How to Needle Felt a Frog

If you’ve been wanting to take a stab at needle felting, a roly poly needle felted frog is a fun beginner’s project.  Frog Needle Felting Kits are available to purchase that have instructions with lots of pictures, all the materials and felting supplies that you’ll need to make this cute little guy.

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Free Crochet Pattern – Chris Cross Snuggle Scarf

I ran across a crochet pattern that I really liked, used a different yarn than what the pattern called for, tweaked it a little, and I’m quite happy with the results.  I love the texture that is created with a combination of front and back crossed double crochet stitches.  Sound hard?  Not really, once you understand the stitch and get going with it.  The pattern is worked lengthwise so this scarf can be made whatever length and width you’d like.   For a longer scarf start with more foundation chain stitches.  For a wider scarf add more rows in the pattern repeat.

Free Crochet Pattern – Chris Cross Snuggle Scarf with Tutorials on Crocheting Crossed Double Crochet Stitches

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DIY Summer Outfits for Crocheters

Ok DIY-ers, crocheters, and yarn-lovers…don’t think all your projects have to be winter scarves, hats and gloves! Check out these awesome summer pieces and create your very own chic, unique, summer wardrobe.

Boho Mini Dress

Crocheted summer dress

 

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Felted Flowers

This Saturday, I’ll be teaching a Wet Felting Fancy Flower Class. This Pinterest board of Felted Flowers are some of my favorites! Hope you’ll find inspiration here too.

 

See my tutorial on How to Wet Felt Flowers.

Felted Bouquet KitFelted Bouquet Wet Felting Kit

This is a kit available through our Online Store or Farm Store at Alpaca Meadows.  Click on the link or the image above to see videos for wet felting some basic flowers.

Other good tutorials I have found are from the Felt Magnet website, How to Make a Wet Felted Flower with Central Core and Layered Petals and How to Make an Easy 3d Wet Felted Flower

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Learning to Knit – Getting Started

You have your yarn and your needles, a comfortable chair, you’re relaxed, and you’re ready to get started knitting.  There are different ways to hold your knitting needles.  Some people hold their hands over the knitting needles like a table knife and some hold them like pencils.  See How to Hold Your Knitting Needles and Yarn for pictures of the different ways.  Try both and see what is most comfortable.  There is no right or wrong way.

Casting On

Casting on is the first step in knitting and is the process of getting stitches on the needle.  There are a number of different Cast On Methods. The Loop Cast On is an easy one for beginners.  It is quick and easy, but can be difficult to keep an even tension when knitting, so exploring other methods may be in order down the road. The Knitted Cast On is an easy method and you will learn the knit stitch at the same time.  It is fairly stretchy and a good choice for many sorts of projects.  KnitPicks has a good video and tutorial on this method.

Knit Stitch

There is more than one way to learn the Knit Stitch. The two most common ways to knit are the English knitting method and the Continental knitting method.  Try both and see what you like best.  You may feel awkward at first.  Like everything else, learning to knit takes some practice and patience, and so does learning to hold your knitting needles and yarn.  Just start knitting – you’ll get it.

Knitting is a 4-step process:

Insert the needle

Wrap the yarn

Pull through the loop

Pull off the new stitch

You will knit all the stitches on your needle and when you have finished, you will have knit your first row.  If counting rows, your first row including the cast-on counts as row one.

When you have finished the row, you will turn your work. Exchange the needle full of stitches in your right hand for the empty needle in your left hand, and start again.  Knitting every row creates fabric with a series of ridges, each ridge being created from two rows of knit stitches.  This is called the knit stitch or garter stitch.

Purl Stitch

The Purl Stitch is next, click below to watch the video or see the tutorial.

 

The process of alternating knit and purl rows creates the stockinette stitch. When you are knitting stockinette, the side that is smooth is considered to be the right side (abbreviated ‘RS’). The purl side with the bumps and ridges is considered to be the wrong side (abbreviated ‘WS’)

Sometimes projects will require multiple skeins of yarn, which will require joining a new skein of yarn.  If possible do this at the end of the row.

Casting Off

Your knitting project is finished, congratulations!   Now you need to get your knitting off the needles.  Some refer to this process as casting off, some call is binding off.  Click below to watch the Binding Off video, or see the tutorial.

Be sure to bind off loosely or the pattern will be “gathered” at that bound edge.  If you find the edge is too tight when binding off, use a larger needle to bind off.  Also, be sure to form the stitch on the straight part of the needle, not the tip.

Finishing

Next, you will want to weave in the ends and block your scarf.  Blocking is an integral part of finishing a knitted item.  It will even out your stitches and allow your fiber to bloom!  Be sure to read How to Block: Knitting Techniques on the Interweave website.

 

Other good knitting resources:

Learning to Knit – What You’ll Need

Top 10 Yarn Questions

How to Read a Knitting Pattern

Knitting Stitches You Need to Know

Find Your Style: Battle of English vs Continental Knitting

You might also want to check out 10 Easy Scarf Knitting Patterns for Beginners.

Happy knitting!

Here are some Online Knitting Classes you might enjoy:

Learn to Knit
                                                                                                                                                 Cast-On & Bind-Off Knitting Workshop  How to Read Your Knit Stitches & Master the Pattern

How to Wet Felt Flowers

A friend asked me to teach a Wet Felting Flower Class. Having never taught this particular felting project before, I thought I better figure out how. What I found is that it is simple, fun, and the flowers come out beautiful!

Here is what you need:

Wet Felting Supplies

Boot Tray (provides a textured surface to aid in the felting process and contain the water) or Towel – to work on
Towel – to dry your hands (dry fiber is sure to stick to wet hands) and roll your flower in when finished
Roving – I use alpaca because that’s what I have, or sometimes an alpaca/wool blend
Other Fiber – small bits of other fibers, scraps from other projects, yarn scraps, thread
Bubble Wrap – two small pieces, about 12″ x 12″
Liquid Soap – I like Dawn but whatever you have will work (if you have skin sensitivities, stay away from anti-bacterial soap)
Hot Water
Sponge (optional) – nice for sopping up extra water on mat
Pool Noodle
Something to Wet Fiber With – empty spray bottle, turkey baster, soup ladle, ball brauser sprinkler, or sponge

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Lay a piece of bubble wrap, bubble side down, on the towel or boot mat. Draft (or pull apart) small pieces of your main color of roving. Do not cut the roving. Thin wispy fibers will felt much better than blunt, cut edges.

Wet Felting Supplies

Lay the roving pieces in a round shape overlapping in the center.

Wet Felting Supplies

Add other bits of color as desired. If using yarn, Suri Locks, or thick pieces of fiber, be sure to lay a very thin piece of roving on top to “scotch tape” these thicker fibers in place, or they will not felt.

Wet Felting Supplies

Add a squirt or two of soap to the hot water. Now wet your fiber with the hot, soapy water. My absolute favorite felting tool for wetting the fiber is a ball brauser sprinkler (a tool used to water bonsai plants), but a spray bottle, turkey baster, soup ladle, sponge, or cup will also work to get water to your fiber.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

If using a ball brauser sprinkler, squeeze the bulb before putting it in the water, drop it into the soapy water, release the bulb, and it fills itself.

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Thoroughly wet the fiber. Lay the second piece of bubble wrap on top of the fiber and press.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Gently push down on the fiber moving your hands all over pressing the water through the layers of fiber.  You don’t want the fiber to be sopping wet but do make sure the water completely penetrates the fibers.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Carefully peel back the bubble wrap to check and see that the fiber is thoroughly wet. If not, add more soapy water. Put the bubble wrap back and rub with your hands for five minutes or so.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Peel back the bubble wrap again, your fiber should be starting to hold together.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Now, roll up the bubble wrap and fiber.  Wrapping the bubble wrap and fiber around a pool noodle works well too.

Wet Felting Flower Class

Whether using a pool noodle or not, wrap the layers of bubble wrap and fiber snug, and tie in several places with yarn, string, or rubber bands to hold in place.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial
Sop up excess water with a sponge, or pour off into a bucket or sink.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial
Begin rolling the pool noodle back and forth about 50 times.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial
Unroll. Adjust fiber as needed. Wet any dry areas. Turn 90 degrees, roll layers, tie, roll 50 times. Do this a total of four times, turning your piece 90 degrees each time.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

When your flower passes the “pinch test”, you are done. Pinch the fibers between two fingers, there should be no movement! If they still appear a loose, add a little more hot soapy water and continue rolling for a while longer. Repeat the “pinch test”.  If more felting is needed, you can also rub the flower on the boot mat.

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Unroll bubble wrap and fiber.  Warm up your flower with some very hot water.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Wad up fiber and throw it against the boot mat, in a bucket, or in your kitchen sink about 25 times.  Yes throw it!  This causes the fibers to shrink and harden a bit.

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Open up your flower, stretch the edges sideways.  This will help ruffle your edges, (of the flower that is).  Throw against your mat again about 25 times.  Pull on the fiber to create petals, if desired, or cut petals.  If cutting, rub on a textured surface just a little to soften the edges.

Rinse in a vinegar water solution (approximately 1/4 cup to  4-5 inches of water in your sink or a bucket), and then in plain water until the soap has been rinsed out.  Roll in a towel to absorb excess moisture.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Grab the center of your flower from the back and scrunch it up towards the center.  Use a twist tie or piece of yarn to tie the center.  Shape your flower the way you would like it to look. Allow your flower to dry this way.  I have read where people dry their flowers in egg cartons to help maintain the shape.  I have also used the umbrella hole in my rod iron table, or a coffee mug.  Your flower will dry quickly outside on a sunny day, or near a fan inside, or close to a heat vent in the winter.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

When dry you could needle felt a center, sew on a button or beads, or leave as is.  Leave the yarn you have tied the flower with in place to give dimension to your flower, or remove it, scrunch up your flower towards the middle again and needle felt around the base for the same effect.  You can add as many “pleats” to your flower as you like, then needle felt them, to create more dimension to your flower.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Just like in nature, there are many kinds of flowers when it comes to felting, along with various techniques.  Be creative, and have fun felting!

Felted Bouquet Kit

Felted Bouquet Wet Felting Kit

This is a kit available through our Online Store or in The Fiber Studio at Alpaca Meadows.  Click on the link or the image above to see videos for wet felting some basic flowers.  Click my board on Pinterest called Felted Flowers to see some favorites from other fiber artists.  You will find a few tutorials there too!

Live nearby?  Get a group together and come take my Wet Felting Fancy Flower Class!

Be sure to check out Knitting and Crocheting Flowers for more flower fun!

 

 

Free Knitting Pattern – Seed Stitch Knit Scarf

Seed stitch, also known as moss stitch, is a basic texture stitch. It is made up of alternating knit and purl stitches.

Seed Stitch Knit Scarf

The fabric is firm, does not curl, and looks the same on both sides. It is ideal for small knits, scarves, cowls, mittens, gloves, and knits up into super cute baby items!   This is a stitch you will want to learn!

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Yards Per Ounce Calculations – Alpaca Yarn Company

I wish I would have written down how much yarn it took to make that …
Resolved to get better at keeping records, I’m adding this post to my blog for your reference and mine!

Alpaca Cowl Neck Warmer

 Using the formula from my previous post on Figuring the Yardage Used in A Finished Project,  I have come up with the following calculations for each line of yarn from The Alpaca Yarn Company.  Figuring the yardage used in a finished project made from any of these yarns, can be found by multiplying the weight of the item times the yards per ounce of that yarn.

Astral – Alpaca Blend Yarn
197 yards in a 3.5 ounce (100g) skein = 56 yards per ounce

Paca Peds Alpaca Sock Yarn

Paca Peds – Alpaca Blend Sock Yarn
360 yards in a 3.5 ounce (100g) skein = 103 yards per ounce

Paca Paints – Alpaca Yarn
220 yards in a 3.5 ounce (100g) skein = 63 yards per ounce

Snuggle – Alpaca Blend Yarn
104 yards in a 3.5 ounce (100g) skein = 29.71 yards per ounce

I am in the process of creating Pinterest boards for each yarn, with links to FREE patterns for each and yardage required!  Be sure to check back!

 

Valentines I Love

I don’t know if any of you like Pinterest like I like Pinterest!   Now I’m even more excited this morning after learning something new, and that is how to embed a Pinterest board on my website.  So I am happy to share with you my “Valentines I Love” board.  A collection of Valentines Day projects and creations that impress and inspire me … hope you enjoy!

Follow Alpaca Meadows’s board Valentines I Love on Pinterest.

Be sure to click See on Pinterest above to see more!

Free Crochet Pattern – Color Block Scarf

Okay Ohio State fans, here’s an easy project to crochet!  It doesn’t get much more basic than this, and the pattern is free!  Click Beginner’s Easy Single Crochet Scarf Free Pattern.  If you click on the link, Sandi Marshall has written a full explanation of the instructions for each row. If you are a beginner following this pattern, you will learn about the most basic crochet abbreviations, how to read a pattern, and have an understanding of how to follow some of the most common instructions found in most every crochet pattern.

Ohio State Alpaca Snuggle Scarf

For this scarf I have used a size J crochet hook, two skeins of yarn, one of Gray Heather and one called Snowberries by The Alpaca Yarn Company available through our Online Store or The Farm Store.

Snuggle Alpaca Yarn - Gray Heather     Snuggle Bulky Alpaca Blend Yarn - Snowberries

I adapted the pattern for the Snuggle Yarn which is a bulky yarn, chaining 25 instead of 15 as instructed in the pattern.  I crocheted 12 rows of red, than alternated with 12 rows of gray, then red, gray, red, gray, finishing with 12 rows of red.   Click to watch the video on How To Change Colors Seamlessly for help with changing colors.  Of course you can make a narrower scarf, or shorter blocks of color, whatever you prefer.

Ohio State Alpaca Scarf

I finished the scarf with a single crochet stitch around the outside edge of the entire scarf, putting in a couple extras at the corners for a nice turn.

Scarf Close-up

Like the scarf, but don’t crochet or have any interest in learning?  You’re in luck!  It is available to purchase here.

Alpaca Meadows