Speaking to my fellow Americans — It’s almost July, and that means our July 4, 2019 celebration is coming up soon. Are you ready to take a day off to picnic, party, play and parade like the free-spirited, freedom-loving people that you are?
Maybe picnics and parties are your idea of fun — and maybe they aren’t. Maybe you find it just as enjoyable to relax with a lovely needlework project in hand…Sometimes I do. However you’ll choose to spend the day, here’s hoping your Fourth of July 2019 will be a spectacular one.
Pictured here: red, white and blue striped potholders that make glorious summertime crochet projects — not too time-consuming, and not too hot and heavy for afternoon craft sessions on the veranda.
If you knock out a few of these between now and the Fourth, you can bring ’em with you to whatever potlucks / parties / picnics you’ll be attending. Or maybe just place ’em on your picnic table so nobody burns their hands on the hot-off-the-barbecue dishes that will get passed around.
Some of y’all find holidays motivating; it’s always fun to tie your projects into whatever special day is coming up next. But the truth is, potholders like these are lovely to have on hand year-around. They make great accents for every patriotic holiday: Veteran’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day…and they work for everyday, non-holiday-days as well.
If any of you are outside the USA, you’re invited to make use of this pattern too. If red, white and blue is not the color scheme you have in mind, you are welcome to substitute any other colorway you please.
Do you ever get inspired to crochet or knit, just from looking at pretty materials? I often do. Case in point: I find these rag balls utterly charming. They make me want to pull out my hooks and needles and dive into creating some new projects.
I think these red, white and blue printed rag balls would be smashing if combined in the same project. This would be an ideal color combination for those of you who are fans of Americana designs or country-style decorating.
These colorful rag balls would also make up into charming projects for Fourth of July. I’m imagining sturdy placemats for the picnic table…coasters that look fab, plus protect the table from drippy, icy drinks…potholders to save your hands from those burning-hot-fresh-from-the-barbecue dishes you’ll want to be grilling up this summer…plus fashionable things too — bags, totes,jewelry and more.
Have you ever made a rag ball? Do you want to give it a try? If so, click here for free instructions. They aren’t hard to make at all, just time-consuming. However, it’s well worth the effort if you’re looking to try something a little different than yarn. Or also, if you have a bunch of no-longer-needed linens or textiles accumulating at your place, and you think you’d like to up-cycle them.
There are bunches of different things that you could use your rag balls for:
Pictured here: A guy-friendly crochet pattern book called Crochetterie by Molla Mills. If you’d like to try working some new patterns from an ultra-cool, up-to-date book, this is definitely a book you’ll want to consider owning. This book would also make a great gift for a dad who enjoys crocheting (or wants to learn how to crochet; the book includes helpful crochet instructions that are suitable for total beginners.)
Whatever you decide to make for dad or give him as a gift, here’s hoping he’ll love it.
I don’t think, technically, that sunflowers are spring flowers. As far as I know, in most places they bloom either in late summer or early fall. But that hardly matters to me, since looking at them puts me in a sunny, spring-y mood anyway. Their sunny yellow petals radiate warmth and beauty, and they’re lovely to look at any time of year.
While I haven’t seen any real sunflowers blooming in my neighborhood lately, I’m glad I can enjoy the crocheted version all year around.
Want to make some sunny sunflowers for “planting” in your own environment, or embellishing your craft projects?
According to my calendar, today — Wednesday, March 20, 2019 — is the first day of spring. You know what that means: Time for spring cleaning. Uggh.
I don’t much enjoy cleaning, although I sure love it when everything is clean. It’s hard to get motivated to start — but since I never need much prompting to get motivated to crochet, I thought I’d try making some projects that’ll help with the cleaning as well. Sometimes, it’s little things like soft, pretty dishcloths or innovative recycled scrubbies that can make all the difference in whether I ever actually motivate to clean anything.
Hey, whatever works, right?
Are you planning on doing any spring cleaning this year? If you’re going to get to work on it, you might as well have some cute crocheted dishcloths and fun crocheted scrubbies to make your tasks more pleasantenjoyable bearable. If you must clean, (and of course you eventually must, right?) please do help yourself to any of our patterns for knitting and crocheting these types of projects.
These circles are eye-catching, don’t you think? But because of all the colors, they look more complicated than they really are. I crocheted them using self-striping yarn, so I didn’t have to do anything special to make all those interesting color shifts happen. The yarn is responsible for most of the intricacy.
Those are all excellent projects, and they’re satisfying to make. But, if you’ve already made bunches of these sorts of items, why not challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone a little?
If you usually crochet with yarn, perhaps you could try shaking things up a little by attempting to crochet without yarn. This isn’t as preposterous as it sounds; by now, maybe you’ve even noticed that the bracelet pictured is a) crocheted, and b) made without even so much as an inch of yarn. It’s one of the projects featured on our list of wire crochet jewelry patterns.
If you’re a die-hard yarn addict and you have no plans of changing that, no worries, there are plenty of other ways to challenge yourself.
Another possibility: Try a new knitting stitch or crochet stitch. This vintage bullion stitch is an unusual one that combines the Tunisian crochet technique with the bullion stitch you might already be familiar with.
There are many great resources for testing out new stitches. Some of my favorites include the following:
These are just a few of my favorite resources to work with when I want to find a knitting stitch or crochet stitch I haven’t worked with yet. These are also fantastic references for finding some great classic stitches; Alterknit Stitch Dictionary has some really cool Greek keys, and Melissa Leapman’s stitch dictionary has all the basic crochet stitches you might want to look up.
Or perhaps you could branch out and get started working a different sort of projects than the ones you usually make. There are infinite possibilities if you want to fire up your imagination and dream up some project ideas that would get you started in a different-than-usual direction.
So what do you think you’ll try next? I invite your comments, especially if you’re feeling inspired to branch out.
Exquisite finishing touches can make a big difference in distinguishing handcrafted items from their machine-made counterparts.
Fringe is a particularly luxurious finishing touch. It utilizes a great deal of material, and it takes time to maintain it well, so it isn’t for everyone — but if you are able to deal with those challenges, the results can be stunning.
There are a variety of ways to make fringe. If you’d like to finish off a knitting project, crochet project or other craft project using fringe, check out these free fringe patterns, instructions and tutorials, posted at ArtsWithCrafts.com. You’ll find bunches of different ideas to inspire you, including knit and crochet fringe plus fringes made in other craft techniques — suede fringe, beaded fringe and more.
Dress Up These Knitting or Crochet Projects With Fringe:
Scarves: Instead of weaving in your loose ends, incorporate them into knotted tassels or fringe. It’s a time-saver, plus it’s an eye-catching finishing touch.
Throws, Blankets and Afghans: It’s even more of a time-saver when you finish off multicolored blankets and throws using fringe instead of weaving the ends in.
Want to check out my absolute favorite no-end-weaving crochet blanket patterns featuring fringe? If so, take a look at Fair Isle to Crochet by Karen Ratto-Whooley. It’s an affordable pattern booklet featuring 5 different blankets for the whole family — baby blankets, kids’ blankets and full-sized blankets. They’re all colorful designs, but you don’t have to go bonkers weaving in ends, because you use all those ends to create gorgeous fringe that finishes off the blankets beautifully. I think the designer of these patterns is a genius!
Ponchos, Wraps and Shawls: Many knitted and crocheted ponchos just beg to be finished with fringe. Some casual wraps and shawls do, too. The fringe could also go dressy if done carefully; in moderation, beaded fringe is an option for elegant evening shawls. You just have to keep it simple on the beading, since beads are heavy and you don’t want your wrap weighing you down when you’re out on the town.
Purses and Bags: Finishing the lower edge of a bag or purse with fringe gives it a whole different look than you’d have without it. This is an especially interesting option for seamed bags, but there are other options as well. You can easily create an area for anchoring fringe to an un-seamed bag by adding a line of slip stitch in the spot you want your fringe to be; then you work the fringe into the ridge created by the slip stitches.
Fringe isn’t for everyone; if you’re seeking a unique way to finish off a knitted or crocheted item, you might wish to find just the right border, edging or trim that will complement it and make it look extra special.
Edgings for Blankets and Afghans: Borders and edgings are popular finishing touches for blankets and afghans. For projects like these, you usually want to choose an edging or border that includes instructions for turning a corner. Here are a few suggestions for those:
Edgings For Towels, Sheets and Pillowcases: It’s lovely to finish off the lower edges of a towel with a pretty trim or edging. For sheets, I usually only trim one edge. For pillowcases, I usually trim only the outer opening. For these sorts of edgings, I prefer to choose an edging design that does not include a corner. Here are a few suggestions:
These aren’t the only projects that can benefit from edgings. If a project has an edge, you could probably add an edging to it. You could add pretty lace edgings to the lower edges of pants that need lengthening. You could dress up the edges of ankle socks with pretty lace trim. You could even add trim to certain simple open tote bags (ones that don’t close with zippers, so there are upper edges to work with.) I’m sure you know of many other examples where trim would enhance the project significantly.
The pictures above show you just a few of the free trim and edging patterns available online. To see many more possibilities, be sure to visit our page of free knit and crochet edging patterns.
Sandi Rosner’s lovely book called 21 Crocheted Tanks + Tunics gets my vote as one of the most stylish crochet pattern book releases from the last few years. While there have been bunches of truly outstanding pattern books published in the last decade, this one stands out as having a significant number of flattering, wearable designs that were graded in a wide range of sizes. If you wear a size extra-small, 2XL or any size in between, you’ll find projects worth making in this book.
This book is useful in all seasons of the year. In spring and summer time, these tops make great standalone items to pair with shorts, jeans, skirts and khakis. In fall and winter, these tops make excellent layering pieces to wear underneath cardigans, blazers and jackets. Some of them would be suitable to wear to work, and most work well for casual wear, too. They’re all versatile pieces that you’re likely to get a LOT of use out of.