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  • A Magical Holiday Dishcloth Dress

    Remember when I mentioned the Mrs. Claus Kitchen Helper pattern?  I tried it out!

    And it gave it to a friend!

    She cried a little!

    She also cried a little when I gave her the Short but Sweet cowl from Crochet Cowls as a present, but she's kind of an emotional person and it's a pretty sweet cowl.  Seriously, if you want to get hugged hard enough to hurt your bosom and have some back fat gripped a bit too tightly, giving cowls out as Christmas gifts is the way to go.  My friends give good hugs.  Anyway, let's talk about this pattern a bit!

    I didn't have any Christmas-y variegated yarn that this pattern calls for, so I went with red and white instead.   Red and white is always Christmas-y if you want it to be.  But this would work nicely in other color combinations--which is what I'm counting on, because I'd love to try this again.  Look at these zig zags.  So dadgummed cute!

     Plus, this has a lot of variety: SSK, K2TOG, knitting in the front and the back of stitches.  All that on top of knits and purls and color changes!  It's a quick little project that calls for worsted weight cotton yarn and Size 6 needles, and you can finish it in an hour or so.  I think it's a great hostess gift if you're going to a holiday party, or it can just be a fun project that makes your own kitchen look a little more festive.

    But this pattern is only available until December 22, so hurry and buy it now!  And if you need even more dishcloth dress magic in your life, check out Dishcloth Dresses because that's available all the time and is incredibly delightful.

    I know you need this kind of magic in your life, and in your kitchen.

  • A Tutu for Every Occasion--Maybe Even for a Snow Day!

    We were snowed in this past weekend, and by Day 3 I was starting to get a little stir crazy.  The fridge and freezer were cleaned out, laundry had been done, and several projects had been started and cast aside out of restlessness.  I stuck my daughter in her high chair with some pieces of felt and glue while I unraveled a scarf for yarn because I couldn't get out to the craft store for some of the other projects I wanted to try.

    Or couldn't I?

    I saw that the Christmas Tutu and T-shirt pattern from A Tutu for Every Occasion was available for individual sale on the Leisure Arts website.

    This is just so cute!

    My child, tutu-lover extraordinaire, would look adorable in a Christmas tutu!  And she loves Christmas!  And this has bells!  And glitter!  This would be so fun to make!

    But.  I knew my nearest Michael's didn't have the green tulle ribbon with dots.  Or it didn't last week when I looked. 

    But maybe it did now that Christmas is a little closer.  And maybe if I dressed up my little girl in such a Christmas-y outfit I could finally take a good picture of her (translation: any picture with her hair out of her face and her pacifier out of her mouth).  And then maybe I could get some Christmas cards out before Christmas! 

    And maybe the roads were mostly clear enough that I could put on non-pajama pants and brave the slick spots and bad drivers in order to check out the tulle selection and spend my evening making a tutu!

    But then I imagined the look on the AAA tow truck driver's face when I explained my motive for getting out in the ice and inevitably got stuck in a ditch somewhere--or worse.  And I imagined how long I would have to wait in my car for a tow.  And once I reasoned with myself that I could pack measuring tape and a pair of scissors to make a tutu while I waited for rescue, I realized that cabin fever had completely eaten my brain and I had no business operating a car in any kind of weather.

    So.........maybe in the next few days?

    Because this is adorable and needs to happen in my home.

    Maybe you're crafting and travel prospects look a bit better than mine.  I hope you're staying safe and warm with plenty of power and important supplies like glitter tulle!

  • Weekly Dishcloth: Christmasy Mods and A Chance to Give Back this Christmas!

    Since I enjoyed going back to the book Dishcloths so very much last week, I thought I'd try it again for this week's dishcloth.  I tried out the Around the Block pattern, which calls for white, lime green, and black yarn.  The effect in the book is pretty striking, and I think it would be really interesting to see this in shades of blue.

    See?  It looks good enough to make the (back) cover of the book!  It's in the far right corner.

    But it's December and my creative vision took me in a completely different direction.

    A very Christmas-y direction.

    I am a firm believer that anything can--and should!--be made Christmas-appropriate if you just have these three colors in your stash.

    Ecru, Kelley Green, and just plain Red.

    And I do, at nearly all times.  Bright white is also nice, but I prefer ecru just because I always like ecru.  Also, lime green is bright and pretty and cheerful.  But for whatever reason, I wanted to use the darker green because that would make the dishcloth more closely resemble the homemade Christmas decorations I liked when I was growing up.

    I think it does.

    I was only able to carry the greens on each colorful section, so there were a lot of ends to crochet over and trim but it was worth it.  I really like this pattern and will probably try it again in other color combinations.   This is worked in the round, but you turn your work for every row.  I used an I hook, which is what the pattern called for--but that's a size up from what I normally use.  Just something I wanted to let you know about in case you don't want a super-stiff fabric.  Or if you do.  Whatever.  This will be lovely either way.

    When I was working on this, I asked my husband if this seemed over-the-top and tacky.  He hesitated for a moment and offered "I think it looks very Christmas-like and bright."  So I guess it does look over-the-top and tacky.  Which is kind of what I was hoping for!  I'm so pleased with how this turned out that I'm keeping it for myself.

    It's going to be 'Christmas-like and bright' in our kitchen all year long!

    In other dishcloth news, friend of the blog and occasional guest poster Debbie Trainor has designed another dishcloth dress just for the holidays!  It's Christmas-like and bright, but not tacky--and the perfect amount of silly and seasonal.  I love these dishcloth dress patterns she comes up with, and I don't know if it would be more fun to get a stocking stuff of this all knitted up OR just a printed off copy of this sweet pattern!

    The Mrs. Klaus Kitchen Helper pattern is being sold on Debbie's designer page on Ravelry, and nearly half of the proceeds of each sale go to buying a sheep through Heifer International.  This is a tremendously worthwhile cause, and a really cute dishcloth dress pattern.  For more details, please check out her blog post about it here.

    There's even a donate button if you want to contribute directly to the sheep-buying goal without purchasing a pattern.  I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to purchase this pattern, but I'm told there are folks out there who don't want to knit dishcloth dresses.  But it's Christmas time and I believe in miracles.  May Santa bring the power of dishcloth dress-knitting into your heart this year.

  • Thankful

    Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you're with loved ones and that you have many things to be thankful for.

    I'm feeling especially grateful this year for supportive family and friends.  And for the sale corner in my local yarn store.  And for Michaels weekly email coupons.  And my knit group.  And to my husband for taking pictures of me for posts.  And for my little girl even though she dislikes every hat I make for her.  And for people who graciously appreciate and use the handmade items I give them.

    And you. Thank you for reading and commenting and for letting me prattle on about my crafting misadventures.  It's so much fun to talk to you about so many fun things, and I'm grateful that I get to use this space to do so. 

    Where else can I talk about crocheting a turkey?

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Have You Told Your Yarn You Love It?

    It's I Love Yarn Day!  I like this holiday because I love yarn.  LOVE.

     Maybe too much.

    There's a good chance that if you're reading this blog (bless your heart! And thanks!), you also love yarn.  So hi!  Leisure Arts also seems to love yarn because all of their crochet and knitting titles are 25% off this weekend (October 11-13, 2013) in celebration of I Love Yarn Day!  Whoa. Nelly.

    I could finally figure out what to do with this one skein of Lion Brand Amazing.

    I've been getting emails from my local yarn stores about this most blessed of days.  Many stores are having sales on this wonderful product so that crafters can get even more colorful, squishy, soft, YARN.

    I'm also getting emails from yarn stores that aren't so local because sometimes when I go visit family or new places, I check out the yarn store and put my name on their email list.  Which is why I think of my 'local' yarn store across the state line whenever I think about certain brands of yarn. 

    2 out these 3 yarns were bought in Memphis when I was visiting my sister.

    Like I said, I love yarn--all brands, weights, colors, and fibers.  From this:

    To this.


    I love seeing what it can turn into.

    A Zimmermann garter stitch heart with a pocket made out of Aracunia Nature Cotton. This was my husband's Valentine this year.

     I love all the possibilities I consider when I'm buying it, stacking it together in my lap while I look at a pattern, or just when I photograph because I like to see it.

    A granny square (triangle) banner with fall colors.

     I love seeing what other people can do with it.

    Yarn bomb at the Arkansas Arts Center last month.

    I love anything strange and odd.

    Yes, I know ruffle yarn isn't a big deal to some of you but when I loom knitted a scarf with this stuff I felt like the most adventurous crafter EVER.

    I love that you can give (or get!) it as a present.

    Beginner crochet starter pack I made for one of my sisters.

    In case I haven't said it enough, I love yarn.

    Yes, I did arrange this and take a picture of it for a post. And because it's pretty.

     So tell your yarn that you love it.  And maybe even run out and buy some more of it.  And then head out to to get some patterns on sale.  
    And then turn your yarn into something beautiful.

    Happy I Love Yarn Day!

  • Love is in the Air AND in My Dishcloth!

    Love is in the air and wedding dates are on my calendar.  A cousin-in-law is getting married in a couple of weeks, and a former co-worker got married just last month.  I need to send gifts to congratulate these loved ones on their happy events, and that means I'm sending dishcloths!  Home-making supplies are always my favorite type of wedding presents because I love practical gifts.  And the only way you could get any more practical than a gift of dishcloths is to show up at a wedding shower with an unwrapped bag of trash bags.

    I think I actually did receive trash bags as a wedding gift.  But it was in a laundry basket filled with cleaning products, which was a dream come true for a clean freak like myself.  Still, cleaning products can be kind of a personal choice, and I would never presume to pick out someone else's trash bags.  Especially because I buy store brands and I don't want to be judged.

    But that's not the kind of thing that happens to a dishcloth-giver! 

    So anyway, I decided the Sweet Heart pattern from Holiday Knit Dishcloths would be a perfect dishcloth to make as part of a wedding present.  And I was right!

    I love it when that happens.

    The heart pattern is some strategically placed purl stitches in the stockinette portion of this happy little pattern.  I knit through it with no problems, and it took less than 2 hours to complete.  As a bonus, this pattern has both written directions and a chart.

    Like all of the other patterns in Holiday Knit Dishcloths, the Sweet Heart dishcloth pattern would be an excellent introduction to working from a chart.  The pattern is labeled "Beginner" and I think it would be a great start for a new knitter who wants to knit something a little beyond a garter stitch or stockinette project.  The but it also has enough variety for a more experienced knitter as well--and it's just so cute. 

    And it's a great wedding gift.

    Yes, I know this is a little cheesy to give to some newlyweds, but I love love!  And hearts!  And clean kitchens!  They're all lovely things that I'd like to give to a couple starting out on a new adventure.  I'll include the Sweet Heart dishcloth with a collection of dishcloths that feel more 'everyday' than 'lovey dovey' (Oh wow--how great would a dishcloth with 2 doves holding wedding rings be?!?!?!?!), along with some mixing bowls or measuring cups.

    But I do like to think just a little extra love can't hurt.

  • In Praise of Dishcloths

    I had the lovely chance to spend most of the weekend with my family this weekend, and at one point my sister looked at a dishcloth I'd made for our mom sitting on the counter top and she said "Hey Jen, you know those washrags you gave me for my birthday?" 


    I cringed because she's not always super appreciative of handcrafted things. 

    Let me fix that: she is always appreciative of handcrafted things.  She's watched me knit and crochet for most of our lives so she knows how these things go, and she proudly wears my scarves and hats.  She always appreciates the time and effort people put into making items when they could be doing any number of other things instead.  But she doesn't always get why people would want to do that.  She seemed a little taken aback when I wore a cowl out to dinner as an accessory (rather than wearing it to keep warm).  Sometimes she sees me working on something and just blurts out "Why?" because she's nothing if not honest, and really sometimes I don't have an answer. 

    So with all that in mind, I cringed when she brought up the dishcloths I'd given her for her birthday because I was afraid she wouldn't use them or one of them had somehow turned out to be 'deficient' in some way (no, I don't even know how that would work).

    "Yeah, are they alright?" I asked.

    "I kind of put them all over my house.  Like decorations."

    I loved it. 

    I don't quite know if they're on a pile on her table, or being used as coasters in her living room, or if she has managed to find a way to artfully scatter dishcloths around her home like they're something to be showcased.  But I'm glad she likes them and they're not shoved in the back of drawer somewhere.  I had kind of been planning to give out a lot of dishcloths as gifts to friends and family and co-workers this year, but I was a little afraid people would have the same confused reaction they'd have as if I'd given them a box of Swiffer cloths or something.  This boosted my confidence a little that even the not-so-crafty people on my gift list will enjoy some nicely crafted cleaning supplies. 

    I've built up a nice collection of dishcloths this past year because 1) I maybe have a slight compulsion with dishcloths now and 2) they're kind of perfect. 

    Want to try out a new stitch?  Do it on a dishcloth.

    Need a quick gift? Make a dishcloth.

    Trying to take care of scrap yarn? Dishcloth.

    Dishcloths are pretty dang perfect and I love making them.

    I've crocheted several of the patterns from Dishcloths 

    and I think I've crocheted at least half of the patterns in the other Dishcloths.

    I knitted a few of the patterns in Knitted Dishcloths--see the blue dishcloth in the picture of the dishcloths I gave my sister?

    I just started working on a pattern from Holiday Knit Dishcloths, and so far so awesome.  (I can't show a picture yet!)

    There are so many great dishcloth pattern books out there!  Knitted dishcloths, crocheted dishcloths, and Knooked dishcloths--they're all fantastic!  You don't even have to take my incredibly biased word for it.  Even my noncrafting sister agrees.

    But I mean, look at this birthday bundle.

    How could she not?

  • Happy Valentine's Day!

    It's Valentine's Day!

    I hope you're with people you love, doing something you love, or just feeling lots of love and goodness this Valentine's Day.

    I'm looking forward to dinner with my family, working some more on a dishcloth, and feeling lots of love--or whatever it is that you feel when you eat a lot of chocolate.

    These are the Valentines I made for my family.  I knitted my husband a Zimmerman heart patch and couldn't figure out how I wanted to attach it to cardstock.  So I just knitted a little swatch, stitched it to the heart, and stuck a love note in the pocket.  I didn't bother with a card for my little girl this year (yes, I might have gotten a little carried away with Baby's First Valentine's Day last year and made one for her), but I cut out a heart with some felt and sewed a face on it because she likes hearts and smiley faces.

    I'm currently knitting the Rib and Welt Dishcloth from Easy Textured Knits.  I'm still not asking much of my brain or my fingers right now.  I'm using Sugar'n Cream yarn on Size 5 needles.  It's a gift for a friend who's getting married and will be having a shower next month!  Loooooove!

    There's not a picture of my Valentine's Day chocolate.  I may or may not have 'taken care of it' already.  But let's just say I'm feeling lots of love--or whatever it is that you feel when you eat a lot of chocolate--today.  I hope you do, too.

    Happy Valentine's Day and happy crafting!

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