Pinspiration – Crochet Jewelry Display

I don’t know about you, but I am often unorganized and lost down the Pinterest rabbit hole…  I usually dive in when I’m either trying to kill some time or I need some inspiration, but regardless of why I’m there, that rabbit hole is D-E-E-P!  So I thought – hey, why not take advantage of the Pintreasures (hey I made a new word!) and share my take on some things…  So I’ll be posting things like this periodically – aren’t you glad I need a Pinterest for my Pinteraddiction (whoa I’m on a roll with these new words!)??

The first project I just had to get my hands on was some kind of crochet jewelry display (remember I’m organizationally challenged).  There are all sorts of different ways to organize your jewelry, but I chose something that can be crafted from the junk laying around the house/garage or at least picked up for wicked cheap at the thrift store.  (Side note…  does the “wicked” give away that I spent some time in Mass in my youth??  That’s where I learned to pahk the cah.)

Here’s the way I chose to create my Pinspired (I didn’t create this word, lol) jewelry holder…

Step 1 – Gather supplies!  You’ll need some crochet thread or yarn and a crochet hook – any size/weight will do!  I chose cotton crochet thread size 10 – ’cause I already had some, and a size B hook.  You’ll also need a picture frame – again, any size/shape will do!  Ditch the backing and glass – all you need is the wood part! And if you don’t have one laying around and no time to go to Goodwill, look around your house at all the pictures on the walls and find someone you can do without looking at every day… and rob the frame 🙂

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Here’s what the frame looked like when I started:

 

Step 2 – chain a length to match the width of your frame (it doesn’t have to be perfect)

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Step 3 – work a couple of rows of sc across.  The stitch pattern after that is completely up to you – here are a couple of suggestions…

On the first one, I sc in the first couple of stitches, then ch3, *sc in next 2 sts, ch3, I worked that across to the last couple of stitches and then worked sc in the last 2 stitches. This creates little eyelets across the bottom edge. Fasten off.

On the second one, I worked the first couple of rows of sc, and then worked V-stitch across, and then 2 more rows of V-stitch. Fasten off.

Remember, these are just suggestions and they do NOT have to be exact (no one’s going to see the back of the frame)- experiment, play around, and have fun creating enough strips to fill your frame with a little space between each strip.

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Step 4 – attach your strips to the frame.  You can use a staple gun, a hot glue gun, or any other type of adhesive you like, but I went with the staple gun.  Remember I’m an instant gratification kinda girl, and the staple gun is bingo bango fast and won’t burn my fingers 🙂  (Of course, there is the risk of puncture and hemorrhage, but I digress…)

If you are using the staple gun like I did, leave those tails on the strip – it helps to have something to pull the strips tight with while you staple.  You can always trim them down after you’re all done.  And another side note – it makes no difference if you are a rock star staple gunner and get that bad boy secured with the first expertly placed staple or a close-your-eyes-cause-you’re-afraid-of-stapling-your-eye-out staple gunner who takes 2, 3, or 4 (or 6 or 8) staples to keep that strip from going places – as long as it stays put, you’re golden!

VOILA!  You’re all done!  Now all that’s left to do is hang it on the wall and add your jewelry!

How cool is that, right?!?  We’re talking C-O-O-L with a capital TOTES MAGOTES!  (thank you James Earl Jones!)

I’d love to see your take on this Pinspiration!  If you post on Facebook or Instagram, be sure to tag me @thebluestarboutique and use the tag #pinteraddiction so I can search for your photos later!

If you’d like to see some of the other fantastic jewelry organizers on Pinterest, click here to see what I saw!

Happy Crafting!

xoxo Shelley

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Yarn Review – Premier Rodeo

Saddle up, folks – it’s time for my rootin’ tooting’ review of my experience with Premier Rodeo! (hehehe, lucky for you, this should hopefully be my one and only “authentic” rodeo reference, LOL).

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Earlier this summer, I went yarn shopping at Joann, and after having seen another designer’s work with this yarn, I knew I had to get some.  I had a cardigan design in mind, so I bought a big fat lot of it.  I mean, I probably would have even if I didn’t know what I was going to do with it because it just feels AHHHHHH-mazing!

The feel of this cotton yarn is really smooth, both as a skein and the fabric it yields.  For days I would just grab a skein on my way past my craft room and rub it across my cheek – it’s just that yummy!

And don’t get me started on how much I love the drape!!!  The fabric yielded from this yarn is really flowy – not stiff and “crunchy” like some cottons can be.  It’s an awesome fiber for garments, blankets, washcloths, face scrubbies… you name it!

The only drawback to this yarn is it splits… and I mean splits like no other!  The pattern I was designing called for foundation single crochet, and it took me F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to get that foundation row completed because it would split apart every time I inserted my hook anywhere.  The splitting did lesson some as the garment got bigger, but it never really went away.

Once I got the garment completed, I realized I made a HUMONGO mistake and needed to frog 90% of my work.  As I started to frog, my frustration kept mounting… and mounting …. and mounting.  All that splitting during construction made it almost IMPOSSIBLE to rip out my work.  I kept having to cut the yarn to undo the tangled mess – and I finally got so fed up with it that I am just going to chuck the whole garment and start over.  As much as it pains me, my sanity has suffered enough and I just have to walk away from it.

All in all, the yarn feels great, looks great, and the results are amazing!  If you can stand the splitting and can be sure you won’t have to frog it, I encourage you to give it a try!

Happy hooking!

Shelley

Fighting the Growth in Your Crochet Garments

Now I’m not talking about the improvement of your skills in crocheting the garments…  that kind of growth is always a good thing!  I always say when you stop learning and improving, you stop living!

What I’m really talking about is when you’ve crocheted a garment, that you really really love, and then over time, it doubles in size… which is so dang depressing after you spend all the time and money to create that wonderful wearable!

Let me tell you a little story…

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Several years ago, I made this fantastic Glamour Fusion Blouson sweater designed by Glamour 4 You – and I was IN LOVE with this top.  I mean seriously GOO GOO GA GA!!!  Great texture, the fit was perfect, and it could be worn year round with a long sleeve tee under it.  It was one of the first garments I made to actually be worn out in public.   Man, I was so proud of it!  I wore it a bunch of times before I finally decided to wash it.

I tossed that bad boy right in the washing machine, and then the dryer, because the yarn label said I could.  What came out of the dryer was nothing short of heartache! There was no damage per se, but the sweater had grown 2-3 sizes!  When I crocheted it, I wore a size L, but it came out about a 2X/3X, and it was no longer wearable.  Lemme tell you – I was crushed!  I double checked the yarn labels, and yep, it said I could wash and dry.  But, alas, what I learned was this is another instance of “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”  Stupidly I tossed the sweater, which is really unfortunate!  Because I am now a 2X/3X and would totally rock that oversized beauty right now, LOL!

I had the same thing happen last year with a cardigan I was knitting.  Remember that post about dyeing the 8 year sweater?  If you haven’t read it, go read it now!  It’s a hoot!  Anyway, that cardigan started out as a size L too, but by the time I went through all the dramatic steps you can read about in that post, it too fits me fine now as a 2X/3X.

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And because I love y’all so much, I’m going to share a few tips I’ve gathered along the way that will help you to avoid this kind of heartache with your crochet garments.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Even though the yarn label says you can machine wash and dry, the label is referring to the fiber itself and whether or not the fiber will be damaged by the process.  But the yarn manufacturers  have no way to know what you will create with it or the stitches you will use.  The process of washing and drying in the machine involves a lot of agitation, tumbling, and weight from the water…. all of which put tension on the stitches causing them to stretch.  So if you are going to machine wash/dry your crochet garments, put it on gentle cycle and use a drying rack with the dryer on fluff/no heat.  Ideally it’s best to hand wash and lay flat to dry, but if that’s not an option gently cycle and rack/no heat are the way to go.

Why no heat you ask?  Well, the heat shouldn’t damage the fiber (if the yarn label says so), but it can cause the fibers to “relax” more than you’d want, which in turn causes the garment to “grow”.

Choose your stitches wisely.

The looser the stitches, the more chance for stretching and growing there’ll be.  That’s not to say that everything you crochet should be a tight dense fabric – quite the opposite!  I am a huge lover of lace & open weave designs… (OO LA LA!)  But if you are going to make a garment with a stitch like that, proper care will be even more critical.

Storage makes a difference.

Do you hang your knitted or crochet garments in the closet?  I did, because it takes up much less space…  I mean who has the room for a bunch of bulky folded sweaters?!?!  Well, if you don’t have room now, make room!  Gravity uses the weight of the yarn to gradually pull down on the garment, which… you guessed it – can contribute to stretching.  Fold those yarny treasures and store them on a shelf.

What  it all boils down to is this….  if you spend the time and money (and let’s face it, blood, sweat, and tears..) to create lovely wearable works of art, go the extra mile to take care of them and help them last a long time.  Treat those babies like the fragile treasures they are…  trust me, you’ll thank me later!

XOXO

Shelley

New Pattern Release – Dainty Daisy Baby Blanket

I don’t usually think of summer time as the perfect blanket making weather…  Autumn & winter are what come to mind when I think of being able to snuggle under a bunch of yarn as I hook the night away.  But, babies are born year round…  And babies need to be all snuggly buggly (yep, that’s a real term… for reals!) year round!

Daisies symbolize many things in many different cultures, but a common meaning is daintiness, childbirth, and purity.  And I just knew it was perfect for the occasion!

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This is my Dainty Daisy Baby & Lap Blanket!  It was designed as a baby blanket, but at 46″, it is definitely big enough to throw over your legs for a little extra comfort.

The pattern features lots of great texture mixed with some basic stitching and fun joining methods that make it enjoyable for novice and experienced crocheters alike!

If you check out my Ravelry store and use the code DAISY18, you can get your copy for 50% off through Sunday June 10th!

Happy Hooking!

XOXO – Shelley

P.S. Here are some fun examples from my testers!

Serenity Spa Washcloth – FREE PATTERN!

I have been sitting on this pattern for awhile, but I kept getting sidetracked from getting it published.  I traveled to visit people, people traveled here to visit us, fungus amongus invaded, spring cleaning… and after all that, I’ve been just plain tired!!!  And what do we all usually dream of when we’re exhausted and worn out???  Yep – a spa day!

I don’t know about you, but money doesn’t grow on any of the trees in my yard, so that week-long luxurious spa vacation is still a pipe dream for me, LOL!  So I went with the next best idea and designed a really simple yet elegant washcloth that just feels so lovely!  And I thought to myself… “Self, I bet all your hundreds of thousands of friends would love to feel this awesomeness too! And if you give it to them for free, they’ll love you forever!”  Hehehe, you will, right?!?!

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This washcloth will remain free here on my blog, but if you purchase the ad-free PDF, you’ll be getting 2 bonus patterns for a back scrubber and a face scrubbie!  Check it out in my Ravelry shop!

Skill level: Intermediate
Yarn weight: #4 worsted weight

Yarn in sample: Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton in Pistache

Amount of Yarn Needed: approx. 120 yds
Hook size: G (4.25 mm)
Gauge: 4sc and 4 rows sc = 1” (but gauge is not important)
Additional materials: yarn needle, scissors
Finished size: 8-9”
Notes: Gauge is not important, but if you don’t meet gauge, your finished size and amount of yarn used may be different.

Abbreviations:
ch – chain
RS – right side
sc – single crochet sk – skip
st – stitch
WS – wrong side yo – yarn over

Special Stitches:
Puff – (yo, insert hook into st, yo, pull up loop, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook) 3 times, yo, pull through all 4 loops on hook

Washcloth

Ch 36
R1  starting in 2nd ch from hook, sc across (35 sc)
R2 (and all even rows) ch1, sc across, turn (35 sc)

R3  ch1, sc in same st, puff in next st,*sc in next st, puff in next st, repeat across to last st, sc in last st, turn (18 sc, 17 puff)
R5  ch1, sc in same st, puff in next st, sc in next 31 sts, puff in next st, sc in last st, turn (33 sc, 2 puff)
R7  Rep R5
R9  ch1, sc in same st, puff in next st, sc in 5 sts, (puff in next st, sc in next st) 11 times, sc in next 4 sts, puff in next st, sc in last st, turn (22 sc, 13 puff)
R11  ch1, sc in same st, puff in next st, sc in next 5 sts, puff in next st, sc in next 19 sts, puff in next st, sc in next 5 sts, puff in next st, sc in last st, turn (31 sc, 4 puff)
R13  Rep R11
R15  ch1, sc in same st, (puff in next st, sc in next 5 sts) twice, (puff in next st, sc in next st) 4 times, (puff in next st, sc in next 5 sts) twice, puff in next st, sc in last st, turn (26 sc, 9 puff)
R17, 19, 21, 23  Rep R15
R25, 27  Rep R11

R29  Rep  R9
R31, 33  Rep R5
R35  Rep R3
R37  ch1, 3sc in same st, *sc across to last st, 3sc in last st, rotate 90 degrees, rep from * twice more, sc to end, slst to 1st sc to join, fasten off and weave in ends
Voila!
Grab your hook and favorite cotton yarn, and start hooking your washcloths!  They work up fast, and you’ll be enjoying your own private spa day in no time!
XOXO – Shelley