Monday, May 31, 2010

All About Tunisian Crochet

Tunisian Crochet has facinated me for a long time.  I love the "look" of Tunisian fabric.  I love the possibilities that it opens up for projects. And . . . I love the process of Tunisian!

Tunisian crochet (also called Afghan stitch) might not be as well known to you as traditional crochet.  The following is list of resources and tutorials about Tunisian crochet:

In addition to the tutorials listed above, I found several experts on Tunisian.

Enjoy checking out these links.  Which is your favorite?  Share your experiences with this great technique.

Friday, May 28, 2010

7 Crocheted Gifts for your Child's Teacher

The school year is winding down and I'm looking for gifts that are quick, easy and useful to make for the children's teachers.

  1. Potholders or hot pads -- Who doesn't need a new potholder or hot pad?  You can practice a new stitch pattern with yarn from your stash (just be sure to use a natural fiber such as cotton or wool), add a clever border and you're done!
  2. Dishcloths  -- I admit I'd never used a dishcloth until recently, but now I'm hooked (I was always a sponge-kind-of-gal).  Another great way to practice stitch patterns.
  3. Bookmarks -- Have you ever met a teacher who doesn't love to read?  Bookmarks can be quick to make (so make several).  They can be lacy or dense, colorful or neutral.  Crochet Pattern Central has a page of links to free bookmark patterns:
  4. Cell Phone Cozy -- This might sound cliche, but nonetheless, it is a useful gift that can be fun to make.  It can be felted and embellished with needle-felted flowers or a simple sc pocket crocheted in the round.
  5. Amigurumi toys -- Does your school have a mascot?  Does the teacher have a special love for panda bears or penquins?  Has the teacher built in a particular theme of study for the year?  This area is wide open for ideas and the projects can be quick and fun to make.  It can also be a conversation piece or teaching device for years to come.
  6. Market bags -- Whether the teacher uses this gift as a market bag, a beach bag, or a bag to carry books to and from the library, he or she will enjoy having something handmade.
  7. Coasters -- Just in time for sipping a cold drink!
Enlist your child's help in selecting the project, the yarn and even in making the gifts. You might kick off a life-long (or at least a summer-long) interest in creating and giving!

I'd love to hear your ideas for teacher gifts.  Please leave a comment.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tools of the Trade

How do you keep track of your WIPs? How do you know which row in a 4-row repeating pattern that you worked right before you answered that phone call? Or how do you keep up with the number of stitches you should have after each decrease row when shaping armholes?

I recently bought an iPad.  BTiP (before the iPad), I used slips of paper, spiral notebooks, sticky notes, etc to keep up with all the details of my project.  And they all worked well for me until . . .  I found the app for the iPhone and the iPad called KnitMinder.

KnitMinder allows me to put in all the pertinent details about my project (yarn, hook/needle size).  It includes a logbook that is helpful to make notes (got to make sure I work the back and the front the same).

But my favorite tool in KnitMinder are the Counters. Yes, that's counters, as in more than one.  I've used a row counter, a pattern-row counter, and a decrease-row counter--all while working one project. All with the touch of my finger. To advance a counter, simply touch the number.

KnitMinder saves the information so that when I put my project away for the day, all of the data is there for me the next day when I start again.