Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How to Crochet Washcloths

by M. J. Joachim

Crochet washcloths are one of the easiest things to make. You can make them to use in the kitchen, as facial cloths and also for newborn babies. Using crochet 4-ply cotton and doily thread, you can enjoy a simple project that is great for personal use or to wrap up and give as a gift. Since Christmas is only a few days away, I thought this post might help you with a few last minute gifts that you can make up in no time at all.

Basic Crochet Square Kitchen Washcloth

Choose a close weave pattern to make your kitchen washcloth. Stitches like single crochet, half double crochet, ridge, spider or basket stitch work well for this. Pick coordinating colors of yarn so that your new washcloth will match the colors of the kitchen you are making it for.

You Will Need: 1 skein 4-ply cotton yarn, 1 medium size crochet hook, sewing scissors

Step 1: Choose the stitch you want to use and make a foundation chain for your square.

Step 2: Follow stitch pattern instructions to create the overall design of your kitchen washcloth.

Step 3: Measure until your kitchen washcloth is a square.

Step 4: Crochet a border or trim around your kitchen washcloth. (optional)

Step 5: Finish off and weave in loose ends.

Your new washcloth is machine washable. If you are giving it as a gift, be sure to let the receiver know that no special care is required. However, washing it with a little white vinegar the first time will help prevent it from fading. Once made, crochet kitchen washcloths last a very long time.

Personal Facial Washcloth

Personal facial washcloths can be made from thick or fine yarn, depending on your preference. You can design them to be a little fancier, using a lacier pattern, or more practical choosing a close weave pattern. They can be used as facial buffers or scrubbers; this will depend on the yarn and thread you choose. The thin strands of doily thread tend to create a rougher texture.

As with the kitchen washcloth, choose your yarn and all over pattern or design. Make your facial washcloth the appropriate size and add a decorative trim or border to it. If you make a facial scrubber, you can sew it to store bought washcloth that is soft. This way your facial washcloth will be both a skin buffer and scrubber, all in one.

Newborn Baby Washcloth
Choose your fibers carefully when making a newborn baby washcloth. You want to avoid thick cotton yarns. Your best choice is a light sport weight cotton yarn, but not doily thread. You can opt to use spools of embroidery thread because it is very soft, but you’ll need a lot of them. If you do use embroidery thread, be sure to add new thread only on the edges, and not in the middle of your project. Also be wary of dyes and chemicals used in processing it.

Use a small crochet hook to make a newborn baby washcloth. Make a small square following the pattern and design instructions of the stitch you choose. Select close weave stitches that little fingers won’t be able to poke through, tug on, or get stuck in. Prewash any newborn baby washcloth before giving it as a gift.

Thanks so much for visiting Lots of Crochet Stitches today. I hope you enjoy making lots of washcloths for yourself and others.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Crochet Books for Beginners

by M. J. Joachim

You may have seen them, those books that have been thumbed through hundreds of times and are falling apart. The information in them is that good, and their reliability is timeless. These crochet books will help you improve your skills, challenge your abilities and create amazing projects:

The Pattern Library Crochet

This small book explains everything you need to know about crochet if you are a beginner. It is well organized with detailed graphs in the front that show you crochet techniques. Stitch patterns are logically sequenced, and each has a color picture of what the patterns look like when completed.

Patterns instructions include information on using different yarns and hooks sizes when making them. They tell you the multiple of stitches you need to make a project. This way you can use the pattern to make anything you want, as opposed to following one pattern for one specific item.

The Pattern Library Crochet: ISBN # is: 0-345-32711-X

The Crochet Stitch Bible

This spiral bound book contains over 200 stitch instructions, including several variations for Tunisian crochet, broomstick lace and beading procedures. Each stitch includes a stitch key and chart to help you visualize the pattern sequence. Colorful diagrams are strategically placed throughout The Crochet Stitch Bible, as well as helpful tips and information that make it easier to learn new stitches and techniques.

The Crochet Stitch Bible: ISBN # is: 978=0-87349-717-6

Super Finishing Techniques for Crocheters

This book shows you how to give crochet work a professional finished look. You will learn how to add zippers and buttons to your patterns, apply trims and embroidery, combine yarns, make pockets, add beads, filet crochet and more. An excellent feature in this book is “Be your own designer” at the end of each chapter. Here you are challenged to apply what you have learned into your very own unique project. Basic instructions get you started, but the rest is up to you.

Super Finishing Techniques for Crocheters: ISBN # is: 978-0-312-57049-1

101 Stitches for Afghans

While this book claims to be for afghans, you will find that these stitch combinations can be incorporated into many different projects. The organization of this instructional book is such that you can adapt its patterns to bookmarks, washcloths, clothing and probably just about anything else too.

Stitches patterns are listed with a picture, materials (meaning how many colors of yarn, plus color sequence), and special stitch instructions. Individual pattern instructions begin by telling you the multiple of chain stitches you need to follow it and listing the sequence of pattern rows in order. Right away you know how many rows it will take to make a specific design. Your design will then be repeated to make an all over pattern.

101 Stitches for Afghans: ISBN # is: 0-88195-763-1

All of these books are reasonably priced and available online. Use these crochet books to do many things with this wonderful craft. You are apt to steadily increased your knowledge and skills, design patterns, sell projects or teach others how to crochet because of them. Crochet might turn into one of your favorite pastimes as you continue to learn more from these invaluable resources.

Beginning crocheters will find more than enough information in these references to help them learn and master the art of crocheting. Intermediate to advanced students will also benefit as they challenge themselves to learn new stitches and techniques, ever improving their ability to crochet.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I truly appreciate your visits, comments and shares.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Corkscrew Tassel Ornament -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crochet Projects for Kids

by M. J. Joachim

One of the best crochet projects for kids is a simple chain. Give them a large hook and big ball of yarn and let them compete with their friends to see who can make the longest chain. They will sit for long periods of time inserting their hook and pulling out loops to lengthen their personal chains. Then they will run around with them, dragging them everywhere they go, measuring them to see who made the longest one.

Kids turn their crochet chains into games too. One child will spin around, holding the chain as he goes. Another child will try to hop over the chain without stepping on it. They might even make a few chains and tie them together into a cat or puppy toy. Teach a child how to make a crochet chain and they will surprise you with the many ways they think of using it.

Crochet chains are the foundation for all sorts of crochet projects. Once a child is hooked on chaining, it’s easy to teach them how to make their chains into other things. Begin with small projects and teach them how to single crochet after they are comfortable making the chain stitch. Square motifs made using chain and single crochet stitches can be turned into potholders and doll pillows. These projects work up quickly, preventing children from becoming bored with them before they have a chance to finish making them. It’s very exciting to see a child’s face when they feel such a sense of accomplishment after finishing a simple crochet project.

As children gain confidence in their ability to complete a crochet project, they can be introduced to crochet projects like pompoms, flowers and hollow ovals. They can continue using chain and single crochet stitches or learn double crochet to make these items. Pompoms and flowers can be attached to magnets that are proudly displayed on the refrigerator, while hollow ovals can be turned into rattles or colorful Easter eggs.

Children can fill plastic Easter eggs with rice, beans or a jingle bell. They can insert the egg into their hollow oval before they begin to seal off the Easter egg inside and make a rattle. Provide cotton stuffing for kids to fill their Easter egg ovals. Teach them to join stitches together (decrease), making them tight enough to close an opening.

Another great crochet project for kids is small stuffed animals. These are made in parts, so the child has a sense of accomplishment after finishing each section. Stuffed animals have limited instructions for each body part. This is a wonderful way to teach children how to read and follow crochet patterns and learn new stitches and techniques.

The best crochet projects for kids begin simply, allowing them to build on the previous skills they are already enjoying in crochet. They are easy to make and encourage creativity, without having to produce a perfect final project. Projects that produce quick, successful results are preferred. Kids who enjoy the rewards of their labor are more likely to continue doing it in the future.

Thanks so much for visiting, commenting on and sharing this post today. Crochet is one of those things that needs to be passed down from generation to generation. I’ve taught my kids how to do it and they really like having the skill of crochet in their personal bag of tricks.

Until next time, I wish you every good thing!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

10 Easy to Make, Inexpensive Crocheted Christmas Gifts

by M. J. Joachim
Just about everyone loves receiving beautiful handmade gifts, especially when they look like someone spent hours, and maybe even days, making them. Crocheted gifts are nice because they often look so detailed, but work up very quickly. You can rely on short, easy patterns or trust your instincts as you hook your way to make a perfect gift for someone you know. Here is a list of ten cheap, quick and easy crochet gift ideas.

Gifts for Just About Anyone

*Bookmarks: Combine simple rows of common stitches to make beautiful bookmarks. Decorate them with ribbon, beads, tiny silk flowers, and other accessories to make them unique.

*Magnets: Use a pattern to make flowers or other 3-dimensional small projects. Attach a strong magnet to the back with super glue.

*Holding Clip: Use a pattern to make a tiny design of your choice. Super glue it to a spring hinged clothespin. As a variation, super glue a strong magnet to the other side of the clip.

Personal Gifts

*Hats: Crochet a rectangle using stitches of your choice. Do not finish off. Using a long (afghan) hook, gather all the stitches from the long side of your work, yarn over and pull through all the stitches on the hook, gathering tightly to make the top of the hat. With right sides facing, single crochet a seam down the short sides of your hat, matching stitch for stitch. Without finishing off, crochet a brim for your hat.

*Scarves: Choose your favorite stitch and either make vertical or horizontal rows until your scarf is as long or wide as you want it. Make a matching hat and purse too.

*Purses: Make a close knit crocheted rectangle. Fold it in half, right sides facing. Make a seam (using single crochet or whip stitch) down opposite sides, and leaving an opening at the top. Add a crocheted strap, or attach a purse handle that you purchase from a craft store.

Gifts for the Kitchen

*Potholders: Crochet two identical squares. Join them together, sandwiching non-flammable batting between if desired. Add a loop.

*Kitchen towels: Use your favorite stitches to crochet a large rectangle out of cotton crochet thread. Deck it out with a border or trim and ribbon. As a variation, purchase a kitchen towel, and crochet a top to it. Gradually decrease to make a triangular top, adding a loop at the end. Attach a button to one side of your crochet hook, and now your towel can be secured on the refrigerator handle.

*Washcloths: Crochet a large square in the pattern of your choice. Make washcloths out of 4-ply cotton yarn if you want them thick and plush. Use doily thread if you'd like them to be able to dry quickly.

*Kitchen scrubby: Purchase tulle by the yard and cut into 2 - 3 inch strips. Chain two, single crochet 6 times in second chain from hook. Continue single crocheting around, increasing as you go until your scrubby is the desired size.

Christmas is coming and there is still plenty of time to make some or all of these projects as gifts for your loved ones. Here’s wishing you a merry, merry and a season promising to keep you in stitches!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Different Types of Yarn

by M. J. Joachim

Yarn is fiber that has been spun together into strands that are thick enough to manipulate, sculpt and shape into a variety of items through the process of weaving, knotting, knitting or crocheting. It is made out of natural fibers like fine cotton, silk and heavy wool. Yarn is also made from synthetic substances like acrylic and metallic looking plastic strands.

Yarn comes in a variety of styles, textures and thicknesses. As a general rule, fine, lightweight cotton and silk fibers make delicate lacy items, medium weighted yarns are good for crafts and practical items, and heavy or bulky yarns work well for warmth and heavily used items like rugs. Ply count indicates how many strands of thread are spun together to make yarn.

Yarn is often categorized by weight and purpose. Each category has a wide range of fibers, textures, colors and uses. Projects, patterns and personal preference ultimately determine which yarn someone chooses when making something. Yarn types can be interchangeable to the extent that the designer or crafter wants them to be.

Weighted Yarns

• Fine Yarn: This is commonly called “Classic Crochet Thread”. It is used for making lightweight clothing, linens and delicate items. Very fine yarn can be made into dainty lingerie, while heavier fine yarn makes beautiful tablecloths. Fine yarn is generally only two or three ply.

• Four Ply Light Weight Yarn: This is a little bit heavier than fine yarn, but not quite medium weight. It is used to make baby items, swimsuits and soft washcloths and pillow covers.

• Sport Yarn: Medium weight yarn qualifies as sport yarn. It comes in many styles and colors and can be used to make lots of different projects including clothing, household accessories and crafts.

• Worsted Weight Yarn: This yarn is a little on the heavy side. It holds its shape better and can be used to make warm garments, household items and many different crafts.

• Bulky, Chunky Yarn: This is the thick, homespun type yarn, often consisting of more than one type of thread or fiber. Many crafters use this with large tools to make big projects quickly. Bulky chunky yarn can be soft and fuzzy, perfect for making warm clothing. It can also be rough and sturdy, great for making doormats and baskets.

• Novelty Yarns: Novelty yarns differ from traditional yarns. They come in funky styles with unique patterns, knots and loose fibers that create a unique effect for any given project. Projects using novelty yarns should stick to basics, allowing the yarn to take center stage, as opposed to the stitchery or craftsmanship.

Yarn manufacturers have created a vast supply of different types of yarn for all your weaving, crocheting, knitting and crafting needs. They combine multiple fibers, blend different styles and offer a vast assortment of textures and colors to their customers, weavers, crafters and artists who enjoy making fine things out of the perfect type of yarn.

I hope this post helps you when you are designing and making your projects. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with yarn, using different types for multiple projects, or even combining different yarns for a more creative, artistic effect. Thanks so much for visiting, commenting on and sharing Lots of Crochet Stitches. I’m really glad you stopped by.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim, My Yarn Stash, ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Afghan Project Pattern #112114 - Joining 3rd Strip, 9-Patch Complete

by M. J. Joachim

This is Post #4 of Afghan Pattern in the Making. Please see Post #1, Post #2 and Post #3 for previous pattern instructions.

Repeat Steps from Post #2 to join 3rd strip as follows (copied here for your convenience).

Use Color C

Match right sides together to join strips. You will be joining the long sides of each rectangle together

Step 1: Join Color C to end corner stitch of both rectangles; Chain 1, make 1 single crochet in same stitch

Step 2: Make 1 single crochet in each stitch across, matching and joining both rectangles together. Finish by making 1 single crochet in only the 1st stitch of the corner stitch of each rectangle together, leaving the other 2 stitches in each rectangle untouched.

Do Not Finish Off. After joining the 3rd strip, you will begin making the border around your 9-patch.

9-Patch Border

Step 1: Open joined strips. Slip stitch into each of next 2 stitches, so you are at 3rd stitch of corner square

Step 2: Chain 3 (counts as 1st dc); Make 1 dc in each stitch across center square

Step 3: Make 2 dc in last stitch of center square; skip seam, make 2 dc in first stitch of next square; make 1 dc in each stitch to corner of 9-patch

Step 4: Corner - Make 2 dc in 1st corner stitch, make 1 dc in center corner stitch, make 2 dc in third corner stitch

Step 5: Make 1 dc in each stitch to next corner of 9-patch; Repeat Step 4 for corner

Step 6: Make 1 dc in each stitch across 1st square to first seam where 2 strips of 3 squares are joined together; make 1 more dc in last stitch of 1st square prior to seam; skip seam - make 2 dc in 1st stitch of 2nd square

Repeat Step 6 across to next corner of 9-Patch for 3rd square and seam

Step 7: Repeat Step 4 for corner; make 1 dc in each stitch across side to 4th corner of 9-Patch; Repeat Step 4 for last corner

Step 8: Repeat Step 6 across last square to next seam, ending with 1 dc in same stitch as 1st chain 3 and joining with a slip stitch to top chain of first chain 3 in border. Finish off.

I plan to make a whole bunch of 9-Patches which I will eventually join together, sharing those steps with you here when I get to them. In the meantime, I’ll continue adding to this blog with other stitches and projects, because it will take me some time to make my 9-Patches for this afghan. Please stay tuned. I’m having a wonderful time sharing this Afghan in the Making with you and hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.

Also, beginning tomorrow through Saturday (Dec 4 - 6), my Effectively Human blog is hosting the 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive, taking place everywhere online. Please join us as we raise awareness and do our part to help fill food banks and provide food and resources to those in need. You can read all about it here.

Thank you so much for visiting, commenting on and sharing Lots of Crochet Stitches today! Your support of my work here is very much appreciated!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Afghan Project Pattern #112114 - Joining First 2 Strips of 3 Together

by M. J. Joachim

Post #3 of Afghan Pattern in the Making. Please see Post #1 and Post #2 for previous pattern instructions.

Use Color C

Match right sides together to join strips. You will be joining the long sides of each rectangle together

Step 1: Join Color C to end corner stitch of both rectangles; Chain 1, make 1 single crochet in same stitch

Step 2: Make 1 single crochet in each stitch across, matching and joining both rectangles together. Finish by making 1 single crochet in only the 1st stitch of the corner stitch of each rectangle together, leaving the other 2 stitches in each rectangle untouched.

I’ll be joining the 3rd strip to make my 9-patch in the same manner. Like in Post #2, I will not be finishing off when I do so, and am in the process of making the border pattern for the completed 9-patch, which will be 1 large square. These squares will then be joined together to make the completed afghan. (At least that’s what I’m leaning toward as I continue designing this pattern.)

Another thought has crossed my mind for this afghan, but I’m not sure if I’m going to do it yet. I’m considering making each 9-patch with the same type yarn, in different coordinating colors. This is still up for debate in my brain, and only time will tell if I do so. I’ll be back real soon with the rest of the 9-patch, so you have all the instructions you need to make your own 9-patch squares. Future posts will include joining 9-patch squares together and making a final border on the afghan. Please stay tuned.

For those who celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday last week, I hope it was truly wonderful. We hosted a lot of family and had a blast. For the record, bbq turkey is positively scrumptious!

Happy stitching everyone!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved