Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Where the Sidewalk Ends" - Easy Blanket Knitting Pattern

I'm so excited to announce my newest blanket knitting pattern called "Where the Sidewalk Ends".  This blanket is very easy to knit with super bulky yarn.  The pattern is available on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.

"Where the Sidewalk Ends" blanket knitting pattern.
The book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein was one of my favorite childhood books.  I loved the quirky pen and ink illustrations and the clever poems.  The poem "Where the Sidewalk Ends" is a reminder to get off the beaten path and slow down...explore new places and find our own path...

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Quick and easy blanket knitting pattern.
This blanket was designed for my teenage daughter.  She loves simple, uncluttered design.  She loved the idea of a bright white blanket with a very simple stripe texture.  (She loves stripes...and I do also!)  The finished blanket looks fantastic in her room with her dark gray chair and light gray comforter.

The yarn I used is Lion Brand Hometown USA in the color 'New York White'.  This is a clean, bright white!  Hometown USA yarn is very soft and makes a great blanket for anyone.  This is a nice yarn choice for children or babies because it is 100% acrylic and according to the label is machine washable and dryable.  (I have not tried machine washing and will probably choose to hand wash when needed.)  

This pattern will also work well with other super bulky yarns including Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Loops & Threads Cozy Wool (sold at Michael's)...as well as many other super bulky yarns.  I suggest solid color yarns so the pattern shows up best.  

A couple stitch markers are helpful reminders for the easy pattern.
Hometown USA is a very economically priced yarn.  It is available in a wide assortment of colors and is sold at many US craft stores including JoAnn's, Michael's and Craftsy. I used 10 skeins of yarn.  One or two skeins did have a knot in the middle of the skein.  I choose not to let this bother me!  In order to sell the yarn at such an economical price the manufacturer has to make the most of all of the yarn!

The pattern includes instructions for five sizes...from very small baby blanket up to an XL throw/afghan.

Approximate sizes after blocking...
XL: 50" wide x 55" long
Large: 42" wide x 50" long
Medium: 37" wide by 47.5" long
Small (Crib/Lap): 34.25" wide x 35" long
Baby: 30" wide x 30" long

It's easy to make any of the blanket sizes longer by adding additional pattern repeats.  Each pattern repeat adds about 2.5" to the length of the blanket.  The pattern includes estimates for additional yardage needed to make each blanket size longer.

"Where the Sidewalk Ends" blanket - easy to knit!
This pattern is very easy to knit!  With the super bulky yarn the chunky blanket knits up very quickly.  I finished knitting this blanket in only a few days.

I love the texture of the super bulky yarn!
I loved photographing this blanket!  We had brown butcher paper sitting out for wrapping Christmas gifts.  I spread a large piece out on my craft table to try as a background.  The brown paper is a fun contrast with the bright white blanket.

White yarn, red ribbon and simple brown paper.
 My "Where the Sidewalk Ends" blanket pattern is now available on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.

Thanks so much for reading.  Best wishes for happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Annual Tradition - Making Homemade Christmas Ornaments

I love making homemade Christmas ornaments to give to my family and friends each year.  The photo below shows just a few of the many ornaments I have made over the course of many years.


Over the years I have used a variety of craft techniques: knitting, felted knitting, cut out painted cardboard (using old gift boxes), cross stitch, and hand stitched felt (this was one of my favorite crafts for many years!).  The little owl ornament in the center of the photo above was made using my free pattern: Ole the Owl.

The first knitting pattern I published was my Mini Sweater Christmas Ornament.  It was only fitting that that one of my favorite traditions led me on a new path to share my knitting ideas.  Last month (November 2016)  I celebrated my third anniversary since publishing that first knitting pattern!

Mini Sweater Christmas Ornament - Knitting Pattern
Last year I made several of these mini sweaters to give to dear friends.  It was a great way to use up a lot of stash yarn!  My favorite yarn for these ornaments is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted.  I have used this yarn for many years.  It works up beautifully and lasts very well for heirloom quality gifts.  

Here's a few of the ornaments I made last year.  It was fun to stitch on felt applique decorations for a mixture of textures and a variety of designs!  



I made used my duplicate stitch sailboat design from my Mini Sweater Christmas Ornament pattern to make two more of these nautical themed ornaments.  These were made for dear friends who we have enjoyed sailing with for many years.

Mini Sweater Ornament with Sailboat Duplicate Stitch
I also love making Felt Applique Mitten Christmas Ornaments.  I updated this pattern in January 2016 to include even more ideas for personalizing ornaments with letters or numbers...in addition to hearts, stars, snowman and gingerbread house designs.

Felt Applique Mitten Ornament - Knitting Pattern
I love pulling these ornaments out of the box each year to hang on the tree.  It brings back memories of making special gifts for my family and friends over the years.  

A few of my favorite homemade ornaments.
Now it's just a couple weeks until Christmas 2016!  I need to open my box of ornaments I made last January...these are waiting to be wrapped up and given this year.  And...this weekend I may need to make a few more ornaments!

Thanks for reading!  Wishing you happy holidays!