Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Pattern Testers Needed!

Do you love to knit and/or crochet?
Can you read patterns?
Do you love getting patterns for free?
Do you have great time management skills?
Do you love learning new things?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then I NEED YOU!  My pattern business is growing by leaps and bounds, and I desperately need to add more pattern testers to my group!

 
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If you’re wondering what the heck pattern testing is all about – let me give you the ol’ 411 🙂  (That’s “information” for those of us old enough to remember being excited to have a new rotary phone but not knowing anyone else’s phone number 🙂 )

When writing patterns, most designers make every effort to insure that the documents are written as clearly and accurately as possible the first time around.  But, alas, we are not perfect… so we rely on testers to be the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – however many “ths” are necessary – set of eyes before we publish our designs.

Testers create the project from a customer’s point of view to verify that 1) the instructions are clear and easily followed, 2) proofread for grammatical errors, 3) submit photos of their finished items, and 4) provide feedback as requested by the designer.

You’ll notice that I didn’t list “Are you an EXPERT?” as one of the opening questions….  That’s because you do not have to be able to crochet blindfolded with one hand tied behind your back while being subjected to Chinese Water Torture in order to be a tester…  No, seriously – you don’t!  I love working with testers of all skill levels, as many other designers do.  In fact, it is often very helpful to have beginners as testers, because we want to make sure our beginner level patterns are clear and understandable.  And that’s a perspective that advanced knitters and crocheters often lose as they build their skills.  And speaking of building skills, working as a pattern tester is a fantastic way to do that very thing!

So you see, you can be a very valuable asset whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced yarnie!

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What’s expected of you as a tester:

  1. If you sign up for a test, you must commit to completing it on time.  If you’re not sure you can meet the deadline, you shouldn’t sign up to test.
  2. Be honest about your experience level.  As I mentioned above, all levels are welcome, but knowing your skills helps me to know which patterns are more suitable for you.  It also helps me know how I might be able to tutor you on if you are wanting to learn a knew skill.
  3. You should consider this real work, even though you won’t be paid in cash money.  Compensation comes in the form of free patterns, tester-specific discounts, and free educational opportunities.  Of course we have a lot of fun too, but I depend on my testers to be focused and dedicated so that my designing reputation can continue to shine.  In addition, you will be building your own reputation in the yarn industry!  A solid relationship with one designer can open many more doors for you to test for others as well 🙂
  4. You don’t have to be a professional photographer either 🙂  Cell phones, point & click cameras, and fancy schmancy cameras are all just fine! All I ask is that your photos use natural light whenever possible and are free of cluttery backgrounds.

Of course there is a bit more of the “fine print”, but it’s nothing too drastic 🙂

If you love yarn, and want to join my tester team, please visit the Pattern Testers section of my blog and click the link to fill out the application!

Lilla Rose Flexi Clip Review!

I don’t know about y’all, but I go through phases where I grow my hair long, and then I chop it off, and then grow it long, and chop it off….  and I LOVE LOVE LOVE pretty shiny hair doodads!  The only problem is I don’t have much hair!  I’m trying to grow it out (again! sigh), but that takes FOREVAH…  so, I just have to sit here and pine for all the fun hair fashion accessories.

Until now, that is!

My friend Leah sells these Lilla Rose hair clips that are… well… PERRRRRRTY!  I just love them!  They’re like shiny hair jewelry!  Again, though… no hair. But I was DESPERATE to find a way to have these in my life… D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E!

So I thought – I bet I could use these on my knit and crochet sweaters and scarves!  So I got the small size Interlocking Vines clip shown here…  Love that it’s silver and will go with anything!

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I put on my off-the-shelf cardigan from Wal-Mart, and clipped it together… LOVE!

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And then I thought, well, let’s test out the handmade garments… and OOOH-LA-LA…  it’s just SWEET!  I have my Trellis Waves Lace Cardigan on my mannequin Nancy, so I fastened the clip on.  And you know what?  It looks just as good!  I even shook Nancy all around to make sure it wouldn’t just come loose and fall off… and it stayed put.  So,  It’s a HUGE win for me!

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If you are in the market for some really classy pretty hair jewelry that doubles as fashion accessories for your clothes, you MUST check out Leah’s Lilla Rose site.  You will have such a hard time just buying 1!

 

 

 

Stocking Stuffers Roundup- 8 Quick Crochet Patterns

Since there are only 2 more weeks until Christmas, there isn’t much time for hand making gifts.  And if you are anything like me, you haven’t even made a dent in your gift-giving to do list!  So I went out on a search for ways to maximize the time that’s left.

Here are 8 really quick, super fun and unique items you can make for your friends and family.  Most of these can be done in just a couple of hours!

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  1. Christmas Sleeve Collection – by Creative Threads by Leah…  She’s got a bunch of other fun drink sleeves too!
  2. Peeping Snowman Boot Cuffs – by Blackstone Designs…  there are several different peeping designs in her shop!
  3. Christmas Tree Coffee Cozy – by Moogly Blog
  4. Hootylicious Earrings – by The Blue Star Boutique (that’s me!) –
  5. Panhandlers – by She’s Crafty Crochet
  6. Beer-thirty Mitten Cozy – by Sweet Potato 3
  7. Reflective Wrist Pouch – by Allie Cat’s Hats and Crafts
  8. Buttons and Blossoms Ear Warmer – by The Blue Star Boutique (yep, me again Margaret!)

Of course there are LOTS of other great ideas out there…  what are some of the things you’re making as gifts?

Caron Cakes Yarn Review

One of the latest “big things” to hit the hooking world is Caron Cakes….  You know – those big fat sweet colorful delicious little (ha – BIG) yarn pastries…  I was skeptical at first, because they are a little more expensive, and I’m usually late to the party when it comes to all the new fangled things.  Not sure why – but I remember from way back in my college days in marketing class that I am usually in the late majority.  I guess I just want to see what everyone else thinks of something and have the item “prove itself” before jumping in.  Which explains why I’m a little late to the Caron Cake party with this review 🙂

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Part of the draw of the Caron Cakes is that they have very long color changes, and the combinations of the colors is just delicious!  I had a new pattern design brewing in my mind, so I thought what better time to find out for myself!

It was during the period where Caron Cakes caught fire and was sold out most everywhere, which made me think “there must be something to this”…  SO I went to Michaels and bought a couple of cakes in the Jellyroll color way. and you can get it on their website (incidentally that’s where I got the photo of the Cake from, since I forgot to take a picture of it before I started working).

As I started working on my new design, I noticed how much I loved the feel of the fabric.  It felt warm, soft, and comfortable… which shocked me because it has 20% wool in the fiber content.  I usually don’t do well with wool because my skin is so sensitive, and wool usually makes me itch.  I read somewhere that there’s some trick to the processing that has something to do with whether wool is itchy or not, and if that’s the case, Caron did a great job!  I didn’t feel itchy!

That was the first hurdle for me – again, sensitive skin!  So far so good!

As I sorted working my way through the color changes, I noticed that I really did like not having to weave in a bunch of ends to add different colors.  It made it very easy breezy lemon squeezy to keep working in one solid rhythm!

When I got finished with the first section of the pattern, though, something was just bugging me.  I took a step back and I noticed that I wasn’t a huge fan of the color changes in the middle of the rows.  It kinda made the project look…. well….. for lack of a better word – sloppy, or discombobulated.  Maybe it was because the colors are so bold and contrasting, but I just couldn’t help my eyes being drawn to the color changes instead of the project itself.

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Here’s a closeup view:

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I tried and tried to look past it, but I just couldn’t get next to it.  So I frogged all of it…. yes.  ALL. OF. IT.  It nearly caused me physical pain to do it, but I just HAD TO.

I decided to actually cut the yarn at the end of the last full row of each color, and then rejoin the yarn at the next color.  I was really conflicted about doing it, because again, cutting it defeats the purpose of have one large cake.  I was conflicted… until I saw the reworked project.

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What a difference it made… SO. MUCH. BETTER!

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Obviously I’m a fan of crisp clean lines 🙂  It was as if this Caron Cakes Jellyroll was meant for my shawl pattern!  Get your copy of my Friendship Garden Prayer Shawl and try your own flavor of Caron Cakes!

Incidentally, I figured there had to be a way to use the Cake just as it is, without cutting the yarn, and still love the color changes.  So I decided to try a Cake that had more subtle colors in hopes that the changes would be less obvious.

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Marly Bird hosted a CAL (Crochet Along) for a poncho a few weeks ago, and I decided it would be the perfect project for my 2nd batch of Cakes.  This time I went with Buttercream, and it definitely made a difference!  The only spot that caught my eye is where the lightest color transitioned to the darkest color.

All in all, The Caron Cakes were a success for me.  I would definitely buy the Cakes again, especially when I have a Michaels coupon 🙂

I do realize that some folks that have issues with wool cannot use the Caron Cakes, but recently Premier Yarns came out with Sweet Rolls – similar concept to the Caron Cakes, but made with 100% acrylic.

Either way, if there is a yarn out there that you’ve been itching to try but have just been too scared, I say go for it!  You never know how much you’re going to love it until you try it!

I like Big Balls – DIY Yarn Holder Tutorial

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Do you work with balls of yarn?  If so, don’tcha just HATE when that sucker flip-flops and rolls all over the place with each “pull” of the yarn?  Not only does it provide more temptation than your dog or cat can withstand, every dust bunny in sight jumps on board that ball for a ride!  Heck, even skeins can be a pain in the toukis to manage sometimes!

There are all sorts of products out there on the market to help with the dilemma…  yarn bowls, yarn holders, yarn dispensers, yarn bags… It all makes my head spin, honestly!  I think the yarn bowls are beautiful, but for me, just not very practical.  Portability is a big issue for me, as I like to take my big balls (of yarn, y’all, of Y-A-R-N) with me on the go.  The bags and dispensers accommodate mobile hookery, but let’s face it…. many of those products are overpriced.  Well, maybe they’re not OVER-priced, but I have a hard time paying good money for things I can DIY… (or is is DIM?)  At any rate, I’d rather spend my money on more yarn or gadgets that I don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to make myself 🙂

So I started looking for a DIY (DIM) solution.  I have seen people use Clorox Wipes containers, but I didn’t have any on hand.  What I did have though, were baby formula containers!  Another perk of having an 8-month old granddaughter who spends lots of time with Nana 🙂

After some trial and error, I came up with a finished product that fits the bill for functionality and gets an A+++++ for total badassery and coolness!  And I thought, why not share it with a few of my closest friends?!

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What you’ll need

Formula container
Adhesive remover (I used Goo Gone)
Hole punch that can reach the center of the lid (I used my old scrapbooking hole punch from Making Memories)
exacto knife
rubbing alcohol

First thing’s first… that label has got to go!  Peel off as much as you can by hand, and you can even try using dish soap and warm water to get more of the label off.  As a matter of fact, ya gotta wash the formula dust out anyway! I found, though, that some of that blasted adhesive residue was hanging on for dear life no matter how many times I washed it.  I even tried rubbing alcohol, but it didn’t help either.  So why is it on the supply list, you ask?  Well there is a use for it in one of the later steps 🙂

Anyway, I dug around under my kitchen sink, and I said a silent prayer of thanks to the Lord and the previous owner of my house as I discovered a big fat bottle of Goo Gone that was left behind.  A few drops of that liquid gold did the trick!  Of course, though, feel free to use whatever method floats your boat for removing that sticky business.

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Here’s where the alcohol comes in…  You might notice your container has some factory stamped information on the bottom or sides.  If you don’t care about it, just leave it.  But it just bugged the bejeebers out of me.  So if your bejeebers feel the same, just take some rubbing alcohol and rub those ink stamps right off!

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Once the container is all squeaky clean, wipe it dry.  Lay the container down on the back side, with the lid open.  You might notice there is a piece of excess plastic on the rim where the formula scoop is stored.  (At least the Parents Choice brand from WalMart does).  If your brand doesn’t, you’re actually a step ahead already!  In all reality this excess plastic probably isn’t going to cause any harm to your yarn if you want to leave it in there, but it just bugged the bejeebers out of me! ( you can probably tell that my bejeebers are sensitive little suckers, LOL)

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To remove that bit of plastic, just take your exacto knife and gently follow the curve of the rim.  Be careful – those exacto knives are SHARP!  You don’t need to be cutting your fingers off!  If the edge has any jagged areas that could snag your yarn, you could smooth it out with sandpaper, but honestly mine didn’t need it.

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At first I tried pulling the lid and rim off of the container altogether in order to get every little tidbit of foil off…  for an hour, LOL!  And it finally dawned on me that it wasn’t coming off.  See those ridges there?  Well, that’s where the container and the lid/rim are molded together at the factory.  So then I tried cutting around the top of the container, and it just wasn’t worth the effort.  Take it from me – just leave that sucker attached 🙂

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Now it’s time to punch the hole in the lid.  A standard hole punch of course will not reach in the center of the lid.  So I whipped out my trusty old scrapbooking hole punch set from Making Memories.  It’s basically a hole punch on a stick that you whack with a hammer… It takes several good whacks to get through the plastic (who knew that plastic was so tough?!), but just think of it as a good way to let out some frustration 🙂

Here’s a chance for a little fun…  if you want, you can punch multiple holes to accommodate more than one ball of yarn.  Perfect for projects that need color changes, right?

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Really, that’s all that you have to do to have a really inexpensive but amazingly functional yarn holder!  Now of course, you can trick it out like I did mine with your favorite sticker or decal.  If you’d like to order one of the “I Like Big Balls” vinyl decals, just let me know!  I am selling them for $10 for the 5 x 5″ size, which will fit the larger formula boxes, and $7 for the 3 x 3″ size that fits the smaller boxes.  You can either comment here or visit my Facebook page and let me know the size and whether you want the crochet version or the knit version.

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Scrub-a-dub-dub… Free Double Sided Scrubbie Pattern & Tutorial

Hey there, my friends!  I have been sooooo busy lately.  How busy, you ask?  As my Pops would say, I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, LOL!  I tell you, I’ve got LOADS of humorous redneck tidbits and analogies from my years as his daughter, so it’s going to be fun incorporating them in my posts, LOL!!  You can’t say I didn’t warn ya 🙂

Anyway, most of you already know that we recently bought and moved into our new home in July.  And since I move alot slower these days (thank you, RA), there are still boxes and junk littered all over the place.  Thankfully, my daughter lives close and can come help me unpack.  Can you guess which room we started in?  Hehehe… yep, my sewing room!  I mean, after all, as long as I have a bed to sleep in, clean undies, and my craft stuff – what else do I REALLY need?  Right?  Right?  Am I right?

Eventually though, I’m going to have to buck up and get to the grubby jobs of deep cleaning things.  A kind of Spring Cleaning in the Fall, if you will.  Normally I don’t mind cleaning, provided I have the good supplies on hand.  Let’s face it, y’all…  those nasty grimy sponges are not in the “good supplies” column.  I mean, they’re not bad right out of the package when they’re fresh, but after you use them once, they’re forever gross no matter how many times you try to rinse them.  Plus, they’re just not that pretty to look at.

So I sat down with my trusty 5.5mm I hook, some cotton yarn, and some tulle and whipped up a really fun double-sided scrubbie to use instead!  Not only are they really pretty, they work up lightning fast, and you can toss them in the washing machine 🙂 These scrubbies are versatile – on one side is the cotton yarn for washing and wiping, and the other side has tulle mixed with the yarn for the scrubbing.

And because y’all are thebombdotcom, I’m going to share this awesomeness with you!

 

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Yarn:  100% Cotton (I used Lily Sugar & Cream)
Hook:  I (5.5mm), although gauge isn’t important, so you can use whatever hook you want
Tulle

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You’ll be making 2 separate circles, the wash side & scrubbie side, and then joining them together with a pretty frilly border.  We’ll start with the softer side  using just the cotton yarn 🙂

Small Circles
Rnd 1          with magic circle, ch3 (counts as dc), work 13 dc in magic circle , slst in top of beg ch3 to join  (14)

Rnd 2          ch1, 2sc in same st and in each st around, slst in top of 1st sc to join (28)

Rnd 3          ch3 (counts as dc), dc in same st, dc in next st, **2dc in next st, dc in next st, rep from ** around, slst in top of beg ch3 to join (42)  Fasten off.

 

Now it’s onto the scrubbie side!  It’s pretty simple – all you need to do work the yarn and tulle together in the same way you’d work with 2 strands of yarn.

The wider your tulle, the scrubbier it will be.  On my 1st one, I started with 6″ wide tulle and cut it into 2″ strips.  It wasn’t as abrasive as I wanted for dishes, so I went up to 3″ wide strips.  And if you really want some scrubbing power, use the entire 6″ width either with cotton yarn, or even make the entire circle strictly out of the tulle.

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After playing around with the textures, I decided I would use 2″ wide tulle for face/body scrubbies, 3″ for dishes, and 6″ for the grubbiest of the grubbie jobs!  **This is my fine print…. Even though I’ve been in healthcare for years and I even went to nursing school, I am not a dermatologist and have no medical basis for suggesting to use tulle scrubbies for your face.  Scrub a dub your face/body with these bad boys at your own risk!  (if your skin falls off like a walker and my other husband Daryl Dixon squares off on you with the crossbow, don’t sue me!)

When joining the strips, there’s no need to worry about any fancy connections either – just go right ahead and tie those  suckers in knots!

Once you have your tulle put together, hold it in your hand along with the yarn like you’re holding 2 strands of yarn.  You can try to wrap the tulle around the yarn if you want, but hey – ain’t nobody got time for that!  I just hold it alongside the yarn and let nature take its course.  I kind of think the inconsistency and randomness adds to the texture, and if we’re being real here, it’s all about that texture, ’bout that texture, not smoothness 🙂  (ok, so Meghan Trainor I’m not, LOL)

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Work another small circle with the tulle & yarn together.  Once you complete both circles, lay the softer one on top of the scrubbie one so that they can be joined together.

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Using the yarn only (no tulle here), insert your hook through the top of any dc of both circles and join the yarn.  Be sure to work the entire Rnd 1 through both circles all the way around.

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Joining Border
Rnd 1          ch1, 2sc in same st, sc in next 2 sts, **2sc in next st, sc in next 2sts, rep from ** around, slst in top of 1st sc to join (56)

Rnd 2          ch3 (counts as dc), 4dc in same st, sk next 3 st, **5dc in next st, sk next 3 st, rep from ** around, slst in top of beg ch3 to join, fasten off and weave in ends (14 5dc shells)

VOILA!  You’ve now made a really fun and inexpensive reusible scrubbie that you can sanitize in the washing machine!  Way better that those icky sponges or expensive exfoliating brushes!  (but remember my fine print above about me not being a dermatologist 🙂 )

Back to School Pattern Roundup – Part Deux!

After I shared yesterday’s post with 9 really cool back to school yarny patterns, I just kept finding more and more and more!!  So I thought, why not make a second post?!?!  I mean, after all, I KNOW you all like quick links to patterns, right?  🙂

Here are a few more I found from some really fun talented designers:

Back to School Pattern ROundup 2

  1. Rainbow Sherbert Tablet Cover – from Blackstone Designs
  2. Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Pencil Holder – from Yarnspirations
  3. Pencil Mug Hugger – from The Hookeraholic Crochet
  4. One Strap Backback – from Snappy Tots
  5. Crayon Scarf – All Free Knitting
  6. Back to School Set – Too Yarn Cute
  7. Dolphin Pencil Case – KT & the Squid
  8. Knit Laptop Sweater – All Free Knitting
  9. Key Lanyards for Teachers – Articles of a Domestic Goddess

Which one are you the craziest about?!?!

Back to School Pattern Roundup

It has been a really long time since I’ve had school age children – My kids are having kids of their own now.  I know I know – I look WAYYYYYYYY to young to be a grandmother – thank you thank you, but it’s true!  I’m a Nana to a 4 month old and an almost 4 month old.  So since they’ll be going to preschool in just a couple of years, I am starting to get excited about all the fun yarny school things out there!  Here are some of my favorites!

Back TO School Pattern Roundup

  1.  Spike the Snake Amigurumi Pen & Pencil Topper – by Adorable Amigurumi
  2. Glam Girl Tablet Cover – by Blackstone Designs
  3. Wolf Pencil Holder – by Blackstone Designs
  4. Pencil Dolls – by Wendy Phillips (this is a knitting pattern)
  5. Fox Pencil Holder – by Blackstone Designs
  6. Schoolbus Hat – by Articles of a Domestic Goddess
  7. Robot Pencil Case – by Sincerely Pam
  8. Shark Time Pouch – by Moogly
  9. Panda Pencil Holder – by Blackstone Designs

What are some of the fun things you’ve hooked up for your favorite student or teacher?

Gettin’ Raggy With It – Rag Quilt Tutorial

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Awhile back I shared a rag quilt I made (you can read the post here), and I promised to share a tutorial.  Well, it’s been a little longer than I had originally planned, but let’s face it….  sometimes the crafting itself can suck us in and alter all sense of time and space, and I just couldn’t pull myself away from my toys LOL!  Couple that with a move across town, and, well….  you get the idea.  But, I actually had to make my newest granddaughter a rag quilt – so I had the perfect opportunity to photograph the steps!

The nice thing about rag quilts is that you can virtually make them any size you want, and there’s not a lot of technical skill involved.  If you can sew a fairly straight line – you can make a rag quilt!  As a matter of fact, a rag quilt is a great project for a beginner to learn how to use a sewing machine.

Supplies needed:

  • flannel (amount depends on size and style of quilt)
  • rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • sharp pointy scissors

First thing’s first…Let’s talk about flannel… how do you figure out how much you need?  Well, the first step you need to take is to decide how big you want your quilt to be.  If you don’t have an exact size in mind or do not know what size you need, check out this quilt size guide from Suzy Quilts!  You can either decide your overall size 1st and then divide that by the size of quilt squares you want to make – that’s what most folks do.  But y’all know by now, I’m not like most folks 🙂  I actually almost always use a 6″ quilt square, which yields a 5″ square once it’s all sewn together due to that 1/2″ seam allowance on all sides.  I  usually like to play around with the overall shape of the quilt versus making sure the quilt matches the exact standard size.  So sometimes I just cut out a ton of 6″ squares and then play around with it to decide what I want to use.

But, I’m going to lay out this tutorial using some easy math so that it takes the guess work out of it for you 🙂

When you’re in the fabric store looking at the flannel, decide how many different prints you want to use in your quilt.  You can make yours all one print, or mix it up with all different designs.  Let’s say you decide you want to make a baby quilt, which according to the size chart on Suzy Quilts, measures 30″ x 40″.  So if you are going to use 6″ squares (which yield 5″ finished), you will need 6 squares across (30″ divided by 5″ finished square) by 8 squares down (40″ divided by 5″ finished square).  But you’ll need 2 or 3 layers depending on how thick yu want your quilt to be.  To deterine the total number of squares you need, simply multiply the number of squares across by the number of squares down, and then either double or triple that number, depending on how many layers you want:

6 squares across x 8 squares down = 48 squares needed (for each layer)

I like to do 2 layer quilts so they’re lighter weight – so in this case, you’d actually need 96 squares total.

To determine how many 6″ squares you’ll need from each color/pattern for each layer, divide the total number of squares you need by the number of different fabrics you use.  For example, if you wanted to use 4 different prints, you would divide 48 by 4, which equals 12.  So you’d need 12 6-in squares out of each print for each layer.  For the rest of this tutorial, we’re going to work with just 2 layers.  But if you want to make your quilt thicker, just add more layers in between the top and bottom layers.

Flannel on the bolt is usually around 42-44″ wide, so you can usually get 7 squares across.  I’d always double check the bolt though just to be safe.  If it’s not that wide, you’ll need to buy more in length to compensate.  But let’s assume it’s a standard bolt, shall we?  🙂  That means you’ll need 2 rows of 6″ – which comes out to 12″.  That equals 1/3 of a yard per layer, so the bare minimum is 2/3 yard.  You could just buy that, but it’s been my experience that there could be small irregularities in the fabric, or the fabric might not be cut straight off the bold, so I always buy a little extra just to be safe.

Once you have your fabric purchased, now we get into the fun part – cutting all those squares!  But it’s important to note that you should NOT wash the flannel before cutting!! I recommend cutting 6″ strips, and then cutting those strips into squares.

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Cutting 6″ strips

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Cutting strips into squares

Once you have all your squares cut, you’ll need to arrange them with one layer on top and one layer on bottom, both with the right side of your fabric facing out.  You want to be sure to have any patterns or prints facing the same way, so that your square looks the same on both sides.

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Both layers have the right side facing out

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Match the direction of the print on both sides

Next, use your sewing maching to sew a big “X” acros each square.  It doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty, just do the best you can.  This X just holds the layers together.

Now, if you are going to monogram  one of the squares like I did here, you’re going to want to do the monogram on the top layer only.  You’ll then put your two squares together with the right sides facing out, and just sew lines from the corners in toward the center until you reach the monogram.  Don’t sew over the monogram!

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Sewing from corners to edge of monogram

Once you have sewn the X on all your squares, you’ll want to clear a big ol’ space on a table or the floor (if you can keep kids and pets from trying to “help”, lol), and lay out all of your squares.  Play around with the layout until you come up with the design you want.

Then pick up the squares, making one pile for each row.  Be very careful to keep your squares in order, as well as the piles for each row, otherwise you’ll end up with a finished design you weren’t expecting.

It’s time to start sewing!

The big trick with rag quilts is to make sure the seam is kept to the outside on the top layer.  I know that seams counterintuitive for some folks, but it’s crucial to get the “rag” finish.  Pick up your 1st 2 squares, and put one on top of the other with the back sides touching.  Then sew that seam, using a 1/2″ seam allowance!

When you open the pieces back up, that bulky seam should be on the top.

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Squares sewn together with seam on top

Continue sewing all the squares together for each row.

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All the squares sewn together for the 1st row – and a sneak peak of my new pedicure 🙂

When all the rows are stitched and you’re ready to sew the rows together, it’s a good idea to pin the seams open.  It will help the fabric move more smoothly through the machine.  Just be sure to pull the pins out right before the needle hits them – or there could be a trip to your ER and the sewing machine repair man in your future.

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Seams pinned open

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2 rows sewn together

Continue sewing all the rows together until your quilt is completely assembled.  The last task on the sewing machine is to sew completely around the border of the quilt, using the same 1/2″ seam allowance as the rest of the quilt.

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Sew around the edge of the quilt

Whew – you’re done on the sewing machine!  Now comes the most tedious part for me – but it is the absolutely most essential component.  Bust out those sharp pointy scissors (but of course, don’t run with them), and start clipping those seams almost to the stitching.  But be very careful not to cut the stitching or your quilt could fall apart.  I typically make the snips and clips about every 1/4″ or so, but the exact spacing isn’t important.  Just eyeball it, and it’ll be all good 🙂

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This is how I snip and clip – please disregard my raggedy cuticles… although I guess it does fit the theme – hehehe!

Be sure to snip ALL the seams.  (This is the most time consuming part for me – I usually have to take a few breaks to let my hand rest).  When you get to a cross seam, I just cut the seam loose close to the stitching so that it will stand up and be clipped.  No worries, though – you won’t even be able to see that once it’s all said & done.

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Snipping the cross seam

Once you’ve snipped and clipped all the snippables and clippables, all that’s left is to run that bad boy through the wash!  The process of washing and drying it will cause the clipped areas to fray like crazy, which is what makes it raggy.  The amount of fray may vary, so if your quilt isn’t raggedy enough after the 1st wash and dry, run it through once more.

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All seams clipped

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The seams after being washed and dried

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The completed quilt

Voila!  Horray!  WOO HOO!  You’ve done it!  You’ve made a great keepsake for someone you love, or even like a little 🙂

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As an added note, this would be a great project for a memory quilt!  Think about it – if you have a bunch of flannel shirts from a loved one, cut those into squares instead of purchasing new fabric.

Also, work this on a much smaller scale for a throw pillow!

The raggedy possibilities are endless!

 

 

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!!

If you saw my post a couple of weeks ago about the Happily Hooked Bamboo Hook Review, you’ll know that I have an extra set to give away!  Although I’m a couple of days late in announcing, it is finally the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

Are you ready to hear who won?

Are you?

I can’t heeeeeeeeeaaaaaaar you !!! 🙂

Without further ado…

JOY NISSEN – you have won the extra set of bamboo handled hooks!!!

Congratulations, lady!  To claim your prize, please visit my Facebook Page and send me a private message with your mailing address 🙂

Thanks to everyone who played along!  Always do keep visiting my blog – you’ll never know when I’m giving away something next!