Needlecrafts - Crochet | Knit | Recycle, Felting Bags

Needlecrafts - Knit, Fair Isle Hats
What is felting? Well, for me it was an accident when a favourite cashmere sweater went in the wash by accident.
I found out very quickly when I pulled out a miniature version of what was the original size. The fibres constrict together which results in a smaller and thicker fabric.
It is an age old craft that has evolved with local traditions wherever it was used and has become a very popular process in knitting and crochet.
Special "roving" type yarns have been developed especially for this type of craft. The technique for felting is quite easy with a few tips to remember: 1. Make sure that the sweater is made from 100% wool, if possible. Superwash wool will not give you the felted results as it has been processed for machine washing. 2. When felting projects in your washing machine, put the project into an old pillow case and tie the top closed. The old pillow case will catch most of the fibers that come out of the sweater during the felting process so that they do not clog up your washing machine drain hose or pipe. 3. Use hot water for the wash and warm water for the rinse, half the amount of laundry soap and do not use fabric softener 4. Dry project in a pillowcase in the clothes dryer to trap as much stray fiber as possible. Do not completely dry. When still damp, remove project, form to desired shape and lay flat until completely dry. Read further for ideal free knit and crochet bag patterns for felting, how to recycle old sweaters into totes and helpful videos showing you how to felt without a washing machine!


Holiday Gifts - Keeping Knitters in Stitches

Needlecrafts - Great Gifts All Stitched Up
Finding the right gift for someone special who knits or is starting to knit is actually easy.
Most serious knitters have a personal library of knitting books, collected throughout the years as different interests arose but there is always one more that would add value to their collection.
Featured above are free patterns for different, traditional styles in knitting and below are suggested books that highlight, educate and help knitters master techniques traditional to each of these styles.
Additionally, a knitter can never have enough accessories. Mine have gone missing from time to time and small stocking stuffers are always appreciated.
If there's a friend or family member starting to knit, there are starter toolkits providing that new knitter with everything but the yarn. It can't get any easier.

Read further for suggestions on excellent knitting books and accessories you can buy for the knitter you know. Who knows, appreciation may eventually be reciprocated with a new hat or scarf.
Click on the images of books and accessories under banners for more information.
Toolkit | Amazon.com - see link below
Stocking | Michael's Craft Stores and Walmart
Needle case | needle case available for purchase here
Storage | bag available for purchase here
For those of you who like to sew, this carryall bag with inside or outside pockets would be be such an attractive and useful gift for any knitter.
The pockets are ideal for needles, patterns, measuring tape and all other accessories you need.
The tote itself carries the project in progress and any extra yarn.
Don't limit it just knitters, crocheters will love it too.


Needlecrafts - Knit Baby, Boys will be Boys

Needlecrafts - Knit, Fair Isle Hats
As the name in the title implies, the adorable free patterns featured in this week's post are definitely with boys in mind. Baby girls are so lucky! There are so many adorable patterns available for that special princess.
Granted, a lot of patterns can be viewed as unisex simply by the color choice you make or by simplifying details in a design. Even though some traditionalists prefer colors such as navy, grey, cream and red for boys, greyed down tones of pink and purple can be striking in a striped design when combined with more traditional neutrals such as grey, cream or taupe.
Denim shades always work, right from the darkest to the lightest blue.
From the top of the head down to the toes, there are patterns that includes hats, booties, classic pullovers and jackets, many of these ideal for the beginning knitter.
Read further for a charming collection of free knitting patterns, ideal for baby boys or girls that are practical, yet beautiful. This collection of garment essentials caters to all your baby's knitwear needs and will be sure to delight every new parent and their baby.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Contrast Color Capelet

Needlecrafts - Knit, Contrasting capelet
There's still plenty of time to make quick gifts for the holidays, especially if they are as attractive as this contrast band capelet I spotted at Free People.
Bulky yarn makes it a very quick weekend project and if you have been stuck indoors due to the horrible weather some have experienced, it's a great way to get something knit while watching favourite holiday movies.
Basically a rectangle in an easy knit and purl rice stitch pattern, work two decrease rows, overlap neckband, stitch into place and voila, a capelet.
If you want to make it even easier, instead of two colors, knit the capelet in a bulky tweed or marled yarn.
A gift that will definitely be appreciated and worn with pride.

Read further for free pattern instructions, ideal for introducing knitters to an easy project. Helpful videos explain how to work the rice stitch pattern, decrease stitches easily and change color in the middle of a row.
Finally, to all my sisters-in-law, I want one, maybe in black and grey!


Needlecrafts - Knit, Fair Isle Hats

Needlecrafts - Knit, Fair Isle Hats
Inspiration images above | Pinterest
What is Fair isle Knitting you ask? Well according to a quick Google search,
"Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetland islands."
The number and variety of traditional Fair Isle patterns provides a lifetime’s worth of inspiration.
Work them up in the traditional manner or play with color, arrangement, and scale to make them more contemporary or more your own.
Or start from scratch, using graph paper and colored pencils or markers to design your own motifs.
Read further for ideal free patterns for the beginner, more traditional free patterns and vintage patterns to buy and inspire you to knit in a more colorful way!
Maple leaf motif hat pattern | pattern available for purchase here
While hunting for fair isle hat patterns, these lovely bands of maple leaves instantly caught my eye, definitely very Canadian.
Even the beautiful fall colors used in this design were cottage country perfect. So, for all you fellow Canadian knitters, here's a hat that you can make as a stocking cap or shorten the amount of rows into a loose, slouchy style.

Read further for free hat patterns, ideal for introducing knitters to colorwork and more challenging patterns for those who enjoy stranding.
Helpful videos explain different methods of joining color and introductory steps to two color and three color stranding.