Tag Archive | Skip-Stitch Blade

I Can’t Seem To Take My Own Advice

With all the new sleepers I have made recently, I decided to get a few blankets made to go with them for the day that I may need a baby gift for someone. Since I now want to use my pieces of polar fleece to make jackets, I turned to the flannel stash to find fabric to make the blankets with.

I picked out 4 pieces of flannel to make 2 blankets. I then laundered the flannel,  got it squared up, stitched and turned, all with no problems.

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Then I had a brain fart!

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Instead of going back to the my previous posts on skip-stitching flannel blankets, I just started using the skip-stitch blade to cut the holes for the edges. I did remember to pick the yarn I wanted to use first, so I knew which size blade to use, but I forgot to double check how far from the edge to skip-stitch. I had picked Red Heart 4 ply yarn so I used skip-stitch blade #1 for the proper stitch length I wanted, but I made the cuts at 1/2 inch from the edge. After I cut all four edges of the polar bear blanket, it dawned on me that when using flannel instead of polar fleece, I like to only have a 1/4 inch edge because I don’t want to fold the flannel edge over like I do with the fleece blankets. Well, this blanket was already cut so I had to make a decision on what to do to fix my mistake. My choices were to either to fold the edge over or to have a 1/2 inch drop with the yarn on the edge.

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After trying both, I decided to have the 1/2 inch drop of yarn. It looked better that way to me. But, as I crocheted the edge of this blanket, I  had nothing but problems. The flannel would not lay flat. It insisted on wrinkling under the yarn since it was much thinner than polar fleece. I tried and tried to straighten the fabric, but I finally decided I was just going to have to minimize the wrinkles and leave it at that. After completing the foundation row, I did a chain three, skip two stitches and chain in the third stitch in blue and then a row of white in chain three and then a chain in each of the previous rows with chain three. I have done this edge before and really like the results it produces. With the blanket completed, I am very disappointed with the wrinkles in the fabric under the yarn. It will not deter the use of the blanket, but I am not happy with the finished results. I doubt anyone but me will notice the imperfections though.

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On the next blanket which I made from the Snoopy flannel, I was smart enough to remember the problems I had on the previous blanket and learn from my mistakes. I skip-stitched the blankets edges at 1/4 inch this time. And the blanket stitched up very nicely once it was skip-stitched with the proper edge width. I used the same edge design on it with green and yellow yarn this time. The only thing I would change about this blanket was the use of so much yellow yarn with the yellow back. The husband says it looks ok, but once again I am not totally happy with it. Yet, it is still a very cute blanket and the colors certainly will not keep it from being used as a blanket. It’s just the perfectionist in me that has to nit pick about something, so that was what I chose.

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As I look back now at the flannel blankets I just finished, my mind wanders to what else I could do with the pieces in the flannel stash besides making blankets. My brain is still working on some ideas, so I don’t know if you will see more blankets soon or perhaps something else entirely!

It Bears Repeating

It’s been a long time since I have crocheted around the edge of a blanket. Instead I have been spending my crocheting time on amigurumi’s.  When I found out that some friends have babies on the way, I thought I had better get some baby blankets finished. Looking back at the last blanket that I made, I remembered that I was trying to perfect crocheting an edge on a flannel blanket.

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With that in mind, I headed for the stash and pulled out two pieces of flannel. Reading my past posts, I remembered the lessons that I learned on the last flannel blankets. So, after squaring the fabric, I sewed the two pieces of flannel together with just an 1/8 inch seam allowance. Normally I would not sew flannel with such a small seam allowance but because I will be crocheting around the edge, I am not worried about the seam not withstanding wear. After turning and ironing, I used the skip stitch blade to cut the blanket 1/4 inch from the edge.

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Now, this the part that I want to repeat. Before I used the skip stitch blade, I decided on type of yarn I wanted to use. I chose a 3-ply sports yarn so I used the skip stitch blade #2 so that the cuts would be closer together. As I learned from before, which skip stitch blade you use depends on the yarn you’re going to use, not the type of fabric. If I had chosen a heavier 4-ply yarn, I would have used the skip stitch blade #1 instead.

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I have now crocheted the edge on this blanket and I am love the results. Because of the thinner yarn, I am using a size F hook instead of the size G hook I normally use. With the cut at just 1/4 of an inch from the edge, I am getting a nice drop without folding the edge over. It is one of the cutest blankets I have finished.

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Because I was not sure of the results I would be getting from the flannel blanket, and the fact that some of the babies will soon be here, I have made some fleece blankets as well. Since I knew I would be finishing these blankets with a 4-ply yarn, I used the skip stitch blade #1 to cut the slits. I like the fold on the edge of fleece blankets so I cut at 1/2 inch from the edge and folded the edge as I crocheted. Also with using the heavier yarn, I used my size G hook. These blankets worked up very quickly and turn out very cute.

I’ve Started…

I’ve started several projects, but I have yet to complete any of them. I dislike it when I do this. I am very much a start one project, finish it, then move on to the next project person. Of course, I have many UFO’s (unfinished objects) hiding in my closet, but that is because I have lost interest in completing them for one reason or another. The projects I am working on now are all ones I plan to complete, but I have gotten ahead of myself in getting them started.

I started some new sleepers for the new nephew that is on the way, but while embroidering the designs on the sleepers, I embroidered a couple of towels for bibs rather than finishing the sewing on the sleepers. So, the unfinished sleepers and bibs sat on my cutting table. Before finishing them, I decided I wanted to get another flannel blanket ready to crochet around, so that lead to a trip to the stash. While digging through the stash for flannel, I ran across some lighter color knits and decided to pull them out to make the husband some new summer shirts. So, now added to the unfinished sleepers and bibs are flannel pieces ready to stitched and skip-bladed and fabric, pattern and supplies for the husbands shirts.

I’ve also started another amigurumi creature after finishing the teddy bear I crocheted. I have most of its parts crocheted and I’m now working on the head for that. We went on vacation last week and I like to crochet while traveling. Since I’m down to the stitching of the face, stuffing and the sewing of the pieces together of this amigurumi, I started another amigurumi for the trip. I now have the second amigurumi’s parts crochet waiting to be stuffed and put together.  So, to add to my already full cutting table, I have two partly constructed amigurumi’s on top of everything else.

I have decided though not to continue to work on all these projects all at once. I am going back to the complete one thing, move to the next one process. So, stay tuned to see the completed items.

P.S. I did not purchase a single inch of fabric on this vacation. Amazing! It’s a first for me!

Inexpensive Panel

This blanket is not cheap in the fact that the fleece is thin, but in the fact that I did not pay a lot of money for it. Inexpensive describes it better. Last year for Christmas my sister crocheted around one of these Snoopy panels and gave it to me, so I do not need another one when I have the beautiful one that she made. Her blankets are always so nicely done. But, last summer while digging through Joann’s remnant bin I found two of these panels. Someone had opened the packages, so they were wrapped as remnants and marked for half price. At the time, the sales was half off the current price of remnants, so I bought both blankets for half the price of one blanket originally cost. I could not pass up that price even though I already had one of these blankets at home. Somebody, somewhere needs a Snoopy blanket I thought to myself.

My husband picked out the bright red yarn to stitch around this blanket. Because it was regular sized yarn, I use the skip-stitch blade #1 to cut the holes in it. Although the fleece of this panel is thinner than the fleece I have purchased off the bolt, it did not suffer from the gapping hole problem of the cheap panels I had crocheted before. The fleece stretched back nicely after I pulled the yarn through. I crocheted the peaks pattern around this blanket because I think the look is more unisex. When I do a scalloped edge, to me, the blanket becomes feminine, even though I have made several boy’s blankets with scalloped edges. (The color helps to make the scallops more masculine.) Since I don’t know who will be sleeping under this particular blanket, I wanted it to work for anyone. I had a lot of fun crocheting the edges of this blanket. It kept me entertained during many a car ride this holiday season.

Cheap Panels

I purchased a couple of cheap fleece blankets. I use the word cheap instead of inexpensive because the of how thin the fleece is and how poor the edges were finished, but the blankets had nice photos of animals printed on them and I thought these would make fun blankets for kids. Of course, the little thread that was used to finish the edge would never do, so I removed it and  crocheted new edges around the blankets. This became more of a challenge than I expected and a good lesson about crocheting on a thinner fleece.

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I started by removing the thread edge which just took a couple of minutes. I tried to crochet using the holes that were left from the thread, but they were too small. So, I got out the skip-stitch blade and got to work. On the first blanket, the yarn I chose was a thinner baby yarn so I used skip-stitch blade #2. All was well until I started to crochet. As I pulled the yarn through the holes, the thin fleece stretched and did not close  back up around the yarn as heavier fleece would do. This left large holes especially on the side of the blanket with the stretch of the fabric. I had to pull the yarn through the holes very carefully to minimize the size of the holes. Even with being as careful as possible, I still have holes that are far  larger than I wanted. After finishing the first row, I about gave up on the blanket, but decided to persevere and see what the end results would be. Now that the blanket is done, the end result looks better than I expected but if you look closely the holes are definitely still there.

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One the second blanket, I picked a heavier yarn to use and this was a big mistake. It is a good thing I used the baby yarn first of I would not have completed either blanket. Because of the heavier yarn, I used the skip stitch blade #1 to make my holes. As I pulled the heavier yarn through the holes, there was no amount of care that could be taken to stop the gaping holes that resulted. I stitched about 1/3 of a side and decided that the resulting holes were just too large to keep going. I finally made a trip to the store and purchased some thinner yarn in the color I wanted. I removed the heavier yarn, but the fleece did not recover. I carefully stitched with the thinner yarn, but on that section of the blanket, there are still huge holes. With the thinner yarn, I decided to go ahead and finish the blanket. Luckily, I was smart enough to start at the bottom of the blanket so the gaping holes are on the bottom and not the top. As before, the end results are better than I expected, but not as good as I had originally planned on.

One good thing about this whole endeavor, I purchased my first skein of Caron brand yarn, and I loved it. It was nice yarn and crocheted very well. I would not hesitate in purchasing or using that brand again.


Skip Stitch Blade #1 Vs. Flannel: FIGHT!

IMG_1833According to the information on the skip stitch blade’s web site, blade #2 is designed for flannel. As you read in a previous post, that is what I used on the first flannel blanket I tried. This time, rather than matching the skip stitch blade to the fabric of the blanket, I matched it to the yarn and I am happier with the results. Before I skip stitched the blanket, I decided that I wanted to use regular weight orange yarn rather than a baby yarn or a crochet cotton. With that decision, I used the skip stitch blade #1 instead of #2 even though the blanket is flannel. The slits are farther apart with this blade and so it accommodated the heavier yarn better. It did not seem to make a difference on the flannel whether it was cut with blade #1 or #2.

IMG_1834I also trimmed my seam allowances so that I could make the skip stitch slits closer to the edge of the blanket. I cut them at 1/2 inch this time. Because I was closer to the edge, I did not have to fold over the edge and that made for less bulk. Although the 1/2 inch margin is far better than the 1 inch margin of the previous blanket, the next time I think I will try to cut even a little closer to the edge. The more blankets I crochet the more I like the drop into the slit to be smaller. I like the look of the smaller drop and there is less yarn to get caught in the use of the blanket.

The first row on this blanket is chain stitch in the slit then 1 chain stitch, then 1 chain in the next slit, and so on around the blanket. The second row is chain 2, skip 2 stitches, 5 double crochets in the next stitch, chain 2, skip 2 stitches, then chain in the next stitch, then repeat. This blanket could be for either a boy or a girl, although the second row makes it a little more feminine to me. I am pleased with the end results of this blanket, both with the use of skip stitch blade #1 and the pattern I used for the second row.

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Follow Up #3 – Cursed Pants

Well, I finally got brave enough to wear the pants to work and I am pleased by the end results. The new pocket style I created work great. It was a little weird at first to stick my hand into the pocket and run into the divider, but after a few times it did not bother me anymore. Once I figured out which side I had put things, the pockets did a great job of holding everything and not getting it all mixed up. The elastic in the waist could have been a little tighter, but nothing I can’t live with, and no one has noticed the seam at the bottom of the legs, or at least no one has said anything to me about it. So perhaps the pants were not cursed after all or maybe the fabric in the stash just forgave the pants fabric for escaping.

IMG_1342IMG_1343As for the blanket I mentioned, I unraveled all of the second row that I had been working on, and after some trial and error and a search on the internet, I found the perfect pattern. I skipped two stitches, in the third doubled crocheted 3, then chained 3, then double crocheted 3, then skipped two then single crocheted in the next, then repeated. I love the peaks this pattern makes. I think it looks more boyish than the scallops that other patterns make. I ran the skip-stitch blade round this at 3/4 inch and then folded the fabric over as I did the first chain row. I like the length of the drop that this gave me, so I think this will be the standard I will use for the skip-stitch blade unless I am trying to do something different. Since I have given a blanket out of this fabric to one of the nephews already, I think I will donate this one to charity.

In the Car

 

I had to spend a lot of time in the car last week. We made a trip to see family and friends and in the process traveled about 1600 miles. Although this was a lot of time in the car, it was a great time for me to crochet.

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My trip project was to complete “Monkey”. This is the second crocheted animal from my Amigurumi book that I have finished. He was a lot of fun to make. I started on him several months ago and just worked on him here and there in between blankets, but with all the time in the car I had, I was able to finish him up. There is a lot more to him than just the crocheting. img_0809It took a fair amount of time to sew all the parts together. I ran out of the brown yarn so I had to switch to another color but I think he turned out fine. There are a couple things I would change if I make another monkey though. On the next monkey, I am going to leave out a couple of rows on the head to try to get it more round like a ball. The picture on the pattern shows a more round head than I ended up with. I also think I will make the arms a little shorter. The arms seem so long on this one. I am also going to put a small wire in the arms and especially the tail so they can be shaped. I think this will make the monkey more fun to play with as long as the wires don’t make there way through the yarn. Even as is, my nephew seemed to enjoy playing and laughing with Monkey.

img_0812My next project was to complete the edge on the flannel blanket I started. After determining how I wanted the first row done, folding the edge over and using the brighter, heavier yarn and doing a single crochet instead of just a chain stitch, it took some time to complete the first row because this blanket is larger than the fleece blankets I have done. For the second row, I did a chain three and skipped every other stitch. Upon completing the second row, I tried a third row of scallops, but I did not like the results and so I took them out. I decided to stop with the second row of chains. With the heavier, brighter yarn and the larger drop in the skip stitch cuts, I felt I had enough of an edge with just the two rows. I am pleased with the end results and with all that I have Iearned. I won’t be afraid to try another flannel blanket rather than the fleece I had been working with.

 

 

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The last item I took on the trip was a piece of fleece that I had picked up to make a blanket for the the a new nephew due in April. Before leaving, I ran the skip stitch blade 1/2 inch from the edge of this blanket. After doing this I wished I had cut at 3/4 inch because I wanted to fold the edge over. Mom and Dad made part of this journey with us and Mom did not have any crocheting to img_0817do so I passed this blanket over to her. On the first row, she tried not to fold the edge, but as she crocheted the blanket folded naturally. Since the stitches did not look too small with the fold and a 1/2 inch cut, she decided not to fight the fold and let the fleece fold over as she crocheted the first row. She did a chain stitch in between each drop stitch on the first row. For the second row, she did a stitch called X’s and O’s. It turned out really cute. To do this pattern, you skip a stitch, single crochet in the next then do two chain stitches, then single crochet the stitch you skipped.  The two chain stitches make the O at the top and crossing back over to the stitch that you skipped makes the X. Mom finished the blanket during our travels, so now I just need to get it mailed off. It’s a good thing he is not due until the end of the month. With all the traveling I am a bit behind.

The Edge of Flannel

After finishing my last two fleece blankets, I decided to try a flannel blanket. My sister has made many flannel blankets with crocheted edges and they turn out so cute. Because I am learning to crochet edges on blankets with the trial and error method, I was not happy my first try. 

 
To tell you why, I will start at the beginning. The first step was to cut two squares of flannel, sew them right sides together, turn, iron and stitch up the hole left from turning. So far so good. Next came using the skip-stitch img_0726blade. I decided that since it was flannel, I would use the skip-stitch blade #2 that cuts the slits closer together and is designed for flannels. Because of the seam allowance folded inside the blanket, I made the skip-stitch cut at 1 inch from the edge. Then I started to crochet, but the more I stitched the less I liked the results. At first, I thought the skip-stitch blade #2 should not say designed for flannels, but designed for lighter weight yarns or crochet cotton. In my opinion at the time, the slits from blade #2 were too close together for regular weight yarn. Second, 1 inch is too long of a drop for the stitch. It is very difficult to keep the fabric smooth underneath the long stitches. Third, with the weight and stiffness of the seam allowance I believe that a more rounded corner would be better then trying to stitch the square ones I have sewn. Because I was not happy with the results of my crocheting, I tried to doing a single crochet at the top of the edge instead of just a chain stitch. I would have called the little knot at the edge of the blanket the finish edge, but I still did not like the results. So instead of undoing and trying it again, I decided to try some variations in a row to compare them with the others.

 

img_0728The first thing I tried was abandoning the regular weight yarn for a lighter weight yarn. I then crocheted several stitches with the long drop. Next I crocheted some by folding the edge over to make a smaller drop. On these stitches, I chained at the top, so on the next couple of stitches, I single crocheted at the top img_0727edge keep the fold. I saw very quickly that I liked the folded edge or shorter drop. The difference between the chain and the single crochet at the top became a matter of what design I wanted, not what looked good. With these results, I went back to the regular weight yarn and tried it again with folding the edge as well as the chain and single crochet on the top. I quickly found out that the fold or the shorter drop is the answer I was looking for. Perhaps the skip-stitch blade #2 does not have to be relabeled for light weight yarn, but just don’t cut so far from the edge. Now the options are wide open. Do I sew the edge of the blanket again and cut with the skip-stitch blade again closer to the edge, or should I just do the fold? Do I use the lighter weight yarn or the regular weight? Do I do a chain at the top as a base stitch for the next row, or do a single crochet and see how that looks as the base row, or as the only row? Now, I just have to decided what I want to do.

One thing I learned while crocheting with the folded edge is that the holes from the skip-stitch are no longer lined up. You can not just push the hook through both pieces of fabric in one move. You have to put the hook through the first piece of fabric, then wiggle it a little to the slit in the second piece. The result looks matched so no problem there. It is not hard or time consuming to do this. In facts, it is a little easier and you’re less likely to pick up threads from the flannel. So, I will probably do this even if there is no fold.

Crocheted Blankets

I have completed 2 more baby blankets. I used the same edge for each one but with very different results. 

I pictured the first blanket in a previous blog entry with just the foundation row started. img_0617Now that it is done, I am pleased with the end result. As stated before, I cut the edge with the skip stitch blade at 3/4 inch and folded the raw edge over. Upon completing the blanket, I did not like this fold, but as I learned later I do like the fold (explanation later). Also as already stated, I put an extra chain stitch between the stitches into the fleece and that worked well at stopping some of the curling. For the second row, I chained 3, skipped 2 stitches, then single crocheted. According to the pattern, I should have only skipped 1 stitch, but with the  regular weight yarn, I decided to skip two. I am glad that I did this. (explanation later). The third row is 5 double crochets in 1 chain then single crochet in the next. I like the resulting scalloped edge. 

 

 

 

img_0619On the second blanket, the yellow edge, I decided to change all the things I thought I did not like on the first blanket. To start, I use the skip stitch blade at 1/2 inch so there would be no fold. I wanted to try a softer baby yarn so I used a size smaller hook. Because of the lighter weight yarn on the foundation row, I put 2 chain stitch between the stitch into the fleece, and pulled the yarn to the top of the fleece. So far so good. For the second row, I followed the pattern, chained 3, skipped 1 stitch, then single crocheted in the next. This made for very loopy chains, unlike on the first blanket when I skipped 2 stitches. I thought about ending the blanket with just the loopy chain stitches as the finish, but I decided to go ahead with the 3rd row. I did the same 3rd row as before, but this time because to the loopy chains, when stitching the single crochet in the chain, the chain pulled losing the scalloped edge. I had to pull the single crochet very tight to get any scalloped edge. Half way through the 3rd row, I was wishing I had just slip stitched in between the double crochets. Now that the blanket is done, I see that the fold would have added weight to the edge of blanket to hold the yarn up. The results of this blanket are not my favorite but I still like it.

 

So the question I have to ask myself is why did my first try come out better then my second try. Oh well, as always, it is a learning process. So, with all this new knowledge I have gained, the skip blade is out and and I ready to start another blanket or two.