2 Warm, Trendy Crochet Cowls for Winter 2017

Are you looking for stylish ways to bundle up this winter? If so, a crocheted cowl is a fantastic wardrobe piece to consider making. These two warm, trendy crochet cowls are both perfect additions to any stylish lady’s winter 2017 wardrobe.

1. Quick, Easy Jumbo Crochet Cowl: A Free Crochet Pattern by Amy Solovay

Crochet Stitch Pattern on the Quick, Easy Jumbo Crochet Cowl

Crochet this quick, easy jumbo crochet cowl using Knitpicks Knitpicks Super Tuff Puff jumbo weight yarn, a large crochet hook and our free crochet cowl pattern.

This thick, warm, textured cowl is a super quick crochet project that’s as easy to make as it is to wear. I’ve used a jumbo-sized vivid teal-colored wool yarn to crochet my project sample; this color is really trendy right now, and it pairs well with lots of other colors for maximum versatility. If your winter 2017 wardrobe basics are black, gray, navy blue, khaki or brown, this color will complement them beautifully.

Crocheted Flowers for Valentine’s Day 2017 Find Free Crochet Patterns for a Whole Bunch of Valentine-Friendly Flower Motifs

Crochet Flower With Ribbon

This pretty flower applique is useful at any time of year, but it’s especially appropriate for Valentine’s Day. You could pin it to a hat or lapel, or use it to embellish a Valentine gift you’re giving to a friend or loved one.

I’ve crocheted my sample flower in shades of pink and purple, but it would be even prettier in red and white, or pink and white. Or perhaps you could even use red, pink and white all together in this flower, assuming you can find the right combination of button, ribbon and yarn. Any of these options would be ideal color schemes for crocheting Valentine’s Day themed flowers.

If you’d like to crochet a different style of flower motif, you’re invited to visit our index of free crochet flower patterns. You’ll find many more flower designs to choose from.

Related Resources:

Valentine Gift Ideas for 2017

As a child, I adored Valentine’s Day. It delighted me to make paper Valentines for all the other children I knew.

As an adult, I haven’t outgrown my fondness for making Valentines. Nowadays I enjoy adding crocheted edgings to some of them, and putting other artistic touches on them as well. I find it satisfying to make lovely things to give to others, even small things like Valentine’s Day cards.

I’ve discovered that it’s even more fun to make Valentine gifts for my loved ones — or at least, to add handmade touches to my gifts at times when it isn’t practical to create an entire gift from scratch.

If you celebrate this holiday, and you plan on giving Valentine gifts this year, here are some ideas for things you can make:

Enclose Your Valentine’s Day Gift in a Heart-Shaped Pouch

Valentine Crochet Heart Pouch

Let’s say you want to give candy or some small item as a Valentine gift to a sweetheart, friend, or colleague. A heart-shaped pouch would be a fun way to package it.


If you want to see some more ideas for decorating this pouch, I have posted a photo gallery with several other options. Of course, you don’t need to use my ideas considering you probably have plenty of your own. This is one of those designs where you can really showcase your own creativity. But if you want to use any of these ideas, please feel free — that’s why I made ’em available for you. :)


If your intended recipient is a guy and the heart idea isn’t quite right for this occasion, you could always choose another pouch design instead.

Crocheted Hats for Him

Men's Slip Stitch Hat and Scarf Set

If your intended gift recipient is a guy, perhaps a crocheted hat would be a nice gift for him. The one pictured here is part of a hat and scarf set that I think is particularly nice for guys. It’s a bit of a time-consuming project, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a gift for casual acquaintances – but for the right guy, I think it’s worth spending the time on it. I can say that, having made the set for my own husband (although not specifically as a Valentine’s gift…) and he got significant, daily wintertime wear out of the hat for years before it got too shabby to make any more public appearances. Which reminds me that perhaps it’s time for me to begin making him another one…

Crocheted Jewelry for Her

If your intended gift recipient is a gal, jewelry might be a nice gift for her.

Valentine Flowers

There are all kinds of interesting things you can do with pretty crocheted flowers. You can attach them to hair accessories like headbands and hair clips. You can transform them into brooches or magnets. You can use them as embellishments on gift packages. Et-cetera!

More Valentine Ideas

Here’s a link to a list of free Valentine crochet and knitting patterns. The list includes bunches more ideas for interesting Valentine and heart-themed projects you can crochet. Happy crafting!




Copyright Notice: Photos, patterns and text © Michael & Amy Solovay; all rights reserved. Please do not copy these pictures, patterns or posts on other websites. Do not pin.

Thank you for your interest, and thanks for visiting!

Who’s Hitting the After Christmas Sales?

So, it’s December 26, 2016. You survived another Christmas. WOOHOOOOoooo! Now it’s time for those happysad mixed feelings that come in the wake of the holiday season: “Whew, that’s over and done with!” followed by “phooey, the credit card bills are here already? How’d they get here so fast?” Followed by wave after wave of emotion as you take down the tree, look at your holiday photos and maybe even make a few pages for your scrapbook.

Another Christmas is now behind us — but if you celebrate Christmas, it’s never too early to get going on next year’s Christmas projects. Maybe you could hit the after-Christmas sales, load up on some cheap supplies, and get started!

Or not…

Either way, you’re invited to grab any of our Christmas patterns so you’ll have ’em in your pattern stash when you do get around to working on Christmas designs again — whether it’s this week with deeply discounted Christmas yarns, or next year when the festivities start all over again.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and that your new year will be prosperous and blessed. For those of you who are shopping today, here’s hoping you’ll score bunches of amazing bargains.



XOXOXOXOXOXO,

Amy Solovay

Make Christmas Napkin Rings With These Free Crochet Patterns

If there’s ever a time that you want to set a pretty table, it’s Christmas dinner. The table sets the mood for the entire meal; you want it to look amazing for your loved ones, not to mention for the family photos (especially if you’ll be posting them online.)

There are many possible ways to pretty up your table, and many different elements that could enhance you table settings and make them spectacular.

Christmas Place Setting With Beaded Napkin Ring, Crochet Placemat and Beautiful Crocheted Edgings

Christmas Place Setting With Beaded Napkin Ring, Crochet Placemat and Beautiful Crocheted Edgings

Of course, if you have a set of fine china or holiday dishes, it’s the ideal time to get them out and put them to use. Christmas is also the ideal occasion for using a pretty tablecloth or table runner. If you own a beautiful vase, it would be lovely to fill it with flowers and create a unique centerpiece.

And once you’ve done all that, you’d feel pretty silly putting paper towels on the table to use as napkins, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

This realization could lead you down a whole new rabbit hole: How do you fold the napkins and keep them in place?

The answer, of course, is that you’ll want to use napkin rings to do that.

For you DIY types who like to make creative pretties to dress up your home decor, I invite you to consider the following free patterns for crafting your own napkin rings:


If you like the idea of making napkin rings, but the ones pictured above aren’t quite what you have in mind for your table, you’re invited to check out this list of 16 ways to make napkin rings. The list includes bunches more ideas, some of which involve craft techniques other than knitting or crocheting.

More Ideas for Christmas Table Settings

I wish you a joyous holiday season this year, filled with peace, love, light, creativity and blessings.

Getting Your Craft Supplies Organized and Put Away in Time for the Holiday Rush

It’s now December of 2016. Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holiday season is now in full swing. December 25 will be here before you know it. Are you ready?

If you entertained family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, you might have already done massive amounts of cleaning and housekeeping to prepare.

Or maybe you didn’t have to.

Or maybe you did have to, but the amount of cleaning you did wasn’t enough to completely eradicate all chaos at your place. I’ve definitely been there myself.

Back when we were “landlubbers”, Mike and I always used to host Thanksgiving at our place, and it was a mad scramble to get ready for having everyone over. I confess that there were many times in the past when I cleaned the main living areas like a madwoman, but shoved bunches of disorganized clutter into boxes in closets, under beds and out in the garage. Once I even stuffed a bag of miscellaneous craft supplies in the clothes dryer. Then I didn’t remember it was there, and a few days later, Mike accidentally dried it along with some socks and underwear he had washed.

OOPS.

Cleaning up after my cleanup was a confusing, stressful and chaotic situation. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I have some organization strategies and tips to share after getting a major handle on my own formerly out-of-control crafting chaos. I’m hopeful that maybe my experiences could help some of you get organized too.

Here are the steps I recommend taking:

  1. Go through all your craft supplies and sell, donate, give away or trash anything you’re not going to use.
  2. For the stuff you’re keeping, decide on a storage and organization system with two crucial characteristics: everything you store needs to be easy for you to see and everything you’re storing also needs to be easily accessible. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind; and anything that’s out of mind, you might as well have sold it or given it away in step one above. For example, you should automatically reject any system that requires you to store your craft supplies in cardboard boxes stacked deep underneath of other cardboard boxes in an inaccessible area such as the attic, because such a system pretty much guarantees you will never use the supplies you have stored there. If you can’t see them and can’t reach them, you’re likely to forget about them before they ever get used.
  3. Once you’ve decided on a system, implement it and use it. After every crafting session, be sure to put your supplies away in their proper places so you can easily locate them next time you want to work on your project(s).
  4. It’s also helpful to designate a spot to keep your projects in progress; I’m now using an ArtBin Yarn Drum for this purpose.

In my experience, clear organizers or translucent organizers work best; they allow you to see everything you have stashed without opening each organizer. This will save you tons of time when you look for your supplies.

It can also save you bunches of money. How many times have you accidentally purchased a duplicate of something, perhaps a duplicate crochet hook or set of knitting needles, because you couldn’t find the one you already own? Getting organized will allow you to both save money and be much more productive than you would be otherwise.


Here are links to product reviews of several of my favorite craft organizers:


Craft Organizers by ArtBin

Craft Organizers by ArtBin

  • ArtBin Hook & Needle Nook, Item#: 6930AB — This hard plastic storage case is exactly what you need for organizing traditional crochet hooks and steel crochet hooks. It can also be ideal for organizing Tunisan crochet hooks and knitting needles that are 12 inches long or shorter.
  • ArtBin Solutions Storage Cabinet, Item#: 6994AB — If you do bead crochet, bead knitting, wire crochet or wire knitting, this is an outstanding organizer for keeping track of your beads, findings, tools, and wire. It also works well for organizing embroidery floss and other sorts of craft supplies
  • ArtBin Super Satchel 1-Compartment, Item#: 6955AB — This is a fantastic multi-purpose craft organizer that’ll help you organize just about any type of art or craft supply you might need to find a place for.
  • ArtBin Mini Sidekick, Item#: 6815AG — This versatile hard plastic caddy is ideal for storing scrap yarn, balls of crochet thread, and a variety of other craft supplies.
  • ArtBin Thread Storage Tray — If your toddler or kitten has ever run off with a spool of your thread, leaving a tangled mess in his wake, you’ll definitely appreciate having a solution for wall-mounting your thread collection out of his reach. Even if that’s never happened to you, you’re likely to agree it’s much more pleasant having your thread all organized and easily accessible in one handy spot.

These are all products I own and use, and I recommend them.

There are a few additional items in my craft storage and organization system that I haven’t written about yet. Some of them may surprise you, because they involve some clever re-purposing of boating gear that sailors and yachties use to keep their vessels shipshape — but once you see the logic in the system, I think perhaps some of you will want to give it a try.


I’m in the process of compiling a complete guide to organizing craft supplies, including suggestions for the best organizers to use for a variety of purposes. If this is an area you need help with, I invite you to subscribe to my free knitting and crochet newsletter in order to be alerted when new articles in the series become available; it also assures you of receiving alerts when new free patterns, stitch tutorials, product reviews and other new articles of interest to knitters and crocheters become available.


It really doesn’t matter if you implement my craft storage and organization system or one you devise on your own; what matters is that you get organized to your own satisfaction. If you plan to entertain your family and friends for the holidays this year, you want your crafting to be a source of pride, rather than having out-of-control-crafting clutter and chaos that becomes a source of embarrassment.


I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays this year!



Sincerely,

Amy

Kitchen Stitchin’ With a Christmas Theme Crochet Lovely Christmas Potholders and Other Christmas-Themed Kitchen Projects

Update From 12/16/2016: If you celebrate Christmas, please be sure to check out our brand new 2016 Christmas gift guide featuring our suggestions for the best gifts to give crochet and knitting enthusiasts. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Kitchen Stitching' With a Christmas Theme: Get Free Patterns for Crocheting Potholders and Other Kitchen Designs

Kitchen Stitching’ With a Christmas Theme: Get Free Patterns for Crocheting Potholders and Other Kitchen Designs

Holidays, cooking and baking seem to go hand-in-hand, don’t they? So I think it’s a great idea to turn our attention to some of the pretty holiday-themed kitchen accents we can crochet.


Pictured here is a cupcake potholder crocheted in Christmas colors. It’s one of the many designs included in our list of knit and crochet potholder patterns.

You could take any design on the potholder pattern list and crochet it in Christmas colors, but some of the designs on the list are already “Christmas-y” as is. For example, this striped potholder resembles a candy cane if you crochet it in red and white yarn. (If not, it’s just an ordinary striped potholder, as you can see here.)


This red, white and green striped potholder is also festive and Christmas-y.


I haven’t got around to crocheting this Christmas tree design in cotton yarn to use as a potholder yet, but it’s on my to-do list to try. Please feel free to use that idea if you’d like. If you do, keep in mind that the design as originally written was meant to be used as an afghan square, and was crocheted in acrylic. You don’t want to use acrylic or other synthetics for making potholders, as I explain in my article about which yarn to use for crocheting potholders.


Be sure to visit our directory of Christmas patterns if you’d like to find even more Christmas projects to make — like the cute little Christmas tree ornament that’s also pictured here.


Happy stitching, and happy holidays!

A Cute Christmas Tree Decoration to Crochet

A Cute Christmas Tree Decoration to Crochet

A Cute Christmas Tree Decoration to Crochet

Here’s a fun needlework project idea for those of you who celebrate Christmas. It’s a cute Christmas tree decoration to crochet.

You could use this little Christmas tree as an ornament or a door hanger. (If you want to make it a door hanger, just be sure to make the hanging loop long enough to fit over the doorknob where you want to hang it.)

This project is made by crocheting and joining two easy Christmas tree shapes that you can make using our free symbol crochet chart and pattern.

This is a quick crochet project with a lot of creative potential. You’re invited to grab the free chart and ornament pattern from our website, and give this project a try.

Halloween: The Ideal Holiday for Beastly Crochet Patterns

Brenda K.B. Anderson’s pattern book, Beastly Crochet, wasn’t specifically intended to be a book of Halloween patterns. However, if you celebrate Halloween, October is a great time for crocheting the patterns in the book. That’s because this pattern collection is all Halloween friendly.

Beastly Crochet Book by Brenda K.B. Anderson, Published by Interweave Press

Beastly Crochet Book by Brenda K.B. Anderson, Published by Interweave Press


For example, let’s take the critters on the Beastly Crochet book cover (pictured.) If you look closely at their mouths, you’ll see these little monsters are stuffed with candy. They’re the perfect storage units for all the Halloween candy your little trick-or-treaters or party-goers might collect on Halloween night. Cute, aren’t they? You can crochet and felt them using the pattern and instructions given in this book.

If you want to make Halloween costumes for yourself or a child you know, this book has patterns you could use. There’s a super cute pattern for Sasquatch Slippers and Mittens, which I think might also work as bear claws. So you could dress up as a sasquatch or a bear if you make these. There’s also a vampire hat which could be the basis for an interesting Halloween costume.


The sweet skull hairpins are totally Halloween friendly. If those aren’t quite what you had in mind, you can check out bunches more knit and crochet skull patterns on our website. The link takes you to a list that’s mostly free patterns aside from the ones included in this book. The book also includes a sugar skull bag pattern, which I think is a little creepy — but I guess that’s the idea, right?


One of the fantastic things about this book is that the patterns are great for Halloween, but you can also use them at other times too. That translates to a great value for the time and money you spend on both the book and the projects. A big thumbs up to that!

Overall I really enjoyed this book, which tells you a lot since I am not someone who ordinarily enjoys crocheting skulls or creepy projects.

If you want more details about the book and its contents, I invite you to click here for my detailed book review.

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