Friday, February 10, 2012

Crochet for Kids

by Kelly

I know that Steph has been trying to teach her little girl how to crochet. Unfortunately, Steph is a righty and her daughter is a lefty, so that makes things a little tricky.

But that started me thinking about what kind of things a little girl would like to make. Well, doll clothes spring to mind, of course. But what else?

Luckily there are quite a few sources for this kind of thing. The Crochet Guild of America is a great place to start - they have a prepared list of free teaching materials and ideas.

eHow  also has a great tutorial showing how to get started, along with links to easy patterns and projects and even a printable 'graduation' certificate from the Yarn Council of America. 

But where to go for patterns?  This is a bit of a grey area for free pattern sites. Projects that kids could make themselves are mixed in with things like toys and clothes that are sized for children. 
Lion Brand Yarn has a couple of pages of free patterns. Sometimes Lion Brand requires a sign in, but these particular patterns seem to be readily available. Yes, there are some complicated amigurumi patterns that would make suitable  toys for kids, but there are also great small projects, including a doll afghan and a Harry Potter scarf bookmark.

Image of Doll Afghan
Lion Brand Yarn

For less of a mixed bag of patterns, it might be better to look for a book. And where are lots of books to be found? Why,,  of course!

Kids Crochet: Projects for Kids of All Ages

Patterns in this book range from a cupcake shaped pincushion to a sweater with a hood. Stitches are limited to single crochet, with increases and decreases, so as not to discourage kids with too much of a learning curve. Personally, I haven't even made a sweater yet, but have mastered more than single crochet. Maybe I'm not pushing myself enough.

Of course, trying to find patterns that boys would like to crochet is a whole other problem. There are sports hats and  Hacky Sacks, (do kids still play with those??), but not much variety. But the Internet is a big place, so there may be something out there that I missed.

Meanwhile, how about something fun for both girls and boys - a kids playground in Japan, made entirely with crochet? I think this is still installed at the Hakone Open Air Museum, which sounds like a cool place in it's own right.

Crochet Today

Pretty amazing, right? But I have to say that I would hate to be the one keeping that place clean. That sounds like an art in itself. I'm picturing a really big vacuum cleaner...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Things in the Shop

by Donna

Congratulations to Kimberley R. for winning our giveaway. I couldn't believe all the comments we received and I hope all of you continue to monitor our blog and make comments on our posts. We certainly got lots of new ideas to make for our shop. To start, I have made a pair of fingerless gloves and they are now listed in our shop. Here is a picture of them. I used a free pattern from this site. I really love the way they look. The only thing I would do differently if I made them again would be to add a couple more rows to them to make them a little longer.

I also listed this chenille scarf. I have never worked with chenille. The yarn looks like it is made with a lot of fibers on a string. I found that you have to be careful with the yarn. If you have to take stitches apart the fibers separate and often the stitches knot and you can't get them apart without breaking the yarn. I couldn't get my foundation chain the correct length and when I tried to take it apart, fibers knotted up and I had to cut the yarn off and start again. I will use chenille again but I learned something.

The finished scarf is made from the pattern at this site. It is very warm and pretty and I love the bumpy popcorn detail down the middle of the scarf.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hooray, Crochet Giveaway Winner

by Kelly has spoken, and we have a winner! Congratulations, Kimberley R!

While we're waiting for Kimberley to email us, we'd like to thank all who participated for the wonderful and thoughtful comments. We've had a great time reading your suggestions, and all of us have been inspired.

I'd also like to thank all those who advertised our giveaway, including CraftGossip and Contestgirl. You helped us reach an audience all over the world, from Spain and Belgium to Serbia. When I was a kid, I always loved getting postcards from my brother who was travelling in Europe, and I still get a kick out of hearing from far away places.

In the future for us are embroidered baby items, fingerless gloves and mitts, some brightly  colored amigurumi animals, afghans and totes, and much, much more. We've even discussed the possibility of making up kits for beginners and kids, which would include a very simple pattern, yarn, a hook or set of knitting needles, and a sample. Putting the kits together might even reduce Donna's yarn stash...or maybe not, but it's worth a try!

I have a long list of new projects to work on, so I'm going to stop typing and pick up my embroidery needle and floss. Congrats, Kimberly! We'll be waiting to hear from you.

Update - Kim has contacted us, so the giveaway is now officially over. It's been a lot of fun, so we'll probably have another one in due time. Meanwhile, we hope you'll visit us occasionally to see what we're up to and give us your thoughts and suggestions on our projects.  Thanks again!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Year of the Dragon

by Kelly

Chinese New Year has come and gone, and this is officially The Year of the Dragon. I have been trying to find a sewing pattern for a plush dragon without much luck, but I did stumble across some interesting things along the way...

First, there's this adorable little guy from All About Ami. Look at those ears/wings! Aww!

All About Ami

Then there's this more traditional European version from LucyRavenscar.

LucyRanvenscar shop

Also available on her site is a free pattern for a wee knight to do battle with the fierce crochet dragon:

But to be more true to the chinese style of dragon, this knitting pattern can't be beat:

Ellen's Whimsical Wonders

 This pattern is supposed to be intermediate level, using both knitting and crochet techniques.  Hmmm.... sounds like an interesting challenge.
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