Zooty Owl's Crafty Blog

COLOURFUL CROCHET AND CRAFT

Showing posts with label washcloths. Show all posts
Showing posts with label washcloths. Show all posts

Thursday, 11 January 2018

This is a kind of Magic

A few years ago I started making "MAGIC BLANKETS" in order to keep my yarn stash / scraps under control. 

Double Strand Crochet

The Magic Blanket concept is a combination of two techniques:   "Multi Stranding" and "Magic Knotting".


Multi stranding is a clever way to rid your stash of those "what was I thinking?" and/or "why did I buy so much of this?" yarns, by toning down brights with a pastel or neutral;  or brightening dull and/or dark colours with something fun and splashy.

double strand crochet

If you have never crocheted with two or more strands before, Red Heart Yarn's GUIDE TO MULTI STRAND CROCHET is a good read to acquaint yourself with the technique.

multi strand crochet

Combine the Multi Strand Technique with the  MAGIC KNOT and you have THE perfect solution to the yarn scrap problem.  Knot together small lengths of yarn and then wind the "new" yarn into balls or cakes.

multi strand crochet

IMPORTANT!!:    Be sure to check each knot properly before and after you snip the threads. I have been using this technique for years and every now and then I botch a knot (especially when I am a bit tired). If the knot is done correctly it will hold as long as the yarn holds.

magic blanket

These soft and squishy Magic Blankets are robust and very, very warm.     They are ideal donations for newborn babies of underprivileged mommies, the homeless and patients with dementia. 

double strand crochet

Knot together cotton scraps.     Use a single strand of Magic Yarn to make wash cloths.     These little cloths are wonderfully soft.   I add a pretty printed note, roll them up and slip them into a cellophane bag, before I donate them to be added to the gift packs for the new mommies at the provincial hospital.

Wash Cloths

There is a good chance that my friend Kim Ryan from Australia loves making Magic Blankets even more than I do.      She has made so many for the homeless that an Estate Agent in her hometown has undertaken to sponsor her yarn!!    These are just a few of gorgeous blankets Kim has made and donated to the Salvation Army for distribution to the homeless.  For more photos visit KIM'S FACEBOOK GROUP where Kim and fellow MB-ers share their colourful makes.


SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Should I wash the blanket before I donate it?
That is a matter of preference.   I always wash mine since I mostly make blankets for Hospice and Babies born to underprivileged mommy's.    A freshly laundered blanket is just an added personal touch.

How do I wash the Magic Blanket?
An acrylic blanket (or blanket made from yarns with no more than 30% natural fibre content) can be washed in the washing machine on a "gentle" cycle, using a gentle washing agent.  Liquid laundry detergent works the best, as powders often adhere to the fibres and leave them a bit scratchy.  A cold water wash is best (you can use the warm cycle as long as the water is not hotter than 30 degrees celcius). Put the blanket in with other soft washing such as towels and t-shirts. Be careful not to put anything in the wash that has hooks, buttons or zips. I always add Fabric Softner to the rinse. Spin on gentle cycle.  Fold the blanket over the line so that the weight is distributed equally. Once dry I like to give it a short spin in the tumbledryer with an anti-static sheet (such as Cherubs) for 20 - 30 minutes on high.

Tip:  If the blankets are intended for a healthy baby, I then give them a spray with some gently fragranced baby linen spray before packing them in plastic.

Note:   This method of washing is for healthy, full term babies.   Always check with your local NICU what their requirements are for preemie blankets or for babies with special needs.

What yarn can I use?
Yarns with less than 30% natural fibre content are preferable to avoid shrinkage and to limit special laundry requirements. 

I have mixed acrylic / cotton;  acrylic / wool and acrylic yarns together with great success.

What weight of yarn can I use?
Any weight as long as the combined weight of the strands worked together is equal throughout.

16ply is my go to weight.    This can be made up of 2 strands of 4 ply plus 1 strand of 8ply (DK);   or 1 strand of chunky (12 ply) and 1 strand of 4ply, or 2 strands of 8ply (DK), etc.

Do I work with one combined "Magic Ball" or two separate balls?
Once again, a matter of preference.    I find it more convenient to roll the strands together into one ball.    This makes the project much easier to carry along with you.

magic yarn

How do I get the sides to look neat?
In order to get an even side edge ch 2, insert hook in second ch from hook, pull a loop up (2 loops on hook), insert hook where 1st stitch should be, pull a loop up (3 loops on hook) now complete your dc. This works a charm but I don't use it for my patterns as a lot of people struggle with where to put the border stitches.

Do I crochet a border around the blanket?
I would say YES!     A blanket with a border around looks finished and is much neater.

What is the easiest way to border the blanket?

Using only 1 strand of DK in a solid colour and a 4.mm hook.   Join yarn into the top of any dc along side (the same space into which your 1st or last dc from the next row has been worked).   4ch (counts as 1sc, 1ch) , 1sc into top of next dc, 3ch, sc into top of next dc,

along bottom and top skip 2 dc posts between 3ch, sc.


2nd row 3dc into each 3ch, corner 3dc, 3ch, 3dc.    3rd row, into each sp between 3dc groups, 3ch, 2dc, sl st into next sp, repeat along all sides.

These two rows give you a neat foundation with which to work.    You can either add a simple edge after the second row, or work more border rounds.


Which patterns are suitable for Magic Blankets?
Again a matter of preference.     I prefer to use something very simple.      My top choice is the double crochet stripe.      No matter how colourful your yarn, the dc stripe always turns out lovely!

double strand crochet

The "v-stitch" stripe is also suitable.     I use this when I have longer colour changes in my Magic Yarn.

double strand crochet

A SOLID CONTINUOUS SQUARE is just the ticket when you are not sure "how much" blanket you are going to get for your Magic Yarn. 

double strand crochet

The solid continuous square is also suitable for making wash cloths from Magic Cotton Yarn.

Crochet Washcloths
I hope this answers most of your questions.    If you would like to know anything more, please leave me a comment or hop on over to Kim's Group and join in the fun!

Happy hooking!!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Keeping it Simple

2018 New Year

My theme for this year is to "Keep it Simple" - from cooking and baking, to decor and clothing and (most importantly) crafting!

In keeping with this I kicked off the year by making some new washcloths for the bathrooms.    The beauty of a neutral room is that you can really go to town with colourful accessories, and this is what I did with the first set of Continuous Solid Square washcloths.

crochet washcloth

These little cloths are super easy to make.   They are worked in the round and are therefore much easier to edge than cloths worked in rows (deciding where to put your stitches is always a bit of a bother).

crochet wash cloth

Walking on the beach one morning after a storm, hubby spotted this lovely big shell.    It was a sickly shade of green and covered in barnacles.     I cleaned it up over a few days and now occasionally use it as a soap dish!

crochet wash cloth

Working in a spiral (for whatever shape) is particularly useful for crocheting with variegated / colour change yarns.  When working a motif where you end each round and then begin a new one, you will notice that your colour changes do not match up.    Instead of the colour flowing throughout the motif, each round ends with an abrupt colour change, which then starts again a row higher...... so you have a definite division (or stepping) of colours.

How To:  

Dedri Uys (Look At What I Made) has made a brilliant tutorial for this technique HERE.

I have made quite a few blankets exactly as Dedri instructs, but because the cloths where such a small project, the shape of the centre bothered me a bit.......

So this is my solution for the first round: 

Foundation:  4ch,  sl sl into 1st ch to form circle OR make a magic circle

Round 1:  6ch, [(3dc, 3ch) x 3, 3dc into circle], 2sc into 6ch...... and then follow Dedri's tutorial for the next 9 rounds (ten rounds in total).





I used a simple 2 round "ribbed stitch" for the edging.      This makes for a sturdy edging that helps the cloth keep its shape. 

Round 11:   alternate Fpdc, Bpdc stitches around each dc;   into corners work 2dc, 2ch, 2dc.

Round 12:  work Fpdc around Fpdc;  Bpdc around Bpdc,   into 2dc corners of Round 11 alternate Fpdc, Bpdc in keeping with the "ribbed" sequence;  into 3 corners work 2dc, 2ch, 2dc;   into 4th corner work 2dc,20ch, 2dc.

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Crocheting washcloths has become a bit of an "end of old - / start of new year" tradition for me (2016 and 2015 ).   I love being able to start the new year with a tidy stash and a heap of neat little washcloths to use or gift. 

I hope that you will enjoy making these as much as I did!