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  • Crochet Gifts For Your Dog

    Top Gifts To Crochet Dogs

    Crochet a gift for every member of the family this Christmas, pets included!  Dogs and puppies will love playing with new dog toys or sleeping on a new dog bed.  Show your appreciation for man's best friend with these creative gifts - from fun to cozy.

    1. Cozy, Shiny Sweaters & More: Whether your dog would rather wear a cozy sweater, an adorable bandana, or a classic collar, they'll love these warm crochet gifts. You'll love these gifts even more because they're crocheted with special light-reflecting thread to help keep your pets safe! Get started on great gifts for your dog with Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    Crochet Bandana For Dogs

     

    2. Their Very Own Stocking: Your dog will love to have its own stocking this year! Hang this cute stocking along with the rest of your family stockings, and fill it with treats and toys!  Crochet this special stocking now with Treasury Of Holiday Crochet.

    Crochet Stockings For Dogs

     

    3. Crochet Balls To Chase: Don't buy dog toys from the store this year - play fetch with these crochet balls. This Christmas gift for your dog will provide hours of fun for the whole family!  Start creating them today with Teach Me To Crochet.

    Crochet Balls For Dogs

     

    4. A Comfy Bed For Cold Nights: Give your dog the gift of cozy comfort this year with this crochet dog bed! They will love this gift! Crochet it now with Sweet Pet Comforts.

    Crochet Bed For Dogs

     

    5. A Fun Toy For Tug-O-War: Crochet gifts your dogs will love to play with this year. These cute toys patterns have even cuter designs for matching blankets that your pet will love to cuddle up with! Create the set now with Cuddles To Crochet For Pets.

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    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Crochet.

  • Crochet Gifts For Your Cat

    Crochet Gifts For Cats

    Crochet gifts for every member of the family this year, including your pets!  Show your favorite kitty love with these fun and cozy gifts. They will love them almost as much as they love playing with your yarn while you make them!

    1. A  Crochet Ball to Chase: Whether old or young, your cat will not be able to resist this catnip infused crochet toy! It combines two of cats favorite things: balls and yarn. They'll love to chase it and bat it back and forth! Give your cats what they want this season with Sweet Pet Comforts.

    Crochet Ball For Cats

     

    2. A Stocking of Their Own: Your cat will love to have its own stocking this year! Hang this cute stocking along with the rest of your family stockings, and fill it with treats and toys for kitty!  Crochet this special stocking now with Treasury Of Holiday Crochet.
    Crochet Stocking For Cats

     

    3. A Cozy Basket For Winter Nights: Kitty will love to sleep all day in this cozy crochet basket. The yarn and fabric will smell just like home as you make it, so your cat will fall in love immediately! Create this soft, sturdy cat bed now with Baskets.

    Crochet Basket For Cats

     

    4. A Fun Fish Toy & Blanket: Don't buy cat toys this season, crochet your own! Your cat will love to bat around these soft handmade fish toys and then curl up for a nap on the whimsy matching blanket. Add catnip for extra fun! Get started on crochet gifts for your cat now with  Cuddles to Crochet For Pets.
    Crochet Fish For Cats

    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Crochet.

  • Knit Gifts For Teenage Girls

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    Teenage girls can be hard to shop for - the trends and fashions are always changing! Make her a personal, handmade gift she'll love with your knitting skills!

    1. Unique cases for her tech: These knit cases are perfect for busy students or casual dorm living - teenage girls will love getting this knit gift! They're cute, but also soft so they will keep phones, tablets, and laptops safe. Create the perfect knit gift today with Campus Knits.

    Knit Tech Holders For Teen Girls

    2. Cozy knit boot socks: Any teenage girl would love these trendy knit socks! Great for wear with her favorite boots, and also cozy on cold winter days. Knit a pair or two in her favorite colors to keep her feet warm all winter! Get started on your knit gifts with the Oval Loom Set.

     

    Knit Socks For Teenage Girls

    3. A modern slouchy hat: Hats like these are everywhere this winter - give the teenage girl in your life a special handmade one instead of buying one. She will love the fashionable style and warm yarn.  This holiday season, give her The Comforts of Knitting.

    Knit Hat For Teenage Girls

    4. A chunky knit bracelet: She might already have knit hats, scarves, and gloves .. So add color and sparkle to her life with unique knit jewelry. Use your knitting skills, embroidery floss, and beads to create perfect knit gift, following the easy directions in Beaded Bracelets To Knit.

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    5. A bright and sporty headband: Headbands are a fun and trendy style during the winter. Teenage girls love that they keep their ears warm while being cute. Knit one she will love in her favorite color, while you learn Knitting in the Round.
    Knit Headband For Teenage Girls

    6. An urban messenger bag: This felted knit bag is hip and has plenty of space for everything a teenage girl would want to carry! She will love this knit gift for taking to school or on weekend trips. Get started on your knit gifts now with Awesome Knits For Guys & Chicks.
    Knit Bag For Teenage Girls
    7. A quirky panda hat: Animal hats are all the rage - this knit hat will set the teenage girl in your life apart from the crowd. All her friends will be jealous, plus it will keep her ears warm! Create the perfect knit gifts and expand your skills with I Can't Believe I'm Loom Knitting.

    Knit Panda Hat For Teenage Girls

     

    7. A cozy knit set: Knit her a whole matching set for the holidays - a headband, scarf, and boot-cuffs.  Choose yarn in her favorite color, or select a neutral color so she can wear the set with anything! She will be delighted with all the cute outfits she can make. Knit the perfect gifts for any teenage girl with Cozy Fashion Accents.

    Knit Set For Teenage Girls

    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Knit.

  • Make Seasonal Magnets from Bountiful Wonders Coloring Book

    It's great fun to bring out seasonal decorations; let Leisure Arts' #6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone help to brighten your home with an autumnal theme! The familiarity of old treasures combined with a new season can get one excited for many annual celebrations.  This year, why not try incorporating some newly made decorations along with your love of coloring? Using and sharing your creativity makes your craft come alive! Enjoy your coloring and pass it on: love it, make it, share it!

    If you haven't seen Leisure Arts' new Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone coloring book you haven't seen some outstanding designs. It has gorgeous thematic pages filled with drawings that include leaves, pumpkins, turkeys, gourds, and beautiful decorative patterns. I fell in love with it and knew right away that I must incorporate my coloring in to a new seasonal project. I had saved a pin from Pinterest that was the perfect answer to my search for something new to create.

    Fabulous fall foliage plus harvest homage add a special homecoming for this season of giving! Leisure Arts #6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Fabulous fall foliage plus an homage to an abundant harvest add a special homecoming theme for this season of giving! Leisure Arts' #6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    My new seasonal creation were magnets using at least one of my completed coloring book pages from #6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone. But to make it a bit more fun, I liked the idea presented in this pin by Average But Inspired showing how to use small paint canvases to help create your magnet.

    Colored leaves using markers. Add more depth to your images with extra dots and strokes. Colored leaves using markers. Add more depth to your images with extra dots and strokes.

    Small paint canvases shown below are 2-inch square board canvases, or 2.5-inch stretched canvases. The board canvases came in black; the stretch canvases were unpainted.

    Two different types of mini canvases. On the left, a board canvas and on the right, a stretched canvas. Two different types of mini canvases. On the left, several board canvases and on the right, one stretched canvas.

    I got the idea of cutting out some of the finished colored leaves from my page instead of cutting a square section of the page for adhering to the canvas. Having individual leaves lets you decide how the leaves will be positioned on the canvas.

    Images from my colored page were cut and measured for each canvas. Images from my colored page were cut and measured for each canvas.

    Having imagined the finished product, I experimented by painting one of my stretch canvases first with acrylic paint before mounting any of the colored leaves onto it. I adhered my coloring book leaves onto the canvases using Mod Podge® by Plaid. Add at least one more coat of Mod Podge® over the canvases; let each coat dry in between applications.

    Now to make your canvases into magnets...turn them over. You can see by their very construction that they are different from each other. The stretch canvas is truly stretched over a wooden frame. The board canvas is a solid piece of board covered with canvas. Purchase your magnets from a craft store.

    On the back of each canvas, one or two magnets were glue on using E6000. On the back of each canvas, one or two magnets were glued on using E6000.

    Helpful hint: The placement of my magnets differ between the stretch canvas and the board canvases. Why? It wasn't a functional reason; the stretch canvas isn't heavier requiring two magnets. It was a visual reason. If I placed one magnet centered on one side of the wooden frame, I could see the top of it when I turned the frame over facing right-side up. It just bothered me to see the round magnet showing above the canvas. So before the glue set, I repositioned the magnet to one corner and then added another magnet in the opposite corner.

    Pretty and useful home decor with a seasonal touch - marvelous leaf magnets! Pretty and useful home or office decor with a seasonal touch - marvelous leaf magnets!

    This project made me happy; it made me smile because I transformed a coloring book page that I truly enjoyed creating into something else that could be shared. Even if the magnets are not given as gifts, by using them in your home or office setting you are sharing them. You are giving a bit of your artistic self to others for everyone's enjoyment.

    Now I have my eyes set on making more themed canvas magnets. Can't wait for the next season coming up!

    See you next time -

    Martha

  • Quilting & Sewing Gifts For Cat Lovers

    Top Gifts For Cat Lovers

    There are so many gifts you could get for your friends, but why not make them something special? A handmade quilting or sewing gift shows how much you appreciate your friends and family, and these DIY gifts will be perfect for the cat lovers in your crew. Whether the cat lovers in your life are kids, teens, or adults, we have something for every cat lover.

    1. A Unique Black And White Kitty Quilt: Black and white quilts have become a hot new trend for quilters of all ages. This modern looking quilt will be well-loved by any cat lover. Great as a wall hanging or to drape over a couch! Create the perfect holiday gift and try the new trend with Quilting In Black and White.

    Quilt For Cat Lovers

    2. Cat Checkerboard Game: Playing checkers will be purr-fectly fun with this patchwork checkerboard mat and stuffed cat game pieces. Sew this fun set for your cat loving friend, and start a new tradition of playing checkers at holiday gatherings! Fun for everyone! Get started today with the Cat Checkerboard Game ePattern.

    Checkerboard For the Cat Lover

    3. Quirky Cat Pillow: Any cat lover would love to get this adorable cat pillow for Christmas. A cute and whimsy addition to any couch or bed, or a great toy for the young at heart! Sew this soft pillow for your friend and they won't be able to stop smiling. Get started with sewing your gifts today with the ePattern.

    Pillow For Cat Lovers

    4. Starry Night With Cats: This whimsical piece creates a great wall hanging or blanket for cuddling up on the couch. Cat lovers young and old will love the fun pattern. Get started now with creating the perfected quilt gifts with Best of Fons & Porter Fun Quilts For Kids.

    Quilt For Cat Lovers

    5. Catnap Cuddle-Ups:  Whether curled among the bed pillows or on the windowsill, this mama cat and her three lovable kittens will add a cozy touch to any home. Cat lovers will be delighted to open their Christmas gifts and find these unique pieces! Get started on your sewing gifts now with the ePattern.

    pillowdecor_800515

    6. Cats, Cats, More Cats!  Cat lovers know there's always room for more cats! Create a wreath, string, or basket of cats for your cat loving friend, or come up with your own creative ideas! This sewing pattern gives you room to be creative and make your own decisions with how the stuffed cats can be used. Your friend will love to sit one on a shelf, or get creative themselves. Get the ePattern.
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    Need More Great Gift Ideas?

  • Crochet Gifts for Teenage Girls

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    Teenage girls can be hard to shop for, but they will love these handmade crochet gifts. Whether you're shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, or birthdays, you'll find a gift any teenager will love.  Crochet your favorite teenaged girl a gift from this list and you're sure to see a big smile on her face!

     

    1. A Slouchy, Warm Hat: Crochet the teenage girl in your life something both warm and trendy! Whether she likes to kick up her heels or escape into her daydreams, a slouchy beanie will be a great gift. With cute details ranging from button flaps to cables and chevrons, you'll find the perfect crochet gift for her in Urban Slouch Hats.

    6796_slouchhat

     

    2. An Adorable Tablet or Laptop Cover:  Teenage girls will love the cute cabled look of this crochet tablet cover, and the soft yarn will protect her tech! Create the perfect crochet gift for Christmas with Crochet Bags & Backpacks!

    75543_laptoptabletcover

     

    3. A Cozy Crochet Cardigan: Fashion-conscious teenagers are always searching for the perfect pieces. She will love to get a nice, thick cardigan to keep her warm on the coldest days this winter. Crochet a Christmas gift she will love this season with Crochet It. Love It. Wear It!

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    4. Fingerless Gloves: Fingerless gloves are the perfect gift for a teenage girl - they allow her to text and use her hands while cozy yarn and stitches keeps her hands warm. Plus, they're cute! Crochet her a pair in her favorite colors with the easy designs in Family Favorites.

    75546_glove

     

    5. A Bulky Scarf with a Pop of Color: Teenage girls will love to wear this bulky scarf all season long. It's neutral, but the colors are eye-catching and fun! Plus, it's easy to make! The stunning gradient of color is created using self-striping colors in the Landscapes Lion Brand Yarn. Get started now with Stripe Savvy.

     

    6. A Cute Afghan for Cuddling up with Netflix:  Any teenage girl's face will light up when she opens this present. Crochet this afghan in bright, eye catching colors for a fun, modern look. It's perfect size to curl up with on the couch. Get the easy pattern now in Easy Afghans.

    6725_afghan

     

    7. An Oversized Tunic:  This oversized crochet sweater will be perfect to pair with leggings and boots. Any teenage girl would be delighted to wear it out and show it to all her friends. Create this great crochet gift in time for Christmas with Relaxed Fashion.

     

    8. A Crochet Crossbody Bag:  Crossbody bags are a perfect small size for carrying all the essentials a teenage girl needs - a cell phone, keys, wallet, & makeup.  Plus, she will love having her arms free! Choose yarn in her favorite color and embellish with cute buttons, as shown in Easy Essential Bags.

     

    9. A Chevron Cup Cozy:  These cute cozies make great gifts to warm hearts and safeguard fingers from hot cups.  Great as a small gift or stocking stuffer, she will love using these around the house or at school! This holiday season, crochet her Cup Cozies.
    75568_cupcozy

     

    10. A Hip Mustache Pillow:  Who can resist pillows? They soften our world and add decorative accents to lots of different rooms. This pillow will be the perfect quirky accent to her bed, and will be a hit at sleepovers. Crochet a gift she'll love with Pillow Fun.

    75548_pillow2

     

    11. A Long Beaded Necklace:  Who This long beaded necklace has so many outfit possibilities - she will love to wear it, and you will love to make it! Use your crochet techniques with beads and nylon cord to make her a gift she will love. Get started today with Beaded Beauties to Crochet.

    Crochet Necklace For Teen Girls
    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Crochet.

  • Crochet Gifts For Cat Lovers

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    Everyone has a friend who is wild about cats! Crochet them a gift they will love this Christmas. We have a fun variety of crochet gifts cat lovers won't be able to resist.  Make your favorite cat lover smile this holiday season or anytime at all with a thoughtful feline themed gift.  Start crocheting today!

    1. A Charming Filet Afghan and Pillow: Your cat lover friend will love curling up with these cozy crochet cats! Looking right at home, the cat motifs make this wrap and pillow combo a "purr-fect" accent for any cat lovers home. Crochet a gift your friend will love with the Kitty Cat Comfort ePattern.

    catafghan_802071

     

    2. A Fun Amigurumi Wild Cat: Any cat lover would love to own these crochet wild cats - a panther, a lion, a tiger, and a cougar! Create your friend their favorite big cat, or crochet them all! Get started on your crochet gifts today with Spirit Animals.

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    3. A Cute Cat Cup CozyThese cute cozies make great gifts to warm hearts and safeguard fingers from hot cups. Crochet one as a gift your cat lover friend will cherish! Get started on your crochet gifts today with Cup Cozies.

    catcupcozy_75568_11

     

    4. A Cat Scrubby:  Crochet your cat loving friend a soft cat scrubby,  perfect for the kitchen or a refreshing bath. Pair it with some soaps for a fun spa day gift! Create this great crochet gift with So-Cute Scrubbies.
    catscrubby_6876_22

  • Light Up Your Fall - National LED Light Day!

    October 7th is National LED Light Day -- so light up your surroundings! Fabulous fall decor from colorful leaves and pumpkins, to flying bats and ghosts, who couldn't use an extra candle or two, or three, to add a little glow to their seasonal surroundings? Leisure Arts has an LED 3-Pack Candle Set just for you - and it's being offered at a reduced price! These candles are fake, or faux, and are a great solution for ease of use and enhanced safety; fake means no candle flames ignited or melted wax! Look at what's included in the LED 3-Pack Candle Set along with some of our decorating ideas for you to incorporate into your seasonal decor!

    LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode. LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode.

    This is the first "fake" set of  LED Light candles that has gotten me excited to use. Not only do the faux candles feel like wax, each can be illuminated in a different color using the included remote. The remote control offers so many options, including two timer settings.

    LED Light - Unboxed 3 Set The candle heights are 3.9" (10 cm), 4.9" (12.5 cm) and 5.9" (15 cm); the diameter for each is 3" (7.6 cm). Each candle requires three AAA batteries.

    I like the fact that I can decorate each LED Light candle individually and use them as a coordinated theme, or display them separately around the house, or on the covered porch, or other area to be determined by my seasonal decor.

    Decorated LED Light for Fall Decorating each candle with a button garland. No need to worry about this decoration melting!

    As your decorating theme or mood changes, so can the color of the LED Light candles so that you can project your feelings or home's ambience as is suited from moment-to-moment!

    A beautiful amber glow setting LED Light for an evening setting. A beautiful amber glow for an evening setting.

    I have started with a simple tabletop decoration. It projects the change of the fall season into early winter by using leaves and ribbons in different colored patterns, along with the additional  button garlands I used as additional candle embellishments.

    A beautiful LED Light trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations! A beautiful trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations!

    Have fun exploring what type of seasonal decorations you can enhance by incorporating this LED Light candle trio into your lifestyle!

    Martha

  • Halloween Tote: Reflective® Finish

    My last blog entry told you about my trials and tribulations while learning how to crochet in the round. I shared with you my swatches and what I learned from each example.  I was very anxious to get started using the yarn specific for the project, Halloween Tote.  The project is one from Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.

    All the projects in this leaflet use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.  October 31st is fast approaching so let me make one more review of my project instructions and off I go to get started!

    Having crocheted multiple swatches earlier, familiarized me to the pattern instructions, as well as setting my expectations of working with multiple strands of yarn. Not that some unexpected twists and turns couldn't happen, but I thought I was prepared. Oops; a snag!

    I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful! I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful!

    Both of these snagged areas looked worse than they were! I could easily tuck any loose fibers in between all four strands of yarn. I finished the bottom and was pleased that I did not have large holes in the composition of each stitch.

    The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P, 11.5 mm. The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P [11.5 mm].
    I chose to work with the middle hook as pictured above. The size stamped on it says Size P [11.5 mm]. This is smaller than the millimeter hook range as listed in the book's project instructions (SizeP/Q [15 mm]) but I was pleased with the results and the hook was comfortable to hold.

    As I approached Round 11 I took a closer look at my rounds and was pleased, except...except for the joining stitches! I couldn't understand why each stitch looked so loose on several rounds. Then I counted my most recent round and had one too many stitches! OUCH! I was very frustrated because I thought I marked the proper first single crochet stitch and managed the tension successfully while holding four strands. Quite the contrary!

    I did some research about the joining of rounds and what pitfalls crocheters experience. The reply by Karen of Colour in a Simple Life to one of her reader's problems addressed this issue. Karen showed a marked photograph, as well as a written explanation, which solved my dilemma; read it here in the blog entry, Colour in the Winter Blues from 2013.  Thank you, Karen!

    I do not have a picture of the ugliness of the five rounds before I ripped them out. But I was relieved to know that there was a solution -- and it really worked. I'll show you several pictures of the corrected rounds with their joining stitches looking neat and blending in with the other single crochet stitches quite nicely.

    The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker. The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker.
    The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try. The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try.
    Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round. Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round.
    Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round. Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round.

    I was happy to continue with my orange for the tote's body. Soon, I must change colors to black for the top section which included making handles. Another challenge since I had never done anything other than a flat pattern. It's tricky to work with dark colors because it really is challenging to see the stitches. Thank goodness I wasn't learning a new stitch on top of using a dark color for the first time!

    Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch! Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch!

    I did have to rip out the first handle once, but after that I "saw" the stitches more clearly and could complete the handles successfully. If I was an experienced crocheter, I might have opted to make the handles thicker. I say this because if this tote bag will be used by an avid trick-or-treater who might gather multiple pounds of candy, while swinging the bag to-and-fro, I might try to add another round to the handles.

    It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK! It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK!

    Okay - let's make this tote bag Halloween-ready...

    Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun! Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun!

    The spider web was not difficult to do. Just count the number of stitches/spaces to determine where to stitch your web in a fairly symmetrical placement on your Halloween Tote. Ta-dah, done! I love it, and not in a braggadocios way, but in an accomplished manner. It is a very compact and sturdy tote bag.

    Have fun getting revved up for October 31st by planning your decorations, costumes, and trick-or-treat travel route. Happy Halloween!

    Martha

     

     

  • Halloween Tote: Swatch Ready

    Aren't these silly questions: Do I really need another tote bag? Do I really need more yarn? I laughed out loud when I saw this Dory comic saved by Knitting Paradise on Pinterest. I have new Light Reflecting Yarn and a pattern for halloween tote, time to get started.

    For the love of yarn; found on Pinterest. For the love of yarn; found on Pinterest.

    I've only been learning to knit and crochet on-and-off for two years now; I've been coloring a lot the past 12 months! In this short amount of time, even I have accumulated five bins of yarn. However the lure of a new project, or a new color or texture of yarn, certainly inspires me to try something new. Plus, if the project is seasonal...BINGO, count me in! 

    Latest goal: I want to make this super-cute seasonal Halloween Tote. It is pictured in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions, using Red Heart's new line of Reflective yarn. What makes this tote unique is the promise of it being reflective; a silver grey reflective thread is spun with the other yarn fibers. This yarn and tote seem perfect for nighttime trick-or-treating while walking under the street lights, visiting neighborhood houses for treats.

    GOAL: To make a Halloween Tote Bag like the one pictured in Leisure Arts' item 75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions. GOAL: To make a Halloween Tote Bag like the one pictured in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    Crochet and knit projects require one to learn the language of the craft. In addition, the crocheter and knitter must try to learn the stitches. Once the mechanics of making the stitch(es) is mastered, the crocheter and knitter must work towards having consistent gauge. Gauge is why every project has the measurements for a swatch.

    Challenge No. 1 - Gauge: I've only made projects that were more lenient when it comes to gauge, i.e., dishcloths, a bandana, and fingerless mitts.

    Challenge No. 2 - Multi-strands held together.

    Challenge No. 3 - Working in-the-round.

    Understanding and doing are two different things; my comprehension of the instructions was one thing, my performance was another. I ripped out my first swatch after three rounds. I realized I was adding a chain stitch before every single crochet. Lesson learned: don't try to fit a new project into your schedule if you are tired.

    Here is my second swatch using four strands of Bulky weight yarn. This is NOT the yarn that will be used for my Halloween Tote, but it is the correct weight and number of strands held together. I definitely needed to use stitch markers!

    In-the-Round Swatch No. 2 - Using four strands of Bulky weight as called for in the directions. Oh, boy; the swatch is lopsided! In-the-Round Swatch No. 2 - Using four strands of Bulky weight yarn as called for in the directions. Oh, boy; the swatch is lopsided!

    I discovered that I was not recognizing the correct stitch when ending a round or joining; this resulted in too many stitches. I resorted to doing another swatch holding one strand, making my stitches very loose and using a Light weight yarn. I wanted to see each stitch very clearly.

    In-the-Round Swatch No. 3 - Back to one strand in Light weight; trying to see the construction of each stitch. In-the-Round Swatch No. 3 - Back to one strand in Light weight; trying to see the construction of each stitch.

    I learned where my error was occurring: I was not recognizing the first single crochet at the beginning of each round. When I finished each round, I needed to join the last single crochet to the first single crochet with a slip stitch. Instead, I was joining to the chain made at the beginning of the round. Okay; I learned my error. My fix was to use a stitch marker so I would not question the location of the first single crochet when I needed to finish the round by joining with a slip stitch.

    I didn't like the uneven open spaces that Swatch No. 3 had in some portion of the rounds. Granted I was still experimenting, but I decided to make another swatch. I didn't have any more of my practice Bulky weight yarn, so I chose Super Bulky yarn to make my next swatch. I would be more careful with the construction of my rounds with the hope of having tighter stitches.

    In-the-Round Swatch No. 4 - Using one strand but in Super Bulky weight. Okay; better gauge and count is correct. In-the-Round Swatch No. 4 - Using one strand of yarn but in Super Bulky weight. Okay; better gauge and count is correct.

    Alright; I think this is better! The stitch count is correct with their construction and gauge being more consistent. I felt like this was a major accomplishment -- three cheers for me! At least this was recognizable or passable as the bottom of a tote bag.

    I'm as ready as I can be; now it's time to open my new Reflective yarn and begin. I am a bit tentative, but I will get continual inspiration by looking at the finished Halloween Tote as pictured in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    This Halloween Tote is one of the featured projects found in #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions. My goal is to make one for this season! This Halloween Tote is one of the featured projects found in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions. My goal is to make one for this season!

    Wish me luck; I'll keep you posted on my progress!

    Martha

     

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