Tuesday, June 28, 2011

what's this blog all about anyways?

It's been about a month and a half since our first blog posting so we thought that this would be a good time to let you know where we are headed. The creative process is organic, always changing and growing with you, but these are some of our ideas for now.

  • first friday freebie - on the first friday of every month (starting july 1st, 2011) we will either offer a free pattern or announce a draw for a giveaway.
  • sneak peek - view new patterns before they are released for sale.
  • new patterns - we will announce all our new pattern releases.
  • tutorials, tips and techniques - with a special focus on crochet techniques directly related to our patterns.
  • sales and special offers - all sales and special offers will be announced on our blog.
  • faq's - freqently asked questions
  • passion of the month - our goal is to focus on crochet but occassionaly we will share our other creative ventures with you, but not more than once a month...promise.

If there is anything that you would like to see posted on our blog please feel free to share your comments.

Friday, June 24, 2011

how i lined the "touch of africa shoulder bag".

The perfectionist in me has been procrastinating this project for some time now as I tend to put off anything that I'm not 100% sure of.  Plus, I have always had a love/hate relationship with sewing. I love the finished results, but I hate the process. Finally, I decided that it was time to just get this project finished, so this may not be the best way to line a bag...it's just what I did.

After I had prewashed and ironed my material I folded it in half with right sides facing. I then laid the Touch of Africa Shoulder Bag out on the fabric and used it as a template. I lined the top center of the handle on the fold so that I would be cutting out both sides of the bag handle at once. I added a 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance. More is better as it leaves room for error and you can always trim any excess material later. 

They say to measure twice and cut once, but as you can see from the photo I used a combination of following the tape measure as a guide and eyeballing it. 

This is what the strap looked like after I had cut it out. I used the same technique to cut out the body of the bag. I placed the bottom of the crocheted bag along the fold so that I was cutting out one long piece of fabric. Again, I added about a 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but I added a pocket. Nothing fussy. I simply cut out a rectangle about 5 1/2" x 10". I folded the sides and the bottom in about a 1/4". I folded the top of the pocket down a 1/4" twice and machine stitched in place. I laid the pocket onto the right side of the fabric and sewed an 1/8" seam around both sides and the bottom of the pocket. I also ran another seam down the middle so that the pocket was divided into two separate pockets.

Once the pocket was complete I folded the body of the bag in half, right sides facing, and machine basted the two side seams together. I then made sure that the lining fit nicely into the bag and that the top edges lined up. Once I was sure that everything lined up I machine sewed the two side seams.

I folded the long edges of the handle in about 1/2" and ironed in place. I laid the handle on the bag, right sides facing and matching the center of the handle up with the side seam on the bag.

I machine basted the handle in place and again checked to ensure that the lining would fit the bag. The wonderful thing is that the crocheted bag has a lot of ease so I found I didn't have to make any adjustments. After double checking that everything fit I machine sewed the handle in place.

I folded the top edge of the bag lining down 1/2" and ironed in place.

With the bottom of the bag facing I folded both corners of bag towards the center leaving 6" between the two points. Lining the points up with the bottom center of the lining I tacked the corners into place.

With the wrong sides facing out I inserted the lining into the crocheted bag and pinned in place. I machined sewed around the edge and voila...the whole process took me about an hour and a half.


Friday, June 17, 2011

how to make felted wool dryer balls.

We were looking for a way to use up our ever growing collection of scrap wool, when we discovered wool dryer balls.  We had so much fun making them that we just had to share this great idea with you!

If you have never heard of wool dryer balls they are rapidly growing in popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets. They reduce static, they soften your cloths without the use of harsh chemicals and they cut down on drying time saving you money. You can also scent them by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil.

You can purchase new 100% wool for felting, or you can use up your leftover scraps. The important thing is not to use a super wash or machine washable wool as this in theory will not felt. If you are worried about colour fastness in the laundry then you may want to stick to the light neutral colours.

Getting started

Start by winding your 100% wool for felting around your fingers.

Slide the yarn off of your fingers and wind in the other direction.

Fold the ball in half and keep winding. Don't worry about whether or not it is pretty.

If you are using scrap wool, when you reach the end of one colour just join the new colour with a slip knot and continue winding. We saved our largest yarn scraps for the outside so that our finished ball was one consistent colour.

When you have finished winding your yarn into a ball 10” in circumference, or about the size of a tennis ball, use a crochet hook to tuck your yarn end in.

To keep your yarn from unraveling in the washing maching you will want to place it in an old pair of nylons or the toe of a sock.

For added security you might want to knot a piece of cotton (non-felting) string around the sock. Wash with like colours in hot water in the washing machine. It may take a few washings to get the ball to felt. If you desire a fuzzier more uniform look you can remove the dryer ball from the sock (once you are sure that it is felted enough that it won't come apart)  and wash it on its own. Throwing it in the dryer will also speed up the felting process.

For added detail you can needle felt a design onto your felted dryer ball.

Simply divide your yarn into 3 seperate strands as shown.

Using 1 strand of yarn and a 38 gauge all-purpose felting needle lightly tack your design into place. If you are not satisfied with the results then simply pull the yarn off and start again. Don't be afraid to be creative. When you are happy with the design and its placement then stab the design evenly until it is firmly attached.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

new pattern - felted crochet bag by kim miller.

This stylish shoulder bag is first crocheted and then felted to produce a durable, fuzzy fabric. The entire bag is made using simple double crochet stitches and can be crocheted using 1, 2 or 3 colours. The hardest part will be deciding which colours to choose.

The crochet pattern calls for 3 ½ skeins of Berroco® Ultra Alpaca and includes loads of colour illustrations.

Finished bag measires 17" across when laid flat and 17" from bottom to the highest top edge excluding handle.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

sneak peek.

Here's a quick peek at another crochet pattern that should be ready for release any day now...


Monday, June 13, 2011

help with the hanging storage pouch crochet pattern.

If you have the Hanging Storage Pouch crochet pattern and you have questions as to where to place some of the stitches, perhaps these figure pictures will help.  Of course, feel free to contact us directly at knotsewcute@gmail.com or ask away in the comments section and we will do all we can to help.

Above is a picture of the pouch at the beginning of Round 2.  Completed already is the ch 1 (which will count as your first sc of the round) as well as the first FPdc (front post double crochet) of the round. The FPdc is worked around the beginning ch 2 of the previous round (purple).  You will then do a sc into the top of the next dc (red) and then a FPdc around the post of the same dc (yellow).  Because the FPdc lays on top of the work, it may slightly hide the next stitch.  Just gently pull your stitch on your hook to the right a bit so it uncovers the next stitch completely.

Also worth mentioning is how to do the FPdc in Round 3 and 4. Below is a picture of how to pick up the post of the FPdc of the previous round.  Notice that the hook is under the post but it is still on the front of the work.  It isn't worked right through to the back of the fabric.  This way of doing the FPdc will only be applicable in Round 3 and 4.

The below picture shows the pouch at the beginning of Round 4. Already complete is the ch 2 (which will count as your first BPdc of the round. You will now FPdc around the post of the first sc (orange) and then a BPdc around the post of the next sc (orange). Because you are dealing with such a small area, it will be a tight squeeze around these posts. It will be much easier on the remaining rounds.

We hope that you find these figure pictures helpful.  As mentioned earlier, don't hesitate to ask questions in the comments section or if you prefer you can email us directly at knotsewcute@gmail.com.
Update December 13, 2012:
If you are looking for the crochet pattern for the Hanging Storage Pouch you can find it on our blog at http://knotsewcute.blogspot.ca/2011/05/new-crochet-pattern-hanging-storage.html.


Friday, June 10, 2011

sneak peek.

Here's a little peek at an upcoming pattern.  Try your hand at Tunisian crochet and make sweet little gift bags in the process. 


Monday, June 6, 2011

how to work in a spiral fashion in crochet.

In order to avoid a seam when you are working in the round sometimes a pattern will ask you to work in a spiral fashion. In this tutorial we will look at how to work in a spiral fashion in both single and double crochet.

When working in sc often at the end of round 1 you would join the round with a sl st, ch 1 and then you would continue on to round 2.

To work in a spiral fashion you do not join your work at the end of the round, but rather you work your first sc into the first stitch of the round. It's important to mark this stitch with a safety pin or a stitch marker.

This is what your work will look like at the end of round 2. Continue working in a spiral fashion moving your stitch marker up as you go.

To work in a spiral fashion in dc it might be better to start with a smaller stitch on the first round and then work your stitches in ascending order (sc, hdc, dc), but it is possible to start your first round in dc.

Work your first dc into the first st of the round. Again it is important to mark this first stitch.

This is what your work will look like at the end of round 2.

You can finish off your last round by creating a tapered end. To do this work your final stitches in a decending order. For example you could work the last 6 stitches as follows: 3 hdc, followed by 3 sc.

Finish off by working a sl st into the first stitch of the round.


Friday, June 3, 2011

some of our favorite crochet blogs.

Since we have started blogging we are suddenly more aware of other crochet blogs and we wanted to share with you some of the ones that we found and enjoyed.

7)  http://blog.thecrochetdude.com/

Okay, so this next one is not a crochet blog, but it is creative, inspiring and she did feature a blog post about these gorgeous doily embelished window treatments. To view these stunning drapes created by White Doily click here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

how to work a post stitch in crochet.

A post stitch, also known as a raised or relief stitch, produces a beautiful richly textured fabric. A post stitch is made by working around the post or the stem of the stitch on the previous row. Trebles may be used when you need to span multiple rows. For this tutorial we will be looking at how to crochet both a front post double crochet (fpdc) and a back post double crochet (bpdc).

fpdc = YO, insert the hook from front to back around the post of the st indicated, YO and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook), (YO and draw through 2 loops on hook) twice.

bpdc = YO, insert the hook from back to front around the post of the st indicated, YO and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook), (YO and draw through 2 loops on hook) twice.