Archive | March 2014

Updated 2/2016 Braided Corner Granny Square Afghan Tutorial

I have crocheted two projects in my life.  First one was watermelon pot holders when I was in Primary (the name for the children 3 -11 years old in my church).  I still have them today and use them. The second project I started about 2 years ago after I visited my elderly neighbor (she was 98 at the time) and saw her beautiful afghan on the back of her couch.  She taught me how to make the beautiful braided corner square.  My older sister crochets and this tutorial is for her…love ya, sis! I am using my neighbors instructions.  I am NOT an expert.  She said the regular instructions were really difficult to understand so she wrote her own.

Supplies: Get several HUGE skeins of black yarn –  light and variegated coordinating colors – Hook US 19 or 5.50 mm and some chocolate, of course!

Info for each step: To begin each dc group, ch 3 as the first one* .  Complete each round with a sl st

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Step 1: Chain 6 in black yarn

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fasten with a slip stitch

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to create a circle

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Row 1: Hold circle and chain 3

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Going inside the circle, crochet 2 dc

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chain 10

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go into last loop of last dc to make a slip stitch

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Go into circle and dc 3 times – repeat until you have 4 loops and 4 sets of 3 dc

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Make sure to slide your loops closer together on the circle to get a better “square” shape

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Row 2: light color yarn. * 3 dc in the space to the left of the ch 10, ch 1,  3 dc in the space at the right of the ch 10, chain 10 and fasten.  Repeat from * 3 more times around the square.

Attach your second color on the left side in the hole under the loop

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Chain 3

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add 2 dc in the same hole

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chain 1

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crochet 3 dc in the second hole on the right of the second loop

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chain 10

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slip stitch to the last loop of the third dc

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go through hole under black loop and do 3 dc on the left of the loop

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repeat these steps around the black yarn

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when you get back to the beginning of the yellow, slip stitch it together and cut yarn

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Row 3: variegated yarn: *3 dc in space next to ch 10, 3 dc in ch 1 space, 3 dc in space next to ch 10.  Repeat 3 more times from * around the square

slip stitch 3rd color on the left side of a yellow loop

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chain 3

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do 2 dc in the same hole

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on this row you will do 3 dc in each hole (but NO chain stitch in between each 3 dc)

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chain 10 and make loop same as in row 2

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make loop as above and do 3 dc in each hole

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repeat around yellow square and slip stitch off your variegated yarn to tie off and snip yarn (in the picture below

all the loops are on the back, it helps keep them out of the way when I am adding the new loop)

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Row 4: Black yarn for the last 2 rows.  Dc in every st to the corner. 2 dc in space before chain 10, ch 3, 2 dc in space next to chain 10, repeat around. This black row should have 12 total stitches. 2 dc in each corner and 8 dc in between

1st black row – attach with a slip stitch and 3 chain stitches

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Next to the chain 3 do ONE dc

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Now do 8 dc in each outer loop of the variegated yarn

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Do 2 dc in the hole on the right side of the variegated loop

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chain 3

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go to the left side of the variegated loop and do 2 dc in the hole beneath (the loop is tucked back – so there are 2 dc on the right, 3 chains, and 2 dc on the left)

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repeat around the variegated square

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last corner – chain 3

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slip stitch it to the top loop of the starting chain 3 (Don’t cut your yarn!)

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remember my loops are all on the back

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Row 5: ch 2 , hdc in each dc, 2 dc in space before ch 10 loops, braid the ch 10 loops, tr into ch 10  loop and the black ch 3, ch 3, tr in same space, 2 dc in space next to chain 10. hdc in each of the dc. Repeat around square, each side should have 17 total stitches, 1 tr and 2 dc in each corner and 11 hdc between

Final black row – this time chain 2

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do 11 hdc in each dc

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now you are to the chain 3 of the first black row – do 2 dc and gently snug them to the right next to the hdc

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FINALLY time to braid – YAY!  this is the fun part – pop all your loops through to the top of the square

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gently put the middle loop through the center black loop

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and pull it toward the outer loop

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now put the outer loop (purple) thru the middle loop (yellow)

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and pull it up – it is all braided – now we add the final loop

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for this step your tr will go through the the hole created by the chain 3 AND the purple loop

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tr in the hole – keep it to the right

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chain 3

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tr in the same hole

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to the left of the loop do 2 dc and repeat 11 hdc and corners as above

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when you finish the last row – simply slip stitch the final 2 dc to the beginning hdc

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and you are done!

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braided corner afghan 005

up close – sorry, it is night time and the lighting isn’t that great in the preschool room.  Layout squares and whip stitch together.  There are several great tutorials for this on You Tube.

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finished whip stitching the squares together – now I need to go back and learn the edge stitching.  Thankfully at 101, my sweet talented neighbor is still here to teach me!  So blessed with her friendship!

If you have any questions, let me know…I would love to help you learn to do this beautiful afghan.   Post pics when you are done!  Happy crocheting!

Shamrock Happiness in a Pillow

In January I found a great easy pillow pattern at my LQS (local quilt shop).  I made a valentine one first and then found this great St. Patrick’s fabric at Jo-Ann’s. So simple, iron 4 folds, hem 3 sides of each tie, 2 side seams and viola….a fun new seasonal pillow to look at and enjoy! The back is just folded over so I can just slip the pillow in and out whenever I want to change it.

 Since it is another gray day here, you can’t see that both fabrics are glittery.  My mood is kinda matching the weather.  Good thing there isn’t ANY fattening munchable food here or I might entertain myself by eating it all!

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I have an increasing interest in pillow covers.  I have seen so many cute ones on other blogs. I bought another one that ties in a different way that is the new Honey Bee Mine by Shelley at Henry Glass Fabrics.  More on that one later!

Maybe I can cheer myself up if I go turn the preschool room back into my sewing room…I have lots of WIP’s (works in progress) to choose from.  Sisters, you need to remember the abbreviations so I can be lazy and not have to type it all in every time.  

Have a Wonderful Thursday – remember the weekend starts tomorrow! 

 

Spring Chicks are Popping Out!

Aren’t these the best chicks ever?!  No noise, no poop, no growing up to big obnoxious hens that peck people!

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I found this darling pattern in a magazine I love called Quilt-it…today. In the March/April 2014 issue.  I couldn’t stop at one, so I made three – all from my stash.  Pat myself on the back! The chicks are so cute but I discovered I don’t sew very round circles…haha. Brownie had to make her own chick.  It is the blue floral chick being held by the center hen.  She is very proud of it and shows everyone who comes over.  See the cute hen legs peeking out from under the hens?  I plopped my hens and chicks here because you can see another sign of spring in the back ground…my daffodils are sooooo close to popping out! 

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Such a cheerful little brood! I really enjoyed this project because I got to learn a new embroidery stitch, the colors are so bright and uplifting and it was quick and easy.  Instead of doing a satin stitch for the chick eyes, the girls and I voted for little glass beads.  The beaks are made of felt.  Such a great combo of mediums in one project!  Don’t you just love the way the hen’s wings wrap so lovingly around the chicks…so motherly.  Give your own little chicks a big squeeze – spread some cheer!

Happy Almost Spring! 

 

 

Quilts for Kids – Charity Organization

A sewing friend of mine found this organization on Pinterest and shared it with me recently.  I logged on and tadah…. (no idea how to spell a made up word?!)

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within a matter of days – here came this baggy full of cute PREcut fabric (I love that word precut), the instructions, backing and a quilt label.

This will be my first quilt label and I am quite excited about using it.  Is that silly?  Somehow a label with my name on it makes me feel more official as a quilter.  haha  I haven’t been brave enough to go make myself official by choosing my own labels.

This organization provides the fabric and pattern.  I paid $6 for them to mail me the kit.  I have 4-6 weeks to piece, quilt and bind it and then I mail it back to them. If you are interested in quilting for charity, here is the website http://www.quiltsforkids.org.  My mom’s new sewing machine has a super cute car stitch that I really want to use when I machine quilt it…hint, hint, Mom

This time when the husband asks what I am making this quilt for, I will have a real answer besides….”hmmm, I don’t know.  I liked it?!”  

I am super excited to be part of something bigger than myself as I am currently a phantom quilter.  I really need to join a bee or quild or start one or something!  

Are you part of a guild or a bee or do you donate sewing projects to charitable organizations?  I would love to hear about them.

 

Brownie’s First Quilt 1/2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brownie is five.  She love picking out fabric and loves to sew…she has a basket of scraps and her own thread and needle, but she wants to do “real” sewing. A girl after my own heart!!  This is her sewing a doll blanket for her American Doll she got for Christmas.  It matches the Dora Comforter I made her for Christmas a couple of years ago.  My sis in law gave us a great set of Dora curtains that were waaaay to large for her bedroom windows, so we up-cycled it and made a comforter and a matching pillow case. Did you notice the blue painters tape?  That is her edge guide.  Love the pinkie!

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She pulls the fabric down over the edge. She is working on not doing that. The machine light has a short so we use a little light – that is the pink thing in front of her face. 

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She insisted on doing the pinning, taking the pins out and steering the fabric herself.  Since she is using my old Kenmore from Sears, there is no speed control button, so I sat beside her and pushed the foot, slowing down just before each pin so she could pull it out.

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Here is the finished product.  I actually tried my first stippling quilting on the pink fabric and did a row of connected hearts on the orange polka dot edges.  Stippling is quite fun.  I used a multicolored quilting thread to quilt it.  She loves it.  Isn’t her smile sweet?

What are you sewing with your kids?  Post pictures here – we would love to see them.

 

Gertrude broke ALL the rules!!

My sisters (including my in-law sisters), my Mom and I had a 5 inch charm exchange last year with the plan to bring completed quilts to our family reunion in July.  Sadly, Mom was the only one who finished hers.  It is gorgeous.  She used a disappearing nine patch pattern for hers.

I had laid out so many designs on the design table and couldn’t make anything work for me. In frustration, I put all the squares in a plastic grocery sack and pulled them out randomly and sewed them in long strips.  (I teach a private preschool in my home.  That is all the fun back drop items you see on the walls.)

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It took forever and I didn’t even use all the charms.  I was sewing late one night waiting for my daughter to come home. She wanted to talk when she got home and we stayed up quite late.  We decided it was the ugliest quilt ever so we thought of old ugly names to call it. About 1 a.m. Gertrude was the winning name. (No offense to anyone with that name.) I tried to nickname her Gertie, but Miss America said I couldn’t nickname a quilt. Gertrude stuck.  

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Then I hung Gertrude’s strips on a hanger and put her downstairs for a few more months.  This week I brought Gertrude upstairs to my sewing room and randomly took the strips and sewed them together.  No choices, no matching anything!  Gertrude is comprised of many types and qualities of fabric – even a few stretchy ones and some old ones from my Grandma M.  And yes, quite a few UGLY prints. The charms are not all 5 inches square because there are very few nested seams.  I am going to have to add partial charms to quite a few ends to make the side even.  Gertrude ended up being a California King sized quilt…can you believe it?!  

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I am home alone with a nasty cold,,,so yes, my bee pillow pet and a baby doll are helping me hold up Gertrude.  You can see the non-nested seams. Perfection was not an option on this quilt.  My Great Aunt P (whom I love dearly) gave me a set of flowered sheets when I graduated and moved off to college.  I am going to use them for the backing of Gertrude. 

Even more amazing to me is….I LOVE Gertrude.  It feels like a big hug from my family when I hold her.   All my sisters live in different states and I rarely get to see them.  It is fun to see the charms and know who they came from and what was originally made from the fabric.  I had a great time telling my family the history behind some of the charms.  I gathered my courage to do GSP (grocery sack piecing) from a gorgeous quilt on my Grandpa G’s bed.  It is a tumbler quilt and is as random as Gertrude.  I love to sit on his bed and look at and feel all the fabrics and wonder who made it and where all the charms came from.  There is no quilt label and he doesn’t know details. Gertrude will have a label…not because I expect her to be an heirloom…I just want my family to remember her story. Thanks to my sisters and mom for sharing all the love that is pieced into this quilt.