April 30, 2014

Crochet Challenge: Organize your patterns

This weeks challenge:  Organize your patterns this week.  Do you have a system for our patterns?  Can you find a specific pattern easily?
Answer: This was an easy one because my patterns are already organized!  Books are in the bookshelf along with a very few loose patterns, which are in plastic sleeves. Most of my patterns are stored in my Ravelry library, and in case something happens to Ravelry, also on my computer hard drive, with the file names organizing by category. For example, "Afghan_specific name" or "Baby_booties_specific name".

My computer does daily back-ups - just in case!

Until next time!

It's never too late to join the 52 Week Crochet Challenge by Julie at Red Berry Crochet!
One simple task per week - your skills, style & knowledge will evolve by just having fun! 

Wash crochet, knit, & fabric before gifting or selling, Part 2: Yarns & Fibers

Daffodowndillies Granny Square
This is Part 2 of my research, which addresses yarns & fibers, and the necessity of washing items made with them before selling or gifting.

As we learned in Part 1, the chemicals and pesticides used in manufacturing processes are causing lots of allergies, and serious health issues.
(Click here for Part 1: Fabrics)

We really don't want to pass that possibility along, especially to children or the elderly.  You, yourself, may be encountering topical allergies or breathing problems and not be aware that this is even an issue.  Even with "natural" fiber yarns, such as wool, if you encounter an allergic reaction, it is likely to the chemicals and/or pesticides in them - not the wool.
Please note:  I am not an expert, so I get my information from experts, and cite all my sources.  Personally, I'm not going to argue with the experts.  First, they are more knowledgeable on these subjects than I am, and second, I don't have the energy.  But if you've a mind to argue with them, I fully support your right in doing so!
The information in this blog are excerpts.
Please click the source link to view all information.

Yarn contains chemicals, even "all natural" ones such as wool, cotton, and silk*

*May not apply to certified organic yarns and fibers - give them a try if you have allergic or other reactions.  Just check the certification source that tracks it from raw material through the manufacturing process through shipping (fibers/yarns are often treated with chemicals to keep them from mildewing during shipping and storage).

According to Apple Leef Farm, in their article, Fibers, Yarns, and Chemicals:

Industrial spun yarns are produced in high volume for the high speed power looms and weaving factories. These yarns have been chemically treated through several processes to make them “behave” for the weaving machinery. A vast majority of mill-end yarns are sold to hand weavers. These are the industrial “left-overs” from the industrial weaving runs, and are re-marketed to hand weaving supply houses. For the most part, the yarns are good quality yarns. It is just good to remember that they should be well cleaned to remove any finishes and residues. 
Even raw spinning fibers need to be cleaned. Cotton is sprayed with chemical defoliants for easy picking not to mention the entire barrage of insecticides used during the growth of plants for fibers. Many fiber animals are treated for lice by sprays, dipping, and powders. These facts alone merit a good fiber cleansing!

According to Yarn Obsession, in their article,  How safe is my yarn?:

All yarn artists have a stash. In that stash are many yarns. However, in that stash are also toxins that were used to manufacture the yarn.

Yarn stash with YoYoChemicals are applied to yarns and other materials because man-made fabrics are complex, and getting soft yarn out of raw materials takes chemical manipulation.

As a yarn artist there are a few things you can do to limit your exposure but being aware is a first step. It may cost you more in the beginning, but in the long run it will be best for you, your family and your clients if you do even one of the following suggestions.
  • Use more natural and organic fibers such as cotton, hemp, wool, silk, linen and cashmere.
  • Once you’ve completed a project, wash it at least 3 times with a non-toxic detergent before wearing or packaging.
  • Store your synthetic stash in a well ventilated area away from your main living area so you are less exposed to the toxins and “let it air” by storing in a “breathable” container instead of a plastic bin.

My opinion...

It's quite a sticky situation isn't it?  Environmentally speaking, acrylic yarn is a baddie, but it is what I use because it is what I can afford.  Fortunately, I have always washed all my items first, with unscented laundry soap and white vinegar in the rinse water, and no fabric softener.

On occasion, I had wondered if I really needed to bother.  I don't wonder any more!

Smitty kitty & Pepper doggyHowever, I will now re-think my yarn choices. and look for good sales to integrate natural fibers in, too (of course laundering them, as well).

Sadly, we don't live in a chemical free world, and it's not practical or even obtainable to do so.  It's in paper, cosmetics, our carpets & padding, wall paper, paint, vinyl and hardwood flooring, insulation, the lumber is in our houses, in shingles, furniture & fabrics, pillows, in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

All we can do is try to avoid them when we can, make the most responsible decisions we are able, under the circumstances we are given at the time.

What do you think?  Let me know your opinion!

Texas Wildflower Arrangement
Footnote:  I am human, and being human, make mistakes.  If you find any, please let me know so I can learn from them, and correct the information for others!

#wash #yarn #crochet #knit #fabrics #quilts

Wash crochet, knit, & fabric before gifting or selling, Part 1: Fabrics

Cotton Field
A previous blog raised questions on chemicals in fabrics, including cotton and other natural materials.

This is Part 1 of my research, addressing the necessity of washing fabrics before selling or gifting.

(Click here for Part 2:  Yarns & Fibers)

The question on chemicals (specifically, formaldehyde) in fabrics, and the allergies and health problems they cause, originally arose as yet another reason dryer lint is harmful to use as nesting material for birds.
Note:  Dryer lint is dangerous to use for nest material, no matter what it's composition.  (See From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 2 for more information).
There is no practical space to address other chemicals in clothing, some of which are equally or even more toxic, and so I will stick to formaldehyde.  It is more than enough to support the need for laundering, in my opinion.

(For information on other chemicals, O Ecotextiles' article, Chemicals used in textile processing stood out).
I am not an expert, so I get my information from experts, and cite all my sources.  Personally, I'm not going to argue with the experts.  First, they are more knowledgeable on these subjects than I am, and second, I don't have the energy.  But if you've a mind to argue with them, I fully support your right in doing so!

Got Formaldehyde?  T Shirt
Photo from O Ecotextiles
Click for article

Clothes, sheets, and towels you wash and dry contain formaldehyde (among other toxic chemicals)*

* This does not apply to "certified organic" fabrics, although you must be sure of the certification source.

100% cotton wrinkles.  If it doesn't, it contains formaldehyde.  (This applies to any fabric that is termed permanent press, wrinkle resistant or wrinkle free).


According to DermNet NZ, in their article, Formaldehyde Allergy:

Sources of Formaldehyde are in the following fabrics:
  • Permanent press
  • Anti-cling, anti-static, anti-wrinkle and anti-shrink finishes
  • Chlorine-resistant finishes
  • Stiffening on lightweight nylon knits
  • Waterproof finishes
  • Perspiration proof finishes
  • Moth proof and mildew resistant finishes
  • Suede and chamois

According to Natural News, in their article, Beware of hidden toxin sources in new clothes - Always wash them before wearing

  • After clothes are made, they are often covered with formaldehyde to keep them from wrinkling or becoming mildewed during shipping.   
  • ...Investigations have discovered up to 500 times the safe level of formaldehyde in clothing shipped to brand name clothiers form factories in China and Southeast Asia.  
  • ...Formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals are used to create synthetic fibers for towels and bedding. Textile toxins are hard to avoid even when you're out of your clothes.  
  • Another commonly used clothing chemical is nonylphenol ehtoxylate (NPE). NPE use is restricted in most regions where the big name brand clothes are sold. But there are no restrictions where the clothing factories are located in China and Southeast Asia. 14 big name brands get their clothing from clothing factories using NPE.

According to Natural Vitality Living, in their article, Are our kids sleeping in formaldehyde?:

  • ...Many of the chemicals bond with the material and don't wash out for many washes, if ever. 
  • ...sadly, conventional cotton crops rely heavily on pesticides.  1/3 pound of pesticides is used to grow enough cotton to produce one T-shirt.

The Wrap Up...my thoughts...

Bower Bird Nest
My thoughts are, in light of this information, that it is a no-brainer to wash fabrics first, since a lot of the shipping chemicals and formaldehyde go down the drain (which, if you think about it, is not a good thing, either).  Unfortunately, formaldehyde and other chemicals still remain in the fabrics, even after many washings.

Fortunately, I have always washed all my items first, with unscented laundry soap and white vinegar in the rinse water, and no fabric softener.

Choosing ones that are not wrinkle or stain resistant may be a better choice, if it's practical for the item being made.  Even though the fabric will still contain other chemicals, cutting out formaldehyde is better than nothing.  Of course, certified organic fabrics are best, if you can afford them.

We don't live in a chemical free world, and it's not practical or even obtainable to do so.  It's in paper, cosmetics, our carpets & padding, wall paper, paint, vinyl and hardwood flooring, insulation, the lumber is in our houses, in shingles, furniture & fabrics, pillows, in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed and just want to throw my hands up in the air, thinking "What's the use?"  I have to fight that mind set and do whatever tiny steps I can.

So, what to do?  As a society, perhaps all most of us can do is make the best decisions with the information we have, become better educated, and make the soundest eco-decisions that we are able.

Tell me what you think!

Footnote:  I am human, and being human, make mistakes.  If you find any, please let me know so I can learn from them, and correct the information for others!

#fabrics #formaldehyde #chemicals

April 26, 2014

Free crochet granny square patterns: April 2014BAMCAL #3

It's nice being in a Crochet-A-Long (CAL).  It's a non-stressful way to have an afghan at year's end, and educational to see how color combinations the other members have done can totally alter the look of the same block.

This is the April "filler" square.  I don't know what that means, exactly, but I do know it's pretty!  It was a great pattern, easy to make, but is so striking that it doesn't look easy!  This is a keeper.

The pattern is for a 12" square, but using Caron Simply Soft yarn and a G hook, I make 9" blocks. Even then, sometimes I still need to add rows. (SS yarn is such a thin worsted, and looks best - to me, anyway - worked with a G hook, which is often smaller than what the pattern calls for).  For the same reason, when I do a 6" square, I need to add rows.

Hope you try this one and show it to me!

Here are the other squares for April:

#crochet #free-patterns #granny-squares

Pat's Tangy-Sweet Honey-less Mustard for Corned Beef

Honey-less Mustard Sauce and Corned Beef

Years ago my sister was serving corned beef for dinner and wanted a honey mustard sauce to go with it, but was out of honey.

She improvised and came up with this ridiculously fast and easy recipe, and a new tradition was born.

The tangy/sweetness compliments the richness of the beef, and people that thought they didn't like corned beef now request it.  Serving corned beef without it would be absolute sacrilege!

Pat's Tangy-Sweet Honey-less Mustard Sauce

Makes 1-1/2 cups
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
1/4 cup mustard (regular yellow)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Blend well.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes before adjusting vinegar or sugar.  Keep refrigerated

It's also yummy as a sandwich spread.

Please let me know if you try it!

Crochet Challenge: Finish or frog unfinished projects

This weeks challenge:  Go through any unfinished projects you've had sitting around and either work it or frog it.  If you don't have any unfinished projects then show us what you're working on.

Slippers Worsted 3-Strand Q-Hook

All my projects are caught up, but I have two designs I'm agonizing over, in getting the finished product just right!

One of them is these Crazy Quick Worsted 3-Strand Q-Hook slippers.  And while they're crazy quick to make, I'm not crazy quick finishing the pattern!

The second one is this iris I've been working on for some time.  Soooo close to being through but the devil's in the details and am about to go nuts!

It's just about to beat me up, but. I. Will.  Finish.  It.  (Did I sound determined)?  

Do you have unfinished projects?  
If you do, go pick up one of them, and let me know.  

I'll crochet along with you and we can cheer each other on!

Until next time!

It's never too late to join the 52 Week Crochet Challenge by Julie at Red Berry Crochet!
One simple task per week - your skills, style & knowledge will evolve by just having fun! 

April 24, 2014

From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 2

From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 1, discussed safe bird nesting materials, ways of putting them out, and ideas for containers.

This article details why dryer lint is dangerous, and whether acrylic yarn and synthetic fibers are safe to use.  That decision is open to debate, and to personal choice!

Cedar waxwings with yarn

Side note:  While researching this article, information on chemicals in yarns, fibers, and fabrics arose that are too important to ignore, and sparked two more articles:
Why crochet, knit, & fabrics need washed before giving or selling, Part 1:  Fabrics
Why crochet, knit, & fabrics need washed before giving or selling, Part 2:  Yarns & Fibers

The goal of this article is to present facts so that you can draw your own conclusion.  
Since I am not an expert, I get my information from experts, and cite all my sources.  

The information in this post are excerpts.  
Click the picture or source link to go to the source and view full information.

Nest with yarn woven inIs it safe to use synthetic yarn for nesting material?

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Bright yarn safe for bird nests?) :
Birds often use man-made materials for their nests these days. Yarn pieces are OK to put out for birds to use as nesting materials. There are a few things you'll want to keep in mind though:  
Nest made with man-made and natural materials
1) Keep strands at 4" - 6" (10.25 - 15.25 cm) so there's no   danger of wildlife becoming entangled.
2) Natural materials that will biodegrade over the course of time (like cotton or wool) are preferred to synthetic materials.
3) Thin strips of cloth are OK; keep them about 1" wide by 6" long.
4) Birds can see color, so if they use the brightly-colored yarns, they are aware of the colors they are selecting (and they do have choices out there in nature).

...That said, avian predators like crows are visually-oriented and may differentially prey on highly-visible nests.
If you decide, after reading this that using synthetic yarns is not a good idea, don't despair - there are plenty of other alternatives (see From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 1)!

Why is dryer lint a dangerous nesting material?

According to Melissa Mayntz, about.com Birding/Wild Birds, in her article, Dryer Lint as Nesting Material, Don't Offer This Dangerous Material to Nesting Birds:
  • Texture: Lint is stripped fibers and has no structure of its own. Because of this, it falls apart easily and will not hold up to the actions of growing nestlings. After wet lint dries, it can be particularly brittle and a nest made of dryer lint will disintegrate.
  • Chemicals: Depending on the exact detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets used, lint can contain perfumes, soap residue and artificial dyes – none of which are safe for birds. The higher concentration of these chemicals in lint can make it particularly toxic.
  • Scent: The fresh scent of warm, dried laundry can be wonderful for humans, and while most birds do not have a strong sense of smell and won't mind the odor, those same scents can attract predators right to a vulnerable nest.
  • Dust: The small particles of dry, loose lint are easy to disturb and can be inhaled by birds, even young chicks. This dust can cause respiratory distress and even choking or suffocation in severe cases.
  • Mold: When lint gets wet, it will retain the moisture for far longer than more natural materials. Not only can staying in a damp nest chill birds, but the wet lint can develop toxic mold or mildew.
  • Stickiness: Wet dryer lint pulls apart easily but will stick to many surfaces and can become caked on birds' legs, feet and plumage. In severe cases, this can disrupt the insulation of a bird's feathers and may have even more harmful effects on the development of feathers in altricial chicks.
  • Composition: While most dryer lint is made up of very small, fuzzy particles, longer threads or hairs can also be part of a mass of lint. Those long pieces can tangle around birds' legs, wings or other body parts, potentially causing injuries similar to the effects of fishing line.*
Nest with yarn, wool, feathers, and more
Nest with yarn, wool, feathers, & more

She goes on to say to clean outside dryer vents monthly, because the movement of the lint from the blowing air attracts birds.  She also gives some handy tips on USING dryer lint, so all is not lost!

My Personal Opinion (MPO)

Chipping sparrow gathering threads from fabric scrapsI want to use pretty, bright acrylic yarn.  I realllly really do!  To make my decision I mused about two points discussed above:

1) Birds use man-made materials they find all the time.  
MPO:  But darn it, another person made an observation that I just can't ignore.  Do I want to add more litter to the stuff already littered around?  Adding even small amounts of non-biodegradable litter to the environment, no matter how pure the intent, or pretty the cause, may be no different than driving down the road and throwing out cigarette butts and fast-food containers.

2) One safety factor was that the colors may attract crows that will come eat the babies. (!)

MPO:  I think I would have nightmares worrying about crows swooping down on little baby birds only because I put out some bright yarn.  

So, daydreams dashed of prettily colored nests holding happy and grateful singing birds, I'm going to make myself content with the few natural yarns I do use, along with the other items recommended in From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 1 (which, on the big plus side, even sans bright synthetic yarns, the things on the list still make a fab fun scavenger hunt for kids, making it even more exciting for them to use in a nesting material project)!

What do YOU think?

Everyone has the right to make their own decisions.  I celebrate whatever choice you make, and hope this blog helped you make a more informed one!

Just remember that whatever yarn and thread and fabric scraps you put out, be sure to wash them first!   (See:  Why crochet, knit, & fabrics need washed before giving or selling, Part 1:  Fabrics, andWhy crochet, knit, & fabrics need washed before giving or selling, Part 2:  Yarns & Fibers).

On that note, I'll leave you with this industrious little nest-builder, gathering pet hair directly from the source!  
Bird gathering pet hair from the dog!

Until next time!

Footnote:  I am human, and being human, make mistakes.  If you find any, please let me know so I can learn from them, and correct the information for others!

#birds #nesting-material #safety #yarn

April 23, 2014

From Yarn Scraps to Bird’s Nests, Part 1

Oriole pulling out yarn for nesting material
Oriole using Wild Birds
Unlimited Nesting material

The previous post discussed ways to use up yarn scraps (see More about yarn scraps).

One suggestion was to put them out for birds to use as nesting material. What a fun project, and a great idea for a kids craft!

To that end, I've put together some information from the experts, along with fun pics showing how other people have done it, so we all can too.  What better way to recycle yarn?

Safe nesting materials

  • Pieces of yarn or string, cut 4" - 6" long (10.25 - 15.25 cm)
  • Human hair or horse hair, cut 4" - 6" long (10.25 - 15.25 cm)
  • Pieces of cloth cut in strips about 1" x 6" (2.5 x 15.25 cm)
  • Pet fur (from animals not treated with flea or tick chemicals)
  • Moss, bark strips, pine needles, dead leaves, and fluff or down of plants
  • Snake skins 
  • Spider webs and caterpillar silk (stretchy binding material for nests)
  • Sheep's wool
  • Feathers
  • Coir (that coconut fiber used in hanging baskets)
  • Dead trees and branches for cavity nesters (if they pose no hazard)
  • Twigs (rigid for platform nests and flexible for cup-shaped nests)
  • Mud (robins, in particular, love a mud puddle!)
  • Dry grass and straw (not treated with chemicals)

Unsafe / dangerous nesting materials

Cedar waxwings with string
  • Absolutely do not use dryer lint (There are many reasons:  See From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 2 for more information on this danger).
  • Any material that has come into contact with potentially harmful chemicals, such as household cleaners.

Is it safe to use acrylic yarn and other synthetic
fibers as nesting material?

It is.  But is it the thing to do?  See From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 2, and make your own decision.  Let me know what you think!

Bird nest made with yarn scraps woven in

Ways to set out nesting material

Eastern Kingbird's stringy nest
Eastern Kingbird's stringy nest
  • Place materials that might blow around (fluffy materials, hair, and fur) in clean wire-mesh suet cages ($2 - $3), or in string or plastic mesh bags. 
  • Attach them to tree trunks, fence posts, or deck railings. The birds will pull out the material through the mesh holes. 
  • Push material into tree bark crevices or drape it over branches or vegetation. 
  • Put material into open-topped, plastic berry baskets (such as strawberries are sold in). 
  • Some manufacturers sell spiral wire hangers especially for putting out nest material. (One type looks like an oversized honey-dipper).
  • See more clever ideas below!

More nesting material container ideas
(Click the pic for source & to read more)

Robbie Parker from Polkadotted Rainbows puts yarn out in her bird feeder.

Bird nesting materials: Suet feeder holding yarn & fiber scraps   Bird nesting materials: Bowl holding yarn scraps    Bird nesting materials: Plastic mesh bag holding yarn, coir    Bird nesting materials: Crocheted bag holding yarn scraps

Bird nesting materials: Plastic berry basket holding yarn scraps   Bird nesting materials: Coat hangers shaped into a ball hold yarn scraps   Bird nesting materials: Pet hair and yarn stuck on a branch  Bird nesting materials: Pet hair & yarn scraps in seed feeder

Bird nesting materials: yarn, pet hair & more in a wire whisk   Bird nesting materials in a chicken feeder   Bird nesting materials: Yarn & string threaded in cardboard

See From Yarn Scraps to Bird's Nests, Part 2
Why acrylic yarn & synthetic fibers may not be safe, and why dryer lint is deadly.

#bird #nesting-material #safety #yarn

Even more ways to use up yarn scraps!

Scrap yarn ideas - Crocheted owls
Scrap yarn owls
Click for details

What to do with those yarn scraps?
More great tips and ideas! 

Yarn scrap ideas - Cat's Cradle Gift Wrap
Click for details
-- Photo from Strawberry Chic
"...put (yarn scraps) out on your deck or patio for the birds to use in their nest building, use it to tie up plants that need support, wrap a gift with yarn instead of ribbon, or make those cute owls!!!"
(tips by quiltmomdesigns  from Ravelry)

Note:  Yarn should be cut in 4" - 6" lengths to be safe for bird nesting material.
Yarn scrap ideas - Tie plants to stakes for support
Click for details 
-- Photo from Yardener

I've also used yarn as a plant
support - works great!  If the
support needs to be a bit
thicker, crochet a chain first.
Yarn scrap ideas - colorful gift wrap decor
Click for details
-- Photo from Studio DIY

Even itty bits of yarn on a brown-paper
wrapped gift are so darned cute!

Or how about just tying one to the other
for one long strand (leaving the ends) and
wrapping it around and around?

Yarn scrap ideas - fish spawn in pieces resembling grass
Click for details
-- Photo from Fish etc.

This insanely fascinating idea
 uses yarn pieces to resemble grass,
 to trap eggs from spawning fish!

Kid project alert!  Kansas State University: Urban Food Systems uses pink strings of yarn with evenly spaced beads as tools to show students where to plant their seeds based on recommended spacing.

Yarn scrap ideas - String to make air plant display
Click for details
-- Photo & product available from
Triple Seven Recycled

Triple Seven Recycled
sells this suspended
air plant display using
yarn strands to suspend
the plants. 

Check out these links for more yarn scrap ideas
--- and please share some of your own!

Until next time!

#yarn-scraps #tips #ideas

April 22, 2014

Gentle musing...Thank you, Moogly

Free crochet pattern - Itty Bitty Butterflies appliques
Click for free pattern
Thank you to Tamara (aka Moogly) for hosting one of my designs in one of her pattern round-ups!  It's a nice feeling to have one's labor of love recognized.

Take a gander at my Itty-Bitty Worsted Butterflies and 9 other beautiful butterfly-inspired designs in her round-up here:
Beautiful Butterflies: 10 Free Butterfly Crochet Patterns!

I'm a regular visitor to Moogly, because she always has so much helpful and clear information.  I've found when I do a search for something related to crochet, her blog often comes up in the results, and when I have multiple choices to look at, it's more often than not hers that has the best answer!

#free-patterns #crochet #butterflies

April 17, 2014

How little yarn would you call a scrap?

"Do you save even the smallest scraps? How little yarn would you call a scrap?"

This was a question I was asked recently.

Scrap yarn ideas  - Crocheted Water Lily Flower
Click for details & free pattern
Yes I do keep even the smallest scraps!  

Throw too-short pieces in a bowl and use them to stuff small items instead of, or along with, fiberfill. Natural fibers 6"-8" can be stuck in a tree for the birds to use as nest material.

Granny squares use an 18” piece for the very center, and a 24” piece for the next row.  And that still leaves enough length to weave in both ends!  In this water lily pad granny, the center yellow stamens (inside the yellow petals) could be any color, or a combination of colors to be pretty and unique.

Yarn Scrap Ideas - Crocheted Iris
Crocheted Iris

When designing, I often need to experiment with small bits.  For example, the latest design I’m working on is an iris that uses a piece only 18” long - a pale orange strip in the center of the yellow part of the petal.

Scrap yarn ideas - appliques on jungle afghan
Click for info & free patterns

Another example of elements of an item using small amounts:  Tiny amounts of scraps were used for the eyes & tusks of the elephant, the butterflies, flowers, caterpillars, and bird. A specialty yarn - an eyelash/fun fur with a ladder ribbon wound together - was separated, and tiny lengths of the eyelash part were used to make caterpillars, and the ladder ribbon made a cute snake. 

Scrap yarn ideas - Easter Peace Lily by Moogly
Easter Peace Lily by Moogly
Click for free pattern
Then there's an afghan for my mom, where I want to put a different type of naturalistic flower on each granny square, such as this Easter Lily by the talented Tamara Kelly from Moogly.  As discussed before, flowers often use tiny amounts - look at those stamens, and the tips on them.

Or, make fun flowers to decorate a teen/kid's room using a different color for each petal! 

Scrap yarn ideas - Gecko bookmark
Click for free pattern

Little bits can be used to applique spotted or striped designs, make numbers or letters of the alphabet, put borders on small embellishments, etc.   

Lots of free patterns are available for small, cute, quick gifts such as luggage tags, purse and cell phone dangles, key rings and more - just do a search for "scrap yarn patterns".

Scrap yarn ideas - Red Berry Crochet's Scrap Blanket
Click for details

This scrap blanket from Red Berry Crochet works up the scraps as soon as there are some.  Instead of weaving in ends, she knots the pieces together, trims the ends short for a tufted effect, and puts all the knots on one side.  One side is smooth, the other has a rustic textural effect.  I LOVE the idea of doing those little scrap pieces right then - it makes working in another afghan it so amazingly easy and do-able!

Here's a video showing how to join yarn together and clip the ends off entirely.  The knots are tiny, don’t come loose, and it is definitely a pain-in-the-neck saver if you want to use up a lot of pieces in something like an afghan:  How to join yarn by making a double (invisible) knot.
Scrap yarn wound on clothes pins

Tip:  Keep yarn scraps tidy until ready to be used by wrapping them around clothespins; secure the end in the clip.

More yarn scrap ideas

I'd love to hear your ideas!

Until next time!

#yarn-scraps #ideas #tips

Free crochet granny square patterns: April 2014BAMCAL #2

It's hard to believe such pretty granny squares are free patterns!  Isn't it nice that the designers are so generous to do that?

Free crochet pattern: Fresh Air 6" Granny
Fresh Air 6" - Click for pattern & info

This first square is a CAL pattern, meaning it was voted on by the group to be the “official” CAL 6” square for April.   It worked up quickly and easily, and the design is quite interesting.

Daffodowndillies 6" Granny Square
Click for pattern & info

The daffodil granny square is an optional one I chose.  It was as fun to make as it looks, and actually quite easy!

The pattern used a stitch called a “crossed double crochet (xdc)" to make the trumpet, which was new to me.  I loved that stitch, and hope to be able to crochet it again or incorporate it in one of my own designs.

Daffodowndillies 6" Granny SquareI made a few customizations:  added stamens and “frill” to the trumpet.  Added rows to bring it up to 6” because I use Caron Simply Soft yarn, which is a thin worsted, and a size G (4.0mm) hook.  If you go to find the pattern, scroll down to see the details in my notes.

Daffodowndillies 6I'd love to see a pic if you do this square!

Here are the other squares for April:

April 12" main                April 12" filler

                              Until next time!

                         (Block-A-Month Crochet-Along)! 

#crochet #free #daffodil