In a Crocheting Rut

Do you get in a rut? I definitely do. I think of it as a time in my life when I’m lacking in bravery; not bravery overall, but bravery in a particular spot.

In my crafting life, I’m feeling the rut right now – I make baby blankets, hats, and scarves, but I don’t really push myself to learn new stitches, or try harder things. I’m not looking to make complex stuffed animals or learn twenty new stitches, but I want something new to excite me.

Does anyone out there in the crafting world have a favorite intermediate-level project? Something beyond basic blankets and scarves, but not quite to the level of 3D objects like amigurumi? Post here any of your favorites!

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What homemade blankets mean as gifts (repost)

There is an author, Tamora Pierce, who created a young adults book series all about magic. One of the ways magic worked was that a character could weave the magic into a blanket or a quilt or a shawl, giving powers to whoever had it. It made for very imaginative writing.

I tend to think that a little bit of that magic exists in the real world with handmade gifts – I don’t make fancy blankets when I crochet, but they do require me to think through colors and styles, and keep the final product looking clean and tidy. When I was working on this blanket these past few weeks, I was thinking of M, and her new daughter G who is receiving it. G is so tiny and sleepy all the time at 6 weeks old, but M has taken to motherhood like she was born to it; the perfect mix of attentive and calm. I was thinking about how G will grow up in the same town as me, and maybe I’ll babysit her, or at least see her at the free concerts downtown each summer. All those thoughts for the future, and all my memories of M from the past, were on my mind as I made stitches.

When I visited M to deliver the present, she made a big deal out of it, even though as you can see, it’s pretty small and simple. She insisted that I take a big bag of basil, oregano, and jalapenos because she had more than she could use in her garden. We chatted about school and work and just the very existence of the blanket brought us a little closer. The same thing happens when you bring over food to a pair of new parents, or when you find a way to craft something for a birthday that leads to a lovely story. It’s intangible, but there’s a little magic in it.

More Pretty Face Scrubbies

IMG_4982.JPG

With my new varieties of yarn, I made some delicate white face scrubbies and some more fun blue and green print scrubbies – it takes a little while to make them, but a large pile are for my aunts, cousins, in-laws, and sister – soft scrubbies for their pampering Christmas gifts! I might throw in some kind of fun face wash and make it a full present. 🙂 For the pattern, refer back to Pretty little face scrubbies and my inspiration, The Stitchin’ Mommy. 

Pretty little face scrubbies

IMG_4920.JPGI took a break from my latest blanket project to try out an idea that my grandmother-in-law, J, suggested. She was in a soaps-and-lotions-and-other-smelly-stuff store, and saw some crocheted cotton face scrubbies. They were soft, she said, and replaced the disposable cotton that people use to wash their faces so often. It saved waste, they were beautiful, and they looked like they would work up quickly!

I was right: I found a beautiful pattern at The Stitchin’ Mommy, and some lightweight wool (had no cotton handy, but I will order some!), and in 30 minutes, I had this lovely little circle! I had to learn the puff stitch for the first time, but even Husband commented that it looks even, professional, and quite functional. Success!

The ladies on my Christmas list are definitely getting some of these, especially since I can make one faster than I can watch most tv show episodes! I’m on a quest to make homemade gifts that my friends and family will actually use, rather than finding precious and then getting rid of them, and this seems like a wonderful first find!

 

Recycled Plastic Bag Yarn, Turned Doormat

No matter how a cute a doormat is when I get it, the years of dirt, salt, snow, rain, and who knows what else always tend to wear them about the same – a greyish-blackish blob meant only to be scuffled by boots. That’s why I’m turning the ever-piling-up bounty of grocery plastic bags in my house into doormats.

Obviously, the ideal would be to use the 4 or 5 reusable grocery bags I have lying around the house, but a couple times a month I forget those, and a few other times I get more groceries than they can hold. Over time, that’s become a very packed pile of grocery bags, and because I knew you could make yarn out of them, I chose to try that for my latest crochet project. I have some detail work left to do on two projects for my in-laws, but this is a nice break because it’s mindless for the most part.

  1. I start by flattening out the bag and cutting the bottom and the handles off, so I have a uniform rectangle shape, but it’s actually a circle of plastic.
  2. With it flattened, I cut “strips” that are actually rings of plastic. I try to keep them between 1/2 an inch and an inch, but the final yarn is variable and it all kind of stretches, so don’t stress about width. Just make sure it isn’t less than 1/2 an inch because it’s liable to break.
  3. I loop the rings of plastic through each other and pull tight, to create a “chain” and then add more and more rings to it. Each plastic bag can add 12, 20, even 24 feet of yarn if you make it uniform and thin.
  4. Then I roll it up into a ball and use it just like regular yarn. The more you can make ahead of time, the faster the projects themselves go.

It’s not ideal for us to turn plastic bags into doormats instead of just reducing our use of grocery bags, but it makes me happy to see something useful come out of all this – I save the handles and the bottoms of the bags to stuff in the middle of two layers of doormat to make an extra-thick mat that also uses every single part of the buffalo, I mean every part of the bag. I’ll post a picture when I get one completely done!

What homemade blankets mean as gifts

There is an author, Tamora Pierce, who created a young adults book series all about magic. One of the ways magic worked was that a character could weave the magic into a blanket or a quilt or a shawl, giving powers to whoever had it. It made for very imaginative writing.

I tend to think that a little bit of that magic exists in the real world with handmade gifts – I don’t make fancy blankets when I crochet, but they do require me to think through colors and styles, and keep the final product looking clean and tidy. When I was working on this blanket these past few weeks, I was thinking of M, and her new daughter G who is receiving it. G is so tiny and sleepy all the time at 6 weeks old, but M has taken to motherhood like she was born to it; the perfect mix of attentive and calm. I was thinking about how G will grow up in the same town as me, and maybe I’ll babysit her, or at least see her at the free concerts downtown each summer. All those thoughts for the future, and all my memories of M from the past, were on my mind as I made stitches.

When I visited M to deliver the present, she made a big deal out of it, even though as you can see, it’s pretty small and simple. She insisted that I take a big bag of basil, oregano, and jalapenos because she had more than she could use in her garden. We chatted about school and work and just the very existence of the blanket brought us a little closer. The same thing happens when you bring over food to a pair of new parents, or when you find a way to craft something for a birthday that leads to a lovely story. It’s intangible, but there’s a little magic in it.