Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Figure How Many Granny Squares You Need For an Afghan

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind when figuring how many squares you'll need to make an afghan or blanket.

1. Make several squares in the pattern you've chosen.
2. Block and measure the squares. Blocking is especially important when assembling a blanket out of squares. It's one of the few times I actually block my work. The time and headache saved in assembly more than makes up for what you spend blocking. I have photos and written instructions on the process I follow here.
3. Decide how you're going to assemble your squares. The assembly method you choose will affect the finished size of your blanket. Whipstitching or single crocheting the blocks together won't afect the size much. But joining with a decorative stitch can affect the outcome. Even just a 1/4" added on a join can add 4 - 5" to the overall size of a king blanket using 4" squares. So if you're choosing something fancy like that you're going to have to piece a few together to figure out what the size is of your blocked, assembled square.
4. Divide the length and width of the blanket you want to make by the size of your finished squares (including whatever you added for assembly). This probably won't be a round number, so you'll have to decide whether you want to round up and make a slightly larger blanket, or round down & make a slightly smaller blanket. (Keep in mind that if you round down you can add a decorative border.) Then multiply the number of squares you need across by the number of squares you need for the length and you'll have the total number of squares you'll need to make. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bobble Granny Square

Four Rounds of Bobble Granny Square


Starting with a round of bobbles, this square begins as a circle for the first two rounds. The third round squares it up. Rounds continue in the same way until desired size.

sl st: Slipstitch
dc: Double crochet
Bobble: wrap the yarn around the hook, insert the hook into next spot, pull a loop through, wrap the yarn around the hook, pull through the first 2 loops. Repeat 2 more times into the same spot. Wrap yarn around the hook all pull through all (4) loops. Work 1 ch to close.
For instructions on basic crochet stitches see:

Keep a smaller hook nearby to use when weaving in ends and attaching new colors to your work. Seems to be easier, especially through the many stitches around the ring.
Work your ends in as you go. It seems like an almost insurmountable task if you wait until all your squares are finished. And it's just nicer to work on neat tidy squares without all sorts of strings dangling.

Start with a sliding ring. (go to for instuctions.)

Round 1: 3 ch, 2 dc into the ring(this will count as your first bobble), chain 1.
*Work 1 bobble stitch (see above) into the ring, 1 ch.*
Repeat between ** 6 more times (8 total bobbles.)
Sl st in 3rd of 3 ch at the beginning of the round. Fasten off. Tighten sliding ring and weave that end in.

Round 2: Join yarn in ch space, 3 ch, [2dc, ch1] in same space. [3dc, ch1 in next ch space] 7 times. Sl st in 3rd of 3 ch at the beginning of the round. Fasten off.

Round 3: Join yarn in ch space, 3 ch, [2dc, ch1] in same space. *[3dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 1 ch] in next space. [3dc, ch1] in next space. Repeat from * 3 times. [3dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 1 ch] in next space. Sl st in 3rd of 3 ch at the beginning of the round.

Round 4 and all subsequent rounds: Continue as in round 3, with 2ch between clusters on corners and 1 ch between clusters on sides. Each round will have more clusters on the side. 

 (v1)tested: 8/20 CC.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Turn Babette Blanket Squares into a Babette Squares Scarf

Babette Squares Scarf - flip side
Babette Squares Scarf

My Babette Blanket squares had been sitting in a knitting bag for a really, really long time (April 2008!) My initial excitement about the project was long gone. I really didn't like the yarn, Plymouth Encore DK, because it was just to acryllic-y. And when I blocked the squares to get them to a place where they could actually be sew together the fabric seemed way too thin for a blanket or afghan.

Fortunately, at just about that time the Shanghai Guild, a group of devoted knitters and crocheters who meet weekly in Shanghai to make items for a variety of charities had a call fro scarves for a local senior center. I gathered up the squares I had and made a scarf.

If you want the original pattern for the Babette Blanket it was in the Interweave Crochet Spring 2006 edition. You can download it here for $6. If you want to make the whole blanket that would be a good option as it will give you the layout & how many squares you need.

If you want to save the $6 and know a bit about crocheting granny squares you can do it on your own. Using any granny square pattern make the following squares:

12 round squares: 1
8 round squares: 2
6 round squares: 9
4 round squares: 14
2 round squares: 17

(i.e. Do rounds one and two of your pattern and make 17 squares like that, alternating color combos in a random way. Do rounds 1 through 4 and make 14 squares like that, etc.)

Upload a pdf diagram of square placement.

For a crochet square pattern that looks a lot like the square in Babette Gramma Cookie's has one that looks very similar to me (I haven't tried the pattern myself so can't tell you how well it works.)

On the scarf pictured above, after I'd stitched it together, using black yarn, I did a row of single crochet all around, then did a round of ch5, sk3, ch5.

For alternate edgings, I heartily recommend Edie Eckman's book, Around the Corner.

Have a look at my posting that sharestips and techniques for working wtih Babette squares.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Knit and Crochet for Charity

When I find myself with extra time and leftover scraps of yarn on my hands I like to find groups that distribute hand made items to people in need. Online searches for these groups have been time consuming, not always easy to find, and often outdated, so I'll keep track of what I learn here, and update it as I learn more. If you have a group or project to share, please leave a note for me in the comments section and I'll add your info.

Projects with Specific Due Dates:

Martingale & Co is sponsoring a campaign called "Share the Warmth". They're not collecting items themselves, but to encourage people to knit, crochet & quilt for charity they're offering prizes to people who donate items to the group of their choice & then submit photos to Martingale. The random drawings will be held Thursday, December 1, 2011, or when the tally reaches 3,500 donations, whichever comes first. Here's a link with all the details. You can send pictures of your donations to: or

Smooth Fox Crochet is sponsoring a 2011 Winter Charity Square Drive with prizes. They're looking for 6, 7 or 12" squares. Check the link for complete details. Deadline is January 14, 2011.

Create scarves to gift to the athletes, coaches, families, volunteers and supporters of each participating Special Olympics Program. at the 2011 Special Olympics. They're accepting scarves made out of specific yarns:
Red Heart Super Saver 387-Soft Navy
Red Heart Super Saver 319-Cherry Red
Red Heart Soft 4604-Navy
Red Heart Soft 9925-Really Red
The colors as well as the size (6" x 54"-60") of the scarves will be the same for all participating Programs in the 2012 Special Olympics USA Scarf Project. They have 4 free patterns on the site, although they welcome any design. Individual states have organized distribution of the scarves, with a list of shipping addresses and due dates here. Due dates vary by state, and fall between Dec. 12, 2011 to Mar. 5, 2012. The yarn was available today at my local Joann's (and on sale even!) but you can also order online directly from Red Heart at a discount. You can post photos of your finished work, and see what others have made, on their facebook page.

Groups That  Continually Accept Items  

Shanghai Guild has a special place in my heart as I was lucky enough to join  in their weekly knit-ins during my time as a trailing spouse in Shanghai. They make assemble beautiful blankets that are distributed to orphanages in China; create dresses for stuffed bears that are sold to benefit young heart patients and make scarves, hats and other gifts for elderly residents of Shanghai. They're happy to accept 10" knitted or crocheted squares and have people in many countries that collect items and get them to Shanghai.

Knit4Charities Inc. is an Australian Internet based association of dedicated knitters and crocheters who give warm clothing and comforting items such as blankets and toys to needy people throughout our Country. 
They have a huge following and ongoing projects that serve a variety of charities.

In memory of their sister, two women have launched "Kaps for Kendall."
From their site: "Our goal is to raise money to fight Fanconi anemia, the disease that took the life of our sister, and to provide special hats for kids and adults, who have lost their hair from chemotherapy and radiation.

If you have a group or know of one, leave info in the comments section and I'll add you to this list."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Upcycled T-shirt Needle Case

The front of the case.

I found an old t-shirt of my daughter's that my sister had decorated during her Swarovski period. Delaney had been regularly raiding my tool drawer in pursuit of her hew love of bookmaking. Knowing she'd be going back to school after Christmas I decided to kit her out with everything she'd been using. I found some squares of felt, some buttons, embroidery thread, bits of ribbon & scraps of fabric.

Inside the case
I layered 3 pieces of felt together.
Then I made a pocket on the top from the sleeve of the t-shirt and filled it with embroidery floss.
Under the purple flap is a bone folder.
The scissors are attached with ribbon and put into a pocket made from oilcloth (the points of the scissors poked through regular cloth.)
I cut a hole for the awl & embroidered around the edge so it would be stronger.
I made a little pocket out of another bit of the t-shirt with a crystal flower and tucked in a needle-threader.
I stitched a piece of ribbon down to hold safety pins.
Back of the case
At the top is the flap that holds in the bone folder.
The paisley is just a decoration.
I used buttons to strengthen the corners where the pockets are sewn on.
And the whole thing closes with a bit of elastic that catches on a button.

She loves it. It's portable, has everything she needs in one place and everything's tied down with ribbon so she doesn't misplace it.