Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sharp Hook Giveaway!


Who wants to win a free Sharp Crochet Hook and a pattern book of their very own?  Yippee!

Yesterday I tested out the hook and checked out the book...so much fun!  Read about my adventures here...  If you'd like to have one too, enter to win, and if you are the lucky winner, the nice folks at Sharp Crochet Hook will send one right to you!



The Sharp Hook giveaway begins today, August 31st  at 12pm Eastern Standard Time and ends at 12am Eastern Standard time on September 7th.  Enter the contest by using the Rafflecopter entry form below, check it out:

This Giveaway has closed.  Thank you for entering and congratulations to the winner, Becky C.  You'll be getting an email from me soon!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Introducing...The Sharp Crochet Hook!


Good morning and a very happy Friday to you!  This morning I am so excited to share a new and interesting tool I have had the pleasure of experimenting with...the Sharp Crochet Hook!

This hook allows you crochet through fabric!  It has a pointer tip to go right through, no need for pre-poking holes in fabric again.  Pretty neat, right?  Think of all of the edgings, surface crochet, and other wonderful things one could create...



I was thrilled to be gifted one to try out, and I have to say, it was really neat to use.  It came with a great little book full of patterns and ideas...skirts, garments, and even little lacy shoes!

When I got mine in the mail, I took it right out of the box and found a little dress I've been wanting to add something to...perfect!



I was inspired by the cute skirts on one of the pages, aren't these two little ladies the cutest?  I dug around and found some coordinating embroidery floss...first I wanted to try and see how it went through the fabric...



Super easy!


Plus the hole is big enough for stitching, but not too big...just right.




I started by putting a little yellow at the bottom with a few single crochet stitches with five chains in between.  To the left you can see a green and orange tangle, I wasn't crazy about that green, the color didn't really stand out so I opted for the bright yellow and...super cute!  I think I'll keep going and perhaps add another layer of color to the yellow...



*Stay tuned!!!  If you'd like to get a free Sharp Hook and book of your very own, I'm going to be giving one away starting tomorrow...hooray!

To learn more and check out tons of ideas on how to use it, please check out the site, http://www.sharpcrochethook.com/

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Backpack Charms! (Pattern + Project)


As we dive into the school year, how about a little upgrade to the backpack this year?  These charms will add a super fun extra..the zipper pull remains intact too, so that you can still zip and unzip with ease.

Because the backpack shown is pink, I chose a matching flower, leaf and two curlicues.  However, you could have a fun explosion of curlicues, or some pretty fall leaves.  Switching charms might be fun to change once in a while for the seasons too!

This is an extremely versatile project, just about any type of yarn you have on hand.  So, using scraps of beautiful yarn is encouraged!  

Note: This project is for both crocheters and knitters.



To make your backpack charms, you'll need:

  • Yarn of your choice (I used scraps of sock yarn on hand)
  • Crochet hook/Knitting Needles (Check the recommended hook/needle size on the yarn label for best results)
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry needle for weaving in ends



*Knitters start here:

Rosette Instructions:
CO 5 sts 
Row 1: kfb each st (10 sts) 
Row 2: Purl 
Row 3: kfb each st (20 sts) 
Row 4: Purl 
Row 5: kfb each st (40 sts) 
BO

Leaf Instructions:
CO 5 sts
Row 1: k1, kfb, kfb, K2 (7 sts)
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K2, kfb, kfb, K3 (9sts)
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: skp, k to last 2 sts, k2tog
Row 6: Purl

Curlicue Instructions:
Follow instructions above for the rosette.  Instead of coiling it up, pull it apart to achieve the curlicue shape.



*Crocheters start here:

Below is a step by step photo tutorial on how to crochet a rose.  It includes the leaf and a hanging loop too if desired.

Click here for full photo tutorial...

To add fun crocheted curlicues, click below for a stitch by stitch photo tutorial:

Click here for full curlicue tutorial...

Finishing:

Using the ends before you would normally weave them in, tie right onto the zipper pull and snip off and ends.  If any unwoven ends remain, weave them in.

If you love adding beautiful blooms and festive curlicues to things, here are a few more patterns to get you started (both knitting and crochet):



Cotton Candy Hat (Knitting)



Celebration Scarf (Crochet)



Baby In Bloom Hats (Knitting)



Granny Rosette Garland (Crochet)

© Jennifer Dickerson 2013
Please note: Patterns are for personal and charity use only. In addition, if you enjoy the pattern, please link to it, but do not copy the pattern to your own website or blog (including other languages). Thank you!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern...Mango Salsa Scarf


The Mango Salsa Scarf is a joyful and pretty scarf crocheted with fun sock yarn.  Use self striping yarn as shown or have fun experimenting with variegated, hand painted or solid varieties.  A super simple mesh stitch sequence adds lightness while still being soft and cozy.



Mango Salsa Scarf
By Jennifer Dickerson

Sizing:

  • 4.5 inches wide and as long as you like 




Materials:

  • Sock Yarn of your Choice, scarf shown used 393 yards.  Yarn pictured is Sensations "Truly Pattern" in the "Bright Multi" colorway.  However, feel free to use your favorite sock yarn.  This pattern produces a stretchy, drapey scarf, so a variety of different sock yarns would be lovely.
  • E (3.5 mm) Crochet Hook
  • Tapestry needle (for weaving in ends if needed)



Instructions:

Chain 37

Foundation row:  DC in 7th chain from hook, *chain 2, skip two chains and work one DC in the next chain, repeat to end.
Row 1: Chain 5 and turn.  *Work a dc in first chain space, chain two, repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat row 1 until scarf reaches desired length.  Fasten off.


Finishing:
Weave in any ends and block if you like (scarf shown is unblocked).

Click the video below to watch how to crochet the Mango Salsa scarf stitch by stitch:




Note: Be sure to work each double crochet in the chain spaces and not the stitches. To learn more about the chain spaces in your work, click the link below for a photo tutorial:

Chain Space Basics


Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's Here!


I got a mysterious package at my door the other day...what could it be?


Yay!  It's the 2014 Knitting Pattern A Day calendar!  I have three new patterns in it for the 2014 edition and got my shiny new copies sent from the publisher...awesome!

I have always been a fan of this calendar and this year is no different.  There are a ton of patterns and they are all stunning.  Not to worry crocheters, there is a crochet calendar too, I just have the knitting one (for now).

If you want one too (both knitting and crochet), here's the site:


Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Button Flower Headbands, Tutorial + Video


With the flurry of back to school preparations being made, I wanted to add a handmade touch to the mix.  I love sending my loved ones into the world with something made from home, whether it is a cheerful scarf or a lovingly prepared lunch.  No one in my family can escape it!  Even my elderly grandmother proudly wears the hat and scarf I made for her a while back.


Here is a quick and pretty project that is a lot of fun too.  It might be fun to let the wearer pick out their favorite colors, or perhaps dig around in the buttons for their favorite one.


Click below to watch a full video tutorial including how to crochet the flowers:




To make these headbands, you'll need:


  • Flowers with Buttons (Click here for Button Flowers pattern) or other pretty things that would make a fabulous headband
  • Headbands (I find that headbands wrapped in some kind of fabric covering are a lot more comfortable)
  • Felt or fleece scraps
  • Scissors 
  • Glue Gun

Here's How To Make Them:


  • Start with some plain headbands...I like the fabric covered ones best.  They seem to give a lot more cushion to the head and they "dig" a lot less.
  • Select what you'd like to attach to your headband.  I made these flowers last week and thought they would be perfect.  Click here for Button Flowers pattern...
  • Next cut the felt/fleece into circles, one for each headband you are making.  This will be the backing that covers the glued up parts and makes it look more finished.  Cut the circles small enough so you can't see them from the front, but large enough to cover everything on the back.  I eyed up my circles and cut free hand, but you can trace your circles onto the fabric to make them perfect.  
  • Next, glue a flower to one of the headbands,
  • And glue a circle to the back.
  • Repeat for as many headbands as you want.  I had a lot of fun mixing up the colors and making everything look extra cheerful.
  • Keep them still until the glue sets up and dries.  I kept mine upside down as shown above for about an hour.  If needed, you can prop them up against something too.


All finished!  I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did, and a very happy Friday to you too!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sharing the Cotton-ish Love


Good Morning Lovelies!

I am so excited to share a project I've been keeping under wraps for a few weeks, but can now reveal it to you!  I've designed two patterns for the wonderful site, allfreecrochet.com and I can now share them with you, hooray!


Both projects were made using the super pretty Cotton-ish yarn by Vickie Howell for Bernat yarn, it was so fun and pleasant to work with!  Here's a review I wrote of the yarn, check it out:

Bernat Cotton-ish Yarn Review

The first pattern I designed with the yarn is a wrap...Cotton-ish yarn is very smooth and a lighter weight cotton, so it has plenty of fabulous drape and feels super soft when wearing it.  Click the link below for the full pattern:

Click here for the Napa Valley Wrap pattern...


The second pattern is a polka dot throw pillow...I wanted it to be playful and modern with a bit of a vintage feel.  Follow the link below for the full pattern:

Click here for the Polka Dot Pillow Pattern...


So, stitchy friends, if you'd like to get your hands on this yarn too, allfreecrochet.com is hosting a giveaway of the yarn (you have until August 28 at midnight to enter) for three lucky yarn lovers:


Special thanks to the nice folks at All Free Crochet for the fun opportunity and to Bernat and Vickie Howell for the great yarn!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How Shell Buttons Were Once Made


Have you ever wondered how beautiful shell buttons were once made?  To be perfectly honest, I hadn't really ever thought about it before.  However, I was wandering around a small but extremely interesting museum over the weekend and stumbled on this fascinating contraption:



This is how real mother of pearl buttons were made prior to being made in high-tech modern factories.  Made in smaller batches, the shells themselves had to be soaked in water for at least a week, then were cut into "blanks."  Button holes were added later.



In the photo above, you can see the variety of shells used and how they were cut.  Button makers used every last bit of the precious shell they could, getting as many button blanks out of each shell possible.  Here are some button blanks on a work table (love that worn wooden surface):



Here are some of the various tools used too:



It is my understanding from the information I read at the museum that this machine was primarily used at a local button factory in the early to mid twentieth century. Buttons were in high demand during the Depression Era and the hand-cut shell button industry dwindled when bigger machines were invented and plastic buttons became more refined and mass produced.

A fascinating piece of history for all button lovers!



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern...Button Flowers


These cute flowers can be used for just about anything, from an applique on a garment, a sweet little brooch or pin, or making the top of a gift extra beautiful.

One pattern is all you need...the larger flower is made using a bigger hook and the smaller flower on top is made with a smaller hook.  Top them off with fun buttons for a super cute finishing touch.




Button Flowers
By Jennifer Dickerson

Click the button below to add this to you Ravelry queue:


Click below for a step by step video on how to crochet button flowers:

Materials:
  • Cotton yarn (yarn shown is Sugar 'n Creme in "Mod Blue" "Grape" and "Hot Green" and Peaches 'n Creme in "Bright Orange" "Bright Pink" and "Sunshine"
  • J (6.0 mm) Crochet Hook
  • H (5.0 mm) Crochet Hook
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Buttons of your choice

Sizing:
  • Finished flower measures 2.5 inches across

Instructions:

Both flowers are made the same way.  Make the top flower with the H hook and the bottom flower with the J hook.

Ch 4 and join with a slip stitch to form a ring.

Round 1: Ch 3 then work 11 dc into the center of the ring.
Round 2: Chain 3 and in the first space, work (2 dc, then a sl st).  *Skip the next space.  In the next space work (3 dc, then a sl st) all in the same space.  Continue from * to end for a total of six petals. Fasten off with a slip stitch.

Weave in all ends.

Finishing:

Stack two flowers together with larger being on the bottom and smaller being on top.  Seam together with the tapestry needle using scraps of same colored yarn.  If you like, you can also glue the flowers together using fabric glue or hot glue.  Attach button(s) to top center by either sewing or gluing.


Try some button flowers on a pretty headband (full tutorial) here:



© Jennifer Dickerson 2013

For more fun projects and pretty patterns, be sure to follow Fiber Flux on Google+FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest for the latest updates!


Gorgeous Tonal Merino Wool s at knitpicks.com (Affiliate links, enjoy these awesome products and thanks as always for your support!)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How To Make A No-Sew (Upcycled) Pillow Form


I'm working on a pillow exterior cover right now and needed a pillow form to place inside my pillow.  After checking them out in the craft store, I decided to make my own.  Instead of $7-$20, the one I made was completely free!  Another benefit of making your own is that you can make it any size and shape you'd like too.

I was able to use things from around the house and it only took about 10 minutes to make.  Before we start, I want to make a crafty disclaimer...this is in no way, shape, or form a fancy or attractive pillow.  However it gets the job done and because it gets covered and will be hidden, it is perfectly fine.

To make a no-sew pillow form, you'll need:



  • An old t-shirt (I chose white)
  • Scissors
  • A ruler or tape measure
  • Hot glue or fabric glue (your preference)
  • Fabric pen (totally optional)
  • Up-cycled stuffing (we'll talk more about that below...there are lots and lots of things you can use)


First, measure two squares (or rectangles or whatever shape you need) to the size you want.  Allow a little extra around the edges for the glue seam, about a 1/2 to 1 inch.  You can use a fabric pen to mark the fabric or just eye it up.



Note: Because we're using a t-shirt a the source for fabric, please allow for the stretch of the material.  Jersey material stretches wider than it does height-wise, so give your squares a little tug before cutting.  This will help to determine if any adjustments need to made to account for the stretch.  My pillow ended up being a bit rectangular...live and learn I guess.  Still worked for the pillow and it ended up being no big deal in this case.



After cutting, lay one of the squares flat and run a line of glue on the edge along three of the four sides, leaving the top open.

Carefully lay the other square on top and sandwich together.  Let completely dry.



Flip the pillow right side out...now it's time to stuff it!



Because we're being thrifty recyclers today, and I have tons of them,  I'm going to use yarn scraps.  However, you could use some fiber-fill if you have some on hand, or use the filler from an old stuffed animal, or fabric scraps...get creative!



I personally never throw away any yarn scraps, even the tiniest clippings.  These make a great filler for things like this project for example, handmade toys, and other fun things.  The smaller clippings work best and are less lumpy too.  If your scraps are long, you may want to snip them a bit more.



Stuff the pillow until it is nice and "poufy" (for lack of a better term) not too full, but you want enough in there so it doesn't look flat and droopy.

Finally, push everything down as far as you can and carefully glue the top shut.  Don't disturb the pillow now, let it dry completely.  As tempting as it might be to want to straighten the pillow out and fluff it up, resist the urge...it will make the seam come apart before it dries.



After the seam is dry, fluff up the pillow and make sure the filling is uniform and not lumpy.  All done!  Like I mentioned before, it is not super pretty, but neither are the ones in the store.  Plus, once you get the cover on it, you'll never see it anyway!  Easy and free, works for me!


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