Zooty Owl's Crafty Blog


Showing posts with label scrapbusting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scrapbusting. Show all posts

Thursday, 11 January 2018

This is a kind of Magic

A few years ago I started making "MAGIC BLANKETS" in order to keep my yarn stash / scraps under control. 

Double Strand Crochet

The Magic Blanket concept is a combination of two techniques:   "Multi Stranding" and "Magic Knotting".

Multi stranding is a clever way to rid your stash of those "what was I thinking?" and/or "why did I buy so much of this?" yarns, by toning down brights with a pastel or neutral;  or brightening dull and/or dark colours with something fun and splashy.

double strand crochet

If you have never crocheted with two or more strands before, Red Heart Yarn's GUIDE TO MULTI STRAND CROCHET is a good read to acquaint yourself with the technique.

multi strand crochet

Combine the Multi Strand Technique with the  MAGIC KNOT and you have THE perfect solution to the yarn scrap problem.  Knot together small lengths of yarn and then wind the "new" yarn into balls or cakes.

multi strand crochet

IMPORTANT!!:    Be sure to check each knot properly before and after you snip the threads. I have been using this technique for years and every now and then I botch a knot (especially when I am a bit tired). If the knot is done correctly it will hold as long as the yarn holds.

magic blanket

These soft and squishy Magic Blankets are robust and very, very warm.     They are ideal donations for newborn babies of underprivileged mommies, the homeless and patients with dementia. 

double strand crochet

Knot together cotton scraps.     Use a single strand of Magic Yarn to make wash cloths.     These little cloths are wonderfully soft.   I add a pretty printed note, roll them up and slip them into a cellophane bag, before I donate them to be added to the gift packs for the new mommies at the provincial hospital.

Wash Cloths

There is a good chance that my friend Kim Ryan from Australia loves making Magic Blankets even more than I do.      She has made so many for the homeless that an Estate Agent in her hometown has undertaken to sponsor her yarn!!    These are just a few of gorgeous blankets Kim has made and donated to the Salvation Army for distribution to the homeless.  For more photos visit KIM'S FACEBOOK GROUP where Kim and fellow MB-ers share their colourful makes.


Should I wash the blanket before I donate it?
That is a matter of preference.   I always wash mine since I mostly make blankets for Hospice and Babies born to underprivileged mommy's.    A freshly laundered blanket is just an added personal touch.

How do I wash the Magic Blanket?
An acrylic blanket (or blanket made from yarns with no more than 30% natural fibre content) can be washed in the washing machine on a "gentle" cycle, using a gentle washing agent.  Liquid laundry detergent works the best, as powders often adhere to the fibres and leave them a bit scratchy.  A cold water wash is best (you can use the warm cycle as long as the water is not hotter than 30 degrees celcius). Put the blanket in with other soft washing such as towels and t-shirts. Be careful not to put anything in the wash that has hooks, buttons or zips. I always add Fabric Softner to the rinse. Spin on gentle cycle.  Fold the blanket over the line so that the weight is distributed equally. Once dry I like to give it a short spin in the tumbledryer with an anti-static sheet (such as Cherubs) for 20 - 30 minutes on high.

Tip:  If the blankets are intended for a healthy baby, I then give them a spray with some gently fragranced baby linen spray before packing them in plastic.

Note:   This method of washing is for healthy, full term babies.   Always check with your local NICU what their requirements are for preemie blankets or for babies with special needs.

What yarn can I use?
Yarns with less than 30% natural fibre content are preferable to avoid shrinkage and to limit special laundry requirements. 

I have mixed acrylic / cotton;  acrylic / wool and acrylic yarns together with great success.

What weight of yarn can I use?
Any weight as long as the combined weight of the strands worked together is equal throughout.

16ply is my go to weight.    This can be made up of 2 strands of 4 ply plus 1 strand of 8ply (DK);   or 1 strand of chunky (12 ply) and 1 strand of 4ply, or 2 strands of 8ply (DK), etc.

Do I work with one combined "Magic Ball" or two separate balls?
Once again, a matter of preference.    I find it more convenient to roll the strands together into one ball.    This makes the project much easier to carry along with you.

magic yarn

How do I get the sides to look neat?
In order to get an even side edge ch 2, insert hook in second ch from hook, pull a loop up (2 loops on hook), insert hook where 1st stitch should be, pull a loop up (3 loops on hook) now complete your dc. This works a charm but I don't use it for my patterns as a lot of people struggle with where to put the border stitches.

Do I crochet a border around the blanket?
I would say YES!     A blanket with a border around looks finished and is much neater.

What is the easiest way to border the blanket?

Using only 1 strand of DK in a solid colour and a 4.mm hook.   Join yarn into the top of any dc along side (the same space into which your 1st or last dc from the next row has been worked).   4ch (counts as 1sc, 1ch) , 1sc into top of next dc, 3ch, sc into top of next dc,

along bottom and top skip 2 dc posts between 3ch, sc.

2nd row 3dc into each 3ch, corner 3dc, 3ch, 3dc.    3rd row, into each sp between 3dc groups, 3ch, 2dc, sl st into next sp, repeat along all sides.

These two rows give you a neat foundation with which to work.    You can either add a simple edge after the second row, or work more border rounds.

Which patterns are suitable for Magic Blankets?
Again a matter of preference.     I prefer to use something very simple.      My top choice is the double crochet stripe.      No matter how colourful your yarn, the dc stripe always turns out lovely!

double strand crochet

The "v-stitch" stripe is also suitable.     I use this when I have longer colour changes in my Magic Yarn.

double strand crochet

A SOLID CONTINUOUS SQUARE is just the ticket when you are not sure "how much" blanket you are going to get for your Magic Yarn. 

double strand crochet

The solid continuous square is also suitable for making wash cloths from Magic Cotton Yarn.

Crochet Washcloths
I hope this answers most of your questions.    If you would like to know anything more, please leave me a comment or hop on over to Kim's Group and join in the fun!

Happy hooking!!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

This and That

Our little stretch of Coast is a paradise of lush subtropical vegetation,  rolling hills, gorgeous golden beaches and warm blue Indian Ocean waters. 

We have a glorious sea view from our home and I could easily while away a day watching the ocean change colours!.    From indigo to deep turquoise, almost sky blue to aqua, and silver to grey on cloudy days.   Quite often two or more bands of colour are clearly visible at the same time.

Some days the humidity is so high that the line between ocean and sky becomes a blur, and a thick moisture bank hangs over the valleys. 

The past summer has been unbearably hot and humid - so much so that I have forgotten what it feels like to be cool and comfortable.   Very little gets done around here in the heat.    We sit around limply sipping on ice tea and lemonade - questioning the sanity of our move to the coast!   There have been a few days where a move to Alaska seemed very attractive!

The obvious downside to the long unrelenting summer heat is that not much hooking gets done.   Face / Wash cloths (HERE and HERE) and the occasional scarf are about the biggest projects I can manage.

Not much pattern writing gets done either - my brain is in molten state most days!   I have at least managed to finish and publish two patterns though.....

The  ZOOTY OWL POCKET SCARF (Pattern available on Ravelry) is made with Stylecraft Special Chunky, 100% premium Acrylic    

crochet owl scarf

The 2 Zooty Owls take a bit of patience to make - but are easily mastered.   Once you have made the owls the rest of the scarf hooks up in no time at all.    Little hands and wrists can hide from the cold in the generous pockets (which are big enough for small to medium adult hands). 

crochet owl scarf

Adding a few rows to the length makes the scarf a gorgeous winter warmer for  a grown up daughter or niece.

crochet owl scarf

The squares are made separately and are thus ideal for use in other projects such as a baby blanket or a poncho for a toddler or young child.   (The yarn for the Owl Scarf was sponsored by Stylecraft).

crochet owl scarf

On Easter Sunday, when my children were young, we would scatter a few marshmallow eggs around the garden with a colour sticker.    Each child would have to find the eggs with their colour sticker on (so that they each got the same number of eggs).    Rather than go overboard with the chocolate buying we would get them each a fluffy bunny toy or a bunny mug - something "bunny" that would be enjoyed throughout the year. 

I first made the Bunny Scarf for my children about 20 years ago!   I resurrected the idea from an Easter photo I came across while going through my late mom's photos.   The bunnies have friendly 3d faces, and sweet floppy ears. 

crochet bunny scarf

The pockets are ideal to hide little treasures in and to keep little hands from the cold.

crochet bunny scarf

The bunnies do require a bit of patience to make but can still easily be made by a novice.   I have used Chunky yarn for the Bunny Scarf and so it is easily completed in a few hours.

crochet bunny scarf

Both my scarves were made for little girls.   You could easily make the scarf suitable for a boy by removing the flower and adding a tassle of "yarn hair" instead.   The BUNNY SCARF pattern is available on Ravelry.

As a little "THANK YOU" you can buy both the Zooty Owl Scarf and Bunny Scarf patterns for $5 dollars using Coupon Code:   Easter2017

Promotion valid from 19 March - midnight on 26 March 2017.

I still have a LOT of news to share with you, but it has started raining and I am going to take full advantage of the cooler temperature to get some hooking done.!

Happy hooking friends - I hope the weather treats you kindly wherever in the world you find yourselves!

Friday, 17 February 2017

In a Perfect World

In my perfect world: -

Everybody has a roof over their heads and enough to eat;
Nobody is sad or angry;
There is no hatred and no greed;
Babies are born to caring, loving parents (and have at least one crochet / knitted blanket)
Children are safe and happy...

basically, everything is rainbows and cupcakes!

Unfortunately, in the sad state of chaos our world is in, people are sleeping on the streets, there is sadness and anger and violence.    The greedy exploit the needy.   Babies are born into abject poverty.   Children are robbed of their innocence.

Can I change the world???

I try to be the change I want to see in the world.

Over the past few years I have been making "MAGIC BLANKETS" for charity.   This is a great stash / scrapbuster.     Because I use double strands of DK with a 8.00mm hook, they hook up in a jiffy! 

My friend Kim Ryan from Australia has made many gorgeous Magic Blankets to be donated (I just love the little appliques she adds to each blanket - making it even more special!)

The past few weeks have been hot, humid and hectic!    The three H's that make hooking anything complicated quite impossible!

I "magic knotted"  shortish lengths of leftover yarn to make some "magic" OH SO EASY WASHCLOTHS.

I gave a few of my friends  two "samples" each to test - to see how the knot held up with constant use - either as a cloth for bathing or showering OR as a cleaning cloth.    The friends all enjoyed using them and after two weeks of regular use the cloths were still looking good.

I made the remainder of the cloths up as little gifts which could be put into the packs for new mommies at the provincial hospital.   Cut a piece of scrapbook paper into 4.5cm x 24cm strips.   Add a label and a FORK BOW and voila!


I washed the cloths, before adding the labels and bows - so I put each one into a little cellophane bag to keep it neat and clean.


I would love to see your charity makes - please share your photos on my ZOOTY OWL FACEBOOK PAGE

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Another Magic Blanket

The squares for the SEASIDE WINTER BLANKET went through quite an evolution. A lot of frogging and pulling back was done before they starting looking like parts of a whole rather than just a collection of odd squares.  The bits and pieces of yarn that result from this are thrown into a little basket I keep next to my chair. 

Every evening I do a quick little tidy up before calling it a day. The little scraps are wound together to make what I call "MAGIC YARN".   Lately I have been dividing the yarn into two spectrums - red, orange, yellow in one and green, blue and purple in the other (neutrals are shared out between the two spectrums).   

crochet with scraps

I love making these MAGIC BLANKETS.

crochet with scraps

The row after row of double crochet stripes makes for very therapeutic crocheting.   Perfect as a take-along project or something to calm the heart and mind during times of stress or grief! 

crochet with scraps

The superchunky yarn (16ply) and 8.00mm hook give you a cuddly, thick and warm fabric, which makes a wonderful COMFORT BLANKET

crochet with scraps

Because the yarn is knotted together there are no pesky ends to work in besides the start and finish ends of the blanket and the start and finish edges of the border.  These blankets are fairly robust too - which makes them a good "charity" blanket - either for baby blankets or lapghans for the elderly.

crochet with stripes

Add an extra bit of "love" to the blanket with a few RUFFLE FLOWERS!

crochet with scraps

The little balls of magic yarn have already started growing again and I intend to use the next batch to make some beanies and scarves for charity.

What do you do with your scraps / leftover yarn?   Please post photos of your scrap / stashbuster projects on my Zooty Owl Facebook Page!

I had best get back to work now - finalizing the "bonus" square and the "Umtentweni" Square for the Seaside Winter Blanket CAL!

Happy hooking until we meet again!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Seaside Winter Blanket CAL: In love with colour!

For as long as I can remember I have been in love with colour!

When my great granny taught me to crochet at age four, she and my nanna would give me all the scraps and leftovers from their projects.    I loved this!   Rather than having to decide on a set of colours, I had the pick of a complete jumble of colours!    This is probably why I still relish the challenge of turning a basket of scraps into something beautiful!

The  KALEIDOSCOPE BLANKET  was one of these projects!     Just reaching in to the basket and pulling out a handful of colours and making as many hexagons as I could before taking the next handful.     This is the best way to come up with new colour combinations - colours you never even thought of mixing before!

Just look at all those possibilities!!!!

The SEASIDE WINTER BLANKET is another one of those crazy colour opportunities.    Scraps and leftovers are the inevitable result of prolific crocheting, and I am sure many of you have a basketful of colourful bits and pieces.  Even if you do not want to go out and buy a set of colours, or dip into your stash you can still join in and put those scraps to colourful use!

I have been making MAGIC BLANKETS  to gift to the less fortunate and I have worked myself clean out of scraps and leftovers so I have had to dip into my stash for a few combinations.

Blanket 1 in Warm / Cool:   a mix of warm red and orange, and cool blue and greens, accented with neutral lemon white and beige:

crochet square

Blanket 2 in cool purples, blues and greens, accented with a light grey and denim blue:

crochet square

Blanket 3 in warm autumn shades of camel, ecru, banana and hibiscus and light grey against a white background

crochet square

Blanket 4 two shades each of pink and purple bordered by a pretty lilac named "Crocus"

crochet square

Colour placement is just as important as your colour choice.   The Umzumbe square looks completely different when the four colours used for Blanket 4 are arranged differently!

crochet square

By simply changing the placement of  a limited number of colours (2 and 4) - I have eight totally different squares!!

These colour experiments are always put to good use.   Wait until you have a nice collection of squares, sort them into a pleasing arrangement and make a happyghan!   Always great to have one or two lapghan size happyghans to hand when you want to give someone special a thoughtful and useful gift!  (The centre panel is a one of the new patterns I am busy working on)

Please share your Seaside Winter Blanket progress shots on Facebook in our SEASIDE WINTER BLANKET CAL GROUP.   Photos posted to the group will be included in the weekly Gallery!

Have fun experimenting with colours and remember........the second square "Scottburgh" will be posted on Friday, 17 June 2016!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Jumbo Owl Cushion

I have been finishing up the very last little bits of yarn from my mom's stash by making preemie blankets to donate.    

Having used up all the "nice" yarn, a heap of scrap yarn in a really yucky selection of colours was left over.     A good deal of this yarn is what was known waaaaaay back as "HUNKY" - a 24ply yarn!!   (In today's terms it is known as JUMBO yarn). 

granny blanket

I added extra strands to the thinner yarn to make everything 24ply.    My original idea was to make a blanket with a mix of stripes and squares - I thought I would work an owl square surrounded by a few granny squares, but it turned out HUGE!!

crochet owl cushion

I had already worked a fair amount of the stripes and was not in the mood to frog them!    I was undecided whether to proceed with the blanket or to just make two owl cushions.    Most people liked the cushion idea.  

This was such a "silly" project that turned out to be such FUN!      I added some "eyelash" yarn for the "feathers", and two over the top ruffle flowers and leaves to fill in the open space at the bottom of the cushion.

owl granny squares

For the back of the cushion I overlapped two rectangular stripe pieces and then did a buttonhole row to fasten the cushion.

crochet stripe cushion

The back and front are joined by a round of single crochet and then finished off with a block stitch edging.

block stitch edging

Only one of the cushions is complete, the other is about halfway.      For the second a different colour selection will have to be used.

I am actually thinking of hosting a little CAL, breaking it up into manageable portions over a period of weeks (say over the 5 Fridays in October??).      Is it too late in the year???    How many people would join in??

Please leave me a comment so that I can decide whether to proceed now - or leave it until the new year!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

"Magic" Comfort Blanket

I wanted to make "meaningful" things with the YARN STASH mom had left me:      baby blankets to donate;   a comfort blanket each for my brother and my dad;   and a scarf each for all the girls.

My brother's favourite colours are red, grey, black and white so when I sorted the stash I kept aside these colours to make my brother a "MAGIC" Comfort Blanket!

Last week we went up to Modimolle (formerly Nylstroom) in the Limpopo Province,  for a few days R&R

  The reds, blacks, greys and whites went with so that I could make my brother's blanket!

crochet stripes

Yarn:   Acrylic, Courtelle, Acrylic / Wool Blends (less than 30% natural fibres)

crochet stripes

Yarn Weight:   2ply, 3ply, 4ply, 8ply, 10ply and 12ply - strands wound together to give me 16ply (super bulky) yarn.      (eg 2 + 2 + 4 + 8 = 16)

crochet stripes

Hook Size:   8.00mm

crochet stripes

Foundation Chain:   170 plus 2 (172)

crochet stripes

Stitch:   Double Crochet

crochet stripes

Size:   Three Quarter Bed

crochet stripes

Border:   a few rows of double crochet around the blanket.  I measured the blanket so that the stripes would be vertical and added a few extra border rows at the top and bottom (my brother is a big guy!)

crochet stripes

Edging:   1 row of single crochet

crochet stripes

Washed and tumble dried the blanket as soon as we got back from our little vacation!

My brother loves it!!!     Made me feel so happy that I could make something from mom's yarn to give a bit of comfort to my baby brother (he is 18 years younger than me)!