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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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

Steam Blocking Tutorial – Taking It To The Next Level

Are you a blocker?  I never used to be personally, but I couldn’t figure out what my projects were missing.  I mean – I followed patterns correctly, matched gauge, and executed all the steps, but my finished projects just seemed to lack that extra oomph, ya know what I mean?

Until I discovered steam blocking…. and my whole world changed!!!  I had heard of traditional blocking where you dampen your item and pin it out into the desired shape and let dry…  but seriously….  Ain’t nobody got time for that (or the space, right!), especially with those larger items.  With steam blocking, it is SO MUCH FASTER and only takes up a small amount of space.

You don’t even need any special equipment…..  All you need is an iron with steam capability and an ironing board.  Heck, an ironing board isn’t even mandatory, lol!  you could just lay your item on any flat surface that wouldn’t be damaged by steam.

Lay your project on your ironing board with wrong side up, and make sure your iron is filled with water.  Turn your iron to the hottest setting.  On my iron, that’s Linen.

 

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Wrong side up on the ironing board…  Notice how the edging is warped and rippled instead of laying flat.

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Water reservoir full and set on highest heat setting

When your iron gets hot and you can see/hear steam coming out, hover your iron as close to the project as you can get without touching the iron to the project.  (well, if your fiber can take the heat of the iron itself – like maybe cotton – you can touch the project, but I find I don’t need to.)  Let the steam penetrate the fiber as your move your iron back and forth S.L.O.W.L.Y.  I’d recommend small sections at a time.

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Look at all that steam!!!

As you saturate each section, set the iron aside and position the fibers where you want them.  Then grab the iron and move on to the next section, and the next, and the next… until you’ve covered the whole project.

Wanna know the real beauty of this?  You don’t have to hang it to dry or pin it or anything of the sort!  With steaming, the fibers dry really quickly, and usually by the time I finish, each section, the one before it is dry.

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Before steaming – all rumpled and wavy

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After steaming -oh so smooth!

Here’s a quick down & dirty video so you can see it in action:

Thanks for watching, and happy blocking!

XOXO – Shelley

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 🙂 )