Category: Projects

Crochet or Knitting – Which is Harder?

Is it “harder” to knit or to crochet? Which craft is the hardest to accomplish?

Source: Memecrunch.com
Source: Memecrunch.com

People ask me these questions a lot. And I mean a lot.

So I thought I would try my best to type my own answer to the question up and publish it for anyone who might be searching to find answers to this very question.

The answer? It isn’t as simple as you expected, or hoped, probably.

The answer is difficult because it likely differs for every yarn crafter who does both knitting and crochet. I can only answer this from my personal perspective, so do keep in mind that this is what I’m doing. I’m not saying for certain which craft will prove to be the hardest of the two for you specifically. But I do feel pretty strong in my own opinion of which is harder to learn and work with, so I am happy to explain why. Now that my mini disclaimer is out of the way, let me just tell you what I think.

Knitting is harder.

Okay, there! I said it. Send me to the guillotines! Even I didn’t want to admit this to be true, but I could deny it no longer.

You see, I started out knitting. It was the very first yarn craft I picked up, and while I don’t think the basics of knitting are necessarily “hard” or difficult to do, I find that crochet is so much more smooth of a craft to work with. It’s also far more lenient in terms of rules and what you can do with it. Knitting, not so much. Knitting is for the rule-followers. Crocheting is for those of us who have a rebel side and want to skip a few, and sometimes just crochet whatever we want without necessarily following a specific pattern.

You see, crochet allows you to do that, most of the time.

Knitting?
Oh buddy. I hope you are really good at picking up stitches when you drop em! With crochet if you skip a stitch, it’s usually not a big deal. Knitting, on the other hand, requires strategic focus, in my opinion. Even if I’m only knitting using one simple stitch all the way through and following a simple shape like a square for a blanket, for example. I have to keep an eye on my work a bit more than when I’m crocheting.

Therefore, knitting does not go as smoothly as crochet, for me.

That’s to put it in a nut shell. There are a lot of differences between knitting and crochet, but I won’t kill you with that kind of detail.

On the positive side, I’m really confident that anyone who’s got the patience for yarn crafting and the passion will absolutely be able to pick up knitting without trouble.

For me, a very slow learner and someone who learned from YouTube videos and no in-person help, it took me several hours of carefully watching very slow tutorials on how to “cast on” and how to wrap and twist the yarn in all those different ways that are required in knitting.

More good news:
It’s actually way easier than it looks! It’s just getting the hang of it and letting your hands get past that awkwardness and uncertainty of the movements. But once your hands are comfortable, things will flow easily without a lot of thought or confusion.

With that said, once I learned the basic stitches of crochet, I only had to go back and re-watch videos on how to do the stitches a couple of times at most. As for knitting, I had to completely re-learn how to create a purl stitch after almost one year of not picking up the needles.

It also requires two needles rather than one hook, so that alone makes things feel awkward if you’re used to holding a single hook in your hand.

I think initially, once we get past the awkwardness of holding and moving the needles, that’s when things are suddenly not as hard as they first looked to us.

So, I hope knitting isn’t something your discouraged about. Watch plenty of YouTube tutorials and allow yourself time and a lot of patience and you will probably develop a new found love for knitting, too.

However, there’s something more satisfying about the ease of crochet, the way you don’t really have to follow so many stiff rules in order to create something pretty awesome. There’s something about crochet that feels more satisfying as I do it than when I knit, most of the time. I think it’s because it allows for more mindless working than knitting typically does, although you truly can do plenty of mindless knitting (blankets, scarves, etc.) I just feel like there’s more leniency with crochet, if that makes sense.

I personally was able to catch onto crochet in one night. Knitting took several.

One more major difference between knitting and crochet that I think makes one harder than the other is the hand-strain. Knitting seems to really fire up the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome that I’ve been dealing with for several long months now whereas crochet doesn’t seem to affect my hand as easily. I can also crochet loosely so it’s easier on my hand without it affecting the work too much whereas knitting can start to look a smidgen un-even when I go loosely.

That sums up the answer, in a quick nutshell. I promise though, if you can crochet and you love it and have been considering knitting but are afraid, please don’t be. You do get a great sense of pride and accomplishment from knitting, it’s just not as smooth of a ride as crochet can often be. So, hang on, pick up some needles and get to knittin’!

Let me know what you think. Which is harder for you? Knitting? Crochet? Both? None?

Free Chevron Baby Blanket Pattern & WIP

Kendra Chevron 1
Kendra Chevron 2
Kendra Chevron 3

Kendra Chevron 4

Kendra Chevron 5
Kendra Chevron 4
Kendra Chevron 3

These are the many photos I’ve taken of the partially finished blanket I started crocheting… gulp… last year for my nephew. I used this wonderful free pattern which I’ve actually featured before already from Miracles Happen called the Ripple Crochet Afghan and adored every stitch. It has been one of the most relaxing, rewarding pieces I’ve worked so far. It went so smoothly, and I adore the design.

The pattern is very simple to follow and if you can crochet quickly, and have some time to spare right now, then you could probably finish a baby size before Christmas knocks at your door. Seriously, this is the ultimate relax-afghan, sort of. I suppose a single or double crochet only would be even more mindless to work, but this one has something a little more rewarding about its design.

Kendra Chevron 2
Kendra Chevron 6

Kendra Chevron 7
Kendra Chevron 5
Kendra Chevron 5

Hello my fellow crocheters, knitters and other awesome crafters,

You can see how busy I have been with my needles and hooks, huh? I forgot how fast Christmas could sneak up on us and I twiddled away my time and ended up not having all the projects done I’d hoped to already have completed by now. So, I’m having to scramble at the last minute to try and get them all done.

I have the little rose pink colored cardigan that I posted about last week, the one I have started for my niece and hadn’t finished the sleeves on. Those sleeves are something else. They are taking so much longer than I expected. I’m single crocheting them, so it’s a slow go.

And riding around in my purse is a piece of a sweater on a pair of size 6 needles. Remember in my cardigans to crochet and knit post where I featured several superbly gorgeous and stunning cardigans to crochet (for free!)? Well, at the end of that post, I shared the link to the awesome cardigan pattern by Lion Brand that I’m working on knitting. It’s the one called Curtain Call…

Well, yep. That’s the one on my needles right now, so I’m basically (no, not basically. I am.) switching between my niece’s little cardi and mine! I kid you not, I’ve even been carrying them around in my bag, and anytime my spouse is driving and stops the vehicle (and even at times when he’s not stopped at all, but driving!) I will pull the projects out and knit a couple of stitches, or crochet a few.

If only I didn’t get headaches from every single thing that is present on our beautiful earth! I can’t hardly knit or crochet (or do anything else that requires my vision) without my head pounding. So, here I am frantically pulling out my needles/hook and yarn to knit just one more stitch each time we stop. It’s literally yarn crazy in my world right now!

I’m surprised I haven’t found a way to knit/crochet while I’m using the bathroom yet. Hey… Next idea? Just kidding. Just kidding!

However, it would be pretty fantperb (that means fantastic+superb) if my love bucket could knit or crochet because I could just put him to work on one of the projects as I work the other. Oh Lord, I have a feeling that’s coming. Bless his heart, he’s already untangled and re-rolled dozens of yarn balls for me, and even attempted to knit a few stitches a while back on a sweater I worked on. He actually did a good job, too. That brings me to another totally off-topic little fun fact: My spouse is who inspired me to crochet/knit, kind of. The idea came to me one night, and it so happened his grandmother was a very big crocheter, and it wasn’t a day or two after I mentioned to him that I was going to take up knitting that he had me an entire tub full of supplies. He watched his grandmother crochet for years as they watched TV together, and even played Mario on the Nintendo!

So, thanks to him and his incredibly inspiring grandmother (who has since passed away, and the beautifully precious family has allowed me to use her supplies. Something I’m forever grateful for), I have been able to take up this absolutely stunning craft. Seriously, there’s nothing like the feeling of needing nothing more than either a hook and some yarn or a pair of needles and some yarn and knowing you can literally create anything from those two supplies.

Okay! I truly did bounce from one topic to a million others. I hope you all can forgive my scatter-brain for now. I’m feeling crazy and scatter-brained and frantic as ever now that the Holidays are approaching and so many life changes are occurring at such a fast pace in my life! I am sure this shows through my posts, so please bear with me. I promise to try and get myself together before I go posting again.

In the meantime, I am still trying to think up some Christmas gift ideas (last minute!) for other loved ones of mine who I either wouldn’t have time to crochet/knit something for, or who simply wouldn’t really love one of my projects, so any ideas? What are some of the gifts you’re giving this year? I’m hoping to find several great gifts really soon so that I don’t go all panic-last-minute-shopping even worse than I am right now. Seriously, I have one gift ready. ONE. So, I’d love to hear some of ya’ll’s ideas. Anybody else crocheting or knitting gifts this year, too?

P.S. If you aren’t a crocheter yourself, but would like to purchase a similar blanket, you can find them on my shop Laughing Flamingos.

Crochet Lace Blouse Video & Written Tutorial


For those of you who are participating in the crochet along for this lacey blouse, I’ve provided the written instructions below. You can watch the video above to keep up, and to get a better understanding of what’s going on. To understand every detail better, you’ll probably find it easier to watch the video series before trying to go by the written instructions. This was a rather difficult project to explain in written text only. It was also my very first tutorial/pattern, so I hope you’ll be easy on me!

Written Pattern for Bust:
NOTE: All rows are started with a CH3 & end with a Slip Stitch into the 3rd CH of beginning CH3.

1. Go back to the very first row we made (the ch2, skip 1 chain & double crochet into the next. The square-like row. We’re going to go into one of the chains of any double crochet we made in that first row with new yarn. Once you’re in, start with a CH3 & DC.

Then, CH2, skip one chain/stitch & DC. Repeat that all around: *Ch2, skip one chain/stitch and double crochet into the next.*

Row 2: CH 3 & DC. *DC in every stitch, all around.
NOTE: If the bust feels too loose on you, now’s a good time to begin adding some random decreases. To do this, simply skip a couple of stitches all around.

For instance, I skipped about 12 stitches and did them at random. The blouse will begin to be just a tad tighter in that area. Don’t go too tight though!

Row 3: Double Crochet Cross-Over Stitch, all around. *CH3, skip one ST & DC into the next. Double crochet into the skipped stitch.* Note: This stitch is shown in my video, and also in a video tutorial
I made on this stitch alone. You can find it under “Double Crochet Cross Over Stitch Tutorial.”

Row 4: Repeat the DC Cross-Over Stitch.
Row 5: Repeat the DC Cross-Over Stitch.

Now you have 3 rows of DC Cross-Over.

Row 6: CH3, DC. *DC in each stitch, all around. To end, slip stitch into the 3 CH of your beginning CH3.

Row 7: CH3, skip one stitch & DC into the next. *CH 2, skip one stitch & double crochet in the next one.* All around. End with a SL ST into the 3rd chain of beginning CH3.

Row8: Repeat *DC Cross-Over Stitch* all around.

Row 9: CH3, DC. *DC all around. End with SL ST into the 3rd CH of your beginning CH3.

Row 10: DC. Repeat DC Cross-Over ST all around.

Try it on. If you’re happy with where the upper-back of the top lands, finish off now.

If you want the back to come up even more, continue working the pattern in the same way. I finished off at Row10.

Now we’ll begin working on the front only! As shown in the video, you’ll lay your piece down, the front side facing up. Find what will be the edges of each side (at bust/top portion).

Mark each side. I just eyeballed mine. I didn’t count the stitches to make sure it was folded exactly on count. I simply laid mine out, found the edges by looking at it & got to work! It may require you to try it on after this next row we work (front only row), to make sure that’s where you’ll want the sides of the top to be. This is easy, though.

Now that you’ve marked the sides, join with yarn into one of your stitches on either side. Now, we’ll crochet in the same pattern we’ve done for the bust, but we’ll only be going straight across the front, not all around.

FRONT ONLY: (from marker to marker, where you placed markers on the sides. Don’t continue to the back. Just from the side to side.)

Row 1 & Row 2: DC Cross-Over Stitch.

Row 3: DC in each stitch across

Row 4: DC Cross-Over Stitch.

Repeat Rows 1-4 until you’ve reached the length you want for the front bust area. Try it on after about row 4 and see if you need to continue going further. If not, finish off & begin the straps!

Straps:
To get an idea of how long you’ll need your straps to be, make a chain using your best guesstimate of how long it’ll need to be, then you can attach strap(s) with safety pin and try the top on. See if the length of the straps is right. Chain more or less to fit. If you have another tank top or camisole that fits well, just chain to the length of the straps on it.

Row1: Now that you have a foundation chain for the strap make 1 more chain on the chain you’ve just made. So, whatever your chain length was plus 1. Now, single crochet in each chain.

Row 2: *Chain 2, skip 2 chains and double crochet into the next*. Do this to the end. Simple & fast, huh?

*** I hope this was overly-easy to follow! I went ahead and included this written version for folks like me who can’t keep going back & watching video patterns several times a day. This pattern is just for the bust & straps of the top since that’s the part of this that I designed personally. The bottom half of this blouse has its own written photo-tutorial, which again, was created and posted for free by Girlie’s Crochet! She’s so kind! It’s been a pleasure to get to use her pattern in my own blouse. She’s been very helpful to me, so I want to give her a special thank-you. Head over to her blog to see the skirt she made with the pattern we used in this blouse! It’s outstanding!

Back to what I was saying, I realize the video plus this written part is probably a lot. Hope I haven’t overwhelmed anybody. I often find myself struggling with patterns that aren’t super-detailed, so that’s why I wanted to give as much information as possible on this blouse pattern. I want even the most beginner level crochet-er to be able to enjoy crocheting a nice blouse like this. So, let me know if y’all run into any problems or need help. I’m happy to help you through it!

I hope this has been as fun for you as it has me. I truly enjoy these “crochet-alongs!”

I hope to do more in the future, and hopefully, Girly from Girlie’s Crochet & I will get together and perhaps create some awesome something in the future! What do you think? Would y’all like to see more projects like this? Is the video + written part helpful or just confusing to you? What do you folks prefer? I have to ask because I need to know if I should continue this sort of thing in the future. If the information I provide is over-kill, don’t hesitate to let me know that either.

Crochet Cardigan — Work In Progress (WIP)

Bugs Cardi 1

Bugs Cardi 2

Bugs Cardi 4
Bugs Cardi 3

Hello my fellow blogger, crochet-ers, knitters and other craft folks! In one of my last posts,9 Easy, Free Cardis to Make This Fall (Free Patterns),” I mentioned that I had taken inspiration from one of my absolute favorite cardigan tutorials (a free YouTube Crocheter Wooly Wonders Crochet) who made the awesome tutorial shown below (for the second time on my blog now!)

In my post, where I featured the amazing Wooly Wonders’ videos, I promised that I would eventually show you guys the little cardi I had been working on, using the basics in the Wooly Wonders tutorial. And well, I’m here! It is not finished though (obviously. I mean, who would wear a one-sleeved sweater with yarn strings still hanging off of it, right?)

I’ve been working on adding sleeves, obviously, to the little sweater, and I have made some minor tweaks to the original design just to add my own original touch to it, and because I couldn’t resist using a ruffle-ish edging around the front. You may be able to see the subtle ruffle I put around the edge of the front, where the buttons will also be located when I get around to finishing this little fella.

As for my niece, she has already seen (and tried on) the little cardigan. I did have to make tweaks to the sizing so that it would fit her — she is 5 years old, and come to find out, Wooly Wonders had actually answered me about the up-sizing question I left for her on her YouTube video!

Unfortunately, I’d already gone ahead and just winged it for up -sizing the cardigan to fit my niece, but I wish I’d have been patient and seen the helpful comment from Wooly Wonders sooner because it’d have gone smoother. Lol. But, it does fit! Still, I will be doing a re-over and creating an entirely new cardigan for little Bug, using of course Wooly Wonders’ helpful advice and changing up the color combo as well as the edging. The next one will probably feature pockets, too! I love getting the hang of a basic design and then using it several times, tweaking it each time to add more features as I go.

Anyways, I thought I’d go ahead and get some photos up to show you guys. I will be sure to include more of the finished product.

The overall result has so far impressed me because I wasn’t sure I’d love my own work as much as I loved the look of the one done by Wooly Wonders. However, I’m pretty pleased. I do need to tuck in the tails and add the sleeves and finishing touches.

Oh, as for the sleeves, I simply kept going — in the round — with the sleeves. It’s very, very simple and takes little knowledge to get the hang of continuing the sleeves to create a long sleeve. I simply used single crochets all the way. This takes longer than if you go with a double crochet, but I wanted as little open spaces (holes) as possible since it’s really cold here in the winters, although it actually has been insanely warm for the most part up until this week. I worried that if I didn’t use a tight single crochet, there would be too much wind get through the holes in the sleeves and cause my poor little niece to be cold in her cute cardi! I can’t have that, so single crochets it’ll be.

In the meantime, I am also working on my own cardigan, which I also mentioned previously. It’s the Curtain Call pattern (free!) by Lion Brand. I’m knitting it, though. I’m not so far into it, but am thinking it’ll turn out lovely. I will show it in photos soon when I get far enough into it (or the finished product itself.)

So, do you think you will be trying your hand at a cardigan any time soon? If you’ve never done it, I hope you will not be deterred by anything because it’s SO much easier than I ever thought. If you follow the Wooly Wonders pattern/tutorial, I think it will be a total breeze, even for a beginner.

Hope you all have a beautiful Monday!

Care to share your WIP (work in progress) with me now? I just love seeing my fellow crocheters’ projects, even when they’re still in the raw. There’s just something about a fresh, not fully completed project that’s still on the needles or still attached to the hook. It really brings something fresh and inspiring to your mind, huh?

Going to go try to finish off these sleeves now.

Lots of love to you all,
Kendra

7 Adorable Free Crochet Patterns to Make Before Christmas

1. Scoodies
Tutorial: How to Crochet A Hooded Neckwarmer (or “Scoodie”) by I’mAfricanCrab
https://youtu.be/xd_GVBvy85k

I’mAfricanCrab shows you how to crochet her stylish “Scoodie,” which is a scarf/hoodie that’s so cute and functional you’ll want to join her in crocheting it right away. Her video tutorial is so easy to follow and understand that a beginner will be able to follow along and complete the scoodie with ease.

2. Boot cuffs!
All (okay, most) boot-wearing gals will really love a pair of adorable boot cuffs, and they can be knitted or crocheted in a jiffy. Best thing about them:

Source: Seven-Alive
Source: Seven-Alive
They’re small items, so they work really fast.
Quick Crochet Boot Cuffs by Seven-Alive

Bow Boot Cuffs by Loops of Lavender (these are my faves because the bow!)

Source: Loops of Lavendar
Source: Loops of Lavendar

(Crafting On a Dime) DIY Crochet Boot Cuff by Vanessa at See Vanessa Craft

Source: See Vanessa Craft
Source: See Vanessa Craft

These are absolutely darling! I’ve had them on my to-do list since I started crocheting last year! I can’t wait to get around to making these babies.

Crochet Boot Cuffs Free Pattern
by Penelope Rae
Source: Penelope Rae
Source: Penelope Rae

Since boot cuffs or boot “toppers” as some call them are so small, it’s pretty easy and quick to crochet a pair. There are several different free patterns available online for crocheted boot cuffs, so if you aren’t particularly fond of these here, you’ll likely be able to find another style you like somewhere online.

3. Scarves!
These are pretty much a given. Scarves are a pretty basic accessory and make a common gift. But… Hand crochet (or knit!) a scarf with your own hands & it’s suddenly extra spectacular. There are so many gorgeous scarf patterns available that I’d never be able to list them all (I feel a scarf post coming on), but I will list a few favorites of my own.
Crochet Ribbed Cowl
by The Purl Bee
(okay, it’s not a scarf, but same thing, right?)

I love this cowl’s awesome, unique texture and how cozy it looks.

Rib Cowl

Another totally snuggle worthy cowl is the Chunky Ribbed Cowl by Little Monkeys Crochet

Source: Little Monkeys Crochet
Source: Little Monkeys Crochet


Mosaic Infinity
by Lanas Hilos
Source: Arteen Hilo
Source: Arteen Hilo

Chevron Lace Wrap by <a href="https://www.mooglyblog.com/" target="_blSource: Mooglyank”>Moogly

This gorgeous Chevron Lace Wrap is lightweight and oh, so perfectly lacy looking. I can just imagine every single outfit in my wardrobe combined with the beauty of this — lovely overload.

4. Washcloth Scrubbies

Source: My Sweet Somethings
Source: My Sweet Somethings


Reusable Crochet Cotton Facial Scrubbies
by My Sweet Somethings

5. Jewelry

Source: Craftaholics Anonymous
Source: Craftaholics Anonymous

Easy Crochet Bracelet Tutorial by Craftaholics Anonymous

Finger Knit Bracelet
found on DIY Cozy Home
Okay, this one isn’t crochet, but it’s too perfect to not add to this fantastically purr-fect gift list, right? It’s finger-knitted, so I figure if you can crochet, you can definitely pick up finger knitting with ease.
Source: DIY Cozy Home
Source: DIY Cozy Home

The very first yarn craft I ever engaged in was finger knitting, in fact! You guys didn’t know that did you? It’s what got me hooked on yarn crafts and caused me to immediately begin exploring the world of knitting and crochet! Finger knitting is also an amazingly cool method for kids. Like crocheting and knitting with out needles and hooks, finger-knitting is also incredibly therapeutic, so I’d recommend trying it just for that very reason alone, even if knitting something wasn’t of big interest to you. I’d almost guarantee you’ll fall in love, though.

6. Cupcakes…
Seriously. You can crochet cupcakes. And these are actually cute.

Source: Bitter Sweet Blog
Source: Bitter Sweet Blog

Bake me A Cake pattern by Bittersweet Blog

8. Cupcakes are all the rage right now. It’s like these delicious yet cute little desserts have their very own trend going. I have seen cupcakes on everything from T-shirts in the little girls department to cupcake charms dangling from necklaces and bracelets… And now probably even our Christmas trees! Just chain a little loop on the top of these little crocheted cupcakes and you have yourself a Christmas tree ornament.

Source: Lulu Loves
Source: Lulu Loves

If you know someone who loves the cupcake trend (probably a tween girl, if I had my guess), then this might be something to consider as stocking stuffers for them, or to add a little something as a gift topper? Who knows, but apparently, they’re a big hit.

7. And to top off your gifts, or as a hair accessory, go ahead and crochet a few of these uber adorable chunky bobble crochet bows by Lulu Loves.

Seriously, I almost stopped what I was doing just to crochet one myself, but had enough discipline tonight to wait until work was finished… Mark my word, though, I will have crocheted a few (hundred, maybe!) of these cuties before Christmas. My niece is going to give me one more reason to thank Lulu Loves for such awesome tutorials!

10 Perfectly Beginner-Friendly Blankets to Knit for Christmas (Free Patterns)

As promised, here is 10 beginner friendly, gorgeous blankets to knit (or simply get inspiration from) for Christmas gifting! We’ve already covered the crochet version, and in that post, I promised a knitters version to come soon & I’ve managed to compile a list of those for you all. I hope this comes as a useful ‘series’ of inspirational gift-giving posts to some of you.

I’ve chosen to focus on beginner friendly patterns to feature here since this will allow beginners to check out some patterns that will fit their skill levels, too. Had I focused on more advanced patterns, I feel like I’d have limited the amount of folks that could participate in knitting the many different patterns out there available. This way, both beginners and advanced knitters can get in on the fun.

Another thing I’d wanted to accomplish with this and the crochet version of this post was to spark some confidence or inspiration in those of you who might not have been feeling confident enough in their skills to take on a gift project. Or for those of you who have been too afraid to take up the daunting task of trying your hand at something as big as a blanket. For that reason, I’ve tried to include as many quick and fast working projects as possible.

So, now that you feel motivated (and you do feel motivated, right? Right?), I hope you’ll try knitting up a blanket or two, or five!

P.S. To see my crocheters version of this post, go here.

1. Fuzzy Fluff Blanket Project from Craft Warehouse
*Update: It appears the owner of the website has removed this pattern & link. My apologies.

Source: Craft Warehouse
Source: Craft Warehouse

This fluffy, stylish blanket is knitted with specific yarn, to create the pom “pon” effect. However, you can whip up an equally beautiful blanket using the yarn of your own choice and following the pattern. The only difference is, well, for one, it’ll be much easier and for two, you won’t have to work with tiny “pom pons” on your yarn, which the pattern calls for. This is an easy to knit blanket otherwise.

2. Quickie Blanket by Big Box Detox

This blanket is not only simple and stunning, but it’s so easy to make! Nobody will ever know you whi

Source: Big Box Detox
Source: Big Box Detox
pped this blanket up with little to no mental work. The color block look is modern, stylish and fun! Plus, this knitted beauty is so age-versatile you can knit a colorful one for a child to snuggle with for the rest of their lives, or an adult who’ll appreciate it forever.

3. Super Easy Baby Blanket (Pattern Tweaked by Time for Dinner)

Source: Time for Dinner
Source: Time for Dinner

A simple baby blanket, originally found on the Purl Bee, which uses the garter stitch has been tweaked into unique perfection by Time for Dinner. She simply used knit 1 stitch, then purl the next and repeated that all throughout to create this awesome color block blanket! I love the results, and I think you will too.

4. Knitted Stripe Baby Blanket by Tiffany from Sweet Peonies

Source: Tiffany from Sweet Peonies
Source: Tiffany from Sweet Peonies

Stripes are a classic, and this pattern uses a combo of 3 different colors, although you can totally change it up or just use one. Or you could even knit each row in a new color if you really wanted! Virtually every human will love to receive a blanket with such simple beauty.

5. Quick Knit Blanket by Red Heart

Source: Red Heart
Source: Red Heart

This quick knit blanket has a lovely, feminine, lacy appearance, making it a beautiful gift. The skill level is do-able for most knitters, even many beginners. You will need a pair of circular needles (US size 13), though.

6. Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot

Source: Espace Tricot
Source: Espace Tricot

Let me just take a second to express my love and adoration for Espace Tricot. Ahh. Total knitters bliss, that blogger! The patterns are gorgeous. Stunning. To. Die. For! And so many of the beauties are offered for free, which definitely earns &** a huge shout out from me.

This chevron blanket features bold colors that are just irresistible. In fact, this pattern is already saved in my Ravelry queue for when I have time to knit it later. The pattern is also available in PDF format. Just follow the link provided and scroll down the page until you see the blanket. *There’s no link directed for the blanket pattern specifically, so you will have to scroll down the page to find it. The page is simply one full of Espace Tricot’s gorgeous, amazing free patterns, so if you’re like me, you’ll probably be clicking on every one on the list before you even make it to the blanket!

7. Arrowhead Lace Throw by Red Heart

Source: Red Heart
Source: Red Heart

This lightweight, lacy throw features an intricate-looking stitch design, although it’s actually rated as an easy pattern to follow.

The Arrowhead Lace Throw is beautiful enough — and really complicated looking, although it’s not so don’t even fret! — that it’s sure to earn you some respect as a knitter when you give one as a gift (or just show it off and keep it yourself!)

8. 6 Hour Afghan by Lion Brand

Source: Lion Brand
Source: Lion Brand

This super fast afghan is knitted with 4 strands of yarn held together. With 4 strands, expect a thick, chunky blanket. This is a beginner level project and the result looks so cozy it’ll be hard to pass up. Oh, and that fringe! Fringe is always in. Note: If you want to save $ you’ll spend on your knitting projects (and I understand because this craft can be extremely expensive, despite what many non-yarn-crafters think, so if you’re looking to cut costs, simple ditch the last 3 strands and simply use one. Or 2, if budget allows. Remember to use a smaller needle size if you use less yarn strands, though!)

9. F343 Coffee Beenz Textured Throw by Plymouth Yarn Design Studio

Source: Plymouth Yarns
Source: Plymouth Yarns

If knitting is your thing, but you’re ready to incorporate a little bit of texture into your handiwork, then perhaps this Textured Throw will be exactly the challenge you’ve been needing. This throw is knitted using 2 strands of yarn held together as you go. Remember, you can adjust how many yarn strands you use, if needed. Just use a smaller set of needles than a pattern calls for when you do this.

With a simple design though, this throw pattern will allow you to tweak to add multiple colors, if you like.

10. Weekend TV Lapghan by Lion brand

Source: Lion Brand
Source: Lion Brand

Can’t you just imagine how nice this would look on any couch?
This loose, light-weight throw is a fast piece of work and yet another gem that looks like it required serious work on your part, but it’s surprisingly simple to work.

This pattern requires a crochet hook (size P-15 or 10mm), but don’t worry. You don’t have to have extensive crochet skills in order to create this lovely blanket. The crochet hook is just for making the fringe border.

What do ya’ll think? Are any of these lovely enough to inspire you to try knitting a blanket (if you haven’t ever done so already) to give as a gift this year? If so, I’d love to know which you choose to knit!

If not a blanket, do any of you plan to crochet or knit any gifts for Christmas this year?

10 Perfectly Beginner-Friendly Blankets to Crochet for Christmas (Free Patterns)

It’s that time of year, almost.

Christmas!

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s brain is firing like crazy, in search of ideas for perfect Christmas gifts this year. Since I have taken up crochet and knitting in this last year (in fact, it was last winter when I first began knitting), I have been looking forward to being able to gift some items that I’ve hand crocheted or hand knitted.

So, a couple of months ago, I went on the hunt to find the best gifts, DIY-style. Of course crochet and knitting will be two I’ll want to focus on. I searched online to find what items would be the most likely to be appreciated and loved by other folks. I even went on crochet forums to ask fellow crocheters for their advice. I polled my readers, I perused websites like Etsy to see what crocheted items appeared to be the most sought-after by my fellow humans.

I got some random answers and some useful ones. Some recommended sticking with a popular accessory like scarves. Others said that their families and loved ones always valued their hand-made blankets and afghans the most. And one person even said that her most popular item was pet beds! She shared a nugget of advice with me, saying that I’d be surprised to learn how many people really found pet beds to be valuable gifts! Who knew?

Her suggestion was later confirmed when my sister asked me if I could crochet or knit a doggy bed for my niece’s new puppy!

I suppose for a pet owner, beds really would be handy gifts to give because, as my advice-giver noted, pets love to sleep on their owner’s clothing items and furniture. Owners tend to prefer their furniture and clothing to be fur-free, so a bed for the pets to keep warm in does seem a logical and useful choice for gifting.

You see, my family members don’t crochet or knit, and people who aren’t familiar with the crafts tend to not know (or value) the work and love that goes into creating such a gift. So, I realize that the majority of my family members are simply not going to appreciate a hand-made product as a gift, especially the kids who would probably use the item as a means to create a fire with, or toss in the nearest trash can.

However, I realize that there are people out there who do value and appreciate a nice, hand-knit or crocheted sweater or afghan or blanket, so for y’all, I’ve compiled a list of 10 beautiful blankets & afghans that can be crocheted with a beginner levels experience (see, my crochet beginners, I’ve got your back!) This way, even beginner crocheters can get in on the crochet gifting. So, I hope you guys find my top 10 to be both simple to work with and also beautiful enough to give as gifts.

* Coming Up: Knitters Version: 10 Beginner-Friendly Blankets to Knit for Christmas (Free Patterns)

Since the chevron pattern is so popular and modern this year (2014), I thought I’d start off with a couple of those.

1. The Chevron Baby Blanket Free Pattern by Bellus Threads:
Bellus Crochet Blanket Pattern

2. Free Crochet Ripple Baby Blanket by G. C. Murphy Co., found on Miracles Happen
(Another Free Chevron Baby Blanket Pattern that’s simple to follow.) In fact, this was the very first blanket I ever attempted to crochet & it went surprisingly well! The instructions are so easy and repetitive that you’ll have the memorized within the first few rows.
CrochetRippleBabyBlanket

3. How to Crochet a Blanket for Beginners

Source: AHC Kids Crafts
Source: AHC Kids Crafts

This absolute beginner crochet blanket tutorial is a perfect first blanket to crochet, especially if a design seems a tad too daunting just yet. The folks from AHC Kids Crafts provide a detailed photo-tutorial from the very first step (knotting the yarn onto the hook and to the very last stitch)
Source: Red Heart
Source: Red Heart

This lap-throw is an easy, quick project that takes so little yarn (one jumbo skein) that you might be able to make more than just one to gift to your loved ones, or keep one to snuggle up with yourself. The best thing about it? It’s so simple and easy yet you wouldn’t know it by looking at the fun, textured design!

5. Crochet Super Easy Crib Blanket by the Purl Bee
Source: Purl Bee Source: Purl Bee
If you’ve succeeded with a single color crochet blanket pattern and feel ready to start using multiple colors, then these chunky-striped or color-block blankets will be your perfect project. Choose bold color combos for a sunny, cheerful blanket or go with neutrals to gift to folks who like to match their bedroom/living room suite with their accessories. The best thing about this color-block blanket is that they’ll always be stylish, even decades down the road. Also great is the versatility.

6. The Five & A Half Hour Throw by Lion Brand with Vanna’s Choice Yarn

Source: Lion Brand
Source: Lion Brand

This pattern, with a difficulty rating of 2 is perfect if you’re strapped for time and want a really quick, thick and cozy throw that’ll look lovely in any atmosphere.

Tip: This throw requires 5 balls of the Vanna’s Choice yarn, which isn’t the cheapest yarn on the market. So if you’re like me and need a cheaper option at the moment, then one way to substitute for a thick yarn is by crocheting with double-strands (simply using two strands of yarn at once as you crochet) from a ball of yarn that costs less. This will achieve the same, or very similar thickness for a cheaper price, especially if you can get your yarn on sale.

*Tip: Joann almost always runs a 50% off one purchase deal.

7. Fiber Star: Soft Purple Baby Blanket found on I Brake for Yarn, Hooks and Books by Samantha Stopple and also published in Fiber Star.

Source: Fiber Star. Pattern located at I Brake for Yarn, Hooks & Books
Source: Fiber Star. Pattern located at I Brake for Yarn, Hooks & Books

Despite the name, you can use any color combo you choose or even stick with a single color for the entire blanket. The stitching creates a lovely, unique texture but the work is so simple a first-timer could probably get it down in little time.

8. Easy Beginner Crochet Baby Blanket Video Tutorial by I Heart Stitching

I didn’t want to leave out you guys who are visual learners, so here’s a fantastic video tutorial on a lovely, easy baby blanket. If you use the same thickness of yarn as the video instructor does, you’ll get an incredibly snuggly, chunky blanket which is all the rage right now in crochet world. The peach color is gorgeous, but you can choose any color you like, or even do a combination.

9. The Free School Spirit Throw Crochet Pattern from Red Heart is perfect for sports fans and the results are so professional looking that any sports fan is going to appreciate this gift. The fringed edges are icing on the cake.

Source: Red Heart Source: Red Heart

Bonus: these are even more warm, soft and cozy than those stiff store-bought sports throws!

10. Simple Crocheted Baby Blanket by Christy Grauer from Girl Uprooted

Source: Christy Grauer from Girl Uprooted
Source: Christy Grauer from Girl Uprooted

This intricate-looking pattern is simply genius in design because it’s based off a simple square, and it’s so aesthetically pleasing. This is a blanket that looks like advanced but can be achieved by many beginners, especially if you’ve already succeeded in the square, which is what most beginners learn first. If you’ve yet to tackle the square, please don’t let that deter you from putting your hook to the test with this one. It might take you a few tries at your first square, but I assure you, the results with this design are going to give you a great sense of pride and accomplishment! Plus, once you’ve got past the square that makes up this blanket, the rest is so easy.

Size Tip:

You can easily change the size of any blanket/afghan pattern by simply continuing in the pattern for a longer length than a pattern calls for, or to shorten a larger blanket to a baby or throw size, simply stop when you reach desired length.

Size Tip: If your blanket turns out to be more narrow than you wanted, there’s a “fix” I like to use, which is simply crocheting — or knitting. Knitting can look lovely as an edging to a crochet blanket — around the entire blanket, as an edging. You can do this using simple crochet basics like a single crochet, double crochet or half double crochet all around the entire blanket, or add a decorative trim like a scalloped edging. The scallop edge is very simple, and beginner tutorials can be found all over YouTube, if interested.

So, will any of you awesome guys and gals be crocheting gifts this Christmas? If so, what are your plans so far? Will any of you be trying your hand at any of the 10 listed here? I’d love to hear your ideas! Also, feedback is very appreciated. If you like this kind of post, it’s very helpful to know that you do (or don’t), that way I can create more like this for those of you who do, or find another focus for those who prefer something else. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to stop by!

9 Easy & Free Cardis to Make This Fall

Hello everyone! Were you all aware that it was fall already?

And just how many of my fellow crocheters have already started working on crocheting sweaters and cardigans for the upcoming cold months? I know a few of my fellow crochet bloggers have already started themselves, and some have already put out some of their very own designs.

Needless to say, as someone who’s never crocheted an entire sweater just yet, I’ve been scouring the web for good, easy to follow tutorials for cute cardigan and sweater patterns. I’m actually in the middle of crocheting one for my niece already and have a big roll of gray yarn and a pair of chunky knitting needles set aside for knitting my own comfy cardigan at some point before it turns warm again.

That brings me to some other thoughts I conjured up while doing my extensive hunt for the perfect cardigan to crochet my niece, who’s only 4, but I’ll tell you, finding a cardigan pattern for anyone who isn’t still crawling, or barely walking and sitting up (and probably spitting up, too, for that matter) is quite the journey. It wasn’t easy. For some reason, it appears that not many folks have put out patterns for kids above toddler age, and that irked me enough that I decided I’d have to wing it and use the tutorials for a baby’s cardigan and just kind of, well, figure out how to make it bigger.

I’ve already done a lot of crocheting and ripping out my work, but I think I’ve found the secret to being able to use all these gorgeous baby cardigan patterns and up-size them for any size!

Now I would not want to speak too soon and end up having to eat my last words, but I am excited and confident that I’ve found the way to go about up-sizing a cardigan pattern. I have so far, taken what I could learn from the tutorials I’ll be sharing in this post and basically, I would just begin working along the pattern in the baby size, then I’d rip it out and start over with slight adjustments until I found the correct size I needed to make the cardigan fit my niece. So far, I’m still in the yoke of her sweater, but it occurred to me that the technique I applied to her’s would probably work well for any size! This is really exciting, and I’m definitely going to be sharing the techniques I’ve used to figure this out so that you guys will be able to take any baby sized cardigan pattern and easily work it out to fit your very own size requirements. Just bear with me as I will have to finish the cardigan and make sure the results turn out perfect before I go telling you guys to try it out and risk wasting your time (in the off-chance that I’m wrong and it won’t really work like I think) and end up with a lot of pissed off women with crochet hooks in their hands coming after me! Yikes. That’s not exactly a peaceful image!

Since I’ve happened across several really great tutorials and patterns that fellow bloggers and crocheters have been kind enough to offer for free, I thought I’d compose a little list of my top favorites to share with you all. After all, I know I’m not the only one depending on other peoples’ skills to teach me the basics of crocheting winter clothing, right? Please, tell me I’m not the only one!

So, without further ado — whatever that even is. “Ado.” Sounds a lot like something that might be best done in the private of one’s personal restroom to me, but whatever. I can’t find a better way of saying it, so on with the program and without further ado….

My Favorite Easy (and Free!) Crochet Cardigan Patterns
(for Various Ages)

1. Very Easy chunky crochet baby /girl’s cardigan tutorial – fair isle sweater / jumper by Wooly Wonders Crochet

2. Very Easy crochet girl’s dress / top / shirt / tunic tutorial also by Wooly Wonders Crochet (my favorite crochet channel, actually. This one is a short-sleeved dress, but can easily be adjusted to make a long-sleeved cardi or sweater dress. Too cute (and simple) not to make this list. This woman does a beautiful job and her instructions are so easy to follow. Her adorable accent is just icing on the cake!

* These two videos are actually the tutorials I used to learn how to crochet a yoke. I talked about how I have kept on to get the key to up-sizing a cardigan like this to fit any larger size. Well folks, the two videos above are the 2 I watched dozens upon dozens of times to get the hang of it and keep working until I found the key! Like I said, I’m not finished with the cardigan I”m working on, so I won’t go spilling the details until I’m sure it’s going to work (so I don’t end up causing you folks to waste your time along with me).

3.How to Crochet A Baby Sweater
By Anna Phelps, who also does a fantastic job with her tutorials, making them very easy for beginners to follow.

4. Here’s a great basic sweater by The Crochet Crowd (awesome tutorials as well by the way). It’s a sweater, not cardi, but one that deserved to make the list anyways. Mikey shares instructions for child sizes 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8, but this one could be adapted easily to fit virtually any size (even for a slouchy sweater for teens or adults):

5. Sweater Pullover Tutorial by Woolpedia This is probably the easiest sweater of all. It is a sweater, but keep in mind it can be made into a cardigan.

6. Easy Crochet Baby Cardigan — another gorgeous design and tutorial by Wooly Wonders:
https://youtu.be/6op0rYaEOGQ

7. DrapeyHere’s one for my lovely knitters out there, and it’s an adult-sized cardi! (because hey! We love cardis too, right?)
This one’s knitted — The Drapey Cardigan (why that name, I have no clue.) by Lion Brand

8. Chantal
Here’s a free crochet cardigan pattern in adult sizes called Chantal by Drops Designs:

And here’s the free knitting pattern for the cardigan I said I had needles and yarn set aside to make later:
Liond Brand Free Cardi Pattern
I think I’ll make my sleeves a bit shorter — I don’t think I’d like the whole “bat-wing” look.

P.S. I will share my 4-year old cardigan once it’s complete.

So what about you guys? Will you be crocheting any of these, or if you’re already working on some projects of your own, I’d love for you to share!

& If you liked these free patterns and tutorials and would like to see more like this, you might enjoy checking out the tutorials, patterns & inspiration I pin on Pinterest.

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