Stashbuster Mixed Media Cowl

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Before my Art Show in November, I made several of these and they have been well received by many folks there buying them for gifts or for themselves. I wanted to type up a tutorial for any who might be interested in making one (or LOTS) also. It’s a great way to use up your existing stash. In fact, I made it my mission to ONLY use what I had on hand…little bits of this, leftovers of that.

M&MMakeCowl The first thing I do is gather up my yarns. Mortimer and Millicent wanted to oversee my photo tutorial efforts, giving invaluable (and sometimes annoying) suggestions and critiques along the way. 🙂 I like to put the yarns in a white bowl so I can see them sitting there together. I pull anything and everything that tickles my fancy: solid yarns, variegated yarns, fibers with a bit of bling, textured yarns, etc. I don’t worry too much at this point whether or not I’ll actually USE them all…this is the fun part of putting color together! There may be a yarn or two that just don’t make it into the finished cowl. Or I may just use them all!

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I choose a bulky yarn as a “base” or anchor. Since I’m using either a size 13 knitting needle or an N crochet hook, I want the stitches and yarns to be rather chunky. But this doesn’t mean I can’t use worsted, DK or even fingering weight yarns. I just have to combine the thinner yarns to approximate a chunky weight. I’ll demonstrate this a bit in the photos.

If I’m knitting a Mixed Media Cowl, I cast on 40-50 sts. This is a wide range that you will have to determine the number based on how thick your yarn choices are AND based on how generous you want your cowl to be. I’ve made them anywhere from neck huggers to cowls with a bit of drape. You choose! The knitted version is simply garter stitch all the way through.

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If I’m crocheting a Mixed Media Cowl, I chain 45-50. Again, this all depends on the above factors. This one is a 50 chain Cowl, which is a bit more generous than some I have made. I use single crochet stitches THROUGH THE BACK LOOP. This allows the crochet to have more drape to it than regular single crochet.

So, here we go:

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I began with the “base” yarn, a chunky yarn combined with a very slim shiny yarn just to add interest. Chain 50.

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Sc in the second chain from hook and in each chain across. I like to crochet into the “butt” of the chain thereby giving a nice edge that looks like bind off in knitting.

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Attach a new yarn or set of yarns. Here I’ve combined two different worsted weight yarns. Together they are somewhat close to the thickness of the “base” yarn. I attach the new yarns just before finishing off the last single crochet stitch. Then, with the new yarn(s), finish the sc, CHAIN 1, and turn your work, ready to go on the next row!

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I work single crochet THROUGH THE BACK LOOPS at the same time crocheting over the ends so that I don’t have to weave them in at the end.:)

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I work two rows of each color or set of yarns. This time there are THREE yarns held together:  a worsted, a textured, and a thin “bling” yarn. Continue working sc tbl, and crocheting over the ends.

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Continue working in this manner until you have the height you desire.

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I worked 7 groupings of yarn, giving me approx. 6″-7″ depending on how much you stretch the fabric out. This crochet stitch looks a bit like sideways ribbing and has a lovely ridge on both sides.

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I end with the “base” yarn again. This is certainly not necessary, but I think it finishes it off. This last time I held a different shiny yarn with it for variety.  I only work one row of this. Weave in all ends.

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The cool thing about this cowl is that you do not need button holes! Place your buttons where you like and you can button it up in two different ways:

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With the buttons vertical, straight up and down (as pictured in the selfie above:).

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Or with the buttons and cowl diagonal, hugging the neck a bit more. Either way is lovely I think!

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Of course, Mortimer and Millicent had to try it on too! They were so upset that it didn’t fit them! Then they thought perhaps I had made them a cozy blanket, only to be dashed again when I explained this was a Cowl for PEOPLE not mice! (I may need to go make a couple of cowls, mice size, for them as they are a pouting a bit.)

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Choosing the buttons is REALLY fun! Go to your button box, mix and match, or find inexpensive buttons in shops you frequent. They add just the right touch!

Wear, smile, and have a beautiful, artsy day!!

Completely Succumbed

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It’s entirely the fault of our snow day today! At least, I’m blaming it on that. It’s actually been coming on for a week or so now. All my efforts at being single minded in my creative ventures, all my talk about being focused and present on only ONE creative project at a time, has completely flown OUT the window and beyond the horizon along with the rain/snow/thunder storm that blew through yesterday. It left behind a beautiful icy snow, no school, a day to walk and play outside with my youngest, and a lap full of more yarn than I can hold! Such fun!

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I just know you’re wondering what I’m working on! Hee hee! First up, but not necessarily in order of having started them, is a wonderful FREE pattern by Susan B. Anderson, a favorite designer.  It’s a marvelous leaf pattern you can make into a scarf or a bookmark depending on the thickness of yarn you use. I have plans for this beyond a scarf or bookmark…I’ll show you in time. (Please notice that phrase “in time”. This is an open-ended choice of words meant to be vague, as I myself have no clue whether I will finish this project next week or next year!)

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Another lace-type pattern I’m working on is this little scarf from the book Knitting Little Luxuries. I love the patterns in this book! Very feminine and princessy. I started this pattern at least two years ago and got about half way through. I had even made the flower broach for the scarf. All that’s needed is a bit of pattern following for the remainder of the scarf. This is not a typical pattern for me…I tend not to like having to follow a detailed chart or instructions. The great thing about this book is that it writes out each line of the chart in regular knitting vocabulary. It’s really cool to see the pattern emerge from your fingers.

GrayDayz

Next is what I’m calling my Gray Dayz afghan. This one truly may take a year to complete, but I love the yarn, Sheepish, and it’s awesome colors. We have had so many gray days around these parts, that it has reminded me of how colors appear so vibrant when surrounded by gray. So each striped, round, polka dot will be encased in gray. It’ll be striking when it’s all put together…I hope. 😉 Free pattern here!

SockYarns

And as if that isn’t enough, I took myself to one of my favorite yarn shops yesterday, to get some sock yarn! Of course! Instead of stocking up on milk and bread for the winter storm, I. must. have. YARN! Martha and Shirley, the owners of Knit One Smock Too are wonderful guides for exactly what you need for knitting socks, or anything else for that matter.

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And I’m still working on Brown Sweater. Gracious! I really have done it this time! I fear I may need to wave my white surrender flag buried under all this yarn!!!!  Rest assured, I’ll be inside the mound of yarn giggling and knitting all the while. :0

Knitting Together

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I drew this two years ago when Maddie first learned to knit. She was eight years old then. She’s only picked up her needles a couple of times since.  When she learned, I was amazed at how quickly she picked it up.  This weekend she decided she wanted to knit a scarf for her teachers at school.  So off we went to find just the right yarn.

I do have a good amount of yarn here at the house :P. But would any of that work for her? No…it had to be this particular color with that particular fun fur. (I do love this about her…gotta have just the right colors and textures running through your fingers, right?) So we got home, sat down by the Christmas tree to knit. I cast on for her and knitted a few times to refresh her memory, reciting the little rhyme that helps you remember. She took over from there.

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It’s amazing. Back and forth, stitch after stitch, with very few mishaps.  And TWO yarns held together. AND one of those fuzzy! Not simple I tell ya. After a while she says,”Mom, knitting has a flow to it. I really like the flow of knitting…do you?”  <sigh> My dear girl.

 

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I do enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree. I also love the coziness of sitting on the couch together. But add to that both of us knitting together, our needles clicking along side by side…THAT is the most fun ever!

Easy-Peasy Lace Scarf

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If I told you I wasn’t a huge fan of knitting lace, please don’t judge too quickly.  I know, I know…perhaps I’m not a “real” knitter, but it isn’t that I don’t adore the LOOK of lace.  So many of the popular patterns today are these gorgeous shawls either knitted entirely in an intricate lace pattern, or the edging is lacework.  I just don’t enjoy being chained to the pattern, row by row having to read, follow, check, make sure I’m on the right row.  And UN-knitting a row of lacework you’ve knitted incorrectly is the worst. So, for me, I love simple knitting.

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Yet, when simple knitting and a bit of lace go together…THAT’s really fun! So I’m passing the fun on to you with instructions to knit a two-row stitch pattern I came across several years ago.  This is the second scarf I’ve made using this two-row repeat pattern.  Yes, that’s it! Only two rows you have to remember, and really, it’s only ONE ROW!  The second row is purling across. How much easier could you get for a pretty, lacy, ripply look!

I have made it into a FREE pattern, writing it so that you can use just about any weight yarn you’d like to! I love knitting the same pattern in all different yarn weights…you wind up with such different looks using the same stitch pattern.  I’ve also added in my Variations on a Theme section, the instructions for making this into a shawl!!  I can’t wait to try that!

The first pic above is my latest Easy-Peasy Lace Scarf I knitted with what I had leftover from a vest I made (this accounts for why it’s a bit short in length).  The yarn is Noro Silk Garden Lite, a favorite yarn typically knitted with a size 6 or 7 needle.  This pattern relies on you knitting with needles at least two sizes larger than what is recommended on the label. I used size 10 needles for this.

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This version of the same scarf is one I knitted a few years ago and I wear with my green coat.  I do wish I could tell you what yarn it is.  But it’s the same gauge as Silk Garden Lite and I used size 10 needles with it as well.  My next Easy-Peasy Lace Scarf will be using a chunky weight yarn and see how that turns out. 🙂

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I hope you enjoy the Easy-Peasy Lace Scarf pattern as much as I have. Click those highlighted words to download a PDF of it.  You may even have time to knit one or two of these before Christmas if you’re in need of a last-minute gift!

Return to Ravelry!

I’m back up and running on Ravelry! Woo Hoo! I had let go of my YarnworksbyJennifer website, so I needed to reconfigure the patterns and link them to Etsy for purchase.  Here’s a gallery of my current patterns, some for purchase, some for FREE! In the near future, I’m planning on adding new patterns and I can’t wait to share them!

Frosties…Tall and Small

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For the crocheters out there! Snowy Frostmen to give as a gift or to decorate your tree or table.

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The foot tall Snowy Frostman is a pattern for purchase in my Etsy shop.  Click here for more info.

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The little guys are a FREE pattern I just uploaded to the FREE Patterns! section here on my blog.  Enjoy!

Big & Bold Bookmarks*

For those of us still attached to good ‘ole paper, ink, and binding…bookmarks are a great way to keep track of where you left off.  They are perhaps the simplest thing to knit…extra mini scarves, embellished however you’d like!  I’m giving you a mini tutorial here. But in the near future I’ll be combining a few different patterns into one FREE pattern for you to download and print out. Be on the look-out for it!

Here’s how I made these bookmarks:

I used Cotton Classic yarn and size 6 needles.  (Pictured here are my dpns-double pointed needles.  I love using these for small projects like this, but you can use straight needles or rounds if you like!)

Cast On 12 stitches.

Knit for 64 rows (32 garter ridges)

Bind Off.

Weave in ends.

Embellish as you like.  Click on each of the highlighted words above for a tutorial on How-2 do each step.  Then click on any of the following highlighted words if you need instruction on how to Fringe or add other Embellishments.

That’s it! So simple. Yet bold.

**Variations:  You can easily make your bookmark thinner in width or wider!  Simply cast on fewer stitches if you wish to have a thinner bookmark.  OR Cast on more stitches if you want it wider.  Keep on knitting beyond the 64 rows if you want your bookmark longer.  OR stop sooner if you want it shorter.

Remember:  Be the Boss of your own knitting! Why not think like a designer right from the beginning?

P.S. Though I’m terribly fond of traditional books, I do appreciate and enjoy the e-versions! I love my iPad and my husband can’t live without his Kindle.  Rest assured I will be offering in future, patterns for you to both knit & crochet cases for all these wonderful electronic book machines!

Oh so many things to show you how to knit and crochet…oh so little time!:)

Embellishments*

In the world of knitting & crocheting, EMBELLISHMENTS  are all the decorations one can add to your knitted/crocheted piece to give it a little pizzazz, a bit of flourish, or just a finishing touch.

Embellishments include everything from stuff to add ALONG EDGES, like fringe and crocheted/knitted edgework.  The latter gets into some wonderful add-ons such as ruffles, single-crochet edging, shell edging, leaf edgings and so on.  At a later date, I will give you some very basic edgings to knit and crochet onto your yarn work.  But for now, adding Fringe is the only one I have a How-2 for you.  Click here for how to add fringe to your scarf, poncho, shawl, purse, etc.

Other kinds of embellishments are things you might add ON TOP OF your knitted/crocheted piece and not along an edge.  You might add decorative buttons, ribbons, knitted/crocheted flowers or other shapes, and surface stitching.  The latter can also be quite elaborate as knitters & crocheters may wish to add the wonderful world of embroidery to their yarn work.  Satin stitch, running stitch, and chain stitch  are just a few options.  For now, I’ll just walk you through RUNNING STITCH.  I use it a lot to add spirals and other designs on my knitting and crocheting.

Knitted Scarf Flowersclick here for a tutorial on making these sweet and easy flowers.

Buttons & Beads-It may sound too simple, but sometimes we overlook the obvious: Sew on buttons and beads either along an edge or in a cluster, or as centers of flowers or a spiral running stitch.

Ribbons-Grosgrain, satin, and organza ribbons add a festive touch to any knitted/crocheted piece.  Try weaving it in a criss-cross fashion, or use it like you would use embroidery thread or yarn to make designs.  Follow the instructions below for making RUNNING STITCH designs with ribbons as well as with yarns.

On the back side of this ribbon criss-cross, I added beads to make the back side as pretty as the front.  Just thread the beads onto your ribbon as you go, then insert the needle where it needs to go next. *This would not be an issue on something where the wrong side isn’t seen.  But for this scarf, I wanted either side to be “presentable”.

Running stitch-Decide on the design you wish to make.  This stitch feels a bit like DRAWING WITH YARN, so sketch out a design, thread a yarn needle with your chosen color of yarn.

Begin by pulling yarn up through the wrong side of the knitted/crocheted fabric.^

Choose a spot just a little ways ahead of where your yarn is, insert the yarn needle, and then bring needle back up to the right side a little ways ahead.  Pull the threaded needle through.

Repeat this last step over and over until you have created the design you want.

In order to CLOSE IN  the dotted line you’ve created, you will simply reverse your dotted line and “fill in” the spaces left undone.  But I wanted to add a few beads as I went.  So…I UNthreaded my yarn needle, placed a beed on the yarn, and continued sewing until I wanted another bead.

Continue in this manner until you have created your design.^

End with the yarn dangling from the back side (wrong side) of your work.  Tie a knot (if desired) and weave in the ends. OR, add on a bead to this end, securing it with a knot.  I just let the end hang off for a little twist.

Create your own designs to make in RUNNING STITCH!  Sketch them out first on a piece of paper to guide you, or just improvise!  Like I said…it’s like DRAWING WITH YARN.

On the Fringe*

Making fringe is SO much fun!

You will need the following things:

*Yarn(s), *Scissors, *Crochet Hook (size I, J, or K), *Cardboard cut 5″ x 5″-7″.  (You decide the second number. It determines how long your fringe will be.)

1.  Starting at the bottom of your cardboard, wrap the yarn around and around lots of times!

2.  Cut yarn along bottom edge of cardboard.

3.  Choose 3-5 strands (you can really choose as many or as few as you like).

4.  Insert crochet hook into bottom corner of end of knitted/crocheted edge.

5.  Drape center of yarn over crochet hook and pull it through the knitted/crocheted edge.

6.  With yarn still on crochet hook, wrap all of the yarn around the hook and pull it through this loop.

7.  Remove hook and tug on yarn ends to secure fringe.

***Work fringe across edge of knitted/crocheted piece as desired:

a. All one color.

b. Alternate two or more colors.

c.  Alternate different fibers and textures.

d.  Combine fibers and textures in each individual fringe.

e.  Place individual fringe close together OR with space in between. In the above photo, I placed fringe every other stitch on the edge to allow for the multi-yarned fringe.  If you wanted to use only 1 or 2 pieces of yarn, you could add the fringe in every stitch.  You can also leave several stitches OPEN in between fringe.

f.  You can TRIM across the ends to make them nice and even OR leave them free like I have here.

Once again, YOU are the boss, you design your fringe any way you’d like!  In so doing, you are making it your own, being creative, celebrating what’s uniquely YOU.

“Scarf Flowers”

I named these little cuties, “Scarf Flowers”, because they are made, literally, from tiny scarves.  You do not need fancy stitchwork (though you may want to learn that later:), you do not need to turn cartwheels or somersaults to create lovely little flowers.  I give you two scarf flowers here…perhaps you can come up with your own!  Share them with us on our Group Flickr Site…we’d all love to join in your fun!

Scarf Pinwheels

Mini-scarves: Make 2 or 3.  I used size 6 needles and DK weight yarns.

Cast on 4-6 sts (stitches).

Knit across each row for 36 rows.

Bind off.

Weave in ends.

Assembly:

Take 2 or 3 mini-scarves and criss-cross them like this:

With a yarn needle and a length of yarn, sew a colorful button into the center, securing both the button AND the mini-scarves together.

Using the yarn ends from this sewing, sew the Scarf Pinwheel onto your knitted/crocheted piece in desired place.

Tie knot to secure ends (if desired).  Weave in ends.

On the other side of this scarf, I sewed ANOTHER BUTTON on to “hide” the sewing of the pinwheel flower.  I did this AT THE SAME TIME I sewed on the pinwheel.

Scarf Rose

Make ONE Mini-scarf from above, EXCEPT knit only 24 rows.  Leave long end (12″ or so) after binding off.

Roll up scarf to form rose.

Using long end threaded through a yarn needle, secure rose by sewing through thicknesses.

Then attach rose to knitted/crocheted piece in desired place.  *If you add a leaf or two (see below), you may wish to secure the Scarf Rose to the leaves FIRST, then to the knitted/crocheted piece.

Tie knot to secure ends (if desired).  Weave in ends.

Leaf

Make as many as desired.

Make mini-scarf as instructed above, EXCEPT only knit 8-10 rows.  This will create a shorter rectangle that can then be thought of as a diamond shape.  When sewing leaf onto rose, or daisy, sew one corner of the leaf to give it this leaf-like diamond shape.

To make your leaf a little larger, cast on 6 stitches and knit for 10-12 rows.

**Note:  There are many ways to make leaves, but they require knowing how to increase and decrease stitches.  I may, at some point in the future teach you these two very valuable techniques.  But the scope of this blog is to show you just HOW MANY things you can make with the most basic knowledge.

Here’s what I did to the OTHER side of the rose cluster.  This hides the sewing mess you usually end up with when sewing on embellishments.  It can be a bit tricky remembering to attach a button on the other side, but the results are well worth it!

ATTENTION! ATTENTION!

You can create these Scarf Flowers and Leaves in ANY SIZE you so desire!!

Option 1:  INCREASE the weight of your yarn and size of needles and you’ll have larger flowers and leaves!  Conversely, DECREASE the weight of your yarn and needle size and you’ll have smaller flowers and leaves.

Option 2:  INCREASE  the number of stitches in Step One of Mini-Scarf instructions.  This will thereby enlarge your flowers and leaves.  You will also need to increase the number of ROWS you knit to accomodate the increased width.