Creative Yarn Link Party #2

Creative Yarn Link Party #2

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Creative Yarn Link Party #2.

 

As you may know, I only started up this link party last week, and was delighted to have 3 awesome posts shared, and, as it’s new and exclusive, I’m so excited to feature ALL THREE on here this week!

Our first feature post is Getting hooked on crochet: which type of crochet hook is best for you? by Gemma from The Sweetest Geek, which is a name I love so much, as I’m a geek in so many ways, and her post is a really in depth look at different crochet hooks, their make up, uses, and how to pick the right hook for your project.

Her geek pop culture references are so on point, her advice is savvy, and her blog is downright fabulous, so make sure you check out this really valuable post.

 

Next we have the Colourful Mandala Set by Hooks & Loops.  If you’ve ever had a look at my Instagram feed, you’ll know how much I love colour.  Bright colours. themed colours, muted romantic colours – I love them all!

This pattern by Hooks & Loops is simple, stunning and can be used either as a project on its own, or as a start for a basket, bowl or bag.

 

 

Our final featured post from this week’s Creative Yarn Link Party is the Charisma Cowl Free Crochet Pattern also by ChristaCoDesign.  This is a gorgeous, squishy, cosy cowl worked up in chunky yarn that you can easily whip up in a flash to keep your own neck warm or as a lovely gift.  It’s still summer for me here in Australia, but I’ve put this on my list to have made and ready for when our winter kicks in soon!

 

 

OK, I hope you’ve enjoyed those featured posts from last week, now it’s time to jump on board and share your own posts for this week’s Creative Yarn Link Party.

The rules are simple:

  • Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  I will check, and no follow, no feature, that only seems fair – I’m also really good at following back, because I love a bit of Creative Yarn love in my feeds!
  • Click through to at least one post others have shared and give it some loving – comment, Pin, share – just anything nice to share the love
  • Only post your own creations, and no links to sales pages, Etsy etc – just a blog post with some Creative Yarning Fabulousness of your own creation
  • Post up to 3 links every week, but for each you post, make sure to check out someone else’s and let them know you found them via this link party
  • Put a link to this party somewhere on your blog – in a post or on your sidebar, it’s up to you.

I like to be all helpful, and I’d like to have this Creative Yarn Link Party open to as many a possible, so below you can find the code you need to put a link or button your own blog or to post on social media.

If you’ve been featured or are sharing this link party, here’s your code –

Stashing Yarn


Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

 

Inlinkz Link Party

Easy Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

Easy Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

Please note this post does contain affiliate links, which just means that if you click these and end up buying something, I may make a tiny commission on the sale, at absolutely no cost to you – that just helps support the cost of running this blog!

Hi, and welcome to the Stashing Yarn photo tutorial for making a crochet soap saver pouch using the gorgeous Suzette Stitch.  I’m so excited to share this with you, as it’s a quick and easy project, beginner friendly and you end up with a gorgeous and useful handmade item to use or gift to a loved one!

If you’re a more experienced crocheter and want to miss out on the fun stuff, you’re welcome to scroll down to near the bottom where there’s a more simplified version of the pattern written out.

UPDATE:  The next tutorial in the series of gorgeous, reusable, eco-friendly skincare items has just been posted – the Crochet Face Scrubbie Tutorial – so don’t forget to check it out, too!

Face scrubbie tutorial featured image

 

The idea for making this actually started with a dear friend who started up an eco-friendly handmade candle and soap business last year.  You absolutely must have a look at her deliciously scented and lovingly handmade products – FREYJA BLACK.  Mentioning her business is not a sponsored mention in any way – as I said, she’s a friend, a fellow single mother trying to make a living, and very talented at what she does, so definitely check her site out!

Anyway, I tried a couple of her amazing soaps, and realised that I really needed something to keep them in, that would double up as a lovely, sudsy washcloth all at the same time.

I saw a few photos online of sewn and crocheted soap savers, and tried making a couple in single and double crochet, but they just weren’t giving me the texture I was after (this gal needs to exfoliate!), so I decided to play around with other stitches to see if I could get a better texture going ensure I get the best out of these amazing soaps.

 

After some trial and error and discovering a potentially life-long hatred for the bobble stitch, I came to the conclusion that the lovely Suzette stitch was exactly what this item needed, and have finally put the pattern down on paper.  Well, screen, to be fair.

UPDATE:  I’ve just posted a full beginner-level photo tutorial on How to Crochet the Suzette Stitch, so if you’re not sure about the stitch itself, or need more detailed instructions, be sure to check this post out!

 

You can make these any size you like, as you can see in my picture above – depending on the yarn weight, hook size and number of starting chains and rows, this can be adapted to any size.  I’ve made one big enough to use as a small handbag!

For that reason, this crochet soap saver pattern doesn’t specify a particular number of starting chains or rows, but in the tutorial below, I started with a chain of 21 stitches with a 3.5mm hook.

SUPPLIES

Cotton yarn of your choice.  I like to use the Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton which comes in a great range of colours and I love working with it and using it for spa products – it washes up beautifully and lasts well.  I’ve also dabbled in cotton/bamboo blends and, on one memorable day, some handspun hemp/nettle yarn, which was AMAZING, but not the easiest to work with!

Crochet hook – I’d suggest going slightly down from the yarn’s recommended size, as cotton can have a tendency to stretch a bit.  I’m using a 3.5mm Clover Amour hook here, which is, by now, pretty much the only brand I ever use – yarn just glides over it so smoothly – LOVE!!

Scissors and darning needle to work in ends

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Chain enough stitches for the width you want – I recommend 9 or 10cm

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

 

ROUND 1

SC in to the 2nd chain from the hook, then along to end of row.

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

Now we’re going to bend around the corner so we can work into the other side of the starting chain.  These SC rounds will form the base of your crochet soap saver.

To do this, simply do 3 SC in the very first chain you made.  If you find your slip knot loosens up as you do this, just pull on the tail to tighten it up.  From this point you can also crochet over your tail to hide it.

Turn your work as you work around the corner so you have the bottom side of your starting chain at the top, and SC along to the row.  Add in another 2 SC to make 3 in the final stitch of the row, to work around the corner and SS into the first stitch to finish the round.

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

 

ROUND 2

Chain 1 and SC in the same stitch you made the SS and then 1 SC along the row until you get to the corner where it starts to turn.

Time for the next corner, but we need to increase the number of stitches so that it lays flat.

2 SC into the next stitch, 1 SC in the next, and then 2 SC in the next – turn work as corner forms to keep working in a circle.

SC in each stitch until you get back to where it starts to turn, then 2 SC, then 1 SC, then 1 in the final (there’s already one there, so this makes a total of 2 for this corner).  Slip stitch to next stitch to finish.

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

ROUNDS 3 +

It gets much easier from here on in!  We’re going to be changing to Suzette stitch at this point, which gives a lovely texture to your soap saver, and helps the soap foam up.  The Suzette stitch is very easy – just a combination of SC and DC, and don’t forget to check out my tutorial if you get stuck.

From this point on we’re also going to be working in continuous rounds, so no finishing off each round – just keep going around and around.  You don’t even need to count or mark the start of your rows, as you’re just going to work this until it’s the length suitable for the soap you want to use!

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

Chain 1, then SC and DC in the same stitch.  Skip one stitch, then SC and DC in the next stitch.  That’s it!  Just Just remember the side facing you will become the outside of the pouch, so as it starts to curl into a bag shape, make sure you’re working on the outside.

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

Continue this around and around until your soap saver is close to the length you want – I find about 11 cm is good, but it depends on how large of a bar of soap you want to put in it, obviously. There are still a couple of rows above this, so don’t worry if you think it’s not quite enough.

 

FINISHING OFF

Wait until you’re at one of the sides of the pouch and finish off the round by slip stitching into the next stitch.  Chain 3, and then DC all the way around.  This will be the row where you’ll thread your drawstring through.  Slip stitch into first stitch of the round to complete.

Chain 1, then SC in every stitch around, slip stitch to finish round.

Final round!  Slip stitch in every stitch around and then fasten off securely.

Sew in ends.

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

 

DRAWSTRING

Chain as many as you need for length – I find about 60 is good if I’ve made the crochet soap saver with a 3.5mm hook.  Knot end securely, leaving a tail long enough to thread on a darning needle..  Using the needle, weave your drawstring in and out of the double crochet stitches in the DC row, tie tails together securely and adjust so that the knot is inside the DC stitches.

Crochet Soap Saver Tutorial

You’re done!

Simplified instructions for more experienced crocheters

 

Chain enough to reach approx 9 – 10cm across

SC into 2nd chain from hook, and back along row

3 SC into last chain – turn so you’re working in a circle, into the bottom of the chain stitches

SC back along bottom of chain stitches, and add 2 more SC into final stitch.  Slip stitch into next stitch to finish round

Chain 1 and SC all around, adding 2 SC in each of the 4 corners of your oval.  Slip stitch into next stitch to finish round

Chain 1, SC and DC into same stitch.  Skip 1, SC and DC into next stitch.  Repeat, working in continuous rounds until pouch reaches a height of approximately 11/12 cm, depending on size of soap to be used.

Stop when you are at one of the sides of the pouch, slip stitch to finish rounds.

Chain 3, then DC in every stitch around.  SS to finish round.

Chain 1, then SC in every stitch around.  SS to finish round.

SS in every stitch around – fasten off.

Drawstring – chain until desired length, fasten off leaving tail.  With darning needle, thread drawstring in and out of DC stitches, tie tails together and move drawstring around until knot is hidden inside the DCs.

You’re done!

Another tip for more advanced crocheters is that you can vary the look and texture of the Suzette stitch quite a bit by changing around where you place your spaces and stitches.  You can either work your stitches into the SC or DC from the previous round, and each give different effects.

I’ll be adding to this pattern with matching face washcloths, shower puffs and facial scrubbies soon, so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out.  They are not just great to use, but make fabulous and thoughtful gifts, am I right?

 

The Crochet Twiddlemuff

The Crochet Twiddlemuff

I know, it’s such an adorable and silly name for a thing, but a crochet twiddlemuff is a fun and easy crochet or knit item you can make to help someone with dementia, Alzheimers or Autism.

But, what is a crochet twiddlemuff?  Good question!  It’s a hand muff with lots of different textures and embellishments such as ribbons, buttons, beads, zips and pom poms designed to provide sensory therapy for dementia patients.  It provides not only warmth, but a focus for often-restless hands, and has been shown to calm and sooth dementia patients.  You can also make them as mats, wrist cuffs, lap blankets or quilts, and the mat versions are also known as “fidget mats” or “fidget quilts”.

 

A news story on the ABC from 2016 described them as:

“Twiddle Muffs are sensory comforts for people who have restless hands,” Bundaberg Regional Council community development officer Bev Devlin said.

“They’re actually called a Twiddle Muff because you put your hands in the muff and then you get to twiddle.

“Inside the muffs there are lots of different objects of all different shapes and sizes, textures and colours.”

Restless hands are a common symptom of anxiety that people with dementia, autism, Asperger’s and mental health issues can suffer from.

 

“Twiddle Muffs originated in the United Kingdom, where they have been found to lower anxiety because people have something to do with their hands,” Ms Devlin said.

“They lower anxiety, reduce medication and bring people comfort.”

Twiddle Muffs have been found to be useful for many people with special needs in aged care homes, hospitals and schools.”

There’s no set pattern for a twiddlemuff – you can knit, crochet or sew the base, and then embellish as you see fit.  Some of the items I’ve seen used include buttons, ribbons, beads, zips, velcro patches, shoe laces, pom poms, squeeze balls, fluffy yarn, crocheted curlicues – basically anything, as long as it provides some sort of sensory stimulation, is securely attached, and is either washable or removable for washing.  Small pockets are also great for holding a tissue or similar – I’ve made some small granny squares in matching yarn and sewn them on as pockets.

The crochet twiddlemuffs above are ones I’ve made in the last week, and instructions for these particular ones are as follows:

SUPPLIES

Scrap yarn – for the base, keep it roughly the same weight of yarn – I used DK acrylic

Crochet hook to suit yarn – I used a 4mm Clover Amour hook

Embellishments – here are some suggestions with links where you can find them – Recycled ribbon,  buttons and beads,

Darning needle and strong thread (embroidery thread, upholstery thread or dental floss are good)

Backing fabric – I used really thick polar fleece for softness and warmth

 

DIRECTIONS

Chain 60, or enough with your choice of yarn and hook to obtain width of around 27cm (10.5″)

Turn and chain 2 (does not count as stitch here or elsewhere), then Half Double Crochet across.  You can, of course, use any stitch you like, but I’ve found HDC provides a nice, dense base, while still being quite flexible.  You can mix up your stitches throughout the piece, too – I like to put in a few rows of bobble stitches for texture.  I also do a few rows of DC so I can weave ribbon in and out of the stitches.  Just use your imagination and have fun!

Repeat rows, changing stitch and colour any time you like, until piece measures around 36cm (14″) and finish off.

You should now have a crocheted rectangle measuring 27cm X 36cm (approximately)

Add embellishments to crochet rectangle, making sure everything is very securely attached for safety.

 

Next it’s time to sort out the backing fabric.  Measure your rectangle carefully, and cut out a rectangle of fleece that is 1cm smaller on all sides.

You’ll also need to embellish the fleece, so that there are sensory objects on the inside of the muff, too.  I like to use a bunch of crocheted curlicues, a pom pom, and a few beads or buttons sew on securely.

Put the wrong sides of the crocheted rectangle and the fleece together and stitch together, leaving a space around the edge of roughly 1cm. I hand stitched mine with a basic blanket stitch, but you could easily use a sewing machine, too.  As I changed yarn colour in nearly every row with mine, I obviously had a heap of yarn ends, which I just knotted and tucked inside the backing fabric to avoid having to sew them all in, I mean, who wants to do that?

Another option is to leave all the ends sticking out of the seam and trim them evenly into a cute fringe for some extra texture.

Fold your crochet twiddlemuff in half, fleece side up, so that your starting chain and finishing rows are at the sides, and securely sew together to form a tube.

Attach yarn on the side, next to the seam, and crochet 2 rows of HDC around the cuff, and finish with a row of slip stitch to give a nice finish.  Repeat for the other side, turn inside out and your twiddlemuff is ready to go!

 

The Crochet For Charity group I’m a part of are making these to donate to hospitals and nursing homes with dementia care units, where we hope they’ll bring some joy and calmness.  You may want to make one for a friend or family member – they’re also popular to help kids with autism, anxiety and many other conditions.

As always, Pins, shares and comments are all much appreciated – if you’ve made a crochet twiddlemuff before, or have seen how they can help, please do drop me a comment below.

 

Crochet For Charity Resources Roundup

Crochet For Charity Resources Roundup

While we all loving making beautiful things for our friends and family, or to sell, there’s something really special about putting in the time and care to crochet a handmade item to donate to someone in need.

I’ve been getting quite involved in crochet for charity since I’ve been off work. I started with the Scrappy Lappy blankets, and have made 3 so far, ready to donate once the weather here cools down a bit.  They are a fabulous way to both use up scrap yarn and make something warm, cosy and cheerful to brighten up someone’s day.

 

I was on Pinterest the other day and came across another idea, the one with the fabulous name – Twiddlemuffs!  These are sensory hand muffs, mats, cuffs or lap blankets used to help calm people with dementia, Alzheimers or autism.  I will be writing up a post and full tutorial on these very soon, so stay tuned!

I’ve also started a local Facebook Group for crocheters who would like to make items to donate, and for charities to request donations.  So far it’s going really well, we’ve been gifted yarn, and have made items for both human and furbaby recipients so far!

There are so many items you can make to donate, so with this in mind, I’ve put together a round up of a whole range of free patterns, tutorials and ideas for crochet items for donation.

YARNSPIRATION – Charity Crochet Patterns – There are quite a few on here, ranging from chemo caps to pup jackets, baby blankets to place mats.

THE CROCHET CROWD – 27 Crochet Charity Patterns + Ideas – Again, a full list of free patterns to try

MAKE AND DO CREW – Crocheting and Knitting for Charity – some great patterns on here, and I especially love the hooded blanket one that you could make to any size.

AID ANIMALS – Crafting, Crocheting, Knitting and Sewing for Charity – this great page has heaps of patterns and ideas of items you can make do donate to wildlife refuges and animal shelters.

REDHEART – Charity Knitting & Crochet Ideas – this lists both charities that accept handmade items, as well as a whole bunch of free patterns you can use.

MARTHA STEWART – 8 Ways to Knit or Crochet for Charity – this post has a list of charity organisations, and links to them, where you can find out patterns and more information.  I especially love the giant granny square blankets for chilly elephants!

Photo Credit – Roger Allen

If you’ve got any more links to free patterns, tutorials or stories on crocheting for charity, please do feel free to pop them in a comment below and I’ll update this list regularly!

As always – any shares and pins are most welcome to spread the word of #crochetforcharity!  Be sure to use the hashtag on your social media and let’s get this growing!

 

 

The Scrappy Lappy

The Scrappy Lappy

 

I’ve been sadly neglecting this blog over the last year, mostly because I was ridiculously busy with a demanding job, but I’m b-a-a-a-ck. I’ve unfortunately had to leave my job due to some ongoing health issues (yeah, I’m looking at you, stupid neck pain), but the upside is that I can concentrate on my beloved crochet.

One part of my health issues has been dealing with some really sucky anxiety and depression, which has had a huge impact on my well-being.  I’ve found crocheting to be one of the best therapies around, and quite honestly don’t know what I would have done without having it as an outlet in both a creative / artistic fashion, as well as emotionally.  Try checking out the #craftastherapy hashtag on social media, and you’ll see that there are many of us out there using our craft to help our mental health.

Another way I’ve been trying to address the black dog is to try and do something kind for others, which is how the Scrappy Lappy came about!  If you’re like me, you probably have an embarrassingly large stash of scrap yarn, in quantities too small for most projects.  Well, how about using that up and making a warm, cheerful lapghan for someone in a nursing home or who spends a lot of time in a wheelchair?  It costs you nothing when using up your own scraps, and I’ve found friends are happy to donate their scrap yarn to me, too.  There are so many organisations around that would be most grateful for these, so I hope you’ll consider having a go at making one – they work up SO quickly and are so warm and snuggly, although working on this one in the extreme heat of an Australian summer was rather toasty work, I can tell you!

The inspiration for the stitch / yarn options for this came from the fabulous Jayda InStitches  and she has a full YouTube tutorial on how to make it, which you can find HERE.   The entire blanket is made from easy half-double crochet stitches, and uses 2 strands of yarn at once.  I used a 7mm hook and found it coped well with a range of yarn weights, but most of what I used was 8ply / DK weight.  

I would very highly recommend using a magic knot to join your yarns together, unless you’re the type of person who loves sewing in hundreds of ends!  You can even make a “Magic Ball” of yarn in advance, so you don’t have to knot as you go.  Coralie over at Stitch-n-Smile has made up a great tutorial HERE  on how to do this – just make sure you get those knots really secure and follow the instructions.  I found the mantra “over one and under 2” helped me make sure I was tying the knots correctly.

You can see below the Magic Ball I’m currently using on my lavender fields inspired Scrappy Lappy.  For this one I’m keeping the grey-ish beige yarn as the base throughout, and using it along with my magic ball of gorgeous greens, blues, pinks and purples.

For my Rainbow Scrappy Lappy I had 2 magic balls made up – one was made up of greys, silvers, off whites and pastels, and the other was made up of the bright rainbow colours, and I also used a few yarns that had a bit of a metallic sparkle, just to give the blanket a bit more bling and happy vibes – I mean, who doesn’t love glitter?  A navy border just finished it off, and I truly hope it brings some cheer to whoever ends up with it – it’s destined for a local nursing home as soon as I’ve finished a few more off to take a whole bunch of them along.

The recommended size for a lapghan is around 100cm X 120cm, and with the bigger hook they really don’t take much time at all to whip up, and it’s easy, mindless crochet that you can do while watching TV, or listening to an audiobook (yeah, I’m a huge fan of audiobooks!)

So, if this has inspired you to Kon-Marie the living crap out of your yarn stash and create something that will be sure to spark joy in someone, break out the stash, put on a good book and get cracking!

And, as always, shares and pins are much appreciated – I’d love to see the #CraftAsTherapy and #CrochetForCharity movement growing by leaps and bounds!

I’ll definitely be posting more about both, so do stay tuned xxx

 

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