Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tutorial - Yellow Checkered Potholders

I love the way this set of hotpads turned out. I made them to go into the set that includes these dishcloths and these dishtowels. Miss Abigail is also working on this set and has completed this dishtowel, and this dishcloth so far.

Because the first hotpad of the set turned out so well, I wanted to make a tutorial with the second. If these directions aren't clear, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or ask a question that will make me clarify. Begin with two colors of cotton worsted weight yarn. I used a size F hook, but a G will also work fine.

1.  With color A, chain 24.  Dc in the fourth chain from the hook.

2.  Dc in the next chain also, but leave the last two loops on the hook in order to change colors. This is called an incomplete dc. With the last two loops on the hook, drop color A and pick up color B. Simply pull a loop of color B yarn through the two loops to complete the dc.

3.  Lay the loose color A yarn across the top of the stitches you are crocheting into. With color B, dc in the next chain, inserting the hook into the stitch from front to back as usual. This will enclose the color A yarn within the stitch and allow you to “carry” it across the row. Give a little tug on the tail of the new color to tighten up the stitch in the back. With color B, dc in the next two stitches, carrying the other yarn on top of the stitches you are crocheting into.

4. When the third dc is incomplete, with the last two loops on the hook, drop color B and pick up color A again.

5.  Complete the stitch with color A. Color B will now lay across the top of the stitches and be carried until you pick it up again.

6. Now and then you may need to tug gently on the yarn you are carrying, to keep it from bunching up inside the other stitches.

7.  At the end of the row, change colors again. The color change always happens when the last two loops remain on the hook. With the new color, chain 3 to turn the row.

8.  Pull the previous color up and lay the yarn across the top of the stitches as before. Dc in the top of the next two dc, enclosing and carrying the yarn. This checkered pattern is worked in alternating groups of three dc. The last dc in each group is left incomplete in order to change colors of yarn. The yarn not in use is carried and enclosed as you stitch.

9.  Nine rows total should make the piece square.  To make the set of hot pads, crochet 4 separate pieces and weave in all the loose ends.

10.  Attach yarn at the top left corner of one piece and chain 2.  With two pieces together, use a loose sc stitch to crochet the two pieces together down the side.

11.  Put 2 sc around the end dc in each row, with 1 sc bringing the corner stitches together. (19 total sc on the sides) Turn the corner with 2 chain and a second sc in the same corner stitch.

12.  Sc in each stitch across the bottom, both pieces together. (21 stitches across, not counting the corner stitches.) Turn the corner with (1sc, ch 2, 1 sc.) Crochet up the other side with 2 sc in each row and (1sc, ch 2, 1 sc) in the corner.

13.  Sc in each stitch across the top, catching both pieces together.

14.  Sc in the beginning corner space to complete the round. To make the final “trim” round, (ch 3, dc, ch 1, dc) in the same corner space to create the initial corner.

15. Dc in each stitch around the edges. Turn each corner with a (dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc).

16. Complete the round with a slip stitch at the top of the beginning ch 3.

17.  Fasten off the yarn and weave in the end. If you like you can add a simple chain loop before you clip the yarn.

18.  Repeat with the other two pieces to make the second hot pad. Finished!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Red Cross-Stitch Towel Set

This is another set made for a wedding gift. The set includes two cross-stitched dishtowels with the easy zig-zag crocheted trim, two plain white hand towels with a variation of the easy v-stitch trim, and one terry dishcloth with an easy chain stitch edging. I used the same pattern for the embroidery that Miss Abigail is using on a set for the hope chest. The pattern is one of Aunt Martha's called Cross-Stitch Colonial Girl.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Looking Over My Shoulder

I've been working on little sheets for the play-yard of my soon-to-be-born grandson. Aren't they cute! This pattern is one of Aunt Martha's, but it doesn't show up on their website. It must have been retired, which is really too sad! However, this easy pattern has cute animals that would work for sheets and, with some editing, this one also. You can see a picture of Miss Abigail's gift here. Baby items were a traditional addition to the hope chest. Small projects, such as a crib sheet, are such good practice for beginning stitchers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Canning

Thanks to a wonderful friend who brought goodies to us, Miss Abigail and I enjoyed another canning day. I was hoping to reinforce what she learned in July. I also wanted to help Abigail have a more normal canning experience. Canning is obviously different with the attitude of production rather than trying to make everything "just so" for exhibiting and judging, plus trying to fulfill all the requirements for the 4-H project.  This time we used my steamer canner, instead of the water bath, so that was different and we had two jars burst in two different batches during the processing and visitors during the day - so I guess it was a fairly normal experience. ;o) We ended up with nine quarts of peaches, twelve quarts of pears and twenty pints of tomato salsa.

We had great fun working together and I am so glad to have such a willing and now capable helper.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Home Ec Lesson - Natural Cleaners

One of our recent Home Ec lessons was the safe use of household cleaners. We also discussed the traditional uses of natural cleaners and then Miss Abigail made an all-purpose spray cleaner and a soft scrub cleanser to put in her fancy cleaning tote.

Here is the recipe for both of these.  First, the All-Purpose Cleaner:

Put 1 teaspoon borax into a spray bottle.

Add 1/4 teaspoon vegetable-oil-based liquid soap.

Add 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice.

Add 2 cups very hot tap water. Gently shake to combine all the ingredients. The minerals should be dissolved completely. Spray onto the surface needing to be cleaned. Scrub and wipe off with a soft rag.

Plain baking soda has long been used as a gentle scouring scrub.  Just for fun, we mixed up a Disinfectant Soft Scrub:

Measure 1 cup baking soda with enough vegetable-oil-based liquid soap to make a soft paste. Add 1/4 teaspoon Australian Tea Tree Oil (this adds the disinfecting quality) and 1 teaspoon glycerin (this keeps the mixture soft.) Blend everything well.

Place this mixture into a small squeeze-able bottle. We used an old dish soap container, but a mustard bottle would also be about the right size. Wet the surface to be cleaned and squeeze the product onto the surface. Scrub with a cloth or sponge, then rinse well. Because of the liquid soap, you may need to rinse and rinse! ;o)

Abigail filled a small glass jar with a half and half mixture of baking soda and borax to use as a dry cleanser. She also filled a spray bottle with vinegar, which boosts the cleaning action of the soda on hard water soap scum. Then she made pretty labels for everything.

Shared on Raising Homemakers Wednesday link-up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Addition to the Family

There is no work going on with Miss Abigail today and probably not tomorrow either. You can see why. A new puppy trumps everything! For a girl who is a bit distracted at the best of times, this little bundle makes doing math impossible. She did get her piano practice in, barely! This little female Border Collie doesn't have a name yet. We are still discussing that. I had forgotten how difficult puppies can be - I may have to take maternity leave from everything I do as well.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cleaning Tote

Last week mom taught me a Home Ec lesson about using cleaning tools and cleaners. The project for this lesson was to make a cleaning tote that I could put all of my cleaning supplies in. In this post I’m going to show you how to make a cleaning tote for yourself.

You will need a plastic tote with a handle and some Sharpie brand permanent markers.

First, take a pencil and trace a border design all around the tote. You can either use a wavy plastic template, like I did, or just free-hand it.

Trace over the penciled line with a permanent marker. I used Bic brand permanent markers, but I had one Sharpie marker and the color of this marker was much brighter.

Use other colors to draw freehand designs all along the border. I drew three different kinds of flowers with a butterfly here and there. You can practice on a separate paper until you have the designs the way you want them.

Cleaning totes are useful because they save time and steps when you are cleaning house. You don’t need to run around the house to get something you need. Everything is handy when you need it.

Respectfully submitted by Miss Abigail.
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