Crochet flower baby mobile

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Latest crochet creation: a flower mobile, to be given to a friend who has just had a baby.

It was very quick and fun to make and the perfect project to utilize all those scraps of yarn we all have lying around. Also a great hot weather baby gift, when crocheted hats, booties and afghans might be out of season.

I worked with acrylic yarn of varying weight, and crochet hook number 3 or 3.5, depending on size of yarn. I also added a string of rather heavy beads in the cross-section, which adds more variety and stabilizes the mobile by shifting the gravity center to the middle.

I hope I will inspire at least one fellow crocheter to make this cute, fun project.

LoveCrochet

Little Princess Angel Wings Pinafore

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Between cleaning and scrubbing, sorting and laundry, I had managed to sneak in some quiet hours with my children at the playground and the library, and made this cute little pinafore dress.

I knew I just had to make it when a similar dress popped up in my Pinterest feed – it was so straightforward I practically saw the pattern just by looking at it. With some variations, the Angel Wings pinafores are all very much alike. With a bit of crochet know-how, you can create endless different models of this lovely dress for the little girls in your life.

Step 1: Create circle. Crochet round and round, enlarging it until, folded in half, the circle is wide enough for the bodice and arm openings.

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Fold in half:

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Bind off the arm openings on both sides. The space between the armholes is the width of the bodice – now would be a good time to get your little one to try on the dress to make sure it is wide enough. If it isn’t, don’t worry – just unbind the armholes and add a few more rows to the circle, making it as large as necessary.

Once you have your desired width and you’ve bound off the armholes, crochet round and round the bodice, working down to the desired length of the dress. You can add more stitches to make the skirt puffy and ruffled. I used the adorable shell stitch.

I worked with crochet hook number 2.5 and a delightful soft and smooth bamboo cotton yarn. It’s wonderfully cool and breathy and will be just the thing for hot weather.

I’m so glad I was able to finish this before Pesach, and just in time for Hadassah’s first birthday – can you believe that it has already been a year?

Perfect quick playdough

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I will readily admit that, though slime seems to be all the rage now, I find plain old playdough much more appealing. Its texture is more gratifying, in my opinion, and you can do much more with it than just stretch and squish.

This playdough recipe popped up on my Pinterest feed and I knew I just had to try it as it was so simple and quick.

I was not disappointed – the playdough came out delightfully squishy, soft and pliable. Even the older kids (and their mom!) had a blast rolling, shaping and punching it.

The recipe is really the simplest you’ll ever find:

1 part hair conditioner (you had better use the cheapest kind)

2 parts corn or potato starch

Optional: a few drops of food coloring.

In a bowl, mix the starch and hair conditioner until you get a nice soft lump of playdough. Israel loved the squishing and mixing with his hands.

Add a little more cornstarch or conditioner as needed. Knead in the food coloring. That’s it! 

There’s always a mess factor when doing a playdough activity, but in this case it’s really minor. Any stray bits of playdough will dry out and can be easily swept or vacuumed. It doesn’t stick and it smells great!

I hope you enjoy this simple and creative activity with the children in your life.

Crochet Tutorial: The Puff Stitch

Like its name implies, the puff stitch is puffy and can add tons of texture to any crochet project. I personally love it, but it’s a bit tricky to master and goes a little beyond basic crochet skills. It works best with yarn that is relatively thick and fluffy (not thin cotton/bamboo) and doesn’t have a tendency to separate into strands.

The basic principle of the puff stitch is casting on a loop of yarn as you would for a double stitch, but rather than binding it off at the top, you cast another stitch, and then another, as shown in the diagram here:

Step 1:

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Step 2:

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You can see a video of me crocheting the puff stitch here:

I’m working with lovely natural merino wool such as this one. It has a delightful texture and is a joy to work with.

A pattern sample incorporating the puff stitch:

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Note: the puff stitch, like other textured crochet stitches, does take up substantially more yarn, so if you aren’t sure how much you need for a project, it’s better to stash up!

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.

Softie Crochet Doll: how-to

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A couple of weeks ago, I found a bag of yarn scraps someone had thrown away. You know I couldn’t just pass! Implementing my own advice on using scraps of yarn, I washed the whole stash and set about making this little doll.

I didn’t follow precise instructions, though there are many patterns you can draw upon. This is an intermediate level project that does require some thorough familiarity with the basics and intuitive knowledge on when to add or reduce stitches.

Most of the work on this project was done with single stitch. I used crochet hook number 3 and acrylic yarn similar to this one.

Step 1: Head and body

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Head: start working a round shape as you would when making a hat, but reduce stitches towards the bottom to make a curved ball-like shape. Leave off a narrow brim – later you’ll slip stitch around it to attach it to the body.

Body: start from the bottom – make a ring and work your way up, gradually reducing stitches. Reduce rather more dramatically towards the top, creating a curvature and leaving off a narrow opening.

Cross stitch, embroider or otherwise make eyes and mouth on head and slip stitch it to the body.

Fill with stuffing and close body off at the bottom.

Step 2: Arms and legs – make rather narrow ring and crochet round and round, making a sort of hollow tube of desired length. Slip stitch arms to the sides of the body and legs to the bottom. Fill with stuffing and stitch up.

Hair: Make a large, rather floppy pompom, attach to head by slip stitching and trim off as desired.

Clothes: This dollie is dressed in a basic little frock I whipped up, and has a miniature version of Bev’s Very Easy Booties on her feet.

End result: soft, lightweight cuddly doll my kids love to snuggle. They were delighted with the process, too! It was very rewarding, as it worked up so quickly and the little ones were so gratified.

Basic Crochet Tutorial: Granny Square

The granny square is a classic crochet element that figures in all sorts of projects, from blankets and ponchos to bags and scarves. You can use up scraps of yarn by making many granny squares and stitching them together, or you can make one giant square into a blanket or rug.

There are many variations to the granny square, and in the following demonstration I’m showing the classic one. Whatever spin you put on it, the square shape is achieved by adding from the corners.

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Step 1: make a short chain and connect the last stitch to the first, creating a circle.

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Step 2: chain 2, double stitch 2 (will look like 3 double stitches), ch3, dc3, until you have 4 clusters of 3 stitches and 4 “empty” sections. These are your corners.

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Step 3: In each 3 chain space, create a corner by making 3 dc, 2 chain, 3 dc again.

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Step 4: I’m creating a classic checkered pattern by looping my stitches through the chain 3 of the previous round, but it really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you keep adding to the corners: dc 3, ch 2, dc 3.

I made this demonstration with crochet hook number 3 and acrylic yarn. In case you are wondering why I switched yarn colors in the end, I started with some leftover yarn length and ran out of it before I could finish the last row. Yes, I’m quickly using up those yarn scraps and am allowing myself to browse clearance sales to re-stock my stash.

Crochet Tutorial: The Basics

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Following my crochet posts, I got a request to make a tutorial showing the basics. This is the beauty of crochet, actually – once you have mastered the 3-4 basic stitches, you can make almost anything by combining them.

So, without further ado, here is my demonstration of the most fundamental crochet stitches: basics for beginners. 

The chain stitch is the simplest of all – it’s basically just pulling loop through loop using a hook – but it’s important because every crochet project starts with a chain.

Single stitch: after a chain, this is the first stitch you should learn. It creates a tight fabric and is very commonly used in various projects.

Double stitch is perhaps the stitch I use most often. It creates a looser, stretchier weave and makes for faster work than the single stitch.

Triple stitch: I don’t use the triple stitch that often, but it’s a cool stitch that creates tall, nifty-looking columns. It’s great for height contrasts, ripple effects, and lace.

When you begin practicing the crochet stitches, choose a comfortable-sized hook and yarn that is plain-textured and doesn’t fall apart (in the demonstration above, you can see that the yarn I used has a bit of a tendency to separate into filaments). Something like this yarn would be a good choice.