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  • One-Skein Baby Projects

    Please welcome our Guest Blogger, Sharon Silverman.  Sharon is the author of Crochet Refresher, Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, Tunisian Shawls, and most recently One-Skein Baby Projects.  Her very popular Heirloom Frame Crochet Blanket ePattern gets rave reviews on LeisureArts.com.  She has two brand new ePatterns that you can be among the first to download.  They are a Mosaic Blanket ePattern and a Lacy Crescent Shawl.  Sharon is here today to tell us about her latest Leisure Arts Book: One-Skein Baby Projects.  

    “Good things come in small packages,” the saying goes, and that’s certainly true for babies and for crochet projects.  My goal for One-Skein Baby Projects was to create adorable designs that crocheters could whip up for a special little baby without a large investment of time or money. I’m delighted that Leisure Arts was on board with the concept and gave me the go-ahead.

    Photo 1, book cover One-Skein Baby Projects book cover.

    The first part of my design process was to decide what items to focus on, and to select yarn for each project. I was inspired by Bonbons and Vanna’s Palettes. Both are mini-skein sets from Lion Brand. So cute to have all of those colors in one package! Those seemed ideal for toys.

    Photo 2, Pretzel Rattle Pretzel Rattle

    I used Vanna’s Palettes for the Pretzel Rattle. Why a pretzel? I should probably confess that pretzels have fascinated me ever since I wrote a travel guidebook about my home state, Pennsylvania Snacks: Your Guide to Food Factory Tours. I learned that Lititz, Lancaster County is home to the first commercial pretzel bakery in America, and that the history of the pretzel extends as far back as 610 A.D. That’s the first documented instance of European monks rewarding children who had memorized their Bible verses and prayers with a pretiola, Latin for “little reward.”

    A pretzel-shaped rattle has other advantages, too: lots of places for baby to hold on, and holes that are perfect for peek-a-boo.

    Safety is always my top priority when designing baby items. For the rattle, I used an unopened tube of beads completely encased in clear, waterproof packing tape. It’s positioned in the middle of fiberfill stuffing so it’s completely hidden from view, from feel—and from little teeth. Unless an elephant steps on the rattle and then a tiger rips the packing tape and the bead tube to shreds, the beads pose no danger.  (If you are in regular contact with an elephant and a tiger, omit the bead rattle—although a choking hazard may be the least of your worries.)  

    Bouncy Block uses Lion Brand Bonbons for a bright-colored, highly textured cube that’s fun for little hands.

    Photo 3, Bouncy Block Bouncy Block

    I think crocheters will enjoy making this because each side is different. Instead of fiberfill stuffing, I used washable cotton batting because it is denser and keeps the block nice and plump while retaining its shape.

    Every baby needs a “lovey” to cuddle and snuggle with. The Snow Bear Lovey (Bernat Baby Sport and Patons Astra) is a sweet bear-and-blanket combination. I chose a textured stitch pattern on the blanket to keep it interesting for crocheters and for babies. The head, muzzle, nose, ears, and arms are made separately, then assembled and attached to the center of the blanket. The ears are definitely my favorite part of the Snow Bear’s head. Something about them makes me go, “Awww…”

    Photo 4, Snow Bear Lovey

    Once the toys were finished, I worked on baby garments from head to toe—literally!—the Bubble Hat (Red Heart Anne Geddes Baby), Ribbed Vest (Caron Simply Soft), and Booties for Cuties (Red Heart Baby TLC).

    My own children are in their twenties now and hence no longer suitable models for baby gear, so it was thrilling to see the smiling little boy wearing the Bubble Hat and the Ribbed Vest in Leisure Arts’ photos. Way to make my work look good, buddy!

    The hat is sized for 0-3 months, 6 months, and 12 months; the vest is sized for 0-3 months and 3-6 months.

    Baby Bubble Hat Bubble Hat
    Baby Ribbed Vest Ribbed Vest

    Booties for Cuties are designed to keep little tootsies warm. High cuffs cover the ankle and keep the footwear right where it belongs. This project is sized for 3-6 months and 6-9 months.

    Baby Crochet Booties for Cuties Pink Booties for Cuties - Pink
    Crochet Baby Booties for Cuties Blue Booties for Cuties - Blue

    One other garment, the Hibiscus Top in Lion Brand LB Cotton Bamboo, has very recently been published as a stand-alone ePattern by Leisure Arts on its website.

    Crochet Hibiscus Top Hibiscus Top

    Every parent will tell you that you can never have too many bibs or washcloths. The final three projects in the leaflet are two bibs and a set of washcloths.

    The Bright & Easy Bib (Patons Grace) is worked in single crochet so it’s nice and dense. The ties are worked as part of the neckline so there’s no chance they can come loose.

    Crochet Bright & Easy Bib for Baby Bright & Easy Bib

    The Pullover Bib (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton) has a stretchy neckline that makes it easy to get on and off. A variation on single crochet produces a tight weave to keep messes from getting through. This bib is sized for head circumference 14” and for 16”.

    Baby Pullover Bib to Crochet Pullover Bib

    Sunshine Washcloths (Lily Sugar ’n Cream) brighten up baby’s nursery or bath. Thick and thirsty cluster stitches make these quick cloths pretty and practical. Make a few, roll up and tie with ribbon, and pop them in a basket with baby toiletries for a charming shower gift.

    Baby Crochet Sunshine Washcloth Sunshine Washcloth

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on One-Skein Baby Projects. Along with doing the editing and photography, they added helpful video links to the patterns. What a great way for crocheters to learn something new or to get reacquainted with a technique they haven’t used in a while. In the past I’ve written Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, Tunisian Shawls, and Crochet Refresher for Leisure Arts; another leaflet, Easy Afghans, will be published this spring. They also offer some standalone ePatterns of my work on their site.

    My hope for One-Skein Baby Projects is that relatively new crocheters will find easy items to suit their skill level, experienced crocheters will enjoy exciting stitch patterns and techniques to hold their interest, and that the finished projects will put a smile on the faces of babies and their parents.

    One-Skein Baby Projects Table of Contents Table of Contents

    To tell you a little bit about me, I’m a lifelong crafter who switched gears from travel writing to crochet design after I rediscovered my love of crochet about ten years ago. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. Recently I expanded my crochet work to include large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I love to travel and explore the outdoors, especially with my husband, Alan, and our two grown sons. So far I have visited 48 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 9 European countries. You can find me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com. I would love to hear from you!

    Happy crocheting!

    Photo 14, Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman
  • Boot Cuff

    Cool-Weather Family Fashions

    I needed a quick project to take on the go this week. I looked through all my Leisure Arts books and I saw these really cute Boot Cuffs in Cool-Weather Family Fashions. I used a bulky wool yarn. I have no idea what the name of this cream colored yarn is. I hate when my labels fall off. It was a yarn that I had in my stash.

    FullSizeRender (36) Use a place marker on the knit row side. This is the right side.

    Finished Cool Weather Fashions Boot Cuff

    I knitted the Boot Cuffs on size 11 straight needles. I love the pattern that this makes. It is quite a lovey stitch. One row is a rib stitch and the next row is a knit. I’m going to do a scarf or a cowl next with this stitch. If you want to knit this and you don’t like sewing up the sides you of your projects. You could cast on the number of stitches that you need for the size you require onto double point needles. Join in the round making sure not to twist. I know that is what I’m going to do next time I knit these. Remember Christmas is just a little over 3 months away. These would be a quick and easy project for someone who loves to wear boots.

    Boot cuffs as ear warmers Or a boot cuff for a dog cowl or earmuffs. Just kidding!!! I am not that bad!

     

  • Knit Hat

    I have been coloring in my Leisure Arts coloring books off and on all week and my favorite colors right now are neon iridescent colors. When I saw the Toybox Collection yarn called Candy at my local yarn shop called Yarn Kandy the yarn is 100% acrylic. I knew that I had to get it to knit a hat for a friend who runs very early in the morning.

    Beginner Friendly Knitting

    I know that she wears other iridescent clothing when she runs. But I wanted to knit her a hat to keep her ears warm, and something else so that she can be seen when it is still dark. Leisure Arts has neon iridescent colored yarns but it is a bulky yarn. You can use it but you will probably have to cast on less stitches and use a bigger size circular knitting needle.

     

     

    Finished Knit Hat CircleCircular Knitting a Hat

    My knitted hat pattern isn’t a written pattern. It could be written some place. I just haven’t seen it. Leisure Arts has a hat similar to the hat that I have knitted called Beginner-Friendly Knitting by Rita Weiss.  I just played with it until I got it right. I casted on 88 stitches on size 8 circular knitting needles, the first time I casted on 96 and it was way too big. I noticed this after I was 6 inches in and I had to rip it all out and start again. Joined in the round make sure not to twist. Going to start a rib stitch which is K2, P2 for an inch to inch and a half, but don’t forget your place marker to show were you joined. Then knit in the round until the hat is 6 inches. Decrease knit 6 knit 2 together all the way around to were your place marker is. When you start decreasing you are going to needle double point knitting needles. Knit the next row. Continue decreasing until you have 11 stitches left. I know that the photo has a hole I stopped at 22 stitches because my friend who this was for asked to. She wanted it so that hat could have a little ventilation. When you are done cut a 6 inch tail and with a darning needle weave the end through all the stitches on your double point. I always go around twice just to be safe. Tuck in your ends and you have a hat.

    Finished Knit Hat

    I hate to say it but Christmas is going to be here in a blink of an eye. School starts in a few days. Everyone needs a warm hat. Great for Christmas, birthday, or a just because I was thinking about you.

  • Hand Mitts

    One of my favorite storybooks as a small child was the Three Little Kittens that lost their mittens. Well I found my mittens. But something is missing. It is missing the fingertips and thumb coverings. I like finger less mittens because you can still use your fingers for texting; I even knit and crochet with my finger less mittens. I found this quick and easy pattern in a Leisure Arts book called Cool-Weather Family Fashions the pattern is called Hand Mitts.

    IMG_8156

    I used size 11 straight knitting needles and I know that the pattern calls for chunky yarn but the only chunky yarn that I had in my yarn stash is a ½ alpaca and ½wool. I know that the pattern calls for two different colors but I just used the one.  It took an hour to knit one finger less mitten and that included stitching up the side. Now I am ready for cooler weather. Finger less mittens are great ideas for gifts.

  • Bull’s Eye Coasters

    This is just a quick and easy project. Something small that you can carry around with you it’s too hot to try to work on really big projects. I have a baby blanket that I stopped working on in May because it was getting to hot. I found the pattern for Bull’s Eye Coaster from a Leisure Arts book called Modern Motifs. But the book says Bull’s Eye Square. I was going to do crochet a square. But I thought they were so pretty and the perfect size for coaster. I am making them for a gift. I will make the square at a later time I need a couple pot holders for my table.

    FullSizeRender (34)

    I found the pattern to quite easy to follow. I did my very first join with a DC (double crochet). It took me a couple tries to get it down. I was chasing my yarn around the crochet hook. Quite humorous if anyone was watching me. I used The Sassy Skein mercerized cotton, a hot pink and an electric blue. I loved the bright colors. I thought that it would be perfect for a Bull’s Eye target. It makes me want to go out and get a target and throwing darts. Probably not a good idea I don’t want a whole bunch of holes in my wall or in my foot which I did at my aunt’s house when I was a kid learning how to throw. I learned very quickly not to drop darts the land sharp point down.

  • Favorite Sock Pattern

    This is my favorite sock pattern. I have knitted many socks with this pattern and other patterns. This is just a simple tube sock. Much easier than other sock patterns because it doesn’t have a heel flap or gusset to knit and no Kitchener stitch on the toes. I didn’t get this from a Leisure Arts book. But here is a good starter book by Leisure Arts that is very helpful How to Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy by Edie Eckman.

    Patons Kroy Sock Yarn Patons Kroy Sock Yarn

    I used Patons Kroy sock yarn for the finished pair of socks it’s a wool and nylon blend yarn. The other photo is another pair of socks is a self-stripping yarn wool yarn by Feederbrook Farms that I discovered at the new yarn shop in Little Rock called Yarn Kandy. Also Leisure Arts has a few sock yarns that you can order from their sight. A Lion Brand yarn called Sock Ease a wool and nylon blend yarn.

    Feederbrook Farms

    Feederbrook Farms

    I used size 5 double point knitting needles. I casted on 48 stitches, joined it in the round did the rib stitch which is knit 2, purl 2. I put a place marker to show where I joined it in the round this way I know where to start when I start my decrease. I continued with the rib stitch for 1 inch to 1½ inches. The knit in the round stockinette stitch til the sock is 14 to 15 inches. When you are ready to decrease knit 6, knit 2 together the next round knit. Decrease one row and knit the next. Do this until you have 8 stitches. Cut a good size tail 6 to 8 inches. With a darning needle weave it through all 8 stitches and bind off. I like to go around the stitches twice this makes it a little stronger. Have fun knitting. I know I do. Socks make a great Christmas gift.

  • Granny Square Headband

    A few weeks ago one of my kids that I nanny for asked me to make them a headband. I asked her what kind of headband and she shrugged her shoulder and said “I don’t know!” So I thought about it and when looking through a crochet book by Leisure Arts called Quick Itty Bitties. I saw this crochet Granny Square Hat. I thought how cute would that be as a headband instead of a hat.

    Granny Square Headband

    I found this cotton yarn Crème de le Crème while on vacation last week in Southport, NC called Angelwings Needle Arts. So I used 5 colors 4 different colors for the granny squares each square has three colors. I know that the pattern calls for more than 4 colors. The 5th color is a light gray I used light gray to crochet the squares together and did a single crochet across the top and the bottom. She can wear this headband now or when it gets cold to keep her ears warm. I like knitting or crocheting with cotton because breaths. This project was quick and easy. It only took a couple hours.

    Granny Square Headband

  • Busy Board

    I know that I have used this book Crafting with Buttons and Ribbons by Leisure Arts several times. But today I am using this book and a few others in a different way. Going on a summer trip or you need something quick and easy to make your toddler to kindergartner to keep them busy for a moment. I was flipping through this book when I came across the page with the Button Elephant and the templet for it when a light bulb went on and I thought to myself how cute would be to trace the animal and cut them out for a felt busy board for my very active 3 year old niece who is all hands when she comes over to my house. It is still 50/50 her playing with my dogs toys over her toys. She has discovered the dollhouse and has started showing interest in it. I am sure she will love this.

    IMG_8075

    For this project I used a piece of cardboard, scissors, Elmer’s craft glue, several pieces of felt, tracing paper, 1 fabric marker, 1 pencil,1 sheet of scrapbook paper, and a sticky sided piece of felt. After tracing and cutting out the templets. I then used a fabric marker to trace and cut out my animals. Why a fabric marker? The ink will disappear after it dries.

    FullSizeRender (8) FullSizeRender (13)

    After I finished with my animals I took out a piece of cardboard that I rescued from my recycling bin. I placed it under the sticky felt and used a pencil to trace to cut to fit the felt. Do not remove the sticker yet!! Then I grabbed the scrapbook paper and glue I glued one side of the cardboard and then I centered the cardboard piece on top of the scrapbook paper. Making sure the design side was facing down and not towards the glued cardboard, then I trimmed the top and bottom but leave the sides just flip it over and glue them to the back and the remove the stickered felt and line it up the best you can. I trimmed any sticky felt that was hanging over the edge. Once that is finished your busy board is done. To put away and store it I found a big plastic envelope at Office Depot for a dollar. The busy board fits in quite nicely and the back of the envelope was a perfect place to put the felt animals. I look forward to finding more things that I can use for the busy board.

    FullSizeRender (25)

  • Birthday Earrings or Charms for Wine Glasses

    I just remembered that I have a friend’s birthday dinner Sunday evening. I was looking at the Hoop Earrings in Leisure Arts book called Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2. I decided that I would make her some charms for her wine glasses. She can use them on her glasses or wear them as earrings.

    FullSizeRender (2)

    For this project I used needle nose pliers, wire cutters, 4 hoop earrings with an eye, several silver spacers, 4 headpins, 16 small glass beads, and 8 slightly bigger glass beads. I used two bigger beads on the headpins with a spacer in between and one on top and wrap and making a little hoop to be able to slide onto the earring. So after I made my bobbin I took a small glass bead and placed it onto the hoop then a spacer, then another small glass bead, the bobbin and repeated what I put on before the bobbin I did this to all four. Because my bobbins on this project are all different she might not want to wear them as earrings. After all the beads, spacers, and bobbins are all on I then closed the earring by putting the post through the eye of the earring and bent the end of the earring. This will keep the earring from coming off and everything falling off. I only bent one so you could tell the difference.

    IMG_8040 (1)

  • Baby Washcloths Part One

    When I found this book by Leisure Arts called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham I wanted to knit them all for my new baby cousin. So I set to work with knitting all 9 washcloths it take me about 6-8 hours to knit a washcloth but doing all 9 took more time because I get bored, busy with everyday tasks, and/or I work on other projects. But the one thing that I like about knitting washcloths they are small projects and you can take them everywhere.

    IMG_7863

    When I started I used 3 stitch markers or place markers and placed them after the first 5 stitches on the start of the wrong side, purl until you get to the last 5 and place the second marker. The third I used to mark the right side that is the side that is your pattern side. I like using these because sometimes I get so busy knitting away that I will knit straight across or purl, when I am supposed to be doing the opposite, and then I have to back out and try again. My favorite out of all 9 is the Sailboat and the Butterfly. I used Egyptian cotton on all 9 washcloths. Stay tune for tomorrows post to see what I plan on doing with all of these washcloths. I am super excited. I thought about doing this the moment that I saw this book.

    FullSizeRender (27) All 9 Baby Washcloths

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