the washcloth. Place stitches along side in approximately the same spacing as you would if there was a chain to stitch into. Chain 2, sl into same stitch, ch 1, dc in first stitch along the side, sl into same stitch, ch 1 (this will be repeated on each corner). [*Dc, sl, ch1*. Repeat between *s along the side to last stitch, then place both the dc and sl in the last stitch, then ch 1, and repeat in the first stitch of the next side]. Repeat between [] to last corner. Complete the last stitch the same as all sides, sl into top of ch 2, and finish off. Weave in ends.

Double-Crochet Edging: Ch 2, [dc length of side. Place 2 dc in last stitch and 2 dc in first stitch of next side.] Repeat between [] around. Sl into ch 2, finish off. Weave in ends.

The washcloth will shrink about half an inch or more all the way around.

These are fun to make and a cute addition to your guest bath decor. Be sure to add them to your next housewarming gift or Bath and Body Works gift like I did.