Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sharing some info

So today was an excellent Get Crafting day!

I started off with a quick trip to the Community of Christ Church, which is at 6919 83 Street Northwest (Edmonton), which is just North of Argyll Rd.  (You can find information about your local chapters here.)  Volunteers for Blankets 4 Canada meet there on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month, unless a church event prevents it.  It's a wonderfully large space, though. so that doesn't happen very often.

I got to talk to Eileen, who took the time to show me the methods they usually use to piece the donated squares together, and give me more information and suggestions.  She was wonderful to chat with, and I wish I could have stayed longer!  I hope to be able to stop by during one of their regular blanket bees. :-)

Along with some practical information, she also passed on some hints and tips.  They happily accept any donations of knit, crochet or quilted squares or strips, yarn and finished blankets (new or gently used).  These tips are suggestions to help make the volunteers' job easier.

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Make 8 x 8 inch squares.  It's handy to make up a template out of cardboard or something similar, so you just need to hold it against the template to measure.  Though all sizes are welcome, having a consistent, somewhat larger size, makes it easier to match squares together, and less time  is spent joining to complete the blankets.  When 4 x 4 inch squares are donated, they get joined into 8 x 8 inch blocks first, then the blocks are joined to make the blankets.  Larger or non-square shapes are a definite challenge for the volunteers to work out into the sizes needed!

Use medium weight (4) acrylic yarn.  There are some really lovely ones available now, that are soft and have a lovely drape.  Aside from being less expensive, they are also easy care and durable.  Don't forget baby yarns, as there is a demand for crib sized and baby blankets, too.

Sew in the ends!  The squares are crocheted together, which means all the ends that get left out need to be sewn in by volunteers before the squares can be joined.  It's a process that can take longer then joining them does (which is why the squares are not sewn together, with rare exceptions).

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If donating fabric, any typical quilting fabric works well, plus felt, which is used as a backing.  If possible, avoid fabrics that fray easily.

If donating used blankets, a general rule of thumb as to whether or not something is suitable for donation is pretty simple; if you would use the blanket yourself, then it is suitable.  Please ensure it is clean and free of pet hair.

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If you wish to donate completed blankets of joined squares, or would like to volunteer to join squares at home, here are some basic sizes, all based on 8 x 8 inch squares.

A crib blanket typically takes 25-30 squares in total (5 squares wide and 6 squares long or 6 x 6).  This size can generally last a child from crib to about age 4.

A single bed sized blanket, which is the most needed size, is typically 6 or 7 squares wide by 8 or 9 squares long.

A double bed sized blanket is about 8 or 9 squares wide by 9 or 10 squares long.

There is also a demand for lap blankets.  When sizing these, consider that they are often used by people in wheelchairs.  For size, something wide enough to tuck around the legs at the thighs and long enough to reach from the hips to the ankles while sitting is good.

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To join squares, volunteer experience has found two crochet methods are the most efficient.  Choose the one that best suits the squares you are joining, or use whatever your preferred method is.

Method one: 

Hold two squares with wrong sides together.  Join yarn at a right hand corner, though both squares.  Chain one.  [1sc, 1ch] across to the opposite corner, working the sc through both squares in the same sc stitch.

This method creates a ridge and a defined front and back.  It's quick, and the squares don't lie quite flat when laid out.  

Method two:

Hold two squares with wrong side together.  Join yarn at right hand corner.  Chain 1.  Work 1 sc into ONE square only, chain 1.  1 Sc into the OTHER square, chain 1.  Continue working to the opposite corner, alternating the sc stitches from one square to the other.  This method takes a bit longer, and the squares lie flat when laid out.

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Whichever method you use, there is a method of joining the squares to blanket size that has been found to be the quickest and most efficient, with the fewest tail ends left to sew in.

Joining sequence.

First decide your size and, if you have a variety of squares, sequence by laying out your squares in a grid and moving them around until you are satisfied.  Once you have them laid out, it's helpful to number them by row and column number by pinning marked pieces of paper onto them, or using low-tack painters tape.  (The tape can be used to help hold squares together when joining, too.)  Row one (R1) is the bottom row, Column one (C1) is the right hand row (unless you're left handed, then the column numbers are reversed).  So the bottom right hand square is R1C1.  The one directly above it would be R2C1, while the one directly to the left would be R1C2.

When you start, you will be joining rows 1 and 2.  Using your joining method of choice, join the R1C1 and R2C1 squares together.  When you complete one side, continue directly to the R1C2 and R2C2 squares, then the R1C3 and R2C3 squares, until you have completed the number of columns that make up your blanket's width.  When complete, you'll have all the squares for rows 1 and 2 joined on one side only.

Next, start joining row 3 squares to row 2 in the same manner, adding new squares to each column as you go along.  Continue in this manner until all the rows are joined.  When complete, all the squares, save the first and last rows, will be joined on 2 sides in rows.

Turn the blanket and join the remaining sides in columns.

Finish by working sc around the entire edge.

Hopefully, I will have photos to demonstrate how this is done after our joining party on Feb. 2.  Until then, I hope my instructions are clear enough!


Blankets 4 Canada


Just back from a wonderful chat with Eileen with Blankets 4 Canada. She showed me some of the beautiful blankets recently finished by their awesome volunteers.  This photo shows just two of them.  Great work!!

I am heading out to do my demo soon, so I will post more information later today.

Hope to see some of you at the Clareview Michaels today! :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Demo Day

For the Edmonton Folk, I will be doing a demo at the Clareview Michaels on Saturday, January 28, from 1-4pm.  Feel free to drop by and say hello!

Also a reminder that there will be a joining party for Blankets 4 Canada on Feb. 2, from 4-6pm.  The local volunteers for Blankets 4 Canada also get together twice a month for blanket bees, putting together the squares and blankets they collect and passing them on to those in need of warmth.  There is one such blanket bee going on on the 28th as well, from 10 am until sometime in the evening.  They are meeting at the Community of Christ Church on 83rd St, north of Argyll Rd.  I will be swinging my there in the morning, before my demo, so I hope to have more information to share with you all later.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Waiting room project


This is the start of my next project, the Openwork Wrap from the new Lace Crochet class.  Still small enough to bring along to work on while at my daughter's guitar lesson.
I'm glad this project came with both written and diagram instructions.  I find the diagrams much easier to follow.

Amazing animation!


This is fantastic!!




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Waffling


Waffle stitch square for Blankets 4 Canada. 
This is an excellent, insulating stitch pattern.

Another one ready


Another scarf ready for the Special Olympics.
They still need lots more scarves.  Last number I heard, they only have 1500; still well short of the goal.  Remember, the deadline is Feb. 1 for donations.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Textured baby blanket with hood

I have finally finished this!  This is the blanket pattern featured in one of my new, upcoming classes.

Discover Knit and Crochet, textured baby blanket

Due to a lack of babies handy, here it is modelled by my older daughter's 18" Josefina doll.

Discover Knit and Crochet, textured baby blanket

I chose a Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly yarn for this, rather than the aqua recommended.  I really like how this colourway turned out.  I call it my car wash blanket because the colours and texture remind me of the pastel coloured foam some automatic car washes use. 

Discover Knit and Crochet, textured baby blanket

Using the recommended 6.00 mm hook, my gauge is slightly larger than in the pattern, but I decided not to adjust for it and have a slightly larger blanket, instead. The blanket, before edging, was supposed to measure 27 inches square.  Mine was closer to 29 inches.

I really like this textured stitch and have been using it for other patterns, including Blankets 4 Canada squares and java jackets/cup cozies.

Next class project; the openwork lace shawl.

My daughter's blanket - finally finished!

My younger daughter has finally finished the blanket she was working on, as seen in this previous post.  She's been working on it off and on for over a year, though it has spent a few months tucked away, so it's hard to say how much time she actually spent working on it.  Here is the finished blanket!

My daughter's blanket

This is on her queen size bed.  It's made of 22 balls of variegated yarn, plus one ball of solid colour yarn for the edging.  Some of the balls, however, were the bulk sized type.  Those were mostly Bernat Chunky, I believe, while the smaller balls where in Bernat Satin.  She made it using a 4.25 mm hook.  It's all done in double crochet, with the stitches worked in between.

My daughter's blanket

The edging was something she just worked out on the fly.  She doesn't quite remember what the yarn was - possible Red Heart Supersaver, but she's not sure.

This thing's got a lot of weight to it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Upcoming classes

For the Edmonton folk, here are the upcoming crochet classes and events I will be doing at the Clareview Michaels.  All classes are 2 1/2 hours long, cost $25 plus materials, and you can register with any cashier or by phone.

update: corrections for March made

For January
Single Crochet:     Jan 6      5:30-8:00 pm (canceled due to low registration)
Tall Stitches:         Jan 13    5:30-8:00 pm
Textured Stitches: Jan 20    3:00-5:30 pm
Granny Squares:   Jan 27    3:00-5:30 pm


For February

Blankets 4 Canada Joining Party!
Thursday, February 2, 4-6 pm.
We have so many squares to join, and I've got the classroom for only two hours.  Anyone can drop in to help join the squares into blankets for donation to local charities.

Single Crochet                                          Feb 3        3:00-5:30 pm
NEW! Hooded, Textured Baby blanket    Feb. 9       3:00-5:30 pm
NEW! Daisy Ring Rattle                           Feb. 9       6:00-8:30 pm
Tall Stitches                                              Feb. 10     3:00-5:30 pm
NEW! Lace Crochet Openwork Shawl    Feb. 16     3:00-5:30 pm
NEW! One Piece Granny Throw              Feb. 16     6:00-8:30 pm
Textured Stitches                                      Feb. 17     5:30-8:00 pm
NEW! Crochet Gifts - totes                      Feb. 23     3:00-5:30 pm
NEW! Time for Crochet - Open Class      Feb. 23     6:00-8:30 pm
Granny Squares                                        Feb. 24     5:30-8:00 pm


For March


Single Crochet                                          March 2        5:30-8:00 pm
NEW! Hooded, Textured Baby blanket    March 8       6:00-8:30 pm
NEW! Daisy Ring Rattle                           March 8       3:00-5:30 pm
Tall Stitches                                              March 9      5:30-8:00 pm
NEW! Lace Crochet Openwork Shawl    March 15     6:00-8:30 pm
NEW! One Piece Granny Throw              March 15     3:00-5:30 pm
Textured Stitches                                      March 16     3:00-5:30 pm
NEW! Crochet Gifts - totes                      March 22     6:00-8:30 pm
NEW! Time for Crochet - Open Class      March 22     3:00-5:30 pm
Granny Squares                                        March 23     3:00-5:30 pm


Looking forward to seeing some of you there!     

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wow!


My younger daughter (the one peeking on the left) wishes all to know that she is the creator of this monstrosity. Her words.
She's not done yet.