Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Learning To Crochet Idea December 10, 2013

Filed under: Crafting,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 4:07 am
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I have been playing around with trying new stitch patterns trying to decide which one I want to use to make an Infinity Cowl.  I am a very visual person.  I have to see a nice size swatch to get a true feel for how the pattern will look on a finished project.  So, I have been doing something that I find I am quite enjoying.  Instead of doing a small 4″ square as my pattern swatch, I am making a dishcloth.  This not only gives me a better representation of what the stitch pattern will look like, but I have a new dishcloth to use.

I have never written a pattern for crochet before, so please let me know if the directions are not clear.  Unfortunately, I have no picture at this time of the dishcloth.

Cotton Dishcloth


Peaches and Cream cotton thread/yarn

Size G crochet hook

Stitches used: HDC, SC

Starting chain of 25 stitches.

Row 1: Chain 2 stitches, turn and HDC in 2nd chain from hook.  Continue crocheting a HDC in each chain stitch.

Row 2:  Chain 1, turn and SC (single crochet) 1 stitch in each stitch across the row.

Repeat row pattern until your work is square.

At this point, you can weave in ends to finish off the dishcloth or add an edging all the way around.

One other option to consider is to save the dishcloths (without an edging) until you have enough to stitch together and make into a baby blanket, tote bag, or some other project.  Sewing/crocheting  2 of these squares stacked together will make a wonderful potholder.

Don’t want to make a dishcloth sized pattern sample? Try making 3″ or 4″ size squares.  Once you have 6 of these, sew/crochet together to form a cube, leaving one edge open.  Fill with polyfil stuffing and close the opening.  Voila!  You have a soft baby toy.  Consider making these in a series of sizes beginning with 2″ squares to make a stacking toy of blocks.



No-Sew Fleece Blanket November 23, 2013

Filed under: Crafting,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 5:19 pm
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I love fleece blankets.  I learned years ago that sleeping between two layers of fleece in the winter can keep you much warmer than using regular bed sheets.  The blankets are a wonderful throw to keep in your favorite chair.  At night, after the kids have gone to bed, I like to curl up under the fleece blanket and read.

A couple of years ago, I noticed the blankets made by tying two layers of fleece together, using the fringe edging.  The blankets were cute to look at, but I could never get past how uncomfortable all those knots could be if you happened to lay on them.

I recently came upon an idea on Pinterest for a braided edging.  Pieces By Polly has a picture tutorial for this simple, yet beautiful edging technique.  The blankets are fringed, just as you would for a tied edging.  Instead of tying the fringes, she has a very easy method to create a braided look using a crochet hook or opened paper clip as a tool.

In looking at the technique, the cutting and preparing of the fringe easily takes the longest about of time.  The “braid” would be fast to complete.  In the entire blanket, there is only one small knot.

If you check the link for the website above, you will find a braided edging for a 2-layer fleece blanket.  In the top of the post, she references through a link the instructions for a single layer fleece blanket with the same edging.

These would make wonderful holiday gifts as well as a quick and easy charity blanket project.  I received an advertisement in the mail for Hancock Fabric store that makes this project very timely.  On black Friday, Hancock Fabrics will be having a great sale on all their fleece.  Perfect opportunity to make some gifts.

While making these blankets, consider making a few extra in crib size to donate to a shelter or a children’s hospital.  Quite often, a new mom may be in need of a warm blanket for taking their little one home.  The crib size works well to be used as a lap blanket for those in a nursing home.  Another way that I love using fleece blankets is to keep a couple in the car.  Should there be an emergency, you will have a way to bundle up and stay warm.



Frugal Crafting Challenge November 3, 2013

Filed under: Crafting,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 2:33 am
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If you enjoy making crafts, sewing, crochet, etc., them you know how quickly the supplies can take over. Often, we buy supplies ahead of time or when on sale only to have those supplies sit unused for extended time periods. So, here is my challenge. For the next week, using only the supplies that you have on hand, make a craft, holiday decoration, or gift.  No purchasing new supplies! Use only what you have among your supply stash. 

One you have done this, feel free to post about or in the comments or share a link to your blog where you posted about the item(s) you made during the challenge.

Let’s see how creative we can be!


Coiled Baskets June 20, 2013

Filed under: Crafting,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 8:46 pm
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I have been teaching Little Miss how to make coasters out of coiled clothesline covered in yarn. She is using red, white, and blue yarn to make patriotic ones for July 4th.

The process is the same as if you were going to make a basket. The only difference is that you only make the flat circle from the basket bottom if you want a coaster. I gave her a wide-mouth canning lid to use as a template for the finished size. This width will make a nice sized coaster for our coffee mugs and glasses.

I found a wonderfully simply tutorial on the Craft Yarn Council’s website for their Colorful Spirits Coiled Baskets.  These baskets are very easy to make.  I have always loved the look of coiled baskets.  I’m going to be making a few over the summer using yarn and maybe fabric strips for our home.  The process for making the baskets and coasters is essentially the same whether you use yarn of fabric.

We chose to use clothesline rope in Little Miss’ project.  You can also use jute, which tends to make a firmer finished project.  The clothesline is a bit more pliable than jute to work with.

Either way you decide to make them, the projects are fast to complete.