Monday, December 27, 2010

Skipping a Holiday

I find that when advertisers start on Christmas commercials BEFORE even Halloween, when they slide right by Thanksgiving without so much as a passing glance, I get very annoyed. Yet, I'm going to do the same thing in a smaller way.

I'm already working towards Valentine's Day with some crocheted shawls. There are many patterns on the Internet that have hearts added to or built into the work. You can even make the hearts separately and add them to whatever you happen to be working on.

Here are a couple of websites that might tickle your fancy: Triangle Shawl Connected Hearts Graph for a rose inside a heart design Square motif with heart Small heart patches to attach to other work Lacy, doily-like heart

If you go to and put "hearts" into the search box, you'll get a page with something like 200 patterns. Their sister website,, has fewer, but still enough to keep you busy until February 14th.

These are not the only websites available. You can find patterns at Bernat, Red Heart, Lion Brand,,, and more. Ravelry had 214 pages of heart patterns.

I wish you a Happy New Year with a warm heart,


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spoolie Scarf

I remember pounding four small nails into a spool and winding the yarn around them, then slipping one loop over another to create a small tube of yarn. It was fun, but I never learned what to do with the tubes. So I stopped making them.

Time marches on and I learned new crafts - crafts where I could see useful things appear from the end of my hook, needle, or sewing machine. I got the Knifty Knitter looms and made hats and tube scarves. You know, it never occurred to me that I was simply using a larger version of that little wooden spool. I even bought the little spoolie loom - 5 pegs on one end and 8 on the other. It was fun, but I still had no idea what use it could be.

Then, on a wander through the internet, I came upon a name for the art - corking. Using a spoolie (Knitting Nancy, Busy Lizzie, knitting mushroom, knitting spool, corker, peg knitter, knitting nobby or knitting knobby) dates back to medieval times. Certainly it wouldn't have survived if it had no use. So I looked a little farther.

I finally found instructions for using both tubes and flat strands made on spoolies. They can be coiled and sewed together or braided or woven into quite a few useful items.

Through Evergreen Indiana, you can get a book called Corking by Judy Ann Sadler. It shows how to make small, medium and large spoolie looms. You can make anything from a flat cord to a hand puppet with these instructions.

I found a lot of information and the history of the craft at

Another resource is in Google Books. Look for the title Spool Knitting by Mary A. McCormack. It dates back to 1909 and shows exactly how to use the simplest looms and make something useful out of your work.

I recently made four tubes on the 8-peg spoolie and braided them to make a scarf. Not only do the tubes make a double thickness, but braiding them makes an even thicker, warmer version and it's pretty too.

Maybe we can bring back some of the old crafts and make unique and beautiful things out of them.

Happy crafting.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cat's Cradle String

Just a "yarny" thought in passing:

Cut 3 strands of yarn around 8 feet long. Braid them without putting a knot in either end. When you are at about 6 feet of braid, trim the ends to about 3 or 4 inches from the braid. Using a sharp yarn needle, weave each tail into the opposite end of the braid. In this way, you get a strong loop for playing cat's cradle.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Tunisian Crochet

In my search for new and exciting patterns, I have fallen into Tunisian crochet and, touching that type of stitch, crochet-on-the-double.

Both types yield a thick, warm fabric, and can give the effect of knitting or weaving while using a crochet hook. Various instructions revealed that you can insert the hook into the row below in at least four ways, each giving a different texture to the piece.

Tunisian crochet pulls up a loop of yarn through each stitch of the row below, holding the loops on the hook until you get to the end of the row (reminiscent of broomstick lace, if that helps you visualize it). Then you yarn over and pull through the first loop on the hook, yarn over and pull through two at a time until you get back to the start of the row.

If you want to try it without spending money on afghan hooks, you can work up a small practice swatch by using the crochet hook of your choice and winding a rubber band on the blunt end as a stitch stopper.

There is no way to simulate double-ended hook crochet without getting the hook and learning the technique. Believe me, I've tried! With this technique, you'll end up with a reversible fabric that will be thick and warm on those cold nights coming up.

Here are a couple of books to get you started: 101 Double-Ended Hook Stitches by Annie's Attic
Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting by Sharon Hernes Silverman and The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barden.

Happy Crafting,

Kathi Linz

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shadow Knitting

Shadow knitting (or illusion knitting) looks like it would be a fun project.

First you graph out an image that you want to appear on your knitting. Then you choose two colors of yarn, usually one light and one dark. The rows alternate between the colors, two by two.

From straight on, the material will look like a simple striped piece. However, when you use the graph to make knit and purl stitches, there will be raised sections and lower sections in the work. When your piece is seen at an angle, the raised sections will hide the lower sections and an image will become visible.

For a better explanation and instructions on how to do various projects using this technique, check out the book Shadow Knitting by Vivian Hoxbro.

Happy crafting,


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Domino Knitting

Although I have not tried my hand at domino knitting yet, I think it looks absolutely fascinating. The gist of the technique goes something like this: The squares are mitered garter stitch. Each square is attached to the previous one.

Using a connect-as-you-go pattern means you can use two or more colors without having to sew the little pieces together. The visual effect is that of diamond shapes strung point to point.

This looks like a great way to use up your stash or to blend selected colors in a simple and interesting way.

A couple of library books that explain the technique are:
Knit to Be Square: Domino Designs to Knit and Felt by Vivian Hoxbro and
Modular Knits: New Techniques for Today's Knitters by Iris Schreier

Happy crafting,
Kathi Linz

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kids Knitting

I ran across a book called "Kids Knitting" by Melanie Falick. All you knitters, did you know that you can dye wool yarn with Kool-Aid? Or make your own knitting needles by sticking dowels into a pencil sharpener? How are you at finger knitting? Remember spool knitting? How about this for a good idea - to remember which way you should go, have needles that are two different colors.

There's a new generation of knitters coming up and they are relearning the basics in new fun ways.

However much you know about knitting, this book is a great deal of fun and there are some wonderful patterns for all experience levels.

Happy crafting,

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Crochet Ideas

I recently looked through the book The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet by Margaret Hubert.
Although it is basically a crochet stitch encyclopedia, it had a few cool patterns to make out of some of the stitches. I also loved a couple of patterns that were new to me, like interlocking crochet. It looks complicated but is merely two mesh patterns worked over each other to make some very interesting effects.

While looking on the internet for more information about this technique, I discovered that this technique and quite a bit of the book can also be found at Google Books. The link for this book is v-e-r-y long, so I will say this: Put "intermeshing crochet" into a Google search and look for the one that has the website under the entry.

Happy crafting,


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Crafty Angels

In my case, I eventually slowed down on the crocheting I was doing, because I didn't need any more things for myself and Christmas only comes once a year. Then Kathy Niccum introduced me to Soldier's Angels, which takes handcrafted items for active-duty or wounded soldiers. Since then, I have found a world of places that take crafts to help those who are hurting in one way or another. There are prayer shawls and red scarves for foster children going into college having been cut loose from their foster families. There are hats and baby blankets for premies and afghans for the elderly in nursing homes.

If you can't find a home for your handiwork, you can get suggestions from Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry by Susan Jorgensen, Knits from the Heart: Quick Projects for Generous Giving by Kristin Spurkland, or Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time by Betty Christiansen. For more inspiration (and to have a place that will distribute your work to needy people), check out The earliest posts at this website listed the charities that they serve.

On another excursion into Crochetland, I ran across the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge. You'll find it mentioned in several places online, but I found the rules here: No shipping on this one. You pledge your work to a local charity.

Happy crafting,
Kathi Linz

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Definition of Crochet Styles

I was looking for a spiral crochet pattern when I ran across a website that defines more types of crochet than I ever knew existed. One type became macrame. Another may have been the original form of crochet which was yarn built on cloth. Check it out at

Crochet Comfort/Prayer Shawls

Rejoice, crocheters!

Finally there is a new book with prayer shawl patterns in crochet! It is called The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion: 37 Patterns to Embrace, Inspire & Celebrate Life by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo. Most of the patterns are easy with a few being for intermediate crocheters. There are patterns for both rectangular and triangular shawls.

Probably you know someone in stressful circumstances who could use one of these. If not, the weather is definitiely turning, and you might think of someone who keeps their heat turned low for one reason or another. Perhaps one of these shawls would be a blessing to them.

Happy crafting,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Prayer Shawls

The topic came up in the last Knit Night that some people were working on prayer shawls.

The basic patterns and the prayer shawl ministry information are found at

The library consortium has these titles available for those wanting more pattern ideas:
Knit Prayer Shawls: 15 Wraps to Share by Susan Sullivan
The Prayer Shawl Minstry: Reaching Those in Need (contains both knit and crochet patterns) and
The Prayer Shawl Companion: 38 Knitted Designs to Embrace, Inspire, and Celebrate Life by Janet Bristow.

Almost any pattern can be used in knit, crochet, or knitting loom. The basic size is about 20"-24" and from "fingertip to fingertip" or from "wrist to wrist" (generally between 5 and 6 feet long). Most patterns specify a nice soft yarn.

I've found both rectangular and triangular patterns.

If this doesn't give you enough to go on yet, put "prayer shawl patterns" into your search engine. You'll find more than enough to make in one lifetime.

Happy crafting,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lapghans for Recovering Soldiers

If you should find yourself with spare time and extra yarn, you might consider making up a lapghan or two for wounded soldiers recovering in veterans' hospitals. I recently sent in three and was given an address in Indianapolis. We're talking about local boys here.

The lapghans should be in the neighborhood of 3'x4', in bright or patriotic colors. You can use any pattern you like, but please remember that the recipient is likely to be masculine. Maybe nothing lacy or flowery.

To get more information see In the left-hand column, click on "Teams & Projects", then on "Sewing Team". Choose "Blankets of Gratitude" for your handcrafted masterpieces.

When I contacted the main website for a hospital that could use the lapghans, they asked my location so they could give me a hospital close to my home. Very nice people to work with and the soldiers will appreciate it when they see how much care you put into a gift you made for them.

Happy crafting,

You can quickly learn to make simple prayer shawls or scarves in the Knit and Crochet groups, by learning to use simple stitches. Knit Night meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 in the Seymour Library. The Crochet Klatch meets at 6 on the third Thursday of each month in the same place. Just bring medium weight yarn and size 7 or 8 knitting needles, or a size J or K crochet hook . These are friendly groups of people who love to help newcomers learn these crafts.

By the way, in case you want to learn to bead those items or make jewelry, remember the monthly BEAD! time at the Seymour Library on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 pm.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I have been nothing but a knitter - as in all garter stitch. In spite of my mother's instructions, several books, a video or two, and watching tutorials on youtube, I've never quite gotten it. Honestly, my mother was so proficient, it put me off. I've never mastered the "correct" way to hold the yarn.

Well, I spent a few minutes with Georgiann's Knit Night group last time they were in session. While I walked the tables and admired their handiwork, I watch a younger lady doing with her yarn the exact same thing that I do with mine - no perfect style, just a simple wrapping of the yarn around the needle any which way it works. Wow! Someone like me and she still had a beautiful baby blanket flowing off of her knitting needles!

The itch to try, freestyle and all, grew and grew. So last evening, I sat down with a pattern that I felt fairly sure I could manage, and there it was - the beginning of an actual textured knit! I was so excited!!

Georgiann and all your ladies, thank you for the encouragement of your group and the freedom to try it as best we can. You're great!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Knitted Linen Stitch

If you look a few blogs back on July 10th, 2010, you will find a scrappy lengthwise scarf. The pattern has re-emerged on another blog:

This one suggests that your scrap yarn can make any sized project and gives very clear directions for knitting the linen stitch or changing one thing in the pattern and making a basketweave stitch.

This is so well explained that even I, the crocheter, could knit this piece.

Happy crafting,


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here's a beautiful freebie! -Linda H.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Videos at the library

As I was making a round this evening, I found a set of DVD's on knitting and crocheting. It looked like it had thirteen TV episodes with techniques for these yarn crafts. It's called Knit and Crochet Today. That should get your needles clicking.

Here are a few more:
I Can't Believe I'm Knitting
Basic Knitting Techniques: Volume 1
The Art of Knitting: Stitches, Colors, Fashion (Also Volume 2)
Annie's Quick & Easy Crochet with a Q-hook
Rag Crochet Annie's Do-and-Learn Way

So if you are visual and want to see how it's done between meetings, Come and pick up one (or more) of the videos, pop it into the machine, and start crafting.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Always Astounded

I'm trying to make several lap robes for the wounded soldiers before Christmas. (See

In order to prevent boredom, I've been borrowing afghan books from other libraries in the system and finding cool new ideas. My first amazement is that there are so many books to choose from if I am willing to wait a week or so for them to come in. For example, "crochet" pulls up 96 pages of listings! "Knitting" has 195 pages!!! Wow!!

My second astonishment is that whenever I need to see the correct way to do a new stitch, be it crochet, knitting, or knitting loom, I can find numerous examples on As I am a very visual person, it helps me tremendously to watch how something is done. I'm grateful to Georgiann's knitting group because they helped me get curious about knitting again. If you can't come to a knit or crochet meeting, youtube might help you.

My mother can hold her yarn while knitting so that she has only to move her index finger to make a stitch happen or to switch from knit to purl. I checked out a number of videos in youtube and found one with Asian subtitles (Chinese, Japanese, Korean...?) in which I saw nothing but hands, needles, and yarn. The left hand wrapped the yarn between her ring and pinkie fingers and over her index finger. It was one of those "Eureka" moments. Someone half a world away showed me something I wanted to know.

It's just astounding!

Happy crafting,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Learn on a trendy scarf of different patterns

Featuring scraps of yarn, this trendy, narrow scarf will give those wanting to learn advanced stitches a small item for practice. Click here to see the pattern at Lion Brand. (Picture courtesy of Lion Brand Yarn.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scrappy scarf - Beautiful!

To all knitters.

Courtesy of Linda Higginbotham, we have a beautiful scarf that looks like it would be very easy to knit and would use up those scraps of yarn for which you have no other plans.

Here's the website:

Happy crafting,

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Change of Pace

After I crocheted and mailed two Superbowl scarves, I found that I was between projects. It's wa-a-ay too hot to be working on a one-piece afghan, and my weed-pulling muscles complain if I do too much crocheting.

Well, I dropped in to the Knit Night group on Thursday and saw them working on diagonal knit dishcloths. One lady had expanded the pattern to a diagonal knit afghan. While a single-piece afghan is not what I wish to do at the height of summer, I did like the idea of making a batch of the smaller squares and sewing them together.

I started with black yarn and size 10 1/2 needles. My pattern increases by one at the beginning of every row until I have 35 stitches across. Then I change to one of several colors and decrease one at the beginning of every row until I run out of stitches. I use garter stitch. With my particular tension, the squares are about 9" on a side.

When I sew these squares together, each black edge will touch a colored edge. All of the diagonal center lines will point to the middle. When I make a large square out of four smaller ones like this, it will form a pinwheel pattern.

I remember having one like this some years back. I liked it because it was light-weight, just about right for a spring and fall throw.

Two squares down and only 46 to go.

Happy crafting,

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quick and Easy Grannies

Looking for instant gratification? Go to and enter "bulky granny" in the search bar. Here you will find some granny square patterns made with bulky yarn that work up in no time. Scrap yarn piling up? Make one of these with two or three strands held together. You'll be ready for the cooler weather on the other side of summer. (I know that's hard to believe right now) or have a head start on gifts for the holiday season.

Happy crafting.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Super Bowl Scarves

The Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee would like to make a request of local knitters and crocheters. They want 8,000 hand-knit or -crocheted scarves for their Super Bowl XLVI volunteers.

The scarves should be in white and royal blue, between 6" and 8" and at least 70" long. If you want to include a picture in your pattern, please make it a generic symbol like a football, but no team logos.

The website has pattern instructions (although they only ask that the stitch you use be good for men or women) and mailing instructions.

Thanks in advance for all of you who take this on.

Happy crafting,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carry-Along Crochet

It's starting to warm up and travel is in the air.

For those of you who don't put that crochet hook down in favor of gardening and yardwork, here is a light, piecework idea that is more portable than an unfinished afghan.

At the last Crochet Klatch meeting, I had a request for a doily pattern. If you don't mind working with a smaller hook and fine cotton thread, a doily is lightweight and airy. It won't make your lap hot while you work. has several doily patterns. Usually, this is my go-to website for excellent crochet patterns, but I was surprised to find a different site with over 300 doily patterns. Check out for a truly excellent selection. You'll find lots more than just the traditional pineapple design.

Happy crafting.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In Spring

Now that spring has fully come, a crocheter's fancy may turn to thoughts of flowers.
I've often seen flowers appliqued on afghans, but with a little poking around on the internet, I found bouquets of stand-alone flowers. Some were simple and some quite elaborate and beautiful.
They are easily carried if you go on vacation and can be worked onto other projects like hairbands, purses, or even jewelry. They can be made of any type of thread or yarn and might have added beads for sparkle.
Here are two websites just for flower patterns:

The library owns "100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories and More by Lesley Standfield with other titles available in the Evergreen Indiana system.

Hope you have a colorful day filled with pretty things.

Happy crafting.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tween Weather

March and its changeable weather made me wonder (and wander) about patterns that might have a windy theme. Here's what I found:
Wind Chime Afghan
Folk Art Angel Wind Chimes at (You need to sign up to get the free patterns.)
There was another pattern with a Snoopy-like dog head with wind chimes attached, but it got away from me. Before I could find it again, I was on a hunt for crocheted kites. Believe it or not, I found one. It was a pattern for a refrigerator magnet.
One thing led to another and I was off looking at crocheted yarn rugs, diagonal striped afghans, and something in a houndstooth pattern.
I think that is one thing March is good for - wandering. I hope you get the wander-lust and hunt your way through all the kinds of patterns that put a smile on YOUR face.
Happy crafting.

Monday, March 1, 2010

One for the Knitters

I've been asked to share with you a very cool website that has over 150 knitting tutorials. A number of them are videos so you can actually see how to do the thing you are trying to do. You can learn English or Continental stitches (in case your pattern calls for one as opposed to the other), casting on, binding off, knit stitches, purl stitches, and a number of patterns.
Here is the website:
In fact, although my mother tried to teach me casting on, I never quite understood it. I checked out the "long-tail cast on" and said, "I can do that!" If it helps me, it's a great resource.
Check it out to learn something new or improve a skill and happy crafting.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Easy poncho

I have a round afghan that, when folded in half, drapes over my shoulders and keeps me toasty warm on a cold day. Believe it or not, warmer weather is coming. What if a double layer of crochet is too much?
Let's say you have a pattern for a round afghan that you would be willing to wear. The trick to making it a poncho is simply not to sew up the last seam.
A similar thing works for a rectangular pattern. Granny squares lend themselves to a poncho-type garment. Sew the pieces together in the usual flat way, but only sew half of the center seam. You could even close the sides if you want - with room for the hands to stick out, of course. If you want to make fewer seams, you could make three pieces: a larger one to cover your back and two half-sized pieces for the front.
Once you work it up, you'll be set for the early spring temperatures.
Happy crafting,

Monday, February 8, 2010


Whatever you happen to think of snow personally, it certainly makes a good excuse to sit and crochet. This is the season for large pieces - things that would be too hot to work with in the summer. In hot weather, I would rather make small pieces or work on little motifs for the big things that will be sewed together later. But this is the time to make the all-in-one-piece afghan that beckons from the back of the couch on a chilly day or the heavy shoulder wrap that keeps you warm when you have to let the dog out the back door.
I have no recommendations or specific patterns in this blog. You know what you've been wanting to do and have put off because it was too hot outside or didn't fit in the car on vacation. Pull that project out and watch the snow drift by while piles of soft, warm, twined yarn keeps you cozy.
Happy crafting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rag Rugs

I just finished crocheting a rag rug to lie in front of the bathroom sink. It took one king-sized sheet and one twin bed sheet torn into about 1 1/2" strips. I connected the srips together by cutting a small slit in the ends and looping them together the way you loop rubber bands together - running the tail through the head. If you want to see a demonstration of the technique, you can watch Rag Crochet Annie's Do-and-Learn Way video.
The pattern I had was for an oval rug. Had I followed the directions exactly, I believe I would have had too many increases at each end, giving my rug a ripple on both sides. When you are working a pattern, and you don't think it will come out the way you want, change the number of stitches until it does come out right. You can easily back up and fix things too, if you need to. That is one of the best things about crochet. It's easy to fix.
The rug is worked in double crochet with a Q hook. I worked around both sides of the starting chain for the inside and worked seven rows around after that. It's about 2 1/2' by 3' so I got a pretty decent-sized rug without investing a lot of time or energy.
The worn cotton of the sheets makes a soft, cushy rug. If you use heavier material like denim, you'll get a firmer, more sturdy rug. (Either cut narrower strips or use an S hook.)
Rag rugs are fun, versatile, colorful, washable (depending on the material), and make good use of stuff you would ordinarily throw in the trash.

I'll bet some of your friends wouldn't mind having one or two and might be persuaded to give you the shirts from the backs of their closets if you asked.

Happy crafting.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Big Hook Crochet

What if you need an emergency afghan? Don't laugh. It can happen.

First you grab a B-I-G hook. I mean an N, Q, or S. You'll use two or three strands of worsted-weight yarn held together or one of the bulky types now on the market.
You can use any pattern that comes easily to you. Measure the foundation chain and first row to make sure it's the width you want and just go until it's as long as you want.
There are patterns on the internet called "4 1/2 hour afghan" or "5 1/2 hour afghan". I found both at For another way to search patterns, you can use the word "quick" as in "quick crochet", but any pattern will do from simple single crochet (which looks pretty interesting done on a large hook) to ripple to a fancier pattern.
Hope you get to enjoy the process without any emergencies pushing you to get it done.

Happy crafting.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finger puppets

Tonight I thought it would be fun to look up crocheted puppets. Honestly, I thought I would find some hand puppet patterns - and maybe I didn't look far enough. (We'll check for them for next time.) http://www.crochetpatterncentral/directory/finger_puppets.php. gave me some wonderful, fun finger puppet patterns that are very fast and easy to make. My favorites are the Barack Obama and John McCain finger puppets, six Harry Potter characters, and one called George the Hairy Monster finger puppet. Dumbledore has a long, white beard and George the Hairy Monster is made from fun fur or eyelash yarn.
Maybe you can look them over and get some ideas of your own.
Happy crafting.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cold Floors

Winter. When I hit the bare floors with my bare feet, I know for certain which season it is. So maybe crocheting can provide me a remedy.

If you have any old clothes hiding in the back of the closet, you can cut them into strips. suggests that your fabric be cut on the bias so it won't ravel too much. Sew the ends of the strips together to give the best strength and the longest wear. Single crochet the rug in any shape that suits you. The oval ones are pleasant to look at but might not serve the purpose for which you are making it. For instance, I might be inclined to make a simple rectangle to lie in front of the sink. has patterns for using yarn to make rugs. There are dozens of patterns. Some have loops, or designs crocheted into the body of the work, or simple and fast ones.

If you want to try another type of craft with the same strips, you can try your hand at a braided rug or a simple woven rug. The library can furnish you with patterns and techniques for all of the above either in-house or borrowing from another library. has videos showing how to make rugs on looms or with braids, and shows how to make a braided rug lay flat.